weight of alloy and steel bullbars?

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:21
ThreadID: 22522 Views:17760 Replies:8 FollowUps:15
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Hi. I am new to this forum and have a question.
We are intending to travel for a month or so to darwin and cairns. No real off road stuff. We have a 1995 discovery tdi. We want to buy a bullbar, but are very confused. As it is an older car we dont really want to spend too much on a new alloy one. However if the weight and other factors make alloy a much better option we will. We can get a steel ecb bar ( 10 years old) ,much cheaper through a wrecker.
Should we pay extra for an alloy one? What is the real weight difference/ Does this affect fuel consumption a lot? Does anyone know what the weight of the different bars is and what are your thoughts?
Thanks lenni
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Reply By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:37

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:37
Hi Lenni

I don't think that the TDi would mind having the steel one on instead of alloy - extra fuel consumption is going to be negligible. You'd lose more fuel in the straight loss of aerodynamics if anything. If you can get hold of the old bar for a good price I'd go for it. Although alloy bars are a little lighter, the only thing that the extra weight would affect (in your case) is maybe the front springs.

I still feel safer behind my steel bar than I would an alloy one - but this is just my personal preference. Great thing about the steel is that it's much easier to repair if you manage to mangle the bar.
AnswerID: 108977

Follow Up By: lenni - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:48

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:48
Thankyou for you assistance the steel bar sounds better than I thought. I appreciate you help with this. We were just worried because we will be towing an old jayco swan camper trailer and wondered about all the weight . However as you said this is probably negligable.
Thank again
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Follow Up By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:55

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:55
Sounds like you'll be packing a load there! :)

Yep - the weight is what turbo diesels eat for breakfast. They may not get you there at warp ten, but they'll chugg along at the speed limit all day and still not cost all that much in fuel. This is the primary reason we went for turbodiesel this time around. We recently got 11.5L/100km running our 18-foot caravan (full height) up to our place in the Snowies - and that included the steel bar, set of roller drawers (full of recovery gear), two people, 200 litres of fuel, food, fridge in both the van and car, etc, etc, etc.
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Follow Up By: lenni - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 20:10

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 20:10
Thankyou for you advise. we ended up purchasing a steel bar today. It is an ECB bar ( when they made steel bars) and in good condition. Also less than half the price of a new alloy one.
Thanks again lenni
FollowupID: 366460

Follow Up By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 21:39

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 21:39
A pleasure Lenni

Have fun out there in your Discovery and van!

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Follow Up By: lenni - Monday, May 09, 2005 at 20:08

Monday, May 09, 2005 at 20:08
Hi Chrispy!
Well I just thought I would fill you in . We bought our steel bullbar and it arrived from the Sunshine coast today.(From a wrecker up there).
Well we unwrapped it and lifted it. It was the lightest steel bar that you can imagine. That is because it is not steel it is black ripple coated alloy!!!!
It is an ECB and I thought that it was strange that it was steel . I even rang ECB to ask if they ever made steel bars and they did 10 years ago. So I figured that this must be one of them but no... it is alloy and the wreckers thought it was steel! So a correction ,we have an alloy bar now not steel after all that! Just hope it is strong and we dont hit too much wildlife.
Thanks for listening to our saga!
Regards lenni
FollowupID: 367013

Follow Up By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Monday, May 09, 2005 at 21:10

Monday, May 09, 2005 at 21:10
Glad to see that you received your bar Lenni

Alloy huh? Pretty inexperienced wrecker..... ;)

Is it in good condition?

Should still provide better protection than nothing at all!!!

Cheers and good luck mate

FollowupID: 367023

Reply By: hoyks - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:40

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:40
I would go for the steel one. Alloy are lighter but they also suffer damage more easily and will bend back into the vehicle panels or split/crack. Alloy is also harder to repair and good luck finding a TIG welder in a remote area.
That said I have an ECB Alloy bar and am quite happy with it. I did burry the nose going over a sand dune once and put a slight bow in the flat section at the front. A steel bar doing a similar thing about 5 minutes later survived unscathed.

