How to weld those tricky areas of a cage? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to weld those tricky areas of a cage?


Well-Known Member
December 25, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Columbus, Ohio
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 Explorer
I've been planning a cage for some time now and getting my welding skills up to par, however I haven't quite figured out the best way to weld it all up in the Ex. I've read to cut holes in the floor (my preferance) or cut the entire roof off weld up the cage and weld the roof back on (seems a little too easy to misalign). So holes in the floor it is, until yesterday. I was measuring floor mounts for my seats and a lower bar that goes along the floor on the b hoop. These tubes along with door bars for harness mounts would make it imposible for the cage to be dropped through the floor. So how do the tubes close to the cab floor get welded all the way around the tube? I've searched the forum to no avail and the interweb hasn't helped either. :roll:

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I'm going through the same thing right now caging my ranger, and trying to take a few lessons learned from back when I caged my explorer...I am trying to plan it out as best as I can to make sure I don't two-block myself by welding something up and then can't get to somewhere else!

I have started off by making an upper "halo" that goes all the way around the cab, and exits the rear of the cab to tie into the rear caged area (this is on a ranger but did it the same way on my old ex). Then I worked up all the roof webbing and crossbracing, and tacked those up. Then removed the entire assembly and welded it all up on some sawhorses. This takes care of the roof issue.

Next I am going to work on the pillars...some guys make "pontoons" under the floor that stick out from the frame to bring the pillars down into, picture rock sliders that don't go all the way out. I am thinking of laying an intermediate tube on TOP of the floor, basically bringing the A,B,C pillars down into it. Then bring tubes from these intersections down to the side of the frame at more or less a 45* angle. Cutting decent size holes in the floor at these intersections will allow full 360* welding. No biggie to patch holes in floor with sheetmetal.

I think this design will be stronger than the pontoon style, because the tubes will still be intersecting the frame at an angle, instead of tying vertically down into a pontoon that will theoretically want to rip off the side of the frame. There will still be some minor sheetmetal/door frame cutting where the pillars tie into the halo, but in my mind this is easier than cutting off the roof and re-welding it.

Many ways to do it, just my approach for this one!:D



All welded up...

I've used both mig and stick by using mirrors in some places and also have bent many welding rods to reach hard to get spots.

Thanks for the responses! I have really been toying with the idea of getting the roof off, especially since some glass will need replaced but i see with some careful planning that may not be necessary.

Josh, you mentioned "pontoons" on the frame which the cage mounts to, Rookie maybe you can chime in too, but in my original cage design I was going to tie the cage into sliders welded to the frame. Think exo cage except the mounts would be closer to the frame thus making it stronger. I assume it would still be prefered to mount the cage separately from a slider so that the mounts are at about a 45 degree angle but i think it would save some clutter and welding on the frame to tie it into a slider. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Don't be afraid to cut the roof off. I can't say I've done it on an explorer but I have done it on a tacoma and it was nothing more then scary mentally. Physically it came off really easy and popped right back on really easy. Before I made my cuts I used some scrap plate to temporarily tack all the pillars below where I was making my cuts to the cage work. Then I used a cheap body saw from harbor freight and cut it off. If you buy one, don't waste your time on the air one, get the electric one they sell. The top then lifted off. I did all my welding and laid the top right back on. It fell right back into place almost perfectly. It's an extended cab and basically 5 of the 6 pillars naturally fell 100% perfectly into place to where I just tacked then without even having to hold them or anything. The 6th pillar was flexed about 1/4" off from perfect. Just held it in place with one hand and tacked it with the other. Then buzzed it up, ground it down and cleaned it up. When welding it back up, have a wet sponge near by. I suck at welding really thin sheet metal so I just trigger weld it or basically stack tacks. I'd do 4 or 5 tacks, hit it with the sponge, repeat... This keeps the metal cool and helps minimize the warping which you'll appreciate later when the body works part kicks in.

I kinda settled for cutting off the roof when the time does come. Lucky for me there are very few wires running overhead. For saftey sake I don't want to have any partial welds holding on seats or anything. It just means a cage will have to wait a little longer.