Installing the S&W Rollbar in the third-gen F-body

The first step is to remove your interior. Take out all side panels, all carpet, all seat belts, seats, center console, stereo, and side kick panels from the car. I kept the driver's seat to help me with the fitment of the side bars, and so that I could drive to the shop where we TIG welded the bar. Surprise for me: After 19 years, there was only one little rust spot in the whole floor. The rest looked like new, without even any dirt.
Next came the trial fit. Not looking good. I almost gave up. Then I got to thinking: This bar is designed to go THROUGH a floor and onto a tube chassis. Unibody cars need to cut off some steel in order to make it fit. I believe the dimension was 46 inches, or thereabouts. Before cutting though, I had to decide where the bar was going to sit. Then, I had to cut and shape the mounting plates. Once they are formed, I'll be able to accurately measure the required length of the hoop.
I reinstalled the rear seat and the side bolster and found a little ledge next to the seat that would make a nice mounting platform, with a little bit of work on the mounting plate.. Ah those wires: I will have to be careful with them when working on the bar.
The back mounting points required temporary reinstallation of the rear side bolsters. I was surprised to see where the rear support braces ended up: It turns out that the rear cargo hatch area is offset relative to the subframes. Thus, the rear bars are not aligned evenly relative to the cargo hatch area, but are aligned as shown.

Left side bar location is nearest actual cargo hatch area.

Note that your rear bars will come down nearest the plastic side pieces, and will NOT be centered on the boxes for the frame rails. The actual subframe is under where you will be placing your bars. The cargo area is offset by two or three inches.

Right side bar mounting location is nearest the spare tire well.

The mounting plates require a good scraping to remove the glue and seam sealer. This stuff is a welder's bane: It spits, explodes, sputters, oozes, and makes a sticky, stinky mess. You have to remove it from several inches around the welding area or else you will clog up the welder or even start a small fire inside your car. You have eight areas to clean out, in and around each of the mounting points. Once scraped out, clean up the remainder with mineral spirits.
Underneath each end of the roll bar will sit a .125" mild steel plate that will need to be cut and shaped to fit your floorpan. I found it to be easiest to bend when heated with a torch. I used the torch whenever I needed to bend or otherwise form the bracket. After heating to cherry red, I banged it over with a lead hammer.
For the main roll hoop, I needed a rather complex looking mounting plate. My rollbar will be notched to sit partially on the tipped-up wing. Here's the mounting plate and where it will mount in the body. This is the same position as shown in the picture above. Some people may then opt to use a hole saw to cut through the floor and mounting plate to attach the roll hoop directly to the subframe connector. I considered it, but decided against going to that level of modification.


Next page