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M1/M2 Hard Core Installation Instructions




  • Foot Plate Mounting
    • 2 - bent back-up plates (front)
    • 2 - flat back-up plates (rear)
  • 12 - 3/8" x 1.25" bolts
  • 12 - 3/8" flanged lock nuts
  • 12 - 3/8" flat washers

  • Seat Belt Reel Plate Mounting
    • 2 - 7/16" (11mm) x 1.25" bolts


  • safety glasses
  • #2 phillips head screwdriver
  • wrenches
    • 16mm or 5/8"
    • '94 & later - 17mm or 11/16"
    • 2 - 9/16"
    • 10mm
  • jack and jack stands
  • drill w/ 3/8" drill bit (an angle drill with a short bit is helpful but not absolutely necessary)
  • fine tooth reciprocating saw or jigsaw for cutting package shelf and fitting plastic interior panels
  • 3/4" holesaw if you have antilock brakes

1) Put the top down

First remove the metal cap at the top of the panel just behind the door. This is held in place by a threaded fastener that is used to attach the top boot (10mm) and a Phillips head screw on the NA. The NB version is similar but an extra rubber molding has been added that is held in place by a plastic insert inside the top of the door jamb and another under the lip of the body just behind the door.

Remove the weather-stripping that runs along the front edge of the trim panel at the rear of the door opening. (you might find it necessary to loosen the 4 Phillips head screws in the scuff plate that runs along the bottom of the door sill on some early models)

Remove the plastic cover from the shoulder harness guide (it just snaps off), loosen the bolts and remove the bolt and spacers from the guide.

On the '94-'97 models Remove the cockpit brace end covers (they also snap), loosen the bolts and remove the cockpit brace.

There is a small plastic clip at the rear of the trim panel just behind the hole the shoulder harness guide bolt goes through. Remove the clip by pulling it toward the rear of the car.

Remove the rectangular seat belt trim ring at the front of the panel and the 2 fasteners in each trim panel located on the inside just above the package tray, one is a kind of plastic rivet that is loosened by lifting the center portion and pulling it free, the other is another one of the boot cover snaps with the 10mm head. If you have an NB with the wind blocker remove the screws and lift the wind blocker out. The trim panel can now be removed by pulling it toward the center of the car, there's a couple of snap type fasteners down low just behind the door that you will need to pop loose as the panel is pulled free.

3) PUT THE TOP UP -  Loosen the carpet from the front of the package shelf behind the seats and fold it back.. A claw hammer is a good tool for removing the plastic carpet fasteners. Lower the top. (Pre '99 leave the window zipped in, be careful not to crease the window ) Some sort of cover for the window is not a bad idea. Remove the large silver metal panel that makes up the front part of the package shelf by removing the several bolts w/ 10mm heads that hold it in place and releasing any wire loom fasteners. Lift the cover up and out of the car. Remove the insulation pads on either side of the fuel tank cover.

On the '94-97 models there's a computer mounted behind the passenger seat, the outer mounting bracket will need to be modified and the upper mounting stud removed to allow clearance for the roll bar mounting plate. (FIG# 8)

To create clearance for the rearward braces, you will need to trim the package shelf area just behind the fuel tank cover opening as shown in FIG# HC1. You will also need to remove the spare tire and the metal panel at the front of the trunk on the driver's side (the one with the jack handle attached) if you are working on an NA. While it's not absolutely necessary to do so, I find it helpful to remove the front trunk panels in the NB as well. They are held in by several of the plastic push-rivet fasteners.

If the car has antilock brakes you will need to relocate the ABS sensor wiring harnesses. Jack up the rear of the car and support with sturdy jack stands. Remove the wheels and the plastic inner splash panels. The harnesses run from the sensors, mounted next to the brake rotors, up through rubber bulkhead plugs in the areas just to either side of the fuel tank. Trace the harnesses forward to the connectors just behind the seats, on either side of the area just uncovered by removal of the fuel tank cover / package shelf. Unplug the connectors, untangle the harnesses from the wire holders and other wiring, push the bulkhead plugs through and pull the wires through into the wheel wells. After the roll bar is bolted in, using a 3/4" holesaw, being careful not to drill into any wiring or hoses, open a hole to clear the roll bar plate. Reroute the wiring and reinstall the bulkhead plugs.

