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High travel, high clearance & high octane, a streetable adventure LJ story

OP
toximus

toximus

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 29, 2018
2,204
Northern WI
I didn't feel comfortable finalizing the steering without knowing for certain where the steering stops are at. The new gear comes in today, but I got a bit impatient over new years.

So I decided to build a roll cage! (I apologize to anyone who is here just to read about steering.)

I don't think our Jeeps need a cage for trail rides beyond stock even on more technical trails. That cage has been proven to do it's job. At the other end of the spectrum, a true roll cage with lots of triangulation, door bars, etc would be more of a danger and a annoyance for daily driving since there's more bars to hit your head on and climb over. And I'm not interested in getting groceries or going on a road trip in a helmet... So that brings us to the in between style of cage that I am building. My reasoning is that by adding in a little strength, if I lay the Jeep on it's side or against a tree/rock that the cage won't be as likely to be bent, also having a true A-pillar has some serious cool factor to the little 8 year old me who built a model RC monster truck will a full cage and the 80 year old old-school me that says "they don't make them like they use to".

I want to keep in balance the added weight of the cage and the intrusion of the cage. The rear is the least of my worries since I have no back seat. I would also like to be able to retain all tops that work with the factory cage.

The Synergy/Poly Performance cage kit fits my needs fairly well but has been discontinued. Fortunately in 2017 I found a Synergy front cage and frame tie-ins for sale and snatched them up. If anybody is looking to build a similar cage, the parts are really simple with single bends in each part with a couple of angled cuts at the floor. Somebody who's comfortable with a tube bender could bend something up for you. The Synergy cage parts are made primarily from 1.75" .120" wall DOM tubing. The shipping weight for the front half was 68lbs, I weighed the factory take off spreaders and they're 12lbs combined, so this cage addition is an addition of 56lbs to the Jeep (if I go on a diet I can make up for half of that.). The design of the cage isn't the most triangulated out there but I think it is a good balance of added strength and minimal intrusion. Even with the cage, the windshield still acts as the weak point in a rollover and will most likely need to be replaced before driving home, so let's hope I never roll my junk!

As I have been thinking more about the purpose of the cage I did decide to leave off the frame tie-ins. The reason here is that to protect against the type of roll that would benefit from tie-ins would also need a fully built cage. I see more negatives by adding them than I do positives.

I started by lowering the windshield, this opened up a can of worms that I had thought might be coming:

20181231_windshield-folded-down.jpg


20181231_rust-windshield-frame.jpg


Yup, rust. I'm not entirely positive how water enters the windshield frame but it seems to be a thing. I will cut this area out and I bought on eBay a prebent piece of metal to replace as a bandaid fix that will hopefully last a few more years... In the meantime I will be keeping an eye out for a clean red windshield frame.

I think I could have done the repair with the glass in, but it was chipped anyway so I talked to a friend who used to work with glass about the best way to remove it and he stopped by to help.

Moving back to the cage, I used the dash cutting template from Synergy:

20181231_cutting-dash.jpg


I used a rotary tool here instead of a knife so that I wouldn't start any cracks. I will later clean up the edge with a knife.

Looking down the dash on the driver's side I had a few things to massage out of the way. My favorite auto body tool here is the air hammer.

20190101_obstructions-down-dash.jpg


As I was fitting in the A to B pillar tube I realized that it wasn't fitting very well. I did a few measurements and the distance from the B pillar to the windshield is 1/2" different side to side. Since the doors and tops currently fit, function, and work in this position and even knowing it's skewed it still isn't noticeable visually, I will just account for it with the cage and make everything look right.

I can see how this install could either be a day install for somebody or a week long install. I got the week long install version. Ha!
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
37,975
Salem, Oregon
Now I'm inspired to fold my window down and see what might be hiding under there.

There's no rust anywhere else on it... but you never know.
 
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pcoplin

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2018
286
Santiam, OR
Nice work. Good job doing your splice in a node. If you have to do one, it's a strong place.

