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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to put on a custom roll cage (with shoulder belt mounts) and rock sliders that double as step bars on my newly acquired 93. Luckily, I have a family member with a big metal fab shop that can make whatever I want, they just don’t specialize in auto so I’d have to provide him plans/specs. What I would like is the photos attached, not sure who’s Bronco this is, found it on the roll cage thread. Also these are prefab sliders for a Tacoma that I read in another thread work for our FSBs.

Can anyone provide their mounting locations or suggestions? My issue is I have not done this before and would like some ideas on the design now for where/how I should mount the cage and the steps as I can have whatever I need built, just not exactly sure how to tell them to build it.
 

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So... real talk here... a lot of people who think they have roll cages actually just have Metal Art Inside Their 4x4. If you want the cage to actually work and actually protect the passengers, it needs to be securely tied to the frame first of all, ideally more than just a plate with the body mount bolt going through it. Second of all it needs to be securely gusseted everywhere tubes meet at an angle or make a turn. Speaking of turns, try to minimize them. The little dogleg in that first picture just below where the horizontal tube meets might look nicely contoured to the body, but creates a weak point. In some cases, a badly designed roll cage is more dangerous than no cage at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Art is what I want to avoid, how would you suggest I tie it to the frame? Again, I don’t know how to do this and figured y’all were the folks to ask so I’m needing guidance. I appreciate any insights as my goal is to be safe, not just look good.
 

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I have lots of photos in my showcase if you want to see how I did mine. It can give you a place to start at least....warning though....you loose a lot of space you don’t think about when you have bars everywhere...
 

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So how many wear a helmet in situations where you might need that cage?
I don't, but my bars are outside. Wondering how the rest of you ensure
that that cage doesn't kill you, while it's saving you.
 

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So how many wear a helmet in situations where you might need that cage?
I don't, but my bars are outside. Wondering how the rest of you ensure
that that cage doesn't kill you, while it's saving you.
Helmets?......heck I haven’t even put the seatbelt on yet lol
 

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Art is what I want to avoid, how would you suggest I tie it to the frame? Again, I don’t know how to do this and figured y’all were the folks to ask so I’m needing guidance. I appreciate any insights as my goal is to be safe, not just look good.
Mine is welded in place....of course my rig is different than most...it’s welded to the body but supported by the frame under the body weld points....some reinforcements were also added under the body to the frame. Your truck body and frame will flex so if you cut holes in your body and weld to the frame your cage and body will flex into each other...and it can weaken your frame without additional support. Base plates were welded inside the body and tubing was welded to the base plates....thickness matters here...you want a good wall thickness and not some cheap skinny pipe that buckles under weight....keep the weight of your truck in mind for your cage....if your upside down will it crush? If your cage gets a side impact will it buckle? Cross supports and gussets are very important to distribute load....If the pipe doesn’t bend then that energy will be transferred to the other end...or other side...that’s where good base mounting comes in...you don’t want to shear a bolt or push through sheet metal like a beer can...
 

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^^^ that is the exact reason I haven't attempted this myself
 

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I’ll be going with an Exo-cage as well, bars on the outside mean more room on the inside and less denting on the body panels.
 

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Your truck body and frame will flex so if you cut holes in your body and weld to the frame your cage and body will flex into each other...and it can weaken your frame without additional support.
Going to have to explain this statement a bit. This is exactly what I did.
(for the main rear hoop anyway). And after 17 years of hard core crawling, my frame is fine.

And I've rolled 3 times, once on the side, once on the roof, and the
last one a violent barrel roll down a rock face (which did significantly damage
bar on pass A-pillar, but otherwise cage is intact).
 

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This cage has a bunch of good ideas in it. I especially like the pontoon side bars.
That is how I would do my cage if I was going to re-do it. This will also make a very easy place to add steps/sliders.

Cage design is always a compromise on a trail rig, realy need to sit down and decide how you think you will use your rig and try and plan the best you can for that. I completely agree that you need to think about how your head may contact the bars and such. Also need to think about mounting the seats to the cage, or how if they are not what will happen. Again if this matters a bunch will be realitive to what your doing.

I feel the Desolate Motorsports back roll bar setup is a really good trail kind of a cage, stout enough to do something, but yet still safe for street use, at least in the front 2 seats, with normal belts and harnesses.
 

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Going to have to explain this statement a bit. This is exactly what I did.
(for the main rear hoop anyway). And after 17 years of hard core crawling, my frame is fine.

And I've rolled 3 times, once on the side, once on the roof, and the
last one a violent barrel roll down a rock face (which did significantly damage
bar on pass A-pillar, but otherwise cage is intact).
Because bronco frames are essentially C- channel and not boxed...I have seen welds to the frame break and also distort the frame from forces applied during a roll...And these were from bent (angled) tubing welded to frame.....(Eg: another mud truck bronco built for racing rolled after a high speed pass With cage to frame through body and forces applied broke cage tubing-90 degree mount- bent frame and body but driver survived....truck totaled) the details are all in the construction and there are endless ways people go about making what they want...some just don’t quite think far enough...btw ...to original poster: I hope you don’t use a cage meant for a vehicle lighter than yours (like the Tacoma) and only inspired by its design...
 

