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  1. #341
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    I've been busy as ever on this thing so I owe you guys an update.

    Since I completed tacking all the front suspension onto the truck I was able to move onto prepping the cab for a cage and starting that whole process. At the same time I was waiting for my custom aluminum tie-rod adjusters. Shawn over at Panther Frameworx in NY whipped them up. Super cool guy and he knew exactly what I wanted since he and his son are doing a PT style mustang. All he needed was the thread on each end and the overall length. He did perfect. The front end ALMOST looks like something I bought, but we all know better. Haha.

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    In the cab I needed to tackle the firewall mod first since I was expecting the cage to make it harder to access than right now. Have I mentioned how much I hate sheet metal work? I've tried to learn to like it, but it's not working. Nonetheless I made it through and it meets my needs. Moved the main section back 2.75". And that's only to make room for sensors and fuel lines. The engine itself didn't really have fit issues even though I moved it back almost 4" from stock. Sure it's ugly as hell, but I'll just lay some thick paint over it and you should never notice it under the dash.

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    Side note: I don't have any photos of the incident, but I didn't pay attention to having a sheet over some engine parts and a rogue spark caught it on fire while welding the firewall back together. It melted a $150 sensor and 2 small wires on my brand new engine harness. I'm kicking myself in the ass for that one, but luckily it wasn't worse and I was able to quickly put it out.

    Bonus tip for you guys. I follow Kyle on The Fab Forums Youtube channel and a few weeks ago he shared the stuff call Ram Board. It's a floor protector for moving appliances. It is basically slightly thicker than cereal boxes so it makes fantastic templates. 3ftx50ft was only $30 at Lowes. I HIGHLY recommend it.

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    I was excited to finally get to bending up tubes for the cage after that. Once I was ready to prep the floor for where the 4 points would attach I realized that some of the factory sound mat would need to come out. No big deal. But being me it can't be that simple. After noticing that most of it was cracked anyway and knowing that I'm spraying in Lizard Skin soon I figured I should just remove it all. So 2 evenings of scraping later it was clean enough to move on. All told it was just shy of 10lbs that got removed and I've heard the Lizard skin is pretty light so the weight should be a wash.

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    THEN I could actually get the cage started. Remember, I'm following the general guidelines for cages of this weight class, but I'm not building it to anything specific. No classes I can ever see myself running require any cage at all. I have seen how easily these trucks crumple in wrecks so I just want an extra barrier. I've added almost 3x the horsepower and I'm making it handle, but I know I'll be pushing myself to be faster every time out. Sometimes it gets away from you so this is for those moments.

    As it stands this was the 4pt structure

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    Right now I have it dropped through the floor to weld the top of the tubes and spray some paint before it is welded to the floor permanently. I also got the glass all removed, but forgot to snap a pic.

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    Hopefully I'll be able to share an update in a few days with the cage and additional tubes in their final place. I want to build the seat brackets so I can properly sit and make racecar noises.
    '95 F-150 track ready street beast
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  2. #342
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Colorado
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    Awesome!

    Would have been nice to get that X brace all the way in the corner on the driver side, but looks like you are running out of real estate with the seat where its at.


    Will you be sandwiching the body and attaching the cage to the frame?
    - Jerry

  3. #343
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savage View Post
    Awesome!

    Would have been nice to get that X brace all the way in the corner on the driver side, but looks like you are running out of real estate with the seat where its at.


    Will you be sandwiching the body and attaching the cage to the frame?
    Yeah I can definitely understand now why extended cabs are the foundation of most race trucks. There just isn't much room when you need cage tubes too. It's a sacrifice I'll happily make to know this thing won't fold up easily if I get carried away. I saw a photo of one of these trucks after a roll over a few months back and it wasn't pretty. The top folded in like a tin can. Good thing my center of gravity has moved waaayyyy down.

    Exactly. I have roll bar connectors that will allow the body to still be removable, but when bolted together they channel any cage loads directly into the frame. It was important to me that the truck be able to come apart just like from the factory should anything ever need to be serviced or replaced. Once this part is done I will verify the cab is centered on the frame and make those. I'll be sure to share photos here to better show how it works.
    '95 F-150 track ready street beast
    Want more projects/photos? Check my Instagram

  4. #344
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    Haven't lost any steam yet! I make sure to accomplish at least 1 thing a day so it's been awesome to see it all come together little by little.

    First task was to remove the glass. Rear window was a 5 minute job since they just pop out of the rubber gasket. Windshield was a pain. I tried to save it, but I got carried away and cracked it a few times. So much for keeping the original.

    I slapped some primer and paint on the top of the cage after fully welding all the tubes before I got the main cage lifted back up into place and welded it to the plates and then floor. I would say it's easier to build a cage for a car than a truck after crawling around trying to get in various positions for welding this.

