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Thread: Botched safety installs you have come across.

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    Default Botched safety installs you have come across.

    I figure a thread of screwed of safety gear installs would be fun. I will start
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    A shop built this roll bar for this guy I ran across on Facebook
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    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    I don't think his harness is installed correctly, but everything else looks in order.
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    Unfortunately this is my own story. Copied & pasted from a forum I posted it on back in 2010.

    ________________________________________ ________________________________________ _____________

    About 3 years ago I made a deal with a guy named Ralph in Fairfield CT to weld in a Jegs 6 point in my Malibu I was repainting. Ralph talked a good game about a shop he had that he'd closed so he could go help his dad with a much bigger family business. He'd sold his race car etc. and said he has plans to open another chassis shop in southwestern CT eventually. He would install the bar as a side job in the business garage after work and on a weekend and should finish it within a week. I traded him goods for services and gave him the goods before I even gave him the car. He had been a regular customer at my store so I didn't expect any problems.

    Then the stories/excuses started, broken hand, welder broken, and on and on. I telephoned often to see what was going on and there was always another excuse, welding slag in eye, death in family,until he stopped taking my calls. During the next 2 years the police were involved on 3 different occasions some of the excuses were verified as real. One being when they found him in a hospital in Boston. One when he was in jail.

    Meanwhile during the same timeframe, my truck/enclosed trailer with a car in it and all my tools in it was stolen while I was moving. And then the following year the new (used) home was cleaned out by burglars and destroyed like in a movie while I was at the old home selling it. So my focus on the Malibu got sidetracked a couple times and I wasn't as persistant.

    I left message after message bombarding his phones. He wasn't answering or calling back. Finally the car showed up in the parking lot at my workplace with the keys on top of a tire with no word from him.

    The job was horrible. One of the worst looking hack jobs I've ever seen. It wasn't anywhere near safe enough to pass tech even if a half blind guy was doing it. I was incredibly disappointed in the job and the damage he'd done to my car.

    I took some pictures of the lousy work and loaded the car into my trailer (trailer recovered damaged and without contents.) and moved to the home that had been robbed. I was so fustrated with everything I didn't even look at the car for a year. A couple weeks ago I finally unloaded it and decided there was no possible way to save the bar and that eventually the floor pans will need to be fixed. Funding to replace floor sections and get another bar are not available right now so I just cut the bar out to reduce the possibility of damage from the bar. Some of the parts were so poorly welded that I ripped them out of the car with my bare hands!!! Yes I took video of that and if I can figure out how to post them I will.

    The pictures tell the story. Sheetmetal/pop rivet work was done by Ralph. I still can't figure out why. And why would a welder/fabricator pop rivet? We'll never know. Crack maybe? Well obviously as you'll see he wasn't a welder or fabricator and in fact had probably never done a bar, cage or anything remotely similar.

    It's embarassing to admit I let this happen to me but if this post stops someone else from dealing with Ralph it will be worth it.

    Here's what I found when I got the car back

    First thing I notice is that the welds look horrible and that some of the welds have been ground! That won't pass tech!



    So I peel back the carpet to see what lurks at floor level to find this.



    But wait a second that doesn't look like its weld, why no, it's silicone in the coloring of metal!!!! And underneath that its worse welding work than the welds I first saw.



    Well I move to the rear where the main hoop is expecting more crappy welding covered with silicone but in the rear I found a bonus! He'd hacked the floors enough (somehow) to need patching. And he pop riveted thin sheetmetal to cover the holes! What welder pop rivets floorpans??? He claims the floors were rusted out and couldn't be welded to. What rust? (please note that the floors have not been repainted since they left the factory)



    I walk around to the rear of the car and notice the down bars into the trunk are really close together. But wait they're also off center and both of them are leaning to the side! on top of that they're kinked where they're bent at the rear shelf.



    Having seen how he burned through the floors I'm thinking he's lucky he didn't blow the car up when he burned through the trunk floor knowing the welding wouldn't be any better. And as long as I'm here I might as well see how bad it is right? So I pull back the trunk mat and find he's added some weight there for me. Probably to help me plant the tires on launch. Or maybe he just felt like making pyramids? Oh nooo, I get it, he cut the tubing too short!!!!!





    At that point I closed the trunk and just walked away in disgust. I was so mad I couldn't even call him to leave a message. he'd had my car over 2 years and the rollbar was junk, he'd hacked up all sections of the floor and the trunk. A few days later I got him on the phone and just blasted him. I told him he had no clue what he was doing and he was lucky I wasn't the type of person to seek revenge and that he better not work on other peoples cars or he'll run into the wrong person one day. I was moving very far away so there would be no point in trying to go after him through the courts.
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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    How did this _not_ end up in court?

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    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    It's hard to go to court when you live out of state--I believe the action would be filed where the wrong took place, or where the defendant lives. Further, I find people meeting that description have no assets no assets and would not voluntarily pay their judgement. Whether its worthwhile to suit depends on the judgment enforcement laws in the state the judgment was entered. In CA? I wouldn't do it. Debtors have too many rights and creditors too few.

    I think many of us have a similar sad story describing how honest people learn important life lessons from dishonest ones.

