Project: Front 'rally' bar + lights - Mazda CX3 Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-07-2019, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Project: Front 'rally' bar + lights

Edit 6/16: Lights installed, wired through relay, and cleaned up- project complete

Edit 6/11: How to guide has been posted and project is complete with the exception of wiring/installing lights.

Edit 6/10: Crash bar has been finally drilled through! Mounting brackets are completed and awaiting non-rainy weather to shorten the distance the bar extends from the car. Lights will be wired after bar is finalized.


-------
So with the weather warming up I finally have a chance to tackle the final exterior modification Ill probably do on the cx3 seeing as the lift kit was a bust . On the bright side this is something that will eventually be successfully done but is currently a work in progress mainly because I ran into a huge obstacle with the crash bar being hardened steel if not something even more difficult to drill through and am thus ordering specialty parts. But anyways lets get down to the basics.

A while back @Blueprint2049 posted this thread on something that resembled my car's twin and the front bar and lights instantly got my attention. After further looking into it was identified to be a 'rally bar' by SSD intended mainly for subarus.
https://www.cx3forum.com/forum/appea...g-options.html


Disclaimer: Im not affiliated with SSD in any sort of way nor am I endorsing their product, in fact they are kind of rude for never replying to my inquiries about size dimensions on some of the bars.

Since they never responded to my emails I took the alternative route of youtube installation videos. Back then I got the dimensions of the spacings of the front 4 tabs from an amazon listing and used that as a reference to gauge the dimensions of the mounting hardware and the arms going back behind the bumper (which is different for each of their bars). A ton of eyeball measurements from youtube install videos later I settled on buying the bar for a 2015 subaru forester. Ironically I had planned for this to be installed on the same day as the lift kit experiment but even if I did get around to it it never was going to be done in a day without the specific hardware required.


Where is it going to be installed?
The initial configuration is intended to be mounted onto the crash bar of the vehicle itself as its the most stable. SSD manufacturers these bars based on where certain accessible holes are on the subarus. SOMEHOW by some dumb luck this bars original subaru mounting measurements for the back brace seem to fall perfectly in line where 2 holes are on the crash bar on the cx-3. I just found out about those holes the other day as I fully expected to be drilling completely new ones.

What is the current issue?
Those holes on the crash bar behind all of the trim and foam etc are not fully through to the other side so we have to drill through the crash bar. The real issue is that this is the probably one of the hardest metal materials you will ever have to drill through. Any regular drill bit , titanium, black oxide, cobalt etc will break and instantly as I have learned. The solution is to use solid carbide bits made for hardened steel but even those are fragile. I need about 1/2" hole to use the ssd mounting bolts but a 1/2" carbide bit is really expensive especially since it needs a pilot hole also. Other option is to downsize and source new hardware which might be more realistic.


Current progress:
Edit: The project is now complete





Note and EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: If you look at the pictures of where the bar is on the other car in the link above(and where it will be here), its hovering infront of the radiator and other ac parts. It doesnt take a genius to realize that if you are in a front end collision that this will probably do alot more damage if it impales the things behind it. The ssd bar and mounting brace itself is really hard and solid but they are held together by a bolt connecting the pieces on each side. One of the purposes of that crash bar is to take the blunt of the collision impact and somewhat safeguard the behind it which you really negate that benefit by putting this on. You will almost certainly void warranty if you need to do a claim on anything later on and you probably will not be allowed to do this on a leased or financed vehicle since you are making critical modifications which may or may not contribute to additional vehicular damage in case of collision. Also it goes to say that you should not do any of this if you arent familiar with the labor, tools, and difficulty that will be required to drill through all of this. This is basically a random project I decided to tackle and am sharing my progress and hopefully end result. For those offroader builds, this is super handy for mounting front lights on a solid mount and not using that license plate bracket which is being held on by plastic. Also obligatory: "I am not responsible for any damages or dumb things that occur if you decide to follow this thread and something goes wrong" notice lol.
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car

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post #2 of 17 Old 06-07-2019, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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How to:

The steps are pretty straight forward considering 90% of this was me exploring random route of how to do this project. I bought alot of hardware and pieces I did not end up using just in case but it really depends on how far you want to go with making holes wider.


