How to Install a Front Strut Barby William Zane
A front strut bar is an essential performance part that increases the handling and steering precision of a vehicle. It is a length of metal, usually made from round or square tubing, which bolts to the tops of the front strut towers and goes across the engine. By tying the strut towers together, chassis flex and excess movement from the steering during cornering is reduced. A strut bar is usually very simple to install.
Open the front hood to access the upper strut towers on the engine bay side. Clean the strut towers with a degreaser and a clean, dry rag. Do not install the strut bar with the car sitting on jacks. It should be sitting on level ground and on all four wheels.
Inspect the upper strut mounts to determine if and where the nuts or bolts for the upper struts are located. Some cars will not have nuts to bolt the strut brace on with, in which case holes will have to be drilled. If there are no nuts to bolt the strut bar to, skip to Step 8.
Remove the nuts that hold the upper strut to the body. Since the car is not suspended with the suspension unloaded, there is no danger in removing the upper strut nuts.
Place the strut mount over the studs that the nuts were bolted to. Strut bars are made specifically for each application, so make sure you are installing the correct strut bar.
Gently test the fit of the bar by lowering the hood slowly into the closed position to see if there is any interference between the hood and the strut bar. The hood should close without any problems and should not be forced up at any of the corners by the strut bar.
Install the nuts on the strut bar and tighten them with a torque wrench to the settings outlined in the directions that came with the strut brace.
Adjust the center nut of the bar (if it is adjustable) with an open-ended wrench so that the bar is tensioned against the two strut towers.
Place the strut bar in place on top of the strut towers. Mark where the holes are with a marker. Using an electric drill, carefully drill holes for the strut bar bolts.
Bolt the strut bar into place with the supplied hardware. Some strut bars will be installed with a bolt and a nut; others will be installed with a nutsert, which is a threaded part that is inserted into the holes that were drilled. The strut bar is then bolted onto the nutserts. Follow the directions that came with the strut bar.
Test the fit of the strut bar and the hood; then test drive the vehicle. Make sure there are no strange noises created by the strut bar and that the steering is functioning properly. The strut bar should make the steering feel more precise.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set and ratchet
- Open-ended wrenches
- Power drill (some vehicles)
- Drill bits
- Torque wrench
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.