Front “roll cage” (sport bar) options, CJ5 - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-23-2019, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
andysbarker
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Front “roll cage” (sport bar) options, CJ5

1980 CJ5
I’m pretty set on adding a “sport bar” to the front; a bar that follows the windshield frame and some overhead bars that connect it to the stock roll bar.
I know it’s not a “cage” so that doesn’t need to be debated. It is certainly way better than just the windshield frame and the stock roll bar, which I am satisfied with. And it will also be nice to have a grab handles to get in and out instead of pulling on my steering wheel.
I have thoroughly searched for a kit and I could pretty much only find two. (Kentrol used to have a kit, but they no longer offer it. I called them and asked).
Of the two kits that I am about to reveal, I am interested in reviews if anyone has installed these. I can’t find any reviews online.
#1 Rockhard RH-1008
This is a bolt on kit. No welding required. That will make it easier to install, and if I ever want to, I can easily remove it putting the Jeep back to stock. I could also re-sell it. It attaches to the dash panel, which I kind of like. This kit rings in at about $850, which is ridiculous in my opinion. But that’s just how it is. There are not many options.

#2 weld in kit by “extreme custom fabrication”. They have a website, and their kit is also on eBay (eBay item number 230963952397). Really nice looking kit in my opinion. Requires trimming and welding, which I am not opposed to doing that work. Windshield hoop goes down and mounts on the floor. Rings in at about $500.

So, has anyone installed any of these? With the CJ5 already being small, I have a big concern about the bar going down to the floor and making it too cramped. I already feel like I’m a little too big for this vehicle (6’1” 200lbs), and a permanent bar going down to the floor, getting in the way of my clutch leg, sounds like it will be pretty cramped. That is my hesitation with kit #2.
I am definitely open to suggestions for other kits or other options.
I did consider the YJ spreader bars that go from the roll bar to the windshield frame, and I came close to going for it, but the windshield frame is a joke and that’s just not what I want to do.
Also, I am not interested in a permanent rear roll bar. I think they look so bad, just my personal opinion, and I’m not doing that to my Jeep. I would only consider the bolt on one so I could take it off when not needed.

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post #2 of 13 Old 10-23-2019, 10:51 PM
RiverandSand
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Not a big fan of bolt in cages to the dash, mine is welded full tube to the floor with frame tie in. Yes it's a bit cramped getting in but once in (5' 10", 225) it's fine. No issue with clutch pedal or high beam switch, e-brake is a little tricky at times depending on the shoes worn.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-23-2019, 10:53 PM
MetalMountainGoat
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I ran one of those RockHard cages on one of my TJs. It was a good cage and super easy to install, but I never thought that it was actually as strong as a welded in cage. I will admit, they are kind of ugly.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 08:17 AM
caseypotts
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I have the Rock Hard kit in my CJ7. Granted during a high speed rollover I'd rather have a weld in cage, but for low speed or tipping over, I'm sure it would be just fine.

Install was pretty easy and straight forward. I didn't pay nearly that price, although I was going to. For me one just happened to land in my lap at the right time from an incorrect shipment. I did a small write up on it with my restomod thread. This is the only other picture that I have currently.

My only complaint right now is the center section rattles at times. I plan to run a bead of silicone along its upper edge when I switch over from soft top to hard time, hopefully that will stop the rattle.

I too thought that they were a little ugly. However, either it has grown on me, isn't bad, or my taste is off.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 10:08 AM
Renegade82
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I got mine from Extreme Custom Fab. I got the front hoop, dash bar, and spreader tubes. The grab handles I just made from 1" pipe using a friends pipe bender. I'm about 2" shorter than you and 2 lbs heavier (hey, it's my story) and don't have any issues. I also use a hardtop and doors in the winter so I moved mine in a bit to allow for the thickness of the doors, which hinders the seats a bit when folding them forward. I could have gotten the hoop a bit closer to the dash if I didn't have that dash pad, but you may not be using one. I don't care for those ones that mount to the sheetmetal of the dash, for safety, but they do allow more leg room.
Heres a recent finished pic but I'll add a link to the page of my build where I am fitting the cage together using those parts. See post #328.
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/3...0/index22.html