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Because bronco frames are essentially C- channel and not boxed...I have seen welds to the frame break and also distort the frame from forces applied during a roll...And these were from bent (angled) tubing welded to frame.....(Eg: another mud truck bronco built for racing rolled after a high speed pass With cage to frame through body and forces applied broke cage tubing-90 degree mount- bent frame and body but driver survived....truck totaled) the details are all in the construction and there are endless ways people go about making what they want...some just don’t quite think far enough...btw ...to original poster: I hope you don’t use a cage meant for a vehicle lighter than yours (like the Tacoma) and only inspired by its design...
You've seen welds to the frame, break? Maybe they weren't that great a weld then.
Or it was an extreme racing accident that probably doesn't have much to do with the average
bronco owner building a cage for moderate non race use.

And I'm not sure what that has to do with tubing going directly through the body, vs bolting plates to body,
than bolting more plates to body on other side of body, and continuing to frame. If your entire cage
distorts enough to bend the frame and you are still here, it probably did it's job.
 
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You've seen welds to the frame, break? Maybe they weren't that great a weld then.
Or it was an extreme racing accident that probably doesn't have much to do with the average
bronco owner building a cage for moderate non race use.

And I'm not sure what that has to do with tubing going directly through the body, vs bolting plates to body,
than bolting more plates to body on other side of body, and continuing to frame. If your entire cage
distorts enough to bend the frame and you are still here, it probably did it's job.
For clarification....I’m not against welding a roll cage to the frame...just that not all fabrication is equal and not trying to be super technical just thoughtful by mentioning potential problems to steer clear of....straight lines are stronger than bent ones and yes crappy welds, poor prep, brittle metals, thin materials, etc certainly matter....ultimately just passing along the need to support your stress points
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone. What i'm thinking is that I'll have plates welded and connect to outriggers beneath that connect to the frame. I'm looking for as simple design as possible that will do it's job heaven forbid I rolled it with anyone in the backseat. As it's been mentioned, I just need it to work once.
 
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For clarification....I’m not against welding a roll cage to the frame...just that not all fabrication is equal and not trying to be super technical just thoughtful by mentioning potential problems to steer clear of....straight lines are stronger than bent ones and yes crappy welds, poor prep, brittle metals, thin materials, etc certainly matter....ultimately just passing along the need to support your stress points
Understood. I tend to question things that are said won't work or not to do, when I've done it already,
"tested" the crap out of it, and had no issues.

Obviously, good design, competent fabrication, and
realizing your limitations of what you've built, matter the most.

My main hoop X brace runs through the body floor.
The entire main structure is 2" DOM (where most use 1.75) to try to make up for
it being an EXO, which is course is inherently weaker. It has some
compromises of structure, to make it fit better overall.




That said, I doubt many are going to roll much harder than this. Some of the cage bent,
but the entire thing is welded to the frame (with larger pads first welded to frame
before cage tube welded on). Not one issue of any of the welds.

 

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This cage has a bunch of good ideas in it. I especially like the pontoon side bars.
That is how I would do my cage if I was going to re-do it. This will also make a very easy place to add steps/sliders.

Cage design is always a compromise on a trail rig, realy need to sit down and decide how you think you will use your rig and try and plan the best you can for that. I completely agree that you need to think about how your head may contact the bars and such. Also need to think about mounting the seats to the cage, or how if they are not what will happen. Again if this matters a bunch will be realitive to what your doing.

I feel the Desolate Motorsports back roll bar setup is a really good trail kind of a cage, stout enough to do something, but yet still safe for street use, at least in the front 2 seats, with normal belts and harnesses.
The Solo cage is a good design but some other things need to be considered when using this cage. It does not connect to the floor. It passes thru the floor. It is designed to be used with SOLID body mounts and bracing plates welded to the A, B, and C pillars. This essentially ties everything together in one solid piece. The frame will not flex separate of the body. Creating a quasi unibody construction. You might see stress crack form in the body seams with this type of cage. For what you do with your Bronco @CrazyBRONCOguy it is excellent.

A good cage design for the average guy is 1.75" 0.120 DOM tubing with either taco braces or 1.25" 0.120 wall DOM do not use CREW welded seam tubing. Welded seam tubing will crack. It does create a problem every time you are making a welding pass and hit the seam.

Use floor plates that are staked and have rounded corners. The center pin stake help prevent shear forces. The large rounded corner prevent body tears and can opener actions. These are the best I have seen and are a 1/4" thick.


