So much Bull about Bull Bars.

Submitted: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 19:18
ThreadID: 13009 Views:3088 Replies:15 FollowUps:20
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Im intending to buy a bull bar for a 78 series. And yes I have read past threads. However there seems to be contradictory info about the weights of these beasts. (I hope Im not breaking the rules) The following claims are made by a certain company....... REPEAT THIS IS A CLAIM BY A COMPANY! !!!!!!

Over recent years newly redesigned polyethylene or simply plastic protection bars have entered the market, making some broad claims. Plastic is simply too flexible, some manufacturers claim that their frontal protection bars spring back into shape after an impact. It is great that the bar flexes then returns to its original shape and looks virtually unmarked. However, what about your vehicle? The very reason that you fit a protection bar for is to minimise damage to your vehicle. When the plastic protection bar has flexed through your body work, damaged your radiator and other vital components and left you stranded on the side of the road with your vehicle immobile, and you are contemplating a large repair invoice, the benefits of a plastic protection bar which has sprung back into shape are soon forgotten. In many cases the plastic product is no stronger than the original bumper that it replaces.
Plastic is a great product, but not for a Bullbar.!!

Steel Bullbars are too heavy, especially for today's modern 4wd vehicles with their lightweight yet high performance suspension and sub frames. If a steel bullbar is made correctly it is too much of a weight burden for your vehicle. Some steel manufacturers build steel products so light to reduce weight, that they are not much stronger than plastic bars available. Have you ever noticed that the major manufacturers of steel products also sell upgraded suspension? That's because you probably will need it if you fit a steel bullbar.
Steel also has no elasticity, which means in an impact the full force is directed to your chassis, engine mounts and ultimately the occupants of the vehicle. And finally - they rust.

A correctly manufactured alloy product is really the perfect choice. Sure there are some alloy manufacturers that give alloy protection bars a bad name by using cheap, non-structural grades of alloy and very thin sections of material. Or use designs that have to use low grades of alloy in their manufacture process. These products do little more than attempt to look good. ECB's claim is that we have been manufacturing quality alloy Bullbars for over 30 years. We know what materials to use, what tensile strength and what thickness etc. This knowledge allows us to manufacture products that are built to perform and look great. The elastic qualities of the alloys ECB uses absorb shock on impact, therefore relieving sudden shock loading on the vehicle chassis, engine mounts and you and your passengers. Basically the facts are Plastic is too soft- Steel too hard and heavy- A correctly mode alloy product is just right!
We believe that the materials chosen, together with our unique designs, which are sometimes, copied but never equalled, are the way all good reliable alloy bullbars should be made. As you can see there are considerable differences between Plastic, Steel and the quality of Alloy protection bullbars, together with the facts surrounding genuine or after market products. However there is one thing you can be sure of... If you purchase an ECB product, you know that you have chosen wisely. All ECB products are built to perform guaranteed to last' and offer true piece of mind, protection for you, your family and your vehicle.

Are Alloy bars light enough. i.e. Dont need to, 'up grade' your suspension?
What is a Quality Alloy Bar? Can it compete with steel?
Are the new coated alloy bars easy to clean?
How accurate would u rate the above claims?

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Reply By: Baz (NSW) - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 19:28

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 19:28
Sponcered by ECB are we.
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Follow Up By: fat bastard - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 23:29

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 23:29
No Baz, just trying to a handle on the bull bar situation.
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Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 19:39

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 19:39
Sorry dont agree
There must be thousands of 75-78 cruisers in this country with steel bars. If you want frontal protection so your body doesnt get damaged, go the steel I have never heard of anyone upgrading front susp to take a steel bar. Alloy bars are not as strong and will bend into body.
For my money steel is strongest, alloy next and plastic if you want it to reshape after your bang.
My cruiser came with a good alloy bar but I hate it and it will be replaced, just trying to keep it looking good is a full time job, I have given up!
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Follow Up By: fat bastard - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 23:32

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 23:32
ARB do recommend up grading of suspension, for their bar.
Thanks for your response Steve.
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Follow Up By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:21

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:21
Yeh so they can sell you a susp job as well ???
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Follow Up By: John - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:35

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:35
Hey Fat One
Thats a new line
"ARB do recommend up grading of suspension, for their bar"

I have a 78 series Troopy as you should know by now as I have posted to you about them before and I have an ARB STEEL bar and was never recomended to upgrade the front suspension because of it. (Bought from ARB Northern here in Melbourne)

I also have a Warm 9500 HS fitted to the front bar and have not required a suspension upgrade. So who ever told you that is full ofbleep.

