Strut tower brace on '99 Accord

My mechanic is telling me he needs to compress the springs and pull the struts to add an Acura TL strut tower brace to my Accord: Should I find a new mechanic?

--

"...Luigi follow only the Ferraris."

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Luigi Topolino wrote:

yes. the weight of the car holds the towers in place. only need to remove the nuts and bolt on from what i can see.
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Yes
On 4/7/07 1:26 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

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On Sat, 07 Apr 2007 13:06:50 -0700, jim beam

That's what I figured, thank you both.
Anyone know what the strut top mounting nuts should be torqued to?
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Luigi Topolino wrote:

not offhand, but i /do/ know that the real-deal honda workshop manual will be the most useful single thing you ever buy for this vehicle. you can get it online at helm.com.
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On Mon, 09 Apr 2007 22:03:52 -0700, jim beam

Well, I guess I should, but I don't intend to be its full time wrench: I just want to get the brace in this weekend.
Then sway bars from Intrax next week. Then maybe H&R OE Sport springs, if need be.
I'm not trying to turn the thing into something it's not, I do need to get it to turn in sharply and stop rolling over on its front tires at speed.
Do these things even have any front sway bar as stock (LX).
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"...Luigi follow only the Ferraris."

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Luigi Topolino wrote:

dude, you need to look at the oem equipment before installing aftermarket stuff like that. these have sway bars as standard - and honda know more about the roll characteristics of their vehicles than some of these aftermarket monkeys and their "drill to fit" aftermarket kits.
as for springs, the ones you mention will lower you about 20mm. if you want looks, most people won't notice 20mm. if you want handling, you're better off spending the money on decent rubber. better yet, buy a civic or integra - accords are too big heavy to be messing about with this stuff.
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On Wed, 11 Apr 2007 05:56:30 -0700, jim beam

...If it does, they're made of linguini.
The car could be used to plow snow it understeers so poorly. Stiffer sway bars will most dramatically lessen the plow with the least increase in straightline ride harshness.

Honda didn't expect me to drive the thing 40miles a day.

I do not. I want it to stop understeering like a pig. I will entertain any suggestions.

I think a 20mm reduction in cg and roll centers would do a world of good, without costing me any tooth fillings over NYC highways.
They're only a consideration at this point anyway, after I stiffen the chassis and tighten the roll characteristic.
And the last thing I need to do is scrape the crap out of even more expensive tires: The thing corners on the outside front sidewall. I can only imagine what it will be like with both tires working.

I had an Integra, 1992 3-foor LS 5-spd, from new for 13 years. I still miss it.
This is now the horse I rode in on, my commuter for the next few years, and it needs to be stiffer if I'm not to be miserable.
I thank you for your input.
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"...Luigi follow only the Ferraris."

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Luigi Topolino wrote:

buy why spend all this time and effort on an accord? get a prelude if you want accord running gear.

is that a lot or a little for you? i drove 1000 miles this weekend with my oe springed and sway-barred civic. would that be a problem for you?

then there's something wrong with your car. you need to examine the bushings, the shocks, and most of all, steering geometry front and rear. it's /very/ common for alignment shops to set with too much front toe-in - it accelerates tire wear and makes the steering "easy".

1. if you can notice 20mm difference in ride height handling, god bless you. 2. if you think h&r oe sport springs, which are considerably stiffer at the rear, are /not/ going to cost you fillings, god bless you.

get the alignment set right.

so why can't you commute in an integra? "2ner" parts are much more available.

