Smart Bar

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 11:13
ThreadID: 5575 Views:7962 Replies:9 FollowUps:24
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Howdy folks

I'm thinking of getting one of those Smart Bars for my 2001 Prado.I like the fact that they dont weigh too much.Has any one had ant experiance with this product?

Percy
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Reply By: Janset - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 12:22

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 12:22
Hi there.

I entertained the same idea for my troopie and asked a few questions. I have a good report with my local 4WD shop and his advice is "do not buy one", and he sells them.

His reasons were:

Anything that you install in them eg spotlights etc. all have to have an independent earth.
They can not have any accessory platform welded on them so you are limited as to what you can install on them.

His main criticism was that when they did a demo for their own purposes, they found that whiles the bar stood up to what it claims to do relating to damage, what was not stated was that the securing studs pull/tear out of the fitting that hold the bar on.

So, if you do not want to add anything more on other than what is allowed for, and you don't plan on hit anything hard with the bar, go for it.

Regards
AnswerID: 23139

Follow Up By: ThePublican - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:39

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:39
Any half good auto electrician will tell you that your lights mounted on ANY bull bar SHOULD be earthed separately,, get your facts right,,name 1 item that you cannot mount on a "smart bar" ??? winch not withstanding,,.....please show us facts of mounting bolts ect. failing.. methinks you dribblem bleep tem on 3rd or 5th hand no experience with the product at all.
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Follow Up By: Luke - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 22:41

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 22:41
Could someone please explain exaclty what you mean by independant earth in this context?

Do you mean simply having a separate earth for each driving light installed? If so I can't think of why anyone would want to wire driving lights without a separate earth for each light?

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Follow Up By: Janset - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 14:19

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 14:19
Hey Publican.
Keep your shirt on. I don't give a Rats Ass if you or any one puts anything on their vehicle. it is a personal choice. The man asked a question and I related what was told to me; simply that, and no more, he can take it or leave it. So why get so agro. Do you have a vested interest in Smart Bars?
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Follow Up By: Janset - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 14:38

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 14:38
Luke.

In answer to you question. The correct way to wire up a spotlight is as you say, each should have their independent earth back to the battery to get the best results. However some people try to minimise the amount of wire strands required to operate a spottie and also reduce the wires to the battery terminal and use the natural earth of the metal bullbar as the path back to the battery and thus a circuit for the light.

Where on a steel bull bar this works quite well, there is a school of thought that will say that if you have an alloy bull bar then that should be earthed to the chassis with an earth strap to ensure the earth path.

I read in a recent technical bulletin that suggests that a good guide to ascertain if you have a good earth is to have a look at the quarts bulb of the spottie. If it is going black then you earth needs upgrading.

I hope this helps with your question.

Regards
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Follow Up By: ThePublican - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 16:24

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 16:24
Janset, my shirt is on, and im not aggro in any form, and no I dont have a vested interest in the company that makes the smart bar,although I do have some shares in E.C.B.,, YOUR reply is 3rd hand information,,that should be posted on the web under URBAN MYTHS.
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Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 22:16

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 22:16
Throwing petrol onto the fire of an often overlooked problem of earthing directly to an alloy bulbar, is the problem of electrolytic corrosion. Put current through a junction of two dissimilar metals with a bit of added moisture and you are asking for problems. If you want to maintain the structural integrity of the bullbar and the point at which it attatches to the chassis, the smart money is on running a sepeate earth cable from each of the driving lights to the chassis. This advice also applies to winches.
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Follow Up By: Janset - Monday, Jun 23, 2003 at 13:26

Monday, Jun 23, 2003 at 13:26
GaryInOz.

I agree, it was remiss of me to over look the basics and mentioning electronic corrosion.

The Publican. If thjat is what stropkes your mojo then go for it.

