With as easy as it is to make loads of horsepower these days, eclipsing the OEM safety equipment on the drag strip is fairly easy to do, but companies like Maximum Motorsports offer safety upgrades to keep you safe and to keep you legal with the drag racing sanctioning bodies and tracks.
While Maximum Motorsports is largely known for its incredible suspension components for all things late-model Mustangs, the company also offers enthusiasts quite a bit more, including safety equipment. When we had the opportunity to upgrade a Fox-Body Mustang with some safety gear, we contacted Maximum Motorsports for one of the company’s bolt-in, 6-point roll bars.
Part number MMRB-2 specifies a 6-point roll bar with swing-out door bars and a fixed harness mount bar. The kit retails for $737 plus shipping and is constructed from 1-3/4-inch-diameter, 0.134-inch-wall DOM mild steel tubing. This specific kit is also custom-fabricated for the Fox-Body Mustang—Maximum Motorsports also offers kits for 1994-2014 Mustangs as well.
In addition to the roll bar kit, we ordered a bunch of Maximum’s foam roll bar tubing padding (PN RBP-1), which retails for just $7.97 for a 3-foot length. It fits 1 ¾-inch tubing and you’ll want to use it everywhere the body can contact the tubing.
Check out the accompany photos to see how what was involved with the installation.
We suppose you could leave the carpet in place to do this, but ideally you remove the entire carpet so you can trim it nicely around the mounting plates. The seats, center console, and several interior panels, will likely need to be removed to facilitate the carpet’s removal.
Step one is to set the main hoop in the car. Car owner Dennis Fahey placed it in the car, and on the Fox Body Mustang, the bar is designed to sit all the way back against the rear seat wall.
If you have a sunroof-optioned Mustang such as this one, you’ll want to make sure the main hoop placement doesn’t interfere with the latch mechanism. Ours fit perfectly, but you will want to be sure to check your clearnace before you start drilling.
The main hoop mounting plates have been angled to match the shape of the contour of the floor, but having covered multiple roll bar and roll cage installations, this author has come to understand that the floors can be rather easily manipulated, either on purpose or by accident, and that they don’t always match up in situations where an application-specific part should fit it—sometimes a little persuasion is needed to get things to match up, whether you’re adjusting the floor itself, or the mounting plates.
With the bar in place, the holes for the fasteners can be drilled out, as you see master Fox Body Mustang technician Brian Bohnsack doing here. With an application-specific part like Maximum Motorsports’ Fox Body roll bar, you’re more than likely not going to hit anything underneath the floor, such as fuel or brake lines when drilling out these holes, but you should still take a look before drilling, especially if you’ve made modifications to the vehicle.
Maximum Motorsports includes all necessary hardware to fasten the mounting plates to the floor.
The factory floor is sandwiched between the upper mounting plate and the lower plate seen here. This adds extra strength to keep the floor from moving in the event of a roll over.
With the main hoop secured in place, you’ll want to tackle the rear support bars next. As these need to be welded, the heat from that process could move the main hoop, causing the door bars to bind should they be installed beforehand. Maximum Motorsports included a length of PVC as a mock up so you can determine where to cut the interior rear side panels.
A hole saw does the best job at providing a perfectly round opening for the rear support bar to pass through, but you could use a drill bit and other means of cutting to get the job done.
With the rear interior panels out of the way, you can slide the rear support bar on and use the included hardware to secure it to the main hoop. Under no circumstances should this be used has a permanent solution to securing it. It is just to locate the tube so you can drill the mounting plate holes. Once the plate is bolted down, you need to weld the tubes to the main hoop. Maximum Motorsports did a really nice job with the tubing cuts and bevels, making it easy to weld it up.
The mounting plate is bolted to the inner wheel house just like the main hoop was to the floor. Be sure to check the bolt clearance to the tires in the wheel well, particularly if you are already running something wider than stock.
Next up are the swing-out door bars, which was an option we chose for this application. Weld-in door bars are a bit simpler to install—and offered by Maximum Motorsports—but the convenience of the swing-outs is rather nice. To get started, place the mounting plate on the floor, insert the bar into the mounting plate, and then use the included pins to secure the bar to the main hoop.
Once you have the door bar set in place, be sure to check the fitment against things like the door pulls or armrests. You may have to move the mounting plates inward just a bit to get the door bars to clear such obstacles. If you don’t, you might end up with doors that are difficult to close and possibly damage the armrests.
Take your time with this part of the installation. As the door bars do move a bit in the mounting plates, it can change the angle at the other end and cause a binding issue when trying to insert the pins that secure the door bar to the main hoop. Once you have it working well, you can then bolt the mounting plates down, of course taking the same precautions as you did with the main hoop mounting plate installation.
With the installation all but complete, you can reinstall the interior components. Take you time getting the carpet to fit around the bars and you’ll have a much better aesthetic result.
This slightly rough-around-the-edges, and Coyote-powered 1979 Indy Pace Car-edition Mustang is just about ready for the track. All that’s left to do is install some harnesses and some roll bar padding.
While many people forgo the padding, it’s pretty easy to install, adds quite a bit of safety to this install, and you can order it from Maximum Motorsports at the same time you order the roll bar. As this is a street-going car, you’ll want to have the extra padding on bars that your body can come in contact with. This will help prevent injuries whether you’re in a collision or just fumbling around getting in and out of the car.