RPM Rollbar install - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #1 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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RPM Rollbar install

I finally pulled the trigger on a roll bar. HPDEs, here I come! Finally.

It'll be a month before it gets here. James @ RPM (rollbars, not Martin's shop) offered some insight regarding installation, and they'll answer questions on the phone. But, has anyone here done one of these? If so, what was your experience - challenges, bloody (in the literal, not British or Australian sense) accidents, etc.?

I'm planning to do an installation video when the day comes.

Pointers, insight, experience and advice would be appreciated.

(This cannot be more difficult than removing, rebuilding and reinstalling an engine, body work, painting a car, struts and brakes, etc.)

I'm just looking for tips, tricks and regrets from those who have gone before me.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, Borla cat-back, DDM braces, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, some gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-Rs, GReddy Profec, Norm's fenders

'07 GXP, Werks Big Wheel K04 and tune, Solo catless downpipe, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , stainless brake lines, slotted/drilled rotors, BC Racing BR coilovers, Performance Autowerks intercooler, DDMWorks CAI, charge pipes and braces, RPM rollbar
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post #2 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:55 PM
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I don't have any advise on a roll bar install. But I sure am happy to hear that you are going to get her on the track! You mentioned you were wanting to do a HPDE a couple months ago. Looking forward to following your roll bar progress
BTW, doing my 2nd and 3rd trackdays at Homestead raceway on 2/2 and 2/3. Got my Gopro up and running again so hopefully will have some video to post.
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post #3 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome - glad to hear you're sticking with it.

I used to do these things twice a month - for roughly a decade. Then, I got (re)married, had some kids, got an SUV, etc. It's been awhile. Here in north Texas, we have a pretty great track / racing community, and there's an event at least twice each week, year-round. I'm just looking to go burn some tires and pads and have some fun. When the kids get a little older, i vow that their first driving experience will be on a skid pad.

I used to be an instructor. Pretty sure I'll suck at this point. But, challenge means learning, and learning means fun. Usually. Sometimes.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, Borla cat-back, DDM braces, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, some gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-Rs, GReddy Profec, Norm's fenders

'07 GXP, Werks Big Wheel K04 and tune, Solo catless downpipe, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , stainless brake lines, slotted/drilled rotors, BC Racing BR coilovers, Performance Autowerks intercooler, DDMWorks CAI, charge pipes and braces, RPM rollbar
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post #4 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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@Retlaw

The most interesting part of the purchase was their remark that they've sold "a LOT" (emphasis theirs) of Solstice rollbars. In his words, "Everyone with a Solstice wants to get it on the track."

No disrespect to the forum, but most of the members that post have expressed zero interest in tracking the car. Then there's the whole "your brakes are fine" discussion.

I suspect the existence of a larger, shadow-Kappa community of which we are unaware.

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, Borla cat-back, DDM braces, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, some gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-Rs, GReddy Profec, Norm's fenders

'07 GXP, Werks Big Wheel K04 and tune, Solo catless downpipe, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , stainless brake lines, slotted/drilled rotors, BC Racing BR coilovers, Performance Autowerks intercooler, DDMWorks CAI, charge pipes and braces, RPM rollbar
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post #5 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:23 PM
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A lot? I was never under the impression either that many Kappas were tracked. I can understand we all love our Kappas and can't just go out and buy a new one if this one gets messed up. Was actually thinking if I do really like the next track weekend that I may think about getting a different car for the track.
I am sure for you getting back on the track will be like riding a bike....just a lot more exciting!
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post #6 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retlaw View Post
we all love our Kappas and can't just go out and buy a new one if this one gets messed up.
Sure you can. There are many, many, MANY for sale. The funny part of this, and I'm sure I'll get silent 'boo!'s for this, is that the vast majority of owners bought these things when they were new and now the cars are old, stock, rarely driven (See many 10k mile '07 ads lately?) and probably in need of replacement of Every Rubber Part On The Freaking Car, not to mention tires (hint: they have a MUCH shorter life than the battery, guys), etc.

There are a lot more of these cars on the road than there are people on the forums or (effing) Facebook, and a lot of those owners bought the car to drive, rather than rub it with a diaper and whisper sweet nothings into its now-rusted throttle body. The remark from RPM was offhand, after I'd paid. I've seen a number of kappas at local track events, people that don't know or care about the forums.

Shrug.

It's a car. Drive it, or don't. My one overriding factor for choosing a track car is:

If I bounce this thing off a wall, will I be able to pay my mortgage?

This rules out just about every other cool car available. So, here we are.

Cheers.

