Smart bar on LC 200 series

Submitted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 13:06
ThreadID: 101960 Views:5250 Replies:3 FollowUps:11
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Just wondering if anybody has put a smart bar on their 200 series.
I am thinking of putting one on my new white LC200.
I haven't seen any around to see what they look like.
Are they winch compatible? How easy is it to mount either LED light bars or normal driving lights to them?
Thanks Hugh
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 13:10

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 13:10
I don' t think they make one for the 200 Series.

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AnswerID: 510121

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 13:34

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 13:34
After just doing $11,000 damage to the car with the bullbar taking all the damage at the front I wouldn't touch anything less than the steel one that we had. Only doing 40KPH.

The bull bar has been damaged beyond repair. The four body panels on left hand side needed replacement plus both front and rear bars. And we drove home safely. No other vehicles or animals involved. We simply slid into a deep gutter on the inside of a wet remote mountain track.

Most importantly - no injuries.

Anything less than the steel bar and front of the car would have been undriveable.

FollowupID: 788166

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:28

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:28
To each his own, Phil.

I am not putting a bullbar on my new Cruiser at all. A steel bar is 75kg of extra weight I don't need to carry around.

However, if Smartbar made one, I would consider it. Having said that, I've been driving 4wds since I bought my FJ55 in 1972 and haven't hit anything. The stats are in my favour.

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FollowupID: 788170

Follow Up By: allein m - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:41

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:41
Broken Hill police put a smart bar on one of the Nissan patrols it lasted a few weeks and one hit from either a roo emu but the car was a mess one cop said wast of time putting the smart bar on
FollowupID: 788171

Follow Up By: Tim - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:47

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 14:47
I know this is a little off the direct topic but these things are a waste out in the bush. Our fleet did have smart bars and slowly but surely the powers that be in Sydney are starting to put steel ones back on again.
Their selling point is their weakest point. Yes they flex, absorb some of the energy but they just slow the animal down instead of stopping it hit the front of the car all together. I have found a few with good hits have totally stuffed the front of the car but the bar bounces back out, so much for protecting the vehicle. Probably good for fender benders in the city but no value out here.
FollowupID: 788172

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 15:06

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 15:06
Gone bush.

"The stats are in my favour"

I wouldn't bet on it. Not having one since 1977 means that the stats are now in the favour of the flying object. It's your turn mate.


I think that this car needed a bullbar.

FollowupID: 788175

Follow Up By: Warb - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 18:50

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 18:50
It's been very dry in much of NSW and the animals are starting to move around. Between Dubbo and Lithgow there are dead 'roos (also foxes, deer and the odd pig or wombat) every few hundred meters. If you always stop well before dusk you are normally safe*, but very few people can be 100% certain that they will never be delayed and need to drive in to the night. It is very rare for people who live out here to fit plastic bars, and with very good reason..... We wouldn't even buy a vehicle that didn't have a steel bar available.

The guy who rents my old workers cottage hit two 'roos in his first two weeks up here (he moved up from Wollongong). Luckily he already had a good bar but he very quickly added some extra spotlights!

It is also wise to note that the biggest danger is the accident caused by swerving to avoid the animal. Having a steel bar means that you can simply "take the hit", rather than swerving, losing control and hitting a tree or oncoming vehicle.

*Last year I almost hit a large Fallow buck in the middle of the afternoon. He came out of a gully by the side of the road, dragging a huge amount of grass on his antlers, straight in front of me. I missed him, but his trail of grass actually went over the bonnet.

FollowupID: 788205

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 19:28

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 at 19:28
And then we get the impatient driver who wont slow down. One of the first things I learnt as a young driver was to slow down at dawn and dusk because that's when they are on the move. Do they teach that these days. Nope!

FollowupID: 788206

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 09:36

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 09:36
The answer is nobody has because they don't make one for the 200series.

