Strut Tower rip

Bernie Benz b.benz at
Thu Jan 27 14:25:52 EST 2005

> From: Ken Keith <auditude at>
> I was thinking that I wouldn't mind having *both* a reinforcement on
> the strut towers, and a Bernie Brace to tie the struts themselves
> together.  Aside from the added weight, I don't see what it would
> hurt.  I am not as concerned about light wallets as Bernie is, since
> enjoying my car hobby is one of the reasons why I fill my wallet in
> the first place (and because perceived/aesthetic/subjective value is
> actual value, to me), so that wouldn't be a reason not to for me
> either.  I'm sure it's overkill, but then lots of things I like are
> that way. =)
> What I was recently wondering is if 2Bennett would have an opinion
> about a Bernie Brace being used in conjunction with their Revolution
> camber/caster plates.  If both are used, do the plates see more stress
> than if they are used alone?  I would guess less because it's more
> evenly split between the two sides, so the max stress any side would
> see would be lessened.  Maybe 2B doesn't care because there's no
> warranty to void anyway? 8^)
Several problems here, Ken.
1. The 2B plates provide no more camber adjustment than stock, unless you go
with a smaller diameter upper spring perch and springs.
2. The 2B plates do not provide independent camber and castor adjustment,
change one and you alter the other.  Poor design for the money!
> That spurs another thought.  If the 2B camber/caster plates fix the
> strut rods pretty solidly to the towers, since they incorporate a
> spherical bearing instead of a rubber isolator, then wouldn't a (beefy
> enough) *tower brace* be about as effective as a Bernie Brace used
> with the original rubber top mounts?  Let's assume the 2B plates are
> in place for alignment purposes, would the Bernie Brace be any more
> effective or efficient than a brace acting on the sheet metal of the
> towers?
3. Eliminating the strut rod isolation may be OK for the track, but I
wouldn't have it for a street car. My brace retains the isolation while
distributing the upper lateral cornering force equally between the two
towers.  Absolutely and theoretically the best that one can do, without
tower redesign.
4. It's all a matter of total system stiffness, Ken. To be effective, any
brace must be an order of magnitude stiffer when installed than is the
system it is stiffening.  Mine is, and light weight. I've never seen a tower
brace that comes close to meeting this criteria, even after removing the
isolator from the system, as 2B did.
> It seems like what I've read indicates that the towers can dance
> around all they want and what really counts is the strut alignment.
> This makes me wonder if the overall chassis dynamics would be improved
> by a stiffening of the towers themselves.  Say, if the chassis/body is
> twisting.  The Bernie Brace might make the front tires themselves be
> in the right position, but would a strut tower brace reduce some of
> the overall chassis flex (trying to describe something different than
> a tire alignment issue), such as when you jack up the corner of the
> car and the doors become hard (and/or a bad idea) to open?
The upper suspension is referenced to the chassis through the towers in all
cases, short of major chassis redesign.

Enough dreaming, reality reigns!

> After all, for example if King Kong was twisting the car at the
> bumpers, the body would first have to transmit that movements through
> the subframe bushings and then control arm bushings before they would
> even begin to affect the struts.  Then if a Bernie Brace is in place
> in a typical installation (without 2B camber plates), it would only be
> able to prevent the struts themselves from moving inboard.  The strut
> towers themselves would still be all flexy until the rubber top mounts
> ran out of travel and then at that point tried to move the strut.
> It just seems like there would be a benefit to stiffening the sheet
> metal itself, as a separate but related goal to proper wheel
> alignment.  Saying that a particular strut tower brace is ineffective
> by being too small or something like that is a different issue that
> I'm not exactly asking about.
> Cheers,
> Ken
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