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 Post subject: STi suspension project complete
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 9:56 pm 
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Last October, I bought my WRX wheels and tires. Last December I bought an 18mm turbo Legacy swaybar. In January and February, I bought 04 STi take-off suspension, and the lateral links, endlinks, and mounting brackets required to install everything. Saturday, I finally finished it all. I put in the struts and springs, with a bit of a hangup, at the beginning of the summer. I couldn't remove the lateral links, so I left it. A little later I decided to pick up some polyurethane steering rack bushings, and during the infurating installation, noticed one of my steering rack boots was broken. Two weeks or so later, I had it installed by an alignment and brake shop near where I worked, had them do an alignment, and install the lateral links while they were at it. Of course, the half-assed non english speaking mechanic they had there couldn't remove the bolts connecting the lateral link to the endlink on one side, so I basically told them to fuck off and tried it myself the next weekend. A breaker bar, torch, and PB blaster had no effect after a whole day, so I cut the bolt off and changed the link. The dealerships in the area didn't have it in stock, so after two orders for the wrong part, I finnall got it last week. I put that in, looked at the swaybar mount that was giving me trouble, and bought a tap and die set, took apart most of the fuel filler tube, and had it installed in no time. YAY! time for an alignment.

Here's a little recap of the whole deal with pictures:

The struts, springs, and strut tops NEARLY bolt in. The bolts on the rear tops have a slightly different spacing. One solution is to put the correct tops in with spring perches that fit the STi springs. You can't use the existing STi perches because they are different, as shown in this picture:

Image

I had planned on using my existing perches with the STi springs and group N rear tops for a GC, because I'd heard my perches would fit.
Turned out my perches were too big. I wasn't sure if perches that fit existed at the time, so I filed out the holes so that I could use the STi tops. Apparantly 90-91 tops will fit on the springs, as well.

It's a pretty ghetto way to go, but if you are very careful filing out the outer holes only as far as they need to go, you'll be pretty close to even and give the struts a little more camber in the negative direction. That's good, because the different geometry of the STi will cause slight positive camber when using the struts on a car without the wider GD sedan track.

Image

I also put on an e-bay WRX rear strut tower brace, which I figured couldn't hurt. I suppose if I had the plates welded to the strut towers, it'd be even better.

The rest of the installation was pretty straight forward. I had the front struts changed in less than an hour, as they bolt in directly. One thing I'll note here is that 2005 STi front struts will not fit. The spindle changed for 05, so the flanges are wider apart, and so is the bolt spacing,

I really appreciated this tall boy at the end of the day. Thanks, Derek.

Image

See how the cherry red strut lurks in the darkness:

Image

Alas, I was defeated by the lateral links, and left them for another day:

Image

A few weeks later, that day came. In the meantime, I installed these:

Image

The driver's side was a pain, even after I took off the little skid plate dealie, and "moved" some power steering lines out of the way. Apparantly the way to do it is to loosen up the steering rack linkage. It's described on ravensblade-impreza mods.

Now, let's try to put on those lateral links. The 92-94 L model Legacies do not have a rear swaybar. So, the rear lateral links don't have the tabs for endlinks. The chassis does, however, have holes drilled to mount the swaybar brackets. To put on a rear swaybar, you can buy some of those expensive endlinks that attach to the hub, or find some used stuff on the cheap. I got some lateral links and endlinks for $30 from a 99 Impreza, swaybar mounting brackets from a WRX for about $15, and a rear 18mm turbo Legacy rear swaybar for $50.

This lateral link bolt didn't want to come off after a day of pounding, lubing, prying, and burning.

Image

Lets try a sawzall:

Image

HA HA! Suck on that. Uh, so, Santa Monica Subaru, you wouldn't happen to have that bolt would you? No? Okay, nevermind, I'll check at some other dealerships in the area.

Until then I'll just rock this grade 8 bolt I bought at home depot for awhile:

Image

I tried to install the swaybar at this point, but the bolts did not want to thread into the old, rusty holes very well, even after I cleaned them out as best as I could, and as there was absolutely no space to exert any type of force on the bolt above the gas filler tube, I gave up, deciding to wait until I got the replacement toe adjusting cam bolt.

The bolt came, I installed it, and took a closer look at the swaybar bracket.

It looked like I could take off the plastic shroud on the tube, loosen everything up, and move it out of the way a bit. I also picked up a die and tap kit, to re-tap the threads in the frame. It worked beautifully, although I had to use a 6mm socket backwards with a hex wrench to turn the tap in the limited space.

Image

Image

The swaybar installation itself is pretty straight forward. You basically just feed it over the exhaust pipe and bolt everything down.

Image

And with that, I have 04 STi take-off suspension, an 18mm turbo legacy rear sway bar, and polyurethane steering rack bushings. Coming next: new tires, an alignment, and [relatively] huge brakes.

Bonus shot:

Image


Last edited by jamal on Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:54 am, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:26 am 
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nice work. I have bolted up 04 STi suspension on the front of my series 1 Liberty, went in very easy. May have lowered it 5mm so you can't really notice it. The ride is firmer and body roll is heaps less just with the fronts changed over. Might get some low springs later on, but not just yet.

