Subaru Outback Forums banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
2016 3.6 w/ Eyesight
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On my 2016 3.6 I put in the 19mm rear sway bar very shortly after I got it and found a very significant difference in the high-speed stability and handling of the car. Around the same time I ordered an SSD Performance front strut tower brace (part # STBOB15) that had been mentioned on the forum. I expected little, if any, benefit from it, and I never installed it in the car. Two days ago I (literally) stumbled on it in the garage workshop, and decided to put it on the car, which took about five minutes. If there is any handling or steering response improvement, it is very subtle, and I'm not sure there is any at all. But what is very noticeable is a change in the ride quality on even slightly rough to very rough surfaces. With the brace installed, the ride is slightly firmer, but more supple on bad surfaces. It is BMW-like in both ride and structural stiffnesss, and I don't mean the harsh riding BMWs. The installation made me realize that, in stock condition, there is a fairly significant amount of cowl shake in this car (and in the dashboard and other interior fittings that are attached to the cowl), and that the strut pretty much eliminates it. The entire front of the car feels much more rigid and gives the impression of a much stiffer structure, but with an improvement in ride quality. And I don't know, but wouldn't be surprised if many of the forward interior rattles people report are due to the cowl shake. (I've individually fixed my rattles, so there's nothing to test there.) I know that there is a lot of skepticism about this installation, and that many believe the cowl and firewall are stiff enough as is. It"s just not true in my experience. In terms of cowl shake, this installation is like going from a good convertible to a hardtop. The part is $149 with shipping, but if you have the money, five minutes, and care about ride quality, I think it's a bargain. Best, Wally
 
G

·
With the brace installed, the ride is slightly firmer, but more supple on bad surfaces.
I'm not sure I follow. How is it that it gives you a slightly firmer ride (generally speaking), but when you hit the rough stuff, morphs and delivers a more supple ride?
 

·
Registered
2015 OB 2.5 Premium Silver
Joined
·
44 Posts
I don't intend to speak for the OP especially since I don't have the STB on my Outback. However, I have done similar things to other vehicles.

It's hard to articulate, but in my experience, a stiffer chassis allows the suspension to do it's job better and reduces the transfer of harshness into the chassis (cowl shake in this case) and therefore the passenger area.

Of course there are limits to everything. If you replace a shock with a steel rod, a stiff chassis won't help.
 
G

·
I found another thread where someone described their experience with ride quality after installation...

... Adding the SSD strut tower brace made a significant difference in the front end feel and overall responsiveness in my opinion. Its a modification that I would do again hands down.

... One thing negative that I would say is that I do perceive more vibration from the road in the cabin, e.g.( I feel bumps in the road more ). Still though I prefer a more ridged ride.
Funny... one person gets a feeling of suppleness on rough surfaces while another feels more vibrations.

Also, as far as steering response goes, the OP has the exact opposite impression from Dwjackson2... "If there is any handling or steering response improvement, it is very subtle, and I'm not sure there is any at all."

Strange thing that two people using the exact same product can have totally opposite opinions on how it performs.
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6 w/ Eyesight
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not sure I follow. How is it that it gives you a slightly firmer ride (generally speaking), but when you hit the rough stuff, morphs and delivers a more supple ride?
I think Adrift has it about right. My impression of what happens with the brace is that there is much less movement in the structure, and that irregularities in the road are now handled more by the tires and suspension. Without the brace, the tires and suspension too readily engage the structure as a third "spring." With the brace, on relatively smooth surfaces, there's very little constant structural "wiggle," and when a road irregularity is encountered you can feel first the tires and then the suspension absorbing them. So now the road bumps are more defined, but because the structure doesn't respond there is much less sensation of harshness. So I'd describe rough surfaces as "defined but supple." On smooth surfaces, it's just firm. The setup gives a much better "detail feel" of the road surface, but not the harsh feeling that structural movement imparts. Before the brace, and by comparison, the entire car felt as if was "wiggling around" all the time, which masks the pure sensation of the road. The brace gives the impression of a heavier, more solid car. I'll see if I can be more articulate about it as I drive it more, because I was taken by surprise at the obvious change. Right now, I'd say the change is as beneficial as the rear 19 mm bar, but in an entirely different way.

