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Kit or Custom: Which Roll Cage Is Right For You?

Posted in How To on June 1, 2012 Comment (0)
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Safety: It’s important. In a removable-top vehicle like a CJ or Wrangler, a stout roll- cage is one of the first modifications you should make. Why? Well it’s pretty easy to catastrophically roll even a stock Jeep on-road. And the stakes are raised off-road. Unfortunately, severe injury or death are both common outcomes to severe rolls. Once you have decided to add a rollcage to your toy, the next questions are where do I get a cage, who should I get to install it, and how much is it gonna cost? Well, as usual, in Jeep modification-land that is not always a straightforward or easy answer. But we have your back having dedicated our meager lives to learning how to build Jeeps, screwing up, cutting them apart and rebuilding them.

In the next few pages, we’ll give you a few front cage options and tips that we use ourselves, and try to tell you the cost, downfalls, and benefits of each one. Follow along as we first install a Synergy Suspension weld-in Front Cage Kit in a ’97 TJ. We then bend and build a similar DIY-style front cage for a ’84 CJ-7. Finally, we talk to a skilled and experienced custom builder, Randy Ellis, of Randy Ellis Design about his prices for a custom-built ’cage along the lines of the two we installed.

We have had prior experience with Synergy Suspension’s full-cage kit that we installed in an old ’98 Wrangler. It fit well and was as stout as hell. What you see here is Synergy Suspensions’ Jeep TJ/LJ Front Cage Kit (PN 5203). This kit adds on to your existing rollbar and replaces the weak adjustable spreaders that run from the B-pillar hoop to the windshield. It’s made of 1¾-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing and comes pre-bent, cut, and notched. We followed the included instructions and the kit came together flawlessly in a couple hours with tight gaps and perfect fitment. You will also need a skilled welder. Epoxy won’t do.

For the purposes of this story we are gonna assume you know how to use your bender if you have one (and no cheap pipe-kinkers need apply), and you know how to use your welder if you have one. If you don’t have a welder or know how to weld, don’t trust your welding, don’t have a tubing bender, contact a quality fabrication shop like Randy Ellis Design for a custom cage. Also, many fabrication shops will happily install the Synergy Suspension kit for you.

We supplemented the Synergy Suspension cage with one of the company’s TJ/LJ Cage Tie-In Kit (PN 5205). At $150 this makes your new cage much stronger and is a must-have in our opinion. We also ground off the paint and welded the seams of the factory rollbar in the B-pillar hoop for added strength. Tying the A-pillar to the frame is especially important in the CJ-7 since the sheetmetal where the foot plate sits is comically thin and the foot plate could just punch through during even a light roll.
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cage Match cage Price List Photo 41091222

Sources

Randy Ellis Design
Phoenix, AZ 85017
602-803-1122
www.randyellisdesign.com
Synergy Manufacturing
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
805-242-0397
www.synergymfg.com

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