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Author Topic: Hard Dog Cage
JasonV
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Region: Kansas
Year : 1990
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Anyone have any opinions on the Hard Dog bolt-in cage? I know safety is the last place to cut corners, but I'm curious here. I like the simplicity of having the cage come to my door and installing it. I know I can install a bolt-in with my level of tools, time & talent. I haven't welded enough in the past few years to maintain my skills, though I could fit and tack a weld in cage in place and have someone finish the welding to make sure the welds are up to par. Then again, a custom cage can be tailored to me, my seat and the car.

I've been gathering parts as money allows and have been autocrossing in the car to get seat time. I'm not in a position to go full on into this, but want to plan ahead some. Hope to get the car together and start working on a comp license in late '10 or early '11 if all goes well.

While I'm asking questions, would it be reasonable to forego the hardtop (from a financial standpoint) for now to get on track quicker and buy one later? I know I would need arm restraints and would be giving up some aero advantages of the hardtop. I don't figure I'll be a front runner for a while anyway. Is there any other reason to have the hardtop?

Thanks for the input.

d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Finally, a topic I know something about.

When I built my car I chose a Hard Dog bolt-in cage. The price was right and I could install it myself. I've never tested it but it appears to be well made (nice welds) and the Bethania Garage has a good reputation. What I like: the main hoop fits close to the hard top and allow the seat to go back to the package shelf for max legroom. What I don't like: I wish the front down tubes went throught the dash instead of in front of the dash. The 'factory' second doorbar is too high, I don't think my fat, old ass could get in/out of the car.

When I built my car only 1 door bar was required. I raced as-is, bolted-in, for the first 2 years and then had a professional roll-cage guy add NASCAR door bars (somewhat lower than HD's version), added a Petty bar, added bars going forward to the firewall, and had everything welded including the foot-plates.

I feel safe, but if I did it over again I go with a custom cage, mainly to get the front down-tubes throught the dash and away from my hands, arms, legs.

Personally, I like a roof over my head.

P.S. If you decide to install a do-it-yourself bolt-in cage, buy a good, hardened, drill bit. It makes all the difference.

Good luck -Denny

johnh23
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jason i tryed to save money the same way but i bought a kit cage and had to spend money to rip the cage out and put a real one in do yourself a favor do it right the first time

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Jason,
As to the hardtop, sure go run in the sun if you'd like. I've done summer track days with clubs w/o my roof.

If you were getting a weld in cage they'd need to fit the cage to the hardtop so you'd at least need to borrow one. If it's cold and/or raining though that is one big advantage to not going topless. You'll also get hit with less rubber marbles with the top on but people do race open cars in the cold and the rain too.

--------------------
Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

Frank Todaro
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sorry to hijack your thread but a similar question. I had a custom cage put in my car, but I have a friend buying a car that is built but for the cage and asked me about this pre-fab cage that they ship and you have it welded into place.
http://www.miatacage.com/
anyone try it. I would like to see it in a car and see how far the NASCAR bars go into the doors. I am telling him he is better off going custom but told him I would throw it out to the community??

--------------------
Frank
Member: No Pain Racing

Steven Holloway Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I have the Miatacage, I like the design of it.
It was alot more work to put in than I expected though. Since you do the final trimming and notching, you can get the bars as close as you like. Mine are a red hair from the door skin. I bounced it off some tires once, after cleaning the rubber off you couldn't tell.
Good luck

--------------------
If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's got electrical problems.

Randy Thieme
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I have the MiataCage and I'm very happy with it. Compared to some older designs it feels like a Cadillac with all the room inside. But in the end how well it fits also depends heavily on the skills of the person installing it. If you need a fabricator to install the cage and you're in the Portland, OR area PM me and I can get you the phone number of a top guy.

soupy
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When building a car without a hardtop the cage must be (I think it's) 2 inches above the drivers helmet. Usually doing this will make it impossible to add the hardtop later.

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Charlie Campbell
Race Engineering
carbotech brakes

Drago Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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Jason
Not sure what that cage costs, but you should be able to get a really good cage installed around 2200/2500. We do them for 2200 if you pull all interior and install dash, 2500 if we do the dash. Many by you will be similar in price.
The miatacage is an excellent choice as well. I despise cages with the down tube to in front of the dash. The only wreck I was hurt in is in my first car and I hit my leg into the down bar, felt like I got hit by louisville sluggeer.
As far as bolt in cages go..check out the link below [Frown] See those pipes sticking through the floor [Smile] You never think it could be you until it is!

http://jalopnik.com/5390934/mustang-...over-tire-wall

--------------------
Jim Drago
East Street Auto Salvage
jdrago1@aol.com
2006-2007 Mid-West Division
07,09 June Sprints Champion

EAST STREET RACING

Sean Yepez Verified Driver
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I highly recommend going with a welded cage.

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2008 San Francisco Region SMT Champion

Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Look at Advanced Autosports cage kit.
http://www.advanced-autosports.com/PROD18_safety_gear_for_the_car.htm

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Paul McLester

cpdenis
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I went with the Miatacage. As stated previously, you have to have some idea of what your doing and time. The fit is great if you are patient and follow the directions. I have tons of pictures of the entire process but don't know how to load them into the gallery.

JasonV
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Year : 1990
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Thanks for all the responses! I'd not found a thread that discussed the pros & cons of the bolt-in, weld-in kit & custom cages. I do like the down tube through the dash with a good cross support. That just seems a lot stronger, while providing more room for entry & exit (not to mention it gets the down tubes away from the knees).

