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Yesterday, I got back from a week's worth of Jeepin' in Moab. I was glad to say that Lady came home in one piece. She needs some work (control arm bushings), but nothing that a Saturday or two won't take care of.
I met a another lady while at Moab. Her name is Tracy. She had the unfortunate luck of rolling at the top of Hell's Gate (on the Hell's Revenge trail). I am so glad to say that Tracy survived the roll over with just a bump on the head. Here is a what Hell's Gate looks like from the bottom of the obstacle. Here is a video of the roll over. (It is about 6 MB in size).
I was not on the run that Tracy was on when this happened. I was coming back from a run I had led when I heard about it on the radio. I just happened to be going down main street when I saw Tracy and friends turning the corner just ahead of me. After talking with her for a few minutes, I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of pictures.
I thought some of you might be interested in them....I know I sure was. Tracy has nearly the same front roll bar as I do. Hers was made by Challenger. There is a dispute as to who made the first design (the OR-Fab folks or the Challenger folks) because they all use to work for the same fab shop (or so that is the story I was told). Regardless of who made what first, the point is that her cage and mine are basically the same (except for the one bar going side to side that connects the side bars above the tail gate). She also had a pair of stringers going down the center between the front bar and the stock bar, just as I do.
The TJ was driven off the trail under its own power and back into town. I've no idea as to the complete extent of the damages. From behind, I could tell the passenger rear wheel (or flange) was badly bent. It was and inch or two out of true. The folks at the roll over said the front bumper hoop prevented the radiator from being taken out. It was a little bit tweaked, but looked to be in pretty good shape given the circumstances.
A picture from the side of the vehicle.
Most of the parts that came off, including the spare tire, were piled into the back of the TJ.
This is probably the most hotly debated part of this roll bar design.....the point where the front bar bolts into the dash area. There was damage here, as there was all over the vehicle. The flat plate that bolts in here did pull away from the dash area by about 1/2". I've heard people say that this area will fail completely in a roll over and leave the driver with no protection. Well folks....this one did not fail completely and Tracy walked away from this roll over with no injuries. She did not have the floor supports, as I do, that connect this area to the floor of the TJ.
The windshield was not much to look at. Given how badly the frame was crushed (it does extend a bit above the roll bar), I have no doubt what so ever that Tracy would have been severely injured had she not had this roll cage in place.
I tool this one so that all could have an idea as to how un-tweaked the entire case actually was. As you can see, it is sitting pretty square to the world.
This is where the rear tire carrier plate was mounted. I realize it has nothing to do with the roll bar, but I noticed it while taking the above pics and decided to snap one of this too.
I realize that one rollover does not prove that a roll bar design is completely safe. However, I've been on the trail where Tracy rolled. I've helped recover a Jeeper from that very spot who almost went over a year ago. There are no places in Arizona that I've wheeled that present that kind of risk (note I said that on the trails I have wheeled). After having seen Tracy's TJ, I am satisfied that my OR-Fab roll bar will provide me with the safety factor I expected when I purchased it.