Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

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Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby Random Dude » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:58 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strut_bar

A strut bar is designed to reduce this strut tower flex by tying two parallel strut towers together. This transmits the load of each strut tower during cornering via tension and compression of the strut bar which shares the load between both towers and reduces chassis flex.


So what does that mean for your WRX? Here are some personal opinions of mine on the FRONT strut brace on my 2000 Subaru WRX (GC8):

Cusco Type OS (Type2) Aluminium Front Strut Brace
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Sharper turn in
Without a doubt the first thing I notice when using the front strut brace just how sharper the turn in is. There is no delay or 'give' when you yank the wheel around a sharp corner anymore. I recently had to take my strut brace off for a few weeks and I used the oppoutunity to feel how the car handled without it. There was a definate lack of feedback with the turning. The front end would wobble around and it felt like the struts were soft like on a really hot day. As soon as the front strut brace was reinstalled, there was an obvious sharpness and stability to the front end again.

Better front end balance through corners
After the initial turn in, while holding the corner, the front end appears to be much more stable, you don't need to make adjustments to the wheel to keep the balance, it just keeps the weight well shifted. Much more feedback from the road, which translates into a bit more feedback through the wheel, but in my opinion this is exactly what I want.

Increased grip, resulting in reduced understeer
Because the strut isn't moving around with the flexing of the chassis, the contact patch between your tyre and the ground is increased. This means you've got more grip under load and this will result in less understeer - perfect for an understeering car like a WRX.

I hope this post was useful to those starting to look at mods for the WRX. I also have a rear strut brace which does pretty much the same thing on the rear - Better handles the weight shift at the rear of the chassis.
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby dimi » Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:37 am

Is there a difference in performance between the 2 types of strut brace? Just wondering since in type 2 there is a line in the middle to help with the strength where as in Type 1 it relies on the curvature of the bar if that makes sense... thats about as much as i understand :whistle:
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby Random Dude » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:45 pm

dimi wrote:Is there a difference in performance between the 2 types of strut brace? Just wondering since in type 2 there is a line in the middle to help with the strength where as in Type 1 it relies on the curvature of the bar if that makes sense... thats about as much as i understand :whistle:


Unfortunatly your guess is as good as mine!
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby dimi » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:52 pm

fair enough :o
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby Random Dude » Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:49 pm

dimi wrote:fair enough :o


Actually Tuspeed's site gives a little more info:

PIPE Stylish oval section bar Light weight aluminum and high rigidity oval sectioned pipe used.
PLATE Plates are finished in CUSCO blue.
TWO TYPES AVAILABLE Two types to cover the range. Type 1 is press ribbed while Type 2 is sectioned both for that extra rigidity. AVAILABILITY Fits over 130 models on the market.
FITTING Bolt-on.
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby AlexNorinh » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:08 pm

from my research, these are a 'low priority' handling mod. i've noticed that people who have done other mods first (sway bars, springs, etc) have noticed more of a difference when adding a front strut brace than people who put it on a virtually stock car.

personal experience is very similar to brenton's

rear strut brace increased cornering stability and slightly more oversteer under the correct conditions
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby MrEs » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:38 pm

AlexNorinh wrote:from my research, these are a 'low priority' handling mod. i've noticed that people who have done other mods first (sway bars, springs, etc) have noticed more of a difference when adding a front strut brace than people who put it on a virtually stock car.

personal experience is very similar to brenton's

rear strut brace increased cornering stability and slightly more oversteer under the correct conditions

This is very true on the GDB (2001+) chassis because it's very rigid. However the GC8's have a very sloppy chassis and the strut braces help a lot!
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby blackrex » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:03 pm

They work well on CG8's because they close the top on what is essentially a weak "u" shaped structure that can have a large amount of flex when loaded. The GD's however have a much stiffer chassis and different subframes for the suspension that are more rigid, thereby having less of a gain on a standard car. It's when a GD has had other mods like stiffer suspension and extra bracing elsewhere that a strut brace will help to even up the load paths again.
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby MrEs » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:11 am

So brenton went through how the handling changes with a FRONT strut brace...
I.e. better grip, less understeer

How about a rear strut brace? Better grip, less oversteer?
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby 05-RSX » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:34 am

I found ever so slightly more understeer with my rear brace.
I assume from the brace holding everything in the right positions, offering the rear more traction - more 'push'.

But in reality, there was SFA difference, and that's in my wagon - you sedan guys have a nice chunky piece of chassis running over the boot.
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby bobbyjimmy » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:37 am

MrEs wrote:How about a rear strut brace? Better grip, less oversteer?


AlexNorinh wrote:rear strut brace increased cornering stability and slightly more oversteer under the correct conditions

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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby Speedway » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:21 pm

AlexNorinh wrote:from my research, these are a 'low priority' handling mod. i've noticed that people who have done other mods first (sway bars, springs, etc) have noticed more of a difference when adding a front strut brace than people who put it on a virtually stock car.



Will comment that that on my 02 STi which had otherwise stock suspension at the time, I immediately noticed a significant improvement, especially in turn-in. It all helps, its not an expensive mod and its the easiest of DIY changes :) .
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Re: Strut Brace - What is it and how does it change handling?

Postby Callahan » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:53 pm

I found they showed the best gain as you went through bends at speed, and even more so if the road undulated or had bumps mid-corner as well.
The car held it's line sooo much better in those circumstnces. I could notice their effectiveness at any other times really.
Had to be at speed or undulating/bumps to show the difference. Still worth it as a simple and cheap improvement though.
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