Miata DIY Chassis Mods

Building a great chassis for a sports car is an effort that is much more complex than many realise, and once you factor in the convertible part, well it seems that the engineers at Mazda did have their hands full when building their chassis for the Miata.

You see, the roof is a structural part of most vehicles, providing extra rigidity that is necessary for a good chassis to provide us with the performance edge which we are all searching for once we hit our favourite piece of road.

From a technical standpoint, many would consider it reasonable to argue that a vehicle with no roof will never be able to match the performance of its coupe twin, just due to the fact that it is missing this very important part of the chassis.

So are we convertible lovers bound to wander this earth in vehicles whose chassis will rattle and shake on a bumpy road feeling like we are driving a cup of pudding with a steering wheel attached to it?

Well, not quite.

You see, the engineers at Mazda did some of their best work on our favourite car, the MX-5, and thus have provided us with the best that their limitations have allowed them because you have to remember that not everybody is trying to shave off seconds on a mountain strip of road, so what they have come up with is sort of a compromise for all Miata drivers.

So for those of you who really appreciate the possibility of making your car stiffer and increasing its performance, we have a special treat today.
We are going to present you with the easiest ways to enhance the stiffness of the chassis which you can do yourself.

1- We start with the easiest to mount and of course, the cheapest, let us present you with the Delrin Door Bushings which are basically the first step of every chassis modification, due to the simplicity of installation.
Since the doors also provide stiffness to the vehicle, these bushings significantly lower the rattles and squeaks during high-speed cornering and bumpy roads.

2- The next modification which you can easily install yourself is of course the Jass Performance Frame Rails, whose name is pretty self-explanatory. This pair of rails will not only improve the overall stiffness of the chassis, but will also provide a new lifting point of the car as well as protection from bottoming out, and damaging the factory floor, including the fuel lines.

3- The next suggestion in our Do It Yourself category is believed to provide the most “bang for your bucks” because everything about the Jass Performance Front Lower Reinforcement Brace is extremely simple, yet highly effective.
With only 4 bolts to tighten, this brace will distribute the forces evenly between both sides at the front part of the chassis during hard cornering, thus providing a better turning response as well as better grip and handling to the front wheels due to less roll.

4- The next product that we feel strongly about presenting is arguably not an essential part of the chassis stiffness upgrade, however, we believe we have to include it in this DIY article just because it fits the profile of upgrading your Miata for better performance thanks to better stiffness.
We are talking about the Jass Performance Engine Torque Damper which connects the engine to the front suspension strut and provides much less vibration, while at the same time improving gear shifts.
Additionally, by absorbing the “punches” at the top of the engine during very hard cornering, it is safe to say that this product will increase the longevity of your engine mounts over time.

5- Last but not least we present you with the DaveFab Rear Chassis Jacking Bar. Although the name might suggest the primary function of providing an easy access rear lift point for your Miata, there is no denying the stiffness upgrade on the back of the car that this bar provides.

So if you have a set of tools lying around, and you want to improve the performance of your Miata during high G cornering, now you know where to start.

Photo © Arthur Poulin

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