Advice OEM Strut tower brace torque

akmon

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Hello from Europe.

I´ve ordered a GT Strut tower brace for my Mustang 5.0. as you know, none of European Mustangs have it, at least it brings the Cowl Brace and the accesory bracket in the middle. But I wanted that stetic touch for the engine. I´m about to install it, but reading some threads, now I have doubts about the torque.

Yes, I know the direct answer: Ford says that the torque for the 4 nuts of an OEM strut tower brace is 41 lb-ft. But I´ve found many therads with studs broken or sheared using that value. And in that case, fixing it is a real PITA. You have to unmount tower brace and cowl brace, drill, with accuracy, finding a bolt, welding it etc. Hard job.

Examples:

https://www.mustang6g.com/forums/threads/broke-bolt-while-installing-strut-tower-brace.90478/

https://www.mustang6g.com/forums/threads/im-an-idiot-i-snapped-the-stb-stud.53749/

https://www.mustang6g.com/forums/threads/information-needed-k-brace-bolt-sheared-thread.81846/

Even I have found some research of a member quite interesting about max torque of a bolt depending of the quality:

"
I was digging around looking at recommended torque values for metric fasteners. The strut tower studs are 10M x 1.50 (10 mm dia x 1.50 mm pitch). What I'm finding is that Ford's recommended torque value of 41 ft-lbs seems to be higher than the general information out there.

It looks like based on Ford's torque spec that the studs are most likely Grade 8.8 (120K PSI) which is equivalent to a Grade 5 in US sizes. But Ford is recommending 41 ft-lbs where as most chart show it more like 35~37 ft-lbs.
http://www.xrfchassis.com/images/PDF/Torque_Reference_Chart.pdf


This reference shows 10M x 1.50 Grade 8.8 at 44 N-m, which is 33 ft-lbs.
http://www.boltmasters.com.au/webfi...ters_Pty_Ltd_Recommended_Assembly_Torques.pdf

After looking at this, I wouldn't torque the strut tower nuts over 33 ft-lbs ... probably shoot for 30 ft-lbs with clean dry threads.
"

So this is the question.


Do you think I have to torque to 41 lb-ft or maybe to to a conservative 30 lb-ft but risking of loosening them for not to be so tight.

Thank you very much for your advice.

 

ice445

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I used 38 ft/lbs with no issues. Keep in mind if you're only installing the tower brace and not the "triangulation brace" that normally sits under it, I'd go even less, like 35 ft/lbs. The black brace that normally goes underneath provides a flatter surface than the strut towers themselves can provide. I suspect that's why a lot of people break those studs, they don't do well being side loaded with a high torque value.
 

paulm1

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30-35ft/lbs should be fine. Add some blue locktite and they wont back out.
 

MakoShark

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I used 55 Nm with no problem on my GT350R strut tower brace bar on 2019 Euro EcoBoost with MagneRide, mounted over existing cowl brace. 15 minute job :D It comes with 4 new studs, but OE that are already on you car can be reused. Only thing to point out - you HAVE to be on a flat surface. Got some photos from last year install if you want :)
 

IPOGT

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Major advice. Torque to hand tight/snug. The studs are very fragile and you WILL crack the stud if you over tighten…..Ask me how I’m so sure. :shock:
 


NightmareMoon

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Two of those three threads the owners admit to straight up over torqing the nuts. The third doesn’t mention a torque wrench at all.

I think you’ll be fine if your torque wrench isn’t made by harbor freight.

If you want to start low, the only downside to under torqing is it make shift and make noises. Easy enough to up the torque if that’s the case. As for the correct torque, I would trust Ford’s numbers.
 
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akmon

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I used 38 ft/lbs with no issues. Keep in mind if you're only installing the tower brace and not the "triangulation brace" that normally sits under it, I'd go even less, like 35 ft/lbs. The black brace that normally goes underneath provides a flatter surface than the strut towers themselves can provide. I suspect that's why a lot of people break those studs, they don't do well being side loaded with a high torque value.
Understood, but even even with the K-brace, bolts have been broken. Considered your value.

30-35ft/lbs should be fine. Add some blue locktite and they wont back out.
Thank you, I like your suggestion.

I used 55 Nm with no problem on my GT350R strut tower brace bar on 2019 Euro EcoBoost with MagneRide, mounted over existing cowl brace. 15 minute job :D It comes with 4 new studs, but OE that are already on you car can be reused. Only thing to point out - you HAVE to be on a flat surface. Got some photos from last year install if you want :)
Thank you, I have a flat surface, but what would happen if I hadn´t it?

Major advice. Torque to hand tight/snug. The studs are very fragile and you WILL crack the stud if you over tighten…..Ask me how I’m so sure. :shock:
One of your threads I ´ve inserted as examples is created by you. I´ve read several time, what a bad month it was.

Two of those three threads the owners admit to straight up over torqing the nuts. The third doesn’t mention a torque wrench at all.

I think you’ll be fine if your torque wrench isn’t made by harbor freight.

If you want to start low, the only downside to under torqing is it make shift and make noises. Easy enough to up the torque if that’s the case. As for the correct torque, I would trust Ford’s numbers.
Thank you, althought you are right, there are some bad experiences from other members in those threads with sheared studs, an in some cases even under 41 lb-ft.

Thank you for all your feedback. From what I read the answers are a bit different. As I summarize, you have recommended torque of 38 lb-ft, 30-35, 41 and even hand-feel.

If I want to use a technique that is the closest to all the recommendations, it would be to tighten the nuts below 41 lb-ft (maybe 35) but put a little liquid to fix screws, to prevent vibrations from loosening. . Could it be a good option? To be honest my torque wrench isn't harbor freight but I don't think it's much better as it's a generic Amazon brand bought exclusively for this job. According to the specifications it has an error of 4%.
 

