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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I installed my new ECSTuning carbon fiber strut brace and I am very pleased with the quality, fit, and finish. As you can see, I chose to re-use the existing OE hardware just for looks although I am confident in the ECSTuning supplied hardware would work just as well with their nylon lock nuts. I used blue threadlocker on all fasteners even though it's probably overkill.

Needless to say, the front end feels sharper with this brace. The front end feels even more solid at the limit and steering input is more direct. Now I have to sharpen up the rear end... some more goodies coming.

$169 at ECSTuning -- a great bargain as the OE bar (also nice) as $100+ more. I like that this bar mounts flat to the strut towers whereas the Motorsports bar has little platforms. This bar is extremely light -- I think it comes in at 4 lbs as packaged.

Not sure why I didn't do this sooner! :woot:

http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330i-M54_3.0l/Suspension/Strut_Tower_Brace/ES10997/

Enjoy the photos.









 

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I don't see no need for anyone to purchase this piece unless they plan on tracking the car; otherwise, it is just one extra part that needs to be removed just to get to the mountains of issues that need to be constantly fixed on these cars. I never expected this from you Mango to go beyond OEM specs since your known as "the pure E46 enthusiast".

EDIT: On a side note it is a nice piece.
 

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90 Degree banking at warp factor 9.8!

EDIT: Is it neccessary? Probably not for 90% of the people driving these today. Does it make a difference in normal street driving? I can tell mine is sharper on turn-in, but I also completely replaced my suspension and lowered it 2+ inches. So I can't say that the bar does or doesn't make a difference. As for getting in the way, there are two allen bolts that remove the bar, hardly that much of an inconvenience. On top of that, it does look pretty sharp, and I'm actually looking for a couple other CF parts to accent under the hood to match.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
"The front end feels even more solid at the limit". Can you elaborate ?
Yes. Less deflection of the strut towards means the front end is more stable and less steering correction is needed especially if things get bumpy. The car feels absolutely precise. It's not a huge difference but it is easily noticeable as I drive the same roads almost daily.

I don't see no need for anyone to purchase this piece unless they plan on tracking the car; otherwise, it is just one extra part that needs to be removed just to get to the mountains of issues that need to be constantly fixed on these cars. I never expected this from you Mango to go beyond OEM specs sice your known as "the pure E46 enthusiast".

EDIT: On a side note it is a nice piece.
My car is not stock. It's a common misconception due to its outward appearance but don't make that mistake when you see me in the canyons. ;)

Further, no maintenance other than changing the struts or removing the engine would require removal of the strut brace (unless you are changing your spark plugs every day) and even then I think you could work around it.

And I highly recommend the bar as it makes the car feel great.
 

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Yes. Less deflection of the strut towards means the front end is more stable and less steering correction is needed especially if things get bumpy. The car feels absolutely precise. It's not a huge difference but it is easily noticeable as I drive the same roads almost daily.



My car is not stock. It's a common misconception due to its outward appearance but don't make that mistake when you see me in the canyons. ;)

Further, no maintenance other than changing the struts or removing the engine would require removal of the strut brace (unless you are changing your spark plugs every day) and even then I think you could work around it.

And I highly recommend the bar as it makes the car feel great.
I would love to have one if I had the coin, but that thing just wouldn't look right with my filthy engine bay. Plus I heard that unless it is connected to a 3rd point (like the firewall), that two point bars don't really diminish any flexing of the car.

It looks pretty though. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would love to have one if I had the coin, but that thing just wouldn't look right with my filthy engine bay. Plus I heard that unless it is connected to a 3rd point (like the firewall), that two point bars don't really diminish any flexing of the car.

It looks pretty though. :thumbsup:
No. They do. The unibody flexes a lot more than you think. :hi:
 

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Wow how ironic I installed mine Tuesday, the silver kit one and everything! I thinks it looks great and I feel a diffence in corners and in steering in general.

And yes this does diminish flexing of the car. You're probably thinking of the eBay or any strut bar where the design is a "hinged" strut bar.

So getting this bar or any quality bar will help from infamous mushrooming strut towers
 

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Review: ECSTuning carbon fiber strut brace

Thanks for the insight mango. I have been kicking around the idea of getting one for a bit now and it looks like we may have a winner here. Very clean look to it and I love that it matches the towers in there. So when installing I can just use my stock bolts and they will work out ok, or should I go a different route?