Regards
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Reply By: Old Jack - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 12:54

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 12:54
Have been in a Rodeo ute with on fitted that hit a Grey kangaroo at 100 klm hr, one very dead roo, one very smashed driving light, one very happy Rodeo owner as the bar did it's job and the panels were not damaged. Ive seen a lot of stuff on here Bagging the bars because they are plastic, yes you cant fit a winch, yes you need to use two wires when you wire up ddriving lights but I do this for all lights even on a steel bumper or bull bar anyway. you can mount a UHF aerial you just use a ground plane independant aerial, they work better anyway.
They are also the only Bar to my own limmited knowlage that have been put through Crash testing (Dummys & all) that show they increase occupant protection(increaseslength of time to disipate crash energry). the test was from memory conducted with a Prado! they are an option if they suit your needs.
AnswerID: 23142

Reply By: Phil G - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 15:54

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 15:54
I'm a fan of the Smart Bar. Had one on the Prado last 3 years. I've had steel and aluminium bars on previous Landcruisers and wouldn't go back unless I wanted a winch. Most people don't realise mine's plastic, because the Prado design is identical to many steel bars, and looks very good.

To me its a lot more sensible to have a flexible bar fitted to very solid steel mounts rather than trying to do what the big manufacturers do and fit a steel bar to semiflexible mounts. The steel and aluminium bars look pretty crappy and often are unrepairable after relatively minor bingles.

Maintenance is nil - mine's 3 years old and looks as good as the day I bought it - nothing more than a wet sponge used to clean it. And mine spends a lot of time offroad, and going thru scrub.

Air flow through the bar is better than any of the others - it has large ventilation slots below the bumper area. The recovery points are unaffected - can still fit two rated recovery hooks directly to the chassis on the Prado.

Fitting other stuff - there's a whole lot of captured nuts on them for aerial mounts, driving lights etc - I made up a sand flag mount for mine. If you want to fit anything else you can drill into the plastic - there is an access hole behind the number plate so you can get your hand in and fit nyloc nuts behind.

And tests at Adelaide Uni on the Prado version show that its safer for pedestrians than no bar at all. Just a little piece of info the pedestrian lobby have refused to take notice of.

Mounting is straightforward. Just be careful to locate the front air cond pipe into the recess for it in the Smart Bar.
AnswerID: 23151

Follow Up By: ThePublican - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:52

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:52
Phil ,, the first bit of common sense on the subject that Ive read in a long long time,, every one seems to " bag " a product with absolutley NO 1st hand knowledge at all, allways a mate of a mate of a mate heard in the boozer/pub and must be true cause he only had 15 schooners when heard the story..
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Follow Up By: Mike - Sunday, Jul 13, 2003 at 01:29

Sunday, Jul 13, 2003 at 01:29
Phil,

How and where did you mount your dune aerial? Details please if you don't mind...Thx.

Regards,

Mike
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Follow Up By: Phil G - Sunday, Jul 13, 2003 at 10:18

Sunday, Jul 13, 2003 at 10:18
Mike,

My sandflag is a length of orange electrical conduit (might be 15mm). I welded up a simple bracket that is a 6 inch length of 25mm RHS steel with two flat tabs welded to it that bolt into the captured nuts on the uprights of the smart bar. The conduit just slips in - nice fit. I also put a metre of dowel up the first part of the conduit to keep the lower end stiff and the rest of it floppy. Tip of the sand flag is 4 metres off the ground.

Cheers

Phil
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Follow Up By: Mike - Monday, Jul 14, 2003 at 23:25

Monday, Jul 14, 2003 at 23:25
Phil,

Thanks for this. I presume from your answer that you only have one CB aerial? Funny thing is I assumed that you would have 2 CB aerials (like I have) and therefore I thought - where does he then bolt on the dune flag!! I should have explained my question more!

So now...I suppose I could make up some fancy mounting bracket to hold 2 CB aerials and a dune flag (I have a bought one fom OL with a quick release coupling - it's brill).

Any thoughts?

Regards,

Mike

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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 17:01

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 17:01
I'll take steel anyway.. Shiat Id take alloy over plastic.. Ive seen what my son does to a Plastic bottle.
AnswerID: 23158

Follow Up By: ThePublican - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:43

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 19:43
And now your son has no teeth left from chewing on a steel/alloy bottle,??? said it before,,dont knock it till you have first hand knowledge of a product.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 20:23

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 20:23
hes smarter than that, hes seen what daddys steel bullbar does to trees.
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 21:43

