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Old November 5th 2009, 12:37
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choosing roll cages

From what I understand an SCCA-spec roll cage is better than a Class 11 roll cage. I also understand how the unit is welded is important.

I went to the SCCA site and scanned some of their rules and such. I'm sure it is there somewhere but I did not see what makes a roll cage an SCCA type.

I haven't had a subscription to a VW mag in a few years but I remember seeing Class 11's being advertised quite a bit. Maybe SCCA's are advertised, too, but I just don't remember them.

Anyway (and assuming this is for a 1302 or 1303), how do find out the differences? Where do I find them? Is there a way of assessing them in advance?

I ask the third question because even though I am only in the planning stage for GL#2, I will not be racing my car but I will want protection against accidents.
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Old November 5th 2009, 13:25
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Why not consult the roll cage suppliers. If a similar question arose in the UK that is where I would go first.

Interestingly, over here apart from drag racing most of the cages are FIA (international) and MSA (National) approved. FIA cages can be used at National level but not necessarily the other way round. In the MSA Blue Book that have the regs for all motorsport thare are various patterns for the cages and some are approved for FIA use.

Clive
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Old November 5th 2009, 13:37
vwdreaming vwdreaming is offline
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take a look at Ron Lummus racing they have a nice bolt in and weld in cage its nhra legal not sure about scca specs. its not the cheapest but it is nice.

you can order it throu aircooled.net if u like
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Old November 5th 2009, 17:31
Kafer_Mike Kafer_Mike is offline
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Autopower (www.autopowerindustries.com used to make a SCCA and NASA legal cage for Beetles. I don't see it on their site, but they may still offer it.

Be careful running a rollcage on the street. They can be more dangerous than running without due to the increased risk of head injuries -- especially for rear passengers. They're really meant for applications where you should be wearing a helmet...
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Old November 5th 2009, 20:49
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What roll cage you run really depends on your goal with the car. race car or street car?

A class 11 roll cage is okay (as in better than nothing) but there are better designs out there. NHRA, SCCA, and FIA all have different cage requirements, and like Clive said what works for one may not work for others. The FIA has several standards and everyone picks and chooses for their given safety requirements. Fore the most part an SCCA track cage is probably the best bet. If you look at my race cage it's a minimum spec SCCA cage. It started out as a weld in RLR cage and I made a couple additions to keep it legal.



The minimum (as of this posting) is a standard 6 point cage, main hoop, down bars, head bar, rear cage stays, main hoop diagonal, door X on the drivers side and single door bar for the passenger. For race purposes, as of July of this year SCCA and NASA, require you to tie your down bars to the A-pillars. I opted for a dash bar and passenger side door X since it's good to have equal protection for the passenger.

A couple rules of thumb for cages, 10 lbs per point and $100 per point but cost/weight go up when you start cross bracing. Having done a couple of pre-made cages (weld in and bolt in) I would highly recommend taking to a shop to have the cage installed. They have the proper tools, they've done it hundreds of times and they can get a super tight fit the first time. The shop can also design the cage for the specific car and driver. That never happens with bolt in or weld in cages. I like the RLR cage and it's a necessity, but I'll replace it with a much better custom cage down the road.
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Old November 5th 2009, 20:50
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double post :P

Last edited by Humble; November 5th 2009 at 20:56.
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Old November 6th 2009, 08:50
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One extra that is worth considering is to gusset the tube connections for much additional rigidity. Roll cages are worth as much for the stiffening of the chassis as for their primary protection role so that multipoint connections to the bodywork is IMO a vital part of the installation.

Clive
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Old November 6th 2009, 09:19
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I read and appreciated all of the responses. I will reread them several times when I get home. One alarming quote I have listed below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kafer_Mike View Post
Be careful running a rollcage on the street. They can be more dangerous than running without due to the increased risk of head injuries -- especially for rear passengers. They're really meant for applications where you should be wearing a helmet...
I'm not worried about the rear passengers as the next 1302/1303 will not have a rear seat as it nears completion. (We may adopt a dog, but that's another story for another time.)

I am very sure I won't be racing. I was interested in a roll cage for protection. If it offered more rigidity, too, so much the better. However, I am not planning on wearing a helmet when jamming to the beach or the local grocer.
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Old November 6th 2009, 17:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oasis View Post
I am very sure I won't be racing. I was interested in a roll cage for protection. If it offered more rigidity, too, so much the better. However, I am not planning on wearing a helmet when jamming to the beach or the local grocer.
If you're that concerned about protection, you honestly shouldn't be driving a beetle. A roll cage in a standard road-going vehicle is going to protect you in some instances, but provide far more of a risk in others. Will you be investing in proper SFI roll bar padding, or doing what most non-racers do and use pipe insulation?

In an accident you would be shocked to see how much your body flexes and moves, a standard road-going car with cage and without helmet is far more dangerous then a simple car without cage. Your head off the roll bar is a seriously tough object to avoid. The cage will be of benefit in some accidents where you might otherwise be killed, but a liability in any lower-speed accident where you are unlikely to be killed.

I ran my Audi rally car as a street car, with cage and proper padding, for years...and I can tell you that driving a caged car daily is a complete pain-in-the-ass. **assuming we're talking "cage" here and not just a rear-seat roll bar.

