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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, in a post on another thread, I said there was a secret to doing this, but it's really not that mysterious. Here's how I installed the Genuine Saab Tower Strut Bar on a 2.8t, despite the Coolant Overflow Reservoir being in the way By the way, I didn't realize how much my engine bay needs a good detailing until I saw my pictures - yikes! My apologies.

You need the Strut Bar "kit" from Genuine Saab, some big Washers from the Hardware Store, and lots of Beer. Here goes . . .

1) to do this, I removed the coolant tank. but frankly I discovered this can be done without going to all that trouble. I recommend against that route. My intention was to somehow re-mount the coolant tank an inch or so lower on the firewall. But, the two brackets are welded onto the firewall. It's not going anywhere - at least voluntarily.

So have a Beer at this point to celebrate that you're not as dumb as I am.

2) After an hour of screwing around removing all kinds of stuff from the engine bay in order to get the coolant tank out, I discovered that the coolant tank is only held in by the two tabs on either side (you can see that from Pictures #1 and #2) There's nothing holding it into place on the underside, and there's more than 2 inches of clearance between it and the heat shield on the CAT.

think about it, you own an awesome Saab 9-3 2.8t with only 2 tabs on the Coolant Tank! That's got to be worth another beer right now!

3) I tried just bending the brackets down, since you only need maybe 1/2 inch of room for the Strut Bar. Bashing on the brackets only got me maybe 1/4 inch. You don't need to do that because as it turns out, you will find that the brackets are flexible enough - the Strut Bar pushing down on them will get you up to about 3/8 inch of flex - without popping the Coolant Tank tabs out of their slots (something else I did - oops!) and even better, without "pre-bashing" them. Leave out the "bracket bending/bashing" step - it's unnecessary.

So after confirming this visually on your car - have a Beer to celebrate how much you've learned so far!


4) the "secret" was that I picked up another 1/4 inch of leeway by using big fat washers under the Strut Bar

Time for another Beer to contemplate this profound "secret" you've just received from an automotive Zen master

5) as it turns out the bolts supplied by Genuine Saab for attaching the Strut Bar are pretty long - longer than the stock bolts. And from the 5th picture you can see that the Strut Bar is designed in such a way that the highest spot is directly over the coolant tank.

How about a Beer at this point to celebrate the long bolts from Genuine Saab, and the gnarly design feature? Here's to you guys at Genuine Saab!

5) So, I put some big fat washers underneath the Strut Bar at each end and ran the bolts through them. From the 4th picture you'll see I needed 2 on the passenger side (1/4inch) - and from the 3rd picture only 1 on the driver side (1/8 inch). These dudes were big phattie washers. In any case, you will find you need more height on the passenger side of the Strut Bar.

Since you might have to go down to the Hardware store to find these big phattie washers, I'd recommend waiting either several hours before proceeding further, or just staying home and going to the Hardware Store tomorrow. I recommend finishing off the 6-pack now and going to the Hardware store tomorrow.

6) Now for actual automotive mechanical work!
Remove the 4 bolts from the strut towers (2 from each side) and lay the Genuine Saab Strut Bar in place.
I recommend you start all 4 bolts into their respective holes just enough to get some bite, so that you get all all 4 in. I had to push and pull on the strut bar to get all 4 holes to line up AND so I could get all 4 bolts in straight !! No Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks were needed, just a couple ("combo" swear words count as 1) strategically timed swear words did the trick. Ater you have all 4 bolts started, then just turn each bolt in a turn or two at a time in rotation, so that that all 4 go in at the same rate - make sure they go in straight !!! - that way none of them bind up, or strip.

If this goes successfully - have a Beer. Hell, have two - you're almost a "Real Man of Genius" you're so good!

7) the Strut Bar will push the Coolant Tank down 1/4 - 3/8 inch, and the Strut Bar will be raised up 1/8 - 1/4 inch above the strut towers. Together the combined 3/8 - 5/8 inch displacement will allow the Strut Bar and the Coolant Tank to peacefully coexist as neighbors in your Engine Bay.

At this point, bring the wife out to the Garage, and show her how awesome it looks. Let her know that very few men are ballsy enough to attempt these kind of high performance modifications on their own. Be sure to let her know you're kind of wiped out by all that "wrenching" you did, so now you're going to go in and watch some TV and have a Beer to celebrate a job well done. Don't lay it on too thick though, or she might ask you to repair something around the house. You don't need that aggravation.

8) yes, the Strut Bar and the Coolant Tank are in direct contact with each other, but I don't get any road noise from them while driving. I suppose you could spray some silicone lube under the Strut Bar if you heard some squeeking or whatever.

I don't know if that really rates a Beer, however.
Oh, what the heck - go for it!


9) Since I moved the coolant tank about 3/8 inch closer to the CAT heat shield, I wrapped some heat-protectant blanket material around the Coolant Level Sensor on the underside of the Coolant Tank. If you choose to do that, I'd do it before installing the Strut Bar ;ol; If you reach down under the Coolant Tank from the front it's on the driver side of the Tank's underside. You *should" be able to buy a small square of that reflective heat blanket material at the local Auto Parts store for under $10. There's a lot of heat under there from the CAT, so I think if you're just able to knock down the direct heat exposure to the sensor, that should be satisfactory.

I've had too much Beer at this point, I'm going to go lay down.
;oops:

Anyway, when it was all said and done, the Strut Bar definitely made a very noticeable difference in the feel of my Turbo X around corners. That's according to my finely calibrated butt-meter, but your results may vary. It's working great for me so far, so I recommend it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I don't know why the pictures didn't come through - maybe too much Beer. But here's another attempt
 

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I fitted a strut brace to my turbo x 2 weeks ago. I also noticed a difference in cornering! well worth it!