    The lessons is: do not trust anyone, especially those who maxed out CHA at birth. Verify everything.
    Last edited by SDSUsnowboards; 01-26-2016 at 09:04 AM.
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    Wow that is just worse than bad. Looks like Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh put it together with nothing but hopes and dreams and some honey.
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    That "out of business" sign in the background pretty much says it all
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbird View Post
    How did this _not_ end up in court?
    It's a really long sad story but I had much much bigger problems to take care of.

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    I've come across more than a few shoddy race car roll cage installations. Poor engineering and poor welds. I'm not sure how these cars passed tech inspection and were given a log book. Be careful out there when checking out used race cars.
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    had a guy post his car to FB, had the dry sump oil tank in the cab, nothing crazy but he had his exhaust in the cab too.
    i said something and he attacked me, he and all his buddy gave my work one star reviews.

    lets see if i can find the photo

    img_0305%5B1%5D.png

    he deleted the photo after he threatened me with "if nasa AZ founds out" i would be in trouble. that's what i get for trying to save his life.

    img_0303%5B1%5D.jpg

    and then i found this on super street.
    Last edited by Nine Lives Johnny; 01-27-2016 at 09:12 AM.

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    I've seen more botched up cages and safety equipment installs than I wish to remember, many are due to ignorance, but its the ones were done because of pure laziness that make me angry.
    Ignorance is a form of laziness too, but here's an example of the kind of laziness I'm talking about.
    A guy brought in a spec Miata that he just bought for a new seat install, car has a log book and was built by a well known shop.
    I noticed some odd things that moment I saw the car which made me look a little further into it as it is my best interest to have my customers not die in their car even if it's something someone else built...

    Exhibit 1, center brace -
    cage-fail-w.jpg

    It's a f**kin' Miata, a car that has a removable top.
    How criminally lazy does a fabricator need to be to not take the top off to finish welding the tube?!
    I don't know if the same shop painted the cage too but I won't be surprised.. I'd imagine if it was the owner of the car they'll probably opt into having the lack of welding fixed before slapping paint all over the thing to make it harder to put a good weld down.. but IDK, it could be that the owner wasn't the sharpest spoon in the shed too.

    Exhibit 2, dash bar -
    cage-fail-016w.jpg

    Fabricator couldn't be bothered with building in the correct sequence to be able to weld everything, nor could he be bothered to spend a couple minutes and bolts to remove the blower so the front side of the dash bar could be welded.
    This was the case on both sides of the car.

    Exhibit 3, rear legs -
    cage-fail-020w.jpg

    Reading the rules takes time, why would you want to do that?
    Oh yeah, you want to do it so that you know that bends in rear legs are illegal.. so yeah, there's that.
    Also, what kind of an idiot that works on road race cars all day long builds a cage with bent rear legs?!
    That's like the A,B,C of cage building... WTF

    Exhibit 4, door bar -
    cage-fail-010w.jpg

    The cherry on top of the cheeseburger is of course all the missing welds on the outside of the rear joints of every single door bar, one shown here through an inspection mirror (sorry about fuzziness).
    Same comment about building in sequence and not designing yourself into a corner... Also, not having personal standards to know that you screwed up and you need to fix it because you can potentially kill the driver when the door bar fails upon side impact.


    After showing the above to the new owner of the car, he decided to go ahead and have us cutting it out of the car and build a new one.

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    BANKAI~!!!! BANKAI's Avatar
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    I am learning a lot in this thread. Thank you
    How can I do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BANKAI View Post
    I am learning a lot in this thread. Thank you
    +1. This thread should be stickied for educational purposes. There's lots of crap out there.

    Also, threads like this are why I think TrackHQ is such a great forum for racers/track day folks.
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    +1 on the sticky. Pictures plus the explanations as to why these are problems are great.

    I learned a lot about what to look for in good cage design and construction being 2nd UnderAssistant Cage Construction Minion on our LeMons car build. Of course, learning a lot about cages mean you still have a lot to learn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeColangelo View Post
    +1. This thread should be stickied for educational purposes. There's lots of crap out there.

    Also, threads like this are why I think TrackHQ is such a great forum for racers/track day folks.
    Stuck.

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    Moti, I've seen those half-welds before on a customer car. Frightening when the customer told me his cage builder did NASA/SCCA cages all the time. Yikes. I wonder how many more are out there.

    Here's a few highlights I've seen since the past few years:
    • Running a chump event, coming off track for the 1st driver change, and my lap belt pulls right off the floor. I hop out and hand it to the next driver, "you might want to fix this before driving." Bolt/nut vibrated loose on track. Locktite or safety wire people.
    • I've seen seat belt eyelets bolted through the fiberglass/wood/fiberglass floors in corvettes more than once.
    • I've seen brake lines coming off master cylinders crossed, where the front supply lines were headed to the right side of the car, the rear supply lines were hooked up the left. That one took awhile to diagnose.

    Back when I was building FSAE cars in college, we would do a bolt & nut check after every weekend. A must do for stress engined cars. We would always find something. I do an annual bolt check on the safety equipment, brakes, suspension and driveline now. Over the break, I found two of four pass side motor mount bolts missing, and lost a sway bar nut. They are all safety wired now.
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    I have a new winner
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    So that's what those itty bitty teeny hoops on top of a cross bar are for. Sweet!
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    464eb7991c37f3c8a089da6813a26b14.jpg
    They told me this was really strong. Those knots are better than some welds i see.
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