You could always fit the used one for the trip and put your old bumper back on when you get home and flog the old one off. Might save some money there.
AnswerID: 108978

Follow Up By: lenni - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:49

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:49
Thanks for your help. We were worried about the weight but it seems this is not a huge issue. The steel one is 500 dollars cheaper and sound good!
Thanks again
FollowupID: 365709

Follow Up By: Redback - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 08:06

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 08:06
Hi lenni if you need any help with anything Land Rover then this link might help you All things Land Rover the guys here drive nothing else and are very knowledgable.


R.I.P. Mighty Explorer.
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Reply By: Exploder - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:54

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 19:54
Gday lenni

Obviously the steel bar’s will be heaver and stronger than a alloy bar. (At the same time I have seen a alloy bar take on a cow the bar was fuc*ed but still had a hit’s left in it and the 4WD was still ok.)

A friend has an ARB steel bar and it’s hit 3 roos and a emu and is still alright were a alloy bar would of needed replacing. Alloy will bend and absorb the impact steal will stand rigid.

If you can get a cheep bar do that and when you get back clean it up and get it resprayed and you will still be on top financially.

I have a TJM T1 alloy as I have airbags and I don’t plan on hitting anything and if I do it will give enough protection.

Oh yeah you don’t need a tig to weald aluminium a mig will do just fine.

AnswerID: 108981

Reply By: Utemad - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:01

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:01
What is it you want the bar for?

If it is for protection then go the steel one. Alloy are weak IMHO. My Uncles BA Falcon came off the better of the two when a fourby with an alloy bar rear ended him LOL.

Just measure the height of your front end before and after fitting the bar just to see what happens. It will reduce the front height somewhat but shouldn't be too much. Not sure if you will need a wheel alignment on a solid axle front end. You would with an idependent front end.

My Rodeo ARB winch bar weighs 35kg without the winch from memory.

If you can get a steel one for a good price then I think you have the answer anyway.
AnswerID: 108983

Follow Up By: Exploder - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:13

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:13
That’s just the Blue oval strength, the alloy bar never had a chance ( :

Built Ford Tuff
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:30

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:30
dont waste your time with an alloy bar they are just for show. your first animal strike will have you wishing you had better spent the money on a new interier light globe. I have had over 10 roo and emu strikes with steel bars and the only thing you have to do is go back and put the animal out of its misery
AnswerID: 108988

Follow Up By: muzzgit (WA) - Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:38

Saturday, Apr 30, 2005 at 20:38
Spot on.

Ally looks the goods but would bend easily if hit by a roo etc; at 100 k/h.

Make sure you use the right hardware when fitting it. Hi tensile bolts and nylock nuts. Sand blasting and powder coating on top of the purchase price would still see you in front dollar wise.
FollowupID: 365715

Reply By: old-plodder - Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 19:50

Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 19:50
I have found a range of difference between alloy and steel b/bars.

My old alloy one weighed about 40kg, and need two hands to lift easily. Had 8mm alloy for the bumper section. New alloy is lighter (4mm bumper section) and easily lifted by one hand. Maybe 20kg. Seen the same with steel bars. Some steel bars weigh 20 to 30kg. Some old steel bars were 40kg plus.

Does you Discovery have air bags? If yes, try and get a compatible bull bar. They are built lighter these days so they deform and allow the air bag sensors to work. Have seen tests done by Toyota and Mitsubishi with after market manufacturers to ensure they comply before selling them as 'genuine' bars.

My big concern these days is how close the bar is to the body. For aerdynamics I suppose. Have seen bars deform 50 to 70mm when hitting a large roo. Friend had a steel bar come back 150mm when they hit a cow in the NT.

Big advantage of the alloy is rust on the beach. An steel bar used inland doesn't have the problem, and you can pull a steel bar out and repair more easily.
AnswerID: 109115

Follow Up By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 19:57

Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 19:57
It would be interesting to see how much an alloy bar would have pushed back hitting the same cow..... "Come on Mr Cow - stand up. We need another opinion....".

