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Discussion Starter #1
I was just wondering if any of you had the STi Strut Tower bar/brace made of carbon fiber offered by S.O.A., installed on your STi, and if you noticed any difference???? Any info on this topic is appreciated.

ps - I know that you can get cheaper strut tower bars but I like STi/OEM equipment. Thanks.
 

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Front and rear were done together. S.O.A. has said that the front strut bar is not that effective due to the proximity of the firewall to the stuts. IMHO, the combination did have an effect. Some will tell you it is worthless and others that have actually done it will tell you that they notice a difference. Even those that have done and that can agree on the fact that some difference might be noticed, disagree on the significance of the difference in light of the cost of the bars.

The difference, IMHO, is that the car feels more solid and more like it sits on one solid plane when it travels over speed bumps or other bumps or potholes in the road. I consider it a worthwhile modification. The STI cf one is nice because it is a genuine STI part. The carbon fiber only makes it look nice instead of some hunking piece of metal strapped to the strut bars. Some cheapies are available off ebay.

If cost was a factor, you may want to consider just doing the rear. The rear that I have tried on the car in question is the Cusco Carbon fiber rear strut bar. It is hidden so the only benefit of the carbon fiber in the rear is that it is very light.
 

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The strut bars reduce chassis flex. In my opinion, all street cars have some flex in them as they are not built on tubular frames :) So, I think a strut bar is one of the cheapest handling improvements one can make, similar to upgraded anti-roll bars.

However, the difference in opinion about the "improved feel" comes from varying driving conditions IMHO. If you do most driving on street, to/from work/home, the benefits can be classified as negligible. However, a strut bar truly shines during canyon runs, autoxes and of course track events. Especially in autoxes where you have rapid and frequent directional changes, and strut bars do help the chassis transition from one turn to another more easily and predictably.

I am by no means a metalurgist. I do not understand how a CF strut bar can really do its job. I believe for the strut bar to do its job it has to have just enough flex in it, similar to an anti-roll bar. If I am not mistaken, CF does not flex at all, and would rather break. If that is the case, a CF strut bar might be just for visual attractiveness than function. However, I might truly have the wrong understanding of various materials here. If so, I'd appreciate correction :)

Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for your replies Project & FT. At this time, I do have the front STi Strut bar on order. Hopefully, it will be in by early next week because I am really looking forward to installing it. As for the rear strut bar, I might consider that in the near future. But for looks and to reduce some chassis flex, I am really looking forward to the front strut bar. :)

ps - FT, I agree with you on your points. I plan to take advantage of the f. strut bars improvements when I do some twisties and auto-crossing. As for feeling the difference during daily driving, I doubt that I feel it as much but you never know. Thanks again.
 

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yes, i second both posts here - the strut bars definitely made a difference that CAN be felt. "Like it sits on one solid plane." Exactly. Its as tangible as a before-and-after-test where you DONT go back to not having strut bars once youve tried them.

There's one guy who repeatedly keeps posting (on another thread of the same subject of strutbars) that they are a farce - i forgot his name - but it appears that he's downplaying the benefits of strut tower bars in order to make his own "Invention" look good. (and it doesnt even exist yet.... :roll: ). just a heads up.

anyway, I use GT-spec brand on my car, but I assume all good brands are about the same effect. aluminum front and CF rear over here. and no going back.....except maybe titanium :wink:
 

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I had done the STi pink springs and lateral links. Then, I went back and added a front strut brace (the STi CF one FWIW - I thought it looked too sweet to pass up, cost be damned!). To be really honest I noticed neglible improvement in handling from the front. Just my opinion. I then went back in and upgraded to the strengthened strut tops and added a Cusco aluminum rear strut brace....I noticed a definite change in handling from the rear brace...it really seemed to "link" the back and front together. The STi CF front bar is a really, really nice piece (as it certainly should be at that price). HTH.
 

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Vader - it is always my pleasure, any time. The level of positive and constructive communications in this board always puts a smile on my face :)

As for the CF bars, I am skeptical, but no denying the fashion statement part of it of course. One thing would be interesting to do: StuBrown - I wonder if there is any chance for you to temporarily find an aluminum front strut bar and test it instead of your CF one? I wonder if you would feel a difference within your current setup. I am just tremendously curious :) Just a thought.
 

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speaking purely because of my financial position...
would the sti brand bars affect performance that much more than one at a lesser cost?

i am asking because of StuBrown's posting of the cusco rear strut bar - would the sti enhance the feel of the suspension more than the cusco?
 

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Frankly, IMHO, one can manufacture a strut bar at home with just few tools and put it in to have similar benefits. The purpose is just to connect the strut tops to one another, that is it. But because they are so cheap, no one any longer do it at home, but they used to be done that way by low-budget competitors :)
 

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[email protected] - I completely agree with your assesment of strut braces, their efficacy, and the materials they're made of. If I had access to an alum. front strut brace I'd happily swap 'em out for comparitive purposes - removing and reinstalling would take all of 10-15 mins. CapaSTi - I think you're going to "feel" the same effect regardless of $ spent or materials the braces are made of...the Cusco alum. brace I have in the rear is BEEFY, and may well have less flex than a CF or Ti brace, but I think the difference would be negligible....these things on a WRX are supposed to increase chassis rigidity by less than 1% (or so I read somewhere, not sure I'm sold on that %, espec. on the rear).....so I think that someone claiming to notice increased stiffness based on diff't materials is a victim of the placebo effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
so break in period?

