View Full Version : Thumb up or down on CE roll cage kits???

07-30-2005, 10:57 PM
Has anyone here ever used, or personally known of someone who used, a Competition Engineering roll cage kit? If so:

How well did it fit?
Were the tubes notched properly for a tight fit throughout?
Any complaints or comments?

The price is right so I am considering a 12pt kit for the Camaro, if they're good quality.

08-01-2005, 01:17 AM
Don't know about CE kits, hopefully someone does, but I have used a couple of S&W Race Cars (http://www.swracecars.com/) kits and I like them.

08-01-2005, 06:44 AM
I'm putting a 10 pt CE cage in now. Just like every other cage I've done (this is my 4th) it requires lots of fabrication. I wish someone made a cage that just fit. It's not like the dimensions change that drastically car to car. I'd pay a little extra for that! Perhaps the DSE cage does, but it's not a 10pt.

08-01-2005, 07:33 AM
nestockcar - could you elaborate on that please? Is it because the tubes aren't cut, bent, or notched right? Is it poor design? I know there is still some work to do with things like fitting the mounting plates, welding, etc. I just would like to purchase the best quality kit for the money.

There was a guy on the Fiero forum who ordered a Jeg's kit for a Fiero, and the main hoops were too wide to even fit inside the car. I think he eventually got his money back from Jeg's, but wasn't too impressed with them afterwards. I want to avoid this kind of hassle. I don't even mind grinding on the notches a little. I just don't want to re-engineer the whole kit to get it in the car.

68LSS1 - thanks for the info. The prices are the same, shipping is comparable. I have saved your comments to my mental hard drive, just in case I find too many complaints on the CE kit.

If anyone has used any other brands of pre-bent/notched kits I would love to hear your opinions on them.

08-01-2005, 11:41 AM
Well, I've really just started with it so I only can fully elaborate on the roll bar at this point. My previous cages have been for circle track cars, which I expected to need serious fabrication due to various track rules, and they did. This cage I had expectations of not needing to do as much, wrong (so far). As you mentioned there's the floor plates which need bending and fabricating, then the roll bar I feel is a little too narrow at the bottom. If it were a shade wider it would have fit perfectly on the top of the rocker. Instead its half on half off (to the inside). Makes for a lot of grinding to angle fit it.
The roll bar is definetly not too wide (I had that issue with my first CT car, real pain). I'll try to lay out the pieces some more tonight when I get home and see if there's any other issues, such as the notch locations of the hoop bar.
Overall, unless someone's got a better fitting version, It's as good as any I guess.

08-01-2005, 05:11 PM
Thanks for the info. Please continue to share as you progress. I couldn't have asked for a better reply, than someone who is actually in the process of installing one :icon996:

Hopefully, things won't get any more serious - I can deal with the issues you mentioned.

08-03-2005, 08:57 PM
I used a s&w cage for my car...i was very impressed with the quality and fit. But like others have said it still took allot of fabrication and fitting to make it just right. i think at the time s&w was one of the few that was pre notched plus you can get DOM tubing with them. I think any mechanically inclined individual who knows how to weld could pull off I nice installation

08-03-2005, 09:39 PM
Todd, get a tubing bender and make one yourself. I should be cheaper. I think. Maybe. Yeah. Well.... I don't know...

08-04-2005, 06:31 AM
Thanks RobM. That's what I figured, but wanted to see if some people who had already done it still felt the same way. You know how sometimes you tackle those "easy" projects yourself to save a few bucks and end up wishing you would have farmed it out?

With the extras I want, truck freight, and welding supplies, I figured my cage will end up costing me about $500. I could have it done by one of the (very good) local chassis shops for about $1500. It's just one of those things I would like to save a buck, have the experience with, and be able to say, "I did that".

Bugg - what's up old buddy? I have thought about it, but it wouldn't be cheaper. The advantage is I would have some fun new equipment and tools. A hydraulic bender with one set of dies, from Speedway Motors, is $440. You get one set of dies with it, additional sets are $225 each. Wouldn't really need any more for the cage though. Notcher is $100. Add in truck freight, enough DOM tubing for me to get it right (first timer/perfectionist), purchased or fabricated accessories, and I'm looking at at least eight hundred bucks. I know with some thrifty shopping it could probably be done a bit cheaper, but my point is that's money that I would rather put elsewhere in the car right now.

