Thinking of partial Cage...input needed. - The Saab Link Forums

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Performance Modifications for the NG900 / Old 9-3 This forum contains PERFORMANCE related Q&A's for the NG900 and 9-3. This may also include suspension.

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Old 01-11-2012, 09:16 AM   #1
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Thinking of partial Cage...input needed.

I'm honing my tune now and with the Gpop T28 and other go-fast goodies I've found the car to be a little "wild", which turns out to be contagious
Given the notorious dearth of rigidity in the OG9-3 chassis, I am seriously considering a cage around the driver and front passenger area.
Given the strength of the passenger cell, I would be remiss to put a subframe brace on without bolstering my safety cell first. You can see in crash videos that with the soft OE structure, the passenger cell starts to fail-any stiffer ahead of the driver and you'd likely eat the steering wheel.
Some questions:
1) Can it actually be done without ruining the car?
2) What will it probly cost?
3) What will it weigh?
4) Is this more neurotic than logical?
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:22 AM   #2
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#4. Yes.

No cages for street driving. Super dangerous for your noggin.

I would look into bracing instead.

Food for thought: I had a 350whp 9-3 with no subframe brace or cage.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:41 AM   #3
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What I was looking to do was maybe put some oval aluminum or steel tubing along the A pillar to behind the front seats with a bar across the roof behind wherever my head might be and then going down and securing with a triangulation something in the rear door area. Obviously back seat would be a no-no for passengers.
These cars fold like wet noodles in ideal crash tests--forget hitting a heavier vehicle or harder barrier. I'm looking to at least give myself better chances.
I know some here have much more powerful cars, but even with the power I've got I find restraint incredibly hard. This plus the brake and suspension total upgrade, makes the car feel like a race car. I want to be closer to the safety of a race car as well.
-Cm
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:48 AM   #4
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See attached...
These areas are wanting of support BADLY!
-Cm
(Forgive the shitty ms paint drawing)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SaabBolster.jpg (226.6 KB, 51 views)
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:23 AM   #5
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Get a 9-5?




Seriously though - unless you tie the a-pillar and roof bar into the structure it'll just buckle at the corner the same as the roof does.

Cages are spec'd and designed as a complete system, and assume you are wearing the required safety equipment, and are using a seat and harness designed for use in a cage which restricts the movement of your body.

You can get seriously injured by a cage if you aren't using it as designed. Cages are generally designed towards keeping the driver's cell intact during a roll-over - most of the same deformation happens in a frontal crash even with a cage. The car needs to be able to deform some to distribute the load from the impact.

Cars with cages see higher peak decelerations during impact than cars without, hence the need for the rest of the safety equipment.

Circuit track cars generally don't have much that's solid to hit anymore, big run-off areas and inflatable barriers and such.

Rally cars have other special equipment, completely different head restraints and seat designs specifically because there are more accidents with the car impacting solid immoveable objects. That's also why stage rally cages are about the most stringent design there is.

One last thing - a bad cage will make a crash worse than no cage at all.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:25 AM   #6
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Those are crush zones, and are made to dissapate crash energy.

To repeat, a cage in a car without racing seats, correct harnesses, and a helmet is a bad idea.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Palmer View Post
Those are crush zones, and are made to dissapate crash energy.

To repeat, a cage in a car without racing seats, correct harnesses, and a helmet is a bad idea.
Seriously. Please listen to this guy.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:10 AM   #8
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To echo the others, are you planning on using this car nearly exclusively on a track? Have you ever used it on a track?

If either/both are 'no' then don't cage it. If you're worried about that particular type of crash deformation, buy a 9-5, it will cost less than a proper cage.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:11 AM   #9
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Agreed with the posts above. Thinking that you can quickly and easily modify the car seems naive, really. Saab, may they rest in piece, was always focused on safety as a priority, and I think they put a fair amount of working into getting it right.

Yes, the car deforms in a crash. Maybe more than is ideal in the passenger compartment. I doubt that welding in some tube is going to fix that. Instead, it will create dangerous, unintended consequences.

Actually, the 9-5 suggestion is really good. They drive better, are stiffer, and are probably a fair bit safer.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:12 AM   #10
 
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A simple drag certified bar with door bars would add some rigidity to the passenger shell, but you DEFINITELY don't want a halo or anything along the A-pillar. Those would turn a simple fender bender into a ride in a med-flight chopper.

Banned from drag racing? - Page 2 - FFCars.com : Factory Five Racing Discussion Forum

This arrangement would kill any rear seat access, tho....
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:55 PM   #11
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yea, like mentioned a cage isn't a good idea for a street car. I would think using a cage in the back with a loop above and behind your head & going into the rear hatch area would be OK but doing stuff up front on the doors, A pillars, roof etc is stated by many not a good idea for a street car due to not having the proper restraints in the car.

Yea... saab has always made safe stuff but I do think the 900/9-3 was a big letdown from what they did in the past. Like stated major foot/leg intrusion & the shell just crumples where it shouldn't.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:13 PM   #12
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I think a lot of the issues were due to the age of the platform. Saab started developing the NG in what, 1991? Based on an opel platform form 1988? It was never destined for greatness - it has a few neat safety features and is generally known as a car with high survivability in accidents. Whether your legs are still attached is another story, but it's not an inherently unsafe car, just not as safe as it should've been for a saab.

