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  #1  
Old 12-15-2007, 04:56 AM
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Strut Tower Brace? IS IT REALLY NEEDED?

Hi guys, I've been hearing about the braces and tried to cmpare the JCW's and M7's. For me, I drive my Mini S 99% on road but I do some little hard cornering. I was thinking of JCW's untill someone jumped in and told me about mushrooming and M7's technology. So finally, shall I go on for the JCW's and consider this add on as a bling? Or shall I go for M7 and try to use this add on as a future protection (provided that mushrooming is real issue).
Notes to clear the situation:
-Our roads are not that good and we do have bumps and holes.
-I want to keep my Mini 100% JCW and BMW. If I'll go for M7 it will be the first aftermarket product I install.
-My Mini is 06 with 11k miles now.

Please contribute your dieas and experience.
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Last edited by Marwan; 12-15-2007 at 04:57 AM. Reason: Edited the title
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2007, 05:17 AM
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Crappy roads? Use the M7 brace. M7's quality is as good or better than OEM. You won't be disappointed.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2007, 05:27 AM
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Thanks ajakeski.
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Old 12-15-2007, 05:42 AM
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My 0.02 and we all know what thats worth...

For the street a strut tower is bling. If you are cornering that hard that you flex the strut towers get off the same street as me please. For track and auto-x get one.

Which one?

Of all the ones on the market for the Mini the one that makes the most sense to me is the M7. Only due to the inclusion of the reinforcement plates.

If your goal is the tower reinforcement then paying for the bar in the middle is senseless for a street car. Get either M7's or Craven's plates and you'll be covered.
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Old 12-15-2007, 05:59 AM
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I had the JCW Bar on one of my cars and took it off in favor of the M7. The M7 bar covers the Strut Tower better in prevention of mushrooming and the center section is easy to remove for maintanence. On the other car I just put the plates for protection and IMO that is the way for you to go. The plates look great and provide the protection.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:44 AM
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Thanks guys. Just a final questions. If I get M7's plates, would I still be able to use the JCW bar on top of it? Do the bullets support those stuff together?
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Old 12-15-2007, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Marwan View Post
Thanks guys. Just a final questions. If I get M7's plates, would I still be able to use the JCW bar on top of it? Do the bullets support those stuff together?
You can ask that question to M7 but I don't think there will be enough clearance for the bar with the plates since it can rub on the inner bonnet liner and damage it.

Under bracing is more likely to stiffen the chassis than a strut tower brace since the front strut towers are already stiff. Adding the plates can be helpful if you hit potholes that could damage the tops of the strut towers but plates won't help handling.

You have to drive corners pretty darn fast to make good use of any strut tower brace. Some owners say that it helps but many cannot tell the difference. Hence it can be more for show than functional.

Under brace isn't legal for some classes of autocrossing but can be helpful for track use where the MINI chassis is under stress at high speeds.

Strut tower brace is not legal for stock autocrossing but allowed in other classes.

Try finding other MINI owners with strut brace and go for a ride and see if you can feel the difference.
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Old 12-15-2007, 02:39 PM
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This concept gets re-hashed over and over. My personal experience after installing the M7 brace on my '06 JCW is that it is 100% worth the money. The difference in price between the plates only, or the full bar is negligible, unless in fact, as some here claim, it didn't actually do anything.

I, however, will testify that I could immediately tell the difference in terms of stability and predictability in hard cornering. Yes, I fall into the "please get off the same streets as me" category at times. My commute happens at a very odd time of day when the roads are basically deserted here, so I have lots of fun.

I can say with confidence that this part does what it is intended to do. Some people have said that you don't need the bar because the strut towers are already "stiff." I challenge that theory because "stiff" has not been defined and seems to be quite relative.

They may be stiff compared to many other vehicles, but they are most certainly NOT 100% stiff. Nobody here can reasonably claim that there is ZERO flex in the front body of the Mini that could cause deflection of the strut towers under certain conditions.

Hell, as one poster mentioned in another similar thread, if the towers can mushroom what makes you think they can't flex? Yes, mushrooming is a real problem. I had it on mine when I installed my M7 bar.

No, the bar may not be the best investment early on, your money might be better placed with camber plates or upgraded rear sway bar, but it is not a waste of money.

That is my opinion based on my experience. Take it for what you may think it is worth:

:D
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:02 PM
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Bars and Braces

Sure glad I read this thread!I've been wondering if you can make a MINI chassis too stiff for street use,and creating squeaks or rattles!?
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Marwan View Post
Thanks guys. Just a final questions. If I get M7's plates, would I still be able to use the JCW bar on top of it? Do the bullets support those stuff together?
Sorry you can't use the JCW bar with the M7 plates. You can't get the plates with the mounting holes seperate from the bar either.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:20 PM
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Go with M7 Bar it includes plates for not much more the cost of just the reienforcement plates. I feel the same way about My new MINI keeping it JCW, but I wish JCW would have included reinforcement plates to its design of their Bar.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:29 AM
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... but I wish JCW would have included reinforcement plates to its design of their Bar.
That's like saying "I wish MINI designed their car right"!
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:47 PM
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I have a MC, so I just bought the M7 plates. I wanted to get them on before the Mushrooming started. It would have been nice if BMW had made a stiffer front end to start with, but we do some incredible things with these cars. USS is my next mod, after the AC Dragon for the roof.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wildcrazy442000 View Post
I have a MC, so I just bought the M7 plates. I wanted to get them on before the Mushrooming started. It would have been nice if BMW had made a stiffer front end to start with, but we do some incredible things with these cars. USS is my next mod, after the AC Dragon for the roof.

