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Discussion Starter #1
First will start with the background info - over the next year, if everything goes according to plan, I'm gonna try and do a Ranger cab swap and cage. Right now I'm still in the planning stages and I'm trying to get most of the basic stuff figured out so hopefully this can go somewhat smooth. My basic plan is to first swap the cab and build a bedcage this winter/spring. Then probably around next fall/winter complete the cage for the front half of the truck. My reason for splitting up the cage work is to try and keep the down time to shorter intervals so I don't miss too much trail time.

This is my very rough paint of the basic cage layout. Note: this isn't my truck in the pic, it's Dustballs. I just used this pic cause it was the best one I could find to draw on. Dustball, I hope you don't mind.


Red lines are outside the cab, green are inside. Ignore the engine cage area for now. The idea doesn't really come across in 2D.

Now, my question about this design- What do you guys think of having the main hoop (b-pillar hoop) on the outside of the cab? It would be tucked as close to the cab as possible and all the bars would run similar to as they are shown in the pic. Only drawback I really see is that I would not be able to run shoulder harnesses, which I don't think would really matter because they probably would never be worn. There would only be lap belts. I also think that this design may not support the roof structure as much as a normal design, but I don't think the differance would be that drastic. Maybe there could also be other problems with this design I'm too naive to see. My reasoning for wanting to build the cage this way is because 1- I could build the bedcage which should be relatively easy first and still wheel the truck. And 2- it would leave a lot more room inside the cab. The other option is to have 2 main hoops, one in the cab and one outside.

So what do you guys that have experiance with roll cage design think about this idea? Good idea or no?
 

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I read your post yesterday, just had to sleep on the answer. I don't agree or disagree with the main hoop location, just whatever is best to mount it to the frame. That's going to depend on where your body mounts and spring hangers are located, unless you weld directly to the top of the frame. Since the Bronco cab is open, I could locate the m.h. wherever I desired, but it only worked directly over the body mount where the floor was strongest, so when I cut or drilled thru it I had some support. THat may be a concern on the Ranger cab depending on how you mount it.

I guess to answer your question, I would prefer to mount the m.h. inside the cab only if you needed a place to mount shoulder harnesses. You definitely do not want to bolt them to the floor, that's aserious safety issue for your back. I just feel safer with them on, mounted about 31" from the floor.

The last thing I can think of is if you plan to do any sanctioned racing, like for USHRA or SCORE, check their rules. You may need to have the m.h. mounted so it's within 6" of your head and so on. My m.h. is 3-4" back so I wear a helmet when seated in the PRP seats.

I think the T.V. poser show "Extreme 4X4" is building a Ranger cab pre-runner or something like that with a Stroker 302 built by HotRod T.V. They built their cage inside the cab, and mounted the radiator behind it. I give them credit for adding more crossbracing to their cage design, so you might check out the website or catch them on the weekend on SPIKE TV!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for taking the time to think about the cage idea.

The cage is going to be welded directly to the frame throughout the entire truck. My truck is a F-150 so the frame is a little differant than the Bronco frame in the pic.

As for seat belts, there would only be lap belts and they would be bolted to cross bars that would run across the floor. Those tubes would be part of the cage. The seats would also be mounted to those tubes. If I did decide to use shoulder harnesses I would have to have the main hoop inside the cab.

I don't plan on ever racing the truck. I do mostly trail riding (mix of mud, rocks, trees, etc).
 

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Zombie Hunter
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I've never built a cage for a Bronco, but from a welding standpoint the peaks of the triangles, where they meet the frame in the back, how are you going to weld the the supports to the frame?

The back part of it just looks wierd to me for some reason, structurally. I don't know.....i really don't have any experience with cages, so ignore this.
 

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Engineer
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that looks sweet. What are you doing for the roof and are you doing anything across the back of the cab or across the dash?
 

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Zombie Hunter
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Okay that clears it up a bit.



But if it were me, i would put something in that big gap on the right hand side of the picture.

