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Discussion Starter #61
Chapter 10: Cusco strut tower braces

I bought a used pair of F/R Cusco Type OS strut tower braces and put them in last week. I wanted them for two main reasons: to stiffen up the rear end and to reduce rattles and creaks. They get an 'A' on both counts.

No pictures, but c'mon; you've all seen front strut braces a bazillion times by now. There are plenty of front braces with more bling than the one I have, and the rear brace is invisible unless you stand on your head in the trunk.

Read my review in the IWSTI Product Reviews section if you haven't already had enough of me rambling on about strut tower braces.
 

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wdb said:
No pictures, but c'mon; you've all seen front strut braces a bazillion times by now. There are plenty of front braces with more bling than the one I have, and the rear brace is invisible unless you stand on your head in the trunk.
that's funny, wdb. i'm standing on my head in the trunk wavin' as i write this.
(see? ---> , l/l l /\ \/ M
i'd show you a pic a pic but you've seen guys standing on their head in the trunk at least a bazzillion times (isfh)
 

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you know it is true i think with the front strutbar. befor ei had one, every damn chip would turn into a crack.(on my 3rd windsheild).... now i have a few chips and they haven't budged in a year :D
 

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Discussion Starter #65 (Edited)
Chapter 10.5: Upgraded strut tower braces

Although I have absolutely no qualms with the Cusco Type OS strut tower braces I had in my car, I recently had the chance to swap them out for something with a bit more bling -- STi titanium front brace -- and a bit more beef -- Cobb rear brace, which is a rebadged Cusco Type 40 round section brace. Functionally I do not notice any difference, but to be honest I imagine that you'd need a racetrack and stopwatch in order to measure it. I just always had a soft spot for that JDM hawtness. :cool:

Speaking of which, that front strut brace is clearly meant to go into a car with no air conditioning. I had to reengineer the driver's side AC line mount in order to accomodate the substantial lowering of the line needed to clear this bar. In comparison the Cusco required a little tweak, nothing major. The price we pay for beauty, I suppose.



 

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Discussion Starter #66 (Edited)
Chapter 11: Hotchkis Street sway bars

It took me 6 months and 5 hours to install these. Sorta. ;)

I bought the sway bars about 6 months ago but never had the round tuit needed to do the install. Yesterday the weather was ssoooo nice, and with winter just around the corner I figured it was either do it now or wait another 6 months. So I passed on my usual leaf cleanup and went at the underside of my car. 5 hours and one busted fingernail later they're on the car, finally!

The install was almost entirely straightforward, a matter of following the supplied instructions, applying the necessary torque to the appropriate hardware at the appropriate time and in the appropriate order. The exception was that Hotchkis apparently changed their rear mounts and mounting hardware but did not update the instructions to match. No big deal and it was easy enough to figure out. Everything lined up, nothing rubbed where it should not. The worst part of the whole job for me was getting the front of the car onto my ramps without damaging the splitters, which I failed to do. Eh, that's what touch up paint is for.

I have only driven the car a short distance since finishing the installation so I will have more to say on performance later, probably in a separate thread. Initial impressions are that turn-in is much crisper, mid-turn attitude is flatter, and there is a slight but entirely tolerable increase in opposite side response over bumpy roads.



 

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WDB - I'm researching sways myself right now. I'm stuck between the hotchkis, cobb and whiteline (just the street bars, not the BIG ones).

Two questions:
-What choices did you narrow it down to near the end?
-What made you decide to go with hotchkis over the others?
 

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Discussion Starter #71
Kirv said:
Two questions:
-What choices did you narrow it down to near the end?
-What made you decide to go with hotchkis over the others?
Hotchkis, Cobb, and Cusco were my finalists. I went with Hotchkis because they're hollow, which I think is kind of trick, :) and I found them at a better price than I could find Cobbs.

I was a bit worried about fitment issues after reading threads from people who had a terrible time during installation, especially with the rear bar; there were several threads from Cobb and Hotchkis owners. But my bars and rear mounts were a perfect fit, and I had no unusual issues whatsoever during installation.
 

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^^^
Thanks for the help. I'm leaning towards hotchkis but still researching.
Looking forward to your sway bar review thread too.
 