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 21:43
Smartbars have had more than enough time to prove themselves yet most 4x4s still have steel/alloy bullbars (excluding toorak tractors where mum's worried that she may hit some kids on the way to school in which case it's still a two tonne vehicle connecting with a pedestrian's head)
Before anybody wants stats on what I've just said go drive down the main road and do a count of all 4x4s with smartbars vs the rest - even late model 4x4s.Gibb River in July.
Chris
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Follow Up By: Percy Prado - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 22:03

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 22:03
Chris

I think thats because a lot of people like to have what every body else has, or there afraid to try anything new. That's why Toyota sells so many 4WDs. I think it's called xenophobia. Just because a product isn't popular doesn't mean that it isn't any good. Just look at Jackaroos. Sometimes it's just a question of marketing. (I say just a lot don't I)
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Follow Up By: Phil G - Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 22:52

Saturday, Jun 21, 2003 at 22:52
Truckster, you're just the typical plastic-phobic 4wder.

Chris, In South Aus, there may be more of them around than in other states, seeing they're made here. As I mentioned, many Smart Bars are a copy of steel bullbar designs, and you may not recognise them as plastic until you get very close or have an educated eye. The newer ones don't have plastic seams anymore. In Adelaide, many of us are able to get seconds direct from the factory for about $550 a bar. I don't have any figures, but the factory is having problems keeping up with demand.

And Chris, if a 4wd was to hit your head, would you like it to be rigid steel or flexible plastic :-))
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 19:08

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 19:08
I'm pretty sure I've never seen a smartbar that's "identical" to the ARB winchbar but in plastic - if there were then it may have some appeal.
In regards to a car hitting my head if i'mbleepand walking across a freeway at night a 100km/h 4x4 (car or even motorbike for that matter) will kill you regardless of what's on the front.
They would make a difference at lower speeds ie. built up areas, but since I live in the country and I drive it 80% off road I don't have a need for one from the pedestrian safety perspective.
That moron from the pedestrian council, forget his name, reckons ban steel/alloy bullbars altogether - maybe teach people how to look b4 they cross the road.
Don't be surprised, I've got a pretty hard melon.
I'm not arguing anymore, i've got beer to drink and equipment to pack.
CheersGibb River in July.
Chris
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 22:20

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 22:20
Phil G..

Call it what you will, but when it comes to MY familys life, I'll take steel, and if its MY familys head V a 1+ ton bull hitting the bullbar, I'll go Steel. Oh and as for getting a SECOND BULLBAR!?!?!?! LMAO!

YMMV.

Chris, your thinkin of Harold Scruby.
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Follow Up By: Phil G - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 22:53

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 22:53
Hi Truckster ;-))

Don't understand what you're saying. Are you suggesting that your family is safer because you have a steel bullbar on your vehicle?

BTW, a factory second is a slightly imperfect bar (scatch on it etc). I wasn't suggesting that you fit two bullbars.

What you sipping on tonight??
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FollowupID: 15436

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 23:15

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 23:15
Yes I am, Anyone who thinks plastic is safer than steel in certain impacts needs to seek urgent medical advice.

By second I thought you meant Reject shop type seconds, not imperfections.

and as for what am I sipping, havent touched a drop in 3 months.
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FollowupID: 15440

