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Those that built their own roll cages

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 79chevyk10, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. 79chevyk10

    79chevyk10 1/2 ton status

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    Want to install a roll cage in my truck and thinking of buying a jd bender model 3 to do it. For those that do bending work which die works best for building a tight fitting roll cage. 1 3/4 (5.5-180) or the 1 3/4 (6.5-180). Would like it to fit very close to the a pillar and windshield area.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I got the 5.5 clr and true 180* capable die (die arc is more like 240* or so). Tighter radius is almost always better as long as the tube wall can handle it.
     
  3. 79chevyk10

    79chevyk10 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the reply.
    What tube wall thickness would you suggest?
     
  4. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Most full size cages are built with 1.75 x 0.120 HREW or DOM for an added measure of security. Some prefer 2.00 x 0.120 wall for reallyheavy rigs, but I think 2" is overkill.
     
  5. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    BTW, if you really want to make the bend radius fit ideally to some location, just make a template and see how it fits. Take the die CLR + 0.5 * tube diameter and make a cardboard cutout with that radius. Then use it to check the area you are interested in.
     
  6. 79chevyk10

    79chevyk10 1/2 ton status

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    that's a good idea, thanks.
     
  7. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    IF you use HREW and i would not suggest useing it you have to make sure the welded seam is on the inside of your radius of a bend. if it is on the outside you COULD split the tube during the bending, not saying you WILL but you could, or on a hard cage impact it could split too. i know DOM tubeing is pricy, but dont skimp on safety. save some money and use DOM. I'm not 100% sure but i think MOST sanchining body's of motorsports racing require a cage to be built out of DOM (or cromoly) and do not allow HREW tube to be used for safety reasons. just my .02 cents.
     
  8. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Oh boy, here is goes again. The HREW vs. DOM vs Pipe goes on and on.

    General Consensus:

    HREW: Generally fine for cages inside a full size rig doing what most of us do. Typically only needs to endure one hard roll since it's going to kill the truck anyway, and as long as the occupants are kept safe, who cares. Certainly strong enough to handle a flop or soft roll without damage assuming even a decent design. But yes, the seam needs to go inside the bend. My truggy is done completely with HREW and has sustained multiple flops without issue. I don't recall ever seeing a single instance of someone being injured or killed and the HREW cage was blamed.

    DOM: Better and more likely to survive flops/rolls intact. Tougher (more dent resistant) and much better when the cage (or buggy) is expected to survive multiple rolls and remain in good, usable shape. Often used only on impact surfaces of buggies with HREW everywhere else. Yes, racing sanctioning bodies often do specify DOM or better among other things, often including design as well. But those guys are running 100+mph and are *expecting* catastrophic crashes. Big difference between that and the unexpected trail flops or even highway rolls. These trucks have remarkable survivability even in highway rolls, so the cage is only backup if you don't have a full convert. Do you need to use DOM? Maybe, but probably not. Only you can figure out what you really need (or just simply want for "piece of mind"). Going by what "sanctioning bodies" for unrelated applications do really makes very little sense. Are you also going to follow the rest of the rules too? Or is this just a convenient pick and choose? Are you going to use your vehicle in the same way as the sports involved? If not, then why use said sanctioning body rules as a justification for material selection? If your only looking for survivability in a crash that destroys your truck, then DOM is generally not needed, though it might make a difference if the design is poor or otherwise compromised, but there is no substitute for a good design.

    ChroMo: Way over-kill and too much trouble unless you REALLY NEED minimal weight.

    Pipe: Many feel it can be ok as long as you get graded pipe with the proper ratings, some random cheap import stuff from "Wholesale Plumbing Supply" or something. A number of heavily beat on dedicated rock buggies have been built with pipe and no deaths or failures reported yet. However, the end result tends to be heavier due to the pipe dimensioning system and the need often go bigger/thicker to make up for deficiencies in pipe relative to comparable tube. But there is always the "expert" who must inform everyone that "pipe is for poop" and if you use it for a cage, YOUR GONNA DIEEEE!! :rolleyes: Not something I would use, but that's a personal choice based on my opinions and how I think it fits with what I want to do or want, just like DOM vs. HREW.

    For more of the inevitable details, anyone interested can search and find plenty.
     
