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Tacoma_Kyle Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:28 pm

HamburgerBrad wrote: seatbelt mounting from Crow Enterprises:

Keep in mind that a lot of seats have 'universal' harness slots through them (you cant move them, all I'm sayin). It is obvoisly better to make the forces go form your sholders to the harness mount, but sometimes depending on you height and seat it cant be perfect. I did my best to fix mine up in that way in my buggy.

ruggedracer Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:55 pm

The number one thing for offroad safety is an in car intercom system and 2 way radio. With an intercom system you can radio to other cars up coming G OUTS and on coming vehicles. I have been using intercoms and radios for 15 years. It has prevented more accidents than I can count. Especially in the dunes. There are so many offroaders now that you have to be careful.

Also the headset for the intercom system are hearing protection. These loud car will cause hearing damage. There are also helmet kit available to install in any helmet.

If any of you need any information of advise please give me a call at 805-541-1696 or send me a message.

markhuebbe Fri Mar 30, 2007 5:39 pm

FIA roll cage design guide.

dirtbug Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:20 am

I wanted to put my 2 cents about safety when fabricating. I am currently the safety manager for a $22 mil construction site. One of my weekly topics was on hearing protection. Fact: a 25 year old construction carpenter who doesnt use hearing protection has the hearing of a typical 50 year old. If your equipment produces more than 90 dcbls, hearing protection is required. That is anything louder than a sink disposal.

Sparks - Be sure to wear safety glasses under a face shield. The face shield intention is to protect your face more than the your eyes.

MSDS sheets. Be sure to read all MSDS sheets prior to using chemicals.

Fire Extenguisher - I like to keep a 10lb type A B C in my shop in case a shop wrag, box or paper catch on fire.

Might not be a bad idea to buy a 4x4 weld curtain and hang it on your garage door when it is open while you are welding. The kids in the neighborhood dont know when to look away.

I preach to all my guys: I want you to go home to your family at night. Dont just practice safety at work, but at home as well. Teach your curious kids in the garage the importance of safety while your fabricating.

My 4 year old son wont even drill on his play work bench in his bedroom until he has his safety glasses on. I cant tell you how that makes me feel.

I am an OSHA certified inspector, and a great deal of construction safety topics pertain to what we do. If anyone needs help with safety issues, dont hesitate to contact me.

Thanks Baja5 for starting this thread. Kind of funny, but he lives about 2 miles from me, and I have never met him. What a small world.

5150bossman Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:19 am

I'm glad to see this thread up as a reminder that our sport can be unexpectedly dangerous, and that we should take whatever precautions we can to increase our safety.

Our friend Don King of Hemet Ca. was killed last week along with his neighbor as they were riding in Don's FG dune buggy. Seems that they were driving on the street at highway speeds when they came to a sharp sweeping curve. The buggy ran off the road into a cement berm sheering off the right rear wheel. When the buggy came back onto the road, it flipped. Both the windshield and single hoop roll bar folded over, offering no protection what-so-ever in anything but a slow speed roll over. Their belts did keep them inside the buggy, but that was insufficient. Don was known as a conservative driver, so the only thing we can come up with was that he was unfamiliar with the road, and the curve caught him by surprise.

Our entire group is now rethinking the whole safety issue. I, for one, have now put a full roll cage and 5-point restraints top on the priority list.

Obviously, within reason, take whatever safety precautions you can.

markhuebbe Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:35 am

5150bossman wrote: single hoop roll bar folded over

Diagonals are your friend.

I'm sorry to hear about Don's death.

wvengineer Fri May 23, 2008 7:00 pm

I just had a couple of thoughts on welding. I'm no expert on anything to do with vw's (that's why I'm here), but I used to be a boilermaker, I have been certified in tig, mig, and stick (GTAW, GMAW, and SMAW if you prefer) including code tube welds, went back to school and got an engineering degree, and now work for one of the same companies as management. Sometimes it's part of my job to QC welds. Sorry for being long winded.

If you don't know how to weld I wouldn't learn on a roll cage (nothing critical). You don't know if your getting proper fusion. As someone else was talking about butt welds. Even if you use a "sleeve" on the inside you need to have a small gap (gap depends on wire size) and preferable bevel the ends (depends on how much heat you're using and thickness of material) to make sure you burn in well. I've seen mig welds that looked decent on the outside break because they were darn near hollow. That's why alot of the old timers I worked with would never weld lifting lugs with a mig. Not saying that a mig isn't sufficient it's just an example. I would just want to be able to trust something that could end up saving my life. How do you know your welds are good unless they've been put to the test? If your not comfortable betting your life on your welding skills find a competent buddy or pay for someone to do the critical stuff.

Use good materials (i.e. pipe and tube are two different things)

I would find a tested design that was maybe designed by a P.E. Engineer or an expert of different qualifications instead of trying to design my own roll cage (me personally).

