|Pros:||Easy Installation, Increased Stiffness, Less Squeaks|
|Cons:||Cost, Not very effective for casual driving|
The sales pitch peaked my interest. “Reduce that jittery feeling when traveling around a bumpy corner. The HMS Front Upper Strut Brace ties together the two front upper strut towers, significantly reducing flex in the forward part of the chassis. This results in a much more stable feel during cornering and over road imperfections.”
Honestly, this was an impulse buy. I had prepared myself to be let down but I have to say I can actually tell a slight difference with it installed. The Z3 seems to exhibit more control and stiffness when you are just entering into a turn. Maybe more important than any increase in handling, I believe the strut brace might have decreased and/or eliminated some of the squeaks and rattles in the dash.
After installing I really pushed the Z3 around turns with a little extra speed just because it was so much fun. I had convinced myself that the difference was enough that it might be visually seen by a camera. This led me to spend a Saturday driving around the same turn with a friend snapping pictures of me with the strut brace on and off. After developing the two rolls of film you couldn’t tell a bit of difference in the pictures.
Oh well, I guess you will have to trust me you can feel it in the drivers seat. Comparing this upgrade to the sway bar kit, the strut brace has much less of an impact. the two together are a very noticeable improvement, but the strut brace takes a back seat to the sway bar kit.
Reduce that jittery feeling when traveling around a bumpy corner. The HMS Front Upper Strut Brace ties together the two front upper strut towers, significantly reducing flex in the forward part of the chassis. This results in a much more stable feel during cornering and over road imperfections.
* Start to Finish this shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes.
* After unpacking and admiring your HMS strut brace you will realize that no installation instructions were included. But don’t worry, I went ahead and made about the only mistake you could make. Follow these instructions and you’ll be strut-braced in no time.
* After admiring your strut brace remove the circle shaped brackets on either end of the brace. I first attempted to install the brace all in one piece, but there is a nut under the brace and you will not be able to install it with the cross brace in place.
Strut Brace Bracket
1. Remove the six nuts (three on each side) from the protruding bolts on top of your front struts.
2. Put the bracket over the three exposed bolts
3. Put the nuts back on top, very loosely tighten two bolts and moderately tighten the third BUT DO NOT FULLY TIGHTEN. This is where I made my mistake, if you over tighten without the cross brace in place, the bracket will bend.
Strut Cross Brace Bracket
1. Install the cross brace and re-tighten it’s bolts (these you an fully tighten)
2. Finish by fully tightening the six bolt (three on each side) on the bracket. The bolt that is hidden under the cross brace will require an open ended wrench, this is why I let you tighten it a little more than the other before.