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    Then I could reinstall the steering column to setup for building seat mounts. They are super basic, but more than strong enough. I went with the least amount of height that would allow me to see over the hood.

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    I considered making them bolt in. Welding was quicker and easier, plus this actually makes the floor stronger so I'd say this is the safer choice. The seat mounts unbolt so that's good enough for what I need. I added tubes under the seat to brace side to side and hold the harness sub-mounts, but I don't have any pics yet.

    Rinse and repeat for the passenger side. The results were well worth it.

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    I promise that's my happy face. It was just late and I was tired at that point. The harness is in since I needed to make mounting points. I got SUPER lucky and the clip in anchors threaded straight into the factory seat belt holes. Easily saved me about 2 hours of fab work.

    I made sure the cab was perfectly centered on the frame before I started on tubes outside of the cab. The rear bars were the easiest target. I've also been wanting to add these for a while since I like how it looks. Notice that I am able to reuse the factory rear glass and seal. I didn't want to pass the tubes through the window in order to keep the cab sealed better. Careful measurements rewarded me with mission accomplished.

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    You can see the shiny roll bar connectors there. Everything outside of the cab will be detachable so I can still pull the cab or bed if needed.

    Next up is the engine bay bars that tie back into the dash bar. These are going to be tricky with clearing braking equipment and getting through 2 layers on the firewall. Wish me luck!
    '95 F-150 track ready street beast
    Want more projects/photos? Check my Instagram

  5. #345
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    Seeing that it is raining here (total nuisance in AZ) I figure it's a good time to update.

    Like I said previously it was time to do the two cage bars in the engine bay. It was a good chance to learn some offset bending better with my bender. I'm really liking this Rogue Fabrication M600 the more I use it. I will also say that I spent the time to measure and articulate the steering/suspension to make sure this bar routing would never interfere with the tire. I have more than enough clearance.

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    I would have liked to pass these a bit higher on the firewall, but there is an air cavity there that I couldn't find a good way to pass through accurately without creating a TON of extra work to reseal. You can also see the use of tube connectors again allowing these to be removed almost entirely.

    Before adding any other tubes to make cab entry/exit harder I wanted to add in some of the creature comforts. I decided my Vintage Air unit was a good place to start. Unfortunately my firewall modifications made it a bit trickier to fit without killing passenger leg room.

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    This looks super intrusive, but it will actually all hide behind the new dash with some room to spare. I could have gone with the smaller unit and been very happy, but when I ordered this all I could think was, "we get over 120 degrees every summer." The first year I lived in AZ I was broke and drove a car without A/C. I'm not doing that again. So my logic was to buy the biggest unit they offer and I can enjoy this beast all year. Haha. I will also give Vintage Air credit for designing a really nice system. It was easy to understand where everything goes and mounting is super simple. I don't know why I don't see more of these installed on this site.

    This now allowed me to understand the best place for a hose bulkhead. I know people have differing opinions on using a bulkhead or not, but I am a fan especially on a vehicle used in racing.



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    Since I don't have a fender liner to run stuff like this securely I plan to run these along the top of the frame there. I can use some High Temp sleeves to protect the hoses from header heat.

    If you are wondering what the black box is for, that's an aluminum oil catch can. It has internal baffling with enough air volume to handle high RPM crankcase venting. With it mounted here I can easily drain it with minimal mess.

    While I was at it I decided to mount some of the various fluid tanks that will be needed since I had them and the welder right there.

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    The black tank is for power steering and the raw aluminum is a combo coolant expansion and catch. You can also see where I chose to mount the coil on the passenger side (it's safe from major heat sources). I didn't get the windshield washer tank mounted, but that will be easy later. My favorite thing is that this keeps the hose routing efficient and won't risk leaks if someone hits my fender.

    Final fabrication piece before I pull the body off for frame painting was the cage to frame connectors. These disconnect as well allowing everything to be removed like stock. I was surprised how much stiffness this added to everything too.

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    With that, I set the truck down on it's own weight. This is the first time this front suspension has been on the ground. I'm SUPER happy with this new design. Added bonus of having the engine mounts on the inner frame was that it now stopped any remaining flex from the upper control arm loads.

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    Shocks are being built and the brake master is ordered. As soon as I have a dry evening the cab comes off and I'll tackle the final welding of the frame before that is painted. The idea is inside of the next 2 weeks I should be doing final assembly of the chassis with all the new goodies you guys haven't seen yet. When the paint is dry and the frame is a roller, the cab goes on and it's time to plumb, wire, and FIRE.
    '95 F-150 track ready street beast
    Want more projects/photos? Check my Instagram


  6. #346
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Forney, TX
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    Warning, got a lot of questions. Not trying to start anything, just trying to be safe.

    On the cage disconnects everywhere, what is their strength compared to the cage itself? Are they rated for rollcage use? I see em used for bumpers, cross members, door bars, etc but not in the primary cage structure. I'd be woried about the body/cage coming off like a K'NEX in a wreck.