for what it's worth, i've got several different civic sway bar sets in my garage, and i've messed about with this stuff extensively. yes, sway bars can be great, and by and large, i'm a supporter of their use. but they definitely make for harsher straight line ride, and some of the aftermarket stuff is garbage. most of the ricer kiddiez for example use over-stiff rears and weak floppy fronts under the mis-impression that the over-steer this causes allows them to corner faster. it doesn't - particularly when it causes one of the rears to lift as you will see at any race track where these kiddiez mess about on the weekends.
bottom line, use sway bars that are appropriate for the vehicle - this means appropriate to the weight distribution front and rear, and which match the springs. for an accord, this means either using sway bars from an acura or from a prelude. aftermarket stuff is usually inappropriate and "designed" by people that don't know hondas well enough. get the steering geometry set correctly - that's thrust and front and rear toe - it's 4 wheel adjustable on the 99 accord. i have the rears set per the book and the fronts set to zero toe. with decent rubber, it corners like its on rails and i have stock sway bars. look into shocks as well. some of the high end aftermarkets can affect cornering substantially. bilsteins are great for improving steering response on the front, but your passengers will complain if they're on the rear as they're a bit harsh. i prefer kyb agx if i need to play with my suspension, kyb gr2's for normal road use.
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On Wed, 11 Apr 2007 20:12:25 -0700, jim beam

I have the Accord. Other than high speed cornering it's a great car. I don't have either the time or inclination to become a used car trader right now, and in the foreseeable future I intend to performance mod a 70s Alfa and will want and need a reliable commuter.

Not a lot (and one way), in a car that can turn.

There's nothing wrong with the car, just miserable. It's been looked at: It plows. It wasn't engineered for me.

Not to be rude but, if you can't, you shouldn't be advising me.

Again, they're the last ditch option, and if they offend me I'll ditch them.

My concern is not alignment related, it's roll stiffness related.

Because I have an Accord.

There is no shortage of Accord parts for my intention.

They have no appreciable effect on dual side bumps such as expansion joints.

I'm not them and that's not my intention.
Do you have any direct experience with Intrax?

My car wouldn't corner on rails if I dropped onto train tracks.

Bottom line: I'm "stuck" with the Accord for a couple of years. I don't enjoy it's high speed turning characteristics. I don't want to spend a fortune nor become a slave to the tool box.
1.1) Chassis brace from a TL. Forget what I paid, ~$150 1.2) Sway bars from Intrax, 27mm front, 19mm rear, existing mounting points. ~$250 plus $60labor
Then, maybe, mildly lower it with stiffer springs.
~$750, and should get the job done.
Thanks
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"...Luigi follow only the Ferraris."

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Luigi Topolino wrote:

it'll still plow with sway bars if you don't address the problem. the body won't roll as much at the same time, but it'll still plow.

er, i'm speaking from experience dude. sorry if i'm not telling you what you want to hear. you'll notice the difference of the stiffer rears, but that's not the same as height-affected roll dynamics.

you said "it plows". that's an alignment and tire problem, not a roll stiffness problem. sway bars can't make you corner faster because they don't keep more rubber on the road. all they can really do is affect the body roll dynamics, especially in fast transitions.

but it's big and heavy. big and heavy means poorer cornering - basic physics.

not true. almost no bump, let alone expansion joint, is same height both sides. if it's not, then the sway bar /is/ doing to affect the straight line ride.

so why fit aftermarket equipment?

no, i have experience with a bunch of different ratings of honda and mugen sway bars.

then something's wrong! and it isn't the sway bars.

while you don't have to spend a fortune, you /do/ have to do work if you want to improve this vehicle.

prelude sh rear is 23mm - significantly stiffer.

what tires do you have?
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On Fri, 13 Apr 2007 21:50:33 -0700, jim beam

It does Not have an alignment problem, it has new Continental tires.

[!]
It's 600-800lbs lighter than a BMW 3series, about the same weight distribution. The BMW comes standard with wrist-sized sway bars.

Nonsense. Sway bars do not appreciably affect straightline ride, and the mm difference between left-right side expansion joint height is imperceptible.
You can't feel 20mm in ride height but 2mm on the road surface is dramatic to you?

Because the stock fitments are not to my satisfaction.

So why slag what you don't know?

What's wrong is it rolls over onto the outside front sidewall.

...So what? I don't car about Civics, Integras, or Preludes.

Thanks for your input.
--

"...Luigi follow only the Ferraris."

