Cusco arm brace impressions.

Suspension and other discussion

Cusco arm brace impressions.

Postby Simba » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:17 pm

Well, I hunted one down and put it on today. And, like everyone else, forgot to take any photos while doing so. :twisted:

Anyway, installation notes:

For those who don't know, these things bolt between the front lower control arm nuts and two bolts on the control arm pin brackets. It effectively anchors the front of the control arms together, then ties them into the subframe. I recall someone said at one point that the brace tied into the sway bar mounts-- it doesn't, fortunately.

Although the instructions that are included are in japanese, there's a diagram that makes it fairly straight forward. You simply remove the two stay bolts, then the two front control arm bolts, and install the brace.

The 14mm stay bolts are easy. The 22mm control arm nuts are not. The torque spec for these nuts is 156 ft. lbs. In reality, there's a good chance that these have never been off many cars, and may have a good deal more torque. Mine wouldn't budge even with my ~300 ft. lb. impact gun. I resorted to putting a 18" breaker bar on each bolt, laying under the car, and kicking the bar with both feet. They eventually broke loose. Very not fun.

Anyway, with the nuts off, you can put the brace on, which brings us to fitment issues:

Once again, I get to say that a 3" exhaust is too big for the AT. I haven't finished my 2.75" system yet, and am still using the 3" motoria. And, surprise, the brace fouls on the midpipe. There just isn't physically enough space between the oil pan and all the crossmember stuff to properly run a 3" midpipe. I'd say the way to go in this area would be to use a split section of 2" or 2.5" pipe, with channels welded into it to give you the flow you need if you're running 400+ horse.

But anyway, mine rubs, so I'll be pounding on it some one of these days to get the necessary clearance.

The second fitment issue has to do with the control arm nuts. With the brace on, the arm pins are at the outmost position in the oval holes in the brace. This makes it effectively impossible to get the nuts on. However, putting a bit of pressure on the middle of the brace with a floor jack allows you to get the nuts on fairly easily. I recommend tightening them up to ~50 ft. lbs before removing the jack if you have this issue, so the ends don't move back to the original position when you torque the nuts.

Driving impressions:

I'll start off by saying that the cusco brace is second only to my Teins in an all out improvement in handling. The front end is much tighter with better feedback. However, the difference is not immediately apparent when driving normally. In fact, when I started out driving with it, I'd resigned that I had just blown $200 bucks and two hours of my life for no real reason.

Then I got the car sideways changing lanes. It used to be that with the Teins and whiteline rear sway bar, I could crank hard on the wheel to a point and it would just turn. Beyond that point, however, and it would shimmy somewhat and generally be unhappy. With the brace on, I can yank on the wheel as much as I want and it just turns, until the tail comes out anyway.

So, highly recommended, but if you're running a 3" exhaust, be prepared to give it some love with a BFH.

Edit: Now w/ pic.

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Last edited by Simba on Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lots of fast, loud things.
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Postby smog7 » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:48 pm

sounds nice. where did you end up getting it from?
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Postby BanhBaoBao » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:52 pm

Hmm are you taking about this brace?
http://www.bulletproofautomotive.com/ca ... hp?ID=1744
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Postby Simba » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:57 pm

BanhBaoBao wrote:Hmm are you taking about this brace?


Yup, though that isn't the correct one pictured.

I got mine from turbowholesale.com, who had them in stock. At my door in three days or so.

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Postby BanhBaoBao » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:13 pm

Nice iwas thinking of picking one up also.

Any installed pics?
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Postby exST165 » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:03 am

Thanks for the write up! Any chance you can take some photos of it installed? I haven't seen any braces for a ST165 so buying one off the shelf doesn't seem like an option, I would like to see exactly where all the mounting points that you describe are.

TIA,
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Postby Sifu » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:26 pm

Glad you got it on and damn thanks for clarifying the clearance issue. I'll be running a 3in exhaust system and dammit this really dampers things.

*cough cough* I can get some discounts at Nukabe Autoparts (Cusco dealer). I got mine for $120 shipped but I can't promise that for everyone...
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Postby CMS-GT4 » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:50 pm

I think I got mine for 125 from roo. There was one on ebay for around 100. I think 140 was the bulletproof price when I bought mine.
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Re: Cusco arm brace impressions.

Postby db » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:31 pm

Simba wrote:I'd say the way to go in this area would be to use a split section of 2" or 2.5" pipe, with channels welded into it to give you the flow you need if you're running 400+ horse.


Here's a couple alternatives for you. www.drgas.com has some fun stuff. They supply materials for NASCAR and other racing venues where clearances aren't forgiving.

Frame clearanced tubing
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Oval tubing
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Re: Cusco arm brace impressions.

Postby Sifu » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:41 pm

db wrote:
Simba wrote:I'd say the way to go in this area would be to use a split section of 2" or 2.5" pipe, with channels welded into it to give you the flow you need if you're running 400+ horse.


Here's a couple alternatives for you. www.drgas.com has some fun stuff. They supply materials for NASCAR and other racing venues where clearances aren't forgiving.

Frame clearanced tubing
Image

Oval tubing
Image

Nice! Just curious? I assume a circular pipe would yeild better than an oval pipe for flow or am I wrong as long as the diameter is the same?
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Postby db » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:24 pm

As long as the interior of the piping is smooth (and not square), the oval will flow just as well as a circular pipe with the same volume.

Round shapes are just easier and cheaper to make, thus more common. I was looking into this stuff when I was considering doing a custom side exit. I dropped the idea when I realized the Motoria exhausts were about the same price as just the oval piping + muffler combo that I was looking into. Besides, the oval exhaust tips struck me as too Mustang-ish to work well on a Celica.
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Re: Cusco arm brace impressions.

Postby Simba » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:56 pm

db wrote:Here's a couple alternatives for you.


The problem with those pieces is that they're straight, and the area where the midpipe (and the area above the rear crossmember) is an issue isn't. I suppose you could hack and weld it using a plethora of angles, but that's pretty mickey mouse.

I'll be using mandel bent pipe on my new system, then cut it and expand it with sheet metal strips. That should accomplish the clearance and flow goals without looking like a run-over straw.

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Postby darthripley » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:13 pm

Simba could you please post pics of it installed on your car?

I'm actually suprised to hear it made that much of a difference to be prefectly honest.
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Postby Simba » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:43 pm

Yeah, I'll take some this weekend when I rip the exhaust apart and give it some love. :shoots:

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Postby toayoztan » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:54 pm

Simba wrote:Yeah, I'll take some this weekend when I rip the exhaust apart and give it some love. :shoots:


Simba, do you still need the dimensions for that bolt? LoL (yeah long time, huh?) In any case, I still plan on getting that to you by this weekend - as the weekend looks a little more promising for warmer sunny weather.

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