Roll Cage: Cleaning and Prep work

Ah….a day of my own.  I’ve been working non-stop since coming back from the holidays.  I’ve had a few hours here and there, but no real time to get anything substantive done.  As I posted earlier, I got the roll cage last week.  Today I spent the day doing a little preparation before getting started on installing the cage.  Mostly this involved lots of cleaning.  A 20 year old car collects lots of dirt, grime, and I don’t know what else.  Lots of low-odor turpentine, rags, detailing wire-brush, and elbow grease. There’s not a lot to tell about this process.  Soak, scrub, wipe…repeat until clean(ish).

Starting in the trunk.  Most of the grime is in here.  Between the jack storage well, the gas tank filler hoses, and the battery…thre are lots of reasons for grime and other buildup.  It took several hours to get it as clean as I did.  I’m sure I could spend another full day just cleaning the trunk area.  As long as the paint “sticks”, mostly.




The gas filler.  I didn’t take a “before” picture.  But, it was almost entirely black.


The parcel shelf:  I’ve cleaned this before using knotted wire on an angle grinder.  But, the area between the parcel shelf and the weather strip hasn’t been cleaned, before.  I removed the weather strip, and cleaned as above:


I ordered a bulkhead cover kit from Advanced autosports.  Basically, its just sheet aluminum that has been cut and drilled to fit behind the parcel shelf, and cover the holes in the seat-belt towers.


Looks better.


The next area of focus was the A-pillars and windshield bar.  I need to get the windshield removed, in the mean-time…again I removed the weatherstrip, and cleaned out the dirt and grime.


Again, much better.  Should be paintable.


To make working on the car easier in the shop (which is admittedly a little crowded with too many projects!), I removed the doors.  A very simple process: remove the rolled-pin in the retaining mechanism, and then the   4-bolts, bottom to top.  Support the door as you remove the top bolt.


Next I spent some time removing all the seam-sealer in the interior.  I hate the way that stuff looks, and I needed to remove it from the areas where the the footing go, anyway.  I think this looks much neater.


Finally, clean I decided to begin fitting the front footings into the car.  The first thing I noticed is that the footing lands right on top of the drain.  The drain is not flush with the surrounding floor (duh, wouldn’t be much of a drain if it were). As a result, I needed to raise the floor pan so it met up with the footing plate.


The plan: I had no intention of banging away for an hour underneath the car, between the cement and the floor-pan.  I decided to use the weight of my car to do most of the work.  A jackstand, a wooden block, and a jack made quick work of the situation.  I placed the jackstand with the wooden block under the correct spot and carefully lowered the car down onto the block.  Its nervous work because you are one wrong move from ruining your floor.  But, my jack has good hydraulic control….so I can adjust the rate of descent very finely.  I can’t recommend this procedure for anyone else.  USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!  Disclaimer mode off.


Anyway it worked for me.  I just had to do a little tweaking with the hammer to get the fit “perfect”.



A good day in the shop!  I think the car is now ready to begin the install of the cage.  I borrowed my Dad’s MIG welder.  I just need to create an adapter for his 220V plug to match my 220V receptacles.

6 comments to Roll Cage: Cleaning and Prep work

  • Howard

    A word of caution. Electrical plugs and receptacles have different configurations based on the amperage capacity. It’s not a good idea to use adapters as you can overload the wiring in the welder or the circuit with very warm results. Ask me how I know this. Your project looks fun. Wish I had the time. Maybe next year.

  • Nathanial Sparks

    Hey, good luck on your project. Keep this updated because I am about the same spot as you. I got my cage last week and have been prepping the car for that.

  • Cy

    Some odds and ends comments: use etching primer when you go to paint the cage and cage junctions. If you gut the doors and place the windows in the “up” position with some sheet metal hangers there will be leaks when washing/raining. Drill some holes in the floorpan at its lowest points for water drainage. Skateboard grip tape works well under your feet. Thermotec heat barrier does wonders on the underside of the trans tunnel at keeping heat out of the cabin. Be careful about how much seam sealer you remove, as this is primarily what holds the floorpans to the tub. Happy building!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Connect with Facebook




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.