Beginning in the early fall of 2007, we began testing prototypes for a stiffening brace on our test Pontiac Solstice. The objective was to improve on some shortcomings built into our beloved car due to the nature of production vehicles. We began with some very simple and straight forward concepts. However, our test mule proved to be quite a fighter. Feeling good about a brace design, we merrily bolted up several prototypes and went blasting down the back roads. At least 3 different design concepts met their untimely demise this way. The problem? Our primary test vehicle is lowered and has an aftermarket exhaust. Most of the concepts that we modeled would work perfectly on a stock Kappa, but being lowered and having an aftermarket exhaust killed several designs we had spent days modeling in the computer. Below the photos show several design that, obviously, did not make the final cut. We continued our quest with what we called the "X-brace". Very functional and VERY cool looking from the rear. But the lowered vehicle and Center exit exhaust setups still proved to be a problem.
Then we engaged a few GM Performance Racing engineers about the problems and what they had discovered were the weakness of the Kappa. From our track brothers in SSB & T2 SCCA racing, we discovered that it's not so much the two lower rear control arm mounts that was the problem. The engineers at GM found the cross member that holds the back of the differential in place is flexing. Although this looks to be very beefy, it is actually very thin metal filled with foam. Due to this flex, all ZOK's use a HD version of this piece. We we're able to inspect the changes they made at the factory, and tailored out new brace like-wise. To do like GM, you would have to weld additional steel in place, not for the average shade tree mechanic.
The DDMWorks Pro-Beam is engineered to bring your light-duty stock cross member up to the par with the 2006 & 2007 SCCA winning Kappas. It has been tested on vehicles lowered as much as 2" with low profile tires. It survived over 10,000 miles of abuse on roads that most of you would never take you rides. Exhaust fitment has been verified with Stock, Magnaflow, SOLO Center, GM Performance and DDMWorks exhaust systems. This is the first brace to tie and link together the diff. cross member to the suspension mounting components. It is made from high quality STEEL and is seam welded. The brace is powder coated black for corrosion protection. Installation is accomplished with simple hand tools and an electric drill.