Date Added: Sunday 08 May, 2005
I bought the front and rear chassis braces at the same time after reading all the reviews on here, many of which promised me a "different car" with regards to chasssis rigidity, scuttle shake and general comfort, as well as a further improvement in handling. I have a 1991 1.6 with no factory bracing. Since buying it I have fitted Eibach springs and KYB AGX adjustable shock absorbers as well as a 4 point roll cage which noticeabley improved the chassis rigidity.
Installation was relatively simple, with the rear brace going on in literally in 10 minutes. The front took about 45 minutes as it was much more fiddly. I found jacking the car up and turning the wheels useful to give improved access, although it could be done without jacking, particularly if your car is at standard ride height. What you need to make this part of the job much easier is a very thin 17 open end spanner! I didn't have one of these and had to use a pair of thin-nosed pliers to grip the bolt - very fiddly.
So, the installation went pretty well...however...if you're buying these to increase comfort and reduce shake, I wouldn't bother! The car rattles and bumps just as much as ever over broken road surfaces and is not a jot more comfortable. This is with my dampers set as soft as possible (apparently 5% or so softer than standard shocks with the AGX's!).
I was initially very disappointed as I felt like I'd wasted my money. However (again!)...the improvement to roadholding when cornering is fantastic. Turn-in seems more incisive, hitting broken road surfaces whilst cornering doesn't upset the car as much as it used to and, if you really provoke the car when throwing it into a turn, it'll hold a controlled slide rather than trying to spin and then understeering when trying to correct (this tested in work's car park I hasten to add!). Great fun :)
I appreciate that many of the reviews refer to later cars that have already got a lot of chassis bracing in place, so maybe on those, this is the final key to making the ride more comfortable, but if you're fitting to an unbraced mk1, then please bear in mind that the benefit to fitting is in cornering and handling rather than comfort and ride quality.
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]