River Raider DIY Weld in Roll cage.
Parts needed MIG welder (preferably and would potentially cut down total time by 1 to 3 hours), grinder, sander, time, and patience…
Total Time: 14 hours (however Mig welder was down so we used a TiG the whole time.
Things to be aware of- pieces may not be the size or fit you would prefer, relocation to un-optimal listening position of the front tweeters are needed, and supplied measurements may need to be adjusted to fit your preferred application.
Also choose a good time of the year to do this as in time and temperature it was 30 to 38 degrees the whole two days of install
Step 1: disconnect battery and remove sound bar, front tweeters, dash sides, plastic surrounds on windshield then fold down windshield, and fold down rear seats. (If you run with the roll bar padding and cover you will need to remove but I don’t so that was already done for me)
Step 2: Use provided templates to cut dash….I found that the templates are a little off and will need a dremal with cutting disc and/or utility knife to clean up and adjusted.
Step 3: Grind aluminum gusset as shown in RR instructions
Step 4: Fit dash bracket then weld bracket together. Then Install…
Step 5: Weld dash bar to windshield hoop, test fit to dash brackets (preferably with windshield folded up), Weld in place (make sure that the bars are far enough from the windshield to not vibrate on the windshield and cause cracking or breaking)
Step 6: This step will very per application as River Raider supplies brackets to tie windshield hoop to bolts on the folding windshield but the brackets I was supplied with did not come close to the fitment so we skipped this step in the River Raider instructions and are currently fabbing something that we feel would improve the setup for us, in either case you need to fold up the windshield and find the center of the center tab Jeep installed as the 2 center front braces will have to be measured from this point. River Raider states the bars should be 9 in. apart so we originally measured 4.5 in each way from the center, placed the bars then measure the distance from each other to verify (by personal choice I moved the bars slightly closer together to 7 and 3/8’s). Prep both sides of the front section for welding using the sander. My front center bars were about different lengths and each needed to be trimmed by at least 1in each. Be very carefully when tacking in place as one slide slipped off center by about 1/8th of an in and now causes problems with passenger side visor (honestly, doesn’t even matter as the visors are useless due to roll bar positioning so but a good pair of sunglasses) *Tip before welding center bars in place as the rear portion weld to the squared beam I recommend hitting end of tubing with a brass hammer on an anvil to provide max fitment.
Step 7: Skip to step 19 of the River Raider instructions and install the vertical rear support bars. (Easiest part of the whole install)
Step 10: Place and measure the rear bars and River Raider Logo, Mark and sand and weld into place, (I recommend just tacking the logo sign and then using some filler so not to break welds through rough vibrations and to allow better paint application, however I did not do this as I did not think the situation all the way through before welding)
Step 11: Place the rear half center bars and prep weld areas *notice that the bars should angle at about a 25 degrees outward angle toward the rear to match front bars with the very rear bars, also that the rear portion of the bars should almost line up with the two center holes in the very rear cross bar as you can see best on the River Raider instructions. Then weld in place
Step 12: Install grab handles
Step 13: You will find items will need to be either trimmed or discarded when putting everything back in place all wind shield surrounds most likely should be throw out as the pretty much become useless even after heavy trimming the end product is less then desirably, the dash side panels need a good bit of trimming to get around the new dash brackets, and lastly the sound bar needs trimming * how you do this is completely up to you. But these are the adjustments I have done…
*You will notice that I have completely removed the rear light and replaced with a single super high output LED and this will also be the solution for the front as I work out wiring and if I want to run 2 in the front.
Further note the front tweeter’s are not only positioned in a poor listening location but are super difficult to wire back up due to wire length but also due to no rear screw location the tweeters easily fall out of place…My new drill bit and some screws will fix this but still worth the mention.