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The Black Bear finally get's Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by zakk, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Safety is an often and mistakenly an under developed area of most rigs. It is not a “sexy” modification like 57” Ford springs, big block power, Dana 60’s, or lockers. But once you add all those parts, and start getting it out on the trail a cage is more necessary than any of those afore mentioned modifications.

    The way I look at it is like this: I don’t want to be staring down the side of Lion’s Back in Moab and think to myself “Gee, I really wish I would have sprung for the extra cash for a cage.” Also, wheeling with the future wife is a consideration. I fully admit that if I didn’t have Rita in the rig my cage would have been much simpler. But she drives it too, so her input was needed.

    I started out with the Black Bear as it sat after a recent Nor Cal Big Dawgs trail run to Frank Raines. What began in its planning as a mud run quick turned into the worship of the rocks. My truck performed well, but the body was flexing more than I could stand. Also a near roll off an off camber ledge spooked me pretty good (When in doubt—GAS IT!).

    Greg (aka Greg72), a fellow NCBD member, half jokingly asked when he was going to build a cage for the Black Bear. “As soon as we get back!” I said. Little did he know /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif.

    We began with some top-secret drawing of what I had envisioned for the cage. I knew I wanted a six-point cage, but the bells and whistles that had been accumulating in my tiny mind had to be there. So what began as a simple, standard 6-point cage turned into a elaborate 6-point with integrated seat cradle, fully adjustable seats, grab handles, tie down points, over head control panel, sill bars and a few other ideas tossed in for good measure.

    Here is a picture of what the Black Bear looked like pre-cage. The body sits pretty well with the flexy suspension, but still flexed more than I wanted. Never mind the gaping holes in the bed. The owner had some bird-brained idea that didn’t quite pan out.

    [​IMG]

    Here is an early picture of the work as it began. The hardest part was getting the main hoop and the main halo fitted. With the 2” DOM strength will not be an issue when I roll. The A-pillar bars (the bars coming off the main halo) were also a bit of a problem here, as the more we fish mouthed them, the more Greg didn’t like it. More on that later.


    As soon as we started getting everything fitted, Greg asked where the dash bar would go. Not having planned for this. I took a look and saw only one conclusion: Its ALL coming out. I have wanted to ditch the A/C box and seal up some existing holes in the firewall, and it seemed that there was no time like the present.

    After that adventure it was time to start getting everything in place to tack weld for fitment. This can be the most stressful part of any build, especially one with 100 feet of DOM tubing on the line. You want to make sure that everything is lined up and follows the original plan and the lines of the rig. Greg has a great idea for this and it went very quickly and smoothly.

    [​IMG]

    As mentioned earlier, the A-pillar bars mounting position to the halo had Greg sitting a bit uneasy. He pulled the cage back and plated the entire top of the halo. This allowed the surface area of the welds to disperse the weight of the truck on the fateful day it actually sits on its roof. This is some serious beef.

    [​IMG]

    After the 6-points are where they need to be, we began on the seat cradle. I had purchased 2 aftermarket seats out of a early 90’s Honda, and new brackets would have to be fabricated, along with adjusting the height of the seat to better accommodate my girlfriend while still keeping my head away from the bars. Greg made some really trick mounting triangles that aligned the seats perfectly and raised them from the stock position about 2”. Once welded into place, we crossed the point of no return. And after beginning to see Greg build the cage of my dreams I didn’t want to!

    [​IMG]

    Also note that the cradle bars are low enough to pass the dreaded “Can of Diet Coke Test” so that spent beverage containers do not litter our trails. As always, Tread Lightly!

    [​IMG]

    With the bargin $15 seats installed

    [​IMG]

    The overhead console was something I really wanted. I liked the idea of my headlights, off road lights, ARB switches, etc. being where I could easily get to them and plus I had always wanted a toggle switch set-up. This was one of the nice touches Greg added to make my cage “mine”. My donated CB (thanks Scott!) will also be installed up here so that I can hear the conversations on the trail.

    [​IMG]

    The rear bars were very straightforward. They attach on the “back end” of the main halo and extend nearly to the end of the bed, right near the body mounts. The plated are all ¼ inch steel on top and bottom bolted with 7/16” Grade 8 bolts and aero nuts. You can also see Rita’s grab bar in between the cradle bars for when we start getting off camber. She also has one on the passenger A-pillar tube to help her get into the rig.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    All good things come to and end, and the bending and welding was done now. We snapped this shot before the painting started. It is OSH Tan, and I plan to use it as a contrast color on the differential covers and a few other spots.

    [​IMG]

    So how does it work? Do I like it? What would I change? Great. Yes! Not a thing! Greg did a great job and that first barrel roll will be scary, but the rig is as prepared as it will ever be. I am still getting used to the bars being where they are. I need to duck a bit getting in and have walloped my head a few times now. The seats are much more comfortable now then they were. Visibility is greatly improved and Greg’s mounting points are awesome. He wanted to get the cage to make the body as rigid as possible and mounted the down bars on the body/rocker mount, the thickest part of the bed (right at the step), and 4” from the rear body mount. The truck is MUCH more rigid, and it showed on the trail. The body stays nice and stiff and doesn’t “wander” like it did. I can get a true feel for what the truck is doing and feel it will help me as a driver.

