Click on pictures to enlarge.
As previously advised Dave Lucas form SlickRock Fabrication is helping out with underbody protection as well as front and rear bars. I will however be reusing a front steering arm protector to keep Dave's work to a minimum.
Above you can see Dave working on the Rock sliders. These are his standard Discovery I Rock sliders however due to the modified wheel arches [and some extra demands by myself] he is modifying them to fit the needs of this vehicle. As you can see they are still in a raw state but they do look and work great when completed.
The picture below shows Keith and Dave test fitting the custom fabricated rear bar. The bar has been custom made due to our revised rear chassis position and set up and to keep rear overhangs to a minimum. You can also see a bit of the raw rear bar in the right hand picture shown above. The bar is made out of 5" x 2 " and 3/8" thick steel box section tubing to give sufficient strength and protection for the rear. The ends have been tapered down from the 5" main section down to 2" in height on the outside of the chassis mounts.
The above picture of Dave and Keith show them checking the position of the rear bar and confirming what modification to the rear body needs to be made to accommodate this one off design. Once this was completed it was onto modifying the rear of the Discovery. The first picture below shows how we shaved the rear corners to allow for the form fitting bar. This approach allows a 2" overhang of bar whilst maximizing the departure angles as much as possible.
The top right hand picture below shows Dave cleaning and polishing the bar after it has been finished and fitted to the rear of the project. The bottom left hand picture is also of Dave working on the final fitting of the bar. the bottom right hand picture shows the bar finished except for painting and fitment of recovery points. Unfortunately due to the way we had designed and made the rear chassis changes it was necessary for Dave to complete a lot of the final portions of the rear bar on the vehicle. This made life more difficult for him with welding and fitment but ensures that there is almost no likelihood of the rear bar ever being pulled out under heavy recovery situations nor is it likely to ever bend or fail.
The left hand picture below shows the bar completed and painted. You will note the recovery points are painted read. The Australia Outback Challenge has a standard rule that all recovery points must be painted red thus making it easy to always identify properly rated and designed recovery points. Whilst we do not need to do this just yet we chose to paint them now for clear identification. Fitment of the recovery points also bears mention. Dave Lucas makes his recovery fitment plates out of 3/8 inch thick steel plate. This backing plate is welded into the inside of the rear bar with nuts already welded to the plate. This set up allows for a strong anchor point and effectively spreads the recovery load over an extended area within the bar. The plate also ensures little to no likelihood of the rear bar being pulled or stretched out of shape. Four 5/8 inch grade 8 bolts are then used to attached the recovery hook to the rear bar and backing plate.
The End. [Well not quite but it sounded good]
Steering Arm Protector
I transferred across my DAP steering arm protector to the new Discovery. You will note that the steering arms have been modified to a Defender format and the steering damper welded to the protector plate.
Front Winch Bar
Since I was going to be in Australia for most of April and all of may 2005 [yes I sometime have to do other things] and as time seemed to be slipping away at an accelerating rate, we decided to get Justin Hardine to fabricate the Front Bar. Justin works with Keith Kreutzer [my co-driver] of Rovertracks on a number of projects so he was fully aware of our project and what we were trying to achieve. His business name is Metal Explorations and he can be contacted on (720) 331-6130 should you want him to do some work for you.
When I briefed Justin on the project I gave him the following criteria:
The Bar was to mount a Warn 8274-50 Winch. I plan to install the 24 volt version if I can afford one.
The Winch needed to be tucked in as far and as high as possible. Read about cooling adjustments to see how much room we freed up behind the grill.
"Rabbit Ears" were needed on the top of the bar to allow for quick storage of unraveled winch rope
The bar should maximize approach angle. Let's face it I need all the help I can get.
Two Recovery points as per Winch Challenge Specs were required.
Other than that he had a fairly broad mandate to create.
The Winch draw under construction
The main section which bolts to the frame (using (4) 7/16 and (2) ½ grade 8 bolts) was plasma cut to yield the highest accuracy possible. The mounting plates are so accurate that you can just install the front four bolts with no washers or nuts and you are not able to move the bumper up or down any more than a 1/32. The main section also has pieces of rectangular tube between the two mounting plates which stiffens it significantly and gives rise to transferring the torque produced by the winch much more evenly throughout both mounting points. The main frame is constructed entirely out of Ό plate. Yes it is heavy.
The Finished Bar
The brush bar was fabricated out of the same material that was used on the roll cage (1 ½ DOM). Some extras that were added consisted of headlight washer mounts, headlight/turn signal guard mounts, winch cable ears on top and one set of burly recovery points. The recovery points will eventually be painted bright red as per competition rules.
How Many bolts were used:
(4) 7/16 x 5
(2) ½ x 5
As with the Front bar comments above, we decided to get Justin Hardine to fabricate the Front Bar. Justin works with Keith Kreutzer [my co-driver] of Rovertracks on a number of projects included a number of Roll Cages that have come out great. Just in case you did not read it above, His business name is Metal Explorations and he can be contacted on (720) 331-6130 should you want him to do some work for you.
