Looking to turn the TJ into a 2 seater to free up the back for trail equipment. Trying to find out more info on if the factory cage can be used and added onto or get it all out of there and start fresh.
If I were to keep it I would only keep from the sound bar forward. The back half would be cut out and redone.
Interested in adding onto mine as well. From my readings ive found the front part is the weak link of the setup. Not sure why thas the part you want to keep? It depends on your budget and what you want. Theres 3 different kinds, bolt on/addon, weld on/addon, and weld on/replacement.
Ill be getting a simple bolt on probably from or fab for the front windshield part just for a peice of mind to be a bit safer in event of a rollover.
1998 Jeep Wrangler, 4.0 I6
33x12.50 Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs
3 inch Zone suspension lift, Rubicon Express adjustable front track bar, 1.25 inch body lift.
That's my thinking. Just as an added security in the event I put her over. I was going to go across the dash, "X" across the back and above the front seats as add ons to the factory. Cut the back out and go from the sound bar angled down to the back of the rear wheel wells... Something like in the pic
So I'm pretty much starting fresh! Thanks for the links, I'll read up and go from there. It wouldn't be any time soon just getting ideas together, doing research, and pricing it out
so if you're starting fresh you need to remember the things that mount to the cage - seat belts, door surrounds, speakers, wiring and soft top brackets all mount to the roll bars. also remember the windshield bars play big rolls in soft top and hard top fitment because they set the distance between the A and B-pillars...think soft top tightness, and hard top fitment due to distance from back of the tub to the windshield.
So, that greatly increases the amount of little hardware bits you need, and basically if you screw up the placement of those, stuff won't fit. Also, if you screw up the dimensions, height and locations of bars, the hard top won't fit and the soft top may not either.
Additionally, many aftermarket tops/accessories will not fit a modified stock cage or fabbed cage. Depending on design/bar locations, there may not be enough material to stretch across the additional cross members. Sooooo...you need to pay close attention.
Hmm good points. I was planning on keeping it almost the same location so I can still run the hard top in the winter. Otherwise I'm not too concerned about running a soft top. This obviously isn't going to be as simple as I thought
A lot of people do not understand that the stock Jeep TJ cage is in fact a 7-piece bolt-together cage, as follows:
1) The side bars above the doors are comprised of two pieces each, a bar bolted to the windshield "A" pillar and a mounting bracket bolted to the main roll cage, using a total of 5 tamper-resistant Torx bolts each. The one bolt that connects the two pieces in the telescoping section is a T-50 in shear.
2) The main hoop is in three pieces that telescope together in a slip joint concealed under the padding above each headrest, a straight center section and two vertical side bars that extend to the rear. The telescoping connection has another T-50 in shear, plus a short tack weld on the opposite side from the bolt.
The shear connections in particular are not very strong. Yet hundreds if not thousands of lives have been saved by the stock "sport bar". (at least the mounting hole is slotted on one side, the bar can distort a considerable amount without shearing the bolt.
By far, the commonest rollover accident is on the highway. I have seen the remnants of a highway rollover accident on three Jeeps with weld-on reinforcements to the stock cage, two YJs and one TJ. In each case the newly-added welded bars broke off the main hoop, which folded at the weld, and material from the main hoop was still attached to the added DOM tubing.
I conclude from this that I have yet to see an accident with any added-on welded bars from somebody with sufficient skills to make such connections properly. The main cage is fabricated at high temperature using a material called HREW, and the typical added bars use DOM tubing. Joining the two different materials together is harder than most amatuer welders can manage IMHO.
I say: If you are going to weld a cage, get a complete cage with the features you need/want, and replace the stock cage entirely, and make sure you use the correct rod when weldiing. Aftermarket cages can have tabs to mount stock seat belts, but you lose such things as the sliding adjustment for shoulder belt height, and possiblly the ability to recline the seat as an emergency bed for an unexpected night on the trail.
Second choice would be to add bolt-on reinforcements to the existing stock bolt-together cage. Both RockHard and Smittybilt are sources for these add-ons.
Third (and weakest) choice is to weld on additions to the stock hoop.
If you think you are ever going to need 5-point safety harnesses, then a complete welded replacement cage is the only way to go.
I would also recommend that you pad all the bars anywhere near a passenger. I used a bolt-on Smittybilt cage reinfocement and moved the rear covers to the center T-section, using pipe insulation as padding.
1967 Kaiser Commando
2001 Grand Cherokee WJ
2003 Rubicon TJ