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Warning! The coatings used on car bodies make toxic vapors when welded! If welding the car you need to grind away the paint and coatings and use proper ventilation. In my case, since my cage is bolt-in, I was welding only to the clean steel of the roll bar tubes and pads, and never directly to the car metalwork.

I used a TIG welder to weld the roll bar. This was nice, as TIG makes little smoke or sparks, so I could weld inside the car without ruining the interior. I just tack welded everything inside the car, took the assembly outside the car to fnish weld everything, and then put it back into the car for bolting. I was very happy when the roll bar fit within about 1 mm. I had been worried the welding might warp things, but in this case I got lucky.

To stay in stock class in SCCA autocross, I have to have a bolt-in roll bar. After having done this, I think it might actually be easier to weld in a roll bar. You don't have to put pads on the underside; you don't have to mess with the bolts; and you don't have to take the cage out for welding it (although that might make things easier). Even though this cage is bolt-in, it was enough work to bolt it into the car that I plan to never remove it.

I couldn't get the ground clamp to grab onto the roll bar directly, so I clamped on vice grips and grounded to that instead.

This just shows tack welding inside the car. Damp towels were used to protect nearby wiring and rubber. The triangle magnet is helping hold the pad in place. Warning, if you get a magnet too close to where you are welding, the magnetic field will turn the arc and make it sputter.

Here are pictures of the welds of the tubes to the pads. It was hard to weld into the narrow angle part, so next time I do this I'll have the tube bent so it meets the pad at a 90 degree angle. Rules say you need to weld all the way around the tube and have no undercut. Note the right side rear fenderwell pad is flat, but the left side is curved. Hats off the the world's great welders, I'm still a beginner and have newfound respect for the great looking welds you see on modern motorcycles and bicycles.
Here are the welds where the stays meet the main hoop.

I actually did these first, but since they are less exciting I put them at the end. These are some test welds I did for practice before tackling the real thing. I cut some of the welds to make sure I had thorough fusion. I also put them in a vice and tried to break the welds by hammering -- all the welds held. Sometimes little test welds like this are called "welder's coupons" and can be used to prove the welder had the skill needed to do the job safely.
Keywords: Camaro, Firebird, LT1, LS1, autocross, road racing, SCCA, NHRA, drag racing, safety, roll bar, welding, racing rules

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