CarLab X-Brace Review – 05 STI

After spending plenty money on go fast mods I decided it’s time to spend some money on making my car handle better. It seems most people tend to start with sway bars, struts, or springs so I started looking into those a bit more. After giving these options some thought, I decided sway bars would be the better choice since they aren’t too expensive and would be an easy install. I went to the ‘for sale’ forums at IWSTI¬†looking for some sway bars and noticed a group buy for the CarLab X-Brace.

I didn’t know much about the x-brace but when I clicked on the thread I saw lots of very positive comments about this brace. I did a site search for the x-brace and even more info came up on how wonderful this mod is and some people were saying this was the perfect first suspension mod for them. The price was about the same as getting both front and rear sway bars and it sounded like I would get more benefit from the brace so I decided to join the group buy and bought the brace.

Before I explain the tricky install process, I do want to say that CarLabs customer service is superb. I ended up cross-threading the turnbuckle to one of the poles and when I gave CarLabs a call they immediately shipped me out a replacement free of charge! If I ever need something else for my car, I’ll make sure to check if they make it first. Ok, back to the install. When I first tried to install the parts I didn’t use anti-seize on the turnbuckle and while I was tightening one side I seized the threads. I talked to Andrew at CarLab on the phone¬†and his thought was maybe there was some residue in the pole and when I screwed the turnbuckle in it cause the resistance which led to the cross-threading.

After I received the replacement parts I tried this install again. This time, I read some info from others who installed the brace and followed their instructions. One guy (and these are the instructions I followed) recommended test fitting the brace on the car before trying to install it because in his case the bottom bolt hole on the brace didn’t line up to the car frame. I did as he said and found out I too had the same issue. I had to burrow a dremel tool from a friend to make the hole larger and then everything fit correctly.

The install took my friend and I about 2 hours after we fixed the hole with the dremel. Over all it wasn’t too bad, there were just parts we had to keeping tinkering with to get things to align correctly. After the install I reattached my seat belts, reinstalled my back seat, and went for a drive. My first impression was I could definitely feel the back end tighter. The feeling of the back end wanting to slide out during a turn is not there anymore. I’ve only had about a week of driving around with this on the car so I haven’t had a chance to really test it out but so far I’m happy with the results. My only issue so far is I hear slight vibration in the back some times. I’ll probably take out my seats and make sure everything looks right this or next weekend. I do know the poles are really close to the frame of the car so maybe during a turn they end up touching? I’ll have to do more investigating.

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