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Old 07-13-2013, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default DIY Butterfly Brace

Well, there is roadwork in my neighborhood.

Idiots dug up the road, and did not bother to build a ramp to make a smooth transition, and clearly lack the brains to mark what they have done.

I was following a truck at slow speed, and suddenly my car became a seesaw... Kinda. All four wheels were making contact with the planet, but barely..

Needles to say, there was some serious damage to the underbody. The chassis rails were badly crushed.

I decided just pulling the rails would not suffice, so I went about building a DIY butterfly brace.

I know FM uses 2.0 mm steel for their setup. I went for 2.5mm steel, and doubled up the steel on either end on both sides for about 8 inches, so I would get some really strong jacking points...

Here's the chassis rail once it has been straightened and undercoating applied:

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Old 07-13-2013, 07:33 PM   #2
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Trial fitting the reinforcing rail.

Bent out of 2.5mm steel plate.

I drilled a series of 10mm holes for welding spots. I thought that wopuld be better than just bolting it on.

The inside of the rail was also undercoated to avoid rust.

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Old 07-13-2013, 07:35 PM   #3
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Welded in place, end plates and L brackets are also welded.

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Old 07-13-2013, 07:35 PM   #4
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:38 PM   #5
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Cleaned up welds, applied black body glue to all gaps to ensure crap does not get in there.



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Old 07-13-2013, 07:41 PM   #6
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I also had some bracing cut and bent into a shallow "U" shape.

Cut those to size and trial fit everything.



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Old 07-13-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
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Once that was done, all I had to was to remove the bracing, undercoat everything, and finalize the install.

I also bolted the cross braces together for good measure.



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Old 07-13-2013, 07:53 PM   #8
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I spent just under $25 for ALL the steel, and about $15 for 3 cans of undercoating.
(You thread on a spray gun on the undercoating can and have at it...)

I also found a cool place where they cut and bend steel (up to 10mm thick) to whatever size/shape/angle you can think of, and charge you by the actual square footage. They have very reasonable prices.

I guess a wheel alignment is next after such a "surgery".

And yes, the car feels very solid now.



Please spare no criticism.
I just winged this project, and I would appreciate any input.

Oh, I spoke with the city manager in charge of roadwork, and he said I should send them the bill for the repairs.
That's why I did everything at the Mazda service. I would like them to collect whatever they think is fair from the city. It was my labor, but I took up their space in their shop for this thing.
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:16 AM   #9
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Very nice project. I have Stein's frame rails from several years ago and they make a difference. The cross bracing is something I haven't done yet.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:51 AM   #10
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Nice job - I just did something similar to save the $200+ I would spend on FM butterfly. I do have their SS rail reinforcements, but I wanted some cross bracing. I don't have a welder, so I fastened everything.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:21 AM   #11
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Looks awesome. Wish I had a lift and welding ability to do this.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:46 PM   #12
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Dang wish I had the skills to pull this off!
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