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View Full Version : Strut Tower Braces as an OEM Option?


ProfChaos
10-19-2005, 11:11 PM
This question reveals my status as a "novice" in Cobra land, at least as far as the history of the "4.6 Modular" Cobra goes, but I can't seem to get a straight answer from any of the Ford used car salespersons with whom I've talked, so I forward the question here. [btw Have you ever noticed that visiting this message board tends to make you much more informed on Cobras than those who are trying to sell you one?] ;)

Here goes: It's my understanding (maybe I've been misinformed) that "Lorena," my '96 Cobra, came from the factory with a special-order, OEM add-on of strut tower braces and lower torsion bars.

Is this the mysterious "tuned suspension" I've seen mentioned when I do a Google search for "Mustang Cobra options"?

If it is indeed an OEM add-on, is the nomenclature for the strut tower brace/lower torsion bar option "the Cobra-R Suspension Package," (as distinct from the Cobra-R <I>full</I> package--that was actually a race car [in '95 and '00] with fire extinguisher and no back seat)?

Was the strut tower brace/torsion bar option available after circa '95-'96, and is it still available on the supercharged '03-'04 Cobras, with their larger engine height?

If it was indeed a factory option from '95-present, can one still buy the strut tower braces/lower torsion bars from Ford, or does one have to go to aftermarket companies to replicate on newer models what I believe actually came as a factory add-on on my '96 Cobra?

I'm about to be blessed in a <I>big</I> way and have thus been kicking tires on '03-'04 supercharged Cobras--would like a "garage queen" for Sunday afternoon drives and for flirting with the ladies. :D However, I will <I>not</I> get a supercharged Cobra (except for an '07 Shelby GT500--for obvious reasons) if I cannot add strut tower braces, as Lorena the '96 Cobra absolutely <I>kills</I> in the corners--handles better than a BMW. :bounce:

Thanks for your help.
--Professor Chaos

03slidewayzSVT
10-20-2005, 12:40 AM
03,04 cobras do not come from factory with brace but there are many companys that do make them for 03,04 cobra's. I'm going to buy one soon for my car.

dewone
10-20-2005, 07:55 AM
No it's not the tuned suspension. It was a factory installed brace upper and lower 96-98. It may be in the cobra R's also. The braces tie the towers togather to reduce body flex while cornering.

smashedheadcat
10-20-2005, 09:48 AM
96 and 97 cobras came with strut tower braces. The 98's did not.

cobrabitn
10-20-2005, 08:29 PM
What Josh said...not on the 98's however, they, the 98's like the 94-95's have the holes predrilled for the factory brace so it is a simple bolt in task. :thumbsup:

tcrews
10-20-2005, 09:57 PM
96 and 97 cobras came with strut tower braces. The 98's did not.
Like Josh said....'96 and '97 Cobras came with the strut tower brace as a factory stock piece, not optional in any way.

They dropped it in '98 (penny pinching) and in reality it's not doing that much for anything (handling, strength, etc...). Looks nice though... :)

ausie
10-22-2005, 09:22 AM
I noticed that the 01 SVT did not have the holes (not certain about the 99's) and the 03/04's are lacking said factory mounting holes as well.

ProfChaos
10-27-2005, 11:36 PM
No it's not the tuned suspension. It was a factory-installed brace upper and lower 96-98. It may be in the Cobra-R's also. The braces tie the towers together to reduce body flex while cornering.

The strut tower brace did come as standard equipment in the '95 Cobra-R, but the 2000 Cobra-R didn't come with one: I saw both a '95 Cobra-R and a 2000 Cobra-R for sale on eBay this evening, and the open-hood JPEG photo posted with the eBay listing for the '95 Cobra-R shows the same bloomin' three-point strut tower brace as is on my '96 Cobra, and the open-hood JPEG photo posted with the 2000 Cobra-R doesn't show a three-point strut tower brace. ..I guess that the cost-saving plan went all the way to the top after '98. :)


I find it difficult to believe that the three-point strut tower brace doesn't make that much of a difference in cornering, as I remember reading in a Car and Driver review for the '05 Mustang GT that the pre-'05 Mustang GT is notorious for uni-body flex in corners and that they've toned that down a bit with the '05 Mustang GT.

Perhaps the big difference in eliminating uni-body flex for the pre-'05 Mustang comes from adding a Steeda or Kenny Bell subframe kit. I'm anal-retentive about stuff like that and--presuming that I buy the '03 convertible on which I've been kicking tires--will still add the three-point strut tower brace (and the subframe kit) when I have the suspension lowered. Anyway, like tcrews says, whether or not it makes a big difference, the three-point brace looks really cool! :)

(Unless I truly go off the rails and spend big money for an '07 Shelby GT500, I've decided to supplement my collection of tricked-out vehicles by adding an '03 convertible as a "garage queen." ...Test-drove a very pretty silver '03 convertible today [10K miles, new car smell and all]...Whew, doggies! that was fun!...I hope it's still in stock when I'm ready to buy.) :)

BTW, Steeda makes a three-point strut tower brace for the '03, and it seems to have the same mounting points as the brace on my '96 (three bolt holes at the front of each of the strut towers, two bolt holes at the fire wall).

Steeda claims the following regarding the two-point and three-point strut tower brace for the '03 Cobra:

"Reduce strut tower flex, improve handling and stiffen the chassis with this 4130 moly alloy strut tower brace. Two-point brace ties strut towers together; three-point triangulates with added firewall mount for maximum stiffness. Both have been engineered by Steeda to clear the Cobra supercharger without compromising performance."

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**MSRP $119.95 for two-point; $149 for three-point**
Steeda Home Page (http://www.steeda.com/)
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cheers,
Professor Chaos

ProfChaos
10-28-2005, 10:43 PM
BTW, Steeda makes a three-point strut tower brace for the '03, and it seems to have the same mounting points as the brace on my '96 (three bolt holes at the front of each of the strut towers, two bolt holes at the fire wall).

Steeda claims the following regarding the two-point and three-point strut tower brace for the '03 Cobra:

"Reduce strut tower flex, improve handling and stiffen the chassis with this 4130 moly alloy strut tower brace. Two-point brace ties strut towers together; three-point triangulates with added firewall mount for maximum stiffness. Both have been engineered by Steeda to clear the Cobra supercharger without compromising performance."

---
**MSRP $119.95 for two-point; $149.95 for three-point**
Steeda Home Page (http://www.steeda.com/)
---


Thought I'd follow-up by adding that it seems to me--just eyeing things up--that several of the cold-air intakes that I've seen--especially the big, flashy, polished monsters--would likely prevent one from adding the Steeda three-point strut tower brace; some cold air intakes would obstruct the area of deflection for the three-point strut tower brace. (It's a fairly tight squeeze between an OEM supercharger/aftermarket supercharger and the Steeda three-point strut tower brace.) Even so, cold air intakes with clearances identical to or very close to the OEM intake should be fine; and, there's always the K&N filtercharger as an alternative to CAI: Those thinking of adding the strut tower brace but not wanting to eliminate intake mods might consider that the K&N filtercharger does match OEM specs, as it fits into the OEM air box. :cool:

cheers,
Professor Chaos

blackandblown
10-29-2005, 06:57 PM
On my 96 I took mine off for good. Got tired of unbolting it everytime you wanted to do anything to the car. Its a huge pain to get to the bolts on the inside. I have had it off for a while now and havent noticed any difference. I have thought of having the bolts welded in place on the inside....that would make install and removal so much easier.