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Personally, I would switch to synthetic oil at 10k miles, to synthetic transmission fluid at 30-40k miles, and to good performance tires at about the same mileage. Firehawk SH-30, or Michelin Pilot, or something of comparable quality:
it does not cost much, and will only improve the reliability / safety.
By the way, the stock GA is rather fast car with V-6. Roughly comparable to base Camaro / Firebird / Mustang. Substantially faster are only cars with inline 6 (BMW), supercharger (GP GTP / Regal GS), and/or with 8 cylinder engines. Or motorcycles.
I had heard from many people the advantages of adding a front strut tower brace, and how much better their car handled afterwards. I decided to go with the Next Level bar because it was a little cheaper than the one from Ram Air Etch. Both front strut tower braces are 1" bars by the way, the key difference is that the Ram Air bar is a one piece unit while the Next Level bar is a three piece set (two mounting brackets and the bar itself).
I just installed the bar this weekend and I immediately noticed a difference in handling. The car is definitely more solid while turning, most of the front end flex is taken away. The car really feels like it is hugging the road and doesn't mind taking sharp turns.
It is a good investment, I would recommend installing a front strut tower brace. It takes all of about 3 minutes to install, so you don't have to worry about being a mechanic. All you have to do is attach the brackets to the bar, bolt the one side to the drivers side strut, bolt the other side to the passengers side strut and then twist the bar to tighten everything.
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1. Both the Grand Am SE and the GT do in fact have a rear swaybar. It is a hollow bar, 15.3mm in diameter. The Alero also has this same swaybar. The Grand Am GT does, however, get a 24mm SOLID front swaybar, as does the Alero with the FE3 suspension option. The regular Alero and Grand Am SE get a 24mm front bar also, but it is hollow.The Ram Air Technologies rear swaybar is solid and 25mm in diameter. It increases roll stiffness SIGNIFICANTLY to the point that the car will oversteer when pushed. The back end of the car can whip around and cause a spin if the driver cannot control the car with more throttle. The ride will also be rougher. There have been problems with end links breaking, so use at your own risk. Inexperienced drivers, you have been warned. You can carry more speed through the turns, however.2. Strut tower braces are designed to take the flex out of the vehicle's unibody during hard connering. The car responds to steering inputs quicker as does not seem to roll over and die as much. I highly recommend them as cheap chassis upgrades to any Grand Am or Alero owner. I personally have both front and rear bars on my Alero, and the car is much happier at the track.
For other great info on the Grand Am, visit the Forum at http://www.grandamgt.com.
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