Also, I would suggest at least a little triangulation over your head.
 
OP
toximus

toximus

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 29, 2018
2,204
Northern WI
Thanks. I ended up taking it all apart again and reworking it today to get the soft top door surrounds to fit perfectly.

I considered this but since I plan to retain the stock seatbelts I had a concern with placing a bar directly overhead. My understanding is that a 5 point is uncomfortable on long trips, and takes time to adjust properly before each trip.
 
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OP
toximus

toximus

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 29, 2018
2,204
Northern WI
I've been swamped with work and haven't had much time lately to work on my Jeep.

I tackled repairing the windshield. I made the choice to do the repair on the Jeep so that it's form would be held by the hinges. I uncrimped the bottom edge and cut out the old part of the windshield:

20190107_pinch-seam.jpg


20190107_cuting-section.jpg


20190107_cut-section.jpg


I cleaned up the inside with a wire brush:

20190108_wire-brush-rust.jpg


I used body panel adhesive to install the new panel:

20190108_body-adheasive.jpg


And recrimped using HVAC seamer pliers, and added a bunch of clamps to hold it while it cured:

20190108_windshield-clamped.jpg


I needed to use the windshield for mocking up the cage and then I will remove and paint it.

The windshield repair isn't perfect and did leave the bottom edge of the windshield with cosmetic imperfection on the outside. Overall though I am happy with it for a bandaid repair that should last me a few more years.

20190110_finished-repair.jpg
 
OP
toximus

toximus

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 29, 2018
2,204
Northern WI
You got a paint booth in that garage of yours as well?
I set one up when I need it. This adds to the simultaneous projects that I have going on since I want to paint the cage and windshield in one go. I finished the cage a few hours ago (I'm too tired to get my thoughts together for a post, and I want to be sure to hit on a few points, so it's going to have to wait). I'm probably looking at Tuesday for painting since I have something else going on that evening which allows for the paint to out gas and the garage can vent overnight.

I can't recommend enough having an exhaust fan for painting and welding.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
37,975
Salem, Oregon
I set one up when I need it. This adds to the simultaneous projects that I have going on since I want to paint the cage and windshield in one go. I finished the cage a few hours ago (I'm too tired to get my thoughts together for a post, and I want to be sure to hit on a few points, so it's going to have to wait). I'm probably looking at Tuesday for painting since I have something else going on that evening which allows for the paint to out gas and the garage can vent overnight.

I can't recommend enough having an exhaust fan for painting and welding.
You’ve got one hell of a nice shop, that’s for sure.

And yes, I could totally see how that exhaust fan would be a great thing for both painting and welding.
 
OP
toximus

toximus

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 29, 2018
2,204
Northern WI
I have been terribly sidetracked again. A new TJ ended up coming into our lives, there was a road trip, unexpectedly going to King of the Hammers, and fixing broken parts. Let me get you guys back up to speed...

Mid-January I finished welding the roll cage. It took several attempts at alignment to get the door surrounds perfectly placed on the new tubes.

20190113_cage-welded.jpg


20190113_cage-windshield-mount-tabs.jpg


I love grab handles for getting into and out of the Jeep. When positioning them it is VERY important to place them rotated towards the inside of the Jeep. This way, in the event of a rollover, if a passenger grabs for them, their hand won't be crushed. After placing them, I notched and welded them into place.

20190113_grab-handles.jpg


20190113_handle-position.jpg


I used seam sealer around where the feet are bolted to the tub floor to prevent water from collecting under the plates:

20190113_cage-foot-sealed.jpg


I notched the late model windshield trim to index around the rollcage:

20190113_windshield-trim.jpg


Holes were then drilled to allow the factory rollcage padding to be held back in place:

20190115_rollcage-padding.jpg


I received a front 2" driveshaft from Tom Woods. However at full articulation it collides with the 42RLE transmission pan. I'm going to have to order a 1.25" front driveshaft instead and figure something else out since that small of a shaft won't work at high speeds. The transmission may be able to be shaved slightly:

20190114_transmission-pan-axle-clearance.jpg


At this point I got super distracted with a pretty khaki colored TJ on the west coast that went up for sale. I had been sortof keeping an eye open for a TJ for Mrs. Toximus as a daily driver mostly. The previous owner had done a great job selecting quality parts on this Jeep and it was mostly all built how I'd have done it, just a few small personal choice changes to make. So in the matter of less than a week Mrs Tox and I packed up and flew in to Portland to pick it up and drive home.