I imagine that Subaru could have made the cowl and firewall more rigid, but that weight was a consideration, as it is in a lot of things in this car. I'd guess that the brace weighs about eight pounds. One possible downside of the brace is that a collision involving the wheel on one side may transmit damage to the other side. I suppose that would depend on the exact nature of the collision.
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6 w/ Eyesight
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I found another thread where someone described their experience with ride quality after installation...



Funny... one person gets a feeling of suppleness on rough surfaces while another feels more vibrations.

Also, as far as steering response goes, the OP has the exact opposite impression from Dwjackson2... "If there is any handling or steering response improvement, it is very subtle, and I'm not sure there is any at all."

Strange thing that two people using the exact same product can have totally opposite opinions on how it performs.
Nomad, I think the contradictions between my experience and the other poster have to do with difficultly articulating the difference the brace makes. The road irregularities are more perceptible and defined because of the relative lack of constant structural movement. But the irregularities are less harsh because the structure isn't wiggling. Perhaps the defined nature of the irregularities are what the other poster was talking about, because on smooth surfaces the car with the brace is much more serene. The road irregularities stand out, but that doesn't mean they're harsher. The best way for anyone to settle the case is just to try it out and see what you experience. Unfortunately, SSD seems to hand-make each part to order, and has a no-return policy.

On the issue of steering, I wasn't paying much attention to that because I was initially so shocked by the difference in ride, which distracted me. I did a few sharp maneuvers with the car after the installation and once or twice I thought I felt a difference (sharper response) and once or twice I thought I didn't. So that's why I passed over that issue in my original post. Before this car I had a 2015 Impreza, and the strut brace in that car made a huge difference in steering response, but little change in ride quality. That bar, a Subaru part, had a ball joint in the middle of the bar, which means that it didn't much affect vertical movements of the strut tower. It acted on lateral flex only.
 
G

·
Without a clear consensus on what to expect from these, it makes it kind of hard to justify shelling out the $$$ for one. If I could find a really good deal on a used brace, I might give it a shot.
 

·
Registered
2014 Outback 3.6R
Joined
·
77 Posts
I couldn't find the part number Wallyo mentions but I've installed the STI Flexible front tower brace and had similar experience. Subtle, but occasionally very noticeable. A great compliment to the 19mm sway bar. I would describe the handling as "more controlled and predictable" rather than "smoother". I've had a couple of opportunities to get sort of aggressive and am pleased to report that the Outback responds right up to the limits of the tires. That wasn't the case before the upgrades. The wonkiness that many of us have noticed simply driving on an ordinary road is gone. I'm the sort of driver who wants something to happen when I turn the steering 1 inch, and nothing to happen if I don't. I'm sure the design enhancements were on purpose to improve the off road experience but many of us spend 99% plus of our driving time on pavement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I couldn't find the part number Wallyo mentions but I've installed the STI Flexible front tower brace and had similar experience. Subtle, but occasionally very noticeable. A great compliment to the 19mm sway bar. I would describe the handling as "more controlled and predictable" rather than "smoother". I've had a couple of opportunities to get sort of aggressive and am pleased to report that the Outback responds right up to the limits of the tires. That wasn't the case before the upgrades. The wonkiness that many of us have noticed simply driving on an ordinary road is gone. I'm the sort of driver who wants something to happen when I turn the steering 1 inch, and nothing to happen if I don't. I'm sure the design enhancements were on purpose to improve the off road experience but many of us spend 99% plus of our driving time on pavement.
STI FLEXIBLE TOWER BAR F For LEGACY B4 (BN) SG517AL100 STI FLEXIBLE TOWER BAR F For LEGACY B4 (BN) SG517AL100
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top