I fitted my own steel ARB deluxe winch bar (no winch), so just a couple of facts you might not be aware of:
- You'll add 85kgs of bar and hardware and remove about 15kgs of stuff, so you'll add 70kgs to the front end.
- with the extra weight, your front suspension will drop 7-10mm so if you're offroading, the clearance becomes inadequate and you'll definitely need to upgrade the springs.
- In the 15kgs of stuff you remove is a large aluminium brace that runs almost full width and protects the radiator etc - the brace is a strong bit of gear, so if you decide to do nothing, you still have a fair bit of protection behind the standard bumper bar.
- The bullbar will cost you some fuel - the aerodynamics get stuffed up considerably - by the two front tyres being mostly exposed and by the bar work.
- You need to cut some of the plastic that guides air to the power steering cooler and the autotrans cooler - I have heard of someone with a 200series having power steering problems due to overheating fluid but can't remember the details. I'm guessing that air circulation to the alternator might be affected too.
- If you have an altitude/VX/sahara, the factory fog lights get ditched and you'll have the option of fitting some aftermarket ones. In my case, foglights are useless, and I'm thinking of some daylight driving lights in their place.

So on the whole, given my time again, I might have skipped the bullbar.
But when I'm driving the highways and the roos are around or worse still, the unfenced cows on the stuart highway, then I'm very happy I have one. It also gives me a spot to mount a sandflag and aerial and put a cup of coffee while having morning tea!

AnswerID: 510183

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 09:42

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 09:42
Just to add that I've had a smart bar in the past, and they are not as bad as people who've not had one keep saying. The ones I had on my Prados considerably improved the front end protection. It may have been plastic in appearance, but the large steel chassis brackets that came with it improved things considerably.

Another option I may have considered is the factory nudge bar which provides a bit of additional protection in the middle without many of the negatives of a full steel bar.
FollowupID: 788244

Follow Up By: Kimba10 - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 18:39

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 18:39
Hi there Phil, Ive had one of those useless nudge bars and it did more damage then if I didn't have it. It pushed in at the top damaging the bonnet, the headlight got cracked, due to the designit actually drove the object up towards the bonnet. I certainly will never have one again on any of my vehicles, there piss week and are good for a set of driving lights if needed or/and uhf aerial but useless for protection, may save you a gentle scrape in the carpark....
FollowupID: 788280

Reply By: Rockape - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 20:13

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 20:13
I have had first hand experience with smart bars in extreme use. I have witnessed the amount of damage to both vehicles and to the bars in heavy low speed contact.

The smart bar wins hands down against the steel bar.

For those who are going to bag this, just run your vehicle into a rock wall in the centre or side of the bar at 40kph and see what wins. That is why where I worked they changed to smart bars, there was less damage so the vehicle could get back to work.

Now, if you want to hit a bull with a bit of speed with a big bullbar, then best of luck. The bar may look reasonable but I can assure you the vehicle will be destroyed behind that bar.

Smart bars are well made and the only reason I don't have one on my vehicle was the availability at the time.

Some people think they are the same as the old plastic bars that were around in the 80's, they are nothing like them at all.

Yes ours at work were winch bars but they were on 70 series utes and wagons.

No affiliation with them just first hand experience.

AnswerID: 510214

Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 12:38

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 12:38
I think that fact that the bar returns its shape but the vehicle stays crumpled leads some people to think that a different bar might have hurt the car 'less'? I dont know and I don't understand why they are so polarising in the public arena - the evidence is irrefutable and the test results are there for all to see. I wanted them for our fleet colorados and now I want them for whatever we replace them with. The thought that a rigid bar will save anything, most especially the vehicle occupants is archaic and flies in the face of vehicle engineering over the last 100 odd years.
I'll admit they arent the prettiest piece of design work I've ever seen, but I'll take function over form every time.
FollowupID: 788314

Follow Up By: BUSH CAMPER - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 18:22

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 18:22
Thanks for all responses, I will take my time and hopefully see one on the 200 series.
I had a steel Bullbar on my 4.2 GU patrol and this dropped the front slighty, even more when I put the winch on.
Don't think that I will get a winch again, never used it in anger.
I think driving to the vehicals limitations is wiser when you pay out so much money.
FollowupID: 788404

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