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1974 Jensen Healey MKII (Green)

Roll Bar Restoration and Installation

Now your Jensen Healey didn't come from the factory with a Roll Bar. This is an add on item. So if you are building a totally stock Jensen Healey then there's nothing to see here. :) I like roll bars. I think they look pretty smart in the Jensen Healey and do provide a little extra safety (not much mind you, but a little bit). A note of safety here. A cosmetic roll bar does not equal a roll cage! This might provide a hairs breadth of extra protection in the event of a roll over, but it's no comparison to a real roll cage, so don't go crazy with your Jensen Healey thinking your noggin is safe!

This particular roll bar, as with the rest of this particular car, came out of someone else's spares they didn't need or want. I acquired it in a batch of JH parts. Due to this, it's not as "complete" as a kit you would purchase from one of the usual suspects (e.g. Delta Motorsports). I'll try to detail the differences in the article.

Here's the roll bar. So far I've sanded the entire thing down to take off the old paint and surface rust that was evident on the piece.

Here's the weapons of minor destruction. I've included it here as I've never tried this particular brand/type of rattle can before.

Since the surface has already been sanded and cleaned the first step was to give the roll bar a good coating of primer.

Here's a closeup of the rpimed surface. You can paint multiple coats, but you want it to be as smooth as possible. The smoother the primer coat the better the top coat will look.

The primer has dried and I've applied a couple coats of the top coat.

A fellow Jensen Healey Enthusiast (Dan E.) sent me this photograph of the hardware that comes with the roll bar "kit." These are all the bits I didn't have! I went out and bought the appropriate bolts, lockwashers and nuts.

Instead of the mounts that come with the kit I opted, since I had to fabricate them anyways, to make something a bit beefier. I've numbered the plates to match numbers on the feet of the roll bar. I've also marked the drill points for the bolts.

The four bolt mounts will say exactly as is. The three bolt mounting points will need additional trimming to fit with the way the chassis is shaped at that point underneath the car.

After drilling each plate I test fit the bolts to make sure the hole alignment was correct.

Raw steel exposed on the underside of a car is a bad idea. So all the mounts get a few quick coats of rust preventative spray paint.

Next is to test fit the roll bar. If your vehicle has never had a roll bar installed before you need to center the roll bar on the rear shelf and mark the points for drilling. Also, if you're Dynamat happy like I am you'll need to ensure it's peeled back so that you have a metal to metal mate point of roll bar to chassis. This particular car once had a roll bar installed, so there are already holes on the shelf for the roll bar holts.

Note: You have brake and fuel lines running right underneath where the roll bar installs. If you have to drill holes for your roll bar make sure you put a drill stop on the bit! You don't want the drill bit piercing any further than 1/2 inch through the chassis. IF you go further you may be cleaning up a great big mess!

Installation of the bolts and retaining plates is a two person job. You need someone up in the chassis to hold a wrench on th ebolt heads while someone underneath tightens them up. Make sure that all the bolts are good and tight!

Once the roll bar is properly secured you need to modify the parcel shelf carpet to accept the roll bar. Here you can see where I cut into the carpet to make holes that would wrap around the roll bar post. You may then glue down the carpet if so inclined.

Here you can see the completed installation. The carpet is neatly tucked down around the posts and it's difficult except on close observation to even see that the carpet's been cut. If this bothers you (the cuts that is) you can get more of the edging vinyl that is on the carpet, widen the cuts around the posts, and sew the edging all the way around the posts.

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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