This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's book, 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911. The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Porsche 911 owner's collection. See The Official Book Website for more details.
The 911 is well known for its agility and superb performance in handling. However, because of the design of the chassis, there exists a weakness in the handling of the 911. The front shock towers are not well supported in the 911. Unlike the Porsche 914, a car known for its excellent handling, the 911 does not have a firewall welded into the front of its chassis. Instead, the shock towers are somewhat isolated and unsupported. As a result, the towers can bend and flex under heavy cornering. This flexing can cause detrimental changes in the handling of your car.
In general, the stiffer the chassis, the better the handling of the car. Camber strut braces are designed to maintain the distance between the shocks under heavy cornering. A bar linking the top of the shock towers insures that the towers do not bend when the chassis is flexing.
There are a few different brands of camber bars out there, and they are all similar in nature. The Cambermeister bar by Weltmeister is an excellent kit available for easy bolt-on installation. The designers at Weltmeister have done extensive research on the dynamics of the 911 chassis, and have since designed the Cambermeister kit to lock in the proper camber value, regardless of the deflection of the towers. This kit prevents both tower expansion and contraction and helps to keep your 911 cornering at its best.
Installation of the Cambermeister bar is very straightforward, and can be easily completed in an afternoon. The kit comes with very detailed instructions that are very clear and easy to follow. The installation of the kit requires you to remove some of the undercoat material that covers the shock towers. Be careful when doing this, as it is easy for a bit of material to fly out and hit you in the eye. Make sure that you wear some eye protection when chipping away at the coating.
The kit bolts onto the top of the shock towers, and doesn't require you to have your car realigned. However, the addition of the Cambermeister bar will allow you to dial-in a bit more negative camber to your alignment if you need it. The chassis of many 911s are built with a wide spectrum of variations and the addition of the Cambermeister bar can actually help dial in more precise and accurate alignment values. Any good alignment shop with a professional alignment rack should be able to take advantage of the additional adjustment. The camber bar will also help prevent body sag that often occurs with older 911s.
As with any changes to the suspension of your 911, the driving feel might change significantly. The entire car's suspension system needs to be properly balanced in order to obtain the correct feel for the handling of the car. The designers at Weltmeister specifically recommend some of the following changes to take advantage of the reduced change in camber:
Adjust the front sway bar to a stiffer position. This is accomplished by shortening the sway bar arm (if adjustable), or by installing a thicker sway bar.
Soften out the rear sway bar. This can be accomplished by lengthening the adjustable arms, or by using a smaller diameter bar.
Reduce the amount of front toe-out (if your car is set that way). Since the bar will be reducing your flex, you can dial-in the suspension on an amount that is closer to ideal.
The installation of the tower camber brace should improve your handling significantly. It might be a wise idea to upgrade and replace your front shocks while you are working on the shock towers. It's good practice to get the car aligned too after the installation. If you are planning on performing any other suspension upgrades to the front of your car (lowering the car, adding a Turbo Tie Rod kit), then it would be recommended that you perform them all at once since you would normally have to get the car realigned after each install.
The Camber Strut Brace kit should include all of the mounting hardware that you need to install it. The kit shown in this picture is manufactured by Weltmeister, and is a high quality example of many of the kits that are available. Custom-made attachment brackets are the key to getting the bar to fit to the top of the strut towers.
After you remove the necessary screws, remove the rubber undercoating material that is applied to the top of the strut towers from the factory. Make sure that both the front and rear attachment plates are clean and free of the material. The strut tower bracket uses both these plates as a mounting surface.
The installed strut tower bracket integrates nicely with the existing hardware. Since all 911 chassis are slightly different, you will have to adjust the brackets to best suit your car. Make sure that there is significant clearance between the bracket and the hood before you close it. On some models, you may have to grind or file down a small section of the bracket in order to maintain adequate clearance with the hood closed.