Miata Hard Dog Deuce Roll Bar Guide
Instructions and pictures by Tom Madracki

Miata Hard Dog Deuce Kit

After too many close calls, I decided it was time to install a roll bar.  I went with the Hard Dog Deuce from the folks at Bethania Garage, it currently costs $445 plus $65 shipping.  Everyone I talked to there was great and this is a great product, but their instructions are brief at best, and only include 2 pictures!  They do include a revised set of instructions with the kit, but pretty much what you see on their web site  http://www.bethania-garage.com/default.htm  is all you get to work with.

Your windshield will not protect you !!!

The Deuce bar fits all Miata's and has a more contemporary look then the full race style roll bars.  It came packed well.  All the parts were there, but nothing was marked.  A major flaw in the instructions is not telling you to remove the seats.  There is no way to install the bar with the seats in the car - put the top down and then remove both seats. Most of the trim, rug, cover and seat belt removal instructions are close enough so you can figure out what needs to be removed. Using a claw hammer to remove the rug fasteners is a good suggestion - use one.  You do need to free up all the electrical plugs attached to the side frames under the package shelf.  Use a pair of needle nose pliers through the hole where the seat belt retract units were to get to the back of the plastic inserts, or just cut them off, because with the bar in place, you can't reattach them to the frame anyway. The large driver side electrical plug has a very unique release on it.  You have to actually pull up on a long gray plastic "wedge" that goes through both parts. (see picture)

The next part is very vague and is also the hardest part of the installation.  They want you to remove 12 inches of the package shelf flange and refer you to "Image 1" in the instructions, but you can't see what the guy's measuring from or to. They also fail to tell you that you need to do this to the flanges on both sides.  I used aviation shears and cut away a 12" strip (see picture) and then used a ball pine hammer to flatten and smooth the cut edge. It's important to cut the flange as close as possible to the side piece. When you install the bar, this is where it fits really tight.  This is the hardest part of the project, mostly because I only had a right hand set of aviation snips - I ended up using them upside down on the passenger side.  A right and left hand set of aviation snips or some sort of power cutoff wheel would be nice to use here, but even with snips, at the end of the 12 inches cut, it gets pretty tight.

The bar itself is a very tight fit - you will need two people and you should plan on taking it in and out at lease a dozen times.  The first time we set the bar in place, we noticed there are a couple other omissions in the instructions.  For my 2000 M2, you have to cut down the 2 bolts under and 2 bolts behind where the bar sits (see picture)  The two on the bottom were high enough that they hit the bottom of the bar and kept it from completely seating - it actually rocked. The back two are just in the way.  Cut 1/2 of the bolts off using a hack saw.  Also, on each side there are 2 rubber plugs that need to be removed (see picture) and on the passenger side there's a plastic pin from the evaporative cooling that you'll relocate later that needs to get cut off flush.

With the exception of the one set of side holes (see picture) which really should be drilled with an angle drill motor (but can be drilled at an ugly angle), the rest of the bar install went smooth.  The backing plates that go under the car were all a perfect fit.  On the passenger side, inside the wheel well, the evaporative cooler hose which is now loose because you cut the plastic pin off, fits neatly behind the wiring harness above the wheel.

Once you've got the bar completely bolted in, you get to cut up the tank cover.  I made a cardboard template of the tank cover to figure out what needed to be cut (see picture).  The instructions say to cut 2 long slots for the 2 center bars of the hoops and 4 small notches for the 4 outer bars.  I found it was much easier to cut 4 slots, 1 on each end and 2 in the middle.  The slots go from the rear to the middle where the 4 bars begin.  If you're using aviation snips, this is the easiest way to go and the since you cut off the side support flanges earlier, the extra metal has nothing to support it anyway.  I cut circles in the pad, rubber mat and rug for each bar, rather than the pie shaped cuts suggested in the instructions.

The plastic 1/4 trim covers were pretty straight forward, just trim off most of the flange on the bottom so it will fit along side the bar and cut a slot from the back toward the front on the top, next to the existing hole for the seat belt bolt hole, to accommodate the new bolt and spacer.  I tried just cutting a round hole, but since the bolt and spacer are already installed at this point, it can't be done that way.  The rest of the trim is easy.  As mentioned in the instructions, the wind blocker on the M2 can't be re-installed as is.  The other item not mentioned in the instructions is that the boot cover won't fit right with the bar installed.  It will need some modification because the middle large snaps are now blocked by the diagonal support bars.  I found that on my 2000 boot cover, simply removing aprox 7 inches of the stiching near the diagonal bar allows it to be installed without any cutting or modification.

In summary, the roll bar install was way more work than I thought it would be.  I spent about 5 hours a day for 3 days (15 hours) doing the project.  If I were to do another one I could probably do it in half the time.  The end result is definitely worth the effort though. Not only are you adding something that could help protect you in an accident, it is also very cool looking.  The other noticeable change is the added stiffness it adds to the car.  Crossing railroad tracks always made the car seem like it was flexing all over the place.  With the roll bar installed you can feel that the car doesn't flex side to side, but rather the vibrations seems to shake the whole car as a unit, rather than a side to side flexing and shaking.  I was extremely impressed that the bar assembly was such a tight, and precise fit.  I would definitely recommend Bethania Garage's Deuce roll bar for the everyday Miata driver.

As a complete aside, if you've ever thought about installing rear speakers, this would be a perfect time since they'd fit on the front of the tank cover, close to the center console rather than behind the seats.  You could install them behind the rug (with pad removed). Go to my Radio Mod Page to see how to wire them in on a '99 or '00.

2000 Miata, top down, without roll bar

Removing the trim pieces

Tank cover unbolted and 1/2 way out

Tank cover removed

Driver side plugs

Plug with release wedge pulled out

1/2 way through the package flange

Finished cutting right side of the package shelf flange and with the 3 lower bolts removed

Finished cutting left side of the package shelf flange and with the 3 lower bolts removed

Cut off 1/2 of these four bolts to seat roll bar

Just about there

Bar install takes two people

Bar fit is extremely tight

Bar in place

Detail of driver side

Detail of driver side

Detail of passenger side

Cardboard template for cover install

Yellow lines are where cuts went

Tank cover reinstalled

Finished install

Passenger side close up

Driver side close up

Rear view

Front view

Boot Cover Stitch Removal

Stitch Removal Detail

Boot Cover

2000 Miata, top down, with roll bar

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