Moto-East

Brainstorm Solo I rollbar

Brainstorm SOLO I Rollbar

[11/4/2004] Reviewed by: Keith Kimble - kjkmd@aol.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 '99 +

SOLL I approved 4-point single hoop roll bar. Unlike the hard dog, does not mount to the shock towers, and thus does not interefere with seat belt retractiion.

Installed by Brainstorm about a month ago. They say install is easier (or at least less time consuming ) than hard dog, and charged me $100 less than if I'd had them do a 'dog. This is a single hoop bar without cross braces. I had an upholstery shop custom up a vinyl cover to match my tan interior, since 'butch" was not the look I wanted.

My perception is that the bar is somewhat narrower (left-right) than the HD, but I haven't measured them. Works fine with Robbins glass top. I have full seat travel, but that's with aftermarket Nakamaes in my preferred position--no guarantee with stock seats, and some seats will clearly hit the bar if reclined. Car is clearly stiffer, with much reduced rattles (at about 45,000 miles). No interference with shoulder belt retractors (unlike hard-dog), but since I'm running street harnesses it really doesn't matter. Recommended.

Difficult to remove without leaving damage


Reviewed by: Tak Yamamoto - tyamamot@apcc.com

A Solo approved rollbar w/ diagonal brace. 6 point construction. Black powder coated finish.

First impression: BSP delivered the product in a well packed box.   It had a good paintjob and looked quite rugged.  Some of the nuts and bolts were missing, but they are standard bolts you can buy at any hardware store.  It came with a nice sticker too.  The rollbar is well priced below a Hard Core, but the Hard Core looks better. BSP's will work with both the softtop and hardtop.

Installation: This can be a one man job.  Takes 4-8 hours.   I work slow and carefully so it took me 2 hours to take the interior apart.   Then it took another 2 to install the bar.  There is some cutting and drilling necessary.  Then it took me another 2 hours to put the interior back together.   I reused the stock carpeting and tonneau, but had to modify them to fit around the rollbar.

Recommendation:

Great product for the money. I do SCCA SoloII.  This class doesn't actually require a rollbar, but I like the extra mental security. It allows the seats to travel all the way back on their rails so there is no interior constraint. I can't tell if it stiffened the chassis at all, but the car look more serious.  Thumbs up to BSP.


Reviewed by: Anonymous Reviewer

This is a SOLO 1 approved roll bar that mounts on the deck behind the seats. It allows full use of the convertible top, I don’t know if it is compatible with the hardtop. The tonneau can still be used if you are willing to alter it (more later). When installed it makes un/zipping the window more difficult, but that is a small sacrifice to pay for saving your neck. The unit does not bolt to the floor so it does not cut down on the Miata’s interior space. It has a diagonal support that runs from the top drivers side down to the bottom passenger side, this allows maximum rearward visibility, yet maintains structural integrity. The roll bar has 4 holes in each side baseplate so there will be 8 holes drilled through your body. Then there are plates that will be bolted in underneath the rear deck in the wheelwells. Don’t worry, you can do this install if you take your time. You can do it in 3 separate shifts, it took me 8 hours total. All said and done, this is the greatest addition to a convertible next to forced induction, for it gives you the confidence to drive hard.

The unit arrived by UPS in good condition.

The rollbar requires 8 bolts, 16 washers, and 8 nuts. It seemed odd that the rollbar came with 12 washers, 4 nuts, and 4 bolts, but the directions said you should buy your own. They were high quality, stainless bolts and washers, but I chose to buy my own 12 pairs (14mm heads) for an easier and more congruent install.

Installation overview

Tools Necessary

Fork
Set of metric socket wrenches
Phillips head screwdriver
Shears
Jigsaw with a metal cutting blade

The rollbar installation was fairly straightforward.

Preparation

Leave the window zipped up and take the top down. You can place a rolled up towel in the fold so the window doesn’t crease. You want to cover up the inside of the window too for there will some rustproofing agent used.

Jack up the rear of the car and rest it on jackstands. Remove the wheels. Now remove the wheel well liners.

Move the seats forward to get as much room to work as possible. Then you must allow access to install the rollbar by removing the rear half of the interior. I started by unbolting the seatbelt posts and then removed the plastic side panels which cover the seat belt mechanism.

Then I proceeded to remove the rear deck carpeting which is held in place by plastic push tabs. These tabs are flush with the carpeting so you need to get under the flanges of the tab. You can use a fork to leverage the tabs out. There are 2 resting stops for the convertible top which can be removed with a phillips screwdriver.

After the carpeting is removed there will be a large aluminum panel which covers the gas tank. This can be removed by undoing the 10mm bolts which hold it in place.

Now you will notice the room that is available to mount the rollbar. There are many wires that will get in your way during the install so I recommend cutting the wire mounts so there is slack to work with.

