How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

After having such a good experience with the strut tower brace on my former 2001 Cadillac, I wanted one for the Corolla also, but wasn’t real keen on spending a few hundred dollars for a real nice one (like TRD, etc). There were plenty of eBay ones out there, but with a thin aluminum bar that attached with bolts, it’s been suggested that they’re really cosmetic only, with no significant improvement to chassis stiffness.

But even though I didn’t have the few hundred for a “real” one, I still really wanted one. A used eBay type bar came up for sale on, and I bought just the end brackets only. I figured that it’d be easy enough to fabricate a steel bar (vice aluminum) that could link them together. Below, you can see the brackets I bought, the steel bar I bought, and how I envisioned them going together. I’d simply slide the bracket tabs into the metal bar, have it welded, and it’d be easy as that, right?

933090f751770cf5e5bea793f3a5848b  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

3f2e1b189b354a2b64855083d7f12b20  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

81d350ad97c73c84c62f1696fbdd4211  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

Well, it was. By sheer dumb luck I guess, the length of bar needed to span between the brackets is exactly 36″. And it just so happens that the two tabs on the bracket are 1″ apart. So a 1″ by 3′ long steel square-section bar would work great. I had to grind some of the curve off the bracket tabs so that they’d slide into the bar, but that was all there was to it. Once I was able to slip the brackets into the bar, I test-fit it to the car and there are zero clearance issues. It clears the brake fluid reservoir like the reservoir was custom-designed for this very brace design. And with that, I was ready for welding.

4e53c42545bc8337bd72d296dc89b662  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

84a462d2f6c50b1a1c215a4e2e0bdff6  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

b8195ea0c572f28b3924470ca711c935  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

It cost me 30 bucks to have a local garage weld it up. I bolted the assembled brace to the car, un-welded, and had the garage tack-weld the bar to the bracket tabs, just so I could remove the bar and keep it aligned. Then they did a full horseshoe weld around the bar, leaving only the top span open (since there’s no top connector on the tabs). When I got the bar back, I put a coat of etching primer on the bar, then two full coats of Rust-oleum “Hammered” paint, in “7218 Dark Bronze” color. My wife would be proud, it coordinates with the Desert Sand Mica quite well, dontcha think?

785f4aa98ec7edabebcc7913fad6b41e  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

6a60ac98f5ded9af558d9da34f48771b  How To Build A Strut Tower Brace

Installed, it really makes a nice difference. Steering response seems to be quite a bit better, and the chassis just seems a little tighter. Passing over small chuckholes, the chassis seems less disturbed with the brace on there. It’s like it forces the suspension to soak it up rather than the chassis having to flex to accomodate. Whether you build one or buy one, I highly recommend one of these. It makes a real difference.

So, what’d it cost?

Brackets: $12
Steel bar: $11
Welding: $30
Misc supplies and paint: $10
Total: $63

I could have bought a cheap bar for that price, or perhaps even a nice used one, but this way, I learned a little something, got to get by hands dirty, spend some quality time out in the garage, etc.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.