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Those pictures are phenomenal
 

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Thanks for the insight mango. I have been kicking around the idea of getting one for a bit now and it looks like we may have a winner here. Very clean look to it and I love that it matches the towers in there. So when installing I can just use my stock bolts and they will work out ok, or should I go a different route?


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I used their equipment when installing mine
 

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Those pictures are phenomenal
Yeah, not sure which hobby came first: photography, or keeping a car clean enough to eat on. Either way, Mango posts some amazing photos.

Mango, is photography a hobby, your profession, or both?
 

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I had ordered a new set of nuts when I ordered my mounts, so I used those instead, before getting my alignment. After everything's buttoned up, I'll be using theirs instead.
 

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The price of these seemed to have just come down meaningfully. Probably because the sales of them is slowing as the e46 platform ages.
I have one I got for about the same price a few years ago.
The topic has been kicked around for many many years and nothing has ever been proven or disproven. Kinda just like an experiment to see if you can tell the difference and eye candy to make the engine compartment look a little more dressed up.
I could detect no difference, but have no regrets as adding one dimension of rigidity in the direction of logical flex might help a bit for the long term fatigue factor for the body.

The bolts cannot be longer as they are part of the strut mount/bearing assembly. But not to worry as the manufactures of the bars take that into account to make them just a bolt-in fixture.
 

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Review: ECSTuning carbon fiber strut brace

The price of these seemed to have just come down meaningfully. Probably because the sales of them is slowing as the e46 platform ages.
I have one I got for about the same price a few years ago.
The topic has been kicked around for many many years and nothing has ever been proven or disproven. Kinda just like an experiment to see if you can tell the difference and eye candy to make the engine compartment look a little more dressed up.
I could detect no difference, but have no regrets as adding one dimension of rigidity in the direction of logical flex might help a bit for the long term fatigue factor for the body.

The bolts cannot be longer as they are part of the strut mount/bearing assembly. But not to worry as the manufactures of the bars take that into account to make them just a bolt-in fixture.
Yeah I think it's more eye candy for me just to be honest and if it does help handling its a plus. Like mango I take much pride in keeping my engine compartment looking tip top, so this would just be a nice accent piece and like I said, any performance benefits would be a nice bonus.

Thanks for the heads up about mounting this. I have already replaced a lot of the bolts in my engine compartment so its good to know it will just bolt right up with my factory parts.


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Review: ECSTuning carbon fiber strut brace

Looks nice


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Do you have the front reinforcement plates too Mango? I am about to put my coilovers on and I bought the plates that go under the tower, on top of the mounts. It looks like your setup right now is about all the threads the mount has to offer.
 

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Mango, your engine bay is spotless. And looks brand new. Awesome photos. Totally respect your work, sir.

Pity the free shipping offer is only within the US, and not to Australia (which would cost a fortune being such a large item) :(

EDIT: yep, calculated it off the website...

Sub Total: 169.95
Shipping and Handling: 108.65
Total: $278.60
 

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Do you have the front reinforcement plates too Mango? I am about to put my coilovers on and I bought the plates that go under the tower, on top of the mounts. It looks like your setup right now is about all the threads the mount has to offer.
There are some mounts if memory serves, that have slightly longer studs, just don't ask me which, because I can't remember off-hand. Also, I believe the nuts/washers that come with the bar are a TINY bit slimmer than the stock, so there should still be adequate holding power after installing both. I actually was going to get both as well, and ended up not getting the plates (which was just an oversight when I filled up the cart, tbh).

EDIT: Mango, I just noticed a little silvering on the washer reservoir bolt. Might need to do something about that ;) (was the only thing I could find that had ANY wear showing in that darn bay!)
 

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There are some mounts if memory serves, that have slightly longer studs, just don't ask me which, because I can't remember off-hand. Also, I believe the nuts/washers that come with the bar are a TINY bit slimmer than the stock, so there should still be adequate holding power after installing both. I actually was going to get both as well, and ended up not getting the plates (which was just an oversight when I filled up the cart, tbh).

EDIT: Mango, I just noticed a little silvering on the washer reservoir bolt. Might need to do something about that ;) (was the only thing I could find that had ANY wear showing in that darn bay!)
It looks like the passenger seal by the cabin air filter is installed wrong ;)
 
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