Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:23
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Has anyone had experience of fitting a SmartBar to a 4WD? I am thinking of installing one, the supplier claims it is lighter and just as strong as any other bar. Would appreciate any replies.
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Reply By: patsproule - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:23

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:23
I've had two smart-bars on an NM and an NP Pajero. I fitted the last one. They are very light - can pick it up with one hand. I've yet to hit anything solid with mine but those I know who have swear by them. There are a few videos around showing a comparison between steel, alloy and poly bars. But these things are like tyres - shortly someone will come along and say that you must have a big heavy steel bar. But personally I think that's crap.
AnswerID: 484180

Reply By: Member - John R (cQld) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:26

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:26
Hi Barry

We've had these on both our Hiluxes. Definitely lighter than a metal bar, and they have survived minor hits like wallabies without problem or dents. Never had to test then on anything bigger, thank goodness.
One minor point is that the ends seem to slowly curl in over time, and can start to rub on the bodywork. I have done a bit of grinding on the areas that were touching.

Cheers. John
AnswerID: 484182

Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:53

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:53
Barry - Never tried one, and don't think I ever would. They seem to be very costly for what they are - although the blokes selling them always seem to put up a display of one rammed into a solid pole, and showing the strength & resultant minimal distortion.

The difference in weight between an alloy bar and the SmartBar is not that great, when you consider that an alloy bar can be welded on, can have brackets mounted anywhere, and can be straightened & repaired if bent.

The SmartBar is limited as to where you can mount attachments, and is not repairable, AFAIK. In addition, I don't know what the long-term life of a SmartBar is, that has been exposed to continuous UV light and high temperatures.
Most plastics suffer from some degree of degradation with extensive exposure to UV light and high temperatures, over a period of years.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 484187

Reply By: Super (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:55

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:55
G'day Barry,

I'm on my third Smart Bar. The first one saved me when I hit a steer north of Birdsville. The NP Paj was written off but a panel beater bought the wreck and when he came around to pick up the spare key I saw that he still had the Smart Bar on it. The second bar was replaced after I hit a Ford Laser. the Laser was a write off but my NP Paj had only very, very minor damage to the front guard. Why the insurance company wanted to replace it is beyond me but they did.

I swear by the Smart Bar; they are light and give terrific protection.


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AnswerID: 484188

Reply By: Rob j2 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 19:30

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 19:30
Hello Barry,
We had a Smartbar on a Falcon ute and hit a small roo with it and no damage to either bar or vehicle. The only problem when it was painted, they only used a top coat ,no sealer and when the bar flexed the paint cracked and later on started to peel.
AnswerID: 484195

Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 20:17

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 20:17
Hi Barry,

I had a smart bar on the front of my work vehicle. It was fine for small impacts (wallabies at 80km/h) I collect a red roo doing 110km/h and it flexed to far and pushed the radiator off its brackets. They have a place and are a good idea but mine wasnt strong enough (needed less flex).

They seem a lot lighter then steel (dont have figures to back it up)

I also dont like the shape, I like bull bars to push the animal down not allowing them to roll up the bonnet.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 484200

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:33

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:33
"Roll up the bonnet" and do this. I think that I would prefer the others as well.

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Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 20:39

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 20:39
The word is that they are indeed fine for lighter impacts, but they are pretty useless for heavier ones.

In some instances they will flex..and yah fair enough thay absorb impact...but they often flex far enough to allow radiator or mudguard damage before they spring back.

Then on the realy heavy impacts they simply break

Sort of similar problems to those plastic tube bars that where arround in the 80's but not quite as least they don't fling impacted wild life into oncomming traffic, like the polly tube bars were claimed to.

The point of a bull bar is that it protects the vehicle under heavy impact sufficient to protect the radiator and front end and hopefully allow the vehicle to be driven to a place where help can be obtained.

The smart bar is the bullbar you have when you don't want a bullbar.

Up here in QLD we are seeing quite a few fitted to ambulances that work mostly in the city..go figure.

Among the serious 4wd community they area source of amusement.

AnswerID: 484205

Follow Up By: Bobba - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 23:05

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 23:05
"Among the serious 4wd community they area source of amusement"

Geez that's a bit rough Bantam when you read what some others have said here in a positive light. Sounds like we're not serious 4wdrivers - does the same go for Pajero/Prado/Navaras etc? Or do we need a Cruiser with a steel bar to be considered amongst the "serious 4wd community"?

I have a steel ARB bar on my old Triton and like it a lot but it was on the vehicle when I bought it. But when it was my choice to buy one for our Prado before our 6 month trip with trailer and kids in tow, I went for the Smartbar, personal choice for reasons I've stated below - certainly it wasn't because I didn't want one!


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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 10:46

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 10:46
Not a bit rough at all a plain and straight forward statement of fact.

They are nowhere near as viable platform for mounting of accessories such as driving lights, aerials and particularly winches.
Mounting of accessories is one of the important functions of a bullbar.