By the way, this is for the Camaro Bugger! I have been back and forth on what I want to do with it. Keep it or sell it, mild or wild... After going to a few cruises and shows this year, plus working on some other projects, I finally made up my mind - I think...

Mean 69
08-12-2005, 07:54 AM
I'd encourage you to build the cage yourself, for a couple reasons. One, you can say "you" did it, which is always good for stroking the ego. Two, I'd doubt that any of the kits out there will make a cage that will fit as tight as most folks want it to. Three, the tubing that is used for most catalog kits is crap, very heavy wall welded tubing, NOT DOM. DOM is expensive as anything these days, I paid over $4 per foot for .095 wall, 1 3/4", and well over $6 per foot for .120 wall stuff.

Some advice! Start with the main hoop, so "when" you screw up your first bends, you can use the scraps for the down tubes!!! Also, you can do an outstanding job cutting fishmouths with an angle grinder and some of the layered sanding discs, you don't really need a notcher.

I'm doing the cage on my 70 right now, from scratch, and though it is a lot of work, it is coming out just the way it should.


08-12-2005, 08:15 PM
Definitely something to think about. I guess that's why Alston, CE, and S&W don't say specifically what type of tubing it is, just mild steel. If it was DOM you would think they would specify it as a selling point.

That would be a concern for me, but the tight fit isn't really that critical. I rode in a Pro Street Vega built on a full Alston chassis kit and even though the bars weren't tucked in real tight it didn't bother me. The owner is a friend and he has no complaints with it in two years of driving the car (on the street). Since this is going in a Camaro, where I have much more room, I think I would be fine with a kit's fit.

Same on the "did it myself" thing. There are some areas of the car I refuse to let anyone touch, but the cage isn't one. I still haven't completely ruled out just having a chassis shop do it.

All that being said, I appreciate and am taking your advice into serious consideration. I am going to call Monday about the DOM issue.

08-13-2005, 07:57 AM
A few of the cage companies will sell you DOM at a higher price. Ask them about it before you make your decision. I was going to go the CE route but after checking into others and realizing that I might as well get DOM tubing I have decided to go with S&W.

If I had the tools and time I would make one myself for the perfect fit, but I figure the tools would set me back more than the entire cage and installation itself.

08-14-2005, 07:13 AM
Thanks Jeff. I am leaning towards the S&W kit too, just from what I have seen here and from comparing them to CE and Alston on the 'net. I didn't know welded tubing could even be certified by NHRA, etc, but all three say that their kits will certify down to 8.50, when installed properly. I guess the DOM gets you the extra second of breathing room (7.50). I don't plan on building anything anywhere near that fast but since it's me that this thing is protecting, I would have more piece of mind with DOM.

In addition to calling about the DOM tomorrow, I am probably going to go talk to the chassis guy this week just to compare. What I want (14pt, DOM, a few accessories, etc) is starting to sound expensive. If it gets too close, I'll end up paying a little more to watch.

08-14-2005, 07:58 AM
Some racing organizations demand DOM tubing, so it is a good idea to start with it just in case. A local org may be cool with regular tubing, then change their rules a year or so down the road. I think NASA is one of the few that requires DOM tubing, you might want to check out their rules (MrQuick posted a link to them last year). Anyway I believe NASA also required that ALL tubing connected to the roll cage be the same diameter, and the cage cannot pass through the firewall (I will weld plates to the wall, then bolt the engine compartment cage in place).

08-14-2005, 08:33 AM
...and the cage cannot pass through the firewall (I will weld plates to the wall, then bolt the engine compartment cage in place).

I don't understand why they would do that. Seems to me the cage would be stronger and safer with a solid tubes passing through the firewall. Is that for a specific street type class? I don't do the program thing, just grudge-style racing, so I only need to pass the general tech requirements for whatever track I am at.

I do want DOM tubing, and most of the standard safety items, but other than that if my car won't pass tech at a certain track I'll just find one that will say OK.

08-15-2005, 09:12 AM
What is DOM tubing is it seamless ? also the bender seems expensive over in the uk there about $200 with formers up to
2 1/2 " also if you do it yourself its done right, than if I'd have known that i could have done it better,as i have found out to my cost.

08-15-2005, 09:15 AM
When you need to notch the tube buy a good quaity hole saw cutter and fit it into a bench drill put the tube into the and drill the tube= tube notched.

08-15-2005, 11:13 AM
DOM = Drawn Over mandrel. Yes, it's seamless. Also refered to as "cold drawn" tubing.