I’ve know chassis bracing was in the Hi-C’s future since about 2 miles into owner ship. I made the mistake on my IS300 or running Tein HA Coilovers with really stiff spring rates, and not enough bracing soon enough. It caused the car to flex and eventually rattle and squeak. I don’t want to do that to this one.
I’ve already added the Cusco mid brace and have actually had these other pieces on order since before that with Cusco USA. These finally came in on the stock order and were then shipped up to me.
Both look like quality pieces, and both come instructions that you probably won’t be able to read. There are pictures though! Since I was prepping the other cars for a show my time was a bit limited so I only had a chance to install the strut brace so far.
To give a really quick how to…..
Pop off the nut covers on the windshield wipers with a small flat blade screwdriver.
Remove the nuts, and either mark or remember where the wipers sit. Release the spring tension on the wiper arm then remove.
Next the two side plastic trim pieces come off. There are three clips holding them in place. If you pop them up gently on the inside, the the entire piece should slide towards the center and release from the third clip.
The center plastic is held down by several tabs which can be released by looking underneath it.
Then you have a whole lot of little screws with 10mm heads to remove to get the windshield wiper motor and shielding out of the way.
At that point you should be stripped down to the above image.
To install the brace itself, you will need to jack the car up, and a second set of hands won’t hurt things either! Those little half moon shaped holders with the studs in them get fished up from the bottom and go through the existing holes in the chassis. They are a little tricky to fish through, but they do fit with out removing anything to do with the strut. Do not tighten the first side all the way until the second side is started.
Once you have everything started tighten it all up and re-install all of those metal and plastic bits you removed to get the brace in place to start with. That little plastic coil will go around the wiring for the wiper motor and protect it where it will want to rub the brace. I removed the wiring stay all together for the wiper motor, but it might be possible to leave it in place.
Initial impressions are that it is blue and shinny and matches my Blitz Intake and front Toyota badge perfectly! So a big thumbs up in the rice factor department. Initial driving impressions are wow! I wish it wasn’t such a hassle to get a brace like this in the US. I would have done this thing almost a year ago when I got the car. The front feels noticeably more stable. Both when dealing with rough roads and potholes, not that there are any of those around here. When pushing hard into a corner the car seems to stay much flatter. Honestly I’ll be really surprised if the under brace can make things feel even better, but I’m excited to find out.
I did give the under brace a quick look in comparison to the bottom of the car, but I haven’t removed the undercover to test fit yet. My previous experience tells me that I’ll probably need to modify the undercover to even come close to keeping it in place. We will see shortly though. This is next on my list to get installed.