Roll cage tube specification thread - MSA & FIA info

Discussion in 'Track Prep & Tech' started by A.N. Other, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    .
    Various are now beginning to construct or modify their roll cages, so here's a bit of a summary to help understand the FIA / MSA minimum specification requirements.

    If you're prepping a track car, one day you might want to sell it, so if you do the cage compliantly, you can put value in a car by ensuring that someone can race it.

    This isn't directed at the many members who just want a car to have fun in, and don't want to take it too seriously. It's just to give out information which isn't exactly readily available unless you know where to dig for it, with established safety reference points it beings (ie the MSA/FIA).

    Comments on this thread are welcome - I initially started writing it last winter and having re-read it today, believe it to be right.

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    Minimum specifications

    1) MSA

    The MSA blue book gives these one-size-fits-all minimum specifications for racing (Saloon, Single Seater and Sports Cars).

    This concerns non-MSA certificated/non-FIA approved cages.

    [Does not include rally - I believe rally cages require FIA / approval certificates, though this could again depend on the level.]

    (though it further specifies Sports Car roll hoops, but we'll skip that, since this forum is about 'Saloons')

    ** Please note that optional cage member minimum dimensions have been reduced from 2011, noted on p2 of this thread **

    Turn up with this spec, and (subject to proper installation) you are MSA compliant and can use the cage in UK National competition (not International).

    Where a cage is uncertificated, the MSA require an 6mm hole to be drilled into a part of the cage (often the screenrail) where the tube thickness can be quickly seen by a scrutineer, to establish the correct thickness.


    2) FIA

    Subtle differences to MSA, but note that MSA post-1995 minimum exceeds FIA:

    In the UK, if you run an FIA-certificated cage, which is below MSA minimum CDS spec (1, above), be prepared to be asked for a copy of the FIA cage certificate by a scrutineer.


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    Lighter cages

    Lighter cages can be used in either of the following circumstances:

    1. If you have an FIA approved cage, made of thinner diameter CDS or T45 light tube

      or
      .
    2. You have a certified cage (either material), whereby the MSA Tech Dept have signed it off.

    These cages can be either CDS or T45 constructed. Aluminium was outlawed in the late '80s, and must not be used in FIA/MSA competition (scrutineers arm themselves with magnets, so you will get caught) and is generally inadvisable.

    It costs money to get a cage MSA certificated (or FIA approved) so it is financially prohibitive to "just get" a certificated cage fabbed up down your local tube benders. You end up going to a recognised manufacturer of roll cages, who (depending on target use & size of market) may/may not get a cage certificated.

    Turn up with thin-wall / thin dia tubing on a cage which isn't Certificated or FIA approved, and the scrutineers will not allow a car to race, because if anything happens, those scrutineers are running an liabilty risk: it isn't of the minimum uncertificated spec, and it's not rubber stamped; therefore can't be used.

    The whole logic is that that the DIY-er, or one-off cage producers, cannot make inroads into the safety buffer designed into the one-size-fits-all heavier cages given by the MSA or FIA, above.


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    Modifying MSA-certificated or FIA-approved cages

    Minefield!

    • Any tube modification to a cage of this type technically removes the MSA / FIA approval it has gained.
    • Welding tags onto tubes to bolt them to A / B pillars is a grey area, but it would be unlucky for this to cause an issue.

      Modifications?
    • An addition of a doubled-up rear diagonal or full X-door bars is enough to render a cage 'uncertificated'/'unnapproved' because the cage no longer matches the approval drawing! (and the same way countless cars are excluded from post-event scrutineering around the world, by virtue of not matching homologation drawings, even if it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference!).
    • If an FIA cage is modified, it can no longer be used International competition
    • For UK racing, it is then a question of whether it complies with the min specification in MSA Blue Book, Section C(c), p161, para 27. But it's MSA / FIA approved for a reason, and may well have a light tube construction.
    • The cage is then reliant on the cooperation of a scrutineer who is prepared to accept it, which is not a foregone conclusion.
    • Whilst it is widely known that there are a lot of modified cages in existence, do not blindly travel to events where you are unsure of those who are officiating: modificatoins could render the cage instantly useless for Saloon racing purposes.