Reply By: Darrell T - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 08:23

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 08:23
Percy
Perception is a funny thing. I have had a Jackaroo for 7 years and had a good run out of it for the first 5 years till parts failed,3 diffs and 2 heads, Then a dropping resistor failed for the engine managment system and Holden could not supply the part, It sat in the shed for 14 weeks. Needless to say I wont buy another Jackaroo ever.That vehicle was replaced with the 4x4 of the year, a V6 Auto SR5 FourRunner. A Lovely vehicle,provided the road was down hill. After the 2.6 Jackaroo it was such a disapointment . The Jack handled our 16 ft van with ease, to the point where you nearly forgot it was there. The Runner was HOPELESS , It didnt have enough go to get out of its own road let alone do any work. Then there was the fuel it consumed. 26L/100 to tow. Sold that out of frustration. The Pajero, bad news mate is what every one said. (Perception) Must be Toyota owners who hate Pajero's. I bought one after a lot of soul searching as I didnt want another dud. The Toyota before the Jackaroo rusted away in the drive way and had an even worse appetite for fuel than the 4 runner. My mate had a Pajero so we put the van on it and did some testing. I asked every one about the dreaded problems with Pajero's. Gearboxes mate. Wont go any where.etc,etc. Why do want to sell the Runner, nice car!!!.We bought a 3L V6 Manual Pajero with 120Ks on it, Have pulled the van all over the east coast, Loves it. 16-20L / 100 depending how fast you drive. We 4x4 when ever we can. If it does'nt make it snatch or winch. No different to out friends Crusers or Patrols. We went to the Centre with the 2 Pajero's. not wanting tyre problems bought BFG Ko tyres for both cars. 10 new tyres. Lost 4 on the trip. Could only buy Hankook out there, Guess what, no more tyre problems. (Perception) We take the Pajero around Aus next Month, 220ks. on it now. ( What problems-does every thing I want it to do and more) Perception. The Runner had an Aluminium Bar. Forever polishing it to keep it nice. The reflection from the lights at night was very bad. The Jack had a Black painted steel bar,Always showed scrateches. and had reflection problems at night. Yes I put a plastic Smart Bar on the Pajero, very easr to keep clean, been on the Paj about 3 years, looks as good as new. Sits lower, no light reflection problems, Does mark, no worse than the others, Never tried any of the out, dont want to. Had no problems mounting lights, Areals etc. Seens a very good product. Perception.
AnswerID: 23185

Reply By: Darrell T - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 08:25

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 08:25
Percy
Perception is a funny thing. I have had a Jackaroo for 7 years and had a good run out of it for the first 5 years till parts failed,3 diffs and 2 heads, Then a dropping resistor failed for the engine managment system and Holden could not supply the part, It sat in the shed for 14 weeks. Needless to say I wont buy another Jackaroo ever.That vehicle was replaced with the 4x4 of the year, a V6 Auto SR5 FourRunner. A Lovely vehicle,provided the road was down hill. After the 2.6 Jackaroo it was such a disapointment . The Jack handled our 16 ft van with ease, to the point where you nearly forgot it was there. The Runner was HOPELESS , It didnt have enough go to get out of its own road let alone do any work. Then there was the fuel it consumed. 26L/100 to tow. Sold that out of frustration. The Pajero, bad news mate is what every one said. (Perception) Must be Toyota owners who hate Pajero's. I bought one after a lot of soul searching as I didnt want another dud. The Toyota before the Jackaroo rusted away in the drive way and had an even worse appetite for fuel than the 4 runner. My mate had a Pajero so we put the van on it and did some testing. I asked every one about the dreaded problems with Pajero's. Gearboxes mate. Wont go any where.etc,etc. Why do want to sell the Runner, nice car!!!.We bought a 3L V6 Manual Pajero with 120Ks on it, Have pulled the van all over the east coast, Loves it. 16-20L / 100 depending how fast you drive. We 4x4 when ever we can. If it does'nt make it snatch or winch. No different to out friends Crusers or Patrols. We went to the Centre with the 2 Pajero's. not wanting tyre problems bought BFG Ko tyres for both cars. 10 new tyres. Lost 4 on the trip. Could only buy Hankook out there, Guess what, no more tyre problems. (Perception) We take the Pajero around Aus next Month, 220ks. on it now. ( What problems-does every thing I want it to do and more) Perception. The Runner had an Aluminium Bar. Forever polishing it to keep it nice. The reflection from the lights at night was very bad. The Jack had a Black painted steel bar,Always showed scrateches. and had reflection problems at night. Yes I put a plastic Smart Bar on the Pajero, very easr to keep clean, been on the Paj about 3 years, looks as good as new. Sits lower, no light reflection problems, Does mark, no worse than the others, Never tried any of the out, dont want to. Had no problems mounting lights, Areals etc. Seens a very good product. Perception.
AnswerID: 23186

Follow Up By: Percy Prado - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 11:49

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 11:49
Daz T

Interesting story.I n regards to the Jackaroo,I know that Isuzu beefed up tke drive train a lot after the 2.6 litre old shape model and they seem to have an exellent reputation.

Glad your Pajero is going well.They must be OK otherwise Toyota wouln't have copyed them for the Prado.

