Bear in mind that my car started off with a Corky’s breast plate already installed – so it’s a little tighter than a standard car. I’d expect to feel a little more difference from each of the mods I put on before the MSMB if I had no bracing at all.
All the official installation guides can be found here:
These guides should be used in conjuction with the original installation notes, and contain our observations based on installing the braces onto my car. Note that in a few places the bolt sizes are different vs. the original instructions – the instructions below contain the correct sizes.
RSTB installation notes:
You will need: 14mm socket & ratchet, torque wrench
1) Undo the three nuts on each strut and the two holding the stock brace to the firewall
WARNING: The brace ends up VERY close to the battery terminal that is usually the POSITIVE terminal. DO NOT let the brace touch the terminal – sparks and exploding batteries will ensue if you do.
2) Leave the O shaped spacers in place, and offer the brace up to the car – you will likely need to attach one side then ‘walk’ the other down the threads.
3) You can either use no washers – in which case the strut bolt threads will be just long enough to end up flush with the nut tops (pic 1 below) or THIN washers (pic 2 below).
I’d recommend washers – or you will remove the powder coat from your brace (and the nuts will be really hard to remove next time)
4) Re install the firewall bolts first – press down on the brace end to ensure they go in without cross threading. Do up finger tight.
5) Re install the strut top nuts and torque to 59lb/ft (80Nm)
6) Torque the firewall bolts up to 59ft/lb
Well it started raining just as I went out to test this one, so the results may be a little skewed – but I’d say the difference the rear brace makes is very minimal indeed.
If you fitted this and went out 10/10ths on track you’d notice that it makes things a little bit more controllable as the car transitions from wehey to ohcrap, but I think I can safely say that for the road driver the difference is so small as to tend toward zero.
FSTB installation notes:
You will need: 12mm socket & ratchet, torque wrench
1) Remove the front plastics by pushing the center pin of each plastic clip down a small amount, then removing the clip.
2) Undo the three nuts on each strut top and set aside.
INFO: You now have two choices – either remove the C spacer and fit it above the strut brace (this will stop you removing any paint with the nuts), or leave the spacers on and lose a bit of powder coat..
3) Offer the brace up – it should be an easy fit.
4) Refit the nuts and torque to 29lb/ft – be very careful as these strip & snap easily on the stock upper mounts.
Quite simply, night and day – very much a “why didn’t I buy one years ago?” feeling. The front end is much sharper – better turn in, better feel in the corners and far far better stability under braking. I’d say this makes a significant enough difference that everyone should have one – it’s that good.
Right, now to fit the MSMB.
MSBM installation notes:
You will need: 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 17mm socket, ratchet & torque wrench, round file
WARNING: Installation is a nightmare – you’ll likely need two people to hold stuff.
1) Remove the two stock plates (or your corky brace) by undoing the six bolts. Unclip the three hose clips (one sideways, two vertically) and remove.
2) Undo the two 10mm bolts show at the rear of each inner chassis rail
3) Undo the two 17mm bolts holding the front braces to the chassis rail, and loosen the two bolts at the front of the braces.
Swing the braces down out of the way. You may need to push up slightly to allow the bolts to spin out easily.
3) Install the clips into your new brace as shown
4) Offer up the brace and get at least the far rear 10mm bolts, followed by one bolt in each corner of the centre plate.
5) Snug up as many bolts as you can get in, make a mental note of how far out each of the holes are.
6) Remove brace and adjust holes with the round file – I needed to adjust the front drivers hole in the centre brace, front nearside hole to the chassis rail and rear nearside hole (for the 10mm bolt).
7) Reinstall the brace and tighten all bolts gradually.
8) Torque the centre 6 bolts to 28ft/lb and the 17mm bolts to 55ft/lb. Tighten the 10mm bolts, but do not over tighten as these are small bolts.
Now I should add that the installation was a complete ballache on my car – it remains to be seen if this was my car, or the bracing.. but at least three holes needed adjusting, and the rest were very tight fitting indeed. This thing gets heavy after you’ve been holding it up for a while!
