River Raider Roll Cage & Rock Hard 4X4 - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-31-2011, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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River Raider Roll Cage & Rock Hard 4X4

In a prior writeup named "Sandblasting, Powdercoating & Offroad Hitches". I was asked a few questions about the Roll Cage in my 08 Rubicon Unlimited (named RumbleBee)



Back when I decided to install a full cage in there were only a few choices available. The first cage I examined was from Rock Hard 4X4 Parts while the other was from River Raider. The Roll Cage I chose came from River Raider. It requires welding so either a professional is required, or you or a friend must be a skilled welder.


The Rock Hard cage is considerably more expensive than the River Raider cage. This is largely due to the extra hardware it uses to make it easy to install. Sections of the Rock Hard cage end in Clamps.



That can a big advantage for some people since it is simply bolted in place using Roll Bar Clamps. It also means it can be painted, or powder coated prior to installation.

Before proceeding I would like to state that I am sure the Rock Hard cage is good product. My personal preference is to have a welded cage because it feels safer to me. I also prefer the appearance of a welded cage but that is a very subjective opinion.

The Rock Hard cage employs an upper front bar that crosses the cabin about a foot in front of the top of the windshield.



This has both advantages and disadvantages. An advantage of this design is that it enables you to have a full-size sPOD without interference. A disadvantage is that it is further from the windshield so in the event of a roll-over it appears it would allow the windshield to collapse into the front seating area more than a welded design that rings the windshield. I don't know that to be true. It is simply based on the cross-bars being further away at the top of the Jeep. The front down tubes on the Rock Hard cage attaches at the upper corner of the windshield in the area where the sun visors attach. (002 Front Corner Attachment Points)

The Rock Hard cage ties into the dash area of the Jeep with a metal plate that covers the removable portion of the outside edge of the dash. Here are a couple shots which show the Driver & Passenger sides as well as the Dash Cross Bar that clamps to the down tubes.





My issue with this approach is that it appears to prevent you from gaining access to the sides of Dash once the cage is installed, unless you unbolt the entire front cage assembly. That's okay as long as you realize that before you install it. Here are a couple shots showing off the Dash Cross Bar.





The center bars that run down the middle of the Jeep are very easy to install. They simply bolt & clamp in place. Here are a couple shots of the center bars in front and back.





Okay, so now you've seen the cage I didn't go with. Lets take a look at what I did choose. I went with the River Raider cage. I like River Raider's cage for a number of reasons:
1) The clever design especially around the Dash tie-in
2) The pre-cut construction
3) The beefiness of the tubes
4) The awesome support from Kenny & the gang at River Raider

So here is the process I went through.

2008 Rubi Unltd • RR Roll Cage - Limb Risers - Evap Skid - Diff Covers • PolyPerf HD Ball Joints • Reid Hi Steer Knuckles • RK 3.5" Triple Threat PRO Longarm • Rebel F & R Coil Overs • sPod Mini • Shrockworks Rock Sliders - Rear Bumper w/ Tire Swing • Xenon Flat Flares • ORO Onboard Air • BD Dual Battery • 5.13 Gears • 35" BFG KM2s • Warn VR12000 Winch • Safari Straps Everything • Tuffy Security Drawer •
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-31-2011, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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So here is the process I went through.

First hinge to do is remove the large external windshield brackets and lay the windshield down. For many of us this may be the one and only time you ever do that.



Here is an interior shot of the windshield down. It also shows the very first "Mini sPOD" sold. John, over at sPOD was great. He knew how much I needed (okay, I guess it's really how much I wanted) a Mini version to go with the River Raider cage so he made one available.



The next step is to remove the side dash panels by simply popping them out. This will then provide easy access to the guts of your dash. What you're after is the large aluminum brace that is located right behind the pop off panels. You will see two large bolts holding the aluminum brace in place. Directly below each bolt is a brace-web. These provide additional strength. The upper one needs to be removed. Don't worry about any loss of strength because what goes in will more than make up for the removal of the webbing. I used an air-powered conical grinding bit to strip away the webbing. It was fast and easy. You can see in the upper red box the line where the webbing used to be.



In this picture you can once again see (in red) where the upper aluminum web used to located. You can also see (in green) the wiring harness for the sPOD that routes through this area.



