Whiteline Rear Strut Brace for the GD STi

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Often times enthusiasts will purchase suspension parts for their cars, without thinking of the attached strings, such as added noise, vibration, and harshness. Or for some, they knew there will be added NVH once the part is installed, but the handling benefits outweigh the comfort factors. I happen to fall into this 2nd category myself, and figured I would post up a review of the Whiteline Rear Strut Brace for the GD STi.

Last year I installed RaceComp Engineering Tarmac 2 coilovers onto my car. These coilovers are great, and offer excellent adjustability, without sacrificing too much ride comfort. I drive the car with Tarmac 2’s on daily, and therefore have adjusted my struts to a comfortable setting. Often times people will categorize coilovers as making their cars feel stiffer. I think a better word to describe the Tarmac 2’s is “tighter“.

However, with this added performance other factors come into play, such as NVH. A few months after installing my coilovers, I began to notice a slight windshield creak, and it was only audible when going over driveways or slight inclines at an angle. So what did I do? I hopped onto IWSTI, and searched about the issue. Long story short, I wasn’t alone. Countless other members had experienced the same thing, and they all had one thing in common: They were all running coilovers.

A few members had posted about how they installed strut braces to help tighten up the upper strut tower areas of the car. Subaru enthusiasts often deem strut braces as an unnecessary mod, since the strut towers are so close to the firewall up front. Although this rule does not apply to the rear. Therefore, I decided to go ahead and order both front and rear Whiteline Strut Braces.

I ordered both front and rear Whiteline Strut Braces, along with a few other goodies all from Import Image Racing. Shipping was very fast, as everything arrived only a few days later.

I have PDE camber plates on the front of my car, with Cusco camber plates out back. I quickly learned that the tophat studs on the PDE plates up front weren’t long enough, and did not feature enough thread to securely tighten down the brace onto the car. I’ll save my stud-replacement front brace install adventure for another blog post, so stay tuned!

Installation:

Installation of the rear brace was fairly straightforward. I used the following process:

  1. Remove rear seats
  2. Remove 6 tophat studs with the car on the ground (3 on each side)
  3. Remove ends from center piece of the strut brace.
  4. Fit end pieces into place, and loosely thread tophat nuts back on by hand
  5. Adjust the brace’s center piece length as needed, and then fit it to the end pieces
  6. After proper fitment, tighten up the 6 tophat nuts
  7. You’re done!

Overall, the install went without a hitch. It should be noted that for step 5, I pretty much crawled into the trunk of the car, as it was my only option to get an up close view of things. Whiteline also mentions that you should not pre-load the strut brace. Therefore, I adjusted the length to where it was tight, and could no longer spin, and then loosened it 1 full turn. Either way, if the brace is properly fit into place, it’s going to work functionally, regardless of how stiff or lose it is. It should also be noted that the proper fitment of the brace is for the center piece to be parallel with the ground. (flat) This can be seen in the pictures below.

Initial Impressions:

After going out for a drive, I immediately noticed an improvement. My rear windshield creak was mostly gone, although I still had a few squeaks. I decided to fully wait on judgment until after installing my front strut brace as well. (To complete the pair)

Another improvement that I noticed is that the rear end of the car feels more planted and controlled. Shifting from side to side is virtually eliminated, which allows the rear struts to really take the hit when riding over bumps and such. (A good thing) With my Tarmac 2’s, I can hear a nice “psst-psst” sound, which is most likely coming from the strut’s external reservoirs.

I have yet to autocross with the new braces installed, however I do have an event this upcoming weekend. (Sunday) I’ll report back with race impressions in my comments section.

Overall, I definitely noticed a solid improvement from the Whiteline Rear Strut Brace. With a cost of only $169 for the Whiteline Rear Strut Brace, I highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for ways to improve their STi or WRX suspension.


I’ve included a gallery below with pictures from the install. I have not modified these pictures since taking them, therefore they are very high quality. (56k warning!)

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