Don't use a welding hood as a grinding shield, they're not designed for that. If a cutting wheel comes apart it can go right through a welding shield.

Wear safety glasses under your welding hood, and grinding shields.

Also google some of the nasty stuff that's in the smoke you're breathing when welding (i.e. hexavalent Chromium when welding stainless).

My sermon is over sorry for the long post.

cwrisley Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:43 pm

I thought I'd chime in here and add some more info. There is tons of great info on this sticky on how to PREVENT bodily injury, but I thought I could shed some light on what to do if you or others ARE injured. I know I've come across lots of accidents in the desert where there was no help for miles, having a little extra knowledge goes a long way and could save a life.

I know we all carry or know someone in our groups carries a first aid kit, but what if thats not enough? Small cuts and abrasions are no biggie, but I'm talking about catstrophic injuries due to accidents. I work in the San Diego backcountry as a firefighter/paramedic and cant tell you how many people die due to 1. not following proper safety guidlines; and 2. uneducated bystanders unable to help.

One of the most important things to remember when someone has been through a traumatic event (i.e. rollover, head-on, fall, over the handlebars, etc....) is keep them still. Unless they have some kind of airway compromise, dont let them move, even if they are still in their baja, buggy, truck, etc. If vertebrae are broken, they can severe the spinal cord if thet victim is moving. Keep them calm. Let them know help is coming and do your best to make them comfortable. Again, unless airway is jeopardized, do not remove their helmet (if their wearing one). Let the professionals do it in a manner that wont cause further injury.

Bleeding. Im not talking about small cuts. Major bleeding caused from large lacerations. If there is an implaed object, NEVER remove it unless its causing an airway obstruction. A simple tool I use to remember how to treat major bleeds is DEPT

Direct pressure on the wound (apply a bulky dressing and dont remove)
Elevate the wound above the heart
Pressure point (apply pressure to artery above the injury)
Tourniquet (as a last resort though)

If someone has obviously broken bones, manually immobilize the extremity. Hold it still until help arrives or use whatever you can to splint it in place if they have to be transported. If the bone is exposed, pour some CLEAN water over it and bandage it if its bleeding. You can check to see if the patient has a pulse below the break, if they can move the extremity below the break, and if they have sensation below the break. Relay this info to care givers.

Strains and sprains: I remember RICE to help me.

Ice the wound to reduce swelling
Compression (Ace wrap or similar)
Elevate the wound

I truly believe that everyone should be CPR card carriers. Find a local class at your local fire station or hospital. Its better to know it and not need it........

I hope this helps some of you in the event of an injury (God forbid). I tried to keep this short and sweet, and keep it pertinent to offroaders, but its kinda difficult. Anyways, be safe, act safe, and do what you think is in the best interest of the patient.

Glasser Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:15 am

Great thread!

I would like to add, and this is common sense but isn't it all.

I had a buddy that would drive high speed through trails, blind corners etc. That alone is a dumb thing to do. He knew all the trails like the back of his hand but what he didn't account for was a wind fall tree across the trail. He smacked it at a pretty good clip coming around a blind corner. He was OK but was dam lucky one of the branches didn't take his head off.

Some others I can think of............

When driving up steep hills give the person coming down the right of way.

If going down a steep hill approach the crest of the hill off to one side until you can see over the edge to make sure the hill is clear.

Always have a whip with a flag.

inspect your vehicle regularly. A good time is when you are washing it. Look for loose bolts, rubbed through brake lines, gas lines, check steering components.

It's all about having fun, not getting hurt. If you have to think about it....... DON'T do it!

TrackerCasey Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:10 pm

My dad is a paramedic and has always taught me to carry...Are you ready for this?!?!? Maxi pads!!! The individually wrapped kind they are sterile, adhesive(they will stay put) and will take a tremendous amount of blood. He started carrying them after responding to an accident where the woman that was first on scene had a new box in her car and had used them for first aid. She saved a man's life that day. It may sound funny but they are in my first aid kit.

sammyphsyco Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:15 pm

"Former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner was found dead on Monday, Sept. 10 in the mountain area outside of Palo Verde, Calif. He was 37 years old.";_ylt=ApV5en7SjTI1...;type=lgns

He was a friend of my brother, and had hung out with him and my brother several times. Seemed like a cool guy with a level head. It's hard to belive someone in great shape and in tune with their body could die from exposure to the elements the way Evan did. Which brings me to the point of this post.
My wife is concerned about me taking our kids out on the Mojave trail in early spring. To satisfy her I have been looking into "personal locating beacons". Anyway what looks to be a great option is this "spot messenger". From their website.