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wrote:

FWIW, I got a new F350 SD truck at work last year. It had Continental ContiTrack (sp?) tires and it had a big problem: when it hit any roughness, even a patch in the pavement, at freeway speeds the truck would shake wildly for about two seconds. I took it to Ford and they replaced all 4 tires with new identical tires... problem fixed. They said that was very common.
You can easily check the tire wear. Put a strip of masking tape from sidewall to sidewall on each front tire, then drive a mile or so on reasonably straight road and look at the wear pattern on the tape. The way the tape wears is the way the tires will wear.
If both outside edges are worn, the wheels are toed in too much. If both inside edges are worn, the wheels are toed out. If the wear is inconsistent from one tire to the other, or if the wear is okay and the feel is still screwy, you need to get an expert to figure out why. Camber and caster will affect the balance between stability and steering force. (Camber affects tire wear a lot less than you'd think; the tire wears like it was shaved evenly with a slight bevel - no edge wear.)
Mike
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Luigi Topolino wrote:

who says it doesn't have an alignment problem? what are the readings from your last alignment?
which model tire? [some continentals are abysmal.]

sway bars affect roll, not cornering - they don't affect the contact geometry.

and how much wider are the bmw tires??? and what's the quality difference? and what about the 5 series? you've got to compare like with like.

they do if the left/right bump is not exactly the same.

you need to drive in california some time!!! if we had millimeter differentials over here, we'd get out of the car and start kicking the tires so see if something was wrong if the road suddenly got that smooth on us.

20mm is ~10% of total travel, and within the sag of oem. if the spring ratings are the same, you'd not notice this above a small change in tire pressure difference.
and 2mm is /not/ a reasonable estimate of differential - it's more like 20mm, which you /do/ feel.

what's rating difference between what you're proposing and stock?

i'm not slagging what i don't know - i'm discussing what i /do/ know.
1. oem are more precise fit than aftermarket - that i know from messing with other people's sway bars. and 2. your aftermarket bars are not going to be stiffer than oem unless they're thicker.
that's why i discussed your oem options. mugen are suppliers to honda for race equipment.

and that's your problem - it's tires, not sway bars. there's no way that should be happening. a sway bar can't cure that - it doesn't affect the camber or scrub geometry - all it does is stop the body rolling relative to the road surface.

but you want equipment that fits! the oem i cited is stiffer than that aftermarket stuff you're talking about. and civics and integras have many more "upgrade" options available than accords.

is this car on a lease?
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On Sat, 14 Apr 2007 20:27:21 GMT, Luigi Topolino

Your stock '99 Accord will probably beat the mod'd Alfa around any street course, assuming equal horsepower, and the Accord will probably have more of that, too.
Newer Accords are even better, or would be on better than stock tires.
You may have to learn different driving technique. Yes, the Accords are front-heavy, and that never goes away entirely, but they are generations ahead on technology, and properly driven are vastly superior to those old Alfas, which couldn't even beat the old BMWs, I presume the new BMWs are also much improved.
OTOH, I've never thrown the Accords around at high speeds. I did throw my 1979 Alfetta all over the place, on its stock skinny tires. It slid around in well-balanced control, but that's NOT the same as making good time. Tire technology is much better now, among other things, than back then. What happens if you put modern tires on an old Alfa? I daresay something would crack, hear me now and believe me later. No finite element analysis then for cars, and it wasn't built or tested to those kinds of stresses. Even my 1979 was really just the very best 1959 technology available.
Wait, actually I did throw around a 1999 CL-6 a bit, a few years ago. It really wasn't happy, it seemed to me, it held the road, but there were funny creakings when I stopped, that discouraged further experimentation along those lines. Yes, the Alfa was happier at that sort of thing, but did NOT hold the road as well. More fun, but worse times.

Less weight difference than that, I think.
Aren't all BMW still rear-wheel drive and almost 50/50?
Betcha they come with lower profile tires, too.
List the numbers side by side, I have no idea which models you're thinking of.

Sounds like wrong tires. Have you tried lower profiles? What kind of turning are you doing, cranking it full over at 80mph? Hint - Accords aren't designed for that, BMWs, even street 3xx's, pretty much are (or were, I haven't followed them for 10+ years).
Does anybody rebuild Accords for high-speed racing? Fast and furious Civics, sure, tho I have no idea how good or bad those really are.
And you need this on your COMMUTER car?
My man, I'm still an Italophile at heart, but you're never going to make an Accord handle like an Enzo, ... which seem to be cracking up here in Los Angeles at an unacceptable frequency anyhow! Better trade the '99 for an old BMW, and be ready for major disappointment at how an old Alfa compares to either.
J.
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wrote:

I'm not 18.

