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Steel Bullbar and fuel economy

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  • Steel Bullbar and fuel economy

    Just bought myself a 2007 GLX Pajero. Was tossing up between the factory alloy bullbar and the ARB deluxe steel bar.

    I have been told that the ARB steel one is designed in a way that it provides a better approach angle whereas the factory one and the original bumper bar sits lower, compromising approach angle. So based on that, I would go for the ARB one.

    However the steel one is heavier. Obviously this will affect the fuel economy of the car. How much will the fuel economy be affected? How much heavier is the steel one than the alloy one? ARB reckons the steel one is about 50kg. Mitsubishi quote their fuel economy at 9.2lt/100km for Diesel/Manual, will the steel bar push that up to 9.8 or will it be more like 9.3/9.4?

    Also it has been mentioned somewhere on this board that you need to modify the suspension to accommodate the steel bar. I don't think such drastic action is needed for installing a simple bullbar.

  • #2
    The increase in fuel use is more due to increased drag rather than weight. But its marginal. I've noticed maybe 0.3l/100km difference. Mine has lost 15mm off the front, so it now sits 50mm lower than the rear when unladen (stock is around 35mm lower). You do not HAVE to put new springs in unless you want to maintain (or increase) stock ride height - which I will be doing soon. You can get a complete set of Lovells for $300 (excl fitting) so its not a big problem. Your handling WILL be affected unless you mod the front suspension. I still average around 10.7l/100km in my auto with the bar and battery fitted.

    I would expect that there would be marginal, if any difference between alloy and steel for fuel consumption. My opinion is that I wouldnt touch the MM bars. If you want to go alloy, wait for TJM to release one. ECB have one but it is a bumper over design (not good for apch angle). The ARB is cheaper than both the MM bars and superior in every respect except for perhaps weight. Remember that the steel bars are not as thick as the alloy bars because they don't need to be. Also the ARB bar is designed to minimise the ammount of steel used and hence the weight - whereas the MM bar is made simply to resemble the original front bumper.
    Last edited by Schniff; 10-01-08, 01:41 PM.
    Drowned, RIP: NS DID VRX Auto, FP, TJM Sorkel, Cargo Barrier, Infill G4 car PC, Waeco CF-50, Icom IC 400 UHF, ARB deluxe bar, IPF 900XS HID upgrade and dual battery. Kings and Bilsteins, Brown Davis Bash plates, CSA 17 inch alloys with Cooper ST-Cs for the dirt, ORS fridgepack drawers, 90 litre water bladder, LRA aux fuel tank.

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    • #3
      Mine dropped about 5mm (arb bar) in the front and it handled a lot better until I added a second battery also - then it started to dive around a bit. I recon fuel went up about 0.3 litres per 100km.
      NS oil burner shorty

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      • #4
        Ok, here's what i know ....(and i have ZERO affiliation with any of the companies mentioned)

        As previously posted the ARB bar is about 50KG,
        it's probably a little closer to 60kg going by my last one , but lets just call it 50. It's a great bar, no question about it, winch compatible good choice for size in allowance for spotlights etc.better approach angle....and you can colour code it.

        If you want steel from mitsubishi you can buy theirs,(pressed steel) it's 40-42KG maximum, probably a little less approach angle than ARB, less room for LARGER spotlights, i believe it is NOT winch compatible....but could be corrected. It can be colour-coded and includes the original fog lights ( VRX /EXCEED). It too is a nice looking bar for those that do'nt NEED the hard core advantage of the ARB. It is made by QLD BULLBARS here in Brisbane who are a well-known manufacturer.

        TJM make one which i think is the T13 Head office tell me it is approx 62 KG......, but it is winch/spotlight friendly and can be colour-coded for those that want to. It does not have provision for the VRX/Exceed original foglamps
        not sure what the approach angle is but probably similar to the ARB type.

        Out of all the above the Mitsubishi one is probably the Slightly more expensive(depending on what deals you can get at the time) although they are cheaper to buy than the MM alloy offering.

        On past vehicles including an NP Diesel, i've had both an ARB and a TJM bar, and they were both great, though id give the edge to the ARB i had on the Paj.

        Unless you need a winch etc, i guess it's just a matter of personal choice & i think this time around i will go the steel Mitsi bar and have it colour-coded as my back ca'nt handle heavy off-road any more.

        One other thing with the mitsi bar, you could probably get away a little longer without having to upgrade the front suspension, depending on whether or not you have any other accessories( like dual battery)

        So there y'go , it's just personal choice,

        Cheers,

        Pug
        Last edited by 72pug; 18-01-08, 03:30 PM. Reason: unfinished entry

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        • #5
          ...........Sorry, forgot to mention, there's always the SMART-BAR, A few members here have them and swear by them, just another one to add to the list,

          Pug.

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          • #6
            Hi Kevinluigi23
            I was very keen on an ARB steel bar. I have had both steel and alloy in the past. The ECB bar is an add-on bar so you don?t remove the bumper bar and yes you will lose some approach angle. The weight of the bar and the box it is shipped in was 32kg.
            ARB Head Office would not tell me the weight of their bar so I went down to my local shop and got to feel the weight of an NS steel bar. I can tell you it weighs more than 50 kg without the steel brackets, it also adds a lot to the overall length of the car, not good for my lack of garage space (to much rubbish).
            After having thought about it for a couple of months I bought a Smart Bar. Installed it myself, easy, lifted it up and held it with one hand and put the bolts on with the other hand.
            Have had it on for about 3 months, yes I am coping some flack from friends, yes it is not as macho locking as a steel bar or as shinny good looking as an alloy bar but will it reduce the damage made by a kangaroo, who knows. I think it was the Smartbars film clip on the net, which convinced me.
            I have noticed no change to fuel consumption or the handling of the car in corners or while braking.
            Cheers
            NS GLX DiD Manual, 2"Kings&Bilstein Shocks, Towbar, Smartbar, Steel Bashplates, BFGoodrich All-Terrain, Safary Snorkel, Dual Battery, Cargo Barrier, GME UHF, Engel Fridge.

