DIY Front Tower bar

tsensational

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When I first got my LX, I liked it but felt the suspension was a bit soft for my taste. The first thing that comes to mind to remedy that without voiding the warranty is a front and rear tower bar.

Initial search came up with nothing so I decided to build my own. Turns out I didn't search hard enough because now I'm seeing that some trims may have a stock tower bar? Too bad I already got started. Heres some pics!

Initial brackets. Mounting the two points on the shocks is much more reliable but this bar isn't super stiff. Even a single mount point design would have sufficed. The second was just for slight balance.
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Welding complete: Sitting on the driveway ready for test fit
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Test fitting before the test drive.
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I will most likely redesign some stuff to make it more reliable. This was just a quick weekend project for funzies.

For the car nerds who are going to criticize the fact that I started with the front on a FWD car: Yes I know, FWD cars benefit from stiffer rears before fronts. The trunk is sealed up really nice though and I don't want to sacrifice any trunk space. I might build some small tie bars for the lower rear in the future. For now, body roll is significantly reduced overall but on hard cornering, understeer is slightly more noticeable. Since this is my daily driver, I doubt I'll be doing any hard cornering.
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inv4zn

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I don't think I've ever seen a DIY strut bar - very impressive!

If I were to add, since you're designing it anyway, would be to make the entire bar straight, from mounting bracket to mounting bracket.

You're theoretically reducing body roll, which means you want the bar to be in compression, not a rotational moment.

Imagine a 2x4: if you compress the two ends, it's going to very difficult to deform. If you cut the two ends and reattach them at angles at the two locations you have your bends, and apply the same compressive force, the 2x4 will fail quite easily at those two points.

Just my two cents!
 

totopo

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errrr, what?

strut bars are to fight chassis flex and have very little to no effect on body roll.

A strut bar works to prevent chassis flex. Under cornering, the loaded outside tire will want to go up and the top wants to go away, which decreases the camber gain from suspension from less bump and also decreases negative camber (makes it more positive) by mechanically pushing the top out. Both of which are bad things for dynamics. Increasing chassis stiffness increases traction at that end. Increasing chassis stiffness also improves responsiveness and driver feel and feedback.

So if it worked, it should theoretically Increase traction at the front, which is what you want for a FWD car.

Suspension stiffness is different than chassis stiffness. Increased suspension stiffness decreases traction in general by several means. When you are talking about anti-roll bars (which is distinctly different than strut bars or tower braces), it increases weight transfer at that axle, which is a bad thing, and decreases weight transfer at the opposite axle. weight transfer is bad for traction. That's why for a fwd you want stiffer rears, to minimize weight transfer at the front and increase front grip.
 

inv4zn

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My bad, body roll was the wrong word to use; you're right.

That said, wouldn't the two welds at the bends still be the weak points in the OP's design?
 
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tsensational

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This is correct. I described it incorrectly: what I should have said was chassis flex feels a bit improved. Lets use freeway onramp I take to work as an example. It feels a bit safer: Like my car's feet are planted alot better, which also give the illusion that body roll is reduced because now I don't feel like I'm tilting as much. Either way, more responsive, less sloppy on that freeway onramp turns.

As far as the oversteer, goddamit, I will never get the terminology right. I think I'm feeling UNDERSTEER. Its been 10 years and I've been corrected almost every time I mention it. Still can't get it right. At the same time, I never did a before and after on the same road so this is my butt talking. Its more than I'm used to. Regardless, this makes the point that butts are not accurate measurement tools.
 
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tsensational

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This is also correct. The bend are definitely the weakest point. Most tower bars I've dealt with have two mounts and the bolt running through per chassis mount, keeping the required rigid parts rigid and giving "flex" to the correct part. I'll be correcting this as time allows. My original idea was to have two pieces rising up to sandwich the bar's mounting point but I ran out of metal. This definitely makes a weak point. Appreciate the input!
 

Drive By Fire

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Hold up. Lets be clear here, a strut bar needs to be connected to the firewall to really do any good at all. Connecting the two tops there really doesn't do much. I made one just for show in my old MX-6.
I'm just trying to prevent the spread of misinformation here. I literally signed up to reply to this post, lol.

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Drive By Fire

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As far as the oversteer, goddamit, I will never get the terminology right. I think I'm feeling UNDERSTEER. Its been 10 years and I've been corrected almost every time I mention it. Still can't get it right. At the same time, I never did a before and after on the same road so this is my butt talking.
"Oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car, understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car. Hp is how fast you hit the wall, and torque is how far you take the wall with you when you hit it."
 
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tsensational

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I need to be clearer on alot of things: I haven't finished this project. Theres at least three more parts I'd like to build before I'd call it something "performance".

As far as non-firewall connected bars go, obviously the ones hooked up to the firewall do a much better job. Some "softer" cars like one of the older Camrys or Solara that have an oem two point bar, having something is a bit better than having nothing.

Now lets take an Evo 8 for example. It comes with a stock 3 point bar. If you put a two point (shock to shock) bar, on it, that would not be an advantage. Now, a Lancer that has nothing there. Two points is better than nothing.

Moreover, on alot of FWD cars, I find that the rear lower sway bars are the best thing to upgrade first if you want to do a FWD performance build. Handling becomes more "neutral" in most cases. I can already feel the debates coming on so heres my response in advance: It varies from car to car. This is just my experiences with many FWD cars I've worked with.

Overall, Tower bars are should be the last thing you do. I had scrap metal laying around and nothing to do on a weekend. I hope this clears things up a bit for anyone who might be getting offended.
 

Drive By Fire

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Overall, Tower bars are should be the last thing you do.
Agreed. But the civic lacks a good suspension for any spirited driving. It's designed to be safe. But it sounds like you know that.
As far as RSB's go, putting them on the back of a FWD car is the most common method. Some FWD track cars run either a really stiff FSB or disconnect the RSB. Both yield similar results, gain traction on the rear tires and use the throttle to steer the car. (I am not recommending you do this)
I believe this car would greatly benefit from stiff springs and more dampening. But that's not what I bought it for.

tl;dr I commend your work and the effort you put into it. There is a better way to gain traction, or handling imho
 
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tsensational

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Totally agree. I got this car for its 40 highway mpg and will not be doing any engine mods. I dont even want to sacrifice ride quality with stiffer springs/shocks which limits options for weekend projects. That pretty much leaves a few add on bars that I help me feel a bit more stable on freeway onramps.

Other options are a bar in the trunk that doesnt sacrifice significant space or a rear lower tie bar, which from my experience, do even less than a front tower.
 

Pearl

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No dragged out suspension debate here but pretty cool project, man. Thanks for fabricating and sharing!
 

ethanmhanks

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I would love to make one myself, I am just not very good at welding): Good job!
 

chrisliese

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ANYONE FIND AN AFTERMARKET SOLUTION OTHER THAN CUSTOM MADE?
 
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