Watson Racing 4 pt. roll bar install

Discussion in 'How To Forum' started by Hermes, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Hermes

    Hermes TMO Advanced

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    I was real excited to get the Watson 4 point roll bar since it was advertised as easy to put in for a track event, then easy to return the car to normal for rear seat use. I was focused on installing this roll bar so that I could quickly install before a track event and remove afterwards. I read through the instructions a few times and realized that the key to a quick install is to have the bolt holes line up properly. In the end I was able to remove the bar completely and re-install it in less than a half hour total. Here is what I did with some tips that I learned along the way as well as some things I would have done differently.

    [list type=decimal]
    [*]Removing the seat bottom and seat back were really straight forward, I just followed the instructions without any issues.
    [*]I read some one had problems with the door sill plate. I found that I could wedge my fingers between the inside of the plate and carpet and give it a good pull and the clips would pop out. There is double sided tape on the outer edge that I worked up slowly as the metal Power by Ford plate feels like it wants to bend
    [*]The lower side trim was easy to remove following the instructions. There are 3 'fir tree' type retainers that are visible from the outside, an overlap tab with the upper trim piece and a single hidden push retainer that comes out with low effort. The trim slides out forward.
    [*]The main hoop goes in pretty easily. I folded both front seats forward and slid them full forward and at 6'2", I had no problem working in the car. Like the instructions say, be sure to move the wiring harness over the bar so as not to pinch any wires. I had a small clip on the back center of each gusset which looked like it would come out by sliding it forward, but in reality, it had to slide backwards.
    100_1174.JPG
    Metal clip slides backward to remove
    [*]Here is where I deviated from the instructions slightly. Rather than mark drill points on the gusset, remove and drill, I decided to use a guide to help me center the pilot hole on the gusset and drill in place. I actually removed the gussets before this step just so I could see what was behind there, but in retrospect, this step wasn't necessary. I also decided to continue the pilot hole for the rear center hole through the substructure and this would serve as my pilot hole for the clearance hole [step 12 in Watson instructions]. I had to dig around my parts bin to find a suitable part to use as a drill guide. Later on I opened up these holes from 7/16" to 1/2". Had I done that up front, it would have been much easier to find a spacer to use as a drill guide.
    100_1161.JPG
    [*]After drilling these holes I removed the gussets, be sure to remove all 9 bolts as 2 are hidden under the carpet. I found I missed them when cutting the seam sealer. I took a knife along the perimeter of the gusset and a screw driver to cut through the seam sealer. Once I did this, the gusset popped out pretty easily.
    100_1162.JPG
    [*]I drilled holes out to 7/16", but eventually opened them up to 1/2" for better bolt alignment and used the rivets provided. I ended up replacing these rives with countersunk #8-32 machine screws and backed them up with a nut. This worked for me because I didn't have confidence in the rivets and I can't weld, and I wasn't patient enough to wait to have a friend weld these for me. In retrospect, I'm happy with how this turned out, but welding would have been better and easier. I was lucky I had a number 8 countersink tool. The screws should be 3/8" long and button head screws won't work, don't ask me how I know, they don't clear the bar bracket. I was very happy that when I put the gussets back in all the holes lined up [well sort of]. I was able to install all 8 main hoop bolts the first time, but I was concerned with very tight clearances might lead me to cross thread a bolt down the line. This was when I decided to open up holes to 1/2". Since my gusset nut plates were crewed in and not welded I was able to open these holes easily. Definitely something to consider doing before welding the gusset nut plates.
    100_1166.JPG
    [*] I then used a hole saw to cut out relief for the rear center gusset nut. I had a cheap Harbor Freight hole saw kit that was probably designed to cut wood. After barely scratching the surface in a couple of minutes, I went and bought a Milwaukee 7/8" hole saw and piloted on the hole I drilled through in step 5. This saw cut through the structure like butter. You do only need to cut a relief in the center rear as per the instructions. When you install the gusset, it goes in best if you lower the rear edge allowing the front edge to tilt upward, then gently push down on the front endge and it will pop into position.
    100_1164.JPG
    [/list]
    Picture re-installing gusset. Rear edge is flush and front edge has this large gap. Put a few pounds of pressure on the front edge and it will easily pop into place.
    • Next I installed the rear bars. I had a very tight fit between each rear bar and the main hoop. I had actually noticed this before I began the install and took off some of the powder coating with a file. Did not take much to get them to smoothly slide together. I did not eve file thru the coating. I fastened these and then used the same drill guide to drill the 8 main screws. Make sure that the plates are flush with the floor pan. I was flush on one side, but the other had about 1/8" clearance. This clearance caused a slight misalignment on that side which I was able to correct easily with the 1/2" hole opening. I made up a different drill guide for clearance to the M6 socket head screws that hold the nut plate in place.
    • I put the nut plates in by myself [no helpers throughout this project] by slipping the front side under the metal line and used some duct tape to hold up the back side. Note that these nut plates are asymmetrical and the longer end goes forward. If you have any questions just line them up with the rear bar to see which side goes forward.

