Tech: New Edge Roll Bar Install

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Bar Exam

Installing Maximum Motorsports’ drag-race roll bar in a 10-second Cobra

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Jeff Smith and Jon Pavia Racing

Today’s modern Mustangs are capable of great performance in stock form, but when you mod them, those elapsed times start dropping in a hurry. If you are doing it right, your car might soon be running quick enough to require more safety equipment. If you want to be safe (and get to make more than one pass at the track) you’ll need to upgrade.

Jeff gets the job done at the track banging gears with a Tremec Magnum six-speed transmission upgraded by Astro Performance. He has won a number of events on the NMRA circuit with this combo, and he plans on keeping up the good work. A Steeda diff brace and bushings help him put down the power with the stock IRS. With the new roll cage in place, he can push the car even harder.
Jeff gets the job done at the track banging gears with a Tremec Magnum six-speed transmission upgraded by Astro Performance. He has won a number of events on the NMRA circuit with this combo, and he plans on keeping up the good work. A Steeda diff brace and bushings help him put down the power with the stock IRS. With the new roll cage in place, he can push the car even harder.

Such was the case for SVTP member Jeff Smith and his 2004 Cobra, a.k.a. The Pumpkin. An avid drag racer, Jeff has upgraded his Terminator with a VMP TVS supercharger pumped up by a Metco Motorsports overdriven lower pulley. Fed by a JLT high-boost cold-air intake and a set of Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors, his Cobra put down over 646 horsepower and 598 lb-ft of torque to the wheels with a VMP tune and some Torco in the tank.

Though he already added a Stiffler’s driveshaft safety loop, Jeff clearly wants to push the car’s 10-second performance even further. To do so, meant it was time to install a roll cage. Not only would doing so make his car legal for running quicker times. It also adds an additional layer of safety, which is so important at higher speeds.

The Maximum Motorsports Drag Race bar is shipped bare, so you will want to paint it or powdercoat it before installing it. However, if you are installing it to keep your car in the good graces of the NHRA or NMRA, you will want to install the rear bars and have them welded up before you have the bar painted. Before you make it pretty, you will want to put the main hoop in the car and use a PVC pipe extended from the rear support spud to mark the interior trim panel for the necessary pass-through hole.
The Maximum Motorsports Drag Race bar is shipped bare, so you will want to paint it or powdercoat it before installing it. However, if you are installing it to keep your car in the good graces of the NHRA or NMRA, you will want to install the rear bars and have them welded up before you have the bar painted. Before you make it pretty, you will want to put the main hoop in the car and use a PVC pipe extended from the rear support spud to mark the interior trim panel for the necessary pass-through hole.

“I choose Maximum Motorsports’ bar because it seemed to be the one most Terminator guys had and all the reviews were good,” Jeff explained. “The install was straight-forward and the instructions were very detailed.”

The bar in question is the Maximum’s six-point drag race unit featuring removable door bars and a fixed harness mount bar (PN MMRB-7; $605). This bar is designed to bolt in and meet both NHRA and NMRA safety standards. It will also bolster your Mustang’s chassis rigidity, which can actually improve its performance at the track.

“The only welding required is to join the back down bars from main hoop. I had TRZ Motorsports handle the Tig-welding chores and it looks sweet. The fit and finish is great,” Jeff said. “The car feels much tighter, and so far—in my one track outing—the car seems to have picked up in the 60 foot.”

It’s certainly a worthy upgrade, and for those considering a bar, Jeff offered to let us follow along with his install, performed with the help Jonathan Pavia of Like A Boss Racing.

Jeff had the bar painted at a local body shop.
Jeff had the bar painted at a local body shop.
Here is the painted bar. As you can see, Jeff might have skipped that welding step. As such he had to have those rear bars welded up. Then the bar had to be repainted. Do as we say, not as we do…
Here is the painted bar. As you can see, Jeff might have skipped that welding step. As such he had to have those rear bars welded up. Then the bar had to be repainted. Do as we say, not as we do…
Here are the nice welds applied by TRZ Motorsports. The NHRA doesn’t allow grinding of the welds, nor can they be marred with porosity or slag. As you can see, the welds on Jeff’s bar are clean. The design of the Maximum bar allows you to bolt on the rear bars. This places them in the right spot to have them welded outside of the car.
Here are the nice welds applied by TRZ Motorsports. The NHRA doesn’t allow grinding of the welds, nor can they be marred with porosity or slag. As you can see, the welds on Jeff’s bar are clean. The design of the Maximum bar allows you to bolt on the rear bars. This places them in the right spot to have them welded outside of the car.
Before you start installing the bar, you’ll need to remove a great deal of the interior, including the seats and trim panels. The Maximum instructions thoroughly detail this process if you aren’t already familiar with it. Then use the bar as a template to mark your drilling locations. You will probably want to take a peek under the car before you start drilling to make sure there aren’t any fuel lines or batter cables near your drilling targets.
Before you start installing the bar, you’ll need to remove a great deal of the interior, including the seats and trim panels. The Maximum instructions thoroughly detail this process if you aren’t already familiar with it. Then use the bar as a template to mark your drilling locations. You will probably want to take a peek under the car before you start drilling to make sure there aren’t any fuel lines or batter cables near your drilling targets.
The rear bars bolt to the wheel well and a doubling plate goes on the other side of the well to provide extra strength to the mounting.
The rear bars bolt to the wheel well and a doubling plate goes on the other side of the well to provide extra strength to the mounting.
With the holes drilled, Jeff works the bar into place. You might want to wrap the bar in plastic or painters tape to protect the shiny finish as you install it.
With the holes drilled, Jeff works the bar into place. You might want to wrap the bar in plastic or painters tape to protect the shiny finish as you install it.
Before bolting in the rear bars, Jeff slipped the rear panels—which he trimmed using the template method we explained earlier—over the bars.
Before bolting in the rear bars, Jeff slipped the rear panels—which he trimmed using the template method we explained earlier—over the bars.
After installing the bar, Jeff put the interior back together. The install is clean, and the fixed cross bar provides a solid mount for his new G-Force harness belts, which are also a necessity as speeds increase.
After installing the bar, Jeff put the interior back together. The install is clean, and the fixed cross bar provides a solid mount for his new G-Force harness belts, which are also a necessity as speeds increase.
Here is the completed install. Jeff’s potent Terminator retains its street credentials, so he chose removable door bars. Maximum also offers a traditional version with fixed door bars (PN MMRB-6; $574).
Here is the completed install. Jeff’s potent Terminator retains its street credentials, so he chose removable door bars. Maximum also offers a traditional version with fixed door bars (PN MMRB-6; $574).

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