Front strut tower bar Q? - 2004 to 2016 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
Fastlane
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Front strut tower bar Q?

Hey there!
Just a newb question here. Would it be beneficial to install a front strut tower bar on a stock Mazda3? Meaning no suspension mods.. Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 01:44 PM
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From the many who have already done their mods, their close-to-unanimous recommendation that a better first mod is a larger rear sway bar (RSB), and the majority who have done the latter, have installed the Progress RSB and been happy with it. And to be fair, the minority who have installed the stiffer Corksport RSB have also been very happy with it.

After doing that, some have gone on to install the tower strut base, with many happy, however some not thrilled with the consequent greater NVH.

If you want more info, you can use the red search icon (top right of screen), and find many, many threads on these subjects.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 02:10 PM
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Agreed. The front brace would add chassis support. But the MZ3, like just about any FWD car, will tend to understeer when driven hard. The simplest way to neutralize this tendency is to stiffen the rear. This is why the RSB is so popular.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 04:46 PM
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I have not yet installed my rear bar but I did buy it first. I will be installing my front bar when I get home "I hope"
if not today tomorrow. so if I think about it I will post again about any difference before adding the rear bar.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastlane View Post
Hey there!
Just a newb question here. Would it be beneficial to install a front strut tower bar on a stock Mazda3? Meaning no suspension mods.. Thanks!
I'm with everyone here. A RSB is more bang for the buck. Chassis bracing does work if you have a lot of it but with just a single bar it won't make a noticeable difference at all (if any).

Besides most STB are for looks anyways.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 09:21 PM
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To the contrary, I noticed a difference when I mounted my Tanabe STB. A tighter, more precise feeling to the front end & turning. However, it was nowhere near the difference that the Progress RSB made in the rear. That was a night & day improvement! Probably the single best mod you can do to these cars.

I think adding both makes for a great combo package to improve handling, but start with the RSB if you're on a budget.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-01-2017, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawk94 View Post
I'm with everyone here. A RSB is more bang for the buck. Chassis bracing does work if you have a lot of it but with just a single bar it won't make a noticeable difference at all (if any).

Besides most STB are for looks anyways.
Sway bars and shock tower bars are two different things for two different purposes. The sway bar stiffens the rear suspension, reducing body roll and changing how the car handles. The result is less understeer and more front grip.
The front tower brace keeps the suspension parts in proper alignment by securing the upper mounts together at a fixed distance. When the upper mounts are not tied together, they can move independently, especially if the car has Macpherson struts. When this happens the tires can lose grip from camber changes. Just think of it as a rigid box with one side missing. Without the top, the two vertical sides move independently and can flop around. Add the top section and it is a much stronger structure, not nearly as prone to move around. Some cars benefit from this, some not so much. The 3 seems to be one of the cars that does.

Last edited by arathol; 03-01-2017 at 09:45 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 12:57 AM
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Another very good thread with lots of good, reasoned information. Thank you. I, like most, believe in working on handling issues one mod at a time, rather than throwing a bunch of mods together at the same time, hoping they work well together.

I have so much to learn, with still only one hour experience spiritedly driving a Mazda 3 on a curvy road.

I am immediately changing to a set of Michelin Pilot Sports A/S 3+'s, and as they have stiffer sidewalls than the OEM Dunlops, and as the A/S 3+'s are known for quick turn in, will try those out for a while, if necessary trying minor tire pressure adjustments to see how happy I then am with tires being my only initial handling change.

However, if I still want quicker turn in/less understeer, the next step would be the Progress RSB's (in their less firm setting). And if I want more improvement, will lastly add the Tanabe strut tower brace/bar, but I am not trying to change this car to an autocrosser/sports car circuit racer, just a "big fun" curvy country corner driver.

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Last edited by Road Trip; 03-02-2017 at 01:00 AM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Trip View Post



However, if I still want quicker turn in/less understeer, the next step would be the Progress RSB's (in their less firm setting). And if I want more improvement, will lastly add the Tanabe strut tower brace/bar, but I am not trying to change this car to an autocrosser/sports car circuit racer, just a "big fun" curvy country corner driver.
The Progress bar works much better on the full stiff setting. The outer setting is not much more than stock. Don't forget to upgrade the sway bar end links.
If you are going to get a tower brace, go with the one piece Autoexe bar. The Tanabe is ok but is a multi piece that still allows movement. The single piece bar just works better.
You'll get better turn in from the strut bar than the RSB also.
I think you will find there is a fine line between an autox/circuit car and canyon carver street car.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2017, 02:19 PM
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A solid one piece alternative to the autoexe is a speedline front strut bar less than $100 bucks, and it indeed makes a diffdrence in handling not that much tho, probably just about 20% more predictable handling and on corners doesnt wobble that much.

The progress rsb is very good and reduces the understeer which makes you feel secure, better planted and faster in corners. I bought it from thmotorsports 139 dlls
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