MakoShark

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Thank you, I have a flat surface, but what would happen if I hadn´t it?
Like if you loosen the nuts that hold everything in place perfectly balanced and let the body roll to the side and adjust to inclined plane and then tighten everything in that position? Well... something like this? (I guess the ride quality will be almost the same) 😀

4.jpg


Do it on a flat and leveled surface. If you don't have one, take the strut tower brace bar somewhere to the parking lot and do it there. It will look kinda weird, but it will do the job. Plus you will look like THE MAAAAN. Girls love watching guys working on their cars :D Tuck your sleeves, put some oil and dirt on your face and you can watch them swoon all the day 😂
 
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akmon

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Like if you loosen the nuts that hold everything in place perfectly balanced and let the body roll to the side and adjust to inclined plane and then tighten everything in that position? Well... something like this? (I guess the ride quality will be almost the same) 😀

4.jpg


Do it on a flat and leveled surface. If you don't have one, take the strut tower brace bar somewhere to the parking lot and do it there. It will look kinda weird, but it will do the job. Plus you will look like THE MAAAAN. Girls love watching guys working on their cars :D Tuck your sleeves, put some oil and dirt on your face and you can watch them swoon all the day 😂
Thank you for your ilustrated explanation. That Citroen carries a plate from my country :like:.

You made me doubt, my paking space seems flat but I have not checked if it´s leveled. But something is getting me worried. I have made a simple measure from the top of the front fender to the ground on both sides, and the passenger side is 1 cm higher than the driver side!! How is it possible? It´s uneven! I´m going to change to another parking place but I dindn´t expect so much difference. Maybe I have to do a more accurate measure. But right now I have this issue in my head.
 

D Bergstrom

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I wouldn't hesitate to torque to the Ford recommended spec, after all, they designed the car. Looks like the posts you listed are people who tried to go higher or had other issues. (Just took a quick look at those threads, so I didn't read every post. Did any of them break a stud torquing to 41 ft/lbs?) Ford has a spec, use it, as long as you have an accurate torque wrench and know how to use it.

I had the brace off multiple times on my old 2017 GT and have also had it off my 2020 GT a few times, have always torqued to 41 ft/lbs with no issues.

Doug
 
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akmon

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I wouldn't hesitate to torque to the Ford recommended spec, after all, they designed the car. Looks like the posts you listed are people who tried to go higher or had other issues. (Just took a quick look at those threads, so I didn't read every post. Did any of them break a stud torquing to 41 ft/lbs?) Ford has a spec, use it, as long as you have an accurate torque wrench and know how to use it.

I had the brace off multiple times on my old 2017 GT and have also had it off my 2020 GT a few times, have always torqued to 41 ft/lbs with no issues.

Doug
Thank you for your post.

Here are some reports from people Who broke studs with 41 lb-ft or less.

https://www.mustang6g.com/forums/threads/im-an-idiot-i-snapped-the-stb-stud.53749/post-1747485

https://www.mustang6g.com/forums/threads/im-an-idiot-i-snapped-the-stb-stud.53749/post-1917687

I'm not sure if taking your advice or torquing 30-33 lb FT and apply anti loosening glue.
 
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K4fxd

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I just hit them with the impact wrench. Never broke any.
 

ice445

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It's worth considering the factory nuts for this brace are nylock nuts, so you shouldn't need any threadlocking compound, it's just redundant. I suspect this may also be why some people have broken studs. Some cheaper torque wrenches won't react properly if there's any "lubrication" on threads. Technically you're supposed to replace these nuts after one use (which I'm anal and actually do). When you back them off the nylon insert deforms a bit and it isn't as good at its intended purpose.

I also kind of agree with everyone else, just use the spec and good tools and don't worry about it unless it breaks. I only did it the way I did because I got paranoid just like you by spending too much time on the internet. 10% variance against the spec either way is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
 
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akmon

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It's worth considering the factory nuts for this brace are nylock nuts, so you shouldn't need any threadlocking compound, it's just redundant. I suspect this may also be why some people have broken studs. Some cheaper torque wrenches won't react properly if there's any "lubrication" on threads. Technically you're supposed to replace these nuts after one use (which I'm anal and actually do). When you back them off the nylon insert deforms a bit and it isn't as good at its intended purpose.

I also kind of agree with everyone else, just use the spec and good tools and don't worry about it unless it breaks. I only did it the way I did because I got paranoid just like you by spending too much time on the internet. 10% variance against the spec either way is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Understood, so that´s the reason you applied 38 lb-ft, using the 10% variance rule.

But I din´t know nylon nuts can only be used once. So I have to buy 4 nuts because the item I purchased are not included. Those 4 nuts are not very cheap and not sure to find them in stock, at least at this side of the ocean. The other option, as it deforms a bit, do you think it won´t be so reductant if I apply a bit of threadlocking compound, just only a drop to cover that little deformation of the nylon?
 

ice445

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Understood, so that´s the reason you applied 38 lb-ft, using the 10% variance rule.

But I din´t know nylon nuts can only be used once. So I have to buy 4 nuts because the item I purchased are not included. Those 4 nuts are not very cheap and not sure to find them in stock, at least at this side of the ocean. The other option, as it deforms a bit, do you think it won´t be so reductant if I apply a bit of threadlocking compound, just only a drop to cover that little deformation of the nylon?
Most people just keep reusing the same ones so you'll probably be fine. A bit of blue threadlock wouldn't hurt.
 

 
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