    The way you go from the body to the frame also seems to me to be lacking strength in case of a roll-over. I'm no expert but I would look at what the offroad dudes do. Seems to me that the frame mount would rip out. Maybe some load distributing plates or similar to get better attachment. I see a lot of sliders for crawler trucks and they always do a plate to the frame instead of just tube to frame. Gotta be a reason!
    88 Ford Mustang - The Grey Ghost
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  7. #347
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    Oct 2018
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    I'm really glad to you brought this up. I've been getting a surprising amount of comments/messages everywhere I share this build so I want to address these exact points.

    For starters, this is NOT an FIA legal cage. It's really not any kind of legal. The tubing is 1 size too thin and there is bends/breaks (connectors are considered a "break") in tubes that are absolutely not allowed under their rules. FIA is largely considered the general standard for cage design across multiple sanctioning bodies, and then there is additional rules from there depending on what racing you do with who. I accepted that when I designed this cage and ordered the material. PLEASE don't use this as a guide if you are planning to build a competition cage. I consider this a "street" cage. I only added it because throwing a 600hp farm truck around (even after all this work) has risks that the stock sheet metal can't even hope to handle. If you see wrecks with these trucks the sheet metal might as well not even be there. It's scary to look at. That's why I built some kind of cage rather than nothing at all. You'd need about double the amount of tubes to be legal along with some different routing. Targa Truck is a prime example of what you SHOULD DO for competition. He keeps his Instagram up to date with progress and is building everything in spec.

    The spreader plates you are talking about are super helpful at load distribution. That's why I added them anywhere I landed a tube on sheet metal. It's not uncommon to see the tubes welded directly to the frame as I did when there is sufficient enough "meat". Sure a plate doesn't hurt there too, but that all goes back to the cage already having weaker sections than that. That won't be the failure point.

    The connectors are definitely the weak point of the tubes that have them, but I did it to allow all the body to be removed like stock. In an impact the bolts that hold them together usually shear off. These are best for attaching sacrificial components like you pointed out. It worked like a charm for my purposes as you can see here.

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    Why wouldn't I go full competition cage? 2 biggest factors in the motorsports world: Time and money. It would take a lot more time and a good chunk more money to make it correct. I've built those cages so I feel confident in my assessment. See Exhibit A:

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    1992 E36 sedan, GTS3 rules, gutted doors, side exhaust, lexan side and rear windows, etc. Never failed tech at NASA, BMW CCA, and SCCA. You get the point.

    The truck's cage design allows full retention of factory glass and body panels so there is additional comfort/simplicity there. The other factor that nobody ever considers is that when you have a full competition cage while street driving (no helmet activities), those bars become more danger than help. So between crawling over tubes to get seated and people that can't drive down a street without looking at Facebook, I didn't want all that "safety" when street driving which is something I want to do often with this truck. I already have plans semi-in motion to build a true competition car after this truck is sorted out. This was built for fun and will only ever compete in street car classes without a cage requirement. And in autocross you'll see plenty of cars that have no cage, but really need at least a cage like this or much more. It's built safe enough to pass tech and prevent some intrusion in moderate collisions.

    I hope this doesn't seem combative. It's not meant to be at all. I know the general consensus around here has been to either build a legal cage or don't even bother. I've learned sooooo much from you all here and questions like these have helped me fix things before it's an issue. This is just an area that was very closely thought out. Thank you for asking. I hope this makes more sense now. If anyone has further questions/concerns feel free to voice them openly. I like that my thread has been a place for open discussion and learning for everyone. That's always my goal.
    '95 F-150 track ready street beast
    Want more projects/photos? Check my Instagram

  8. #348
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Forney, TX
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    Frankly, it doesn't make more sense now. I'm more confused. People are asking so many questions because it very much goes against the grain. I for one, have discussed this cage build with a few race car buddies to make sure I'm not crazy, as I'm certainly no expert. They all agree there is a lot wrong going on there. This isn't an attack on you by any means, it is making sure you have the right assumptions and expectations. Sure, they look at it from more of a racer's perspective, but the feedback is valid. A few key takeaways. Again, none of this is an attack, just feedback:

    "Normally what we've done in the past on cars and truck where the frame doesn't reach the outside of the body is, we build outriggers, usually 2x3 or 2x4 box steel at a 45 or more angle, gusset the **** out of the contact point of the frame"

    "The more contact points the cage has with the frame or integral points of the chassis, the less gusseting it needs."

    "I'm used to seeing 8 or more contact points to the frame, not 4"

    "The connectors on the side of the frame, they are at an extreme angle and will shear off the frame in a second when it rolls."

    "I hate those quick disconnects because if that chassis twists, even in the slightest, you will never get them back together."

