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Old 03-04-2013, 11:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY top hat extending

Well i looked around and didn't see any other threads on extending these. So I figured since I took a lot of pictures when i was building the white crx I would post these up here.

Sorry i cant remember the tube size i believe it was 1.9" almost 2" OD or something just make sure you get some tubing that will line up inside and out good.

I have used both stainless tube and steel in the pictures, I think that the stainless welds nicer and is stronger. I feel as though i don't have to put so much heat into. You don't want to weaken and warp the material with to much heat so just be careful.


Remove all the bushings


Underneath you can see the bolts are pressed through the bottom

So just get your trusty hammer out and tap them out be careful not to damage the threads


Then place about a foot of your tubing on the top and temporary tack weld it on

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Old 03-05-2013, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Now you have a way to fit it into a band-saw or maybe a vice so that you can hold it while cutting.

Be sure that you cut it as flush to the base as possible



Now we can cut our tack welds of, use a dremel to take as little material of as possible.

Now clean up you materials with a belt sander or grinder whatever you have.


Its a good idea to give it a bit of a bevel so that the weld will flow in between the two pieces.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This is what your parts should look like once there all cleaned up

Now place you piece upside down on top of your tube

Now tack inside the bottom

Now flip it over and tack around the top in four opposing spots

Go ahead and start welding the base then

I didnt get any pictures of the top piece but tack it the same and weld it up, just make sure the inside is lined up very straight this is your suspension after all.

Here is a stainless one
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Once you get all 4 done you can paint them

And here is a before and after effect picture of all your hard work


You can see how it fits right where the spring had been lowered and no longer effecting shock travel.


I have made about 4 sets of these and they have all worked great at auto-crosses and daily driving so they should hold up well and will give you a better ride when lowering your spring. Thanks and I hope you enjoy let me know what you think.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Iv heard of extending the top hat, never looked into it.

You must have been loading the pictures as you wrote it i been waiting to see it since u made the first post at at 4 lol

Really like the write up tho
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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nice, detailed write-up sir. the way they should be done.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Realistically, how much stress does a top hat actually take at the strut top? Just from the stand point of the quality of welds (not talking about anyones welds in particular).
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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nicely done DIY...

how much did you extend the hat..?
looks to be about 1.5'', hard to tell tho just from the pics...
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The tophat really doesn't see much stress, thats the sping's job. I recall another racer who used exhaust tubing for this and it never failed. I did this recently with DOM tuning and a MIG, if I was to do it again I'd just buy the ebay aluminum tophats instead.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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nicely done DIY...

how much did you extend the hat..?
looks to be about 1.5'', hard to tell tho just from the pics...
Yea those are 1.5"

Thanks for all the comments guys I do appreciate them, hope it helps some one out.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:10 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Nice DIY write up!

This is a cheaper way of getting top hats for your ride.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well done, good write up!
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:06 AM   #13 (permalink)
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This is a great writeup and great DIY

The ebay billet pieces are just to cheap to make this one myself though
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Looks good! I gotta do this to my BMW soon in the rear.
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Very nice DIY...
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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If you didn't use 309 or higher filler when welding these, you can get cracks welding stainless to mild steel. Usually these will be obvious right after the weld has cooled (I can explain more on this if anyone wants), but can also form invisible microfractures that will get worse over time, especially if exposed to chlorine (from road salt or sea air). I don't recommend using stainless in this application for most people. Normal steel is more than strong enough and will weld better (less chance of cracking the welds) than stainless for most guys.

But, excellent write up!
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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If you didn't use 309 or higher filler when welding these, you can get cracks welding stainless to mild steel. Usually these will be obvious right after the weld has cooled (I can explain more on this if anyone wants), but can also form invisible microfractures that will get worse over time, especially if exposed to chlorine (from road salt or sea air). I don't recommend using stainless in this application for most people. Normal steel is more than strong enough and will weld better (less chance of cracking the welds) than stainless for most guys.

But, excellent write up!
Oh thanks for reminding me I forgot to mention what welding rod. Yes 308 for steel pipe and 309 for stainless pipe. Im glad you mentioned that some people dont know about welding stainless to steel.

Oh and lets not forget how sexy 309 welds
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:08 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Is there a certain way to know what distance you should go to? Or is it just the distance needed between the tophat and spring? To make captive
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:41 AM   #19 (permalink)
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thats great ,when I did this on my 99 hatch ,I was like sweet look how much suspension travel I have ,on a sslamed car...
will need extra bump stops!
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:27 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Not sure if ypu have installed them yet but I did the exact same thing. I believe right around 1.5" and I had clearence issues with my hood. Make sure ypu look out for it.


Otherwise great job looks good!
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