Smart Bar vs Bullbar

Can anyone provide any information on the benefits or negatives of either bars - I am trying to decide which to install on my hilux dual cab.
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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 08:10

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 08:10
Benefit from the owners point of view - if you hit a roo the bar will bend - then a few days later it looks like new again.

Benefit from the pedestrians point of view - your chances of surviving are greater than if you were hit by a car with no bullbar at all, and much, much greater than being hit by a car with a metal bullbar.
AnswerID: 299131

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 08:11

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 08:11
Get ready for those who have steel bars (me included) to tell you that steel bars are better because they don't have any "give" in them, thus protecting your vehicle better......

Get ready for those who have a Smartbar to tell you that steel bars don't have any "give" in them and that if you hit anything when you're wearing one that the shock will be transferred to the vehicle.

IMHO the Smartbar concept is okay....but in practice, they sit too close to the bodywork and when you hit a roo etc, they bend back and damage the very vehicle they are supposed to be protecting. I will admit, however, that I would rather have a smartbar than no bar at all......and probably even more than a aluminium bar too.

Roachie
AnswerID: 299132

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 15:51

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 15:51
Rockclimbers use nylon ropes - they could use much thinner steel ropes - but the lack of give before breaking would be somewhat more fatal.

Just because something bends, doesn't mean it's too weak to do the job.

People who think that plastics aren't strong, are just living in the past.
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 16:24

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 16:24
Sorry Mike....I didn't explain myself properly, perhaps.

Most of the smartbars I've seen fitted to vehicles, have only a very small amount of gap (or "air space") between the bar and the bonnet/mudguard/headlight area etc. I'm talking, like a matter of 2" or so.

As such, if you hit something like a roo etc, the bar does what it's supposed to do....it bends to absorb the impact and then returns to it's original position....Unfortunately, the bonnet/mudguard/headlight etc, doesn't return to IT'S original position.

If they made the smartbars so that there was a reasonable gap (say 9" to 12"), between the bar and the bodywork, then (in the event of a collision) the smartbar could bend back without necessarily hitting/damaging the vehicle.

I know the relative strength of new-age products....hell, I have synthetic winch rope fitted to my Patrol anyway!!
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 08:24

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 08:24
Like most of these things Benedict , there are a number of pro's and cons and hopefully this thread will shake them out.

Against Plastic bars have been more instability in wind and
to much deformation in some models that still caused body damage.
A lot of this depends on mounts on the car concerned

Extra wind noise , and more restrictions on mounting aerial
that may require earthing etc.

I'd lean towards the plastic bar , but in practise when I did
a cost benefit study on my GU patrol I decided that cost & extra
fuel cost of running a bar and the weight forward of the axles, steering complications - against the standard protection and potential damage from no bar was such that I left my car with no Bar.

Mind you where I work we also manufacture bull-bars and the main
determining sales factor is probably the bars cosmetic appearance.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - David P (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 10:21

Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 10:21
AAAHHHAAA!!! the truth at last !!....silverback
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 10:32

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 10:32
I've used Smartbar, aluminium and steel bars recently.

Smart Bars are a good product but it depends on what vehicle. The smartbar for the 79series is an atrocious looking piece of gear, but the 90series Prado bars look like any other steel bar, and was very strong.

The 90series smartbar was mounted on solid steel mounts, so I was happy with the amount of protection the main structure provided. It also allowed better airflow to the radiator. It also didn't rust like steel or lose its glossy finish like aluminium. Not many smartbars are winch compatible.

I think they are good for the 4wds with IFS where weight is more of an issue, and if you won't want a winch. I'd not buy an aluninium bar again - too much damage when they get hit.
AnswerID: 299148

Follow Up By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 14:25

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 14:25
Hiya Phil



Any idea how much they cost (roughly) for an o4 Hilux

Cheers Mate
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 14:47

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 14:47
About $800-900 I'd guess. Generally a bit cheaper than steel. Used to be able to buy factory seconds here in adelaide.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warfer (VIC) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 23:23

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 23:23
Cheers Phil

Bloody ugly though,they need to streamline them somehow without the loss of strength...


Thanks
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Reply By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 11:43

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 11:43
I would go a bullbar purely because they look beefier than those other puncey things!! just IMHO though.....and I am a girl so some logic comes from that!!!

Laura
AnswerID: 299163

Reply By: Member - Barnesy - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 13:27

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 13:27
I suppose it depends on where you will be going. Up here in the Pilbara with cattle wandering across the road with no concern for oncoming cars then I wouldn't use anything but a big beefy steel bar.

If you will be doing mainly short trips with only roos to worry about then maybe the smart bar would be sufficient.
AnswerID: 299178

Follow Up By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 14:39

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 14:39
Barnesy


If you hit cattle it doesn't matter whether you have a bull bar or not.

Friends did $12,000 worth of damage when they hit one near Port Headland a few years back.

They might call them bull bars but they are only good for a roo.