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            • #7
              Thanks guys for the responses so far. I have to admit that a major part of me getting a bullbar is cosmetic. I don't do a great deal of outback driving at night, mainly in the day where roos are less likely to pop up in front of me, but having the bar there would give me more peace of mind. So this being the case, I wouldn't be going for the smartbar.

              From the responses, I am quite happy now to go with the ARB bar in regards to fuel consumption. I too think that the fuel economy will be affected by the drag as opposed to the weight. 0.3lt/100km is probably acceptable from my end.

              My only concern now is the handling/braking of the car and the reduced height off the ground of the car at the front. So the general concensus here is I wouldn't have to do anything to the suspension if I installed the ARB bar. Correct?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kevinluigi23 View Post
                . . . . I don't do a great deal of outback driving at night, mainly in the day where roos are less likely to pop up in front of me, . . . . .
                Roos don't restrict themselves to outback roads.

                Driving Sydney-Canberra-Sydney after Christmas, I saw three big dead (recently so) roos by the side of the freeway.

                I'll be fitting a Smartbar when the finances recover from Christmas.
                Mike R. Sydney. Pajero GLS NX Silver Jan15. DiD Auto. STILL grossly disappointed with the errors in Speed Limits on major roads in my TomTom.

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                • #9
                  I doubt anyone can answer this. What I can say is I was pleased that it only dropped a little and both myself and my wife thought the handling was improved - it felt a lot more solid on the road instead of bouncing around after eeach bump.
                  NS oil burner shorty

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kevinluigi23 View Post
                    Thanks guys for the responses so far. I have to admit that a major part of me getting a bullbar is cosmetic. I don't do a great deal of outback driving at night, mainly in the day where roos are less likely to pop up in front of me, but having the bar there would give me more peace of mind. So this being the case, I wouldn't be going for the smartbar.
                    What is really wrong with the cosmetic looks of the smart-bar? Sure, each to their own, and that it is in the eye of the beholder, but since having the smartbar on, and getting lots of dirt and insects smear across the front of it - it suits being on a 4wd quite well - it certainly looks solid enough. Anyway thats what I reckon. Before I got it, I was concerned about the looks of it as I hadn't seen it in the flesh - but in my opinion its fine. Its only a matter of time before I hit a roo living in outback NSW (and will report the result!) but with the place looking so green after the rain in december the roos seem to have plenty of feed elsewhere. mikens
                    NS GLX Silver DiD manual, diff lock, A/T Bridgestone Dueler, Smartbar, 170mm Lightforce driving lights, Phillips 50+ H11, fogs, sidesteps, tow bar, roof racks, bonnet protector, dust deflector, cargo barrier, GME TX3440, Blueant Supertooth II, Fullriver 110a/h AGM in rear seatwell, 40L Engel, slide & rear compartment, camper-trailer.

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                    • #11
                      I have an ARB steel bar and its by far the best.
                      alloy is expensive and not nearly as strong if it gets bent you have to bin it cos it cant be straightened at all.
                      and i wouldnt go near a smartbar if you paid me im sure evryone has seen the video at 40 kmh ask them what happens at 80 or 100 yeah sure the bar is ok but behind it the front of your car is wrecked and then they compare to steel bars the damage on them at 40kmh well quite frankly the damage at higher speed is not a lot more than they claim at 40kmh. dont get me wrong I think the smartbar is a good idea, but only for around town to take on the occasional shopping trolley.
                      NW Pajero VR-X
                      Currently stock

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mongoose View Post
                        dont get me wrong I think the smartbar is a good idea, but only for around town to take on the occasional shopping trolley.
                        So why are all Police Pajeros being fitted with Smartbars ?
                        Mike R. Sydney. Pajero GLS NX Silver Jan15. DiD Auto. STILL grossly disappointed with the errors in Speed Limits on major roads in my TomTom.

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                        • #13
                          BB Fuel Economy

                          I had a dealer fitted factory alloy bar fitted about 2 months after took delivery of a 2007 NS Diesel, from memory it knocked about 0.5 ltrs/100 off the fuel economy numbers. Thinking removing the pedestrian padding on top of the bar to see if that helps these seem to create noticeable noise and no doubt additional drag.

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                          • #14
                            FYI, I found out from Qld Bullbars via MM head office, the factory alloy bar is 28kg and the factory steel bar is 40kg. I believe the ARB bar is around the 50kg mark.

                            I have decided to go for the ARB bar, it's just a matter of colour now. What does everyone reckon? Black bar on silver car or silver bar on silver car? If anyone has a silver car with a black or silver barm (any brand), I'd appreciate it if you're able to post it on here. Thanks.

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                            • #15
                              Regarding the upgrade of the suspension, I had the opportunity to drive a NS fitted with Team Poly Bull bar (est 15kg) Winch (est 40kg+) and the winch mounting brkt (say another 15kgs) plus second battery and can tell you that the steering was noticibly heavier, front end was noticibly lower (say 15mm) and felt like it could benefit from a spring upgrade. They were the standard springs. Just my observation.
                              NM GL Diesel (Tourer)
                              NS Pajero (Tar Baby)

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