Lil Red - SJ restoration - Preparing the Roll Bar
James wanted a genuine rollbar for his SJ. Now we realise that these roll bars are little more than show items, they are not a competition grade roll bar but it is a factory restore so needs a factory roll bar.
We eventually found one on Ebay. It was not easy to find one but it has been even harder to restore it!. It comes with a white "plastic" coat that at first appears easy to remove as the rust is lifting it up. I took it to the Powder Coaters and they sent it back saying that it simply melted and flowed back whenever they blasted it. In other words, it could be done but would be too expensive in time and money. I then tried sanding, burning with a blow torch and peeling with a sharp edge. It simply would not come off. It took an abrasive wire wheel in an Angle Grinder and close on 4 hours work to shift it.
When we first got it, it did not look too bad, here it is on the lawn. However it was missing the brackets to attach it to the upper seat belt points and the plates to fit under the floor.
First of all, as it will need holes drilling in the floor, we took it up to Winchfield Engineering for a test fit and to confirm that the little dents in the wheel arch are in fact the drilling points for the roll hoop.
We searched long and hard for the proper brackets to fit the top to the seat belt mounts. As they are visible it would be nice to have the correct brackets. At a guess, when the bar is removed from scrap cars these are left on the body of the car and not removed, therefore they are ultra rare. We eventually found a set from a Samurai located in the USA!
The plates to fit under the floor were also missing. As these are out of sight it does not matter too much what they look like so I made a couple from some 6mm steel plate.
As mentiond above, the bar was covered in a plastic coat that was self peeling in some places and had been patched with white paint.
This plastic proved almost impossible to remove.
Sandblasting/Shot blasting simply melted the plastic on impact and then it immediately cooled to a solid coat again. Sanding also didnt work.
As it is self-peeling in places I tried a sharp edge but that also would not shift it.
Chemicals such as paint stripper and other solvents did nothing.
I tried a blow torch but the plastic would not burn, it simply melted and set again.
The only way to shift it was with a wire brush in an angle grinder. This covered everything nearby with tiny globules of plastic and was not quick (it took 4 hours in total and raised comment on the noise from the neighbours!)