Tanabe or CUSCO Strut Tower Bar — Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by yamisoshi, Nov 20, 2013.

?
  1. Tanabe STB

    12.5%
  2. Cusco STB

    87.5%
  3. Other

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. yamisoshi

    yamisoshi Junior Member

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    I know there's a post already regarding the comparison between the two, but just wanted more insight now with many of you that have one or the other installed.

    From what people have experienced the Tanabe STB blocks the fuse box which makes it difficult to access, but it's more affordable than the Cusco (it doesn't block the fuse box); however, is it worth actually getting the STB for the Prius and what kind of conditions is it optimal for? (i.e. city driving, highway/freeway driving, curvy/mountainous roads).

    I'm on a spending spree on my Prius right now with Tein H-Tech springs installed, TRD Sway Bar on the way (installing on Saturday) and 18x8 Niche NR6 M-106 (going to spray Anthracite PlastiDip) wheels wrapped in Falken ZIEX ZE-912 also on the way in couple weeks along with red MGP caliper covers ... I'm looking for one last piece to get this month and it appears to be the STB.

    Is it worth spending $115 (Tanabe) and go through hell to access fuse box or spend $200+ and get Cusco?

    Thanks in advanced for sharing your thoughts.
     
  2. mrstop

    mrstop PWR Mode

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    Blocking the fuse box was a show stopper for me. I have the Cusco, but haven't installed it yet.
     
  3. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    Cusco STB is definitely worth it. The car steers as if it's on rails - it goes exactly where you point it without any hunting around. This STB is also easy to live with as it doesn't block any access when it's installed.

    The Tanabe also scared me off because of its "tuning" tension nuts at either end. I didn't want to turn my Prius into an STB tension tuning experiment; just wanted to install the STB and be done with it. 26 thousand miles later, I'm very happy with the Cusco STB.

    However, I found that the best suspension / steering upgrade was installing the Rude person's mid-car box brace. This mod got rid of the car's flexy feeling, especially during cornering, and also eliminated occasional wind buffeting that made the Prius feel spongy on the open highway in crosswinds or when passing / being passed by a semi. IMHO, this mid-point box brace seems to work even better when combined with the TRD rear anti-sway bar.

    Either mod is worth the $$$ if you can swing a purchase. Also consider one of the front chassis braces (Tanabe, Cusco or Rude person's) as they make the ICE/EV torsional power transition practically unnoticeable.

    Good luck and enjoy.
     
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  4. Spaz

    Spaz Junior Member

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    I have the Tanabeand it works great. However the fact that I can't easily access the fuse box is a pain but thus far has been a non issue. At the time, I didn't want to spend double for a cusco that I didn't see that much of a difference in.

    At the end of the day, and chassis mod on this car will be a noticeable improvement
     
  5. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    While I am skeptical about the performance of strut tower bars, I decided I would try it on account of DadofHedgehog's recommendation.

    I just ordered mine from JuiceHybrid.com They have a 5% off promotion using coupon code Turkey13.

    The most important finding is my discovery that, after a full review of the installation instructions and a full assessment of the car under the hood, I am sure that I can install it without removing anything but the strut tower top nuts.

    Not to brag but to help others, here, I am sure that I can install it, without removing the wiper arms, two splash pans, the wiper motor and wiper motor linkage. I know this with years of experience in working on aircraft, spacecraft, and especially with automatic temperature control systems under car dashboards for many many years.

    They do NOT have them in stock, but four are due to arrive on November 29. One of them will be mine.
     
  6. mrstop

    mrstop PWR Mode

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    I ordered my Cusco bar from Fred Bean parts. It took a couple of months as it was drop shipped from Cusco. IApparently they get a container about once a month, so you may have to be patient if it isn't in stock.

    I look forward to your report Irv as you have been skeptical about its benefit. I'm pretty sure you will have to remove the wiper assembly and pans. I had to do this to swap in coilovers. There is a slight chance you could get in there with the right tools, but it would probably be a difficult and frustrating process. Assuming the V is the same as the base hatchback, removing the wiper assembly isn't quite as bad as it sounds. The second time I removed it, it took maybe all of 30 mins to remove and reinstall. The one thing I did different versus the instructions was to release the harness connections with some needle nose pliers rather than untaping them.
     