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post #6 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
andysbarker
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Thank you all very much. That was a big help. The things I like about the Rockhard kit are easy installation and no impact on leg room. However, I definitely prefer the look and functionality of the Extreme Custom Fabrication kit. My biggest concern was the tube being in the way of my legs. It still kind of is, but you guys have said that it is not an issue so I will trust you on that.
I am heavily leaning toward the kit from Extreme Custom Fabrication. I really prefer the look of it. But am still considering the Rockhard kit. Maybe its worth an extra $300 to not have to worry about the leg room or spend a week removing my seats and cutting, grinding, and welding… If they both cost the same, I would probably go with the Rockhard kit.
I won’t get the jeep out of storage until April and have no immediate need for the kit. But I defiantly want to have something in hand, ready to go, when I get it out of storage. I will keep an eye out for a sale around Christmas and see what feels right. But my gut says I will end up with the Custom Fab kit. I will let you know.
I am still open to any additional feedback on these two kits.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 11:59 AM
caseypotts
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Rock Hard does have the ability to add Floor Mounts https://www.rockhard4x4.com/product_p/rh-1003-f.htm. I've considered these but have not acted on it as there are other toys I want more.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 09:16 PM
tchimmerroks
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I have an '83 CJ5 that has a front hoop (4, overhead, perpendicular, overhead connectors 1 each side, and 2 closer together near the center) and mounts at the floor (no frame tie-in) but the tube is much smaller (about like the cross tube just above the dash in your photo) I love it. I feel like I have a little more chance of avoiding catastrophic injury if I rolled, but the smaller diameter doesn't make the seating area feel claustrophobic/too cramped. I hope to renovate another, '80 CJ5, and I would do it exactly the same way, but tie the floor pads to the frame.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-25-2019, 01:37 PM
trailhead2004
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I have a weld in front hoop in my CJ7 and the only thing that I didn’t like about it was that the overhead tie bars kicked up like the ones in your picture. With that bend upward I was not able to install my hardtop.
Not sure whether your intent is to use one, but I did want to throw that out there for your consideration and that of others who may view this thread in the future.

Last edited by trailhead2004; 10-25-2019 at 01:37 PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-25-2019, 08:43 PM
commadore64
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I've got the one from Extreme Custom Fab... very happy with it. It is not tied to the frame, but I think it is better than just relying on the windshield frame.
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post #11 of 13 Old 10-26-2019, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
andysbarker
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Thanks again for the additional great feedback! I am definitely going with the custom fab kit. I was drawn to it all along, but the ease of installation of the rockhard kit had some appeal.
I only drive my Jeep in the summer so I am not concerned with fitting a hard top in my specific case. I go no top or bikini top. My 11 year old son loves the Jeep and is convinced that I’m going to sell it to him when he gets older. I guess fitting a hard top will be his problem someday.
Last year eBay had a few days around the Christmas shopping season where they did 10% off of everything. I’m going to keep my eye out and buy the kit then.
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post #12 of 13 Old 10-26-2019, 09:04 PM
jsal
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I custom made my front bars, but they are very much in the same fashion as the extreme custom fab kit. I too was concerned with losings precious leg space and ease of entry. The way the front legs kick forward, keeps from making entry more difficult than it already is, and keep leg room reasonable. I think you will be happy with the Extreme custom fab kit. The only suggestion I would make is adding interlocking roll bar clamps near were the new bar reaches the old. This allows you to remove the front portion in the event you need to pull the dash panel.
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post #13 of 13 Old 11-12-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
andysbarker
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Well, I purchased the custom fab kit today. eBay had a 10% promo, so I went for it. I got the kit with the extra front bar, top bars, and grab handles. I’m really excited about it.
My Jeep is currently buttoned up in winter storage until April, so I have some time before the fun begins. Thanks again everyone for the input. It was a huge help.
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