Will get to work on the rear struts this weekend and see how I go.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:56 am 
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cool...i guess :( for me. So I noticed you went with 18mm on the sway. Would the stock sways (21mm) from an '05 sti be too big, or even fit at all?

Thanks for directing me here.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:05 am 
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i wouldn't know about the sway bays. With the first generation WRX (GC8), apparently you will have better luck with the fronts as they go straight in. Rears may need mods, not 100% sure though. The GD WRX (2nd generation) I have no idea what goes.


I put the rear suspension. The STi springs were about 3-4mm larger in diameter at the top compared to the liberty springs. I changed over the tops and it seemed to go on fine.
The top and perches don't interchange.
Early 91 Liberty/Legacy springs were approx 95mm inner diameter and the STi springs were 98-99mm inner diameter from what I measured.

After swapping to the 04 STi front and rear struts/springs, ride hide looks standard and handling is much improved.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:20 am 
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shemoves wrote:
cool...i guess :( for me. So I noticed you went with 18mm on the sway. Would the stock sways (21mm) from an '05 sti be too big, or even fit at all?

Thanks for directing me here.


The size would be okay, but I don't know if they'd physically fit. Whiteline makes bigger aftermarket swaybars specifically for the Legacy, though.

I went with 18mm because I thought it would be an appropriate performance oriented step up from 0mm. I also got a good deal on it from another member here. In the future, I would consider getting bigger bars, heavy duty mounts, and solid endlinks, but for now the springs are stiff enough, properly damped, and it's pretty well balanced, which is really what's important. The struts and springs aren't even made for my car, but they seem to work well enough, and I like how it feels with same sized front and rear bars. If I wanted a hardcore competitive track or autocross car, it wouldn't be perfect, but for daily driving, canyons, and road rallies, it's great.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 6:33 am 
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i really like what you've done with your legacy, but i have a few questions:
(I've got a 91 legacy L wagon, 4wd)

1. so you used the stock sti struts/springs & tophats, or did you reuse the stock tophats?
2. the lateral links- you change both, or just the rear ones? which car are the lateral links from?

the reason i ask is because i had my car at garage tuning in laguna niguel for a few weeks (they put in a 2.5 n/a motor, wrx susp, and wrx front brakes). they were having major issues with the susp- i gave them full wrx sedan (02) susp , and 02 wrx wagon springs. they said that the rears have a lot of positive camber, and the only way they got it to work was by putting in forester rear springs.

3. would changing the lateral links solve my camber problem??

thanks in advance...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 6:55 am 
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Well, wider GD sedan lateral links would change the rear goemetry and reduce the positive camber, but then the wheels would stick out past the side of the car. Forester springs wouldn't help, either, because the reason for the positive camber is the placement of the bolt holes on the bottom of the strut. What should work are some camber bolts. The only problem is that they sometimes have a tendancy to slip or break. I used the stock STi tops, and modified the strut towers to accept them. I also sort of did more of a hack job then I'd planned, but I was able to file out the outer hole only as far as was necessary to fit the struts into the shock towers, so the tops are wedged inwards as far as they can go. I can see that I only have a small amount of positive rear camber, which I should be able to fix with the camber bolts I still haven't installed. Once I buy some new tires, I'll get it properly aligned.

The lateral links I used were from a 99 Impreza, which are exactly the same length. They just have the little tabs to mount a swaybar.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:52 am 
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As jamal said, changing the springs doesn't change the camber. If they used the forester sprins they should've been able to use the springs you provided. The WRX sedan lateral links should bring the geometry to what a WRX sedan would be, which would mean normal camber. I'm planning on sort of doing this soon ;).

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:13 am 
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That'd be cool, just so long as you don't drive around with primer grey fender flares for a year.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:25 pm 
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Who said anything about fender flares?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:50 am 
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THAWA wrote:
Who said anything about fender flares?


So, 13" 100-spokes, then?

Image

I figured the tires would stick out oddly with a GD sedan track.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:06 pm 
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The track isn't THAT much wider. It's like an inch in the front, and a lil more than an inch in the rear.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:40 am 
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It seems like the tires would still stick out too far, unless you could find some higher offset wheels. There isn't much room between the fender and my 205/55s, but I suppose with a bit of negative camber, rolled fenders, and shorter tires, it might still fit. Would you then get some new A-arms as well, along with all the axles you'd need?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:29 am 
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So far I've got sti aluminum control arms, a version 7 crossmember, sti aluminum lateral links on the way, and soon to have wrx axles. Complete upgrade to the lower suspension components. I still have quite a bit of space before the fenders with my yoko avs es100's, 205/55/16. We'll see how it turns out when I'm done.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:23 am 
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That's a nice little collection of parts. Sounds cool.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:39 am 
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Very nice jamal.

