Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker – Part 2


Here we finish up the roll bar with an X and some rear kickers for support. in the back of my Suzuki Vitara ‘PJ’.

We left off part 1 with an even bigger hole in the floor, roll hoop built and one crossmember. Today we put in the other cross brace and a couple of down tubes. We also start to figure out how we are going to re-package the fuel tank so it is safe and separate from the passenger compartment.

One thing that was more challenging than I had anticipated was figuring out how to make the other side of the X as straight as possible since it is two pieces. The best solution I figured out was to grab my laser level and tripod.

Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Laser level on a tripod helps a lot for lining up the tubes
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
The laser once set up makes it easy to make sure the tube is straight.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Lower tube sitting in place.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Top tube cut and in place. Both tubes tacked in.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
I have been cutting these tubes by hand with angle grinders. Notice I have three grinders out, each had a different type of wheel on it.

The orange Black & Decker STILL has the same diamond cutoff wheel on it. I don’t think I am up to 1,000 cuts but I bet I am definitely over 100. The big orange Dewalt 7″ grinder just has an abrasive wheel on it for shaping, and the Metabo has an 80 grit sanding flap wheel on it that is great for the finishing touches.

Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
After welding in the rest of the X, the next step was to build the rear supports/kickers. Hard to see but the first one is in place on the left side.

At this point, I test fit the gas tank again and figured out that my giant hole in the floor still wasn’t big enough.

Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
The X in the roll bar pushed the tank back far enough that I needed to clearance more at the rear.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
I didn’t want to cut any further because there was a seam with spot welds holding the body together. Instead I bent it down with pliers than hammered it back about another inch.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Now the tank is sitting all the way down in the hole on the crossmembers we built in the gas tank relocation Part 2
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
The copes on the uprights were tricky both on the top and bottom. Here is the top on the left side.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
The cope on the bottom was challenging as well. I had to have a large gap at the front so I could slide the tube into place over the lower tube. This is the only way I could figure out how to do it. Had to put a little more weld to fill that hole than I am proud of.

Ever wonder why custom roll cages and race cars are so expensive? I bet I test fit the rear kicker tubes 25 times EACH. It was exhausting. There is just so many labor hours required in custom work that it really adds up.

Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
All welded up! Popped the seats up to make sure everything still fit.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Almost like I planned it!
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Here is the gas tank from the front side. I had to bend down the front flange on the tank a little where the tubes are.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
This is pretty much the final location. Next I will need to figure out a way to strap down the fuel tank and build an enclosure around it to separate it from the passenger compartment.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker
Here is a view from the front with the seat up.
Building an Interior Roll Cage for Vitara/Tracker

So now we have a full blown roll bar!

As I mentioned in Part 1, this first section isn’t 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.

Next step is to plumb up the fuel tank and build a sheetmetal housing around the tank to separate it from the passenger compartment.

Hope you enjoyed. Now YOU, go out and build something!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.