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Old 01-18-2011, 11:27 AM   #1
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best bolt-in cage

looking for an inexpensive add-on to my stock sport cage. any thoughts/opinions on this/other cages?

OR-FAB Bolt In Sport Cage For 1997-06 Jeep Wrangler TJ,LJ

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Old 01-18-2011, 11:51 AM   #2
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If you wheel, don't go cheap. Especially on something that could save your life.

Look at Genright.

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Old 01-18-2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:46 PM   #4
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i dont do any serious wheeling where i would be prone to rolling, i want it more for street rollover protection especially because of the weaknesses in the windshield area.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:47 PM   #5
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i would have someone weld in a cage, i would never use just a bolt in.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:50 PM   #6
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Bolt holes weaken pipes a lot its the cheap way out
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:15 PM   #7
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Having a shop bend and weld up a competition rated cage might not be alot more expensive than one that you order out of a catolog after shipping. It depends on how many bars you have them add to it. A basic cage is usually about $1000 or so and then 30 or 40$ for each additional bar. Find a shop that specializes in rollcages and get them to give you a quote and then compare that to the price of a bolt in after shipping. It may cost a couple hundred more dollars but If I pulled out in front of a tractor trailer or something I would definately want a welded cage.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:46 PM   #8
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i wasnt planning on spending more than 500 really. so looks like itll be on the backburner till i can afford it!
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:35 PM   #9
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weld the cage in.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:53 PM   #10
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anyone fab or know any good places to get a cage welded up? PM me please!
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:02 PM   #11
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You can get a weld in sport cage kit from A to Z Fabrication for under $500.


They are about a 5 hour drive from MD if you want them to install it. Give Zach a call.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:43 PM   #12
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Check with any local circle track racers. It's big in Kansas, so there's a circle track racer on every block it seems. Find out who welds their chassis. Around here, full caged chassis for certain race classes have to be certified (I have no idea what is entailed in getting certified, I don't circle track), so you know the guys welding them have to be good. I've got a local chassis fabricator here who is supposed to be doing some cage work for me when he gets around to it. It was supposed to be sometime this winter, but it might end up being sometime this spring. Either way, I feel comfortable having a guy with that kind of experience weld up my cage. Just check around your area for a racer, strike up a conversation and find out who does his rollcage work.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:49 PM   #13
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i wasnt planning on spending more than 500 really. so looks like itll be on the backburner till i can afford it!
You don't need a full on cage, just add the stock one. I know a number of guys that have done this with great results. If they are a good enough fab guy, you can get a very strong cage made from the stocker.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:59 AM   #14
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I've seen two different MORE bolt in cages take pretty violent rolls in Moab and hold up beautifully. One of them tweaked a couple bars, but the driver was totally unharmed. The other cage wasn't damaged at all. Both cages had frame tie-ins. Don't think that bolt in means it can't take a hit.

That said, personally I like the A-Z fab cage. But only because it has a cleaner install.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:15 AM   #15
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I have the ORF front cage, bolted up easy had no issues with install. Stu Olson had a review with pics on his site of a lady who flopped it on a trail and it held up fine. Just my 2 cents!!
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:34 AM   #16
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I did a LOT of research on this when I was looking into a cage for my TJ. I called or-fab and the first thing out of the guys mouth was "this is a sport cage. Not meant for a roll over"... WTF, why would I want it then? Also, I'm not trying to talk down on the bolt-in cages, but they don't use DOM (drawn over mandrel) tubing. They use HREW (hot rolled electric welded) tubing which is less strong than DOM... Poison Spyder makes a really nice trail cage, made of DOM, designed to give you an A-pillar support, cross windshield support, and across the dashboard support. The whole kit is 8 pieces and something like $500. You have to weld it in, but it is all cut to fit and it IS rated for roll overs.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:47 AM   #17
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I also have the OR-FAB cage and like Devil Dog Doc mentioned, there is evidence that it will provide some protection.

This is the Jeep in Stu's website:





The rest of the pictures and a video of the roll can be found here.
TBT Sports Bar Rollover
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:52 AM   #18
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If you watch that video, you can see that thing rolling down Hell's Gate twice and then landing upside down. Pretty brutal.