Fitting mine was a bit easier tho. RHD don't have clearance issues

 

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RHD has no hood attached either
 

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Could be my bad, but I thought the fitted closer to the firewall?
its done that way on purpose. i have the maptun brace that fits close to the firewall, but the RHD cars have it flipped, so they don't cover the brake fluid reservoir.
 

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its done that way on purpose. i have the maptun brace that fits close to the firewall, but the RHD cars have it flipped, so they don't cover the brake fluid reservoir.
Thanks Titan, thought that was the case. Worthwhile product in your opinion?
 

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Thanks Titan, thought that was the case. Worthwhile product in your opinion?
It gives the steering a bit more feel, I have it in conjunction with the GS subframe brace. IF you can get it for a reasonable price, I'd say go for it. It does definitely improve the steering feel though...
 

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It gives the steering a bit more feel, I have it in conjunction with the GS subframe brace. IF you can get it for a reasonable price, I'd say go for it. It does definitely improve the steering feel though...
Thanks. Works out at $180 AUD + shipping. Trying to get a few more people interested here in AUstralia to keep the shipping cost down.
 

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Hi Nigel, do you have a link to the strut brace? I can't seem to find it on Maptun's website! I must be blind...

Also to any owners with the Aero 2.8T, do you notice a decrease in body roll with this strut brace? In what ways specifically does it improve the steering?

And while I'm at it, I'm looking for thicker front/rear swaybars for the 06 Aero 2.8t - people are saying they don't exist. I would think they would compliment this strut brace quite nicely - don't tell me aftermarket sway bars don't exist??
 

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Hi Nigel, do you have a link to the strut brace? I can't seem to find it on Maptun's website! I must be blind...

Also to any owners with the Aero 2.8T, do you notice a decrease in body roll with this strut brace? In what ways specifically does it improve the steering?

And while I'm at it, I'm looking for thicker front/rear swaybars for the 06 Aero 2.8t - people are saying they don't exist. I would think they would compliment this strut brace quite nicely - don't tell me aftermarket sway bars don't exist??
Yeah, I think Maptun took it down as they were unavailable for a long time. This is the other link;

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAPTUN-PERFO...item35bbdb7bde
 

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Hi Nigel, do you have a link to the strut brace? I can't seem to find it on Maptun's website! I must be blind...

Also to any owners with the Aero 2.8T, do you notice a decrease in body roll with this strut brace? In what ways specifically does it improve the steering?

And while I'm at it, I'm looking for thicker front/rear swaybars for the 06 Aero 2.8t - people are saying they don't exist. I would think they would compliment this strut brace quite nicely - don't tell me aftermarket sway bars don't exist??
doesn't help body roll at all actually, when you turn the steering wheel, especially under cornering, the shock towers deflect inward basically due to the force from the road to the tires. a strut tower brace takes away some of that initial slack from the steering by limiting the deflection. Roll is taken care of by the anti-roll bars and to a lesser extent the shock absorbers and springs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
doesn't help body roll at all actually, when you turn the steering wheel, especially under cornering, the shock towers deflect inward basically due to the force from the road to the tires. a strut tower brace takes away some of that initial slack from the steering by limiting the deflection. Roll is taken care of by the anti-roll bars and to a lesser extent the shock absorbers and springs.
"slack" in the steering is a good way of putting it - the Strut Tower brace tightens up the steering, makes it feel more solid and planted

Also, my '08 Turbo X must have thicker anti-sway bars and beefier shocks than my '06 9-3 2.0t ? Can someone corroborate that from the specs?

Because by comparison I feel like by old Saab rolls way more than the X around corners. (IMHO - according to my butts "G's-meter")

And now with the Tower brace on the X, they are almost like two totally different cars in terms of handling. Guess I'll have to get another Strut Tower brace and put it on the old car.
 

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"slack" in the steering is a good way of putting it - the Strut Tower brace tightens up the steering, makes it feel more solid and planted
Ah right, that explains it better :) I'm currently thinking about getting one, about AUD $215 shipped, obviously RHD. Would be going on an 06 Aero Sport 2.8T. I don't actually mind the steering too much as it is, it probably is a little "vague" around centre but I was putting that down to the increased turns lock-to-lock compared to my old car. Ideally, what I'm looking to do is to retain the current steering feedback, possibly make the steering a little less vague when pressing hard, possibly increase front-end grip particularly when accelerating (hard) out of a corner and reduce body-roll. I've looked everywhere for thicker/aftermarket front/rear swaybars and cannot find any. Would the Turbo X's fit my car and would they be any thicker? Does that car roll much?

And now with the Tower brace on the X, they are almost like two totally different cars in terms of handling. Guess I'll have to get another Strut Tower brace and put it on the old car.
I would be interested to see how much of an effect this has on a car with less sporting intentions compared to the TX.

Another part that Nijee put me onto was a subframe brace. Have you had any experience with these, and what effect would they have on handling, specifically with the TX or Aero? I've heard that on already well sorted cars they can almost have no effect whereas with the cars that have a bit of body flex they can make a noticeable difference. I'm assuming this difference would be a similar effect to the front strut brace. However - is there any point in having both? I'd also assume that if you already have a strut brace that the effect of the subframe brace would hardly be noticed?
 

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I installed mine about a week ago. It is definitely worth the price and is makes a noticeable improvement to the handling.
 
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