Well that was a massive ball ache of a job! By far the hardest job done on the car so far.
The top brace wasn’t too bad to fit but the front ARB was hell! Took me 8 hours to replace the front ARB.
TOP BRACE INSTALL
Fairly straight forward but needed a bit of leverage to get all 4 bolts in. If you attach the brace to the mounts before installing it you then don’t have access to the 2 rear coilover bolts to torque them up. Took a bit of fettling but got there in the end.
TOP BRACE VERDICT
Took car for a spin and can’t say I really noticed any difference on the road. I’m sure it will on the track.
What a bloody horrible job that was! 16 years of rust meant there was no way I was getting those drop-links off in one piece.
Here’s my attempt at bracing the Allen key against the bottom of the suspension and then using 2 spanners and a hammer to hit the top spanner to free up the nut. Got the nut about half way off before rounding out the inside of the Allen head. Only option left was to cut it off with an angle grinder.
You watch all these YouTube videos and they remove and replace the ARB without removing any of the plastic cowling under the car. Not a chance!! Drove myself mad trying to get the ARB out and gave up in the end and removed all the plastic that was in the way. If you read the Haynes manual it tells you to not only remove the plastic but also remove the bottom mounts to the radiators which then drop back an inch to give you more room. I had to do that as well in the end in order to get the new bigger ARB in. As you can see, the new one is quite a bit bigger. It also weighs about 3x as much which doesn’t help when trying to feed it through the chassis on your own.
Trying to pre-load the links with the car on the ground wasn’t too tricky. Drop the car on to a couple of 6x4 bits of timber gave me the clearance needed to get under the car and adjust the pre-loads.
Several cuts, bruises later and overall, very happy with the result: (yes I know its not locked in the photo )
FRONT ARB VERDICT
Wow! Now THAT made a massive difference
Steering feels so much more direct especially when cornering hard around 30-40mph Steering actually feels lighter too. No understeer so far but not really pushed it that hard on the road. Even so, there is a noticeable improvement over the stock ARB. Not as big an improvement as going from stock shocks to coilovers, but a definite improvement. Very happy with this mod and can’t wait to see how it performs on track.
Another ball ache of a job. Had to cut both drop-links off with an angle grinder. Totally rusted up:
Always expected the rear to be an easier job due to access and it only took a couple of hours.
REAR ARB VERDICT
The front one made SUCH a difference that it’s hard to tell how much of an affect the new rear one have over the old ones. Again, time on the track should tell.
Right now both the front and rear are set on the softest settings. I had a chat with the guys at Bofi Racing and that was their recommendation. The front ARB is such a big upgrade that they reckon you don’t need to go any harder than the softest setting on the front. Go too hard on the front and the car can become skittish when cornering. Rear setting - lets wait and see how balanced the car is on track. I like a well balanced car over a front or rear biased setting so will see how they perform.
Track day on Aug 30th so very excited now to get out there and give it a good test!