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Ultra Racing Chassis Braces For Acura TSX & TL

  • Posted: 06-25-2009 12:55 PM
  • Chassis

This article outlines impressions and install for 04-08 Acura TSX models, however bracing for other Honda/Acura models have similar fitments and benefits.

I drove the car before and after install. Suspension was Tein FLEX (which rode remarkably well as a matter of fact...this kit is NOT hands off for street performance drivers!). The car handled reasonably well before, but the owner was complaining the car was too soft, and I felt what he was talking about. The FLEX is firm yet is tuned well for the street. For some performance drivers stating they really want a firm ride I'd say they are not going to be firm enough.
For lack of a better suspension option to firm things up, we recommended bracing out the car. It just so happened the Ultra Racing bars we ordered just before this meeting had come in, so we did a test fitting. The hope was that we would keep the suspension more rigid and add a significant amount of feel to the car. We hoped the chassis would tighten up and allow the suspension to do it's job better. We wanted to eliminate the springing effect the weak chassis was injecting into the car's ride and handling.
First Impressions of the Product:
First off, the staff at Ultra Racing are nice and attentive to our requests. We look hard for such qualities in our vendors because being able to communicate well with them directly impacts the service we can give to our customers! The first major reason to pursue sales with them is their great initial service.
Now, THE BARS. What seemed be really reasonable prices for some intriguing products came in nearly on point. The bars offered by Ultra Racing fit well and work great. We give the product a high ranking on these points. We found overall finish quality to be certainly acceptable but hampered by lack of detail refinement and unconvincingly durable painted finish. However product labeling was quite good and clear. There is a definite pride in the branding. It could just be that since these bars are made in Malaysia they could benefit from higher end manufacturing practices. That being said, we were more than happy and confident to install the bars to see how they'd work, and were not deterred or depressed at all by the finished-product observations. Should you benefit from these parts, we'd encourage you not to be either. These observations were made only in comparison with arguable overpriced masterpieces from Japan. For parts that will essentially get destroyed under the car we felt better installing these than Carbing museum pieces.
Before we get to the pics:
* We did not get a chance to install the fender braces because of a lack of time. Unlike the J's braces these will require removal of the fenders to install properly. We did line them up and they will fit. We also like the welded-up construction versus the J's braces. We anticipate these braces to offer more in the way of rigidity, especially when considering torsional forces that could act on this area of the car.
* For some reason I forgot to take some pictures of the Front Lower Arm Brace installed. This is a 2-point brace, fitting in the same location as the Cusco Type-1 brace. It appeared to us that this brace offered good exhaust clearance  
* There are two small bars (Front Outer Frame Braces) that come in a pair that don't fit in conjunction with the Side Lower Floor Bars. We certainly expected to see the greatest improvement in the Floor Bars so we installed these instead of the Outer Frame Braces.
* Ground Clearance LOOKS to be severely hampered however the effect is not nearly as bad as you'd think. The side braces don't hang any lower than the exhaust does, and the rear brace spans between the rear wheels. Speed bumps are not a problem, generally speaking. But cars lowered more than 2" will have some contact with the ground from time to time. We do want to note that the customer we tested these bars with told us he had a very gnarly driveway entrance that we did scrape on and thus needed to raise his car. We did see evidence of grounding out. The concern was that as quick as these bars went on they'd need to come off because of ground clearance issues. ---- The customer did have some rubbing on the ground !BUT! it was not that much and they are keeping the bars on. The reason the rubbing is not bad is simple: These bars keep the car straight and rigid over bumps and dips. The chassis flexes enough to bow the car when large bumps are encountered. These braces prevent the bowing and actually helps the suspension work the car over the bumps better! So while these bars do hang lower than the car, we'd encourage people to try them out  anyway.
Now for some pics:

Bars Laid out. Clockwise from upper left:
Fender Bars
Front Outer Frame Braces
Side Lower Floor Braces
Front Lower Frame Brace
Front Lower Arm Brace
Rear Lower Arm Brace (not pictured)

Front Lower Frame Brace Installed

Side Lower Floor Braces installed. Driver's side, front to back

Side Lower Floor Braces installed. Driver's side, front to back

Side Lower Floor Braces installed. Driver's side, back to front. You can see the Front Lower Frame and Front Lower Arm Braces there. The Arm Brace is the one sitting closer to the cat.

Side Lower Floor Braces installed. Driver's side, back to front. Altered Angle

This is the area where the rear of the Side Lower Frame Brace is installed.

Pull back the plastic and there is another hole revealed. The supplied bracket installs this way.

Rear Lower Arm Brace installed. This is a 4-point brace. See all the other bars? It's looking like an Indiana Jones Stunt Vehicle now.

Rear Lower Arm Brace installed. Detail shot.

Rear Lower Arm Brace installed. Detail shot again.

A look at ground clearance from the side, frame level.

A look at ground clearance from the side, below ground level.

A look at ground clearance from the rear, frame level.

A look at ground clearance from the front passenger side, slightly above ground level.

After installing the bars and pulling out the drive, we could feel a difference right away. You can actually feel the suspension articulating over dips and bumps at slow speeds. The steering felt a little lighter and more responsive. I'd speculate that the steering felt lighter because the power rack was able to move the tie-rods better without power being lost in chassis deflection. It makes me want to revise the steering rack mounts better actually!
Once we pulled out onto the street you could certainly feel the car was more rigid. It reminded me of my M3. We took a couple turns at reasonable pace and I can say without a doubt the car was more confident feeling and certainly more capable. People with less experience tuning have a hard time grasping the benefits of bracing because it seems so obscure. Bracing adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the driving experience that just makes it more fun! A major reason why European cars drive so much better than Japanese ones is because they come from the factory like this!
Combine bracing, mild suspension like the ones we offer on, or even the A-spec kit, and a rear sway bar, and you are going to have a FWD street warrior! The braces really show off how good the TSX platform is!

About the Author

Marcus di Sabella Marcus is the founder of Heeltoe Automotive. He's been working with cars (mostly Honda cars) since 1996, and has been providing enthusiasts with excellent products, services, and web experiences since 2002. He's been published in Honda Tuning, and holds a degree in Engineering Technology.


02-02-2015 07:00 PM at 7:00 PM
Hi, i have a 2006 tsx 6MT. I have a progress rear sway bar and a tanabe medallion touring exhaust. The car is also lowered on koni yellows and eibach pro kit. I was wondering if there is a rear underbrace for the car that would clear the exhaust. Also would the progress sway bar be fine as well or would it need to be removed?
Administrator Note:
The Progress bar will not interfere at all, however the brace may hit the exhaust. It is hard to say without test fitting. It is possible to dimple the exhaust piping to make room, but that would be custom worl.
alexander larosa
01-04-2015 08:25 PM at 8:25 PM
I have been considering doing this brace upgrade the only fall back I see is how low it hangs an getting caught up on speed bumps an drive ways.

[mrheeltoe]: While ground clearance is a concern on Acura cars lowered more than 2.25", these braces do not all reduce ground clearance much. The side braces are no lower than the exhaust is. The rear brace is most prone to hitting the ground on large highly undulations.

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