The only part that would kind of worry me, is the rear top mounts. It looks like you did a pretty good job with it but I wouldn't like the thought of any possible play in my suspension. Is there any way to maybe put some kind of spacer in the slots to help brace the top mount bolts?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 9:58 am 
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Well, there really isn't any play. I originally drilled two new holes for the inner bolts, but the strut wouldn't fit in the tower that way, so I filed them into slots, and then filed the outer holes only as far out as was necessary. So, the strut is wedged between the outer bolt hole and the inside of the strut tower. I also have a strut tower brace which I think holds everything in place a bit better.

Still, if I were to do it over again, it's not how I would do it.

I guess the proper thing to do would be to have new plates with the right bolt spacing welded onto the strut towers, above my filed out holes. Actually, I suppose below would be better, because then it'd be raked forward a little, since it seems to ride a little lower in the rear.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:04 am 
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http://www.we-todd-did-racing.com/wetod ... F5NTQx.jpg

Full STi setup. Doesn't look like it sits out any.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:25 pm 
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How is the ride with the 04 STi suspension? It didn't lower you at all, right?

I've got a line on some cheap springs and struts with almost no miles on them that I'll probably work with.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:01 pm 
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It actually did lower it about 1/2 an inch, and the ride is very firm (compared to anything else I've been in). I like it though. Racecomp is apparantly coming out with a set of cheaper, stiffer springs than the pinks without as much drop, and I'm thinking I might get some.

Before:

Image

After:

Image


Last edited by jamal on Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:16 pm 
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Hey Jamal, you had Missoula plates on the first one?!
I had those plate for about six years.... lower Rattlesnake...

Any ideas how to get the stiffness of STI on my wagon without lowering?

It's too soft and too much bodyroll than I had first expected, granted my shocks are pretty worn...

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:19 am 
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Still have them. My parents live in Prospect up Grant Creek, and technically it's my dad's car.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:43 am 
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The rear camber problem is solved for the moment. I finally put in my intrax camber bolts and maxed them out. The camber is visibly negative, which I guess is good, although it's not a whole lot. It was actually noticable driving down the street, in a good way, and I could fit some wider tires now if I wanted. I'll max out the fronts before I get an alignment to see what is possible all around.

I'm taking a trip to San Diego this weekend, so hopefully they don't slip or break. I assume they'll be less likely to slip while maxed out, because that makes it pretty much impossible for a moment to develop that will turn the bolt. I have the stock bolts and some tools in the car just in case, though.

Update for thouroughness - alignment settings as of 3/20/06:

I finally went down to pep-boys today for an alignment after replacing most of my suspension, including a knuckle and control arm after an unfortunate incident involving a curb. I was standing there showing him how to adjust everthing and told him what I was trying for so it worked out pretty well.

The car is a 93 L AWD with 04 STi take-off suspension, and an SS rear swaybar I fit using lateral links from a 99 Impreza. In the rear I have intrax camber bolts set to max negative which supposedly provide an extra 2 degrees.

I knew the toe was messed up, and I went in with all the camber bolts set for max negative. Here are the results:

Code:
Front camber
 Before          After
 L     R         L     R
-0.2  -1.3      -0.7  -0.8

Front caster
 Before          After
 L     R         L     R
 3.7   3.5       3.8   2.9

Rear camber
 Before          After
 L     R         L     R
-1.2  -1.7      -1.2  -1.7



Front toe is 0,
Rear toe is 0.05 deg out.

Not all that great, but I suppose it could be worse.

I was pretty disappointed that the left front would only go to -0.7 because we got the right up to -1.8. I guess I should run into a curb on that side too.

I don't know what's up with the front caster and why it went down so much on the left. It makes sense that there is less there, though, because my crossmember is slightly tweaked after that curb incident. I guess I could take a blowtorch, prybar, and hammer to it.

As far as the rear goes, the difference in camber is most likely due to my ghetto hack job on the rear strut towers. I don't want to touch the camber bolts to prevent slippage. You can also see that without the bolts I'd have positive camber.

Right now my plan to solve the rear camber problem is to get some plates milled/cnc'd that fit between the strut top and tower. They'll have a lip that fits in the center hole so the tops are located a bit more securely. I'll do the drawings myself in CAD and I think the lab at school has the machinery to do it. Otherwise It probably won't be too difficult to have a fabrication shop of some sort make them if I already have the plans.

In the meantime I might take out the rear left and file out the outer hole a bit more, which would give a little less negative camber.

On the other hand, since I had more negative camber on the right, maybe their machine isn't level.

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Last edited by jamal on Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 3:31 pm 
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I installed the rear whiteline bar and links. Even set at the softest the 20-22-24 reduced understeer enough to make me
uncomfortable on wet or snowy roads.

Put a 20mm bar on front and the handling is
v. comfortable wth the stock twgn springs. :-D

Stiff springs,shocks and bars are fine for track days, but too much for
regular use. Been there etc.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 4:15 pm 
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^^^yeah what he said about bars. The rear 18mm stock and the whiteline 18mm are about the same, I had both on and now use the whiteline cuz it looks purty, on my wagon

the stock front bar is a bit small, I'd like to increase it to 20mm but I haven't found a suitable bar at a price I'd like to pay

I run agx shocks and stock slightly shortened springs (-.75" ride height)

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