I'll be looking for 180 out of the 2liter Alfa, easy, really; 10.4 Borgos, hot cams, big valves, header and Webers, should sound like half a 308. Accord's at 150 out of 2.3.
...Or I may go with a G1 S2000. I'd like to do the Alfa myself, thinking a year out either way.

I'd recommend my car highly to 98% of the public, I won't have another one when this is gone.

Looking for sound, feel and style, not an autocross racer.

Fun is the objective,

You're right, 3000 vs 3200 on an 1999 323, but the BMW is a cloth manual seat window crank unavailable stripper at that weight, in the real world the 328's about 3500.

Not 50/50. Very nose heavy, twitchy in the rain and useless in snow.

Rubber bands stretched over tuna cans. A significant percentage of BMW dealers' net profit derives from selling $1000 replacement wheels.

Not an option given the roads I drive. There is truly a bathtub sized pothole on my approach to the George Washington Bridge, for two weeks now.

60-ish.
Uninvolved cell-phone addled goat herders driving Town Cars, or princesses driving TSXs, are a constant hazard.

No they were not designed for that, but they can be modded to stiffen them up.

American Touring Car series.

Yes. Greater control and predictability are elements of dynamic safety, and improve this driver's satisfaction index.

I know an Accord will never turn in like a 355, but it could be and will be a good deal sharper and more stable.
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On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 15:11:33 GMT, Luigi Topolino

How is that relevant?

New Accords get 164 out of 2.4, and the area under the curve is much broader. And then there's the six! But glad to see you have the four.

Go test drive the new model. Seriously. You can feel the improved balance in two seconds. Just so you know.

I admit it, I bought the Alfa after hearing another one zip by me on the street in too low a gear, it sounded FANTASTIC! Oh, and the classy brochure! Stock Hondas have zero of that.

Yah. Well, an old Car & Driver recommended boy racers go out and buy an old VW Microbus, 66hp, you can play boy racer all day long, and nobody even knows it! Me, driving in modern Los Angeles, there is no fun. Sniff. Just TMC. Sniff.

You talking Accord coupe? OK, that's a little lighter, but don't they street at 3200, plus or minus air and such?

I had the wrong tires on my 87 Accord way back, it would practically roll off them turning the corner at 20mph. High profile, but putting on something like the then-stock Michelins that all went away. But seriously, if you want handling, sticking with high-profiles is going to be a serious limitation.

Do that in LA and you're a statistic, no matter the vehicle.

I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused.

I admit it, I'm older than I used to be. Time was I'd take any new car out and toss it around a few corners to see how it drifted, I learned that in (and before!) my Alfa. Now, if I have a high-speed emergency, I'm less prepared. Fortunately my car is MUCH better prepared. Looks like in five or ten years we'll have dynamic stability on new cars. In twenty we'll probably have complete autopilots, might be illegal to drive manually much after that, at least in the city. I miss the old Alfa, sort of, if not the scheduled maintenance bills.

I'll just envision you doing the Lincoln Tunnel like in Men In Black.
J.
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your best bang for the buck is front/rear anti sway bars. Suspension Techniques makes a nice set that requires no drilling, only existing bolt mounting points are used.
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Yes, I get that, thanks.

I'll have a look.
So far it seems Intrax is what I'm looking for, they do titanium shock sets for the F355, ffs!
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On Sat, 07 Apr 2007 18:26:08 GMT, Luigi Topolino

Took me all of 20minutes and that's because I rewound a cassette tape during the process.
The strut mount nuts aren't even used, there are two studs on each strut tower dedicated to the bar, stock Accord is a tubular bar from each tower to the cowl, the TL bar has a integrated additional tower-to-tower tube.
Those four, four nuts on the cowl and a bolt mounting the fuse box to the bar, and Bob's your Uncle.
Result is a palpable increase in structural rigidity and steering precision: I forget how much I paid, but the thing is great value for money.
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