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    How do full-on, lightweight cages differ from MSA / FIA minimum CDS specifications, above?

    Roll cage manufacturers work to narrower parameters. Sample FIA T45 cages are then sent to the FIA for testing (edit 5/12) or the local motorsports authority, ie the MSA.

    This is a Subaru Impreza WRC cage, which was assembled independently of any car, solely to send to the FIA in France to gain their approval for future use:

    [​IMG]

    The recommended construction data is not given out in any FIA rulebooks.

    However, here is a guide to some actual T45 data I have seen from a 'well known' roll cage manufacturer:

    • A-pillars - 45 x 16 guage (1.6129mm)
    • Screen bar - 45 x 1.6mm
    • Door bars - 45 x 16 guage (1.6129mm)
    • Dash bar - 40 x 1.5mm
    • Main hoop - 45 x 16 guage (1.6129mm)
    • Rear stays - 45 x 1mm
    • Rear diagonal - 45 x 1mm

    These are not CDS tube specifications - T45 is thinner.


    Here is another one: Seat Leon works cage. Assume T45 (but it isn't stated):

    [​IMG]

    This gives some pointers as to where weight savings are made on sophisticated cages. In theory you could attempt to replicate these for a self-build trackday cage which you don't intend to race or a cage you intend to personally stump the cash for to get MSA certified / FIA apprived, but do not copy these blindly - do your own research and make your own decisions.

    Disclaimer:

    You buy or make or install your own roll cages at your own personal and eligibilty risk: not mine, and not Club GTI's.

    References
    MSA Blue Book - Competitors Safety section here
    FIA Appendix J 2009, Article 253 - here


    As before, if this post is copied to other forums, be good and credit www.ClubGTI.com - thanks :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  2. Fasteddymini Forum Member

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    Cheers Chris - This is a great help - the only "issue" I have ever had is about the bolts securing the cage where the "Scrute" decided he knew how to measure the bolts by eyesite alone and told me that they were insufficient imperials and should be 8mm whereas they are actually 6mm with captive nuts !(which could be a real pain if they ever need replacing !)
    Thanks once again
     
  3. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    No problems - I'm glad I've found a use for it, rather than it being theoretical but not used in practice!

    I've just checked: the FIA minimum bolt size, for cage feet, is the same as MSA - M8 / 8mm minimum, of 8.8 grade (MSA detailed in the roll cage installation thread).
     
  4. Carlos the Jackal Forum Member

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    Chris

    In the blue book is there anything about spaceframe constructions?

    All manner of tubing be it square or round finds its way into spaceframe chassis and just wondering if there are any rules in the blue book.

    Hillclimbs and sprints are pretty much a free for all but mainly wondering about track racing.

    Thank you

    Carl
     
  5. Carlos the Jackal Forum Member

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    Another question which may fit better in another section....but seems right here...

    At what point of extreme modification does a saloon become a 'special' or something else and therefore the saloon rollcage rules would not apply even if the spaceframing starts around a saloon cage?

    Cheers

    C
     
  6. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    Is this to do with spaceframing the front end, ie cutting off the inner wings?
     
  7. Carlos the Jackal Forum Member

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    Chris

    Yes, front end and not using original chassis legs and also the floor to create a flat bottom.

    C
     
  8. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    Which specific MSA category are you planning on racing it in?

    Cars which have had their inner wings removed have become ineligible, MSA-wise, in the past - eg Polog4tracer commenting ad hoc-ly on his stillborn project here - but I'm not sure where that was intended to be raced.
     
  9. Carlos the Jackal Forum Member

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    Chris

    If it was the late 70's it would be special saloons :)

    I think hillclimbs, sprints and anything goes libre type stuff. If it isn't finished before house buying and kids then it will be track days only.