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  7. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    Wow, a whole whopping 5% off? :rolleyes:

    That's almost insulting. Good luck with the installation. (y)

    SCH-I535
     
  8. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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  9. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    I know that 5% is insulting. Actually, I'm getting another 5%, because I put the thing on my Discover Card.
     
  10. seegarman

    seegarman Junior Member

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    Cusco it the way to go!
     
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  11. ursle

    ursle Gas miser

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    Having been aware of your unfathomable dislike of front upper strut bars I expected your post to be another rip at them, this is progress, now about the certainty of any uncertainty to other's, err, the... you can install it without removing anything but the top mounting nut's...
    whateverfloatsyerboat;)

    My point is, when you have one of you'rs for sale I'm ready;)
     
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  12. NoMoreNow

    NoMoreNow Member

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    I recalled, JuiceHybrid.com didn't give me any discounts on my order & tell me to wait for at least 30+ days from JP shipping.
    So I canceled, and shopped around & found horsepowerfreaks.com and called-in and ordered one with free shipping
    as 1st time customer (otherwise is $16 for shipping & no tax for CA). I paid mine for $180 shipped to SF (got it in 2days) & it was drop-shipped from CUSCO in LA warehouse.

    Here is the link, if anyone interested......
    Toyota Cusco Type OS Strut Tower Bars | HorsepowerFreaks
     
  13. KennewickMan

    KennewickMan Junior Member

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    2X That is the way I did my car.........................
     
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  14. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    aursle,


    I still AM skeptical. However, I can be wrong. If I am, I will be the first to admit it. My best and most productive learning experiences have been from blind dead ends and mistakes.

    For years, I've been lied to by those who had the company or "organizational" line. They told me what they thought I wanted to here, NOT the FACTS that I NEEDED to hear.

    The opportunity to test the strut bar comes from my discovery and interest in the challenge of being able to install it without the tedious process that Cusco has purveyed to its customers. I am fully capable of installing the bar according to Cusco's instructions, but I know that there's a better way.

    From my tentative assessment, I do not think there is a necessary improvement to Cusco's design; just their installation instructions.

    As for Tanabe, theirs is a disaster. Selling a product that prevents ready access to fuse box is inexcusable.

    Again, I have NO profit motive. I'm here to satisfy my curiosity and to help others who are here.
     
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  15. sarir97

    sarir97 Member

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    I have the Cusco STB, TRD RSB, lowering springs, and the Rude person's front and mid braces. I don't know if it's one or all, but the car I drive today is not the same as the one driven off the lot. Rock steady and stable. Joy to drive.
     
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  16. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    The only improvement that I might recommend for the Cusco are;

    captive nuts and washers for the blue bracket mounting nuts.

    Instead of a nut for the bolts holding the cross bar to the brackets, the bracket could be threaded to become the NUT for the bolts, thereby eliminating the need for the nut and reaching into the tight space for placing the nut.

    From my years of experience, ease of installation and servicing any part should be a very important consideration.
     
  17. DadofHedgehog

    DadofHedgehog Active Member

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    My Cusco after Fall 2012 install.
     

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  18. yamisoshi

    yamisoshi Junior Member

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback. I think I'll go with the CUSCO STB since I don't have to worry about the fuse box if the car needed to go into shop and such.

    Not that it matters since it's under the hood, does it come in any other color besides the polished look and the blue brackets? I like the blue or the red to give it a nice contrast.

    I had my Prius lowered at the dealer and they said, I was the first Prius they've seen/experienced doing any mods in this area. They seemed quite interested in my next project(s). :)
     
  19. sfv41901

    sfv41901 Masta S

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    The cusco STB only comes the way u've seen it.....however f u want to u could get it powder coated any color.
     
  20. yamisoshi

    yamisoshi Junior Member

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    That's true. But I thought I could save some money if they were available in other colors.
     
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