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 Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)

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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:15 am

deekster_caddy wrote:
robo can you put at least the year of your car in your sig? It makes a big difference for the STB.


I've mentioned this several times to another member, still no sig. bonk
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 12:12 am

Well, to everyone who asks why I haven't done the STB mod, it's because GMpartsdirect sent the bar I ordered to Jack the R by mistake, after which he decided to cut it up into pieces.

If I ever get another bar, or my money back, I'll be surprised. How do you even begin to explain this situation? Maybe I should start out with "Hello, you sent my bar to the wrong address, and I happen to know who you sent it to..."

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'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 12:35 am

AA wrote:
Maybe I should start out with "Hello, you sent my bar to the wrong address, and I happen to know who you sent it to..."

that is friggen NUTS!!!!! leave it to JACK the R to cut up your bar LOL
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 1:04 am

Aaron - it's probably hard to see the humor in this - but if you can communicate a sense of humor to GMPD maybe they'll comp you the bar. After all it's their screw up and you have the photo evidence...

Maybe this is the sunset of GMPD...

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 1:05 am

albertj wrote:
Aaron - it's probably hard to see the humor in this - but if you can communicate a sense of humor to GMPD maybe they'll comp you the bar. After all it's their screw up and you have the photo evidence...

Maybe this is the sunset of GMPD...

Albertj

not a bad idea........ shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 1:45 am

that mixup story is awesome
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 2:03 am

AA wrote:
Well, to everyone who asks why I haven't done the STB mod, it's because GMpartsdirect sent the bar I ordered to Jack the R by mistake, after which he decided to cut it up into pieces.

Just in case it isn't clear, I cut up the bar before spotting the label with your name on it. The bar came with two labels - there was a big one attached to one end by a couple plastic rings through the bolt holes. This one had my info on it, the shipping info. I took a pic of it as evidence of the way the bar was shipped, so I can prove I didn't malignantly take your bar if you think that's what happened.

The 2nd tag, taped around the shaft of the bar, had your name on it. I didn't bother to look at that tag until today, when I went to take it off, because I thought it would have the same info on it as the tag with my info on it.

AA wrote:

If I ever get another bar, or my money back, I'll be surprised.

I think you will get a bar, eventually; beat up, outside or without a box, and possibly run over by a truck a few times. But if you get a nice one in a box, remember that I got the nicked up one you would have got otherwise.

Keep in mind that I paid too, so if you paid for the bar I ended up with, theoretically you should end up with the bar I paid for.

Probably all that happened is, they got these bars back into stock (I know they were out of stock), pulled both of them, got the shipping labels and these other labels mismatched, and threw them out to Fed Ex. You will either get your bar soon, or it will have been destroyed or lost by Fed Ex because it was improperly packaged.

You should call and find out what's going on at any rate. I didn't get a notice of shipping or a tracking number, don't assume you will have either, or that they haven't attempted to send you a bar yet.

AA wrote:

How do you even begin to explain this situation?

I've got pictures, and I know I've still got the tag with your name on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 8:35 am

Oh, don't get me wrong, I am laughing about this. I've been waiting on the bar for a while. Another week or two won't hurt.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 2:58 pm

Received mine in the mail today! No, Jack's name isn't on it.

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'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 4:23 pm

Is it on yet? lol smile
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 4:57 pm

It must first go through "the process", which I will share once I'm done.

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'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Tue May 20, 2008 8:47 pm

AA wrote:
No, Jack's name isn't on it.

Ooooh - maybe I'll get a 2nd one and have it welded onto the front STB.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 10:33 am

Started the project last night. First thing I noticed, the bar laid exactly over the strut bolt holes without any need to force or bend, enlarge the holes, or load the suspension. This was reassuring since my car received a solid hit to the side last year. Props to GM's rigid chassis engineering!

My "process" involves marking the bar where it makes contact with the brake fluid reservoir, then compressing the rounded side of a 32mm socket (or larger) into the bottom of it, between the jaws of a 6" bench vice. This in effect bends a nice, concave dent to allow the bar to "bridge" over the reservoir without making contact. The purpose is to eliminate the need for using washers, or having to modify the mounting flange to fit. This should make the bar more effective, and lesson the tendency for the hood to bulge up.

The obvious caveat is that, in theory, the bar will be weakened under compression at the point where the dent is made. Under tension, however, it should make no difference. Radial forces are a non-issue, imo. However, I believe that the forces exerted on this bar during hard cornering are not enough to cause it to bend or flex, because most all the force is very linear, pushing inward and outward down the main axis of the bar. I made sure to keep the bar very straight overall, and based on its design, the flanges should deform before the bar would fold at the dented portion. Time will tell if I'm right.

The process took a careful 30 mins on the vice, then I had to straighten the bar back just a little bit (5 mins). Needed to use some mega leverage to do this, as the bar was still very stiff after making the dent. I am convinced there is no way this bar will bend significantly in operation.