    C
     
  10. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    Special Saloons... ie cut down saloon bodies, space framed underside etc?

    [​IMG]

    Baby Bertha etc?

    I guess they're around being accomodated somewhere but can't place where they still exist..

    Struggling to find anything on them in the MSA Competitors Safety section...
     
  11. Carlos the Jackal Forum Member

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    Thatt's the ticket. Great racing and wild privateer garage engineering. Alot of them still exist and owned by those who drove them. Recently at least 2 or 3 have been restored. There is a long standing thread on the autosport nostalgia forum with lots of pics and info.

    C
     
  12. Hamish Forum Member

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    I had always thought the main hoop and A pillar bars in these T45 cages were still to the msa minimum specs but it seems I am wrong? It would be interesting to see what tube specs have been used in one off T45 cages built by people like protection and performance, or custom cages where they haven't been sent to the FIA for approval?

    For some reason I had always thought that the bars which wern't compulsary therefore you are adding them at your choice could be of any material specs you wanted, as long as the main cage structure as laid out in the blue book is made from the correct thickness and dimaeter.
     
  13. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    The MSA don't quote T45 specs at all - everything I could find went into post 1 and it all refers to CDS.

    This is pukka T45 tube data:


    There is a degree of doubt about this in my mind, but I am only referencing to things I have seen on cars, rather than what I have seen in the rulebooks (off which this thread was written).

    More than happy to explore this further if anyone has extra info to add :thumbup:
     
  14. Hamish Forum Member

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    I am still of the opinion that you can use thinner T45 tube . After all people like custom cages and protection and performance make one off T45 cages which wont have FIA certification and I bet they arn't using proper spec tube throughout!
     
  15. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    Custom Cages were reluctant to make a T45 Mk1 cage for me a few years back, even using the same drawings as their CDS multipoint kit, saying it wouldn't be admissible for competiton and they'd need me to sign something.

    P&P are much more flexible and certainly did one for Jettadan, and PhatVR6.

    I'd be more than happy to be wrong though - it opens up lightening opportunities for all !
     
  16. Hamish Forum Member

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    I have read and understand the rules in the blue book just as you have, and it states a minimum diameter and wall thickness. However like you say there are some companies using T45 for one off cages and I dont think they are using minimum spec tubing for all of it? Can Paul confirm what spec tubing has been used for all the bars in the corrado?
     
  17. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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  18. pascal77uk Paid Member Paid Member

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    On the cage tubing spec conversation you can mix different thickness of tubing. The blue book spec's what thickness and where you can use it.
     
  19. A.N. Other Banned after significant club disruption Dec 5th 2

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    I've just split the CDS/T45 debate from pascal's Audi S4 project thread over to here.

    Quite an important debate and I'm sure we're all keen the thread gets refined/corrected so it's a proper reference :thumbup:
     
  20. Hamish Forum Member

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    Its a very interesting thread indeed.

    I have used CDS tubing for the cage in my quattro. I spoke to the guy at Elmdon Metals when I was ordering it, T45 was hugely expensive and he told me I would have to get the minimum spec tubing as per blue book. So it would have been far stronger but no lighter. He advised me that the 50X2mm tube was lighter than the 45X2.5 so thats what I went for, it does however look very big in the car.

    So the question is how are some people getting away with using T45 tube of thinner diameter and thickness in one off cages? For some reason I had always thought that the main 6 point cage as drawn in the blue book must be minimum thickness. However if you are adding more optional bars as drawn in the blue book therefore strengthening the cage no matter what thickness you use? In that situation I am unsure as to what you can use as you so often see bars like door bars made from 40mm tubing etc?

    Here is a build thread to somebody who built a spaceframed chasis/ roll cage and after sending him a pm he replied that the main structure was 2mm and .9 on the rest. The car has competed widely winning the scottish saloon car championship and has won it at least once.

    http://passionford.com/forum/restor...s-1st-at-time-attack-gobstopper-eat-dust.html

    So is it a case of the scrutineering not doing there job or something else?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009

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