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Follow Up By: old-plodder - Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 20:02

Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 20:02
Since aluminium has more deflection with teh same load, 50% frmo memory, instead of a crease on the front of the bonnet, an allor bar would be in the bonnet. Assuming that all things are equal. But then, they do seem to use heavier sections in alloy bars.
I forgot to mention I do occasionaly work for a Brisbane bullbar manufacturer, so am interested in how these things work.
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Follow Up By: Exploder - Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 21:09

Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 21:09
Old-plodder and Chrisphy
Mate this is how an alloy bar handles a cow.

A mate was doing 80kp/h and hit a cow; he had a alloy bar on the patrol. The top of the bar hit the bonnet then rebounded out off the bonnet 20mm so you could still close the bonnet (with rope)

Also broke 1 spotlight, the grill, impact put a crack in the wind screen, and the cow’s head swung round and put a big dent in the side of his door.

This was not a Nissan bar!. He also had scrub/ bracing sidebars on it.

Apart from that the car was fine and we drove it the 2000ks back to Perth

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Reply By: Martyn (WA) - Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 21:04

Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 21:04
Steel bends, aluminum breaks, nuff said
Keep the shiny side up

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AnswerID: 109130

Reply By: Member - Ed. C.- Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 22:29

Sunday, May 01, 2005 at 22:29
hmmm.... Interesting discussion here...

I have a TJM T15 alloy bar on a GU Patrol.. chose the alloy mainly for the weight-saving, and basically somewhere to mount a coupla (Hella 4000) spotties, and to hide the (Ox) winch (which is mounted via a cradle directly to chassis)...
Never really expected it to be as strong as steel, but then again I've never intended to go 'round clobberin' the wildlife, so I figured that *any* protection is better than none..

Anyhoo, a couple of weeks ago I "put it to the test", and I must say that I was (rather pleasantly) surprised... (and relieved)...
Approx. 80 Km/h, gravel road, early evening, and WHAMMO!!! d@mn 'roo came outa nowhere & clobbered the bar right at the outer end (r.h. side).. 'roo went cartwheelin' down the road, & by the time I'd stopped, said 'roo was lying pretty much alongside the vehicle.. he was goin' nowhere, so was (ahem) "humanely despatched"... (BTW, they were about, & I was watchin' out for 'em, just didn't see this one)...
Time to inspect the damage, and lo & behold, no discernible damage whatsoever!!
Well blow me down with a feather, it appears that these alloy bars are not as p!ss-weak as many folk reckon they are....

In the light of day I've had a closer look, and it appears that the outer wing has "flexed" just enough to put a slight "wrinkle" in the flat horizontal section right alongside the gusset that forms the mounting bracket, but if you weren't lookin' for it you'd never pick it... It would appear that the "flex" has absorbed the impact quite well... I've looked at the bar from every angle, and I cannot see any misalignment whatsoever...
Without the bar, I have no doubt that I'd have been up for a new headlight at the very least, & quite likely some panel damage as well, so you might say that this particular alloy bar is more than just a decoration...
It remains to be seen I guess, just how it will cope with another "clout" in the same place
Anyway, that's my (recent) experience.. Make of it what you will :-)

Regards, Ed. C.
Confucius say.....
"He who lie underneath automobile with tool in hand,
....Not necessarily mechanic!!"

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AnswerID: 109148

Follow Up By: muzzgit (WA) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 01:09

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 01:09
Iv'e thought about what I'd do in that predicament. I have always said I will go back and deal with an animal if I hit one, And up untill now that stands at a couple of cats and a few snakes. NO ROOS, thank christ.

Would it be best to aprouch the situation with a knife or something with a bit of weight behind it when dealing with roo's. I'm not keen on things getting messy if I missed with the first swing.
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Follow Up By: hoyks - Monday, May 09, 2005 at 20:24

Monday, May 09, 2005 at 20:24
Muzzgit, I don't know how you handle such situations, but a lot of people have trouble with the getting up close and personal and dispatching an animal with a knife, especially those that haven't lived on farms and the like. It does involve getting your hands dirty and requires a little more than a quick stab to do it properly and quickly.
You might be more comfortable dispatching the poor critter with a nice clean impersonal smack over the back of the head with something solid.
An axe or a pick handle are always effective and and easy to stow in the vehicle.
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