This will be just like my 15 minute rear strut tower brace install article. The best way to knock something out quickly is to know what you’re doing and be organized. Outside of that, the best way is to read the instructions and be organized. Unlike last time, I chose to read the instructions first, gather most of what I needed, and got myself a wonderful helper.
Selecting your strut tower brace
I ordered my strut tower brace from speedlogix on black friday. The piece I got is a 4 point strut tower bar, least expensive 4 pt I can find. I would highly recommend this over going with a less expensive 2 point. Basically, when you’re trying to stiffen your chassis, you want more than just 2 points linked together, right? Don’t get me wrong, a 2 pt will help, but unless you’ve got a compelling reason, then a 4 point is the way to go. Be aware that a front strut tower brace will replace the factory chassis bar that sits just in front of the firewall near the cowl. This piece also has the ECU and the wiper motor attached to it, so both will need to be reattached to the new brace.
Disclaimer: I tightened everything down to 20 ft-lbs of torque because the haines manual states that the nuts on the strut tower should be 20 ft-lbs, and I could not find torque specs specific to the chassis bar bolts. After completing the installation, I felt that the ECU and strut tower brace were both firmly installed with 20 ft-lbs of torque on the chassis bar bolts. If there are factory torque specs for those bolts that you are aware of, please let me know (please provide your source!) so that I can update this article.
Other disclaimer: I am not an ASE certified mechanic, but I’m also not a novice to this stuff. Torque specs exist for a reason, over-torquing is a great way to damage things. DON’T DO IT. If you don’t have a torque wrench, there are plenty available out there, sometimes for quite cheap. If you can’t afford a torque wrench, but you have a strut tower brace on hand, do yourself a favor, sell the strut tower brace, use the money to go get this torque wrench. Use the leftover money to buy a consolation beer and start up a new strut tower brace fund.
Things you will need:
4mm allen key (4mm allen socket also recommended)
Plastic clip pry tool
Helpful friend or pushover family member
Step 1 – I would recommend covering the motor and fenders if you are wanting to keep your paint in tip top shape
Step 2 – Loosen the 4 13mm bolts holding the chassis bar on (these are on the rear of the strut tower, close to the cowl)
Step 3 – Using your pry tool, carefully remove (although they take some effort) the Christmas tree clips that go into the chassis bar, as well as the one by the drivers side hood hinge (this will help you later)
Step 4 – Remove 3 of the bolts from the stock chassis bar retaining the bolt holding your ECU
Step 5 – Finangle, fight, and ultimately liberate the wiper motor (drivers side near the master cylinder under the cowl) from the stock chassis bar. I had to cut one of the stock wire clips in order to do this.
Step 6 – Guilt trip aforementioned helper into coming out and helping you
Step 7 – Remove the final bolt holding on the chassis bar.
Step 8 – Remove chassis bar and zip tie ecu loosely to cowl
Step 9 – Gingerly position your new strut tower brace onto the strut towers, leaning against the cowl.
Step 10 – With the assistance of your helper pull upward on the cowl and rotate the new strut tower brace into its almost-correct position
Step 11 – Remove the six nuts from the top of the strut towers (3 per side)
Step 12 – carefully unwrap the strut tower brace and place it into position on the strut towers and against the rear of the strut towers (where the chassis bar was originally mounted)
Step 13 – Cut the zip tie holding the ECU, and position it appropriately on your new strut tower brace (see picture below)
Step 14 – Loosely install the bolts to the rear of the strut towers
Step 15 – Loosely install the nuts on the studs on top of the strut towers
Step 16 – Loosely install the wiper motor mount plate on the strut tower bar near the drivers side cowl area (see picture below)
Step 17 – Install the wiper motor solidly into the mount plate (see picture below)
Step 18 – Tighten the 4mm allen bolts loosely into place
Step 19 – Tighten the strut tower nuts to about 15 ft-lbs each
Step 20 – Tighten the rear strut tower bolts to about 15 ft-lbs each
Step 21 – Fully tighten the 4mm allen bolts holding the wiper motor
Step 22 – Tighten the strut tower nuts and bolts to their final resting place, 20 ft-lbs
Step 23 – Install new Christmas tree clips to keep cowl in place
Step 24 – Go over everything, doublecheck your torque spec of 20 ft-lbs for all nuts/bolts involved
Step 25 – Take your helper out for a nice juicy burger
I haven’t gone on any road courses, but after a week or so of driving with these braces, I can absolutely tell you they are worth the cost and weight penalty. If you recall, I installed an aluminum rear firewall about a year ago. Going over large bumps on the highway in particular, would cause the firewall to ‘pop’ as the chassis shifted and stressed different points on it. The strut tower braces have 100% solved this problem. The car corners pretty flatly now with the most spirited driving I’ve been able to do. I can definitely push it further than before without fearing a loss of grip.