Having seen the bolt on cage withstand that, I would still say a welded cage is superior. But apparently, your "cheap" bolt on cage isn't exactly a porcelain teapot.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:00 AM   #19
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If you want to go with a bolt in, check out RockHard . . . they seem to be the most popular when it comes to the bolt in version . . . not cheap, but I've seen some videos of some pretty nasty roll overs where they held up well. Be sure to add on the extra pieces that go down thru the floor . . . they also sell frame tie-ins that can be added for even more strength.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:05 AM   #20
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I also have the OR-FAB cage and like Devil Dog Doc mentioned, there is evidence that it will provide some protection.

This is the Jeep in Stu's website:





The rest of the pictures and a video of the roll can be found here.
TBT Sports Bar Rollover
There is no doubt that that was a bad roll over and the cage held up well, but the original post said he wants it for a street roll over, which could be much worse in terms of impact on the a-pillar. I don't know if the bolt-in options are strong enough to hold up.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:16 AM   #21
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I did a LOT of research on this when I was looking into a cage for my TJ. I called or-fab and the first thing out of the guys mouth was "this is a sport cage. Not meant for a roll over"... WTF, why would I want it then? Also, I'm not trying to talk down on the bolt-in cages, but they don't use DOM (drawn over mandrel) tubing. They use HREW (hot rolled electric welded) tubing which is less strong than DOM... Poison Spyder makes a really nice trail cage, made of DOM, designed to give you an A-pillar support, cross windshield support, and across the dashboard support. The whole kit is 8 pieces and something like $500. You have to weld it in, but it is all cut to fit and it IS rated for roll overs.
Well I just read everything on the poisonspyder website and it says nothing about being rated for a rollover it just says that it's for hardcore wheeling. And it is like 500 for the parts but unless you weld well you will probably spend another 5 getting it welded. Goes a little past what the OP wants to spend. Plus for a high speed road roll I don't know if anything short of a full on scratch built cage would hold up well.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:39 AM   #22
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Well I just read everything on the poisonspyder website and it says nothing about being rated for a rollover it just says that it's for hardcore wheeling.
I challenge you to find ANY cage that is RATED for a rollover.

Hint: You will NEVER find one. "Rating" something like this a multi-million dollar lawsuit waiting to happen. And there would need to be a standard "rating" system or classification system in place...there isn't one...for the same lawyer reason.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:58 AM   #23
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Precisely so if neither are rated how much difference is there? I looked on the ORF page and saw nothing of the materiel used either.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:08 PM   #24
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when all else fails find a good fabracator and have them make a cage out of 2in diameter cromoly tubing and then your set
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:11 PM   #25
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Well I just read everything on the poisonspyder website and it says nothing about being rated for a rollover it just says that it's for hardcore wheeling. And it is like 500 for the parts but unless you weld well you will probably spend another 5 getting it welded. Goes a little past what the OP wants to spend. Plus for a high speed road roll I don't know if anything short of a full on scratch built cage would hold up well.
I should have clarified when I was writing my post. I called multiple companies about their cages and poison spyder said that their cage was built to take a roll over, as opposed to the response from or-fab of "oh no, it won't hold up". I guess "rating" was a bad choice of words... But regardless of an "official" rating, it doesn't take a genius to see that the bolt in cages using HREW tubing are weaker than DOM tubing. The only benefit to a bolt-in cage is the ease of installation, but who cares about that when you roll it.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:13 PM   #26
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Precisely so if neither are rated how much difference is there? I looked on the ORF page and saw nothing of the materiel used either.
Call them and ask. When I called, I was prepared to buy a cage over the phone and as soon as the guy said its not at all meant for roll over protection I said "ok, thanks" and hung up the phone.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:21 PM   #27
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Bolt holes weaken pipes a lot its the cheap way out
This is a huge misconception about "bolt on roll cages". They do not bolt on they clamp on. The Rock Hard sport cage attaches to the A pillar the exact same way the Poison Spyder cage does. They also have an option to run the entire way to the frame for added protection.

Each clamp uses 1/2" thick and 6 - 5/16x24 socket head cap screws to secure one piece to another.

