The TRD front strut tower brace for the MR2 Spyder is a 5.2 lb, dual tube strut bar that reduces the front chassis flex during cornering. I have had strut tower braces installed on most cars I have owned and more often than not, only minimal suspension gains are found. However, the TRD strut brace on the MR2 is truly a gem and really increases the the feedback to the driver while improving stability. After the addition of the front bar, the Spyder feels more stable at high speeds, communicates steering inputs instantly and tracks better when turning.
The tutorial includes two version, the dirty and the clean installs. I use the dirty install for the added accessibility and to maximize weight reduction. The clean install is used to provide the best look.
The Quick and Dirty Install
Get started with the quick and dirty install by parking the car and raising the hood (frunk). First, remove the spare tire lid by removing the two philip’s head screws on each of the lid’s hinges. (This lid will no longer fit with the strut bar) Next, remove the frunk trim by pressing in the center section of the plastic rivets that surround the edges of the trim. (both towards the perimeter of the frunk and around the spare tire container) Once all of the rivets are pressed, lift up on the trim and it will pull out of the frunk. (Set this piece aside for reinstallation and skip to the next section if you plan on following the clean install.) The front strut mounts are now visible on each side of the bay. Remove the 3 nuts from each mount and then place the strut tower bar over the mounts. Once in place, reinstall the three nuts on each mount and tighten them down.
(Notes: As you can see, installing a strut tower brace is very simple. You will note in the following pictures that I have also removed the spare tire, spare tools and the spare tub and lid. These items are removed to maximize weight reduction for track days and you can see the weight guide for the MR2 Spyder as well as my Spyder’s current weight here: MR2 Spyder Weight Chart (Weight Reduction)
Remove the highlighted screws from the hinges to release the spare tub lid.
The MR2 Spyder’s frunk (front trunk). The center is the spare tire lid while the surrounding area is the frunk trim.
Hence the name dirty install. Frunk open with just the spare tub left intact.
The TRD front strut tower brace installed on the MR2 Spyder for a track day. The frunk trim, spare tire, tire tools and the spare tub and lid have all been removed to maximize weight reduction. Keep on reading to the clean install for the prettier verion.
The lid on the spare tire bin must be removed or the TRD brace will not fit.
The MR2 Spyder in daily driving trim. The spare bin, tire and tools are all fit into the frunk.
The Clean Install
The difference between the dirty install and the clean install is that you will take the time to cut the frunk trim to accommodate the strut tower bar. The best tool for this is a dremel or a pair of shears. You will want to cut a circular opening in the frunk trim above the area where the strut tower tops are located. This will allow you to install the bar while retaining the trim. The images below show the bar installed with the frunk trim. (Note: If you want to keep the trim, take your time here so that the cuts look nice and symmetrical. I am not keeping the trim so I did a quick install to highlight this idea.)
Image showing the strut tower tops cut out of the frunk trim. This will allow the TRD front strut tower brace to be installed with the trim.
Once the area around the strut tower tops is cut out of the frunk trim, the TRD front strut tower brace will bolt into place. (Note: I am not keeping my trim so I did a quick job in order to demonstrate this process. Take your time and cut the holes only as large as necessary to achieve the cleanest look.)