When I briefed Justin on the project I gave him the following criteria:
The Roll Cage had to comply with Schedule J - General Requirements of Automobiles as specified by CAMS [Confederation of Australian Motor sports] This is basically an international minimum standard of how a Roll Cage should be built.
It should provide maximum Driver & Co-Driver room in the front.
Rear Support Panels should allow easy access to the rear storage area from the side doors.
Two Horizontal supports should be incorporated to allow fitment of the restraint harness.
Positioning should be back as far as possible so that seats can be moved back fully. Lets face it I'm not a small lad.
Two Front Center bars should be installed for additional cabin strength and to allow for fitment of a radio and other items if necessary.
Building a roll cage with all of my demands is like painting a masterpiece [I do not think Justin knew what he was in for]. This comparison is very useful in understanding the process of fabricating a cage that Justin had to go through. The cage is constructed of many over-lapping layers. The first step in construction of the cage consisted of locating suitable mounting points to the body. Regulations by CAMS specified there be a minimum of one mounting point for each front, mid and rear stays. The mounting plates were constructed out of Ό (6.3mm) plate. The CAMS specs specify that only 3mm plate is required so we went a little over board in strength here. The tubing used on the cage is 1 ½ (.120 wall thickness) DOM [short for Drawn Over Mandrel] material. In other words CDS or Cold Drawn Steel. This material is actually 3 mm instead of the required 2.5 mm and is the same tubing used in the USA for construction of Roll Cages for Competition vehicles, Rock Buggy Frames etc.
Bending the tube to fit snug and as structurally sound as possible was one of the main areas for concern. A bending die with a relatively tight radius was used to tuck the tube up into the body. This was especially important in the front and middle sections of the cage because the driver and co-driver are required to wear helmets, thus allowing as much head room as possible during the rally. The mid section of the cage was one of the more critical sections because it has to support the side to side pressure upon impact. Well I hope it never actually needs to be used as this would mean my driving was not up to standard, Oh the shame of it.
Front Bar Section
The front mounting plates are secured by three (3/8 x 1 Ό grade 8) bolts. This is the minimum required under Schedule J.
The first picture above shows how the front dash was cut to allow for the fitment of the Lateral roll bar. This was done on both driver and co-driver sides. Pictures 2 & 3 show the Lateral roll bars which extend from the front foot well up then along the vehicle side to end at the Main roll bar. Pictures 4 & 5 above as well as all those below show the Lateral roll bar in position. The Mounting foot for the Lateral roll bar can also be seen in several of the pictures.
The mid mounting plates afforded more room than the front giving the ability to use four bolts per plate, one more than specified under Schedule J. The mounts also have backing plates of same size and thickness for structural integrity.
The pictures above show how the mid section was constructed. The Mid section or Main roll bar consists of one continuous vertical frame or hoop located across the vehicle just behind the two front seats. This is the main protection for Keith and I should I stuff up badly.
The above shots show how the Diagonal member is installed onto the Main roll bar.
The mid section was required to have a diagonal bar and two horizontal crossbars. The diagonal bars purpose is to stiffen the overall cage and the crossbars are used to secure the 4 point harnesses.
You can see how Justin has moulded the top horizontal bar, also considered to be Framework reinforcement, behind the front seats. This allows for it to be neatly linked into the Diagonal member for structural support. It also looks cool.
The above are close ups of both seats and the top horizontal bar. The third pictures shows where they join albeit they are only tacked in place for the picture.
The above picture shows the lower horizontal bar. This was fabricated as a straight piece as there was no need to mould it around the seats as was required for the top bar.
Front Accessory bars
Neither of these bars is required under Schedule J however we put them in to give some additional bracing for the front and to allow for a convenient place to mount the CB radio and other items yet to be imagined.
Rear bars or Backstays
The rear mounting plates afforded more room than the front giving the ability to use four bolts per plate, one more than specified under Schedule J. The mounts also have back plates of same size and thickness for structural integrity. The Backstays follow just above the door line then bend down to be mounted on the top of the wheel arch. You can just see the Mounting foot at the bottom right hand corner in the second picture. The design still gives easy access to the rear cargo area whilst providing strong rear support.
Complete Roll Cage prior to welding together
The above pictures show the masterpiece [to continue the painting analogy] finished. It is only tacked together at this stage however you get the idea of what it looks like. Also it stands out better in these pictures than when it is painted and darker to see.
Complete Roll Cage after welding and with the Cargo Barrier fitted
How much tubing is required to make an internal roll cage?
The Roll Cage used 70 ft of tubing.
How Many bolts were used?
(22) 3/8 x 1 Ό
How Much Paint was used?
3 ½ cans of spray paint
Other stuff between the Front bar and Roll Cage:
Side note: Dont weld inside a car if you dont have to. There are just things in life more enjoyable!!!