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Help me plan out my suspension swap


BarManBean
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05 Wagon, 68k miles. I plan to keep it for a good long while (safe to assume 100k miles), so I'd like to get the suspension dialed in all at once if I can and I'd like to button everything up either during the winter or beginning next spring.

 

I have a set of epic sedan springs in the garage and I have a set of stock front struts for konis. Pretty well set on going that route. Aside from the konis/springs, what else would you recommend. Pieces that have been floating through my head include a roll-center/bump steer kit to go along with the lowering springs and replacement LCA bushings. I'm guessing it would make sense to install both of these along with the struts to save on labor, but I'm not entirely sure.

 

All thoughts are welcome. I'm looking for a great DD setup and may get into some autocross just for fun down the road. If there's anything I'm missing, fill me in. Should also note that I have hotchkis sways already on with KB endlinks and AVO rear mounts.

 

EDIT: my additional budget after I buy konis and strut mounts will top out at around $800, but I'd really like to keep that around $300 if possible so I can pick up an F1 VB as well.

Edited by BarManBean

"Bullet-proof" your OEM TMIC! <<Buy your kit here>>

 

Not currently in stock :(

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Whiteline ALK

Whiteline Front LCA inner bushings

Whiteline RC/BS Kit

Whiteline steering rack bushings

 

I did this all at once along with the rear camber adjusters with my Swift springs and Bils. Even without sways this setup was the "best handling Legacy" my local Subaru performance and rally shop ever put together. He's used this setup as a recommendation now for 3 other LGTs. I highly recommend and if looking to save $, doing all these at once means only one alignment. :D

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Cool. I'm looking through some installs today and I'm thinking that a strut/shock install is pretty much unrelated to installation of LCAs. Is that correct? If that's the case, I will probably try to focus on getting the konis done first to see how I like the setup. One step at a time, I guess...

 

I definitely hear you on the alignment issue though, would certainly be nice to only have to do that once.

"Bullet-proof" your OEM TMIC! <<Buy your kit here>>

 

Not currently in stock :(

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I'd say that depends.. I am doing Koni's and bushings right now, instead of trying to pop the balljoint I actually removed teh arm with the knuckly which means I un-did the strut. If did this once for struts, then again for arms, you'd be looking at two alignments.

 

The other thing, are your LCA bushings torn? Mine are pretty bad at 79k

IMG_0015.thumb.jpg.489d6feccfea8bec2a109560e99d838c.jpg

Edited by Shotokan1509
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Yeah, the difference over stock going to koni/epic's and f/r sways was pretty drastic. Replacing my avo adj endlinks with kartboys soon which should remove a little more slop. I picked up a second set of LCA's with almost new balljoints and poly rear bushings. Going to be picking them up from the shop today from getting the front bushings pressed out, got a set of poly whitelines going in.

 

My bushings weren't as torn as shotokan's, but you can definitely tell when driving that they need to be replaced.

 

Glad I picked up a second set of LCA's so I didn't have to worry about rushing to get bushings pushed out/in.

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I have a set of epic sedan springs in the garage

 

Don't forget your 3/8" or 1/2" (need longer strut studs) saggy butt spacers for the wagon when using sedan springs.

 

Get a good alignment - not to stock specs (search this forum). Best $100 spend on suspension, IMO. You may need rear camber arms / adjusters.

Kyle "BlackHole"
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I'm not sure, did you mention beefing up your RSB? Or both F & R? A popular upgrade. I'll 2nd the notion that if you are pulling off the front struts, replacing the LCA rear bushings might be highly advisable. If you are having a shop do this, make sure they give you some credit for the redundant labor; I had to get nearly abusive to get my point across, and to top it off, the "fu-fu" Subaru tuning shop kinda botched the job (TMI for this thread, but who the h**l can you trust?). Also, there is a middle ground on this, between stock & poly. Maybe I'm wrong, and you already have them, but STI bushings are supposed to be harder, more durable than stock (at least some stock). They are still rubber, with no offset. And a little further toward "modded" are the group N bushings: even more firm, though same basic design. Might take longer to get, and are more expensive. If you don't have any tears in your current bushings at 65K, you are luckier than many. Or is that just an Outback thing?
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I have upgraded F/R sways, endlinks, and mounts already. Also I'll most likely do the work myself, so the only worry about redundant labor is for myself, lol.

 

Sounds like replacing the suspensions and LCA work is more or less a separate process unless I decide to undo the castle nut. Finding a couple days in a row to do car work these days is rare for me, so I'll probably go the route of pulling the ball joint or whatever it is so I can do both jobs separately.