Randy Thieme
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If anything try to avoid a cage whose tubes go down through the left/right eyeball vents on the dash. It might look clever but I guarantee it will make removing the dash for electrical repairs a royal pain. If the cage is installed with the dash out then you know you can still get the dash out again if needed.

wheel Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I wouldn't compromise the cage because of the dash. The rules allow you to modify the dash for cage installation, so put the cage where it works the best, for you, and then re-install the dash, cutting what you need to get it back in there.

"c. Gauges and instruments may be added, replaced, or removed.
They may be installed in the original instrument(s) location
using a mounting plate(s), or any other location using a secure
method of attachment. Other than modifications make to
mount instruments and provide for roll cage installation, the
remainder of the dash “board” or panel shall remain intact."

Frank Todaro
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quote:
Originally posted by Steven Holloway:
I have the Miatacage, I like the design of it.
It was alot more work to put in than I expected though. Since you do the final trimming and notching, you can get the bars as close as you like. Mine are a red hair from the door skin. I bounced it off some tires once, after cleaning the rubber off you couldn't tell.
Good luck

What I cannot tell from the web diagram of this cage is how far the NASCAR bars go into the door. On my custom cage, we put the edge of the bar to the edge of the outer door skin. the extend out over the rocker panel. Lots of room.

--------------------
Frank
Member: No Pain Racing

woodc
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I had a hard dog bolt in cage in my CSP time trials car and like everyone else has said the front down tube was right in the way....where your left foot goes. Lack of a dash bar is also a concern.

Now I am moving to ITA and the hard dog cage is gone and a miatacage.com kit is sitting in the garage. :-)

To continue the thread hijack (sorry!)...what would a reasonable price be for someone to install the miatacage.com kit (the car is already gutted/painted and the dash is out?

JasonV
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I had also wondered about the avg cost for a kit cage install.

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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woodc:
Depends on if they've installed the cage before. They generally estimate by how many hours it will take. Mine was something around $1k to install. The guy who installed it had done a few before so it took him less time than the first few. He said once he's done a few more he'll have worked out more bugs with his install process and he'll probably charge less. (Personally I think I got a really good deal on his labor so I put his stickers on my car.)

You should do the seat at the same time to make sure everything fits the way you're going to sit in the car. My installer had me stop by during the process, to check the seat placement with me in it before finishing the welding. Different seats and driver sizes will have different issues.

Having an installer who knows the cage in a given car can save you some cash since they already learned a few lessons from hiccups they had on the previous ones.

--------------------
Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

Scottie
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I just had my cage put in this summer. I did a custom cage and it is well worth it. PM if you would like pictures.

--------------------
How do I fit this ls7 into my mia... nevermind.

luffberry
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Wood C.

You might want to talk to Steve at Panic Motorsports. He is or knows a cage installer.

woodc
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I have a neighbor that is a welder by trade and has built several tube frame cars that is willing to do it for free (he does not have much business and is bored) but I just wanted an idea of how much it would cost me elsewhere so I can cipher out what type of "donation" to make :-)

The miatacage.com directions are pretty detailed...so I am hoping the lack of miata-specific knowledge will not be an issue. I will of course supervise as well :-)

I am not tall...so my seat is actually mounted to the stock rails which makes for easy in-outs for fitment testing...

amolaver Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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as others have said, IMO, skip the hard dog cage. someone commented that their roof bars were fairly tight, but mine were at least a full inch from the door / roof. i bit the bullet and removed mine and had piper put one in (and a real fire system at the same time). the additional space in the cabin is incredible, and i don't have that damn downtube in front of the dash.

i don't believe i've seen a miatacage.com installed, but i don't think i've heard of anyone unhappy with it. to me, the question is, is it as safe as a custom (probably, depending on the welding), and is it cheaper. if you can put it in yourself, i would think it would be less expensive than paying someone to cut one from scratch, but do you have the time and ability to cut the tubes and do the welding properly. i would surmise it is safer than having some local welder knock a custom one out who hasn't built a miata cage before.

as you said, the safety equipment is not the place to cut corners (and i don't think the miatacage.com is)..and that jalopnik link is truly frightening!

--------------------
ahm - http://www.awesom-oracing.com
2009 NASA MA SM Champion

Mike Kelly
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http://www.miatacage.com/

I'm going this route (we have a harddog hardcore Bar) instead of "adding to my bolt in bar. Based on my own welding experience and the cages I've had a hand in building, I really like the design of this cage, and especially the front footer design.

Our car came with a hardtop already, so we are just trying to make this instal go as quickly and easily as possible without rushing it to much...

Do it right, and do it once...We hope!!

amolover how much did piper charge you for that cage instal? Mitch did one for my Datsun V8Zcar and charged me $2400 back in 2005. Not sure what the going rate on a spec cage would be from Mitch...

Mike

woodc
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Heads up: Your UPS delivery person will hate you if you get the miatacage.com kit :-) 1 big 125lb box!

amolaver Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Mike Kelly:
[URL=http://www.miatacage.com/] amolover how much did piper charge you for that cage instal? Mitch did one for my Datsun V8Zcar and charged me $2400 back in 2005. Not sure what the going rate on a spec cage would be from Mitch...

Mike

i do believe it cost a metric sh!tton. i think i've blocked out the cost so i don't cry. since i bought the fire system from mitch and they did the install (art, btw), it was over 3K, but i really can't remember exactly. the fire system was something like $3-400, and i think they had 3-4 hours into the install (not sure about that). they fab'd up tabs that were welded to the windshield header cage tube for two nozzles, more tabs on the firewall (engine side) for two more, and another pair over the fuel tank. point being, i think there is at least $750 in the fire system (parts/labor). i BELIEVE the cage itself is around 3K, but i'm far from certain.

--------------------
ahm - http://www.awesom-oracing.com
2009 NASA MA SM Champion

   

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