20190129_new-khaki-tj.jpg


That was the plan anyway, then we figured we'd do a slight detour to visit Blaine and attend King of the Hammers. It was great seeing other rigs and I gained a few ideas that I will be incorporating into my red LJ build. It was also great meeting many guys from the forums (you know who you all are). After spending the week in the desert we drove across the country home.

20190203_khaki-tj-desert.jpg


20190204_koh-2019-camp.jpg


20190205_campbell-car.jpg


And ever since then I have been going front to back on this new TJ to make sure everything is just so and dealing with lots and lots of snow.

20190305_khaki-tj-garage-snow.jpg
 

tworley

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
May 23, 2018
2,257
Morrison, CO
Sorry I couldnt catch up with you on your trip thru Denver. Hopefully in the near future!
 

BuildBreakRepeat

Garrett Hoover
Supporting Member
Jan 21, 2019
282
Corvallis, Oregon
I have been terribly sidetracked again. A new TJ ended up coming into our lives, there was a road trip, unexpectedly going to King of the Hammers, and fixing broken parts. Let me get you guys back up to speed...

Mid-January I finished welding the roll cage. It took several attempts at alignment to get the door surrounds perfectly placed on the new tubes.

View attachment 80812

View attachment 80813

I love grab handles for getting into and out of the Jeep. When positioning them it is VERY important to place them rotated towards the inside of the Jeep. This way, in the event of a rollover, if a passenger grabs for them, their hand won't be crushed. After placing them, I notched and welded them into place.

View attachment 80814

View attachment 80815

I used seam sealer around where the feet are bolted to the tub floor to prevent water from collecting under the plates:

View attachment 80816

I notched the late model windshield trim to index around the rollcage:

View attachment 80817

Holes were then drilled to allow the factory rollcage padding to be held back in place:

View attachment 80818

I received a front 2" driveshaft from Tom Woods. However at full articulation it collides with the 42RLE transmission pan. I'm going to have to order a 1.25" front driveshaft instead and figure something else out since that small of a shaft won't work at high speeds. The transmission may be able to be shaved slightly:

View attachment 80819

At this point I got super distracted with a pretty khaki colored TJ on the west coast that went up for sale. I had been sortof keeping an eye open for a TJ for Mrs. Toximus as a daily driver mostly. The previous owner had done a great job selecting quality parts on this Jeep and it was mostly all built how I'd have done it, just a few small personal choice changes to make. So in the matter of less than a week Mrs Tox and I packed up and flew in to Portland to pick it up and drive home.

View attachment 80820

That was the plan anyway, then we figured we'd do a slight detour to visit Blaine and attend King of the Hammers. It was great seeing other rigs and I gained a few ideas that I will be incorporating into my red LJ build. It was also great meeting many guys from the forums (you know who you all are). After spending the week in the desert we drove across the country home.

View attachment 80821

View attachment 80822

View attachment 80823

And ever since then I have been going front to back on this new TJ to make sure everything is just so and dealing with lots and lots of snow.

View attachment 80824
Whoa whoa whoa whoa @Chris
 
OP
toximus

toximus

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 29, 2018
2,204
Northern WI
Sorry I couldnt catch up with you on your trip thru Denver. Hopefully in the near future!
For sure! It was a bit awkward since I was passing through during a work day with short notice. Next time we'll plan it out better!
 

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,918
NorCal
Good to see it going to a good home, and a jeeper that can appreciate the fine nuances of a well built TJ. Sounds like a hellofa trip!
 
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