Still confused about CO vs inserts and springs - Subaru WRX Forum
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#1 Old 12-24-2011, 02:35 PM
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Still confused about CO vs inserts and springs

Hey all,
Been doing my fair amount of research on the suspensions of these cars, as I'm almost ready to purchase an 02 WRX from my father. Car has 73k miles and is 100% bone stock. Now this car is going to function as my daily driver, and I put roughly 12k miles a year on my car that is my DD now. I've figured out for power I'm just going to go o/r uppipe, catted dp/midpipe and catback along with a bigger top mount and SRI. Gonna probably have it tuned on moderate boost at IAG in Westminster, MD.#

Wheels I'm looking at some 17x7.5 rotas, havent decided on a style yet. But going to get decent tires for them, and probably all seasons on the stock wheels.#

Now that you know how far I'm wanting to go with this car, I need help on choosing suspension. I hail from the mustang world, where I ditched my solid rear axle for the 03 cobra IRS, mounted that in solid delrin and aluminum bushings, had everything swapped to solid connections for the toe links and bumpsteer kit, as well as swaybar end links. Rounded out the entire package with a set of coilovers using bilstein shocks and struts.

So I am well accustomed to a good handling car and a stiffer ride. But as far as this car is concerned, I want it to handle well, but from my research, it appears that all the coilover options for some reason need to be rebuilt in intervals of 10-20k miles...something of which I do not care to do. And I'm not going to blow $2,500 or better on coilovers for my DD and apparently the cheaper options are terrible.

I've heard that I can still have decent handling with a good strut/spring combo, but I'm having issues reading up on a lot of the springs on the market like the RCE's and Swifts. I don't want a hellacious ride, but I don't mind it being stiff, I do want the front level or lower than the front, and I do want to realize a handling benefit from the springs.

Also, what sort of struts would many suggest? I see many suggest tokico d-specs are great, but I don't find them to be that great in the mustang community. However, I ran across the koni's for the wrx. Konis are a great upgrade for mustangs and they are top notch. I'd like to hear some reviews on each of those options as well.

And I am also planning on getting the sway bars as well just because I won't have coilovers to assist with the body roll so I'm going to need something to help, and I'm planning on adjustables. As well as end links of course.

Any and all suggestions and comments are appreciated!#

Teej
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#2 Old 12-24-2011, 02:44 PM
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Do remember that you are now dealing with subarus not mustangs. So what worked for you in one car doesnt always work on another brand. Both tokico and konis are top picks for these cars. Coilovers are a waste if you dont plan to use them for their intended use, mostly racing. If you are having trouble with deciding on a setup one of the best group of people to talk to about this is the guys at TiC (Turn In Concepts). Google them and you can get to their site to either call or email. Great group of guys that know their way around just about every subie out there. They can get you pretty much exactly what you are looking for, and at probably one of the best prices out there. Getting at least a rear sway bar will benefit the car greatly, but pairing an adjustable front and rear together can really dial in the handling of the car also.

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"2007 WRX- PPG'd, 20G- Tim Bailey tuned
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#3 Old 12-24-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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Is the car a wagon or sedan ? That'll make a difference as to what's available. I ran Koni inserts in my wagon for 4 years of track use and loved them, until they started clunking (after 100K miles !) I paired them with a Whiteline spring set (260# F, 230# R) which I'm still using with a new set of D-spec struts, which require some modification to use on wagons. So far, I am pleased with the Tokicos. KYB AGX adjustables are also available for sedans only.

I went with the inserts, springs and camber/caster plates as a more affordable alternative to coilovers and only sacrificed some of the adjust-ability (height, and compression)

For a DD/possible track toy, I would recommend that route. That is.... after you upgrade the sway bars and links, as that is where you will see the most handling benefits.

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#4 Old 12-24-2011, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wagonracer View Post
Is the car a wagon or sedan ? That'll make a difference as to what's available. I ran Koni inserts in my wagon for 4 years of track use and loved them, until they started clunking (after 100K miles !) I paired them with a Whiteline spring set (260# F, 230# R) which I'm still using with a new set of D-spec struts, which require some modification to use on wagons. So far, I am pleased with the Tokicos. KYB AGX adjustables are also available for sedans only.

I went with the inserts, springs and camber/caster plates as a more affordable alternative to coilovers and only sacrificed some of the adjust-ability (height, and compression)

For a DD/possible track toy, I would recommend that route. That is.... after you upgrade the sway bars and links, as that is where you will see the most handling benefits.
Seconded to everything wagon said. Most people get coilovers for the wrong reason and end up getting crappy ones. I could have gotten budget coilovers for cheaper than what I spent on my newest struts and spring setup (D-Specs + Swift R-Spec +Whiteline Com-C front hats and Gruppe-N Rear hats), but I would prefer a setup I won't regret later.