A lot of people think BFG's are the bee's knee's but I reckon the AT tread pattern is old hat. Must have been the same for 20 years or more. There's a lot of better AT's on the market now with a tread pattern that actullay works on wet tar, and will still give you good grip off road. I purchased a set of AT Bridgestone Desert Duelers with the new tread pattern for the Prado and they hang on pretty good in the wet.I hav'nt done a big outback trip in them as yet,so I can't comment on the punture resistance or reliabilty, but there supposed to , that's why I brought them.time will tell. It's interesting what you say about the Hancoocks. I have a client who sells tyres and he reckons there the best value tyre on the market and even chose them for his own fourbey.

The feedback I'm getting on the Smart Bar sounds mostly good,
(I havn't read any good reason NOT to buy one yet) so if I get a bull bar I'd get the Smart Bar.I'll only put a bull bar on the Prado if I can see a need for it. A lot of people put them on for cosmetic reasons or to portray a macho image but I recken Prados looks better without one. As far as putting one on to hang some spotties off ,I'd prefer to upgrade my headlights with some of those blue ones.( any feedback on them).My idea of a bull bar is to save damage to a car from wildlife and livestock (not too many around Hervey Bay) ,so unless I drive in an area that there is a threat of running into one of them, and even then most of the risk is at night, why put one on. The only thing you might run into on Fraser Island is poor old dingo being chased by a Queensland Parks and Wildlife ranger with a rifle, after thier mismanagemant of the island has starved the little blighter to starvation ! But that's another story.

Percy
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Follow Up By: GOB member vic - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 21:19

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 21:19
howdy my 2bobs worth
second set of hankooks on my 89 patrol 1st set about 80k this set still going after 18 months pick up new patrol this week and when tyres wearout its back to hankook my personal opinion you cant beat them for value89 nissan looking foward to august and more travelling
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Reply By: Mick - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 11:14

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 11:14
Follow up, Do you have even the faintest idea of the Research and Development that a company like Toyota put into its products? Despite your report (or could it be rapport) with your local bloke who runs a shop, do you think his opinion is really worth even considerin? Go for it Percy and if you want to put lights on just wire them correctly (with an earth wire)lol
AnswerID: 23192

Follow Up By: Mick - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 11:15

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 11:15
Sorry, Janset was the person the above was directed to.
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FollowupID: 15388

Reply By: diamond (bendigo) - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 12:39

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 12:39
how does it go .
horses for courses.
if you dont intend on fitting a winch go for it.
steel/alloy and plastic all have good and bad points.looking foward to september(landcruiser park/fraser island)
AnswerID: 23197

Reply By: Pete G - Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 19:20

Sunday, Jun 22, 2003 at 19:20
Percy Prado,
Bottom line is that it is horses for courses. I cannot speak for the Smart Bar personally - but did have some good experiences with the fore-runner of this product. Given the many variables that happen, I think that steel is overall best, and would then go the plastic. With alloy I have had one disintegrate by brittle failure at the welds (there was no sign of any ductile bending before failure).
I have personally had a good experience with the old Aunger Flexibar on a Falcon (corner hit at 95k's on a 4 foot roo - no damage) - it did crack up 21 yrs later when son tried same stunt. Fitted a HD one on a Company crew vehicle - everybody laughed initially - then the stories started to come in. These are now regarded as unfriendly to pedestrians - however, my experiences with plastic have generally been very good

A separate earth for each light is the way to go on anything - corrosion does its bit over time on any other type of joint in the eart link.

The main issue that I would really have with plastic is the brittleness that comes with ageing. The other thing would be damage at the mounts as mentioned prevoiusly - this would mean a new one.

All said and done - it is the luck of the draw when all goes wrong - probably the main issue is to protect the radiator/remain driveable.

Regards

PeteG



AnswerID: 23228

Follow Up By: Percy Prado - Monday, Jun 23, 2003 at 18:53

Monday, Jun 23, 2003 at 18:53
Pete G

I think the material that the Smart Bar is made of is Polyethelene,which is basicly what wheely bins are made of. Iv'e seen heaps of them (wheely bins) squashed and they just spring back into shape.There even making boats out of the bleep ,and some mob in Bundy is even making boat trailers out of it. It's been used for water tanks for eons. I doubt whether it would go brittle like those old Flexibars ,but would share the same weight advantages.Plastics have come a long way. I wonder if you could jack a Prado up via a Smart Bar with a High-lift jack ?

Percy :@)
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FollowupID: 15488

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