I was advised not to go to the Warn 12000 lb winch due to possible suspension problems on the front.
Warm 9500 HS is about 60 KG the 12000 LB is abot 120 KG thats when it may cause problems with front weight.

Stick a Steel bar on front and forget the bullbleep.
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Follow Up By: John - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:38

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:38
Sorrry about the typos it's getting late.

them Bleeps are posted by the forum not me they cover the word SH-T.
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Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 20:01

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 20:01
Don't fit a bull bar.....take the hit fair and square and let the insurance company worry about the repairs. How many ordinary cars drive around this country without bullbars and never sustain any damage? It is a matter of luck........

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Follow Up By: toymn8r - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:14

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:14

You may not be around to worry about the insurance claim if you take a good enough hit fair and square.
I live in the territoy and have had meetings with beasts of various sizes with and without the protection of a bullbar. I know that I would rather have the protection of a steel bullbar anyday.
Even if the impact doesn't kill you the waqit on the side of a remote track just might.

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Follow Up By: Leroy - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:20

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:20
nah....he doesn't have insurance....with a bit of luck....he wont hit a thing ;-)

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Follow Up By: Willem - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:40

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:40
I smacked a scrubber just out of Adelaide River Township one night. Tore the alloy mountings of the bullbar and put a dent in the bonnet. Spotties survived and were searching for satellies.......

A few years later I smacked a very good looking Hereford just outside Alice Springs at 100kmh with the old Landcruiser. Killed the beast stone dead and bent the steel bullbar to buggery. Fixed the bullbar but the old truck was crabbing after that. I think I must have bent the chassis andthe old Cruiser was never the same after that.

If I had not had a bullbar on the front of the Landcruiser I would have crumpled the body panel and possibly have put the radiator through the front of the engine. Most likely would have done some real damage but I doubt if I would have bent the chassis. Everything is repairable except human bodies.

I tend to want to get rid of the current deadweight on the front of my old truck. The jury is still out on which way to go.

And Leroy is right. I don't insure my vehicles. Gotta drive bloody carefully these days !!!!!!!!! Haven't hit a thing for a while though...............touch wood(said he touching his head)

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Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:12

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 00:12
Interesting concept. A friend of mine has started a new job on the West Coast of SA. He has to travel a lot, and the new car they gave him has no bull bar, yet his vehicle with his previous employer did.
When I questioned him about this, he told me that his new employer had done the sums, been through the excersise first hand many times, and each time, it was cost effective to repair or replace the vehicle.

Okay, I'm not going to argue the point, but a fleet owner may not treat his fleet like we treat our own personal vehicle.

I'm still out to lunch on this one, although the way things are going, the decision may be taken from us somewhat.
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Follow Up By: Davoe - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 12:01

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 12:01
your right when it comes to cars because you cant but a decent bull bar on a car and the roo bars usually do more damage anyway but in my case I have a steel bull bar and no insurance I have run over 8 roos and one emu and wouldnt be without it
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Reply By: Member - Allan Mac (VIC) - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 20:06

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 20:06
With all the garbage going on about bullbars in Vic I reckon discussing Bullbars is like waving a red flag in front of the agitators
AnswerID: 59318

Reply By: Coops (Pilbara) - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 20:39

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 20:39
A mate of mine did nearly 2 grand damage (not including the replacement steel bar) to his 100 series after hitting a roo with his alloy bar.
About the only thing that was not damaged would have been the roo.

I have steel and so far it's 7-nil my favour.
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Follow Up By: fat bastard - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:39

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:39
thanks coops.
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Follow Up By: Davoe - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 12:04

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 12:04
8 nil + 1 emu total damage bill = 1 bent no plate and thats not even a hard core bull bar go the steel
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 21:24

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 21:24
Hit a roo in my 2wd rodeo ute comin back from the Island GP one year, just out of Yass.... The bar was an alloy bar (was replaced with proper bullbar). We hit it right on the corner of the loop of the bar at about 80-90(were doing 110, but slowed and swerved as we tryed to avoid), that bent back, smashed the light, blinker, hit the bonnet and guard, the roo took the mirror, and window with him and the pillar behind the door. around $3000(mates rates) or $5000-6000 otherwise.