Here's a new lil issue for you guys. The STi C.F. front strut tower bar offered by S.O.A. is "not" for the 04 WRX STi, and this is according to my Suby Parts dude. Also, on the SPT brochure, it also illustrates that the STi CF front bar is ONLY for 98 -01 Impreza models. Lastly, the Suby parts guy told me that he called S.O.A. and that they concurred that this accessory was also not for our 04 STi.

Either way, I am little concerned cuz I have it on order and they will not refund me my money if this part does not work out for me. Please advise fellas, thanks.
 

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Vader - that really really doesn't make much sense to me. I mean, I HAVE the thing, and it's installed on my '04 STi. It fits just fine, and wasn't even difficult to get to fit. I am very curious as to WHY SubyDude says it doesn't fit. It comes in three parts, the center CF bar with aluminum ends, and then the two "circles" that attach directly to the strut tops and those alum. ends with bolts that hold the entire assembly together. I have had mine on/off again several times now, and it's never been an issue. Please respond if you speak with SD or if you receive the bar.....as I'm very curious.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey STU,
Yeah, I am glad you responded. Thats the interesting part, I know now that you and a few other STi owners have the STi C.F. Strut front bar installed on your vehicles... So I don't really believe that Suby parts dude knows what he is talking about. Either way, the bar will be in next Tuesday or so, so Ill keep you updated on what happens. Thanks again for answering my question SB. :)
 

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I just can't resist throwing in my 2 cents on this issue....First regarding materials, CF would be the stiffest by far pound for pound, followed by Ti and Al. BUT the final stiffness of the system depends on the material AND bar size. The purpose of strut bars is to minimize strut tower deflection so stiffer is better (we don't want it to act like a spring).

I installed a Cusco CF rear bar; I chose to do it because the price wasn't bad (Gruppe-S, under $200) and for the minimal added weight (< 3 lbs) it couldn't hurt. To subjectively evaluate the stiffness increase, I left one end of the bar bolted but not tightened and noted the spacing between the bar end and the strut top mount bracket. Then, I jacked the car up on one side to 13" off the ground to really twist the frame and simulate cornering in a controlled environment. Rechecking the bar - bracket gap I found NO measureable difference, which I estimate to mean less than 0.025" deflection. I would be VERY surprised if anyone could feel that in a blind test to get rid of the placebo effect. So would I do it again - yes, it can't hurt and MAY help in some extreme situation like hitting a curb hard or an accident. Will it help my lap time by improving the contact patch of the tires - doubtful.

I would do the front too if I can find a lower price CF solution - is the only one out there the SPT for $400?? If so, forget it. If I find one in the $200 range, I'll take it -
 

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if i remember right i had read somewhere that the body of the 2004 STi is so ridgid that strut tower braces are not neccesary. they certainly can't hurt anything but your wallet.
 

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ValvetrainEngineer said:
I would do the front too if I can find a lower price CF solution - is the only one out there the SPT for $400?? If so, forget it. If I find one in the $200 range, I'll take it -
JIC has one: http://www.selgp.biz/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=60

Also Cusco, but I need to find out its price, we don't have it yet in our catalog.
Thanks FT, I hadn't seen that one; but looking at the preview pic on that link I don't see how that bar could fit in the STi - The bar needs to be offset to the rear to clear the intercooler, but the preview pic shows the bar extending straight from the strut top ring??
 

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ValvetrainEngineer said:
ValvetrainEngineer said:
I would do the front too if I can find a lower price CF solution - is the only one out there the SPT for $400?? If so, forget it. If I find one in the $200 range, I'll take it -
JIC has one: http://www.selgp.biz/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=60

Also Cusco, but I need to find out its price, we don't have it yet in our catalog.
Thanks FT, I hadn't seen that one; but looking at the preview pic on that link I don't see how that bar could fit in the STi - The bar needs to be offset to the rear to clear the intercooler, but the preview pic shows the bar extending straight from the strut top ring??
You are absolutely right. Actually, just last Friday I sent an e-mail to JIC asking the very same question (the al. version though) as we will are thinking of putting it into our STi; and the darn weekend is in the way :) I will get you an answer very soon.

However, couple of months ago, I clearly remember talking to JIC on the phone about various new products they were comming up with, and this was part of the conversation. I remember them assuring me that they have fitted just fine on couple of STis and I had closed the issue. But never hurts to check again ;)

Also, Cusco has the ALC40 version of the front strut bar. It is basically a 38mm Aluminum bar with 2mm thick carbon fiber sheet rolled on and baked; so, it is a two layered 40mm brace. Our price will shortly be just around $220.

You can view the Cusco bar at http://www.cusco.co.jp/english/e_cont.html
The Type CB does not appear to be available for the STi, but Evo 7/8.
 

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valvetrainengineer -I talked with JIC, and they gave me the assurance that it fits. They test fitted the strut bar on a JDM STi. However, to make sure that is the case, I am ordering one to test fit on to our STi, we needed one anyway. So, I'll let you know within a week or so.
 

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So does the sti cf front strut tower brace fit with the intercooler on the 04 sti? I know in the pamphlet from sti it says it doesn't and what this forum has said is that it does and doesn't so what is the final verdict? Does it fit or not? Thanks for your time.-Matt P.
 
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