How to Install a Front Strut Tower Brace in a Subaru WRX for Improved Chassis Stiffness?

April 9, 2024

Strut tower braces, sometimes referred to as strut bars or braces, are essential components of car suspension systems. They are designed to improve handling and stability — a feature that can make a huge difference in performance-oriented vehicles like the Subaru WRX. This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to install a front strut tower brace in your Subaru WRX, improving your car’s chassis stiffness and overall handling.

Understanding the Function of a Strut Tower Brace

Before digging into the installation process, it’s crucial to understand the function and importance of a strut tower brace.

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A strut tower brace is an integral part of your car’s suspension system. It is a bar that connects the left and right strut towers, located at the front or rear of the vehicle. By connecting these towers, the brace helps to distribute the forces exerted on the struts, reducing the flex that typically occurs during turns. This reduction in flex enhances the vehicle’s stability and handling, leading to a smoother and more controlled driving experience.

In performance cars like the Subaru WRX STI, a strut brace becomes particularly critical. These vehicles are built for speed and agility, and any improvement in handling can offer a significant advantage on the track. Moreover, these cars often have powerful engines that can put extra stress on the chassis, making the additional support provided by strut tower braces even more vital.

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Identifying the Correct Strut Bar for Your Vehicle

Choosing the right strut bar for your Subaru WRX is the first step in this process.

There’s a wide variety of strut bars available in the market, and not all bars are suitable for all cars. The correct strut bar for your vehicle will depend on its specific model, year, and suspension setup.

Car forums can be a beneficial source of information when selecting strut bars. Users on forums like the Subaru WRX STI forum often share their experiences with different brands and models, helping you make an informed decision.

Remember to consider the materials used in the strut bar’s construction. Most standard bars are made from steel, but aluminum bars are also common and can offer weight advantages. The type of connectors or braces used and whether they are adjustable can also make a difference in performance and installation ease.

Preparing for the Strut Tower Brace Installation

Once you have the correct strut bar, you can prepare for the installation.

First, you’ll need to gather all necessary tools. Typically, this will include a socket set, a torque wrench, and a pry bar. You might also need a drill and bits if the strut bar requires additional holes to be made in the strut towers.

Next, ensure your car is parked on a flat and stable surface. Since you will be under the vehicle during part of the installation, safety is paramount. Using wheel chocks can prevent unwanted vehicle movement, providing an extra layer of security.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to have a friend assist with the installation. While it’s possible to install a strut tower brace by yourself, having an extra pair of hands can make the process smoother and safer.

Installing the Strut Tower Brace

Installing a strut tower brace can seem intimidating, but with preparation and patience, it’s a process you can handle.

To begin, open your car’s hood and locate the strut towers. These are typically towards the front of the car and are marked by large bolts.

Next, align the strut bar with the mounting points on the strut towers. Depending on the design of your bar, this may involve sliding it under the struts or fitting it over the top.

Once the bar is aligned, attach it to the strut towers using the included bolts or the existing strut bolts. Make sure that everything is aligned correctly and that the bar is secure before moving on.

After the bar is attached, you can tighten the bolts. This is where the torque wrench comes in. It’s essential to make sure the bolts are tight enough to hold the bar securely, but not so tight that they could damage the strut towers.

Post-Installation Care and Maintenance

After successfully installing the strut tower brace, it’s crucial to look after it properly to ensure it remains effective.

Regularly inspecting the brace is a good idea, especially after driving in harsh conditions. Make sure that the brace is still securely attached and that there is no sign of damage or excessive wear.

Furthermore, if you notice any changes in your car’s handling or hear any unusual noises, it’s a good idea to check the strut tower brace. It could have loosened or become damaged, which could affect its function.

Remember, a well-maintained strut tower brace can significantly improve your Subaru WRX’s handling and stability, making every drive more enjoyable. Whether you’re cruising along back roads or tearing it up on the track, a front strut tower brace can make a world of difference.

Fine-Tuning Your Vehicle’s Suspension

Understanding the suspension setup of your Subaru WRX and tweaking it to your preference is one of the joys and challenges of car ownership.

One often overlooked but vital component is the strut tower brace, also known as the strut bar or tower bar. Adding a front strut bar to your Subaru WRX can significantly enhance its handling and stability, reducing body roll and making each drive more enjoyable.

The precise impact of a strut tower brace on your vehicle’s performance will vary, depending on your driving style and the conditions you typically encounter. For instance, if you frequently drive on winding roads or tracks with tight turns, a strut tower brace can provide substantial benefits by enhancing your vehicle’s cornering abilities. Alternatively, if you mostly drive on straight highways, the impact of a strut tower brace may be less noticeable.

In addition to improving vehicle handling, a well-installed strut tower brace can also enhance the look of your engine bay. Many braces come in stylish designs and vibrant colors, adding an aggressive and sporty look to your vehicle.

Remember, the installation process of a strut tower brace is relatively straightforward, but it requires patience and careful attention. Take your time, follow the instructions, and don’t hesitate to seek help from forum members or fellow Subaru enthusiasts if you encounter any issues.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a front strut tower brace can be a valuable addition to your Subaru WRX. Not only does it improve chassis stiffness and overall handling, but it also enhances your vehicle’s appearance and gives you the satisfaction of tweaking your car’s suspension system.

The installation process is relatively straightforward but requires some patience and attention to detail. With the correct strut bar for your vehicle, the necessary tools, and a helping hand, you can install a strut tower brace in your Subaru WRX and enjoy the benefits of improved handling and stability.

Remember, after the installation, it’s essential to regularly inspect the brace, particularly after driving under harsh conditions. This way, you ensure your strut tower brace is well-maintained, prolong its lifespan, and keep your Subaru WRX performing at its best.

So, whether you’re a seasoned mechanic or a car enthusiast ready to delve into DIY, installing a strut tower brace in your Subaru WRX is a project that’s well worth undertaking. Happy driving!