"With the SPOT Satellite Messenger, you and your loved ones have peace of mind knowing help is always within reach. SPOT is the only device of its kind, using the GPS satellite network to acquire its coordinates, and then sending its location – with a link to Google Maps™ – and a pre-programmed message via a commercial satellite network. And unlike Personal Locator Beacons, SPOT does more than just call for help. Tracking your progress, checking in with loved ones, and non-emergency assistance are also available, all at the push of a button. And because it uses 100% satellite technology, SPOT works around the world – even where cell phones don't"

paulrotondaro Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:24 pm

Just thought i would another 2 cents to this sticky. while I am renewed to the VW off road world I am not new to the off road world or to EMS (Emergency Medical Services).
Whenever we go off roading we take a full trauma kit, communications, and a few other BLS (Basic Life Support) items.
ANY "first aid" kit should at least have the following: some sort of gauze pads (lots of them and various sizes maxi pads work too), medical tape, some sort of splinting material (even if its just a stick with the tape) and band aids for the small stuff.
One word of advice I can give to anyone who off roads if you dont know what your doing DONT DO IT. There is a reason we go through six months of classes or more and have to have continuing education every year.
A spinal injury is often very simple to take care of as are all types of bleeding injuries, just remember dont move anyone and stop bleeding, remember your ABC's (Airway Bleeding Circulation) if you control those three the chances of saving a life grow significantly even with BLS.
I am a certified CPR instructor, EMT-B and Firefighter and am more than willing to put on any first aid classes or answer any question you have. The only thing that costs money is a CPR certification but the American Heart Association now has in home training videos that can be shared by any and all.
Ask any fire fighter, EMT, paramedic, nurse, or doctor who is worth a grain of salt and they will tell you that BLS is what saves lives, ALS just aids the BLS. Medications just give that extra push over (which im not saying you dont need) but BLS is called Basic Life Support for a reason.

Sorry for the long post but i thought that would help with the safety side.
Like I said earlier if anyone wants any more information or wants a class feel free to contact me.

Rockwood Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:10 am

My 2 cents comes mainly from road racing experience, but a lot of it applies here:

1. If you build your own cage or tube structure, make certain all intersections are backed by another tube. So, if you have two bars to weld to your main hoop in the same area (for example the forward bars and the rear bars to the shock tower), make sure they are exactly opposite each other. If you add an X-brace, it would also mount to these same points. All tubes in an area should meet at the same point. It's more of a PITA to fab, but it's stronger and safer.

2. Set your harnesses up correctly. I can't tell you how many times I'm at the desert, or teching a car at the track and see horribly set up belts. Rules to follow with belts:
a. Cotter pins. All belt clips have a hole for a cotter pin. Use it.
b. Mounting points should be as close to the elevation of the shoulders as possible. Belts that are mounted to the floor behind the seat are a good way to cause back injuries.
c. Make sure the buckle is as low as possible, with the lap belts coming out at a relatively flat angle. If your seat is reclined a fair amount, a submarine belt is required. I prefer 6 pointers because they don't smash your junk in minor crashes or bumps.
e. Inspect your belts regularly. Any sign of fraying, replace. Pay attention to the expiration dates and try to remove the belts on a vehicle stored outside.
f. Belts should be tight. Scoot your ass back into the chair as far as it'll go and keep yanking on those belts.
g. Belts looped over the roll cage or tubing should be looped back through the buckle and tied so they don't flap.
h. If possible, weld tabs for any belts that can't be wrapped around a tube. Don't trust your life to washers and sheetmetal.
i. Harnesses without a roll structure are a bad idea.

3. Religiously check tire air pressure and lug nut torque.

4. If you have a kill switch on your car, mount it within YOUR reach as well as anyone who may be helping in the event you're unable to reach it. Make sure to properly label it as well.

5. Make sure said kill switch completely interrupts ALL power. This includes the alternator. Just turning off the battery won't help if the alternator is spinning.

6. Roll bar padding. It really saddens me to see 99% of the buggies out there with tubes right next to soft human parts and heads with ZERO roll bar padding. Your body or head vs. DOM tubing: DOM wins EVERY TIME. Use real roll bar padding, not conduit insulation. At minimum, the foam roll bar padding that wraps the whole bar, but I prefer the directional dense foam that sticks on. Looks better and is safer. Win-win.

7. Wear a damned helmet. I don't care if sand is soft. Your tubing isn't. Full face, if you can.

8. Fire extinguisher.

9. Pay attention to how easy your vehicle is to exit and test it. Car-B-Qs aren't a fun place to be.

10. Battery mounts. You would not believe what happens to batteries in car wrecks, and most mounts are inadequate. I've seen the cheap plastic Summit boxes completely disintigrate and the battery bounced around like the 40lb ball and chain that it was. I surrounded my battery on all sides with 1" square tubing, welded together and bolted a tie down to it made out of the same stuff. I used 4 grade 8 bolts to secure the tie down. Stay away from any battery that isn't sealed, especially for buggies. Battery acid is not something you want on your skin.

