Submitted: Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 13:17
ThreadID: 106067 Views:1977 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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Anybody got any actual practical knowledge/experience with Smartbars?
There website looks good.
Crash testing looks good.
Like all products, the designers are going to make their product look the best.

Be interesting to hear from someone who has actually "put the bar to the test"

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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 13:38

Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 13:38
My experience is four roos down, vehicle undamaged.
A friend who farms 100km out of Goondiwindi swears by them on all his farm vehicles.

I chose one based on my friends recommendation of only once in over a decade of regular contact with roos being let down by one, and that was a very big one which came over the top and around the side.
I also considered that if most (not all) Police and ambulance vehicles around here still install them after many years, there must be some sound reasons.

AnswerID: 525695

Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 16:55

Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 16:55
yep bought a troopy with one on complete with debted front end where it had come back and smashed the front. mounts were inadequate and not correct

i now have a steel one and i couldnt even give it away

went off in bulk rubish collection today

not much lighter if at all than a steel bar
AnswerID: 525704

Reply By: Tim - Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 19:11

Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 19:11
I think you will get a lot of replies about these.

My experience is a fleet of vehicles in far west NSW. I have looked at the video footage and that alone looks good however practical experience is a little different.
First issue is that the steel mounts on the smartbar are attached via molded thread plugs. Basically heat up a nut, drive it into the plastic and let it dry and then attach your bolt to it. This is how the mounts join the chassis to the plastic bar.

Second issue is that they are flexible. Yeah the rebound back out etc etc but its too late, the corner has already gone through your bonnet, the bar might look ok but you now have panel damage behind your normal looking bull bar and due to the mounts as described above, the structural integrity is now questionable.

They are probably ok around the city for little fender benders and the like but I think that is where their usefulness ends.

If you watch the video closely you notice that the smart bar has the most ingress. You might have a bit of panel damage on the bonnet with a steel or a aluminium bar but you can drive with a broken panel. If that object hit your radiator then it doesn't matter about your panels, your not going anywhere. The post impact pics are also a bit sneaky, yes they may go back to the original shape but they are useless after a big hit and need replacing anyway.

When they first became popular I think we had six and now we have none and have gone back to steel. Tried tested and failed, well atleast with roos anyway.

AnswerID: 525714

Reply By: Eric Experience - Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 21:40

Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 21:40
I have 3 of these smart bars on my fleet of Sprinters. They are very good at absorbing energy. An impact that results in panel damage with a smart bar would probably be a write of with the same impact and a steel bar. My vehicles cost over $100k each so its best not to skimp on the bars. Eric
AnswerID: 525721

Reply By: Super (NSW) - Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 23:44

Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 23:44
G'day SDG,

I am on my third Smartbar and can't fault them. The first one hit a big steer at about 80K. result, one dead steer and one dead Pajero with no damage to the driver. The Pajero had body damage to the front panels and mudguards and apparently the engine moved forward 20mm then back 10 mm. Someone bought the wreck and rebuilt it but kept the Smartbar. The second was replaced after I hit a Ford Laser. Result, one dead Laser and minor, almost unnoticeable body damage to the right mudguard. The insurance company replaced the Smartbar (possibly due to the mounting issue mentioned by Tim).

One fact not mentioned yet is that they are very light weight and can be lifted easily with one hand. This means reduced weight on the suspension, an issue with steel bars and, to a degree, aluminium bars.

Hope this helps....

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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Feb 04, 2014 at 11:11

Tuesday, Feb 04, 2014 at 11:11
yep I mentioned the weight

and trust me I just had to lift one and put it in a rubish skip if your lifting one with one hand your arnold schwartzenegger

easily 75% or more of the weight of the steel bar i replaced it with
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