  9. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    IF and i say IFFFFFF that is all you are guaranteed to ever have happen is a flop then yes HREW is fine, BUT if you are going to drive it on the street and on the freeway with big tires, if you have a blow out that might cause a roll over then you might want the additional safety of DOM. also IF you are planing to go on any trails say with switch backs with steep hills and such you might want the added safety of DOM. you can NEVER predict what type of situation you might end up in. you can say "i wont get myself in that kind of dangerous situation" but you never know what the next bend will be sometimes. better to be safe then sorry. is your family only worth the price of HREW or DOM? not trying to be negitive or anything but im putting my family under a DOM cage that will be properly designed.
     
  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Oh, I understand your point, no worries there. I do not in any way begrudge or belittle your choice. My point is only that DOM vs. HREW is often over-rated and unnecessary, even in highway crashes. If it makes you feel better, then use DOM. But an HREW cage inside a non full-convert K5 is more than adequate to protect the occupants in a roll at highway speeds. For a full convert, I might well decide the DOM was worth the cost, but not for a part top which is almost always survivable even without a cage.

    Putting my money where my mouth is, I have steel in my shop for cages in my 88 K5 and my son's 77 K5, and it's all 1.75 x 0.120 HREW with 1 x 0.120 and 1.5 x 0.120 for interior gussets and triangulation (no bends, linear (tensile/compressive) loads). I don't worry about my son driving my K5 without a cage (well, not any more than any father who's son is driving any vehicle in Phoenix), and either one with a HREW cage is (IMO) *just as safe* as a DOM cage and WORLDS safer than no cage. DOM really does not become a factor until you start looking for lower weight (smaller/thinner with same strength) or reuse.

    As I said, my truggy has taken several hard spills, though since it has not been all the way over, you couldn't technically call them "rolls". It's built completely from HREW. The cage has gotten a bit beaten, and HREW dents easier than DOM, so my next exercise in futility will have DOM for all exterior "impact tubes" with HREW for all else. But it's not a safety concern in my mind, but only a longevity concern.

    BTW, I'm guessing you are referring to DOM vs. HREW in same size and design. IIRC, a 2" x 0.120 1010 HREW cage will have better ratings in most categories (everything but yield/dent IIRC) than a 1.75 x 0.120 102x DOM cage.

    LOL, it kills me, but I can't seem to help getting drawn into these debates. :D
     
  11. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    My entire Exo is made of "poop pipe". Sch 40 throughout and sch 80 at the frame attach points. I built it to save the body of the truck. When I eventually put it on its side or roll it over, if it does its job then fine. I am not depending on it to save my life at this point. IMO anything that is built properly will offer more protection than nothing. I have seen rigs built with it, and it seems to hold up well. I am not going to purposley(sp) drive it off of a cliff, at least not a cliff bigger than I have already, and I drive pretty smart. I will just have to see after the 39.5s and the 1 tons go in next month. I may change my mind.

    What he said about the 100mph+ and the highway.
     
  12. guido666

    guido666 1/2 ton status

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    What do you mean by "full convert"?
     
  13. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Oh, and one more thing (sorry, can't help myself :D)...

    "I don't want to compromise on the safety of my family (or myself)" is the most frequent justification for the "It's DOM or nothing" reasoning so many follow (just like "it has to be tied to the frame", but that's another beat-to-death discussion). But that does not hold water at all. These same people often put no thought into proper node use, triangulation, and other critical design details and also often make things worse with concessions for ease of access, implementation, installation, and/or aesthetics. Not only that, they compromise the safety of all involved (including other drivers) by rasing CoG dramatically with often less than ideal suspension mods (how many don't run a sway bar? Or frequently check for loosening/damaged bolts or bushings? etc…) and brakes overloaded by over sized heavy (high inertia and more leverage) tires and AutoZone "lifetime" friction linings with random cheap/convenient brake fluid topping off what is likely the original OEM DOT 3 brake fluid in the system? If your that overwhelmingly concerned with uncompromised safety bar-none, get a Volvo or something, you shouldn't be driving them around in a lifted truck anyway...

