What makes a particular bullbar airbag compliant?

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 06:50
ThreadID: 138505 Views:10175 Replies:9 FollowUps:1
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Looking at two vehicles side by side. One has an airbag compliant bullbar, the other, no more than a blunt weapon sticking out the front. Physical construction appears similar and the attachment points and methods also appear similar. Is it only the label that makes one of the them airbag compliant?
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Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 08:49

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 08:49
Iza B
From your description they are therefore both blunt weapons as you call it. No visible differences to note, ie, similar. Hardly a weapon.
The airbag aspect relies on the decelleration of the vehicle body according to it's decelerometer so it doesn't seem to matter what is bolted to the front, because after the bar hits an object, it effectively becomes part of the that object and the designed collapsing rate and resulting deceleration is governed by the design of the vehicle behind the bulbar. not the bulbar. If they are actually tested it can only mean the normal collapse rate and airbag deployment is as normal.
I formed this opinion after reading a mechanical engineers report of what role a bulbar plays in a collision situation.

Rather than have the chassis under the front plastic as a hard spear able to penetrate into another vehicle to some degree, a bulbar spreads the force over a wider area and lessens the crush damage and deformation to the other vehicle.
Note, we are not talking about pedestrian collisions here.

I have seen bulbars on busses and trucks catch a car and hold it with minimal damage and shunt it down the road, whereas, without the bulbar the bus/truck would have driven over the car and rolled it underneath as can easily happen and use to be common event. When under a bus/truck it is less survivable, better out the front.
AnswerID: 626136

Reply By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 09:23

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 09:23
Good question, I assume if it is airbag compliant then it won't have an affect on the deployment of the airbags in a collision.

When I purchased my Prado it was fitted with a factory bullbar, the mounts of the bullbar where crush cans designed to crumple under server impact. Toyota had trouble with these mounts and replaced them with solid steel tubes. One has to wonder if the bullbar was then still compliant?

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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 09:36

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 09:36
G'day Iza,
A few years ago I was involved in crash testing Bullbars for large trucks.
The Bars are tested left, right & centre & are designed to spring back in order to throw the car to the left or right so that the truck will not drive over the car thus crushing it & potentially damaging the steering system of the truck.
Food for thought for those that get in the way of big semi's!
Cheers Stu.
AnswerID: 626138

Reply By: Rob A2 - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 09:46

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 09:46
To receive ADR compliance bull bars must be tested in accordance with specific requirements. Go to this link to see how it gets done http://apvtechcentre.com/tech/services/bull-bar-validation

The label is not insignificant and is a legal document certifying compliance which in itself means the bar has been tested to meet the ADR

Design of bars varies considerably due to the types of metal/other items used in its manufacture. No surprises with that. For example look at a the smart-bar http://www.smartbar.com.au which is quite different from the design of any metal bar on the market.

Rob Ackland

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AnswerID: 626139

Reply By: Member - cruza25 - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:18

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:18
This is from Sa gov website

Vehicles made from 1st July 2013 onwards must have air bag compliant bars only.Home made or non certified are subject to defect etc

Vehicles fitted with an airbag or manufactured to comply with Australian Design Rules (ADR) 69 or ADR 73 on Occupant Protection, can only be fitted with a bull bar which has been certified by the vehicle manufacturer as suitable for that vehicle, or has been demonstrated by the bull bar manufacturer to not adversely affect the vehicle's compliance with ADR 69 or ADR 73 or interfere with any critical air bag timing mechanism.

Additional fittings such as driving lamp brackets, fishing rod holders or aerial mounting brackets must not protrude above the top or forward of the bull bar.

Australian Design Rule (ADR) 69 - Full Frontal Impact Occupant Protection 2006
Australian Design Rule (ADR) 73 - Offset Frontal Impact Occupant Protection 2005
Failure to comply

Bull bars that do not meet Australian Standard AS 4876.1 - 2002 (clauses 1, 2, 3.1 excluding clause 3.2) that are fitted to vehicles manufactured on or after 1 July 2013 with a GVM of not more than 3.5 tonnes may breach a vehicle standards requirement and contravene sections 117 and 118 of the Road Traffic Act 1961.

The vehicle's driver/operator may be summonsed to Court and face penalties or be issued with an expiation fee.

Defect notices for deficiencies caused by a breach of a vehicle standards requirement may be issued for such vehicles under section 145 of the Road Traffic Act 1961.
AnswerID: 626142

Reply By: Malcom M - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:21

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:21
Where the fitment of the bar does not render the existing crash sensors useless.
Usually have a bot of crumple ability in the bars as well
AnswerID: 626143

Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:24

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:24
Earlier, simple design bullbars were just solid structures designed to not buckle or bend in any way, but to transfer the impact of animal hits to the chassis or the subframe of the vehicle.

Airbag sensors operate on a pre-determined rapid deceleration figure. Any rapid deceleration over that pre-determined figure sets off the airbag mechanism.

The airbag initiation mechanism is computer controlled, and takes in data from other areas such as seating and seatbelts before initiation.

The only way a bullbar manufacturer can make a bullbar "airbag-compliant" is to install a "crush zone" or a "deformation zone" in the mounting structure, to ensure that the bullbar is not a completely solid structure and "gives" a certain amount, under initial impact - thus not affecting the airbag sensors dramatically.

It's a bit of a guessing game as to just how effective the "airbag-compliant" bullbars really are - simply because no local bullbar manufacturer has ever carried out the extensive and very thorough crash testing that vehicle manufacturers carry out.

Some bullbar manufacturers have obviously worked in with the vehicle manufacturers, because there are "factory-authorised", "airbag-compliant" bullbars available.

I have not heard any anecdotal evidence of any airbags going off upon bullbar impact with animals, but I guess it has happened.

The article below claims that many "airbag-compatible" bullbars are not - but of course, this claim is driven by the vehicle manufacturers, who prefer to drive the aftermarket bullbar suppliers out of business, to ensure only their "factory-approved" bullbars are fitted.

Bullbar safety up in the air

Cheers, Ron.

AnswerID: 626144

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Jun 13, 2019 at 05:06

Thursday, Jun 13, 2019 at 05:06
"It's a bit of a guessing game as to just how effective the "airbag-compliant" bullbars really are - simply because no local bullbar manufacturer has ever carried out the extensive and very thorough crash testing that vehicle manufacturers carry out."

I gather that ARB has done ANCAP tests on a couple of their bars on Ford Rangers - an expensive exercise but without it your prized ANCAP 5 rated vehicle is ANCAP-nothing once you fit a bar.
FollowupID: 899856

Reply By: Iza B - Thursday, Jun 13, 2019 at 07:15

Thursday, Jun 13, 2019 at 07:15
Replies have been informative, thanks. Having done more research and more inspections of fitted bullbars. It appears the label is the important bit (LOL).

Why did I ask the original question? Am going to remove an airbag compliant bar from my exAmbo and replace with a nudge bar that has a tow tongue receiver. I am shocking at reserving the caravan but get good results pushing the van rather than reversing.
AnswerID: 626163

Reply By: Blown4by - Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 13:29

Wednesday, Jul 03, 2019 at 13:29
Insofar as Truck & Bus bull bars pushing light vehicles out of the way rather than running over the top of them ADR84/00 requires all heavy goods vehicles over 4.5 tonnes GVM to have FUPS from 1 January 2011.
AnswerID: 626503

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