"Bullet-proof" your OEM TMIC! <<Buy your kit here>>

 

Not currently in stock :(

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You can totally do the strut swap without undoing the LCA or any castle nut. Easy enough to do them separately, which I recommend. Especially b/c the hard part will be getting them apart the first time. Once you get them apart, use plenty of antiseize and next time they'll come apart like butter for the roll center or lcas (if you even need them to). RCK or LCAs are not strictly necessary to do a strut swap, but they should still improve handling. I am currently in between struts along with sways and rck and lca on the not yet done side. Will probably run that way this winter and do at least rck in the spring.

 

Fyi ... GTspec makes a relatively new roll center kit that looks to be beefier than the whiteline one. However, I don't think there's a ton of data on how they perform yet. Search on lgt.com for more info, there's a thread out there somewhere. I think I might try that when I get around to it.

 

I have konis/epics in paired with whiteline adjustables in the front and rear. I currently have the setup on hard in front and soft in the rear to get a little closer to oem as I get used to the upgrade over the winter. In the spring, I will probably reverse that to tighten up the understeer/oversteer even further and really try to level things out in the turns.

 

If you plan to use spacers in the rear (which you probably should with a wagon in this setup), you absolutely will need longer top studs on the koni rear. The ones that come with it are too short to use even with a 1/4 inch spacer (ask me how I know ... I have a saggy butt wagon and two spacers sitting in the garage).

Edited by Dujo
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Actually, I don't know where to get them. I didn't know I needed them until I tried to use my spacers. So ended up just doing it without. It certainly works, but doesn't look quite right. But there are two studs at the very top of the rear strut that attach them to the rear strut tower behind your rear wagon side panels behind the rear seat. If you put a spacer in, you won't be able to thread a nut on from inside the car so you need longer ones. If anybody knows where to source the right part though, I'm in for that actually. :)
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What are these studs that people talk about? Is there a source / part number for them? I understand exactly the point of the longer studs, just don't know exactly what to get as a replacement.

 

I remember seeing them available from Paranoid Fabrication's site a while back.

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By the way, when I stripped one of these on my ISCs, I did not have any luck banging out the seated one with a hammer. Instead, I used a vise and block of wood (with a hole) behind the stud and then cranked down pressure on the tip of the stud. After a few cranks, it gave a big pop and came free. Poor man's hydraulic press. :) Edited by Dujo
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im looking for some similar upgrades as i think my bilsteins and pinks are past there best date. i came across these:

 

http://www.europerformance.co.uk/pages/products/product_info.mhtml?product=2577296

 

i thought Koni only did inserts whereas these look like a full replacement set?

 

is there any point in upgrading to poly bushes on stock jdm sway bars? or upgrading to solid end links on standard sway bars?

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^ Hmm, that's very interesting. The Koni North America website has instructions for the kit as per usual (shock only, no strut option in the front). However, the global website does have a sport strut (front) listed separately from a sport kit, which I assume is the shock-only version. Sounds like there may actually, possibly be a full strut option though. The two Koni websites are a little lacking in information actually. Perhaps it is very recent or it is EDM and/or JDM only?
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Depending on your budget and how much you have spent already, a set of BC Racing Coilovers is a good compromise @ $1000. Plus you get height adjustablity which removes the need for the saggy-butt spacers. You can even set your car to have a forward rake. They also come with front camber plates (up to -2.1 degrees), and adjustable shocks.

 

The Whiteline LCA & ALK kits are good, however, they will change the turn-in feel for cornering, as well affect the self-centering aspect of your steering (it will be less).

 

Replacing the steering rack bushings will firm up your steering quite a bit, cheaper than replacing the steering column with its builtin damper.

 

Replacing the shifter bushings with Group-N bushing will give the shifting a more solid feel.

 

Replacing the rear arms (Whiteline KTA124) will help the back end feel tighter. For me, it meant the rear of the car felt more connected...and reduced the tendency to oversteer.

 

Using solid RSB/FSB endlinks will tighten up the feel of the swaybars. Ideally, you would replace both. If you have adjustable bars, use the softer setting until you get the hang of it. UTube is full of video of Impreza improperly setting this and wrapping the car around some inaminate objects when the car oversteers instead of understeers.

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Using solid RSB/FSB endlinks will tighten up the feel of the swaybars. Ideally, you would replace both. If you have adjustable bars, use the softer setting until you get the hang of it. UTube is full of video of Impreza improperly setting this and wrapping the car around some inaminate objects when the car oversteers instead of understeers.
Most people set it on full stiff and don't really realize what they're doing. I'm glad someone finally posted that people should use the softest setting first.
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