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Thread: Review: FM Frame Rails

  1. #1
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Andy's Avatar
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    Review: FM Frame Rails

    I ordered the flyin miata frame rail when they had a group buy so it was about $15 less than normal. I installed them and I will say that installation is a 2 person job. Someone needs to be under the car drilling a hole through the floor. The person on top needs to be able to attach a wrench to help tighten the frame rails to the car.

    Now to the review. After I installed them the car did feel noticeably stiffer. They did not make the car handle better per say but they did decrease some slop in the suspension, and now the suspension works as it should.

    I will say the most noticeable difference was over bumps. I noticed this one particular bump that was severe enough to make my cd player momentarily pause for a second and then continue playing. With the installation of the frame rails that has stopped.

    This is not necessarily for its intended purpose but the stainless steel frame rails make a fantastic place to jack the car from. I don't worry about bending the pinch welds on the side. i just jack the car from the middle (around where the side mirrors are) on the frame rails and lift a side at a time.

    I would rate the install was not that pretty ok if you are comfortable drilling in your own car. The enhancement that the rails gave was very nice and I would do it again.

    PS. Make sure to coat all the holes you drill so that they do not rust.

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  3. #2
    Idling - Listen to it purr... JBsC6's Avatar
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    What's your opinion on welding the frame rails in place?

    Would that have been possible as opposed to drilling into the chassis? Or was there so much undercoating from that factory that is not feasible?

    How long did it take you to do the entire job?

    Are you sorry you didn't do the butterfly kit for 400?

    Thanks for your review and any possible insights you could give with regards to welding instead of removing the interior to bolt it in.

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    I may be able to help with this. I just recently installed the FM frame rails on my 96 and the difference is noticeable but not earth shattering by any means. Like the OP said, the rails don't make the car handle any better but it makes everything a little more predictable as more of the body movement is being absorbed in the suspension as opposed to the flex of the body. My SO loves them however. I had a lot of small buzzes and creaks in the car and the frame rails eliminated most of them, much more pleasent driving around town now.

    Install was pretty easy, but I do all of my own work on my miata and my other cars. It took about 3 hours I would guess over the course of two evenings after work. No Butterfly for me. I couldn't justify the added cost and was worried that it could get ripped off or damaged if I were to run over anything significant (4.5" from pinch to ground).

    Not sure if I would weld it to the car as you would then need to coat the welds to ensure no rusting would occur there. Also removing all of the undercoat on the stock rails would take a lot of time and effort. Removing the interior is pretty simple and should't be a deterrent.

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    Idling - Listen to it purr... JBsC6's Avatar
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    Thank you for your insight. I gather you recommend this mod. Have a nice day.

  7. #5
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power BoBo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBsC6 View Post
    What's your opinion on welding the frame rails in place?

    Would that have been possible as opposed to drilling into the chassis? Or was there so much undercoating from that factory that is not feasible?

    How long did it take you to do the entire job?

    Are you sorry you didn't do the butterfly kit for 400?

    Thanks for your review and any possible insights you could give with regards to welding instead of removing the interior to bolt it in.
    I wouldn't weld the FM rails you might need to remove it for other reasons in the future. I have the FM rails on my 96 and it's been good especially to help preserve your OEM floor rails. I would definitely install the Butterfly kit if I had the extra cash. It's another way to stiffen the car further. I would never go back to having no FM rails. That and a roll bar is the first thing that I would install if I buy another Miata. I got at-least 40lbs of bracing but it's worth it, it makes the handling more responsive. I hear a lot of good things about the Frog arms, that's next on my list.
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    Idling - Listen to it purr... JBsC6's Avatar
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    Do you regret not installing the butterfly when you did the frame rails?

    I hesitate to spend 400 but the 160 seems logical for just the frame rails..

    The car only cost me 2600 dollars in mint condition with 59k miles..

    So 160 makes sense at 6% than the four hundred raises the cost to almos5 15 percent of per chase price... I'm trying not to do what I always have done in the past....

    It's not the funds aren't available...I'm just trying to stay clean and maintain the purpose which is inexpensive and fun as a second toy.

    I will pay the three hours labor to have it done as well....so I figure another 150 to 300 for labor and I'll call it a day on this little sports car. I just though the idea of increasing chassis rigidity on a 21 year old unit body convertible made logical sense to enhance the experience.

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    Review: FM Frame Rails

    I have installed the FM rails on my car. To weld them in, you would need to remove the undercoating and paint. At that point, I think custom rails that tie the F&R eu frames would be better, or square steel tubing.

    Like others mentioned, they help a *little*, but in my experience, bolting on a hardtop helped more. Further, the Harddog doorbars I also installed were miles beyond helping the rigidity than the frame rails. I know the doorbars aren't everyone's cup of tea, but their effect was phenomenal. So much so that I added a pair to my NB after experiencing them on my NA.

    As far as installation goes, too, the doorbars were far easier.

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    I think you only save $20-$30 by getting the butterfly with the frame rails. My reasoning was if I'm not happy with just the rails i'll give the butterfly a shot and only end up paying a small amount more.

    My car is a budget track car mainly so i hesitate spending any significant amount of money on it. That being said the $160 for the rails were definitely worth it. Makes my suspension setup more responsive and predictable = safer on track IMO

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    KFJ, didn't you post a pic of a damaged butterfly brace recently? Maybe that was on facebook...

  14. #10
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power BoBo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    KFJ, didn't you post a pic of a damaged butterfly brace recently? Maybe that was on facebook...
    I heard about ground clearance issues with the Butterfly, but never saw it in person. Would love to see pics though. I could be wrong but I remember Keith mentioned how the Butterfly brace was no lower than the FM rails but at the same time I'm hearing negative feedbacks of how the B-brace was scraping and catching things on the ground. Can someone shed some light on this topic?
    Last edited by BoBo; 06-01-2015 at 02:19 PM.
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    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power BoBo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kung fu jesus View Post
    Like others mentioned, they help a *little*, but in my experience, bolting on a hardtop helped more.
    +1 The Hardtop really took care of that NVH. I have HD door bars as well but haven't installed them yet.
    Last edited by BoBo; 06-01-2015 at 02:23 PM.
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    Ninja Messiah kung fu jesus's Avatar
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    I don't have the pic on this device, but I know who it was. He caught a protruding manhole cover, IIRC, which the butterfly caught at speed.

    The rails and butterfly may be at the same height, but one bolts flush to the car longitudinally, the other bolts to the car laterally.

    Even my old R*speed front subframe brace had caught chunks of asphalt and other debris with alarming results.

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    I bet that scared the crap out of him!

  20. #15
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! pnoy1duh's Avatar
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    My butterfly brace came apart at one of the seams. Didn't hit anything, just went up a driveway at an angle and heard it pop.




    I was told by Flyinmiata that this happens from time to time, but doesn't affect the brace too badly. I guess one day I'll just get it welded.
    Third pic shows it the clearest.

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