The random, pulled out of someone's rear magic mileage where you want to replace the tophats is 85k miles. You're not there yet, but you might as well replace them while everything is out.
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#5 Old 12-25-2011, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagonracer View Post
Is the car a wagon or sedan ? That'll make a difference as to what's available. I ran Koni inserts in my wagon for 4 years of track use and loved them, until they started clunking (after 100K miles !) I paired them with a Whiteline spring set (260# F, 230# R) which I'm still using with a new set of D-spec struts, which require some modification to use on wagons. So far, I am pleased with the Tokicos. KYB AGX adjustables are also available for sedans only.

I went with the inserts, springs and camber/caster plates as a more affordable alternative to coilovers and only sacrificed some of the adjust-ability (height, and compression)

For a DD/possible track toy, I would recommend that route. That is.... after you upgrade the sway bars and links, as that is where you will see the most handling benefits.
This car is a sedan, so no issues there. I think I've been leaning towards the D-specs personally because I dont want to destroy the stock struts. Plus I like the idea of the TIC fully assembled setup and still adjustable. I'm still trying to swallow the price tag for the entire kit. Suspension I guess is cheaper in the Mustang world. lol And then to add in sway bars and endlinks is well over $2k in suspension. I have slightly more than that in my full IRS swap including solid bushings and everything with coilovers.

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Seconded to everything wagon said. Most people get coilovers for the wrong reason and end up getting crappy ones. I could have gotten budget coilovers for cheaper than what I spent on my newest struts and spring setup (D-Specs + Swift R-Spec +Whiteline Com-C front hats and Gruppe-N Rear hats), but I would prefer a setup I won't regret later.

The random, pulled out of someone's rear magic mileage where you want to replace the tophats is 85k miles. You're not there yet, but you might as well replace them while everything is out.
Thanks for that tidbit! Good info! I really do want the car to handle well and have the ability to adjust everything, but I cannot be having the car be laid up for weeks every year for the struts to be rebuilt because I'd be putting enough miles on them a year to warrant a rebuild annually. With this being a daily for me, almost rather just do something like remove spring isolators or something to get rid of the front wheel gap and throw a set of wheels on and call it a day, but I cant stand the body roll right now. Might try sway bars first.

The biggest thing I have to really remember with this car is that its not a Mustang. I've been in the mustang world for so long that that's what I'm used to. I have to keep in mind that things that work for my Mustang wont work for the WRX. For the stang, sway bars are the absolute last thing to do to the car as something to perfectly dial in the car. Here seems like sway bars might be a good idea to start to make the body roll go away. Definitely going to go on the heavy side as I'm not used to this whole body roll thing. lol

EDIT: Been reading up on the Bilstein PSS9's and many people are saying that the intervals in which they have to be rebuilt are much longer than other brands and that I can probably get away with a couple years before rebuilds. I'm fine with a couple years before rebuilds. I just cannot do it once a year. Any input towards this?
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#6 Old 12-26-2011, 05:26 AM
 
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but I cant stand the body roll right now. Might try sway bars first.
Just do it, you'll be glad you did

Cullen
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#7 Old 12-27-2011, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
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Just do it, you'll be glad you did
Agreed. Sway bars defiantly yielded the most dramatic change of all the suspension parts I swapped.

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#8 Old 12-27-2011, 01:08 PM
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Good to know guys! Thanks for the help! Now can anyone answer my edit on my last post about the bilsteins and their longevity between rebuilds?
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#9 Old 01-30-2012, 01:23 PM
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Sway bars will always provided the most durastic change in handling, bang for buck. The reduced body roll while not affecting wheel rate suring one wheel bump. Sway bars are also great for shifting the balance of the car on turn in. An oversized rear bar is a nice improvedment to any car requiring a little less understeer.

I've got a 95 stang with a bigger rear bar and i quite like the the balance of the car now.

In regards to coilovers vs sleeve kits it would tend to stray away from the sleeve kits. If you dont want to drop the coin on a full coilover setup i would recommend sticking with a set of static springs and quality short stroke dampers.

alot of the sleeve kits ive seen, even when built with quality compenents (eibanch spring, koni adjustables), still seem like a bit of a hack. to get the low ride height you usually end up with a rather short and stiff spring. With the short spring, by the time the suspension has the spring seated, youve used up a significant amount of the shock travel, increasing the risk of bottoming out the shock.

