CUSCO FSTB Install Guide

Welcome back to the SE Garage, where there ain’t no party like a supermod party ’cause a supermod party don’t stop!

Today we’ll answer the age-old question: Can you be too braced up? Let’s find out.

First, you’ll need a couple of templates. The ones that ship with the Cusco are for Japanese frunk plastics and don’t mate with the US version. Use these instead (hat tip to TBK):

Open it in the image editor of your choice, scale it so that the 10cm scale is accurate, then duplicate and flip so you have a left-hand version. Print both. Cut out the square part and leave the circles. You’re ready to start.

Tools needed: The usual 12mm and 17mm sockets, screwdriver, dremel kit, Xacto knife, torque wrench, and an allen key set. Adult beverage of choice.

Lay the bar on the plastics, roughly in position to get a feel for it, and loosen the hinge screws. As you can see, the allen key is needed. Don’t even think about trying this job without it.

Lay a template on the plastics, using the circles as a guide. This takes nerve, because you’re only going to get one shot at this. Mess up, you’ll be asking Mr T for new plastics. Don’t mess up. Take your time. Sketch an outline of the bracket slot with a pencil. Lift the plastics and see where the strut bolts are. Lay the bar back down over your sketch. Make any needed corrections and hope you didn’t mess up.

Find a clear work area. Set the plastics down, break out the Dremel and set up a cutting wheel. Work up your nerve with that adult beverage deal mentioned above. Have at it.

The long cuts can be made with the Dremel. The short cuts at the ends of the spars you’ll need to make with an Xacto knife. Score the surface of the plastics, then push the knife through. The natural sawing motion will penetrate the plastics and achieve the cut. The Dremel heats as it cuts and leaves raised bubbles and stuff. As you work, continuously brush the debris toward the section you’ll remove while it’s still hot. Leave the cut-out section rough for the time being.

Go over to the car and remove the strut tower nuts. Remove the brackets. You could play a quick game of horseshoes with ’em, if you wanted to. I didn’t feel like it. I was nervous about the plastics. Did I mess up?

Fit the bar and bolt it down. Screw the nuts hand tight. Use a socket and tighten ’em a bit more. It is critical that no movement of the brackets takes place from here until you finish. Work on a level surface and the Cusco should just drop into place with no forcing or fiddling.

Now remove the hinge pins. At this point you’ll be somewhere around 1 to 2 hours into the job. For me, longer, because of the gasprings. These must be detached from their front mounting pins and the stock lid prop reinstalled. The hanging springs will be a source of amusement throughout the job. Be thankful if you don’t have gasprings.

Fit the right side of the plastics and see how you did. In my case a hole in one. Sort of.

It will be important that the plastics sit flush back with the firewall and that all the poppet holes are aligned. So get ready for fun and cut out the left side bracket hole in the plastics. See how you did. Now, using the pencil, mark off where you need to make additional trim to the bracket slots. You’re trying to make the minimum aperture, so take little bits off here and there, fit and refit the goddamned thing until it lays dead flat, no binding or raised areas, and the back of the plastics are flush with the firewall.

Dress the holes by using a deburring tool of some sort, like I am here, cleaning the cut edges. Use the Xacto knife. Sandpaper. Be careful and it will look perfect. More beverage.

Torque the brackets to 29 ft lbs. Some people at this point have snapped a stud off. From what I’ve heard, the repair is difficult. So take your time here and creep up on foot pound number 29.

You’re almost done. Fit the poppets. I had 2 extras just in case. Needed 1.

Fit the spare bin lid and install the bar. Almost zero space where the plastics guard the windshield wiper motor. Fit the left first. Insert pin, then lever it down to the right and you’ll be OK. Fit right pin and done.

Polish the bar and polish off more beverage. Plastics retained, bin lid functional. Far as I know, this is the only way you can do that.

Total time elapsed: 6 hours exactly. PITA factor: 4 Stellas.

Road Test
Wasn’t expecting a lot. I’m already maxed in front with everything else, this was the final piece, so a slightly heavier feel in the steering wheel and more solidity, plantedness, was all I expected, Confirmed. Just a slight improvement all around up front. At this stage, road that has my daily driver bouncing and bottoming out the struts is no problem in the Spyder. While I don’t have the total TOMS experience, this must be pretty close to it.

Update 03/17/07
You’ll probably discover that the windshield washer line crimps on the bar. Thanks to DaveS, I was able to resolve this.

In the dead center of the frunk lid reinforcement member shown in the pic below, drill a hole just slightly under 1/2 inch in diameter. You can go as low as 5/16 in. Cover the workspace with a cloth to catch the shavings. You’re drilling at a weird, upward angle, so be careful. I found that by starting with a 1/16 in bit and gradually working my way upward, I was getting clean cuts. Use a round file to finish.

Use the tip of a screwdriver to help the hose off its fitting. Insert a wire through the hole and wind the end around the hose. Draw it through. Fit a 1/2 in (or narrower) grommet over the hose and fit it to the aperture. Connect the hose and done. Although I don’t use this system (it’s a 202 thing), all parts of the car should be in proper order.

This documentation in no way replaces the Toyota MR2 Repair Manuals. The purpose of this content is only to provide supplementary information to fellow MR2 enthusiasts. Midship Runabout and its contributing authors will not be held responsible for any injury or damages that may occur as the result of practicing any of the methods or procedures described within this website. Article and photo submissions are property of the contributing author.

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the work done)))

  2. Dick Pilskog says:

    I am considering the Cusco brace. Your template says to cut the round circle but you do not need to do this? Mostly, you take the plastic off, after showing where the bracket goes, make careful cuts and you are on your way. I guess the template says to “cut out” but I do not see that in the description.

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