And lastly: be honest about your talent. You're a lot less likely to test this safety equipment out if you're honest about your limitations. Nothing's worse than running out of talent... :D

puddle pirate Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:24 pm

This is in response to cwrisley He is speaking as a professional and has some very good advice. I am a professional firefighter/Paramedic. I am new to the buggies and nowhere near a desert. I have been off roading for over 20 years on the East Coast. Something that we do with the Jeeps in our club is we have all EMT's and paramedics have a star of life sticker or magnet on their vehicle in plain view during events. This helps identify them quickly if someone needs assistance. Yes we are off duty, but always willing to help. Most of us carry a jump bag and necessary supplies.

Another thing that we do is all passengers in the vehicle have a list of pertinent medical history, allergies and medications they are on. Also the form has emergency contact information. This is kept in the glove box or center console box in a red envelope in case of emergency. In the event of an emergency someone will get the envelope and give it to the medic.

Have fun and stay safe.

Safety takes a minute, and injury can last a lifetime.


BajaB Sat May 23, 2009 10:41 pm

Just thought I'd add in looking the car over once in a while, even when its been lightly used. I try to give my car a once over every other fill up of fuel on the important stuff.

I just thought I'd bring this up as well as today I was pointed out by someone who kindly let me know my car was leaking some fuel, so no fire thankfully. Even that sometimes isn't enough and having a fire extinguisher would be a good thing to also carry.

tundrawolf Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:19 pm

rickosuave1987 wrote: Another thing I saw on TV was this guy welding with gasless mig and just close his eyes and weld...thats got to be the stupidest thing ive ever seen..and he wasnt wearing gloves either :roll:

And that is how it should be done. Back in the day, people used sunglasses or just looked at the weld straight on.

I remember my mum telling me about my father: His brother was welding something and my dad held the work, but just closed his eyes.

Yep, my father got welding blisters. The radiation will go right through your eyelids when you are that close.

I got welding blisters once from a cheap Fourney welding helmet.

Once you get welding blisters on your eyes, you never, ever forget it.

I remember being up ALLLLL night. I couldn't close my eyes because they'd feel like a wire brush was scraping them. I couldn't open my eyes because it felt like a wire brush was scraping them. Two vicotins later, the pain was still enough to keep me awake.

P.S. Gasless mig is AKA Fluxcore. (FCAW)

'66Baja Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:00 pm

When working in the shop or on the trail be aware of you surroundings.
Can you be seen by others possibly go too fast around the trail? If you can't get off the trail do something to make poeple notice you. I wouldn't suggest a road flare but a large tree limb, a flag, anything you can find to put in the trail to slow someone down. Also don't swat at the spiders, I know I hate 'em too. Some can be quite nasty. Just think use you best tool you head.

Something I haven't seen yet in here is foot protection. Steel toes are a must. Admit it you've gone out to the shop with your sneakers on. How do think you foot would look if the engine fell off the jack and landed on it or just a hammer in the right spot can make you see god for a second. Also, I'm guilty of this, keep you work area clean and clear. Wind up those extension cords, roll up the air hoses, empty drain pans and keep your dirty, oily rags in a proper metal cantainer, big over looked fire hazard.

Something that took me a long painful time to learn is to look for things that can cause pain or injury when loosening or tightening fasters. How many times have you ripped open a knuckle, or forearm, when your wrench slipped or the bolt broke. Look around aim away from or cover objects with a rag if they look knarly.

Just a few thoughts..

motelcambodia Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:09 pm

markhuebbe wrote:
FIA roll cage design guide.

Any thing like this for a class 5 baja bug?



Vanhag Mon May 03, 2010 12:34 am

I doubt there is any thickness tubing that you can bend or weld that couldn't be cut by a good pair of cutters. I know ours are medium in strength and it has cut through solid hinges, VW front axle beam, some hardened rods in newer vehicles B and C posts.
A really large tube like 3" in diameter would be tougher as the strength of the cut is at the point of contact for the cutters. But a quick smash with the jaws would flatten the tubing and the cutters would make quick work of the tubing.
What the cutters can't cut the recip saws or K-12 cuttof saw can.

I wouldn't worry about getting cut out of any offroad VW you could build unless you've got solid 1/2" metal plates all over the place.

geoffwg Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:17 pm

motelcambodia wrote: markhuebbe wrote:
FIA roll cage design guide.

Any thing like this for a class 5 baja bug?



these are very basic cage layouts

for a class 5 car you would want to have a complete tube sub frame (1 1/2 120 wall), so your roll cage is not supported on the pan its self. the whole sub frame should extend from the beam back to the rear torrsion housings.

heres a picture of my rear cage

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