Now comes what will feel like the most frightening part of the install. You need to cut off a corner of the dash on each side of the vehicle. The aluminum flakes are from removing the webbing in the prior step. I was admittedly nervous about cutting away a piece of my perfectly good dash. So I called Kenny at River Raider and he calmly told me what to do. It is actually quite easy, its just that most of us are not used to cutting into our dash. I used an air-powered cutting disc and it was a piece of cake. The wires you see are from the small Tweeter module that used to sit where the dash was cut away.





The reason you cut the dash is to prepare he area for the Dash Support Plates. The single-piece Window Frame Bar, which runs up one side of the windshield then across the top and down the other side, will weld to the Dash Plates. Take your time and make sure you have it positioned correctly before you start welding. There are locations at the top of the Frame piece that attach to the stock Upper Roll Bar brackets. The lower Support Braces, which attach to the aluminum frame that you cut the webbing on earlier in the installation, also weld to the Dash Support Plates.



You also need to spend some time and effort to make sure the Lower Dash Cross Bar is completely level. Unfortunately the human eye is amazingly good at recognizing lines that are not level. Spend some time and double check how level your Cross Bar is before welding. In this photo I am using a digital level to be as accurate as possible.



There is a whole lot going on in the next photo. You can see the Dash Plates with their unique "wrap around" design (more on that later). You can also see the tweeter wires at the front of the plate and the sPOD wires which have been routed through the Dash Plates and lower Support Brackets. You can also see the Window Frame Bar bolted to the Upper Roll Bar Brackets. You can also see that I have tack welded the Front Center Bars.



In the next picture you can see how nicely the sPOD Mini fits between the center bars of the River Raider cage. I took the picture to point out a step that will create a very clean fit & finish if you take the time. If you look at the two areas I have outlined in blue you will notice there is an area at the end of each pipe that is exposed. Rather than just try to fill the area with weld you should cut small crescents from a piece of tubing and use the crescent slugs to fill the opening. Then weld things together. This will give you a cleaner, better, stronger joint.


2008 Rubi Unltd • RR Roll Cage - Limb Risers - Evap Skid - Diff Covers • PolyPerf HD Ball Joints • Reid Hi Steer Knuckles • RK 3.5" Triple Threat PRO Longarm • Rebel F & R Coil Overs • sPod Mini • Shrockworks Rock Sliders - Rear Bumper w/ Tire Swing • Xenon Flat Flares • ORO Onboard Air • BD Dual Battery • 5.13 Gears • 35" BFG KM2s • Warn VR12000 Winch • Safari Straps Everything • Tuffy Security Drawer •

Last edited by Hemo; 01-31-2011 at 07:54 PM.
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-31-2011, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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This next picture shows my buddy, who's garage we are working in, helping tack weld the Rear Center Bars. Once again this is a place where you want to measure, remeasure and measure once more before you weld things in place. I suggest making a few tiny tack welds and then examining the straightness of your Center Bars from front to rear. It is amazing how your eye can spot a misalignment even when it may only be a degree or two. Take your time and make sure you're happy with the alignment of your Center Bars before fully welding them in place.







There are a pair of Bars that go in the very back of the Jeep. These come in from the angled rear down tubes and sweep up and attach to the rear cross bar. They add some nice rigidity while also providing a nice aesthetic appearance.



Okay, this next little bit may sound strange. One of the reasons I like the River Raider cage is because of the location of the grab handles. I've had a number of Jeeps and I have found that for me, the best location for front grab handles is when they run between the upper side bar and the front windshield down tube. That is exactly how River Raider does them. The Rock Hard 4X4 grab handles are attached solely to the down tube. For many of you that will be fine. It is purely a matter of personal preference. Here are a few shots of us attaching the front Grab Handles.









One of the last things we did was weld in the Down Tubes that are located immediately behind the rear seat. They are along the edge of the body tub and sit on part of the fender well. Once again, make sure you have these level so you can't perceive any lean to them. Otherwise they will bug you for however long you own your Jeep.


2008 Rubi Unltd • RR Roll Cage - Limb Risers - Evap Skid - Diff Covers • PolyPerf HD Ball Joints • Reid Hi Steer Knuckles • RK 3.5" Triple Threat PRO Longarm • Rebel F & R Coil Overs • sPod Mini • Shrockworks Rock Sliders - Rear Bumper w/ Tire Swing • Xenon Flat Flares • ORO Onboard Air • BD Dual Battery • 5.13 Gears • 35" BFG KM2s • Warn VR12000 Winch • Safari Straps Everything • Tuffy Security Drawer •
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-31-2011, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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The welding is done and now it is time to paint. That means that its time for the welding blackest to come out and the drop cloth and masking tape to come in. This really goes without saying, but… make sure you cover up EVERYTHING.