Installed in about 5 mins, and it was done. Perfect fit. No washers:



Here's a view of the gap under the bridge (kind of a 2001: A space Odyssey moment):



And of course, there is zero hood bulge. It barely even makes contact with the liner:





Overall, I agree with what everyone has said about this mod. It's perceived improvement is at least as good or better than both Addco stabilizer bars with hard bushings. The 3 things I immediately noticed were:

1) Less vibration at speed. I used to have a very slight shimmy at cruising speeds, likely an echo of imperfect tire balance. Not enough to feel, but enough that I could see the top of the passenger head rest resonating just a little at 65-70 mph. Now, it doesn't appear to be moving at all.

2) Better stability in hard corners. There is an S-curve on the way to work that I usually hit about 70-75 mph. 80 is where I used to feel uncomfortable. I took it at 80 mph this morning, and think I could now try 85.

3) Front end "tilts" more over uneven surfaces. It's not the same as rolling, the car just acts more like one piece. It wants to throw me around in my seat a little more than it used to. I attribute this to the extra rigidity permitting the suspension components to better do their jobs.

For the money, I agree 100%. Good mod.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


Last edited by AA on Thu May 22, 2008 10:59 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 10:38 am

Have you driven it yet? impressed?
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 10:39 am

and test drive result...

i dont see how any of them have hood buldge, even if the foam contacts the bar it will squish in before it pops the hood up IMO.

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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 10:47 am

From page 1, this looks like hood bulge to me:



I added some driving notes to my previous post.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 10:50 am

looks like buldge to me too, it just doesnt make sense. then again i dotn see how it can fit so easily on some riv's and be a PITA on others. guess we all need to meet up someday and compare rides in person lol

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1996 with 244k miles, L324" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.0" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, ZZP FMHE, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 10:56 am

It makes some sense to me. Stack 1/4" worth of washers under the mounting holes of your bar, and it will press up against the hood more. Mount the bar flush to the body as I did, it stays lower in the engine bay, and probably does a better job, imo.

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'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 11:23 am

Well guys, I have a 1/4" of washers under my bar flanges, and no sign at all on my hood liner that it has ever contacted the bar, and zero hood alignment issues. I think this just all means that every car will have a bit of a different fitment.

Aaron, I like the idea of forming the bar to fit over the BF reservior. Not sure I'd have tried it myself though. I'm happy with the washers method and results, and have no indications of any washer movement or reduced effectiveness. It may not look quite as nice, but that doesn't bother me too much. smile Your method is certainly a good option to be aware of. thumbsup
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 11:59 am

Yes, I think both ways can work. Personally the washers concern me more than the dent, but I'm no mechanical engineer. Both approaches are certainly better than nothing at all. I mainly did it this way for aesthetic reasons. I think the way I dented the bar looks like it could've been produced that way.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 1:31 pm

I can understand concern about washers, but feel it would take more than are needed before it could have a negative impact, but that's just my opinion, not an engineer here either. I think our cars would have to be pushed beyond their handling limits before any weakness in either method would be apparent. 3gears
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 4:51 pm

I assembled heavy machinery for about 10 years and broke my share of bolts in that time. I have no concerns at all about stacking some washers in this scenario as long as you extend the bolts. My bar does not contact my hood liner in any way.

Yours does look good, though! 'bout time!! razz
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 5:24 pm

1998 Riv wrote:
Aaron, I like the idea of forming the bar to fit over the BF reservior. thumbsup
agree
Very nice work! thumbsup
I've got one, just haven't had time to try it on any of mine yet!?! When I do I'll try your method.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 8:44 pm

It's a clever idea, but I suspect your bar will eventually fail at that point. I have no idea how many miles it will take - maybe you get a few years, maybe you get a week. I am not an engineer but I believe a tube needs a perfect wall to be structurally sound, and a dent is its greatest enemy. Bending it further weakens the structure. Maybe someone here is a mechanical engineer who can explain this with authority, but I believe I'm right.

I can tell from my driving experiences with the bars that they're getting a helluva workout. I noticed that you didn't mention a dramatically decreased roll rate, which is what I got. If I take my bar off, the difference is shocking. So I suspect you probably are getting some deflection in the bar at the bend. It may not be much, after all the strut towers themselves can't be flexing that much when we corner, but I think it is flexing.

I've bent a couple fuel lines lately, and I found out early on (thank God it was early on!) that you can only bend a tube so many times before it snaps. I don't know if yours will snap or fold or last longer than the car, but I do think it will be one of the first two.

Sorry if I sound negative, but I don't think you can treat a tube structure that way.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Installing a Front Strut Tower Brace (STB)   Thu May 22, 2008 8:55 pm

I used the washer stack as well.

Of course, I'm one of the lucky ones with a '98 and a perfect fit. It's nice to have a mod just "work."

I did use the same 10.9 (or whatever) test bolts (extended, of course) for my setup.

I'd do Aaron's setup, but I don't have much reason to at the moment.
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