The weakest part of a Rock Hard cage is the welds between the DOM tubing and the clamp. Not the clamp and exsisting cage.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:25 PM   #28
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The strength needed depends on how you roll it. I've seen stock cages work pretty well - yes the windshield folds down partway, but the occupants are still OK. The rig looks bad afterwards, but it worked. But again, it's how hard you roll it and how it impacts.

No cage is going to last through a 200 foot drop on it's top. The stock cage holds well in a mild easy rollover. Anything that increases the strength is going to help out.

The OR fab helps keep the windshield from folding in - the floor supports also will help it.
They bolt right in easy. There's no reason you cannot enhance it by welding the connections, or adding a cross bar along the windshield top, and or another bar along the dash. Those are easy mods after it's installed.
The side bars that connect from the hoop to the windshield can be enhanced simply by slipping a hunk of tube inside them. I think it takes a 1.5" tube. Welding isn't even necessary to do that.

As far as the material goes ERW is my choice. It welds decent without making many stress cracks. DOM is exactly the same steel, (it's made from ERW tube,) but it's been work hardened by pulling it through the mandrel. That's why it seems harder. It already has stress cracks from the drawing process. When you bend it you make even more stress cracks, inviting failure. Welding also make more cracks - failure points, unless it's been heat treated after.

CM tube needs to be Tig welded, even then it takes a very skilled welder to not create stress cracks.

I always use a stub inside a tube connection - if I'm using 1.75 x .120 tube, I slip a short piece of 1.5 inside at the connection - it's a slip fit inside. Then when welding it allows higher heat and keeps oxygen off the backside for more and better penetration. You can turn the heat way up! It also keeps the connection from being totally weld dependent.

The design, welds, and gusseting is the most important thing.

Get an aftermarket rollbar or cage from a wrecking yard - cut across the welds - it's downright scary the way they don't get decent penetration.

Welding is NOT dribbling metal on a seam - welding IS heating the base metals enough so they flow together to become one. The filler is just to add a little material to fill the voids.

Cut across their welds, then dip the cut in acid - you'll see how little they penetrated the steel. It's no wonder they are afraid of lawsuits!

If a company claimed a cage or bar was designed to withstand rollovers, they would be wide open for lawsuits. Some will not say it on the phone, some will. Ask for it in writing - you'll never get it.

Be careful when buying a Jeep with a cage already installed. I talked to a guy at a coffee shop that just bought a very pretty CJ with lots of goodies on it. He was bringing it home on a trailer.
As we were talking I leaned against the cage - it moved! The Previous owner had made the cage from PVC pipe then covered it with foam! It looked good, but it would have been a killer!

I was at the Hammers when a guy rolled his CJ. He'd been playing on the dry lake doing donuts. He had the typical store-bought hoop and side braces onto the rear wheelwells. When he tumbled it the left rear brace's weld broke off the hoop, the brace's end went through the back of his seat and through his chest - sticking out his front! He was still alive!
The Life Flight Helicopter came to get him - we had to cut the brace and leave the piece in him - else he'd bleed to death. I heard he recovered - amazing!

No matter what you put in or enhnce what you have, it will make it safer than nothing.

And - think about it - a toolbox or jack flying around is just as deadly as the top crushing you - maybe more so. Lash everything down!
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:57 PM   #29
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the brace's end went through the back of his seat and through his chest - sticking out his front! He was still alive!
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:12 PM   #30
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As far as the material goes ERW is my choice. It welds decent without making many stress cracks. DOM is exactly the same steel, (it's made from ERW tube,) but it's been work hardened by pulling it through the mandrel. That's why it seems harder. It already has stress cracks from the drawing process. When you bend it you make even more stress cracks, inviting failure. Welding also make more cracks - failure points, unless it's been heat treated after.
I think this thread could go on forever given all of the options for roll cages, but I have to say that your point about materials is not correct. DOM does not form stress cracks after going through the mandrel. The point of drawing the tubing through the mandrel is to make the surface of the steel more uniform on a molecular level and thus making it stronger. It is not a mistake that almost every auto racing organization requires cages to be DOM. I have had three race cars with DOM cages, and one car ended up getting rolled over. The DOM tubing is the way to go unless you are going with chromolly.

But, I do agree with you that no matter what cage is used, anything is better than the stock set up. The picture of the Jeep that rolled down hell's pass and held up is impressive.

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