Aluminum UICP & Strut Tower Brace (Evo)

Furthering my desire to correct the weight balance on this car, I am replacing the factory steel strut tower brace with an aluminum Carbing strut tower brace. This brace weighs about 5.5lbs, compared to 7.3lbs from stock. I’m not entirely sure in terms of strength on this part, but it is also much thicker than factory on the front end (likely to make up for being made of a weaker material), which is probably the biggest downside. Fortunately, there’s not much that frequently needs to be accessed in that area without needing to remove the strut tower brace anyway. The brace also includes a brake master cylinder brace built into the bar itself. It’s oddly non-adjustable with the way it’s bolts are setup, so I replaced one of the bolts with a stack of washers to position it not to press against the BMC from the get-go. It’s a very small of weight off the front, but hopefully strength has not been compromised.

I realized very shortly after receiving the brace that the car was going to need a new UICP. The routing of the OEM UICP routes quite a bit upward before going back down towards the intake manifold. Because of the wider front of the new strut tower brace, it would make contact if left in place. I was not happy about having to do this, after already having a failed attempt with STM’s UICP (and intake) kits. The STM’s UICP ended up too long (landing past the intake manifold) and the idea was ultimately discarded. No power gains are expected – maybe a slightly quicker spool. Everything will be routed and connected like stock, with the stock bypass valve.

This go around, I went with JMFab’s aluminum piping. This did have the correct (i.e., ETS-style) lower portion of the UICP, which the Blitz fits perfectly. The pipe comes up and out straight onto the next portion, which connects to the throttle body & the bov. It routes under the intake tube, rather than over. It ditches one additional connection of rubber that the stock had, which is actually heavier than the aluminum. As I did with stock, I wrapped the whole pipe in wrap of temp reflective tape, since this is cooler air coming straight out of the interooler and into the intake manifold. Though I did purchase a turbo intake tube, I opted not to use it for now, after reading about some potential issues caused by anything other than the stock rubber intake. Based on these slim materials, which replaced the rubber + aluminum mix of the UICP and the altogether shorter routing, I’m estimating about 3 lbs of weight savings, for a net of say of 5lbs even additional off the front.

One thought on “Aluminum UICP & Strut Tower Brace (Evo)

  1. Pingback: 2022 Preseason Updates | QL Motorsport & Car Journal

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