To tie the bottom plate to the frame will require a tube welded to the bottom plate. On the other end you need a poly bushing welded on to mate with the frame mount. Here are some good frame mounts with the bushing tabs and bushing included. Similar to the floor mounts but designed to be mounted on the frame.


This type of cage tie allows the body and cage to flex together as one and no need for the A, B, and C pillar braces. This also stresses the body less so less body seam cracking. This design is good for the average guy that enjoys recreational crawling or mudding. The Solo cage is designed for the go fast dessert guy and those that enjoy riding sand dunes.

Unfortunately can't take the Solo designed cage and convert it by using poly mounts. The Pillar bars are too close to the body to allow flat floor plates to be used.
Now that isn't to say the cage itself is a bad design. It is a damn fine one. Follow what they did inside the passenger compartment as far as hoop and roof bracing design. It does need upper and lower dash bars added to the A pillar legs. Lower dash bars need to be pushed forward as much as possible and padded to prevent knee banging. This braces for side impact cage collapse. Solo's B and C pillars braces are designed to be welded to the top of the frame. You can't do that with a bushing cage. I would run a traditional back of front seat brace that runs from driver side to passenger side. Yes it makes to hard for rear seat passengers to get in but they will thank you when you roll it on it's side.

You also want what we traditionally call a rocker bar. It is a bar that sits on the floor beside the seats just inside the door opening. It runs from A pillar bar to B Pillar bar. It is to prevent side impact crushing. Also helps with front impact moving the A pillar bar.

I can't recall seeing a rear passenger compartment design that I like. I have taken the liberty to take a simple design an add the bracing I think it needs. Be very aware the body is closer to the frame in the C pillar area. It will take proper placing of the C pillar bars so that you can float them to the frame and not directly welded to the frame.
174219


I eliminated the two bars I consider that do no protect the rear seat passengers as well as it should. The two horizontal bars run along the side of the body where the top bolts to the body. There is a bar that runs across behind the rear seat. You want that cross bar and the diagonal braces to meet at the same location on the side bar. Also the other end of the diagonals connect at the floor plates and the point where the roof bars meet the the pillar hoops.

I can't stress proper padding of the cage enough. Don't use water pipe insulation. It is too soft and will not prevent broken bones. Only use SFI rated padding. It is designed to prevent broken bones from body parts hitting the cage. Your head knees and arms will thank you when you walk away from a crash rather than have to be carried out. A broken bone can be just as deadly as being crushed. Especially when medical services are far away from you. Remember this when you are deep in the woods or up some mountain somewhere. Think of what it took to get you there.

Ok I have rambled and babbled long enough. Just my two cents (and it ain't even worth that) and years of experience.
 

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Understood. I tend to question things that are said won't work or not to do, when I've done it already,
"tested" the crap out of it, and had no issues.

Obviously, good design, competent fabrication, and
realizing your limitations of what you've built, matter the most.

My main hoop X brace runs through the body floor.
The entire main structure is 2" DOM (where most use 1.75) to try to make up for
it being an EXO, which is course is inherently weaker. It has some
compromises of structure, to make it fit better overall.




That said, I doubt many are going to roll much harder than this. Some of the cage bent,
but the entire thing is welded to the frame (with larger pads first welded to frame
before cage tube welded on). Not one issue of any of the welds.

OX1 I can't fault your exo cage one bit. It did what it was designed to do. I sure not going to jump into the discussion of welded vs bolted to the frame. Main reason why is because everyone's welding skills are different. Everyone that claims to be a good welder also carries a grinder. Just like a guy that claims to be a mechanic who only carries a thumb wrench, channel locks, and a hammer. One thing you did do that I like is welding large buffer pads to the frame first. These help spread out the load forces applied at the frame by the tube.
The one thing I might change just looking at these two pics is some type of bracing from side to side at the B Pillar. It looks like it squeezed in there. If only you had a way to brace the side to the X bar behind the seat.
 

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@outlawbob
you basically drew the Desolate rear cage, in essance.

There is a lot of good ideas out there. A lot of good points in these posts here too. I do not think there is anything as a 1 size fits all Bronco cage. Everyone's situation will be different.
The mounting points that have been brought up are all valid though.
 

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I did, didn't I lol. Yes that is a good design. I wasn't paying attention. I love that rectangle tube at the B pillar. It makes for a nice attachment for the seat brace and harness bar with a passenger walk thru. For most that would be perfect. Rear seat passengers are well protected. The C pillar is less critical than all the other pillars. Running that rectangle tube at the C pillar also spreads the load and makes it less of a requirement to tie to the frame at that point. Tying it to the frame could be done on the inside of the frame instead of outside like the other 2 pillars.

You are correct in not one type fits all.

The type I am designing for mine is different than all of these. Running the half cab conversion basically says I need 2 B pillar hoops. One inside the cab and one outside. Basically two separate cages. The desolate cage would basically work for the rear passenger compartment.
 
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