With a full coilover set up, a proper one atleast, the ride height is adjusted via the love shock mount. From there, at the spring perches, the preload of the spring is adjustable, allowing you to set the "sag" of the spring felt from the weight of the body. This allowes you to set the shock in its ideal position within its stroke reducing the risk of bottoming out. Coilover kits are also more tailord to the range of adjustment as they will feature shorter shock bodies meaning that you would use up 2 inches of shock bump travel just because youve lowered you car two inches. Another advantage to the coilover kit vs sleeves and inserts it the dampning adjustablity. When you stiffen you spring rate (short spring = stiffer spring) you need to increase the dampening forces that control the spring.

Hope this helps
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#10 Old 01-30-2012, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by craig@neo View Post
Sway bars will always provided the most durastic change in handling, bang for buck. The reduced body roll while not affecting wheel rate suring one wheel bump. Sway bars are also great for shifting the balance of the car on turn in. An oversized rear bar is a nice improvedment to any car requiring a little less understeer.

I've got a 95 stang with a bigger rear bar and i quite like the the balance of the car now.

In regards to coilovers vs sleeve kits it would tend to stray away from the sleeve kits. If you dont want to drop the coin on a full coilover setup i would recommend sticking with a set of static springs and quality short stroke dampers.

alot of the sleeve kits ive seen, even when built with quality compenents (eibanch spring, koni adjustables), still seem like a bit of a hack. to get the low ride height you usually end up with a rather short and stiff spring. With the short spring, by the time the suspension has the spring seated, youve used up a significant amount of the shock travel, increasing the risk of bottoming out the shock.

With a full coilover set up, a proper one atleast, the ride height is adjusted via the love shock mount. From there, at the spring perches, the preload of the spring is adjustable, allowing you to set the "sag" of the spring felt from the weight of the body. This allowes you to set the shock in its ideal position within its stroke reducing the risk of bottoming out. Coilover kits are also more tailord to the range of adjustment as they will feature shorter shock bodies meaning that you would use up 2 inches of shock bump travel just because youve lowered you car two inches. Another advantage to the coilover kit vs sleeves and inserts it the dampning adjustablity. When you stiffen you spring rate (short spring = stiffer spring) you need to increase the dampening forces that control the spring.

Hope this helps
People who buy sleeve setups aren't looking to slam their cars. They are looking for an adjustable, functional setup. You run into the same issue with coilovers. Riding on bump stops is not a good idea no matter what type of strut/coil setup you're running, though some high end coilovers offer features to alleviate part of problem.

And anyone who gets a sleeve kit knows to get struts with adjustable damping, as was recommended in this thread. It's very common in these cars to have the stock struts replaced parts that offer this after they wear out, unless people are working with a small time budget (KYB GRs/Excels).
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#11 Old 02-02-2012, 11:30 PM
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Well, thanks for the input guys. I stopped by at CBRD the other day and talked to one of the guys that works there for about an hour. During our conversation, suspension came up and I talked to him about coilovers and we talked about mid/high end coilovers and I think when I pull the trigger it will be on either H&R's or Bilstein's coilover systems. I've been getting into more corner carving and really want to start getting into auto-x soon so thats the direction I'm going. And as far as sleeve kits are concerned, I think that was me talking about my Mustang, where there are no true coilover kits and I had to make due with what the market made available to me. KW doesnt even have a true coilover kit for a 99-04 Mustang with an IRS in it.
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#12 Old 02-03-2012, 06:17 AM
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Auto-x will chew up ANY coilover system. The H&R's are rebuildable if I'm not mistaken and are a decent price. I had 1 season on BC's and 2 of them needed a rebuild.

Just be aware.

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#13 Old 02-04-2012, 09:59 PM
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I believe it. It wont be auto-x'd that much. I live near harrisburg and go to school close as well so I'll probably just end up auto-x'ing it once a year at the Giant Center in the fall. I thought about the H&R's too, but they are slightly more expensive and they use bilstein strut assemblies for their coilovers so its just a difference in the springs. Plus I heard that the Bilsteins are a little softer and for what I'm going to need them for, thats fine by me! Thanks for the heads up though man! Always good to know what you're getting into!
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#14 Old 02-05-2012, 01:33 PM
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put some winter tires on your stockers instead of all seasons, you will be glad you did since you live up here.....all season doesn't mean there great in snow.......just my .02

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#15 Old 02-05-2012, 01:52 PM
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I believe it. It wont be auto-x'd that much. I live near harrisburg and go to school close as well so I'll probably just end up auto-x'ing it once a year at the Giant Center in the fall. I thought about the H&R's too, but they are slightly more expensive and they use bilstein strut assemblies for their coilovers so its just a difference in the springs. Plus I heard that the Bilsteins are a little softer and for what I'm going to need them for, thats fine by me! Thanks for the heads up though man! Always good to know what you're getting into!
Man, I must not be paying attention if the Giant Center has auto-x and I don't know about it. I'd be interested in some auto-x.

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