/rant
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Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, Borla cat-back, DDM braces, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, some gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-Rs, GReddy Profec, Norm's fenders

'07 GXP, Werks Big Wheel K04 and tune, Solo catless downpipe, TCE Wilwood 6 piston front brakes, 4-piston rears , stainless brake lines, slotted/drilled rotors, BC Racing BR coilovers, Performance Autowerks intercooler, DDMWorks CAI, charge pipes and braces, RPM rollbar
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post #7 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:58 PM
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I've talked to the local SCCA tech inspector, showed him pictures of the RPM rollbar, 4 point and 6 point, and have been advised that it won't pass inspection without being braced to the rear. No Track Night in America for me!!

Advice from Heyward Wagner at the SCCA: Go out and buy a $2500 Miata, put in a $500 Hard Dog roll bar, $500 in brakes, and then go out and drive the wheels off it.

YMMV



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Last edited by DaveOC; 01-07-2019 at 06:17 PM.
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post #8 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 06:38 PM
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There's realistically only 20-ish people active on this forum. That's a hard cry from the 85,000 kappas still on the road according to a recent thread.

I'd love to track my solstice but the roll bar is far too intrusive for me. (And kind of marginal on safety and design.) My last "fun" car I went way to far into the racecar territory and it ruined it for everything else, and I don't currently have the means for two "fun" cars.

With that said, between the Detroit and Toledo-ish SCCA regions I auto-x in, and counting myself, there are as many as six people who can show up (1 sky, 3 solsti, 1 coupe, 1 half-solstice - search this forum for Dr. Jones if you don't believe me a half-solstice is a thing.)

And keep in mind, there's a good reason kappas, corvettes, mustangs and what have you come with automatics - the sales fund all other varients.
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post #9 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 09:52 PM
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I was the member who arranged the Solstice RPM Rollbar group buy. There were over 12 rollbars ordered by members. Have not seen any posts indicating that the RPM rollbar is failing inspection.

I've attended 2 SCCA Track Nights in America and one other HPDE event sponsered by a car club in my GXP. Have not had any difficulty passing inspection. When the inspectors see the RPM logo on the rollbar, they don't inspect it any further and go onto the next item. It may be because I'm near Portland where RPM is located and all the tech inspectors know Rob, the owner of RPM, who also is an avid HPDE participant. Several inspectors told me that when they have questions about a rollbar, they contact Rob.

I did not install the rollbar since RPM was using my car to design the SCCA bar and they installed the rollbar at their shop. I was there one day for a test fit and went back after the rollbar came back from the powdercoating shop for installation. I was there 9 hours while they figured out how to install it.

The most difficult part of the install was fastening the forward tubes to the transmission tunnel. Two backing plate for the forward bars are installed in the underside of the tunnel and the nuts are impossible to start. It is very tight in the tunnel because of the torque tube and a wrench would not fit. Rob and crew ended up welding the nuts to the backing plate to facilitate installation.

They also removed the plastic panels behind the seats in order to drill holes and bolt the flange through the floor at the rear corners. They had a hard time reinstalling the panels after the rollbar was installed due to the lack of space. Notching the lower rear corners of the panels may allow rollbar installation without removing the panels.

There has to be others on this forum that has installed the rollbar themselves. I know that lexpioneer installed his rollbar. He helped me with the group buy and posted on the other Kappa forums.

SCCA only require rollbars for convertibles with V8 and forced induction engines. The inspectors said the RPM rollbar is superior to most factory rollbars. They pointed to a Z3 and Miata that had manufacturer designrd loop rollbars and said that those factory rollbars don't meet SCCA rollbar rules. The rules require a single hoop with a continuous top bar across the whole car. They did add that the Z3 and Miata did not require rollbars since they were naturally aspirated.

The forward bars on the RPM rollbar meet the bracing rule (SCCA prefer rear bars) and the diagnol satisfy the crossbracing rule. Those rules are for HPDE and hillclimbs. Roadracing require a full cage.
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post #10 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOC View Post

Advice from Heyward Wagner at the SCCA: Go out and buy a $2500 Miata, put in a $500 Hard Dog roll bar, $500 in brakes, and then go out and drive the wheels off it.

.
I'd be embarassed to be seen in a Miata, I don't fit and they lean way too much for me.
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post #11 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 11:00 PM
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Your SCCA rules and our SCCA rules appear to be different. Here, ALL convertibles require roll bars, regardless of engine configuration. Here, the BMW and Miata with roll hoops are OK because they are roll bars provided by the manufacturer.