Oh – and it scrapes a ton getting over speedbumps:
Next to the front brace this made the biggest difference so far – the car is so much better behaved over rough roads, feeling very much like a much bigger car indeed (Mark reckons it feels like a Boxster now – I’m not sure that’s a compliment though!)
Generally speaking the car feels more composed in the corners, perhaps adding a little understeer however – although very controllable on the limit. Very, very good – and a huge difference over the standard Corky plate!
FMB installation notes:
You will need: 17mm socket, ratchet & torque wrench
1) Remove the four bolts holding the stock angled tubular braces on
2) Remove braces (they’ll already have fallen on your head anyway)
3) Offer up brace
4) Reinstall bolts and torque to 55ft/lb
Easiest brace to install by far. Significantly better turn in, and a cumulative stiffening and generally nicer feel to the whole car – rides better over bumps and rough roads. Zero understeer.. literally none at all, and you can absolutely throw the car into corners now.
Well, until you run out of bottle with Mark still saying “keep your foot in”, and use the A1 as an escape road off the roundabout… slight detour!
You will need: 12mm, 14mm socket, extension, ratchet & torque wrench
Before starting: Remove the rear nappies
1) Undo the 12mm bolt holding the P clips for the handbrake cable
2) Undo the four 14mm bolts holding the small rear braces on
3) Offer up the RLCB and bolt in place – note that this is very tight on the oil filter and air con pipes if you have them
4) Torque to 28lb/ft for the dog bone bolts
5) Reinstall the P clips and torque to 14lb/ft
INFORMATION: The brace ends up very close to the oil filter and oil pan. You’re not going to be changing the filter without dropping the brace down..
This brace made much more difference than either Mark or I expected; there was a significant tightening of the rear end, making things much more predictable at the back and gaining us a good amount of grip while going round the rounadbouts..
RMB installation notes:
You will need: 10mm, 13mm, 17mm socket, extension, ratchet & torque wrench
WARNING: You may need an alignment after fitting this brace set as fitting requires removing the through bolt on the lower rear suspension arm. It may well also be easier if you have the entire rear of the car in the air on jack stands – we did one side at a time, using a scissor jack to jack the car until the suspension arm was aligned for the through bolt.
Before starting: Remove the rear nappies
1) Remove one of the two bolts that attach the petrol tank to the rear firewall
IMPORTANT: Do not remove both bolts at once, or the tank may drop!
2) Offer the brace up and bolt it in with this bolt loosely with enough play for you to remove the second petrol tank bolt and install this loosely.
3) With both petrol tank bolts loosely bolted, remove the through bolts from the lower suspension arms
4) Use the jack to bring each side of the car up – or push on the wheel if the car is in the air – until you can re-insert the bolt from the opposite side to standard (so the nut will be inside the turret of the brace)
5) Repeat for the remaining side
6) Tighten all bolts to stock torque specifications – 29lb/ft for the fuel tank bolts, 76lb/ft for the lower arm bolts.
7) Remove the through bolt from the chassis end of the strut rod
8)Install the small arms and bolt to the strut rod loosely
9) Attach to the RMB with the provided 13mm bolts, washers and nuts
10) Torque the above to 29lb/ft
11) Torque the strut rod through bolt to 58lb/ft
12) Cut the rear plastics as shown in the photographs and reinstall if desired
This one was quite tricky to fit – it’s very hard to get the through bolts back in through both the lower suspension arm and the bracing in one go – it took a bit of loosening and shuffling, but eventually it all went in.
This one made an amazing amount of difference – the car feels incredibly ‘pointy’ once this is installed, but at the same time suddenly feels like there is a lot more weight behind you (which there isn’t, since this is all aluminium). Again it gives even more of a ‘big car’ feeling, but everthing feels exceptionally well planted. Bumpy roads suddenly feel very smooth indeed, and the car just flies around the corners – there is now so much grip available you have to be doing something very very stupid to get the back end out – even if you have to step on the brakes while you’re very loaded up (silly drivers, pulling onto my roundabout!).
The stage 3 package is simply amazing – this is now a totally different car, with more grip and roadholding available than anyone is likely to use on the road day to day. On the track, this car should be an absolute blast…