2004 to 2020 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,344 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First and foremost let me start by saying please please PLEASE make sure you are practicing better safety precautions than I did in this tutorial. I have experience using these tools and thus felt safe with the way I handled them but nonetheless please follow correct safety precautions with tools. There are plenty of ways you can go about making a license plate relocation kit. The route I chose was to allow it to be the simplest and easiest way for anyone to accomplish this mod with MINIMAL tools and hardware. I did the least amount of cutting, drilling, and purchasing of hardware for this very reason. Everything I purchased can easily be had at your local home improvement store. Now on to the good stuff.


Hardware needed
  • Simpson Strong-Tie 14G 12" x 8" T strap $5.61
  • 1/4" - 20 x 1/2" stainless round head combo 2pk $1.18
  • #10 - 24 x 3/4" stainless flat head phillips 4pk (I ended up just using 1) $1.18
  • 1/4" stainless flat washers 6pk $1.18
  • 1/4" - 20 stainless nylon lock nuts 3pk $1.18
  • irwin 10 - 32 pts drill & tap combo $3.97 (you will need the head key to turn it, drill didn't work so well for me
  • your tow hook......yes the one in the rear of your trunk. Home depot didn't have a metric bolt that was big enough so I decided to just cut up my tow hook bolt and use that instead.
    You also don't have to use the same size tap and drill combo and bolts I used. Make sure that whatever size drill and tap you get, you get a corresponding bolt of the same size and the shortest one. 1/4" is a decent size, I wouldn't go any smaller.

Keep in mind you will also need a titanium coated drill bit (a normal one will suffice but will take some time to go through the metal) and a drill. Many have one, but I presume some don't. I did so I didn't factor that into the cost. You will also need an angle grinder or a saw. A saw is cheap, but you'll put in some time and effort if you go that route. I purchased a cordless ryobi 18v 4 1/2" angle grinder for $40 and I'm keeping it. You can purchase one and keep it or return it if you so choose. You will need 1 diablo 4 1/2" type 27 metal cut-off wheel for cutting the metal.
20140401_192443.jpg
20140401_192455.jpg

Step 1
Get all your supplies and tools. Everything crossed out in yellow you don't need. I tried a different method and wasn't satisfied so this is my re-edited version.
2014-04-01-19-40-14.png

Step 2
Get your tow hook and screw it in the front bumper as tight as you can. Get a marker (electrical tape works best) I forgot to take a picture of this step so I had to improvise....use your imagination.
2014-04-01-19-32-31.png

Word of caution. This next step isn't for the faint hearted. The only reason I chose to cut the tow hook while it was attached to my bumper was because I was more than confident in mine and my fathers steady hands. You, in no way have to follow my method in getting the cut. I later realized I could have just stepped on the tow hook with it hanging in mid air off the edge of the sidewalk. But that isn't too safe either. If you have a workshop vise...use it.

Step 3
Get your angle grinder or saw and cut the tow hook at an angle that follows your bumper. Don't cut flush with it as you wont have clearance for the bolts behind the license plate. Remember, you can always cut away metal.....you can't add any. Don't forget your safety goggles or glasses!!
20140330_155012.jpg
halfway through! using the electrical tape as my boundary
20140330_155317.jpg

This is the stupidest and most unsafe part of this mod. I held it at the end because I didn't want the end of the tow hook to catch on the wheel and turn projectile. Don't do this, It will just fall once you cut all the way through the hook.
20140330_155930.jpg

After you cut your hook, put your license plate up flush against it and check to see if you like the angle or if the plates are touching the bumper at all. If you don't like the angle and you purchased the ryobi angle grinder, you can grind down the angle any which way to your liking with the grinder wheel that came with the tool. Again, you can return the whole thing if you so choose. Be mindful when grinding it down though because that wheel can and will grind away any metal fairly easily. Once you are happy with the angle, get out your tap and drill tool.
20140330_131136-1.jpg

A titanium drill bit will work much better than the drill that came in the combo set, but either one is fine. You must drill into the tow hook first making sure you drill enough to fit the 3/4" screw all the way in. Once you feel you have drilled a deep enough hole, get your tap out:tt2: when you start using your tap, be sure to have some sort of lubricant to help your tap thread the hole. I used wd40 and it worked for me. Turn the tap clockwise 3 or 4 complete turns, then reverse and go counter-clockwise the same amount of turns so the filings don't clog the hole and damage the tap. Rinse, repeat.
20140330_181229.jpg

Step 4
Get the T strap and license plate and line up the T behind the plate with the plate being right-side up. Get a marker and use your license plate screw holes to mark the T plate behind so you can get a template of the holes you need to drill. The 1/4" screw fits the plate holes perfectly so that's why I purchased that specific size screw.
20140401_161750.jpg
20140401_161725.jpg
20140401_161708.jpg
20140401_161931.jpg
20140401_162713.jpg
voila, perfect match!

now we need to cut off that excess part of metal that sticks out past the license plate. Angle grinder for this and this time I put it on the ground and cut it.
20140401_174517.jpg

