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View Full Version : X-Braces, Strut Tower Bars


97Hellrot318ti
03-24-2005, 12:29 AM
Hey, I just wanted some feedback here from people who have these mods on their TIs... I've been thinking about strut tower bars for a while, x-braces too.

I was wondering if they're worth it... what kind of different feel do you get from it, best brands (does brand matter?), does it make sense to have a front and not a rear, or vice versa (I have a soundsystem in the back and may have to do some creative engineering to fit a rear strut tower bar and the sub...). Any feedback is appreciated, thanks.

aceyx
03-24-2005, 01:13 AM
xbrace is the most substantial suspension upgrade you can do. turn-ins are much tighter and highway feel is more stable.

for the rear, check out the butt-strut (i've posted it somewhere around this forum), might be able to get a group buy together since it's a whole lotta change.

1996 328ti
03-24-2005, 01:27 AM
I'd do the X-brace. It is debatable if a rear brace does anything. I'm not even so sure if a front strut brace does anything but they do look pretty. If you do, get a solid one. The ones with hinges seem to be counter productive.

97Hellrot318ti
03-24-2005, 01:30 AM
Thanks for the replies, very informative.

ZeroG
03-24-2005, 01:31 AM
Hey, I just wanted some feedback here from people who have these mods on their TIs... I've been thinking about strut tower bars for a while, x-braces too.

I was wondering if they're worth it... what kind of different feel do you get from it, best brands (does brand matter?), does it make sense to have a front and not a rear, or vice versa (I have a soundsystem in the back and may have to do some creative engineering to fit a rear strut tower bar and the sub...). Any feedback is appreciated, thanks.
I have an Xbrace that will soon be installed. I also have front and rear strut braces, not I know that people can debate their effectiveness, but I can feel the differnece so I think it did something.

-Chad

cali-ti
03-24-2005, 01:39 AM
i'll be going with an x-brace (waiting to be installed) and bigger sway bars (going for the h&r bars from bmpdesign.com - having rear trailing arm tabs strengthened first). have to look for this "butt strut" of which aceyx speaks :blink:

ok, found the info: http://members.cox.net/azz3man/Butt-Strut.htm

$340 + $15 shipping. group buy could be cool.

front strut (steel or alloy) is $385 + shipping ($25 or $15 respectively).

L84THSKY
03-24-2005, 02:02 AM
I just installed the Racing Dynamics front strut bar. This issue about being hinged, seems to me to be unfounded. The bar isn't swinging under stress, so why would it matter if it has a hinge. It makes installing easier, by being able to mount the plates, then the bar. :rolleyes:


I'd do the X-brace. It is debatable if a rear brace does anything. I'm not even so sure if a front strut brace does anything but they do look pretty. If you do, get a solid one. The ones with hinges seem to be counter productive.

L84THSKY
03-24-2005, 02:05 AM
I now have the x-brace and front strut bar installed. Putting in M-tech front and rear sways with urethane bushings this Saturday.

This butt strut is nice, no adverse issues about trunk space, mounts under the car. If we can get a good deal in a group buy, I'm in. That thing is damn expensive, and looks very low tech. :x

i'll be going with an x-brace (waiting to be installed) and bigger sway bars (going for the h&r bars from bmpdesign.com - having rear trailing arm tabs strengthened first). have to look for this "butt strut" of which aceyx speaks :blink:

J!m
03-24-2005, 02:07 AM
I have both an X brace and the strut tower brace (both BMW parts) and it make a WORLD of difference. The most noticeable improvement was assending a driveway, for example, off camber (one wheel at a time to keep the splitter from merging with the pavement) and the windshield 'creak' that once was, is no more. This tells me the chassis is far stiffer (and the steering response is WAY better, but anyone without a bar can relate to the creak). The E36 cars are 'soft' compared to the E30, and twist quite a bit. I would not be suprised to find structural cracking developing on the earliest E36 cars by now...

The strut bar is great because if you imagine your car without the hood in place, there is no structure there, just an open hole (like a hard-top vs. a convertable). The strut bar ties this 'hole' together to form a box with the front sub frame. we all know a complete box is far stronger than a 'U' shape.

For the rear, I don't think a shock tower brace with be worth the cost at all. The shorter distance to the end of the trunk makes the ti inherently stiffer than it's big-butted bretheren, and the roof structure is pretty much directly above the shocks. Further, the shocks are not anywhere near as structuraly integrated into the rear suspension as the struts are in the front (no real structure at all, in fact). Basically, the rear suspension works against the rear sub frame, and I would not expect any real side-loading on the shock absorber tops at all. A sub-frame stiffener might do some good, but if you get the complete sub frame from an M car, it is all beefed up for the side loads already. I do suggest a set of rear shock mount stiffeners. These are a few bucks at the dealer and WELL worth it. The rear shock mounts have and will fail if you really drive the car, particularly with stiff shocks like the Bilstein sports. Cars that use a strut in the rear suspension would benifit far more than the ti I'm sure.

aceyx
03-24-2005, 05:39 AM
j!m, just out of curiosity, what kind of rotors do you run?

97Hellrot318ti
03-24-2005, 06:52 AM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7963879377&category=42609&sspagename=WDVW#ShippingPayment

Smart? Comments? Really genuine?

cali-ti
03-24-2005, 12:33 PM
yep, it's the real deal. couple people have gotten them from him. price is pretty good too.

1996 328ti
03-24-2005, 01:19 PM
yep, it's the real deal. couple people have gotten them from him. price is pretty good too.
It looks like a x-brace lists for $123.20 MSRP according to realoem.
If that is the case I could get one from my dealer who offers 20% off MSRP bringing it just under $100 (not including hardware).

Factor in the shipping to determine if it is a good price.

L84THSKY
03-24-2005, 04:31 PM
That's the guy I bought it from, came with all mounting hardware too.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7963879377&category=42609&sspagename=WDVW#ShippingPayment

Smart? Comments? Really genuine?

gadgetphreak
03-28-2005, 05:34 AM
Which Strut Tower bar(s) will fit with the DASC installed?

ZeroG
03-28-2005, 04:13 PM
Which Strut Tower bar(s) will fit with the DASC installed?

In the end I had one custom made. I had an ACS one that I used a mil to modify a little bit to make it fit. If you are interested, I would like to sell it.

-Chad

cali-ti
03-28-2005, 04:47 PM
don't you have MORE clearance after putting in a DASC? that's the way it appears to look, but i don't have one so i can't say for sure.

marcus2116
03-28-2005, 08:23 PM
i have the x brace (one of my favorites) the rear and front strut bars, a custom x brace in the rear and a roll cage and i like every bar in the car

J!m
04-02-2005, 01:04 PM
j!m, just out of curiosity, what kind of rotors do you run?

I run stock M3 rotors all around. I also keep a spare set on hand. I run Porterfield R4S pads on them, and teflon brake hoses. I also run the Motul fluid, for the stupidly high boiling point that is completely overkill for the street. It stops like hitting a school.

Having your body weight against the seat belt and 'floating' off the seat as all the blood rushes into your face and you can feel your eyeballs bulging out of your skull is an interesting experience when braking hard... Particularly for a street car. I have suprised as many with the braking as much as the aceleration on my car.

(my two cents on rotors) Unless you race, slotted rotors will not pay dividends on the street, but they look cool. I do not endorse drilled rotors at all for the street, as the holes are stress risers that will induce cracks. They work well on race cars, but remember: they are replaced every race typically. I don't expect a road-going car to replace them that often...