Have a nice steel bar on the GQ, have hit 2 roos and have suffered no damage you wouldnt even know you hit them. My family is worth it.

Did you see the Subaru rally car the other day that had a meeting with 2 roos without a bar? Fubar.
AnswerID: 59332

Follow Up By: Leroy - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:23

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:23
I had steel on my ol Rodel and hit a few things and no vehicle damage as a result. Wouldn't have anything else!

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Follow Up By: fat bastard - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:41

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:41
thanks truckster always appreciate your imput
thanks also leroy
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Follow Up By: uppy - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 10:58

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 10:58
Ive got a alloy bar ,im going to replace it as soon as i can within my buget, with a steel bar,For the same reasons as Truckster mention.Has anyone got a steel b/bar for sale in Perth (gq 1994)
regards uppy
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 21:28

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 21:28
As the yanks would say...."it's a no-brainer"......
If you want REAL protection it's gotta be steel.
If you want nice fancy looks and be able to have a win against a half-grown cocker-spaniel, go the alloy.
If you want to keep the bleeding hearts happy and still have somewhere to hang one antenna and a pair of wuzzy driving lights, go the smart-bar.
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Follow Up By: fat bastard - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:46

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:46
Thanks roachie, your imput is much appreciated. Im not so concerned about the bleeding hearts, its my bleeding wallet and the bleeding bullbleepwhen it comes to 4wd marketing.
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Reply By: Vinnie - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:00

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:00
B4 buying, have a look at the latest winge session in a popular NSW open road mag. These concrete junglers are dictating again about having - quote "dangerous big four wheel drives with bull bars" and another "having a bull bar is just keeping up with the Jones's". So, this makes all Jones's who drive big 4b's dangerous?
All other surnames are exempt?
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Reply By: Rosco - Bris. - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:44

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 22:44
Snake Oil
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Reply By: MrBitchi - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 09:04

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 09:04
OK, Here goes, fat bastard,
I confess to having a "plastic" bull bar on my Pajero. Several reasons swayed me this way:
1. Light weight.
2. Lower cost than steel or alloy.
3. The current raging debate about bullbars. At the same time as mine was being fitted there was a police 100 serieis getting one. Asked why they switched from alloy and was told thet the current police legal thinking was you couldn't fit anything on the front of the vehicle which would change the crumple characteristics in an accident. The Smartbar was the only one to even come close to this requirement.
4. Shape. The bar I have is moulded to conform to the shape of the front of the car which means less damage to those pesky pedestrians....
5. Looks. Alloy and steel are just tooooo Macho.......:-)

It would appear to me that if the current debate about bars continues for much longer then the steel and alloy 'battering rams' will soon be legislated out of existence. At least the plastic bar has a chance of survival, IMHO.

And yes you can fit a winch on most models...

AnswerID: 59378

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 12:16

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 12:16
Your point #4 says it all as far as I'm concerned........ The Smatbar is moulded to conform to the shape of the vehicle; and it bends upon impact.
It therefore stands to reason that with the plastic members being mounted quite close to the grill/bonnett/lights and the "advantage" that it flexes on impact; it may as well not be there. As soon as you hit a roo etc, it bends back into the bonnett/lights etc meaning that you're in exactly the same situation as you would be without any bar at all.
With the steel bars, they tend to provide a reasonable distance (say 6 to 8 inches) between the upper cross members and the vulnerable bonnet/lights etc. Given they tend not to flex as easily, you have a much better chance of surviving an animal strike. IMHO
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Follow Up By: MrBitchi - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 08:20

