Frame Rail Braces

In September '05, I added these frame rail reinforcement braces along with the butterfly upgrade.  The car had over 115k miles and 15 years of service, with a fair amount of autocrossing, lapping days and a lot of spirited driving around town.  With the car's natural wear and upgraded (stiff) suspension already, these braces were a great addition to firm up the framework of the car.  After a long country drive after installing the braces, I am very happy with the results.  The improvement is somewhat subtle but it is there all the time.  Every time I go over a bump in the road, the rattles and cracks are noticeably less.  Every time I throw the car into a turn, it's more predictable and controllable.  Overall, it's like the miata just got a breath of fresh air and makes it even more fun to drive.

The pics below are from an install day of these rails for a few local miatae (in no particular order).  Brown-o gets the credit for most of the pics (all the good ones).

100_0507.JPG (179689 bytes) Ok, let's get started.  First step is to pull the seats.  This should be easy.  :-)
DSCF0450.JPG (206076 bytes) Driver side seat is out, but still working on passenger side seat.  Hmmm... 
100_0508.JPG (156056 bytes) Still working on that passenger seat.
100_0514.JPG (146500 bytes) Uh, Mark, that is a strange looking ratchet.
100_0516.JPG (105105 bytes) Ok, so I had one bolt that was a bear to get out.  A bolt extractor and muscle finally got it out.  That burned up at least an hour.
DSCF0463.JPG (228386 bytes) After the seats are pulled, pull the carpet up and out of the way a bit so that the drill bit doesn't make a mess of the carpet.
100_0510.JPG (256685 bytes) Meanwhile over on Flash's miata, a mishap occurred.  This is worth noting for 94+ cars w/ the ECU behind the passenger seat.  A wiring harness got chewed up when drilling... YIKES!  Watchout.
DSCF0451.JPG (155020 bytes) Removing bolts that hold the brake lines in place.  The frame rail braces will go here and the brake line mounts will be modified slightly.
DSCF0452.JPG (182871 bytes) Pulling the brake lines out of the way to make room for brace insertion.
DSCF0454.JPG (231730 bytes) Yikes!  Look at the hole in my existing rail!  And what?  Rust???  I coated it pretty well with undercoating spray before installing the rails.  No more rainy days for my miata.  NO!
DSCF0456.JPG (187298 bytes) Please do not bump your head on lift when installing rails.  Rails function better if you no bangy head on lifty.  Once Mark started crying, we all started crying.  It was an ugly site.
DSCF0457.JPG (211701 bytes) Flash helps out with the drill.  The rail braces literally push up and wedge in place on the existing miata frame rails and hold themselves in place while the mounting bolts are installed.  This makes it easy to know where to drill the holes.
DSCF0460.JPG (172694 bytes) Mark sizes up the other side and generally corrects the work Flash did.  :-)  Just kidding Flash.
100_0521.JPG (212633 bytes) Mark jumped over to Flash's miata to do a little work.  Hey, how come Flash and Casey are over there eating donuts?
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DSCF0467.JPG (107079 bytes)
DSCF0469.JPG (177839 bytes)
Ok.  I had to include these pics only because I thought they looked cool.  However, based on our experience, DON'T weld the heads of the bolts to the floor pan.  We had problems with the bolts snapping and the threads getting deformed from the heat associated with the welding.  The reason we welded them was so that in the event the butterfly section needed to be removed (for tranny, exhaust, etc) removal, the bolt heads would not need to be accessed (i.e. we wanted to eliminate the need to remove the seats and carpet again).  After experiencing problems with the welding work, we just popped in new bolts and went our merry way.
100_0533.JPG (232906 bytes) Break time (except for Flash who is always working hard).
DSCF0474.JPG (208160 bytes) I took a quick break to clean up as I had to leave for baby-duties for the afternoon.  Since my car wasn't finished, the rest of the crew chipped in to finish it for me.  Speaking of which, I'm now missing all sorts of valuable parts from my car.  Hmmm... wonder where they went?  :-)  Here's a not-so-good shot of some of the cars there that day.
100_0532.JPG (156733 bytes) More Miatae parked outside the garage.  The silver one is Randy's w/ a 383 stroked Chevy V8.
100_0527.JPG (218626 bytes) Reynolds prepares his white '91 already equipped with a full roll cage for the install. 
100_0541.JPG (207334 bytes) Test fitting and bolting in the frame rail braces.
100_0542.JPG (211030 bytes) The first piece of the butterfly bracing the tie the frame rails together goes on.
100_0545.JPG (170952 bytes) Brown-o's '01 gets ready for an install.
100_0548.JPG (208351 bytes) Hey wait a sec, these '01's already have some nice bracing underneath.  More is always better!!
100_0552.JPG (206636 bytes) Braces go on a '01 just fine.
100_0555.JPG (208690 bytes) Rails install on Brown-o's '01.
100_0556.JPG (228576 bytes) Back to my car... hey, someone finished it up!  Butterfly and frame rail braces installed!
100_0558.JPG (223844 bytes) Another view.
100_0563.JPG (256709 bytes) Flash's is about done.  Look at the big 3" downpipe.
100_0560.JPG (139320 bytes) Reynolds hard at work!
100_0569.JPG (207526 bytes) Reynolds install.... DONE!
100_0557.JPG (98302 bytes) Look at my pet monkey, Spacey.  We put krazyglue on his hands.  We had fun tormenting my pet monkey.  We lowered the car on him and did burnouts in the parking lot. Spacey no likey burnout.