4) REMOVE THE LOWER SEAT BELT REEL BOLTS (16mm pre'94 - 17mm '94 and later) AND SPACERS.

5) Make certain the area where the rear mounting plates attach is clear of all body caulk and weld spatter allowing the rear plates to sit flat down on the panel.

6) SET THE BAR IN THE CAR - BE CAREFUL The rear brace foot plates will just fit under the front edge of the package tray, work the rear braces past the several wiring harnesses and battery cables in this area being careful not to damage any of the wiring. Also watch the front mounting plates, they will be very close to the seat backs at this point. The lower mounting points align with the lower seat belt reel bolt holes. The roll bar plates fit against the seat belt reels which stay in their original location but do NOT use the original spacers.(FIG# HC2) Once the bar and the seat belt reels are in position, snug but do not completely tighten the seat belt reel mounting plates using bolts from the hardware kit and small OD flat washers from the stock bolts. Make sure that your seat belts are on the inside of the roll bar. On some cars the captive nut for the belt reel bolt will not be exactly vertical and will make threading the bolt difficult or impossible with the bar installed. Use a large Phillips screwdriver or tapered bar working through the roll bar mounting slot to align the nut.

7) JACK UP THE REAR OF THE CAR AND SUPPORT WITH STURDY JACK STANDS - Remove the wheels and plastic splash panels from the front of the inner fenders. (pre 99 - 4 bolts w/ 10mm heads / NB - 4 plastic fasteners w/ Phillips heads)

8) GET THE DRILL AND SAFETY GLASSES -  Install the rear plates and tighten the rear of the bar FIRST.
Locate the position for the rear back-up plates by drilling the first hole down from the top if you have an angle drill.  If you don't have an angle drill, heavily center punch through one of the outer mounting plate holes. You should be able to feel the punch mark from under the wheel well to locate the hole location. Drill fron under the car using a standard drill. Once you get the first hole drilled, bolt the back-up plate in place. The others can be done from under the car using the back-up plate as a template. The flanged locknuts do not require a washer. Use the supplied washers under the bolt heads. We want the reinforcement plate to wedge tightly against the unibody rail. Drill at an angle if necessary, put the bolts through and tighten to 35-40 ft-lbs. Do NOT cut down the plates.

Once both rear plates are installed, slightly loosen to allow the bar to center itself then tighten the seat belt reel bolts to 35-40 ft-lbs

Save the easy part for last. Drill through the lower main hoop plates and bolt the back-up plates in place using washers under the bolts. You will notice a purpose built gap between the lower front plates and the bulkhead. Not a problem. Install the bolts though the bar, panel and reinforcement plates, tighten to 35-40 ft-lbs and let the bolts close the gap.

On the NB part of the evaporative emission system is located in the front of the wheel well on the passenger side, a snap fastener holds a small filter just behind the battery cable grommet and the front plumbing is held by a 10mm hex head fastener, loosen for roll bar installation. Reinstall the front fastener and relocate the small filter by tucking it behind the wiring harness after the back-up plate bolts are tightened.

Spraying the back-up plates with undercoating after the fasteners are tight is a good idea. Install the splash panels, rear tires, trunk panels and spare.

9) Trim the package shelf panel as needed and reinstall.

10) CUT QUARTER TRIM PANELS - In order to reinstall the trim panels, cut a notch to clear the main hoop foot plate, (see Image 1). We use a small air powered reciprocating saw with a fine tooth blade. A jigsaw, hack saw or a coarse half-round file will do. It's fairly evident as to where the cut needs to be made, just cut the panel and trim to fit. Slide the panel in behind the bar to install. It helps if the panel is warm. Take several small cuts to get a good fit.
Refit the carpet. Cut the carpet in a series of pie-shaped wedges and tuck it down around the rear braces of the bar.

11) REINSTALL THE REMAINING PARTS - The NB windblocker isn't compatible as is but some have relocated it forward to clear by drilling a new set of holes and attaching with sheet metal screws.

Cutting Quarter Trim
Quarter Trim Alteration





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Updated January 24, 2018 10:50 AM