-Dave
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Old November 7th 2009, 09:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owdlvr View Post
If you're that concerned about protection, you honestly shouldn't be driving a beetle. A roll cage in a standard road-going vehicle is going to protect you in some instances, but provide far more of a risk in others. Will you be investing in proper SFI roll bar padding, or doing what most non-racers do and use pipe insulation?

In an accident you would be shocked to see how much your body flexes and moves, a standard road-going car with cage and without helmet is far more dangerous then a simple car without cage. Your head off the roll bar is a seriously tough object to avoid. The cage will be of benefit in some accidents where you might otherwise be killed, but a liability in any lower-speed accident where you are unlikely to be killed.

I ran my Audi rally car as a street car, with cage and proper padding, for years...and I can tell you that driving a caged car daily is a complete pain-in-the-ass. **assuming we're talking "cage" here and not just a rear-seat roll bar.

-Dave
I concur with everthing you say but there are some plus points:
1) A cage can give psychological comfort so the driver is more relaxed and therefore more responsive.
2) A cage will stiffen the bodyshell/chassis so that its response is more accurate and reliable resulting in better active protection. (less likely to get into an accident in the first place)
3) On a beetle there are no crumple zones or a stiff passenger cell to protect the passengers so a cage within the cabin at least provides a stiffer passenger cell.
4) Extending the cage forward to the front suspension area will improve chassis stiffness as well as giving the opportunity to add progressive collapse thus bringing the vehicle up towards modern standards.

The effectiveness of a cage was brought home to me some years ago during our clubs national level road rally. One of the front running Escorts was pulled off a narrow tarmac single track road by the muddy goo at the edge of the verge and then ploughed through a 18" thick brick buttress to a barn. It was almost a grotesque cartoon as the Escort shape was bitten out of the solid raking buttress. The front 1/4 of the car ended up at the dashboard, where it was stopped by the cage. The driver sustained a broken ankle only (the navigator was only shaken and stirred). This all happened at between 100 - 110mph as it was a flat out section with few bends in the preceeding 2 miles. The cage demonstrated its strength on that occasion.

Our MSA (Motor Sports Association - the governing body) recommend cages for road rallying even though helmets are not allowed. They don't insist on cages as the events are only supposed to be 'navigational' and standard road cars are encouraged; the sight of drivers and navigators wearing helmets on public roads would also incense the public.

Clive
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Old November 7th 2009, 18:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilC View Post
the sight of drivers and navigators wearing helmets on public roads would also incense the public.

Clive
Yeah, by all means, lets not incense the public with our cars (I just learned a new word in english!, tnx Clive )

I am actually contemplating a cage as wel. I don't like them, but kinda have to...
I use the car mostly for circuit-like driving, not competitively, so no rules there, but need the official approval for when I participate in drag racing, where cage rules ARE mandatory. Only if you run faster than 12 seconds though, but I am afraid that will happen coming year.

So, would a FIA approved cage be good/legal(NHRA) for a <12 second car in drag racing?
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Old November 7th 2009, 22:10
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I think every fia or scca cage is overkill by nhra/drag standards. I do highly recommends getting a professionally built cage for street cars though. It will look tons better and the tight fit will blend in with the interior easier.
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Old November 8th 2009, 05:38
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Thanks, it will probably be a Heigo 'bolt-in' cage then, which fit very nice/tight from what I've seen.
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Old November 8th 2009, 15:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post
Thanks, it will probably be a Heigo 'bolt-in' cage then, which fit very nice/tight from what I've seen.
From what I can understand on the site, they look like a good design. Interesting to see they offer aluminum cages...show only I hope!

-Dave
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Old November 13th 2009, 05:41
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That's a lot to chew on. I can now see Humble's pic now that I am home -- my work computer disallows picture hosting sites including the one I use.

First, about Humble's pic ... the cage I saw once was not quite as robust as Humble's but I thought it might give more real protection than the loop that goes around the seat backs and extends back with four points of connection to the chassis. It had a single sidebar running diagonally rather than the X on both sides. It also did not have the X behind the driver and passenger.

The side X's might be a bit much for an old fart like me who has had both knees scoped and gets regular cortizone shots throughout the year.

As for padding, I definitely assumed I would get padding. Whatever proper padding is, that would be fine.

BTW, I understand being safe would mean I would keep the bug parked and I would drive my Eos all of the time. I never felt totally unsafe in my 1302, but I wasn't foolish in thinking I was safe. I actually thought the improvements I made with its engine, brakes, suspension, etc. made me have more fun but also more safe. I was thinking a rollcage would take it further -- especially if I took my next project further than the 1302.

The cage I saw seem to run just inside the roofline quite neatly, and didn't seem to intrude in the footwell area even though it bolted there as well. (I assume bolted; it could have been welded. I wasn't checking on details at the time.)

Attaching the cage to the suspension sounds very good but it also sounds very involved. The set-up my 1302 had seemed to have excellent tortional stiffness to me, so I'm not sure I need that for my application.

I guess I need to check some sites specifically. The link above showed a couple. I'm not familiar with Heigo but I will search that.

Will proper padding and the cage I described be worthwhile, or just a nice looking trouble waiting to happen in a smaller accident with my head dangling around without a helmet? How do I know what proper padding is? The only padding I ever really saw was for a Thing (Type 181), and evena novice like me could tell it was pretty stinking minimal.

Thanks, everyone.
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