That said, if you're that worried about day to day safety, a cage really isn't going to do it. As stated many times in this thread, if it's not mounted/tied in correctly, isn't geometrically sound, and simply isn't put together well, it could actually further intrude into the driver's or passenger's area in an impact, doing more damage.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:03 PM   #13
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yea... I think Opel Vectra or something like that. Europe's version of the cavalier back in the 80's
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:37 PM   #14
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Some more info on how you use this car would help, but I wouldn't be that worried about driving in an 0g9-3. (weren't they improved safety wise over the ng900?) There are plenty of cars driving around that are not nearly as safe.

Like others have said, daily driving a caged car is not a great idea. Even with proper padding(which is very unforgiving), it's a hard surface that will end up contacting a very small portion of your head in a crash. Which will be more likely than in a regular car as the cage+padding will mean you lose a few inches of space around your head. Also, a cage in a DD WILL lose it's appeal quickly.

If this is just a fun car that you drive on occasion and plan to take to the track etc. then maybe consider a cage if you want. I've logged plenty of miles in a fully caged car on the street, do I have my helmet on? Fuck no, but I do at least have the appropriate seat and 6 point harness.

If you decide to do that I would urge you to follow some rules books/guidelines. If I understand your original design idea right, it sounds like it could be fairly dangerous. Like drew said, you want something that can work as a system to dissipate forces around the car, meaning tying the cage into the body in as many places as possible. I would also forget about using aluminum as then you are stuck just bolting it in as it can't be welded to the shell. Mild steel DOM tubing will work fine. If your looking for someone else to do the work for you I would recommend looking for a reputable rally or road race shops. Just my opinion, but I would avoid drag or 4X4 builders.

One option that could work even in a DD is to just do the rear section of a full cage. You could just have the main hoop, rear stays and any cross bracing in between them. This could be used with your stock seat and belts safely, you could also safely add a harness with the main hoop. Of course you lose your rear seats. Again, I would still look to have the cage built to a standard such as FIA 253, even though its only partial. This might be in the 1500-2000 range if I had to guess. If it is just a fun car and you want to go further you then should lose your seats and belts and get some new ones. Look at seats aimed at rally, as the nice ones are reasonably comfortable. To get something safe and comfortable your looking at at least $700ish per seat plus $150 for the harness. Headrestraint seats might not be a bad idea either. Then you could look to have at least the front laterals and windshield bar added plus door bars. A sill bar plus one diagonal would be a good option for ease of entry and exit while still being safe. This will cost more in the 2500-3000 range, could go higher.

As for weight, I'd say you would be adding from 100-300 pounds depending on how extensive it is.

In terms of ruining the car, that depends on your definition. To properly build it you should lose any trim that gets in the way of tying the cage into the shell or building it to closely follow the shell. You also probably hurt re-sale value. Your not going to find many people interested in an 0g9-3 race car, and not many people would really want a caged car to drive around.

Last edited by KPAero; 01-11-2012 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:13 PM   #15
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^ That was truly helpful. Thank you!
Now, I am DDing this car, but I don't drive it that much.Furthermore, it's already a racecar-it vibrates, it's loud, it's knife edged in handling... As for resale, I intend to drive the car into the ground. Not worried about selling the car as I've already lost so much do to depreciation and in parts.
Regarding a 9-5, they have worse engines, arbitrarily more expensive parts, and worst of all, they do not have the 3+ years of work and parts I have put into mine.
I know I can put pistons and stuff in the T7's, but I have zero interest.

Also, the drawing above was merely to illustrate where I felt the car needed more support-it was not a "design" of any sort.

I thank you all who mentioned the worsened safety of a bar near my head-I considered this and agree. That said, adding steel will incontrovertibly slow or stop the deformation of the chassis. Obviously, if it is poorly done the improvement will be negligible/dangerous. Considering this, the safety cage was NEVER meant to absorb energy. It is meant to channel energy around the passengers. The ubiquitous 6point brace stiffens the exact area that you don't really want to. The Saab safety cage is an engineering failure.
And no excuse on age- the 1990 Ford Taurus performed better structurally than any pre 04 Saab.
What i was maybe thinking instead was to weld in steel tubing into the door frames, behind the door cards. I would like to stiffen my survival space SOMEHOW. Maybe you wise gents could inform me as to how without the risk of a splattered noggin.
Thanks for your input,
Chase
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:51 PM   #16
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Don't get into an offset crash.

Don't get into any crash.



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Old 01-12-2012, 01:52 PM   #17
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So it seems like this is going down?

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Old 01-12-2012, 09:38 PM   #18
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So it seems like this is going down?

What is that supposed to mean?
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #19
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it's knife edged in handling
This is the part where I stopped reading.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:24 AM   #20
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Just that I think it's a bad idea, and not a bad idea like "I-don't-like-your-paint color." It's dangerous, unnecessary, and I don't really get it.

That's my $.02 and I'll be quiet now.
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