Yeh I know that you can get winch versions, but see the next point, modifications are often needed to fit winches or access their controlls

The do not lend themselves to being repaired or modified, almost every vehicle that has a bodylift has had the bullbar modified accordingly.

Most of the low slung road going SUV type stationwaggons like the prado & the non70 series landcruser waggons need a body lift to be considered "serious off road contenders".

The clue to the whole intent of the smart bar is the fact that a large portion of the range offered are not for 4wds, but for pasenger cars, light vans and light trucks.

Of course anybody that baught a smart bar is going to defend its purchase otherwise they would have to admit making a mistake.

In a market where people generally turn their noses up at an alloy bar, of course a plastic one is going to be a source of amusement.

No they are a bullbar for those who don't want a bullbar or who feel guilty about fitting one.

I think that should stur things along sufficiently.

FollowupID: 759500

Follow Up By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 16:19

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 16:19
Geez, Bantam. Not heard such a load of codswollop in ages. Crawl back in ya burrow...
FollowupID: 759528

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 17:08

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 17:08
OK come arround to my place and well see how we go welding a few brackets onto your smart bar or cutting off the mountings and moving them down 50mm.

How about fitting a large pair of spotlights not the pissy little ones claimed as "compatable".

Its a matter of choices.

Either address the issues or stop throwing insults. is one for the greenies.

Ya steel or alloy bullbar is 100% easily recyclable and most probably will be at the end of its life, ya smart bar is made of oil bassed plastic composite and most likley to end up in land fit at the end of its life.

see endless amusement.

BTW bantams don't live in burrows.

FollowupID: 759533

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:02

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:02

Our bars at work come with side rail attachment points and a winch can be fitted. Yes they make winch bars.

It is easy to attach driving lights or ariels if required.

As for the oil base after you have burnt a mega litre of fuel in the vehicle do you really think a plastic bar is going to make a difference. Maybe you could look at the dash of your vehicle and ask if it could be made out of steel with green coal melting and forming the steel.

If you haven't used one you should. You might be surprised how good they are.

FollowupID: 759543

Follow Up By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:19

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:19
Sounds like your more at home with the cow catchers that we commonly see on the front of the B&S utes that cruise into town around Eka time, the very thing that makes all the do-gooders rave on about banning bullbars and indeed 4Bs in general.

There's no need for anyone to have "large spotlights" anymore. HID lights mean that even a 100mm light will outperform any "bull light" you care to name, and will still fit on a Smartbar. Even LED lightbars are more efficient.

Have a look at the HIC (Head injury criterion) of your steel bullbars. Another reason why the world is moving on an fitting safer bars.

Most modern 4Bs are not compatible with body lifts. Once you have a car with ESP style braking systems (most modern ones) then you can't legally change the ride height as it affects the braking/handling.

"Most of the low slung road going SUV type stationwaggons" simply cannot have a body lift. Suspension lift yes, body lift no.

And PLEASE dont try to tell me that the only "serious off road contenders" are 70 series landcruiser...

Take the time to watch the video posted below...

FollowupID: 759545

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:41

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:41
Yeh throw the bay out with the bath water.
There are plenty of bullbars out there that are not cow catchers, in fact these days most of them.

And no matter what you say, for light beam quality there is no substitute for a large lense and reflector regardless of light source used.

Of couse there is the whole pedestrian safety thing......look at the figures the number of people killed and injured as a result of the bullbars currently fitted is statisticaly insignificant.

Figures on animal impacts are not gattered or reported which is a pitty, because in many areas the danger to humans is far greater from animal impacts on vehicle than from pedestrian impacts with vehicles.

Ask anybody who does a lot of driving away from the cities and they will tell you animal impacts are a regular thing, but hitting pedestrians is very very rare indeed.

I've never hit a pedestrian how about you.

Besides the most likley head injury impact on a non raised vehicle is with the bonnet, shape of the bullbar is more important than the material it is made of.

If we keep making the bullbars lower in profile, less agressive and closer to the body work they will be useless, as it stands most current front bars do little to prevent the animal comming over the bonnet and thu the windscreen.

We keep comming back to the bullbar you have when you are feeling guilty about having a bullbar.

As for the smart bar video...pointless realy.....Hills Industries....are not going to publish anything that does not show their product in a good light......lets see what happens when the bar is on a real vehicle and hits a real animal at real speeds.

FollowupID: 759560

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:06

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 21:06
I have travelled this country in trucks and 4wd's.

Yes there is a case for large bullbars used to stop roo strike but lets not get to emotive about it.

I have seen an SAR Kenny destroyed by 2 bulls and no bar was going to protect it.

Most don't need the big bars as they travel during good daylight hours, seldom in the country and are protected by their airbags.

I still state that the smart bars are a great piece of equipment and are a great move into the future.

Forget about all the hype and emotions horses for courses is the go and that stupid plastic bar is one great unit or would you like to bring your 200 series with it's big bar out for a try where I work day in day out.

I am still living in the past as I love my old 4200 transtar but hell you gotta move into the next century.


FollowupID: 759564

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:18

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:18
OK lets forget the hype and emotions.

