Read more to see how I built an interior roll cage for my Suzuki Vitara. What started out as a gas tank relocation project got out of hand in a hurry!
This is a classic example of having a project snowball. So I already had the back end of ‘PJ’ my suzuki Vitara torn apart for my Gas Tank Relocation Project. While I was in there I realized that I had a clear shot at the frame to weld in a roll cage.
This first section won’t be a full roll cage, more of a roll bar for the time being. I have future plans convert it into some kind of full inner/exo/roof rack roll cage. Still thinking about what I eventually want, but for now I at least wanted some extra support in the back where my kids are sitting.
Getting access to build the roll cage
While I was staring at the giant hole I had cut for the gas tank project, I realized that if I widened it up just another 4″ or so, I had direct access to the frame rail to weld the roll cage to. The body on these trucks are really thin sheetmetal, so if at all possible you want to attach to the frame.
Below is a link to a Pirate 4×4 article called Tube Bending 101 by Rob Park. He does a much better job of explaining the bending process than I do. I have been referring back to this guide for years.
This initial bend is so we can determine the bend starting point. Once we have done this, we can mark the bender and have reliable bends going forward.
Next I spent some time with a tape measure in the back of PJ to get my dimensions. Basically the width of the framerails and the height of the inside of the cab. I then drew out my area on a clean portion of the shop floor in soapstone (so it could be erased). I made sure it was square and I labeled it with dimensions so I didn’t have to rely on memory.
Notice I had a can of chain and cable fluid spray sitting on the bender. It is important to clean your tubing before bending and liberally lube the follower die as you are bending so it doesn’t score it. Once your follower die is scored/scratched it will start scratching the tubing on your future bends.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Part 2 where we put in the other cross brace and add some additional support tubes kicking out to the rear. Then we can put the tank in and start closing up the giant hole in the floor.