So the joke with my friends was this was not to be intended as rollcage.. it's not! Someone quickly dubbed it my "non-exo-cage-exo-cage". Here's what happened..
I was looking at the rust on/in my stock Rubicon sliders thinking "Idk if I should bother trying to rejuvenate these things or build my own." After a few minutes of surfing Google images and various forums I knew what I had to do; buy an inexpensive Harbor Freight pipe bender, modify it and then build my own sliders, just as many before me have.
*I should at this point state that I am not a competitive wheeler in any form, but I don't mall-crawl either. I DD my Rubicon, use it often as a pickup
(hence the Gobi roof rack), go camping, wheel with friends when the opportunity arises and enjoy playing with it.. doors off in the summer and I'll go anywhere! I really don't care what others think of it because it's mine and I 'built' it the way I wanted it. I try to do as much work on it as I possibly can. Just about everything you see on it that was not obviously bought online was sketched out on scrap paper, pulled out of a scrapyard and then fabbed in my driveway. It's nothing more than a hobby.
I give credit where due and make my own adjustments along the way. It's also important that I do everything I can on a budget. I don't have the money to buy nice things (spent that on the Rubicon 7 years ago), so I make them however I can.
A short list of some of my mods leading up to this;
First it was simply chopping the stock plastic fenders (and the stock Rubicon rock rails for greater tire clearance)
Then the "not-so-stock stubby" with fogs and a hidden HFT 12k winch (https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59644
Gobi roof rack light hoop/protector and homemade aluminum wind-deflector (visible in other photos). This was a Gobi Stealth rack, not the Ranger.
Inexpensive and lightweight rooftop tentcot (people seem to love this) (https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55585
DOM Stinger on the cheap (see other photos)
Rear frame-mounted recovery d-rings (no thread, but visible in other photos)
CAI cowl snorkel and battery drop/relocation (I didn't do a write-up for that yet, but others have)
Doubled the usable space on my Gobi roof rack by welding additional bracing and steel mesh across the front half (no write-up yet, but it is really straight-forward)
Homemade sliders (less than $25 each- Home Depot 1" ID pipe and junkyard brackets)
My first problem with the stock Rubicon sliders was that they mounted to the body sheet metal and pitch-welds. I certainly don't care for that, seeing as how I already bent the body when I wacked something good on the trails. It was time to move to frame-mounted rails. I found a few heavy brackets in a junkyard and trimmed them to fit my application.
Now introducing the homemade bolt-on non-exo-exo-cage slider system.
While working on the rock-rails the thought came to me; "Why not add additional support for the roof rack with a B-pillar brace?" After all, at times the Gobi rack had sagged a bit and rubbed on the hard top. This would ensure I did not encounter this problem again, nor would the rack so easily shimmy from left to right when driving down pothole riddled NJ roads or trails. "Yes, I must do it!"
From there it seemed only logical to me that I run a brace from the B-pillar to the C-pillar to help deflect trees that come a little too close to my body and maybe create a step off that for easy roof access. I had previously dragged a tree along my roof rack, and a buddy of mine busted the side of his rig in (window included). He said this would have saved him most of that damage- minus the window.
Well, if I'm going to brace the rear of the body, shouldn't I balance the front half out, too? "Yup, better run a short A-pillar to the windshield brackets and out to the stinger." That poor stinger was hanging out there for too long all by lonesome; time to add some support bracing. After getting that all lined up and tack welded the front end still looked a bit incomplete. I decided to run a single bar over the grille tracing the hood line and tie the two long bars together. Much better.
*For those of you wondering why I ran the pipe in front of the headlights; I first mocked-up some pipe in front of the headlights and stood back in the street at night.. while in front of the Jeep I was still blinded by the stock headlight beam- you could NOT see the pipe interfering in any way. I guess because it's only a little over 1" OD and the headlights are so wide the light shines right around it. I noticed no difference with this setup and do not expect any DOT problems, as no one has ever hassled me about my Jeep. I don't drive like a jerk and I think the locals know me.
One of my biggest concerns of this project was making the cage removable, just as everything else on the Jeep was, so I did just that. Both sides unbolt from the frame, body and roof rack, as does the entire front clip and the stinger. I can remove every piece of pipe and stinger (the real rollcage DOM tube) in under 25 minutes... on my own. I did it yesterday in order to finish welding the tight spots along the body.
*See pics in the next comment below*
Next up is to paint the whole 'cage' and further secure the B-pillars to the roof rack. At the moment they are clamped tight with a couple u-bolts, but I'm going to weld new brackets up there and securely fasten them with a few heavy bolts.
All-in-all, it cost me less than $140 to do everything including sliders (not stinger or Gobi roof rack) and weighs in at about 100lbs. That's it. According to Home Depot, a 10ft length of 1" ID black [gas] pipe is about 16.8lbs, and I used about 714" * 0.14 lbs = 99.96lbs. Of course this is a rough estimate, but close.
Is it going to protect me from a rollover or crashing on my side? ABSOLUTELY NOT, but it does add support to my rack. I like my rock rails much more than factory, and it adds a little reinforcement to my stinger. I made it myself in a long weekend and I'm pleased. I should also add that I ditched the rear ladder that came with my roof rack in favor of the option to climb up the rear tire and that horizontal bar from the B to C-pillar. Sorry to say, that ladder didn't do anything for me, anyway. Good try though, Gobi. I still love my rack and highly recommend it!!
Note: I have also considered making a lightweight set of removable tube doors and mounting them on the cage. We'll see what happens this summer.. just a thought. I have a far more important project I need to get roadworthy now; 1972 RHD Mini imported from Manchester, UK! 1293cc, dual HS2 SUs, fast cam.. fun!! She's going to be my little British rally car.
If I may, here's my shameless plug- I need a new engine!