Step 4
Now you need to decide where you want to drill the hole that will connect the T bracket to the actual tow hook. The yellow circles with holes are where I drilled so I could change the height of the plate to my liking. You can drill in the other yellow circles I drew to offset the plate or just drill a bunch of holes and move them around to where you see fit.
2014-04-01-20-41-35[1].png

Step 5
Now attach the bracket to the tow hook with the #10 - 24 x 3/4" screw. I used the washer I bought and a smaller one on top that I found and screwed the bolt in as far as I could and as hard as I could. Enough so that it started to strip the screw. Just so you are aware, the plate can still be turned side to side. BUT in NORMAL driving conditions and daily commutes, the vibrations are not enough to cause the plate to fall over. I plan on adding another bolt in the tow hook to eliminate the movement entirely and will add loc tite when I do. But for now, the one screw has held up well and given me no issues.
20140401_175303.jpg
20140401_175333.jpg

Step 6
Now get 1/4" - 20 x 1/2" bolt and a washer
20140401_175401.jpg
Then bracket, then another washer
20140401_175456.jpg
and finally the nylon lock nut
20140401_175512.jpg

Now do the same to the other side. Don't worry about the screw in the middle, it won't hinder anything
20140401_175535.jpg

Tighten the bolts down and readjust the plate alignment if you only attached the bracket using one screw. Again, the plate can move if you move it but with normal driving and vibrations it won't move on its own. Add another screw or loc tite it if you want, I just haven't had any issues with just running one screw.
20140401_175726.jpg

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your new relocation kit.
20140330_182659.jpg
20140330_182709.jpg
20140330_182716.jpg

I want to thank @RedTape for this. After seeing his version of the kit with the welds, I set out to make one myself. I know that myself along with many others don't have a welding torch, CNC machine, and all that fancy gizmos. But with this method, it will allow many to go out and do this mod themselves with minimal tools. This is a simple and straight-forward mod that looks very clean. This is my first DIY and if this helped you at all don't forget to hit that thumb button!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Neat... I like that idea, I have thought of cutting up a tow hook before. I'll have to scare up another one incase I ever have to tow the thing, but I have always hated the stupid ft plate bracket! :thumbup1 1:
 

·
Everybody to the Limit!
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
Hell ya brother!!! Thats a great idea! I never thought about using the stock tow hook... maybe because I was bent on not cutting through the cover. But your car only has that small round cover not like the huge plate that I have.
Really good job Kekoa! Great work with the tap!
I am going to refine mine by tapping the holes under the bumper and fitting some bolts in with some locktight.

Did you use any locktight? Do you think the plate is gonna spin?
 

·
Aspiring Mad Scientist
Joined
·
1,716 Posts
Our cars actually get towed from the front so I would suggest getting a spare tow hook... but aside from that, great use of materials and clean mod and tutorial. Everyone bags on me for hammering everything but good gods you have an angle grinder at your car's cheek! :ph34r:
 
  • Like
Reactions: hawaiian.monzta

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,344 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Hell ya brother!!! Thats a great idea! I never thought about using the stock tow hook... maybe because I was bent on not cutting through the cover. But your car only has that small round cover not like the huge plate that I have.
Really good job Kekoa! Great work with the tap!
I am going to refine mine by tapping the holes under the bumper and fitting some bolts in with some locktight.

Did you use any locktight? Do you think the plate is gonna spin?
No I haven't used any loc tite. I'm going to tap another hole then use loc tite. It shouldn't spin with just one bolt though. I haven't done any real distance drives but with the spirited driving I did this morning after it rained, no movement whatsoever

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,344 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Our cars actually get towed from the front so I would suggest getting a spare tow hook... but aside from that, great use of materials and clean mod and tutorial. Everyone bags on me for hammering everything but good gods you have an angle grinder at your car's cheek! :ph34r:
I know!! I was nervous needless to say but it worked out. It's not the inside that matters....It's what's on the outside that counts haha and I shall buy a spare. Thanks for input kind sir

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

·
Everybody to the Limit!
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
I know!! I was nervous needless to say but it worked out. It's not the inside that matters....It's what's on the outside that counts haha and I shall buy a spare. Thanks for input kind sir

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
Eh! How often does one get towed anyway?! LOL!
Unless you're on the track or constantly get stuck in the mud or snow..(which in SoCal is most likely never gonna happen...) You dont need the tow hook
 

·
Admiral Obvious
Joined
·
1,811 Posts
it's also really useful to drag the car on a trailer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,344 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
So I did this mod on April first. Since then, after driving to Redondo beach for the ritas meet and back, I decided not to drill another hole. The license plate hasn't spun at all even though it's only held on by one screw in the middle of the bracket. So to me it's sturdy enough without any other modifications. :D

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,074 Posts
Anyone know what size thread the tow hook uses? Hd/lowes dont have one big enough lol
Been looking into this lately too lol


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,074 Posts
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top