Tjilpi
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Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 15:30

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 15:30
That's true Kumunara, but a big solid steel bar would still offer a lot more protection than a bouncy plastic one or alloy bar.
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Reply By: Krakka - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 17:05

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 17:05
I have seen the damage that a roo didn,t do to the front of Andrew and Jens 100s with a steel bar, damaged numberplate and a small bit of cosmetic damage i think from memory, don't think same result would have happened with a smart bar.
Krakka
AnswerID: 299200

Reply By: Member - Nev (TAS) - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 20:11

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 20:11
Hi there,
I was always under the impression that a roo bar was there to protect the car if you hit a roo. Protect meant being able to continue on your journey after hitting one. This meant not losing your radiator or having your fan grinding into your motor. Body damage was considered a side effect in a major hit but you should be able to drive on. I had two bad hits during my WA years both in a WB Statesman. The first hit I had a steel bar and it took the whole brunt and bent back only a small amount. The car was drivable but handled like crap. When I eventually got back to Perth we found a twisted chassis. The car was eventually written off. The second hit about a year later was with an aluminium bar. It bent back and bounced off the bonnet causing about $2000 worth of damage. This was near the SA/WA border and I was able to continue driving through to Melbourne. Mind you the roo bar looked awfully sick. In my humble opinion I would much prefer to have a $2000 bill than a written off vehicle so I have always stayed with alloy/aluminium bars since. I haven't looked at the smart bars so cannot comment on those.

Rgds

nev
AnswerID: 299212

Reply By: mattie - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 21:17

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 21:17
I have worked with a few people that had smart bars and they work alright if you hit a roo in the centre but it only takes a very soft hit on the outside of the bar to damage the bonnet and guards and i emphasise a very soft hit, i also agree with all the feed back on the alloy bars as well(i would not buy one of these infront of a steel bar either). Personally if i only had the choice of only a plastic bar i would need to be fitting spot lights to justify the expense because they don't give a lot more protection than a good nudge bar. As for predestrians being better off- well cars should allways have right of way unless a traffic light is telling you otherwise, it is a lot easier for a predestrian to dodge a car than a car watch out for other traffic and pushbikes and then predestrians who are worried about being hit by a car with a bumper bar or a car with a roo bar trying to take right a way at every oppotunity(this part of the population that complain the most about 4wds and their roo bars probably can not afford one and are jelious or just do not understand the need for the roo bars in outback and other rural areas of Australia that are heavily populated with wildlife and ferral animals).


MATTIE
AnswerID: 299226

Follow Up By: mattie - Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 21:19

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 at 21:19
sorry about the spelling hit the wrong button.
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Reply By: marq - Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:53

Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:53
Alloy bars are hopeless.

I fitted a smartbar on my current vehicle due to the weight vs the steel bar and add 0.5L/100km fuel usage.
There is bugger all flex in regards to wind and I am 135kg weight and happy jump onto the smartbar to work on the engine without any problems.

Steel bars with side bars are the best protection and add about 1L/100km fuel usage.

There is a greater chance that roos will hit you on the side of the vehicle.
AnswerID: 299294

Reply By: Member - Mark H (VIC) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:54

Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:54
I went through the same process last year and wasn't sure to go steel or Smartbar. Ended going with the Smartbar for these reasons.

Main one cost: The bar itself was a lot cheaper than an air-bag compatible steel bar. Plus I didn't have to upgrade my front suspension further to counter the weight of the bullbar. So lots of money saved.

I've read all the reasons/benefits etc. and I believe that the give in the smartbar is better for my Prado and whatever I'm hitting. A rock-solid steel bar that doesn't budge will transfer the force elsewhere, hence stories of bent chassis'. The exact reason why cars have crumple zones, airbage etc. Yes they may bend back onto the body work a little but I would think a crumpled bonnet and guards is easier to fix than a crumples chassis.

Each to their own though. If my Prado already had a steel bar on it I'd be very happy to leave it there. Given the choice though, Smartbar for me.

Cheers,

Mark.
AnswerID: 299295

Reply By: Shane (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:57

Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:57
May I suggest taking trip between Dalby & Cunnamulla of a night to make a decision of the benefits of different types. I have over a period of years struck at least a dozen Roo's both in the front & side of the Cruiser, & I can assure you I would not travel the outback without a "Steel Bullbar". All frontal strikes have been at speed (80 to100kph) with no damage to the vehicle front, but demolished spotlights the worst. If you have a look at a lot of the local bullbars out West you will see they are filled in with steel mesh in the centre to stop Roo's coming through the gap into your radiator, no plastic out there. Mine is a ARB & no I don't work for the company & yes one could say that only dills drive of a night, but sometimes you have no choice. One night the Roo's were that thick that I asked the following Fuel tanker with a dog on to get past me to mow them down. He kept his speed at 100kph with the occasional brake light from him. I asked him over the radio if it was getting to him also, "he said Na, just a reflex when they jump in front". In the end it got to me as there was still plenty on the side of the road & he just disappeared in the distance. He ended up in St George 1/2 ahead of me. Go steel.
AnswerID: 299296

Follow Up By: Shane (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:59

Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:59
Meant "1/2 hour".
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