Installing Cabrio Braces on an R50/R53 Mini Cooper



Cabrio braces came installed on Mini convertibles to stiffen the chassis and eliminate rattles. These braces can only help the hard top and at the price of ~$45 they are hard NOT to buy and install just to know you have done all you can do. I purchased mine from Way’s online store (Way Motor Works), he includes both braces and the eight Torx Head bolts required. Some early build Minis do not have the required bolt holes so I would check your pre-2004 build car before ordering.






You can see, looking at both sides, the plastic plugs where the bolt holes for the brace are:




The driver side (left side USA) is the more difficult side so that is the side I decided to start on.

There is a wiring plug that is attached to a metal bracket, using angled needle nose pliers the retainer ears are pressed down and the plug is released from the bracket:




Using a ¼” ratchet with an extension and 10mm socket, I removed the single nut holding the plastic hose bracket down to the rubber spacer on top of the metal bracket we want to remove. After the nut is removed and the plastic hose bracket moved to the side, the rubber spacer can be unscrewed by hand (or maybe with a little help from some pliers); it is screwed into a bolt hole in the car. The bracket can now be removed.





The rubber spacer is screwed back into the car and the bolt holding the plastic hose bracket down is replaced and retightened:




The sticker is peeled off and the three plastic plugs are removed carefully using a screwdriver and/or needle nose pliers:




NOT PICTURED STEPS- I also removed the plastic caps on the passenger side (right side USA). Prior to installing the braces, I had to liberally soak the stickers (the ones BMW was nice enough to apply directly to the part) down with WD40 a few times- after a few applications of WD40 and about 15 minutes, the stickers peeled off easily and the adhesive residue left behind wiped off with some WD40 on a shop towel.


The brace on the driver side has to be located among some wiring looms so carefully feed it through using pictures below as a reference. You might note that the brace for this side has a bracket with a hole that replaces the bracket we removed earlier. The Torx bolts are started by hand in all holes and tightened gradually moving from bolt to bolt using a T30 Torx driver until hand tight. The bolt on the side of the lower rail is a PAIN to get to when hand starting and even more painful to tighten. You will be able to reach this bolt to tighten it by carefully maneuvering the driver through the wires and pressing the handle against the plastic fender piece (the piece that is behind the headlights when the hood is closed), it will flex enough to give you some room to turn the handle until the bolt is tight. After all bolts are tight, the electrical connector retainer can be pushed into the brace bracket.





Moving to the passenger side, the installation is much easier without the wires to work around although the lower side bolt is still a little harder to get to than the others in order to tighten:




Completed installation on the dirty car: