It’s always a struggle with this car and attempting to put a hitch in so I can carry a tire trailer was no different. First of all the hitch I chose is from Hard Dog Fabrication. There are at least two others who make hitches for the Miata, but I chose them because Irene has a roll bar from the same company and it is of very good quality. Plus they are a small company in North Carolina, not a big cooperation. As usual the big problem is rust. The hitch installs were the rear tie downs go. A previous owner took all the tie downs out of the car but but the fasteners back. There is two screws, and two nuts on what appear to the studs per side to remove. One of the nut/studs snapped. One came off. On two others the nut and stud are just spinning. I got three of the four screws out. One of those snapped too. The “studs” are not really studs but bolts that are supposed to be held from spinning by a piece of sheet metal with a hex shaped hole cut in it. They also help hold the bumper on. I was able to barely get a socket up between the steel of the frame and bumper and on the bolt head. But the steel that is supposed to be holding the bolt is place is so mangled I can’t get the socket on the head. And the other bolt is so far up that there is no way to get anything on it.
So I figured that I could take off the bumper and gain access to the bolts. All the screws came out of the bumper w/o breaking to my surprise, but there was something holding the bumper on the car at the top underneath the rear panel. I dreaded taking the rear panel off as I was sure I was going to break a bunch of the plastic clips that hold it on. Surprisingly I didn’t. So I get the bumper skin all off and see that I don’t have any better access to the bolts then I did before. If I can take the plastic frame of the bumper off I can get to them. It appears to be held to the two brackets that are attached to the frame of the car by four bolts on top and two bolts on the bottom. Because you can’t put metal screws in plastic threads on the other side of the bolts are nuts that have clips that again keep them from spinning. All of these fasteners are badly corroded as well.
I tried taking them out but two of the nuts clips broke. Several other bolts started to unscrew but then felt like they were going to snap. At this point I really needed a sawzall to cut through the bolts. And I don;t have one. And I’m sure the apartment complex wouldn’t approve of me using one in the parking lot. So I had to bag trying to put it in. I wanted to carry my tires up to the Finger Lakes ProSolo on the trailer but it looks like I’m going to have to bum a ride for them or just drive up on them. I’ve held up from buying the actual trailer until I got the hitch in. I doing know when that is going to happen. I still have the manual steering rack sitting waiting to go in. And along with that the front alignment bolts need to get replaced. One of them keeps coming loose and banging around. So much yet to do to this car and not enough time.