Installation

You can now do a test fit. Most cars will need a 2inch removal of the upper deck’s body panel. This is necessary to allow room for the rollbar’s rear posts to fit. A jigsaw will do this with ease. After you cut out the necessary clearance for the rollbar, test fit it again. Then you can use a magic marker to mark where you will drill your pilot holes. Remove the rollbar to make the drilling easier. After I drilled the pilot holes I placed the rollbar back for you have to drill from the bottom sometimes to enlarge the holes. By leaving the rollbar on you can be assured you will enlarge the mounting holes in the proper area in case your pilot holes are off a little. I needed a drill with a variety of bits so I could start with a small pilot hole and continue to drill the same hole until it was the same size as the bolts I had purchased.

After the holes are done it is a good idea to get a little rustproofing agent to cover the exposed metal of the holes as well as the cut body panels. You don’t have to be clean since this will all be covered up by the interior carpeting, but make sure you don’t get anything on your window.

With the holes aligned you can place the bolts and washers into the holes through the top of the rollbar and body. Underneath you bolt up the support plate, washers, and nuts. Make sure they are tight but not extremely tight. I tightened one bolt so tightly it sheared the bolt in half.

Reassembly

Now you will need to saw the gas tank plate to accommodate the rollbar. I used a jigsaw to do this, but some good metal shears might work too. After this is bolted back on, you have to put the carpeting back in.

The carpeting has sound insulation glued to it. This glue is extremely sticky and grows tiresome to work with. The carpet is too thick to work with if it has the insulation attached. I would recommend separating the carpet from the insulation for it will make replacing easier. After you remove the carpeting from the insulation it is a good idea to use some tape or food wrap film to cover the glue. You need to cut the insulation to accommodate the posts of the rollbar, this goes the same with the carpeting. The reassembly of the interior seems to be the most time consuming part of the install.

Now your car looks cool and it won’t get you killed. The rollbar lies right under the zipperline of the window. I recommend tying a piece of rope or cloth to the window zipper which will allow easier use of the zipper.

Tonneau

The stock tonneau will not fit too well unless you modify it. I cut the stitching that holds the vertical plane (with the ball clasps) to the flat plane (with the push snaps). This allows slack for the tonneau to work around the rollbar’s posts. There is also a diagonal post you will need to make room for. I found that you can cut the tonneau, fold the edges under, and use silicone glue to hold the edges together. This makes for a fairly attractive finish.

Windblocker

You can also get a piece of Plexiglas to strap to the back of the rollbar to act as a windblocker. Strap it into the back, that way if you suffer a frontal impact, you have less of a chance of having a plate of Plexiglas go through your head for the rollbar’s diagonal post will stop it.


Reviewed by: Tom Hayden - thayden@mindspring.com

Double hump chrome rollbar like cockpit brace.

Well, first the good news. I got the bar the day after I ordered it. Great service. Bar looks awesome! 2 1/2" tubing on double humps and cross tube. Each hump curves up around behind each seat. The look is reminiscent of old Cobras. STrengthens up the body a very noticeable amount. Doesn't interfere with rearward vision because the humps are up over the seatbacks, not across like a roll bar. Very cool looking!

Now the bad news. Almost nothing fit during installation. The studs pointing downward on bothe sides are supposed to fit into existing holes on top of the seat belt towers (for lack of a more descriptive term). Did they? Not a chance. Not even close. Had to laboriously gring out these holes 1/4" on both sides till the studs fit. Then there is a mounting bracket that fits behind these seatbelt towers and by way of a bolt and nut also mounts through a pre-existing hole. Did these holes line up. Not even close. Back to the grinder to enlarge these holes too. Finally got these bolts on. Torqued studs and bolts. NOTE: Just for the heck of it, I checked the torque on the other side again after I finished the second side. Found that I could tighten those nuts further (almost like they came out of torque). Don't know why. Can't explain it but I would recommend checking and double checking anyway. The last parts to bolt in (before the plastic parts pop back on)are the seat belt guide!

s. They are supposed to thread back into where they unbolted from (top of seat belt tower) prior to the install. Did they go back in? NOt even close. Thsis time I had to grind and enlarge the hole in the bar mounting plate which is much thicker. What a pain in the neck. I don't understand why the alignment was so far off. Even the mounting plates didn't appear square to the tower mounts. Instructions were so-so. You need small hands to mount the hardware as you will be reaching up inside the seat belt tower to get the nuts on. Also, make sure you have a 17mm DEEP socket as you cannot finish the tightening of the stud nut without it.

Well, after four hours of frustration it was finished. Sure looks nice. So maybe it was worth the hassle. Still, the problem I had should never have occurred.



Back to Product Reviews 11 October, 2009


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