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 08:20
You are correct but I believe that it's all a matter of degrees. Even an alloy or steel bar will bend with sufficient impact, and they won't come back into shape..:-(
The moulded shape of the Smartbar would actually help deflect a roo (or pesky pedestrian) from the front of the vehicle. And I think you'll find that they are much stronger than the word "plastic" implies.
Yes a big red at 100Ks is probably going to stop me, but my guess is it will probably slow you down considerably also.
I refer back to piont 3. If I hit that same big red, the crumple characteristics of my vehicle are roughly the same as the manufacturer designed them. The car will progressively deform, absorbing the impact and increasing the the chances of me, my misses and my daughter surviving undamaged.
Can you say the same for a steel or alloy bar? I don't know if they actually crash test them on a vehicle or not but common sense says to me the crumple characteristics of the vehicle have been altered considerably by that large lump of fairly rigid metal up front. If this results in less deformation of the front end, you may be happy. But remember, all the energy of the impact has to be dissipated somewhere. Before crumple zones were introduced, that somewhere was the passengers in the vehicle absorbing the energy by impacting the windscreen.....:-(((
Also, it's probably a fair bet that most collisions with bullbars are with objects far more solid than the humble roo, such as trees and other vehicles, making it even more important to not alter the safety design aspects of your vehicle.
This safety aspect was the main reason I chose Polyethalene over Alloy or Steel. A case of balancing protection and safety.

Better get of this soapbox and get some work done /:-)

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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 09:31

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 09:31
G'day again John,
What you say is also true, with certain vehicles. The Patrol, as far as I am aware, has no crumple zones (it is fairly impractical to build these into ANY rigid chassis vehicle as I understand it). Mine does have dual air bags and this requires fairly major modification to the bullbar so that an impact of certain proportions WILL still trigger the bags, whilst a lesser impact (say a roo strike) will not.
I've known for many years that big 4 wheel drives are NOT the safest vehicles on the road. If 2 like-sized 4x4s have a head-on a given speed, the occupants will come off much worse than if both vehicles involved were, say, Falcons. However, I don't believe the impact of the 2 4x4s together @ say 80klm/h would have any different outcome whether they were shod with any type of b/bar or no b/bar at's still gunna be total carnage. However, if a large 4x4 hits a sedan, the latter's occupants will be more likely to be injured all other things being equal IMHO.
I'm probably talking through my backside anyway in this "debate"; but that big lump of steel up front does give me the warm and fuzzys. Also, I still use the ShooRoo (snakeoil???) and, touch wood, haven't hit a roo in many hundreds of thousands of klicks in the bush.
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Reply By: fat bastard - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:49

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:49
John thanks for that info. It all adds grist for the mill.
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Reply By: Black Stump - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 13:22

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 13:22
I have a steel bull bar fitted to my 75 series.
Heading up a highway in South Oz about a year ago I had an emu run across in front of me. He was certianly in a hurry. I thought I would try and spare his life so I swerved and gave him some room to change direction...of course the emu just proceeded to run flat chat into the side of the troopie damaging the entire length from just behind the drivers door to the rear...$2000 later and I had my truck straightened out!

1 dead emu
1 bent fourby
1 straight bull bar!
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Follow Up By: tdcockers - Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 14:16

Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 14:16
not the most on topic post i have seen, but a good story (and point) none the less. you would think though, that most impacts with our variety of aussie critters will be frontal though. emus are the only things i can think of that wouldnt pull out.

that and moose, but we dont tend to see too many of them in oz, thankfully
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Reply By: Member - Bradley- Friday, May 21, 2004 at 11:54

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 11:54
A small manufacturer of bars once told me that one of the reasons they use ally is that it is a lot easier to pass the crash tests requirements for airbag sensors etc.. because the ally bends nice and easily..
AnswerID: 59539

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 21, 2004 at 16:12

Friday, May 21, 2004 at 16:12
I will probally go steel if I ever put a bullbar on the surf, always had alloy before because they were already on the vehicle.
I gotta say though that this pollycarb stuff they make now days is pretty impressive, some of our vandel proof camera domes that we get now look as weak as piss but outlast the cast alliminium stuff when attacked with crow bars etc. Very very strong stuff, and light as. So I wouldn't pull the micky out of these smart bars too much without further investigation. I don't know what kinds of plastic alloy they make them out of, but the technology is out there to make some very strong plastics. Sure they may bend and flex a bit, but I doubt they would flex far enough to go through a radiator, if they did flex that far they would not be bending back in a hurry, they would be stuffed.
AnswerID: 59588

Reply By: Utemad - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 11:45

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 11:45
I've got an ARB steel winch bar on my R6 Rodeo and it is tough as nails.

It has hit many things (none biotic) but it comes through unscathed (minor dints though).

On one of these occaisions I hit a tree stump while turning around in a grassy paddock. Not the smartest place to drive I know but that's another story. Anyway this tree stump stopped me dead and stalled the vehicle. I reversed up and to my surprise there was absolutely no damage.

Go the steel bar every time!!!

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