DTS

DRIVE TRAIN STABILIZER BAR
Reason:
A reasonably inexpensive way to improve the feel of the transmission.
Consideration:
I’d read about the TSB since the first one for the S4 was available from UUC. As I completed most of the major modifications to the car I began to look at some of the smaller refinements that I could make. The APR snub mount and transmission stabilizer bar were two ways to take up some of the slack in the feel of the drive train. The only negatives I anticipated from this modification would be slightly less road clearance and a possibility of more vibration being transmitted into the cabin.
Options:
  • AWE: Most expensive of the three.
  • LaBREE MOTORSPORTS: Least expensive but untested.
  • AUTOSPEED: Carbon copy of the AWE design with notches to help bar release in the event of an accident.

Decision:
Autospeed. Given the similarity of the AWE and Autospeed bars price became a consideration. I found a used Autospeed bar in like new condition for a great price. The LaBree design was untested and I was not comfortable being a guinea pig for a new product.

Satisfaction:

My initial impression was that the bar did not do much for the feel of the transmission. Certainly not to the degree that some people have said it would change the feel of the car. This may have been in part due to the fact that I had installed the APR snub mount a few weeks earlier. After driving the car for a week I believe the benefits of this bar are more noticeable than my initial impression indicated. There is very little play in the transmission whereas before the TSB and snub mount the transmission moved noticeably. Shifting ‘may’ be slightly crisper, more direct, but not by much. My spouse has commented that the cars shifts better now.

Overall I am happy with this addition. The cost to benefit ratio is pretty good. This is a mod that I would do again even though the benefits are slight. If you are finding it hard to justify the costs you may want to look for some other mod since the improvement is minor and it really only changes the way the car feels when shifting.

Lessons Learned:
So far road clearance has not been an issue. Neither has my concern about vibrations been justified. I did find when installing the bar that the inner mounting bolts on the car are too short to adequately engage the threads with the thicker TSB plates. I ended up buying a couple bolts from Audi that would go on the outer portion of the plate since they are longer. I had to cut off the incorporated washer since it is held onto the bolt by the threads so I got adequate threading. Once that was done the TSB mounted fine.
Long-term Report:
After driving with the TSB for a little over a year I decided that I wasn’t comfortable with having it on the car. My concern stemmed from uncertainty as to how stresses were distributed through the drive train with the TSB in place. After removing the TSB I tried to pay close attention to the feel of the transmission to note any difference. I could not tell any difference at all. After driving a short while I still could not tell any difference. My conclusion is that either some cars are built better than others, or the claimed improvement in feel coming from installing the TSB is exaggerated.

Audi B5 S4