Cage fight, Final round.


Posted on February 18 2011

I’ve decide to take a short break form all the Japan blogs I’ve been doing lately because I realized that after 4 posts on the rollcage I was building for a client’s WRX that I never showed the final product and after so many hours of labor in the build that it would be a shame not to show how it turned out.  So while the car has been finished for a while, I’m going to get this out while it’s still somewhat fresh in my mind.

When we left off in the LAST POST I had just finished the long and arduous process of painting the entire cage and inside of the car and all we had left to do was install the interior.  As you can imagine with this intricate of a roll cage a good amount of the interior is going to have to be removed or modified in order to be reinstalled in the car.  There’s obviously quite a few ways to go about the entire process, some more involved than others but because this was to remain a streetable car we were looking to leave the interior as intact as possible.  Here you can see the main areas that are going to be  problem when reinstalling the dash, the two front down tubes.

The first thing you need to do is get somewhat of a idea of where the dash will sit in relation to the tubes.   Unfortunately I couldn’t reinstall the dash to check because there are now 2 big bars in the way (duh) and the only pictures I had for reference were a couple posted up on Autopower’s site.

While that may give me somewhat of an idea, I was really hoping to get a little cleaner install than that because it’s those little details that haunt the dreams of my overly anal brain at night.  At this point all I could do was take a guess at where the dash was going to sit in the car and take a few measurements which is a bit more tricky that it looks .

Measure, re-measure, and measure again.  The rounded contours of the dash make this very difficult and somewhat of a guessing game.

The only real way to know if you have that hole in the right spot is to cross your fingers, hope you got your measurements right and start cutting.  Gulp.  At this point I also made a couple of carbon fiber block off plates for the HVAC vents that could no longer be used becuse the down tubes sit directly behind them.

The lower portion of the dash will need to be notched to fit as well.  More measurements, more guesstiments…..   masking tape helps here to make straight lines on contoured surfaces.

In order to reinstall the dash it now has to be squeezed in between the down tubes before it can be sit where it needs to.  To make that happen I found the trick is to cut the center of the dash right behind this metal bracket which can later be reinstalled to hold it together again.

This allows you to bend the dash enough to squeeze it past the front down tubes like this…..   it’s a bit scary at first but the dash actually has quite a bit of flex to it without deforming.

Phsweeeeeeeew…..   looks like I got it just about right, and it’s a good thing too because once there’s a hole in the dash there’s no going back.

Obviously the best time to do all of this is before the cage is painted so you don’t scratch it up when pulling the dash in and out for minor adjustments.

Driver’s side…

The customer also wanted me to fabricate another carbon fiber plate for the center that would replace the factory head unit and house the Defi gauge controller and wide band display.

Here’s the bracket I made to properly hold the controller in place.

I used rivets that were placed strategically so that they would be hidden once the plate was mounted.

The blank spot next to the wide band will be where the master electrical shutoff will be located later.

Quick check to make sure all the everything is hooked up and functioning properly before the windshield goes into place…..

And in goes the glass and seats.

A couple of before and after pics.

The last thing left to do is something that oftentimes  gets overlooked when installing a weld-in roll cage.  Welding  the floor plates generates a LOT of heat and will burn off the factory undercoating which will leave the chassis exposed to corrosion,  and we know a thing or two about corrosion here at JDML ;)

You can also see here where I used sealant to fill the holes left from the old bolt in cage.  Once again we turn to POR 15 to recover the exposed areas.

This was done on all of the floor plates and should prevent any rust from appearing later on down the road.

Back on the trailer, next stop, Miller Motorsports Park.

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