    And I certainly won’t be easy on it…

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. K5Dan

    K5Dan 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    sweet!btw that's one sexy lookin' cage! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  3. ducttape114

    ducttape114 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    thats a very sexy cage dude!!!!! props to greg and yourself. got some final specs on it? how many man hours, how much tube, how many cases of sierra nevada pale ale?
     
  4. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    lots, 100ft, lots

    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    The man hours are hard to estimate, since it was all custom.
     
  5. RustBuket

    RustBuket 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Thats very nice custom work but you did tie it into the frame didn't you?
     
  6. UNCLE CRACKER

    UNCLE CRACKER 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    That's one bad ass cage. looks awsome /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. OL14BLAZ

    OL14BLAZ 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Very Very Very NICE /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/pimp1.gif

    I'm extremely jealous of your cage /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Eric /forums/images/graemlins/usaflag.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  8. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    It's not tied to the frame....yet.

    Zakk needs to replace some body mounts first. Then we can "fuse" the body to the frame. The stiffness over "stock" is already quite impressive....look at that final shot, you can barely detect any twisting at the tailgate/bumper area!!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  9. Mudzer

    Mudzer 1/2 ton status Author

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Fine Job! I really dig the cage man. Wish I had moved mine a bit forward like you did.
     
  10. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Nice!
    I have been concidering redoing my cage and stripping out the dash. Without tha dash I would put the cross bar over the steering colum and then use the cross bar to brase the colum. I'm still working on the over head. I was thinging of splitting a bar down the middle to do it. My concern is making the center too wide and bouncing my head off it al lthe time. I may just make something like a Tuffy overhead for it. Use tubes in the rear. Who knows I might be buying a tube bender this spring and get the chance to completely redo now that I have lived with what I have for a couple years.
     
  11. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    That is F'n SWEET!
    Right on Zakk! Yer cage is awsome.
    Greg72, You Da Man! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  12. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Sweet Cage! One question though, why did you not put a bar behind the seats?? Just curious...and what kind of bedliner is that? Thanks /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  13. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    [ QUOTE ]
    Sweet Cage! One question though, why did you not put a bar behind the seats?? Just curious...and what kind of bedliner is that? Thanks /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]


    Zakk is still considering his options for the main hoop. I know Rita really wants 4-point harnesses which will necessitate a horizontal bar across there....but Zakk doesn't want to lose easy access to the rear cargo area. I suggested an "H-shaped" bar setup (perhaps even with a diagonal for strength) behind each seat, which would still leave the center open as a walk-through......

    The final decision belongs to Zakk (or should I say RITA! )




    BTW -> That bedliner is the DIY Herculiner stuff.....what I now refer to as "Knuckle Skin Remover". DANG! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  14. ramjet gmc

    ramjet gmc CK5 Staff Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Wow that looks well dun what was the time table on the install and from your wheeling pics you need the be put in a cage /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  15. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    I like the H-bar design idea instead a regular, boring-ass horizontal tube... /forums/images/graemlins/pimp1.gif
     
  16. ColAdo82K5

    ColAdo82K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Hey,
    Awesome cage !! But i'd like to ask you about your bumpers. They look fairly simple and strong. What materials did you use? Any measurements ? Where did you get the shackle mounts ? They are bolted on ? correct ?
    Anything you would have changed on them ? They appear to be sealed on the ends. How do they mount ?
    Thanks in advance.
    Blake
     
  17. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    2x6 .25" sq. tube. with .25" L stock bolted to the frame. I have to trim them and that will be getting done as soon as my "Glitter Brother" Priest can get me into the shop /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  18. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    Sweet looking cage man! I can't wait till mine is in and finished! So far mine has the back end of the cage in... we are working on the uprights that go thru the dash... then its just welding it all in solid, and bolting it down.

    Question for you... do you plan to connect it to the frame under the bosy? Some folks like to run legs from each "point" down to the chassis with bushings there. What have you guys decided to do in that area? Just looking for another opinion.

    LOOKS GREAT! /forums/images/graemlins/pimp1.gif

    -Dan
     
  19. bryguy00b

    bryguy00b 3/4 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    dude..you rule!!!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  20. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    Re: The Black Bear finally get\'s Caged! (With LOTS of pictures!)

    I'm not going to tie it to the frame until it really settles. I'm not sure If i want to do a 1" lift to eventually clear 42's or what.

    With the seat cradle, the idea that it would be safer to tie to the frame is moot, IMHO. Most racing sanctioning bodys forbid the cage being tied to the frame so that the energy in a crash or roll to the frame is not transfered tothe driver. this is the principle behind my cage.

    I have seen 100MPH roll overs. A BWM M3 rolled 3x at Buttonwillow at a recent NASA race. Nothing was left of the car, but the driver was having a beer a few hours later in the paddock as he laughed that he'll just have to get a new M3.

    All I'll ever do is a flop onto my side, maybe a complete roll. but with this cage, I'm not that concerned.
     

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