    You admit that the cage is too thin to pass any tech, that it will shear off in a collision, that it is routed to stay away from an un-helmeted driver/passenger. Then at the same time, you claim the cage is there to protect you in case of collision.

    I believe its much more likely you'll smack your head/body on the cage in any significant street collision (you move a LOT more than you think when not in a 5/6-point harness. There is a high chance that the cab will shear off the beak points, which introduces a greater risk of one of those now pointy ends causing more harm than if they had not been there in the first place.
    88 Ford Mustang - The Grey Ghost
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  9. #349
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    Oct 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by frink84 View Post
    Frankly, it doesn't make more sense now. I'm more confused. People are asking so many questions because it very much goes against the grain. I for one, have discussed this cage build with a few race car buddies to make sure I'm not crazy, as I'm certainly no expert. They all agree there is a lot wrong going on there. This isn't an attack on you by any means, it is making sure you have the right assumptions and expectations. Sure, they look at it from more of a racer's perspective, but the feedback is valid. A few key takeaways. Again, none of this is an attack, just feedback:

    "Normally what we've done in the past on cars and truck where the frame doesn't reach the outside of the body is, we build outriggers, usually 2x3 or 2x4 box steel at a 45 or more angle, gusset the **** out of the contact point of the frame"

    "The more contact points the cage has with the frame or integral points of the chassis, the less gusseting it needs."

    "I'm used to seeing 8 or more contact points to the frame, not 4"

    "The connectors on the side of the frame, they are at an extreme angle and will shear off the frame in a second when it rolls."

    "I hate those quick disconnects because if that chassis twists, even in the slightest, you will never get them back together."

    You admit that the cage is too thin to pass any tech, that it will shear off in a collision, that it is routed to stay away from an un-helmeted driver/passenger. Then at the same time, you claim the cage is there to protect you in case of collision.

    I believe its much more likely you'll smack your head/body on the cage in any significant street collision (you move a LOT more than you think when not in a 5/6-point harness. There is a high chance that the cab will shear off the beak points, which introduces a greater risk of one of those now pointy ends causing more harm than if they had not been there in the first place.
    Thanks for getting additional outside feedback! I don't have the same reliable resources here that I did when I worked/lived in Plano, TX. I miss having so much knowledge a short drive away.

    -I've seen this a couple times on other builds, but never near a 45 degree angle. Makes perfect sense that it would be much stronger that way, but if you look at the space provided I physically can not achieve that angle or close. I also wasn't expecting this to be able to survive the force of a full rollover. They are intended to add rigidity to the cab and frame by eliminating body mount flex and chassis flex under suspension load (tested this and it worked great). If someone can show me a way to do this with less angle in my application I'd be surprised and thankful. I'll do more digging to see if I can find better examples.

    -No disagreement here. That's what I've always been taught. More contact=more strength.

    -Technically I have 8 points for just the cab. My 4 outriggers and the original 4 body mounts. I get the intention behind this statement and that would usually include the engine bay tubes and rear down bars (making this a 12 point), but I won't include mine since they are removable.

    -Let's all hope we never find out, but I can see that possibility. Again, I'm not sure how to make the angle less severe and still contact the cage and frame in a straight line. A surprising number of trucks I see doing road racing/autox with cages have a 90 degree bend/joint from the cage to the side of the frame. I'd say that's worse than my design (neither is great).

    -Yeah I'm a bit worried about this too, but couldn't come up with any other way to allow the body to disconnect. I figure if the frame is twisted in a way that doesn't allow these to line up, something more is wrong. Maybe I'll eat my words on this soon. You know I'll be the first to publicly admit it if it happens.

    -They do shear in severe side loads at that joint, yes. When the load is in line with the tube, the design of the connector allows it to remain surprisingly strong. No, not as good as a solid tube, but I'm not trying to say it is. This is why the only tubes with connectors are outside of the cab. There are no bars with breaks near an occupant. When I say this cage adds safety I mean that as it prevents this thin sheet metal from folding in on itself like many of them do if someone T-bones you in an intersection or you smack a pole. Think of this like the 4pt bars in lots of HPDE cars. It's a little extra something, but far from the benefit of a cage. It adds some chassis rigidity and gives a safe place for harnesses, but not much more.

    -This is why I have less tubes and they are routed further from occupants along with only having 6pt harnesses since that's legal for street driving here. In order for my body to contact a cage tube, my seat and harness would both have to fail spectacularly. I think a 3 inch harness strap stretches like 3 inches or something crazy in a crash (don't recall exactly but it was a lot). As for the cab shearing off, the stock body mounts seem to do better than I would have expected in pretty bad wrecks and they are still present (brand new). I'm ultimately still relying on them to do their same job now since the outer tubes aren't real cab mounts.
    '95 F-150 track ready street beast
    Want more projects/photos? Check my Instagram

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