NOTE: I broke step 5 into 2 separate routes. You could theoretically hire a shop to drill through the crash bar but idk who would do so in good faith because technically its messing with 'oem safety features' which is illegal here but then again theres alot of others who would do any job for money so honestly it might be cheaper and less frustrating to have a shop drill the holes in the crash bar than buying /breaking carbide bits and power drills.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

-Mechanic gloves*** You will be touching hot metal and metal shavings do not do this bare handed
-2015 Subaru Forester XT(?) SSD 'rally bar'
-Power drill-Solid carbide bits specifically for hardened steel (not the tipped ones for masonry which are in every hardware store, youll most likely need to order this online. I ordered 1/8 and 3/8" bits, a pilot hole is recommended as drilling through hardened steel is a slow nightmare)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
-Screwdrivers
-Bolts/nylon nuts/washers etc depending on what size you want to use* This will depend on how big of a hole youre willing to drill. SSD bar comes with 1/2" bolts and hardware but thats gonna require a 1/2" carbide bit which is more expensive than 1/8 and 3/8 combined.
-A lot of patience



1) Take off the bumper (see pdf attached and no you dont need to jack the car up or turn the wheel)

2) Take off plastic shroud over the crash bar. 4 push clips- 2 on the side 2 on middle. You will also need to raise the little clip on the bottom area see first 3 pictures.

3) You will need to trim the foam on both sides. Feel free to use a zip tie to keep the left and right end pieces stable so it isnt moving around. Cut around the "P" on the left and the "DB" on the right.

4) You will see the holes behind the foam. Trim the form further so it fits the width of the mounting bracket of the ssd bar.

5 OptionA) Drill through the hole and out the other side. The oem hole on the crash bar is only open on your side so you will need to drill through it and out the back. This is where your patience and your wallet will be tested. I cannot stress the importance of needing carbide bits since titanium, cobalt etc will break and dull out almost instantly. To make matters worse the back side is curved right where you need to open a new hole so you will suffer for a few days as this is impossible to do in one sitting - not because I doubt your ability but because you will need to take breaks because the bit will heat up horribly. Do not go full speed on the power drill and be cautious of the bits breaking on you.
Reminder: Becareful when drilling through metal as metal shavings/dust/shards/and heat will be generated. The drill will most likely also twist and catch at the end as you are finishing the hole.

5 OptionB)Hire a shop to drill the hole for you and its their problem now? If not go back to option A.


-continued due to picture limit
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car

Last edited by SlyCoopers; 06-11-2019 at 07:29 PM. Reason: Added write up guide
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-07-2019, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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How to: continued

6) Fit the hardware ofyour choice corresponding to the size hole you drilled and install the bracket but DO NOT TIGHTEN IT ALL THE WAY. Since I used 3/8" drill bit I purchased 2 sets of hardware of 3/8" x 3" bolts, 4 largest washers they had and nylon nuts to help keep the bolt more stable and prevent getting loose overtime through vibrations etc. Tighten the nuts only to just before the bracket becomes unmovable. We will be moving it incrementally by tapping it with a wrench on the side. See picture 1

7) Measure the distance between the 2 mounting points on the arms of the rally bar itself. You should be getting 22 1/2" on center. Use this number to align the distance between the 2 brackets you just installed on the crash bar. A reminder that they will not sit perfectly vertical and will need to be rotated a bit. The rally bar will not be installed at this point and is literally the last thing to be installed.

8)Fit the bumper. This part is going to be a little difficult but if you did the drilling by hand then this is nothing compared to that. CAUTION: The bumper is stupid fragile and can easily be damaged. Get the help of someone else if you need assistance in positioning it. You are looking for the usual points of contact with the bumper to the body like usual but now you have 2 metal tabs which are going to extend through the lower grille area. Tap the brackets left and right as needed to get them within the finned area. You could also cut the vertical plastic pieces on the lower bumper area but why would you do that if we made it this far? see picture 2 for how it will fit.

9)When the brackets are in place and still measure 22 1/2" on center of the lower mounting holes, remove the bumper if its still on and tighten the brackets in place.

10) Reinstall the plastic trim but only the upper 2 plastic clips . You will need to trim this piece to accommodate the brackets now filling up space. I trimmed it with a pair of wire cutters that cut through anything so thats an option. see picture 3 for end result cut. Once trimmed install the other 2 clips and make sure to fit the 2 center bottom tabs also,

11) Reinstall the bumper, take care to accomodate the bracket tabs extending. You will have to raise the bumper a little higher so the tabs slide through on the larger opening near the bottom of the upper area.

12) You should be all set and finished with the bumper now. The car should look exactly like it did before this project started but with 2 tabs sticking out 22 1/2" on center of the 2 holes.

13 OptionA) Install the bar as is on the tabs with the original ssd mounting hardware but make your piece with the large distance between the bumper end and the bar. see picture 5 for distance. Depending how much space you ended up with the bar will most likely install under the bracket tabs since there isnt room above it as you will clip the bumper itself. Note: if you want to use threadlocker gel/adhesive/etc this is the part where you would apply it.