A side question, how's the JCW suspension and brakes/ Are they worth it???
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:57 PM
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Yes, they work great. If I had it to do over I would have gotten the cross drilled rotors. It was not that much more, don't remember the exact amount.
After a nice hard Dragon Run, I can smell hot brakes. I assume the cross drilled rotors would help keep the brakes a little cooler.
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:48 AM
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Strut Tower Brace? IS IT REALLY NEEDED?

As far as the brace is concerned I will be using a JCW brace as my car is a JCW from the factory and I want it to look stock. I don't want parts that are easily visible to be modified or aftermarket parts.

Now for the reality of what I'm doing. I chose the JCW brace because I have Ireland fixed camber plates installed. Yes they are worth every penny in handling and tire wear.

If I did not have them without a doubt I would use at least the M7 plates as I did on my other Mini.

I also have the M7 USS and it is a good add-on as well.

Hope this helps...
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:45 AM
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I have Ireland fixed camber plates installed. Yes they are worth every penny in handling and tire wear.
Explain more please
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Old 12-23-2007, 03:05 PM
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Strut Tower Brace? IS IT REALLY NEEDED?

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Originally Posted by Marwan View Post
Explain more please
I am not an expert on suspension at all but what the fixed plates do are give you a much needed thicker support for the suspension to work with. That means less chance of "mushrooming" as the plates are quite thick compared to stock and the rubber bushing is much bigger also. Less shock transfered to thin metal and therefore less chance of deforming.

The other thing the plates do is give you a flatter or larger footprint from your tires. It improves the feel of the steering and basically puts more of the rubber on the ground for better traction.

People who auto cross or track their cars a lot use camber plates, mostly adjustable, for added control and better traction. With adjustable you can set them for different types of events whereas fixed are fixed. Some people, including myself, use fixed plates because they are inexpensive and once done require no extra maintenance or attention. They look stock and most people would be hard pressed to know you have them.

I try to do about four track days a year, with street tires, and the rest of the time is normal driving. I rotate front to rear after each track day and my tires wear flat across the tread. Less than 2/32 difference from inside to outside. They do wear quick but they wear even and that to me is important.

Again this is my unqualifed opinion on how things work and why I do them.

Hope this helps...
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Old 12-24-2007, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by kazlot View Post
That means less chance of "mushrooming" as the plates are quite thick compared to stock and the rubber bushing is much bigger also.
So I understand that:
Ireland fixed camber plates+JCW brace=M7 (no mushrooming)????
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:26 AM
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Strut Tower Brace? IS IT REALLY NEEDED?

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Originally Posted by Marwan View Post
So I understand that:
Ireland fixed camber plates+JCW brace=M7 (no mushrooming)????
That's the plan and or the hope. So far in 13000+ miles, using nothing but runflats mounted on stock 17 inch wheels, I have no issues.

Not only do I have no mushrooming I'm having more fun than anybody should. Fixed camber plates with a M7 USS makes a whole new car.

Those two items do, in my opinion, make a major difference in handling and are relatively inexpensive and trouble free.

Yes I am driving on nasty California roads too.

Hope this helps...
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:53 AM
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Not only do I have no mushrooming I'm having more fun than anybody should. Fixed camber plates with a M7 USS makes a whole new car.

Those two items do, in my opinion, make a major difference in handling and are relatively inexpensive and trouble free.
You got me confused here man. I get you have the fixed camber plates. Now, do you have JCW brace or are you just having M7's USS?
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:57 AM
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Strut Tower Brace? IS IT REALLY NEEDED?

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You got me confused here man. I get you have the fixed camber plates. Now, do you have JCW brace or are you just having M7's USS?
Sorry about the confusion, not my intention at all. I have all three on my 2006 JCW MCS. I've even got the JCW suspension as well so you can see why I wanted the JCW brace verses the M7 brace.

Until you crawl under the car it looks stock and that is what I'm after. The M7 USS is the only thing you can see. The camber plates look stock. Ireland uses a BMW Z4 roadster rubber bushing in their product and that evens lends more to the stock look.

If you wanted to be extra careful and not stay stock looking you could use the fixed plates and the M7 plates or strut brace. A combination of of those would be the hot set-up. Absolutely no chance of mushrooming. Mind you this is only my opinion and take it for what's it worth.

Again I went with the fixed camber plates and the JCW strut tower brace for the stock appearance.

On my 2003 MCS I had M7 plates only. I also ran the 16 inch runflats and with the M7 plates and I had no issues with mushrooming.

As far as "is the brace needed" there have been a lot of posts with all sorts of opinions and thoughts on the matter and some people think it helps. My opinion is it can't hurt and JCW would not put them on the Mini Challenge cars if it was of no use.

To look at a survey about mushrooming go here: http://www.northamericanmotoring.com...ults&pollid=50

Hope this helps...
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Marwan View Post
So I understand that:
Ireland fixed camber plates+JCW brace=M7 (no mushrooming)????
Yes, but you need to define your goals.

Camber plates are for, well, changing the camber. They can help increase traction during aggressive cornering. It is just accidental that they also happen to reinforce against mushrooming on MINIs. How bad are your roads? Mushrooming may occur when your road surfaces are rough enough that the suspension hits the limits of its travel.
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:12 PM
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I just got my M7 strut brace yesterday put it on and went for a drive.....

Goods- Looks great, easy install, i felt it in sharp corners but it is nothing to brag about.....

Bads- Lifts the hood up just a tad, nothing to bother me but thats cause i spent the last 24 hours messing with it...haha

I would say go for it!!!!
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Old 12-25-2007, 04:44 PM
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I like the OMP strut bar. You can see in this photo how it braces between the insides of the strut towers. All the others brace via the bolts.

The combination between the OMP upper and lower is great. I definitely feel a difference for the better even on the street.

Longboard

Click the image to open in full size.
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