You can spot a River Raider Roll Cage very easily. They put their name on it. On the very back of the Jeep between the pair of tubes that sweep in from the edge, they put a plate with their name laser cut, or perhaps waterjet cut, in it.



I really like the products from River Raider. Kenny and the gang design great stuff. They are price it pretty attractively and they stand ready to help you with any questions you may have. They are also willing to help personalize things when it is possible. I was very pleased when Kenny told me he could do something for me that would make my installation a little unique. That little something was a personalized rear plate with the name of my Jeep cut in it.





The bottom line is this… If you can weld, or know someone who can, then the River Raider Cage is fantastic. It is an excellent kit that looks great & fits nice and tight. One of the things I really like about it is the unique way it attaches to the Dash, which still allows easy access into the side panels of your Dash. It also moves your Tweeters right up front so there are no bars between them and you.



If you have no welding skills, nor friends with welding skills, and you don't want to pay to have a cage welded by a professional then I would encourage you to examine the Rock Hard 4X4 Cage. It is attractive and will simply bolt in. Either way, seriously consider putting a full cage in your Jeep. It looks cool but more importantly it will protect the most valuable items in your vehicle… you and your friends.

2008 Rubi Unltd • RR Roll Cage - Limb Risers - Evap Skid - Diff Covers • PolyPerf HD Ball Joints • Reid Hi Steer Knuckles • RK 3.5" Triple Threat PRO Longarm • Rebel F & R Coil Overs • sPod Mini • Shrockworks Rock Sliders - Rear Bumper w/ Tire Swing • Xenon Flat Flares • ORO Onboard Air • BD Dual Battery • 5.13 Gears • 35" BFG KM2s • Warn VR12000 Winch • Safari Straps Everything • Tuffy Security Drawer •
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-01-2011, 06:58 PM
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Much better write up than mine on the River Raider cage so to you!

Your cage looks good.


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post #6 of 14 Old 02-01-2011, 07:28 PM
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Waved to the Misses today. I don't think she recognized us with all the snow blowing.

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post #7 of 14 Old 02-01-2011, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DOOKEY View Post
Waved to the Misses today. I don't think she recognized us with all the snow blowing.

I knew it was a bad idea for me to install seat heaters in RumbleBee. Ever since the seat heaters went in my wife has claimed possession of the Jeep. She says I will get it back once winter is over

By the way, I like your wife's new JK Unlimited. It dresses up the neighborhood.

2008 Rubi Unltd • RR Roll Cage - Limb Risers - Evap Skid - Diff Covers • PolyPerf HD Ball Joints • Reid Hi Steer Knuckles • RK 3.5" Triple Threat PRO Longarm • Rebel F & R Coil Overs • sPod Mini • Shrockworks Rock Sliders - Rear Bumper w/ Tire Swing • Xenon Flat Flares • ORO Onboard Air • BD Dual Battery • 5.13 Gears • 35" BFG KM2s • Warn VR12000 Winch • Safari Straps Everything • Tuffy Security Drawer •
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-01-2011, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d'sjk View Post
Much better write up than mine on the River Raider cage so to you!

Your cage looks good.

Thanks a lot. I appreciate the nod.

2008 Rubi Unltd • RR Roll Cage - Limb Risers - Evap Skid - Diff Covers • PolyPerf HD Ball Joints • Reid Hi Steer Knuckles • RK 3.5" Triple Threat PRO Longarm • Rebel F & R Coil Overs • sPod Mini • Shrockworks Rock Sliders - Rear Bumper w/ Tire Swing • Xenon Flat Flares • ORO Onboard Air • BD Dual Battery • 5.13 Gears • 35" BFG KM2s • Warn VR12000 Winch • Safari Straps Everything • Tuffy Security Drawer •
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-01-2011, 07:46 PM
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Nice install. Great looking jeep
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-06-2011, 07:47 AM
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That was a great write up,thanks

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post #11 of 14 Old 02-06-2011, 08:07 AM
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Nice job!

The RROR cage is in my sights for the very near future.
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-12-2011, 01:30 PM
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best cage write up

awesome write up/ I plan on a cage in the near future and am considering the River Raider. I have saved a lint to this tread, Thank you very much
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-30-2011, 11:43 PM
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Great write up...

Great price too...
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-31-2011, 12:45 AM
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Awesome write-up! Cage looks awesome.

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