I don't think you can over engineer a cage.......
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ToddACimer said:
that looks sweet. What are you doing for the roof and are you doing anything across the back of the cab or across the dash?
I figure for the roof it will look something like l/l\l (top is towards the front of the truck)
And then a /\ would come down the center of the windshield to the dash bar and then onto the engine cage which would look similar to this -


The main hoop would just have a big X.

Bronco Rob said:
Okay that clears it up a bit.



But if it were me, i would put something in that big gap on the right hand side of the picture.

I don't think you can over engineer a cage.......
Ya, I noticed that gap too. I don't think it is really lacking structurally, but it does look like it is missing something. I would probably add one more tube in there. That cage is also on a long bed and my truck is shorter so mine will come out a little differant.
 

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Zombie Hunter
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I wish you were closer man, i'd love to come help you with this.

Just so you know, a square is technically the weakest possible shape. You mind if i toy with your first picture a bit?
 

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Zombie Hunter
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My ideas are in the yellow. Like i said, i've never built a cage before, but i do Fab work as part of my living.

I would put something across the dash area, either exterior or behind the dash if possible. If you get too many open spots, and take a hit from the side, it's going to bend the sides in.

Maybe something across the top of the cab (the little yellow dot).

I eleminated the one going stright up and down by the engine compartment. With the triangle pattern there, it really isn't doing much, the braces from the angle wouldn't do.

I hope more people look at this thread man....Chris85XLT has a cool cage too, he encompassed seat mounts in it too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ya, I just drew the tubes you can see in 2D. The seat and seatbelt mounts will be part of the cage and the roof will be like I said in my earlier reply to Todd. There will also be a dash bar. I need all the room I can get in there since I'm 6'4" so I might just scrap the stock dash all together and do something similar to crawler's 78. As for the engine cage area, I doubt there will be room for all those tubes since the gear box is on one side and I also have fender exit headers. That part will probably have to get planned out after the body is on.
 

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Bronco Rob said:
Well I am gonna play around on my computer and post up a few picks of my ideas. I think you have some week points in your basic design. You have the right idea, triangles are strong, but there are a lot of unecessary tubes, atleast in my opinion. I have desgined and built several tube chassis's for a college competition and have had classes in load paths... I am by no means an expert, but I just want to throw in my two cents...
 

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you can get a crap load of strength simply by gusseting all of your joins. everytime you weld two or more tubes together, go back over top and weld in some plate in the corner. insane gains

also with the smaller cab dropping on such a big frame, have you consider an exo around the cab. i mean if you are going to do a full engine cage too wouldn't be much more work to add a full exo around the cab. how much "cargo" area are you looking to have in the bed area?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
OrangeBronc79 said:
also with the smaller cab dropping on such a big frame, have you consider an exo around the cab. i mean if you are going to do a full engine cage too wouldn't be much more work to add a full exo around the cab. how much "cargo" area are you looking to have in the bed area?
I'm not doing an exo. It's just not the look I want. I am mainly looking for peoples opinions on having the main hoop on the outside of the cab. For the most part, the cage I drew is a very rough basic layout of what I want to do and it doesn't really look good in 2D. I have also taken the time to eye some stuff up on actual Rangers and I think I would be able to build a tube for the shoulder harnesses to mount to inside the cab while still having the main hoop outside so I wouldn't have only a lap belt and I wouldn't have the cramped space. The whole cab swap has been put on hold for a bit as well since I'm saving pretty much all of my extra income so I can finally move out of my parents house. If I start the build now the truck will be down for too long and I don't want to miss out on any wheeling this year, so I'm just gonna beat the crap out of my fullsize body some more and hopefully next winter I can start on the cage and cab swap.
 

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davids78bronco said:
You need to have your pictures hosted, in order to post them up here
yeah I realize that now... anyways... i like the idea of putting the hoop on the outside... does free up a lot of space and unless you are doing some high speed mud racing or soemthing you are gonna get tired of o four point anyway...
 
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