    And if it's all about "safest possible" cage, then why stop with DOM? Why not ChroMo, designed by an engineer doing stress analysis (and don't forget the mounting design!) heat treated for stress relief after welding, with seats attached to cages, 5 point harnesses, doors welded shut, glass replaced with high impact racing versions, and all the other things required by the same sanctioning bodies who's rules apparently indicate we must all use DOM? Or is that the only point we should be following? If their rules are so important to us and not be reconsidered or disregarded, how do we know what to pick and choose?

    Everything we do is about compromises and personal comfort points. If DOM makes you feel like you are doing the right thing or getting your truck to the comfort point of "safe enough that I feel comfortable" then by all means use it. But don't start acting as if anyone who does not agree is playing Russian Roulette with their families lives. A reasonably well designed (even with aesthetic and access compromises within reason) HREW cage is more than adequate to protect in highway rolls or off-road. There might be that 1 in 1000 (or less) highway wreck where the difference between identical cages built from HREW and DOM would save a life or injury, but it is certainly not a cut and dried "hands down" win for DOM…
     
  14. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    73-75 K5s with a full removable top as opposed to 76-91 with the "half top".
     
  15. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    ok, ok relax, your right a HREW cage is absolutly better then no cage at all. my blazer is a 73' so yes i want a good cage in it. DOM is not out of my affordability range so on top of the aditional strengh IF built right(which mine will be) i am willing to spend the money on it. its just an openion. dont mean to imply that you or anyone else is intensionally compromising their family's safety by not using DOM. my truck is being built for hard core rock crawling, so i am building it as tough as my budget will allow and to the standards that i feel is necessary that all.
     
  16. 79chevyk10

    79chevyk10 1/2 ton status

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    Okay, Baddog, you talked me into it.......I'm gonna make my roll cage out of 300M and wear a fully padded bubble suit with side curtain air bags to keep me safe while I drive over the Volvo. LOL :haha:
    I hear all sides here, but for me I'll make mine out of HREW with the seams on the inside. I have already rolled my truck over without a roll cage and walked away without a scratch (although I had to install a new cab :wink1: ) so I think with a properly built HREW cage can handle a roll and as many flops as you got. Nothing wrong with DOM in fact have it in other areas of my truck but just think that HREW will do the job just fine and why not save a little money. As far as pipe goes, I have a buddy that used pipe to build his rock slides and seem to be plenty strong, there is even people that use pipe for cages and have no issues, but for me....no way, sch 40 is to inconsistent in wall thickness for me to risk that. I don't roll my eyes at people who use pipe. I'm just not gonna use it is all.
     
  17. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    LOL, it's nothing personal. But the way you came across initially, it sounded a lot like the "DOM is the only way to go" crowd. All I'm trying to do in threads like this (at least the ones I can't convince myself to stay out of) is to make sure there is a balanced perspective. If I didn't have to budget all the other stuff in, doubler, alloy axles, and a never ending string of upgrades, I would do DOM just on the principle. And I see you have a '73, so in that case, I agree with the choice to up the ante to DOM. But I don't feel unsafe or careless in any way just because my cage is HREW. There are cases where HREW is not appropriate, but DOM is really a waste of money in many others. So, there is nothing wrong with an HREW cage, and I really hate to see that myth passed along.
     
  18. cegusman

    cegusman 3/4 ton status

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    Full convertable
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2006
  19. 79chevyk10

    79chevyk10 1/2 ton status

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    Baddog, you got me confused with rnd2blazer. I'm the guy who started this thread. I don't have any problem with DOM either. For the same reasons you stated I'm going with HREW.
    Still thinking about side curtain airbags..........NO... NOT REALLY. :D
     
  20. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    this statement is all that started the bit angst in this thread, and thats fine as i like the conversation. i just said "I" "would not suggest". as you can see I did suggest "IF" HE decided to use HREW that he needed to "make sure the seams were on the inside of the rad". that is just suggesting to use it properly. I am not against HREW at all. if my redneck bud JIMBOB said lets go crawl dem dare rocks and he had no cage but his 1st cousin/wife had a rig that had a cage out of HREW,........you bet yur sweet arse i would be ride'n with her for sure. :haha: so go bend your HREW or DOM or whatever your gonna bend, just get to bend'n and lets see some pics when your done, all right pal. :rolleyes: :p: :wink1: :D
     

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