HOW-TO: Install a MX-6 Rear Strut Tower Bar in a Protege5

ke20sprinter

Member
:
Daily Driver Protege5
If someone doesn't mind moving this into the "How-To" section, it would be easier for people to find (thumb)

<img src="http://www.msprotege.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=66000" border="0" alt="" />

First, I know of 2 rear strut tower bars (STB) out there that are for the P5 (Autoexe & GTSpec…too expensive for me), so I’m trying to go for the cheapest possible way (eBay bars!)…& after looking at different pictures on eBay, I found one that fits perfect!!! The 93-96 Mazda MX6 rear strut tower bar. I did find a wider bar if anyone is interested...cheaper than Autoeve & GTSpec, the Corksport MX6 rear STB.

Important Note: cable43 confirmed that the MX6 rear STB can not fit on the Protege sedans...w/o cutting the car.

Things Needed:
-1993-96 Mazda MX6 Rear Strut Tower Bar
-Washers (5/8 I think)

Tools:
-Screw Drivers (to remove panels)
-Ratchet & 17, 14, & 12 mm sockets
-Drill w/1.5” hole saw
-Adjustable wrench (to tighten bar)

Extra:
-Painter’s Tape/Blue Tape
-Jigsaw/Cut off Wheel

Instructions:

1. Fold the rear seats down, & take apart the rear panels to expose the top perches of the rear struts (manual sec. 06-17-15).

2. Once the panels are removed, you can unbolt the seat belts from the back (17mm), by then you’ll notice the Seat Belt Bracket over the rear struts & the Rear Seat Locking Bracket.

<img src="http://www.msprotege.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=66004" border="0" alt="" />

Now you can either:

A. Remove the Seat Belt Bracket completely and install the rear STB.
B. Cut the bracket to allow the bar to fit underneath the seat belt bracket.
C. Do what i12drivemyMP5 did:

I did this install last weekend after receiving bar. Only thing I did different was not cutting the seat belt part but just bending the lip up with big crescent wrench then after bolting back on used hammer to knock edge back down close to top of bar mount. Fit great with no cutting.
I chose to cut the bracket because I use a baby seat sometimes for my daughter when I drive (the bracket is pretty thick and you are only cutting a small portion).

If you decide to take it out completely, I don’t think it should be a problem. I think the Seat Belt Bracket is used to position the seat belt over the rear seats. Also, the rear seats hold the belt high enough not to rub the plastic cover where the belts come out.

3. Remove the 2 nuts holding the Seat Belt Brackets (14mm) & the 3 nuts holding the rear struts on both sides.

4. Place a washer on the center bolt to even the surface (It keeps the STB bracket from tweaking), & install the 2 STB brackets with the 3 existing nuts on each side.

<img src="http://www.msprotege.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=66005" border="0" alt="" />

5. IF YOU’RE CUTTING THE SEAT BELT BRACKET, continue, if not skip to part 6.

A. Put blue tape/painter’s tape on the seat belt bracket & place it on top of the bolted STB bracket.
B. Trace the area you are going to cut.
C. Use a jig saw or cut off wheel to cut your bracket.
D. Spray paint it to prevent rust.
E. Bolt it into place.

<img src="http://www.msprotege.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=66007" border="0" alt="" />

<img src="http://www.msprotege.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=66008" border="0" alt="" />

6. Remove the Rear Seat Locking Brackets (3 bolts each side, 12mm) that holds the rear seats in place and slide the side panels into place temporarily (this is where you mark your holes for the STB bracket). Using a 1.5” hole saw, cut your panels (It’s about 16” from the bottom of the panel to the center of the STB).

7. Reinstall your Rear Seat Locking Brackets, seat belts (Seat Belt Bracket), & all your panels.

8. Adjust the length & bolt the bar on the STB brackets (you might need washers here to fill in the gap between the STB bracket & aluminum bar), twist the bar to tighten it & tighten the 2 nuts that hold the bar in place.

<img src="http://www.msprotege.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=66009" border="0" alt="" />

close up of the bar coming out of the side panels:

http://www.msprotege.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=66094

Enjoy!

WiL
 
Last edited:

ke20sprinter

Member
:
Daily Driver Protege5
slkt said:
Nice how to!! Which seller did you buy the strut bar from? Does it improve anything?

Thanks! Got the bar off ebay. Yes it improves the handling, but I installed my Tokico & MSP springs at the same time, so it made a huge difference all together.

WiL
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
One other thing I did different was cutting 1x1 hole in panels instead of using hole saw. Trickier to get panel on/off but closer fit to bracket size. Once again great post & rewrite - thanks for the honorable mention.
 

Captain KRM P5

Member
Contributor
:
2002 BJFW, 2007 BK3P, 1979 SA22C, 2005 BK3P
any one interested in a group buy on these bars? i can do a pretty good price on new ones...
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
Just wanted to add something to this thread I just saw browsing another site buying a louder horn. Saw where there is a quick release kit for strut bars. They put quick release skewers in the place of the bolts holding the bar to the mount kinda like on the seatpost of a bicycle so you can easily remove the bar without tools to get it out of the way to haul something. I wouldn't pay 44.00 for 2 QRs but may give it a try since I have 11 bikes & lots of spare parts laying around. Thought it was kinda novel idea for flexibility in usage of the rear cargo area. Not sure how often it may help but hey, it gives an easy option. There you go, another idea free of charge...........
 

hyperboarder

Member
:
2002 MP5
Put mine in, pics up later this week. A few things, first up, the washers you need are 3/8 for below the strut tower mount (5/8 is HUGE!). Second, 5/16 washers will fit between the bar and the mounts.

And I totally missed trying to cut the hole in the side plastic panel, so I had to use a 2.5" holesaw, which worked pretty well. Finally, after an hour of trying to bend and cut the seat belt tower, I gave up. It works fine without that there, no rubbing, but I'll be putting it back in after I get an angle grinder for safety's sake (We had trouble gettin the seat belt to come back out after pulling the mounts, and had to use screwdrivers to get them back out). Like I said, pics up later.
 

ke20sprinter

Member
:
Daily Driver Protege5
hyperboarder said:
Put mine in, pics up later this week. A few things, first up, the washers you need are 3/8 for below the strut tower mount (5/8 is HUGE!). Second, 5/16 washers will fit between the bar and the mounts.

And I totally missed trying to cut the hole in the side plastic panel, so I had to use a 2.5" holesaw, which worked pretty well. Finally, after an hour of trying to bend and cut the seat belt tower, I gave up. It works fine without that there, no rubbing, but I'll be putting it back in after I get an angle grinder for safety's sake (We had trouble gettin the seat belt to come back out after pulling the mounts, and had to use screwdrivers to get them back out). Like I said, pics up later.

(thumb)

3/8 or 5/8...Sorry I didn't keep a record of this...But the point was to keep the same height as the other bolts!

That seat belt tower thing is pretty thick...Did it bend much when you hammered it?

To cut the panels, when you remove the rear seat locks, you can put the panels back, & you can see where the STB bracket touches, just mark that area with a marker.

WiL