The TB Performance adjustable front strut bar replaces the pressed steel factory bar. Many people have been told that the car is stiff enough and that the stock strut bar is a 3 point system so there is no need to change it. After installing this part and driving a few miles down the road, I knew right away that they were wrong. The stock bar isn’t adequate for this car by any means. Just holding the stock one in my hands I could feel how flimsy it was. You can flex the bar with almost no force. The TB Performance Strut Bar is made of 2 – 5/8-18 steinjager heim joints mated to a 1.5″ .065 steel tube. Which connects to a 2.5″ stud that is 5/8″ thick and rated at around 130,000 psi yield strength. This all translates to a bar that is far stronger than the stock bar, and isn’t going to flex. Due to the strength of this bar, a 3 point system isn’t needed, unlike the stock one. Having the bar be a 3 point would also prevent it from being adjustable like it is now. With the TB Performance Bar you can adjust the height and tension on the bar. The height adjustment is especially handy in our cars as we have so many different intake designs. Assuredly peoples next question is going to be, how does this improve the car, well let’s get to that.
Driving the car for the first time, I could tell right away that the steering is more responsive. The wheel has almost no play in it, and feels tighter. The saying, just point and shoot, comes to mind when describing it. There is no guess work, no play, or hesitation in the wheel, you turn it and the car’s right along there with you. To be able to say this with my car is saying something, as I have just about every upgrade there is suspension wise, so the steering was already pretty solid. Here’s a quick rundown of my setup, to put this into perspective. KWv3 coilovers, JBR 80a Upper Engine Mounts, CP-E stage 2 rear mount, Massive Speed Systems adjustable Endlinks front, TB Performance Traction Bar, Eibach rear sway bar, with Steeda adjustable endlinks, Forgestar 18×9 wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports 255/35/18, Willwood FBDL Front Brakes. I point out the brakes because they are 22lbs lighter than stocks(unsprung weight reduction, yes please). With all of these suspension mods, I could still immediately feel the difference, from the TB Performance Bar. I didn’t need to go out and push the car hard on back roads or take it autocrossing before I knew this bar was a good investment. Of course, that didn’t stop by from doing those things, because race car. Going into a sweeper fast, the car stays planted, with less corner dive. This helped keep the car more stable, and thus power out on the exit quicker. With this increased stiffness, the car has a slight increase in its tendency to under-steer, in extreme cornering. This is to be expected, as the front end is now stiffer. It was less of an increase than I was expecting, though. The last benefit and to me, arguably one of the most important aspects of this bar, is now the direct access to your struts. As my KW’s have adjustable dampers and rebound, I need access to the top of the struts to make adjustments. Previously, the only options were to drop the strut or drill a hole through the stock bar. Now, I just pop off the grill cover on the cowling and my damper adjustment knob is right there. I could forgo all the other benefits of this bar, and still feel like I spent my money wisely, just for this feature. So now you’ve heard all the good things, and you’ve got to be thinking, well what’s the downside.
Like with any mod, there’s always a trade off, get something and give something in return. Luckily for this mod, the give is fairly small, and subtle. Steering vibrations have increased a bit. As the bar is stiffer, the vibrations from the strut tower transfer through it more. This vibration increase is subtle, and doesn’t bother me, but it was something I could feel. The next trade off, is the requirement to remove the lower cowling. This means you can’t run the sound symposer(that could probably be chalked up in the win category). What this also means is your AC doesn’t have a separate feed for air, so you’re pulling from the engine bay. I didn’t notice any change in smell, or temperate from my AC unit. The lower cowling isn’t air tight anyway, so removing it probably has a minimal effect on this anyway.
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Product Link TB Performance Products