So it's not a smart bar, it has no intelect, its a plastic bar, but that don't sound so good...the mojority of the sales spiel is emotional

It does not protect pedestrians because existing bullbars are statisticaly insignificant in pedestrian casualties.

Looks don't matter..thats emotions..good thing because I think they are uggly.

Plastic bull bars are the future..well we will see....the polly tube bars from the 80's were touted as the future, but they did not last long.

New and heavily marketed don't make it better.

As for my 200 series..I don't have a 200 series, that is why I am not concerned with my suspension sagging just because I but a metal bull bar on the front.

I supose they have a place, on the front of cars that are soo soft they sag with addition of a metal bullbar.

FollowupID: 759580

Follow Up By: Bobba - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:23

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:23
Thanks for the laugh bantam, I haven't read such load of rubbish for a while. You said to address the issues but some background first.

My 60 Series Cruiser had a steel ARB bar.
My Subie wagon had a steel bar, unknown brand.
My 2 door Rangie had a steel ARB bar.
My Triton has a steel ARB bar.

Do I feel guilty about having bull bars, umm let me think about that statement...

I live in the country which is currently infested with roos and quite a few deer and I'm pretty comfortable with the protection it gives us and the great light given to me by my Lightforce 240's...they fit perfectly so how big do I need to go before they're not classified as pissy little ones? Funny thing I can only fit small driving lights on my steel Triton bar, the 240's won't fit?!

Love your statement of facts, didn't realise you wrote the 4wd bible, keep it coming this just gets better!


FollowupID: 759581

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:37

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 22:37


FollowupID: 759584

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:33

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:33
Well who is getting imotional now.

Not once have I said they are a piece of crap, I have simply drawn attention to some of the negative points.

Hell some of you guys must have a real bad case of post purchase angsiety.

As for the lightforce 240s...I supose plastic lights on a plastic bar is a fair thing.

BTW are they completely behind the frontal profile of the bulbar?

Go on admit it, you realy want a piece of nice solid steel out the front.


FollowupID: 759619

Follow Up By: Bobba - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:57

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:57
Plastic lights now! Profile? Mate they are pretty much flush.

You must a polished wooden floor in your rig or is all checker plate? Couldn't imagine you'd have vinyl cause that's sort of that pussy plastic stuff that might end up in land fill?

This has to be the last post doesn't it, I can't think of anything else you can go fishing for, you have entertained me though so I almost feel like saying thanks?
FollowupID: 759623

Reply By: Rockape - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 21:58

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 21:58
I would would fit a smart bar at the drop of a hat as they are excellent bars.

True they are not there to stop a bull like the heavy duty bars. One thing to remember is when the heavy duty bar has stopped the bull the chassis of your vehicle is stuffed.

Horses for courses and how you use the vehicle.

We have been using them underground for a couple of years and they are a very good unit. Our steel bars end up bent and buckled or rusted out but the plastic ones take the impacts and come back to their original shape very well. Some will say that the vehicles aren't hitting things at speed but I have seen these bars hit the walls head on at 30kph + and survive the impact.

Have fitted 2 by myself as the fitters didn't have time and as the salesman said they are light as hell.

Two accidents come to mind that were identical where both vehicles were turning and hit posts at the same speed. One had a steel bar and the other a smart bar. Result was both had guard damage. The steel bar was stuffed and the plastic bar was fine. The Toyota with the steel bar sustained more damage than the one with the plastic bar.


AnswerID: 484223

Reply By: Member - Barry W (VIC) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 22:06

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 22:06
Thanks to all who replied re the Smart Bars. More for than against so I guess I will look further at them.
AnswerID: 484225

Follow Up By: Bobba - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 22:56

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 22:56
Barry we fitted one to our Prado and it's interesting the negative comments come from people who've never had them!

*We have hit a medium roo at 80km/hr, no damage, can't even tell where it hit.
*The light weight meant I didn't have to upgrade to HD springs.
* They come pre-fitted with mounts for aerials and lights and I also installed a bracket for a 2nd aerial, easy to do.

Ours sits out from the bonnet but I have seen some new designs where they are close to the bonnet and I could see them bending back and causing damage but then I have also seen metal bars hugging the bonnet too.

Pros and cons, no right or wrong, as with everything it's personal choice.


FollowupID: 759467

Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:11

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:11
from someone who works in a harsh environment and as I am also a harsh critic of some products. I give these bars a big thumbs up. No affiliation with the product.

You choice,
FollowupID: 759544

Reply By: JanP - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 22:36

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 22:36
Hi Barry

This is a comparison test between different bars.
I hope you find it of interest.

AnswerID: 484235

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:08

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 18:08
I've fitted 3 smart bars to Prados and would happily buy one again. They were mounted to strong steel mounts - looked a really smart design and didn't weigh the front ends down. Very few are winch compatible though.
AnswerID: 484304

Reply By: mikehzz - Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:06

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 07:06
I think all the NSW Police Pajeros have them fitted along with spotties and a winch.
AnswerID: 484342

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