      This is the finished project. Since I plan to use the roll bar for track events only, I did not cut the interior trim.
    • 100_1170.JPG
      100_1172.JPG
      I was very happy with the fit and finish and general quality of this roll bar and I'm glad I can now get some good 6 point harnesses to hold me in better.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
  2. VoodooBoss

    VoodooBoss Rick Moderator

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    Nice work and I'm glad you have it installed so you can remove it easily.
     
  3. Grant 302

    Grant 302 OPM Spent: $509,979 Moderator

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    Thanks for posting Hermes!
     
  4. BOSSSTANG

    BOSSSTANG TMO Intermediate

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    Nice instal write up. I agree with you that enlarging the main hoop mounting holes to 1/2 inch makes sense so you don't cross thread any of the bolts :-[ ...

    All of my bolts went in fine until I got to the last two, they were going in at a slight angle but the Snap-On 18v impact gun had them going in like butter, so I thought, I ended up cross threading one of the nuts. I'm waiting for another backing plate to come in from Watson so I can finish mine up before the weekend..
     
  5. boss man

    boss man TMO Race

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    Question...when drilling the main hoop holes into the gussets. why cant you drill the gussets in place and then remove them to install the backing plates. also why cant you thru bolt the main hoop to the gussets and not use the backing plates?
     
  6. WinterSucks

    WinterSucks TMO Addict

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    The backing plates add strength and keep the nuts from spinning while you tighten down the bolts, turning this into a one-man job instead of two.
     
  7. Hermes

    Hermes TMO Advanced

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    That is exactly how I did it and did not run into any problems. I used a sleeve that fit into the existing 7/16" hole to make sure the pilot hole I drilled was centered.

    This approach would give you a weaker joint since torque on the bolt would not create the face pressure you get with a bolt head going through 2 sheets of steel onto a nut.
     
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  8. Hermes

    Hermes TMO Advanced

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    Thanks, I glad I wasn't the only one concerned about this. I also used a impact driver, but it was a small DeWalt and I was careful that each bolt turned freely before using it. I noted in some cases I had to rock the main hoop to get the bolt to go in freely. This wasn't a problem after opening up the holes.
     
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  9. bluemax

    bluemax Matt

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    5.Here is where I deviated from the instructions slightly. Rather than mark drill points on the gusset, remove and drill, I decided to use a guide to help me center the pilot hole on the gusset and drill in place. I actually removed the gussets before this step just so I could see what was behind there, but in retrospect, this step wasn't necessary. I also decided to continue the pilot hole for the rear center hole through the substructure and this would serve as my pilot hole for the clearance hole [step 12 in Watson instructions]. I had to dig around my parts bin to find a suitable part to use as a drill guide. Later on I opened up these holes from 7/16" to 1/2". Had I done that up front, it would have been much easier to find a spacer to use as a drill guide.

    That is a great idea! Saves pulling the bar in and out numerous times.

    In my case the biggest issue was the hole centers in the hoop bar brackets being slightly off from the nut plates, after figuring that out on the first side, the second side went quick.

    Of course by not reinstalling the rear trim panels you avoided most of the FUN part in this project! ;D
     
  10. Viper1mx

    Viper1mx TMO Intermediate

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    Nice write up! - I finished up mine last weekend and it went pretty well with only a couple small snags.

    Patrick from Watson told me to open all the mounting holes to 7/16" when I ordered the bar - said the 10mm holes were exactly at 10mm with the powdercoating and it made everything easier - which it did.