13 Option B) If you are feeling ambitious still, you can set up a slightly more secure mounting configuration. Fit the bar under the bracket tabs but push it all the way back onto the lower crash bar flap. This is made of the same ungodly material you may or may not have drilled through earlier so its alot more stable and provides a bit of more protection incase of a front end impact. Mark new mounting holes on the rally bar itself but be sure to keep the 22 1/2" on center distance on the newly marked holes. You may also want to downsize the bolt/hole since you arent drilling in the middle of the bar anymore and a 1/2 inch hole comes too close to one side for it to be safe. I used a new set of 3/8" hardware from the store and mounted the bar on those new holes. Note: if you want to use threadlocker gel/adhesive/etc this is the part where you would apply it.
Reminder: Becareful when drilling through metal as metal shavings/dust/shards/and heat will be generated. The drill will most likely also twist and catch at the end as you are finishing the hole.

14) Coat the exposed bolts/nuts/washers etc in something to protect it from rust. I was going to spray paint it but it was going to be too messy so I used something called 'liquid electrical tape' which you basically brush on and it turns into a waterproof seal. Its intended for wires but works perfectly here too. I can also confirm it works really well since I used it on the light bar I previously had installed on the roof rack to make waterproof connections on the wiring.

15) Hear the lamentation of subaru owners as we use their mods on our cars.

16) Install your lights etc.
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car

Last edited by SlyCoopers; 06-11-2019 at 07:44 PM. Reason: How to guide pt2
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-07-2019, 08:39 PM
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Sad day, but I appreciate this car for keeping everyone safe. Unfortunately there will be no light bar for me

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post #5 of 17 Old 06-07-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Oh jeeze glad youre ok. It hurts to see our cars in that condition but they do a great job of taking care of us when it matters.
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-10-2019, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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We have completion!

Also RIP to the 3/8 solid carbide bit who also got badly damaged/gouged during the drilling of the final hole.

But the installation of the forester ssd rally bar has worked perfectly in the best manner possible too.

-The bottom mount holes are easily accessible
-No trimming of the actual bumper or the fins on the lower opening
-EXTREMELY solid bar still meeting 22 1/2" on center points

I scrapped the 1/2" mounting hardware to the crash bar for the sole reason of not wanting to drill or buy a 1/2" carbide bit.
Replaced with 3/8" bolts from hardware store, nuts with nylon end in the rear, and 2 sets of spacers one for front and one for back mounting.
Easily alligned and all it took was trimming the plastic covering piece which was done with wire cutting pliers because why not.
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car

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post #7 of 17 Old 06-10-2019, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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-continued from above-

Bumper can be removed with minimal effort or obstacle.

When putting the bumper back on it just needs to be raised a little higher so the tabs enter on the lower part of the upper half of the lower side because the vertical fins have more opening the lower you go. (good luck understanding this one since even I dont know how to explain it correctly)

The bar extends a little too far which is understandable given how outwards the mounting tabs are. Later this week Im going to drill new holes to push it in and possible grind off the excess if it hits the back plate.

I will write up a guide when all is finished if anyone wants to attempt this later on in the future.

Never thought I would be using a subaru mod on the cx3 but improvisation has always been a fun journey.
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-10-2019, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Now a few days ago I found traces of the initial cx3 with the ssd rally bar on reddit. According to the buyer of that listing a shop apparently did the work and even they had struggles with it and based on some pictures the guy uploaded, I can fully and in good faith say that this method here (with the forester bar not whatever they put on his) is probably the most reproducible and does not require bumper modification nor will it restrict you from putting it on and off as needed.

These pictures are from the buyer of the other cx3 who posted on reddit. I lost the link but you can probably reverse google search it back there.


As you can see they cut the vertical fins and the bar is actually resting/rubbing on the horizontal plastic piece. Its also evident that its REALLY difficult to access those mounting pieces if he ever needs to take the bumper off. I wish him the best of luck in the future though as he really had one of a kind cx3 and hope that it doesnt cause any issues down the road
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-10-2019, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Proposed light setup at the moment,

Still debating whether to use 2 or 4.
2 lights leaves license plate still visible. 4 blocks it so I have to figure out some form of license plate relocation. The bar comes with a clip on bracket to mount a license plate under the bar but thats coming too close to the ground for my comfort. (if you scratch a curb with the bumper the plate would already be ripped off)
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-11-2019, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Write up completed somewhat, I was going off of memory and skipping all of the random trial and error things I did in between. The bar was also trimmed down a bit which brought it in about an 1 1/2" so it isnt extending out so much but still allows clearance for the lights. Bolts and hardware were coated with liquid electrical 'tape' coating with the tiny brush it comes with because waterproof and not as messy as spray paints.
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2016 CX-3 GT AWD - Crystal White Pearl Mica.
My wants-to-grow-up-to-be-a-rally-car car

Last edited by SlyCoopers; 06-12-2019 at 05:46 PM.
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