I started my build with the obvious step of removing the factory roll bars. This was not as easy as it sounds. A couple of years ago, I herculined the inside of my jeep and I covered all the torx bolt heads and plates with that stuff. It took a long time to dig it out of the bolts and to cut it around the plates. I learned a lesson that day. Remove bolts before hercing. I also learned this stuff is tough.
Once the roll bar is out of the way, measure how wide you want your B pillar hoop to be. Remember to leave room for plates and leave a little gap around everything like the door latches and in the corner where the plates are. Take your time on this step because everything else is build around this hoop.
Thanks to Terry, I learned some new tubing tricks. Here is the first couple. It is difficult measure the legs of hoops because the top of the hoop is 7” away from the leg. The easiest thing to do is place another piece of tube to give you a spot to measure from.
When you bend hoops, it is almost impossible to be perfect. Most of the time your hoop is wider at the bottom of the legs then at the top. Use a racket strap to stuck in the width.
Once the hoop is complete, I went to work on the B pillar plates. Here was the plan: have a plate on the bottom side of the boat side rockers with a piece of 1.5” DOM tube welded to it. The 1.5” tube would go through the rocker, floor board, and top plate. Bolts (1/2”) would hold everything together.
The first step was to make the top plate (the one that sits on the floor board). It was drilled with 1/2" holes and a 1.75” hole to allow the 1.5” DOM to pass through it. The top plate was placed inside the jeep and used as a guide to drill the holes on the floor board, rocker, and bottom plate.
The rocker was drilled with a 1.75” hole and spacers were welded.
B Pillar was set in and tack welded to floor plate.
After the B pillar was done, I bent a similar hoop that is perpendicular to the B pillar. This hoop followed the body of the jeep with a support on the rear fender wells. I made C pillar plates were made with supports for the hoop.
The C pillar plates will tie into the frame because the sheet metal on the fender is really weak. In order tie into the frame, I ordered some bushing from MORE. It comes with two T bushings, a piece of DOM tubing, 1/2" bolt, and sleeve. I used a couple of shock tabs to weld the bushing to the frame. Remember to make the top and bottom plate different sizes to avoid making a shear plane with the sheet metal.
A picture of the frame tie-in. These things were a major pain in the ***.
The legs where made with two bends in it. I worked my bends from the floor up to the B pillar. The first is 23 degrees to follow the windshield. The second is 67 degrees with 6 degree off axis with the first bend.
The hardest part of the A pillar legs is notching the tube at the B pillar. When I did the second leg, I took more pictures of how this was done. First place a piece of masking tape where the leg will meet up with the B pillar.
Take a small piece of tube and put a piece of steel strap vise gripped to it. The strap will help you position the tube on the curve of the hoop. Eyeball the tube with the tape and tack weld it on the B pillar.
Take your tube master and get the pattern of the notch. It is easier to push the pins with your fingers than sliding the whole pipe master into position. Transfer the pattern to the work piece (A pillar leg). You need to mark the A pillar where you think the notch will be.
A pillar legs
A pillar floor plate. Since this plates sit directly over the boat side rockers, I am not worried about it punching though the floor board, so no lower plate was made.
The seat mounts for the jeep didn't come out as nice as I wanted, but it will work. The first problem was actually mounting the seats to the cage. I was struggling with how to do it. My first thought was to have two hoops (directly under the seats) that attach to a piece of tube that spans the bottom of the B pillar. It didn’t work because of the bend radius of my bending die didn’t allow of a good seat attachments. So ended up putting another tube that spanned the width of the jeep right above the tranny tunnel. This also caused some problems because a straight piece placed the seat too high. At the same time, my bender could not bend a curved piece (place the tube lower and bend around the tunnel) because two of the bends were too close. I chose to have the seats a bit higher than the stock ones.
The other problem was to deal with the seat width. The seats have bolster near your shoulders. Which is nice, but the bolster stuck out right by the B pillar hoop (since I didn’t angle back). This really limited how far back the seat could travel on the sliders. I have enough legroom for me, but a person with longer legs will not like driving my jeep. The passenger seat was much easier since I can move the seat more inboard.
I put my new harness in the picture for some “bling” factor.
Work has been started on the rear hoop.
I was a little disappointed on the rear hoop. I didn’t leave enough room from rear passengers. If you seat in the back seat, you are going to hit your head on the tubing when I hit bumps on the trail. I took a lot of measurements before hand, but I guess I just didn’t get it right. I have two 80 degree bends on the hoop and I should have made the bends more like 85 degrees. I also should have made the hoop longer by a few more inches. I thought about making a new hoop for a long time and decided against it. I am running out of time and money. Also, I haven’t had a back passenger in about 2 yrs.
I almost got the roof done (do you call it a roof???).
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