With my eye now metal free again it’s time get crackin’ on the cage again. When we last left off I had finished the A, and B pillar gussets. Now it’s time to add in some more bars but before I do that, the customer wanted me to finish of the the rear decklid, or bulkhead as some may refer to it as. And it will be much easier to do before I have to climb through a jungle gym full of bars. As you can see here he already has a nice aluminum Beatrush panel back there that covers the large hole left by removing the rear seats but to comply with sanctioning rules the entire rear bulkhead must be covered if you have fuel lines or a surgetank in the trunk to keep the flames out of the cabin should something bad happen.
The way I do these is pretty simple, mark a reference line were it will sit (in this case directly on top of the Beatrush panel) and measure the distance back from it to the rear glass every 1/2″ or so. Then draw a line connecting all the dots and you will have your desired shape.
Then cut it out, you can also see the allocation I made for the third brake light as well. Believe it or not this car will still be street registered and street driven. Maybe a little crazy for some but in my opinion if you can enjoy your track car on the street, why not?
We wanted it to be removable so I installed some “nutserts” in the car to be able to thread some nice button head allen bolts into. If you’ve never seen them before it works kind of like a rivet gun but it allows you to insert a threaded sleeve into a hole, eliminating the need for a nut on the backside. As you can imagine it will be much easier to remove this way unless you had someone in the trunk holding the nut for you while you remove the bolt.
And here is the finished product in place.
Nest up are the two bars that run along the sills and connect the bottom of the main hoop to the bottom of the front down tubes. As you can see here, they sit nice and close to the bottom of the B pillars, close enough to be able to lay a weld bead connecting the two.
Then we decided to add a few additional bars back here that weren’t part of the kit. The bar attaching the two rear down tubes, the two bars running down from the down tubes to the lower sill bars, and finally the diagonal bar in between the the two rear down tubes running above the driver.
A little heatwrap over the wire harness and fuel lines here to protect them from the heat and sparks of the MIG welder.
That takes care of the rear, to strengthen up the center lower portion of the main hoop I decided to add a bar that runs in between the the bottom on top of the transmission tunnel. And of course an additional gusset in the center to tie it in to the chassis with some more dimple dies.
Next up is the all important door bars. I played around with the placement of these for quite a while because they were interfering with the window and door lock controls. The door panels would have to be modified anyways but I was really trying to steer away from relocating the switches.
We could have repositioned them way low in the car but we decided safety was the most important factor and decided to keep them up higher to better protect the driver from a side impact. Here they are in the mock up phase.
A level helps to make sure things are in line.
And final welded in place.
I also welded the x-bars to the B-pillar where they made contact for added support. The tight fitment of the bars here made it easy to just weld a bead with no additional brackets required.
I wanted to add some gussets to the x-bars and the kit came with some basic ones but unfortunately they were too small to work here.
Time to work up some new ones, here’s the basic idea on paper first to make sure it will work.
Looks like these will fit the bill nicely.
Transfer that on to some sheet metal. I always try to waste as little as possible so we”ll see how many we can fit together…… makes a nice argyle pattern as well for that sweater you’ve been knitting.
Cut, drill, press, bend, repeat.
The last 4 bars that came with the kit we debated on for quite some time as they’re not something you will usually see in a circuit cage, they’re more commonly found in rally spec cages that will be flipping over off cliffs and into trees. After much deliberation, sitting in the car with the seat and wheel in place and a strong persuasion from the manufacturer as to the much added strength and safety these bars will add to the front down tubes in a rollover we decided to go for it. Here they are in the mock up phase, a simple piece of tape helps line things up as well.
It turned out the small gussets that came with the kit would work here, just needs some dimple die love.
And the finished door bars…. pretty nuts right?
Now that the cage is done I just needed to add in some tabs the window net.
One more up front and we’re done.
I also whipped up some plates to cover the old bolt-in cage that was previously installed in the car.
And tacked them over the old holes, Just need to fill them with some sealant underneath to make sure they’re water tight.
And with that I have done my last weld on the car, whoooooo hooooo!!!! No more going home smelling like burnt hair, well at least for a couple days anyways
Now we just have to cut the dash and paint the jungle gym….. should be fun, stay tuned!