Suspension Brakes 1st Gen Convertible Braces on Tintops

Discussion in 'Tuning and Performance' started by Nathan, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Someone recently asked me in an email about using the convertible braces on R53's to help stiffen the front some.

    For those of you who are not familiar with these the braces are simple tubes that connect the strut tower to the box arms that also support the motor and the terminate at the bumper.

    Right or Drivers side brace shown below.

    [​IMG]

    These are inexpensive and many of the Sponsors here on Motoring Alliance carry them. I think I paid about $50 for them at MITM 07 from Custom MINI Shop.

    The question is...do they do anything besides add to the Mod List, inexpensively too I might add?

    Now I'll be the first to admit I'm not gifted with the ability to feel slight change as so many of you are and I often try things on just the strength of the idea. MINI did spec them for the convertible for some reason. They also changed the build process of all 1st gen MINIs from the introction of convertibles on to accommodate these braces by adding the mounting points to all cars. That entails adding yet another set of complications to the build process. Tintops have simple push in plugs for these 12 holes. My reasoning tells me if it helps brace that area on a convertible it can't hurt on the coupes.

    In other-words, I didn't feel a difference. Do you have them and can you feel the difference?
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Administrator
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    I have them, but mine are still in a box. I have an early build car and need to weld them in but need to find a shop I trust.....sad to say I haven't found such yet in 7 years of ownership.

    FWIW, Alain (jpropane) chose to add a set when he built his new race car.....by the way, this is the one that was barely finished in time to participate at 3 Rivers last weekend and it ran from a 28th place starting posn to 3rd place finish in the second race. The chassis he used was a Gen1 Cooper without the mounting holes so he welded them in place, like so (lifted from Alain's excellent build thread on that other site):



    018.jpg 019.jpg
     
  3. M^Cubed

    M^Cubed Member

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    They are super simple to install and relatively cheap compared to other braces. I honestly couldn't tell a difference before and after with how crappy road conditions are here in USA
     
  4. Way Motor Works

    Way Motor Works New Member

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  5. Steve

    Steve Administrator
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    Both statements true as long as you have a car that already has the holes in place. Way, do you know where the cut-off is? I've always assumed it came along with the face-lift in '04.
     
  6. PGT

    PGT Wheel Whore

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    I stripped mine and did them in translucent red

    19fa7d54.jpg
     
  7. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    I talked to a car engineer friend of mine way back when this started on the NAMless site. He told me the only reason he could see for doing this was to take care of a harmonic imbalance that resonated at the ends of the front tubes. He saw no reason to put these in to stop any kind of forces being applied as the front of the car saw no real torsional forces on it. These are way in front of the suspension and engine mounts.
     
  8. PGT

    PGT Wheel Whore

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    perhaps but for $50 and 15 minutes, it can't hurt
     
  9. Way Motor Works

    Way Motor Works New Member

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    Well even if you don't think they stiffen the car. When I wrecked my car I had them on my car and the frame rails didn't bend. It made fixing it alot cheaper.
     
  10. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    You are right.....for $50 it is a cheap part. Now whether or not it actually adds anything is a different matter.

    Way, no claim that it didn't stiffen that part of the car. Just nothing to substantiate the claim of better handling. And the only professional advice yet has been that it does nothing for the performance of the car, just NVH.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Administrator
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    Seems to me like you need to look the opposite direction....don't think the engineers would have tried to use the strut tower to reinforce the frame rail. Doesn't that seem backward to anyone else? The way I see it, these things take advantage of the frame rail to strengthen the strut tower (and the strut tied to it, etc.) by tying the forward edge of the tower to a point further forward along the rail.
     
  12. mini_racer

    mini_racer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for starting the thread Nathan, good idea!

    The Cabrio braces seem like cheap insurance to me.
     
  13. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    There happens to be a set for sale on MM.org.
     
  14. nabeshin

    nabeshin New Member

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    So is welding the only option for the early cars?
     
  15. mini_racer

    mini_racer Well-Known Member

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    Nathan: Yeah, I PM'd him. Actually Way has them cheaper, so if I can get them without having to pay a premium, I will support the local club.

    Nabeshin: I read somewhere that on the earlier cars you have to tap some of the mounting points. So would assume you would also have to drill them first. Call Way, I am sure they have installed plenty on early cars.
     
  16. Batrugger

    Batrugger New Member

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    You could drill holes and use nutserts
     
  17. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    You can all make up your own minds about these braces, but I had a nice long discussion with my engineer friend and I feel comfortable not wasting my money. I don't see anyone actually submitting any proof of why these were added to the 'verts.

    It is really interesting that there seems to be a whole lot of folks saying these are a good idea for the 'verts so they must be good for the tin tops. How many 'verts have to have a whole lot of bracing added just to try and eliminate any cowl shake, rattles, and to stiffen the body? Remember these are unibody cars.
     
  18. PGT

    PGT Wheel Whore

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    all of them?
     
  19. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    Exactly my point......they are added to try and balance the parts taken off by the 'vert conversion, not to improve handling.
     
  20. Firebro17

    Firebro17 Dazed, but not Confused
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    I added these Cabrio Braces a few months back. I can't say I can tell any difference yet as I guess all the roads I seem to be traveling are straight, with an occasional 90 deg. turn thrown in for grins... :lol: Here's a pic.
     

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