    #1 The biggest issue for me was that the down tube floor plates extended a bit too far rearward so the rear holes were very near the break line in the trunk pan, and I had the main hoop dead nuts plumb, centered and all the way down on the gussets. When I loosened the hoop in the gussets and pulled forward, all of maybe an 1/8", it lifted the down tubes off the pan by a 1/4" so that wasn't going to help remedy the problem. I called Watson and went over the problem and well they never got back to me which was a bit disappointing. Anyway I locked down the main hoop and gussets back down and then drilled both the down tube plates and pan in place with a 7/16" short jobber drill, started the bolts in the underplates and then ran them up into the pan - result is the pan now has a slightly new break line, thankfully Ford used a fairly light gauge steel for the pan. If you look at it I'm sure I'm the only one that would notice. I completely ditched the smaller plate retainer bolts - it wasn't a big deal getting the underplates to line up at all by drilling everything at once.

    #2 Sill plates - broke one of the tangs off the sill when removing and those blue silicone mounts really don't like to be reused- nothing major but still a pain to reinstall them.

    #3 I put the lower rear seat delete back in (LS here) which required some minor trimming but I haven't figured out what to do with the x brace panel, I'm not going to chop that up so I need to get a little creative there - I have no problem removing the x brace to put something in the gaping hole, but the down tubes are going to stay regardless- maybe a sweet curtain with some pleats - or if someone has a better idea post it up! At 6'2" I may need to take some yoga before attempting as it's getting really tight back there.!

    Thanks
    Dave
     
  11. BOSSSTANG

    BOSSSTANG TMO Intermediate

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    I finished up everything yesterday, putting the trimmed panels in was not fun, I thought for sure one of the tabs was going to crack when trying to squeeze the main rear side panels between the B pillar and rollbar!

    How did you end up trimming your LS bits? I found I had to cut the main lower piece of carpet to fit between the bars, I will try to take a picture tonight of what I had to do. I have not come up with a solution for the vertical rear piece that mounts behind the shock tower brace yet..

    Yes I broke some of the tangs off the sills as well which is annoying.

     
  12. Viper1mx

    Viper1mx TMO Intermediate

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    Ditto on the lower floor carpet - just a couple radius's at the bars - still thinking of the panel behind the X brace - ordered some oem style carpet and will start messing around with that when it arrives - I see a lot of trial fitting in my future!
     
  13. boss man

    boss man TMO Race

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    Please post some pictures even if its a trial fitting. Also any way that you took measurements. I'm about to tackel the same problem. Im going to remove the rear seats and install the Ford X-Brace and seat delete and also the waston roll bar. This is like a one shot deal :eek:
    I laid out alot of cash for these products and want it to look good.
    Thank you in advance for any help you can share!!
     
  14. BOSSSTANG

    BOSSSTANG TMO Intermediate

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    Here is what I did with the big floor piece, probably could have cut it a bit closer but once its cut its cut!


    [​IMG]
     
  15. VoodooBoss

    VoodooBoss Rick Moderator

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    For the back piece I'd use a piece of carpet like Dave is going to do. Use the existing piece as a template and draw it on the back of the carpeting. I used the complete WR RSD kit and cut slits in the back carpet piece where where the X brace goes through.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. boss man

    boss man TMO Race

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    Heres the method i'm going to use to install X brace panel. Put painters tape over the area where the down tubes may pass thru. Remove the down tube from the roll bar and install X brace panel with painters tape on it, then take a lazer and strap it to the stubs that connect the down tubes. On the panel mark top / bottom and sides using the lazer light as the target. then connect the marks making an X for center of the down tube location. Then cut the hole about 1/8" larger than the down tube.

    Hope this helps. I've thought LONG and hard about how to find the correct location to make this cut. I've just started the install so it going to take me a week or so to get to this part of the install....But thats my method!
     
  17. TMSBOSS

    TMSBOSS TMO Addict

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    A possible option which has worked for me I'm similar situations is to make a panel out of cardboard and test fit. If it's wrong, make another. Once you have something that works, transfer to panel and cut.

    Good luck
     
  18. bluemax

    bluemax Matt

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    Curious if anyone has installed roll bar padding on these bars?

    I haven't yet, prefer not too if I don't have to, but want to be safe and protected if required.
     
  19. VoodooBoss

    VoodooBoss Rick Moderator

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    I originally thought I'd add padding but now that my bar is installed I don't see much use for it as its all behind you.
     
  20. bluemax

    bluemax Matt

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    Rick, thank you. That was my thoughts as well.
     

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