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Discussion Starter #73
Chapter 11.5: a few doodads

I got a Sirius radio package for Christmas and liked it, so I upgraded recently to a better radio. I made a custom mount out of one of the mounts that came with my first radio, plus I wired it right into my stock head unit via Jazzy Engineering's nifty little aux in kit. All in all it was definitely worth the time, money and effort, especially considering how much time I am spending in the car lately.

I also picked up an STi RA-R shift knob from japanparts. I like it just fine, especially combined with the Cobb lever raised up as high as it can go, because it puts the shifter closer to the steering wheel and makes it feel more accessible. But 50 bucks seems like a lot to pay for a shift knob. Ah well.

Soon to come: brake makeover, minor nose job.

Obligatory glam shot:

 

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Re: wdb's journal - minor update

that's all nice stuff, wdb. i'm digging sirius myself. hard attack ch27, baby.
 

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Discussion Starter #75 (Edited)
Chapter 12: STi GT begins in earnest

I loved the STi as it came, straight from the factory. But what I really wanted was an STi GT. Gran Turismo. Grand Touring. And now that I am driving the h#ll out of the car, 160+ miles/day, well, a Grand Touring car makes more sense than ever. So that's where my mod money is going.

Latest stuff: Grillcraft lower grill, Bridgestone RE050 tires, and a set of K3rtb0y rear endlinks to cure my endlink rattle. They all score big.

K3rtb0y: There's really not much to say beyond they're awesome. The links are gorgeous, the hardware is boo-yah, and the packaging is overkill. In short, everything I expected. It's simple: you can't go wrong with K3rtb0y.

The tires are still pretty new, less than 200 miles, but already I believe they fit my particular bill to a `T`. They are Q-U-I-E-T! And (once the sidewalls stop flexing, which takes approximately 1.5 microseconds) they stick. I mean to say they really stick. They might even stick better than my nearly-worn-out RE070's. Evidence: my first-ever shot at my favorite offramp with still-oh-so-new RE050's produced the same exit speed as my best run with the 070's. Nifty stuff about the tires:
  • They're massively recommended (on tirerack) over the stock tires by the likes of M3, M5, S4, and Boxter owners.
  • They're specially made for cars with a heap o' negative camber.
  • Ferrari uses them for darn near everything they sell.
The Grillcraft grille does exactly what I wanted it to do: it makes that big hole in the bottom of my front end a black hole. Me likey, although me would have likeyed even more if me could'a payed less to accomplish the goal.

More to come soon -- real real soon.

K3rtb0y:




Grillcraft:



RE050:



The package:

 

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Re: wdb's journal - STi GT begins in earnest!

very exciting, man! how much do you love those kartboys?
 

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Re: wdb's journal - STi GT begins in earnest!

Ah nice! I like the GT approach. I'm doing the same. Regarding KBs, just great. I installed mine about a month ago. I wasn't sure where the washers should go and put mine under the bolt head and the nut. I look forward where you take the GT approach, so I know what's next on mod list :)
 

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Discussion Starter #79
Re: wdb's journal - STi GT begins in earnest!

Hi, thanks for noticing.

My next 'mod' is brakes. My original pads and front rotors were due for replacement so I decided to upgrade the system while I was at it. The work is almost finished; I'll post up when it's complete.

After that comes powah. Nothing crazy, because this is my only car and is daily driven hundreds of miles. I am doing a Cobb catted DP, mated to the stock exhaust for now (and probably until the stock exhausts dies). Also an AP for EM and a protune. Tuning goals are reliability, efficiency and driveability; my mental ideal picture is a wider, higher, but still pretty flat power band. I'm in the process of collecting parts for this little project.

Since the power will be upgraded I decided that more gauges should be on the mod list too. Hopefully they will be mounted in a custom dash pod of my own design; something lower and more subtle than the usual 3-humpers. This mod is further out on the timeline.

I'd love to put a rear diffuser on the car also. I've rationalized this expenditure three ways. First, I am wingless and would benefit from the reduction in rear lift a diffuser would give me. Second, I'm curious as to what effect a rear diffuser will have on fuel economy. Third, I think they look hot. ;)
 

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Re: wdb's journal - STi GT begins in earnest!

i love the gc grill. :tup: where did you get it? did it come black already or did you paint it?
 
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