Track Night in America rules appear to be a bit flexible between different tracks and different SCCA officials, in essence, being whatever the local tech inspector requires at the local track. As I said in my message, the RPM front braced roll bar in a Pontiac Solstice Convertible is a non-starter here in SE Wisconsin.

I should probably add that the various track rules may be different due to insurance requirements imposed by the insurers at the various tracks.



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post #12 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOC View Post
Your SCCA rules and our SCCA rules appear to be different. Here, ALL convertibles require roll bars, regardless of engine configuration. Here, the BMW and Miata with roll hoops are OK because they are roll bars provided by the manufacturer.

Track Night in America rules appear to be a bit flexible between different tracks and different SCCA officials, in essence, being whatever the local tech inspector requires at the local track. As I said in my message, the RPM front braced roll bar in a Pontiac Solstice Convertible is a non-starter here in SE Wisconsin.

I should probably add that the various track rules may be different due to insurance requirements imposed by the insurers at the various tracks.



.
Maybe you should just tell your tech inspector that Rob at RPM says its OK.

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post #13 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raygun View Post
Sure you can. There are many, many, MANY for sale. The funny part of this, and I'm sure I'll get silent 'boo!'s for this, is that the vast majority of owners bought these things when they were new and now the cars are old, stock, rarely driven (See many 10k mile '07 ads lately?) and probably in need of replacement of Every Rubber Part On The Freaking Car, not to mention tires (hint: they have a MUCH shorter life than the battery, guys), etc.

There are a lot more of these cars on the road than there are people on the forums or (effing) Facebook, and a lot of those owners bought the car to drive, rather than rub it with a diaper and whisper sweet nothings into its now-rusted throttle body. The remark from RPM was offhand, after I'd paid. I've seen a number of kappas at local track events, people that don't know or care about the forums.

Shrug.

It's a car. Drive it, or don't. My one overriding factor for choosing a track car is:

If I bounce this thing off a wall, will I be able to pay my mortgage?

This rules out just about every other cool car available. So, here we are.

Cheers.

/rant
I am really happy that you enjoy your car in your own way. My racing is done sitting still or cruising with friends. And I suspect I have a lot more time and energy invested in creating my car. :-)

I grew up in the Army. We did not develop a lot of close friends because most were there for a while then gone. Moved on or taking a dirt nap. It was the mid 60s. And I found I was a serious introvert so making friends has always been a long time process for me. And I am very task focused. So as a result I never formed a lot of close friendships. I was too bush doing stuff. Work, play, kids, work, work, work.. . .

When I got the Sky and Solstice I discovered that they brought with them a whole new world of friends. Virtual friends on line and physical friends in our car club. We have developed a LOT of very close and long term relationships by owning and enjoying our cars.

While I understand your "rant" in my experience, people who drive their cars 1000 miles a year and wipe them down with diapers LOVE their cars and the social experiences that they provide entry to.

One could say that your viewpoint is the car is a machine and flogging it around the track faster than the last time is a great experience for you but its not the goal for the vast majority of owners.

Its great that you have a hobby and that you share your knowledge and experiences with your Solstices, but there is racing, and there is RACING.
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post #14 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 06:09 AM
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After some digging this morning, I think some of the conflicting reports may have to do with the SCCA rules contradicting themselves (which should surprise nobody.)

For Track Night in America, the GXP would require aftermarket roll-over protection that meets the Time Trial rules. When you look up Time Trial rules, the GXP doesn't require additional roll over protection.

Track night rules: https://www.tracknightinamerica.com/...nd-regulations
Time Trial rules: https://timetrials.scca.com/pages/safety

Great job SCCA.

And as always, local track stipulations may trump SCCA requirements anyway.
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Last edited by phil1734; 01-08-2019 at 06:12 AM.
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post #15 of 109 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 06:21 AM
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I've shared my experience before but will do it again here.

I bought a $2000 Solstice for track duty only.

I had planned on using an RPM rollbar; however, I was advised by the local Mid-Atlantic NASA official that it would not be allowed. As a result, I went with a custom solution which cuts into the trunk. It ended up being more expensive than the equivalent Miata, but then again, I am faster around the track than the equivalent Miata too.

Now, the SCCA rules seem to change depending on the event and inspector. I did two Track Night in America events last year and they had NO requirement for roll protection for any of the Solstices. Frankly, those events are kind of crazy as you go on track with no instructor, even in the novice group. Unless you know the track well I'd stay away, because you'll end up learning bad habits that have to be un-learned.

TL;DR, call your local tech person at SCCA or NASA and ask their opinion.

Dave
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