Eibach Pro-Plus Kit Install & Review - Warning: bandwidth hungry, lots of photos
I recently had the opportunity to install Eibach's Pro-Plus Kit which includes a set of springs, front sway bar (FSB) & endlinks, and rear sway bar (RSB) & endlinks. You can read more about the kit here.
(link for 2004 WRX non sti & non wagon)
My review can be found here.
I will note first off that my 04 WRX already has an aftermarket RSB, upgraded mounts, & endlinks that I will be completely changing out. It is the exact same process with a little more work since I am putting the stock rear sway bar mount back on. I have upgraded springs, and the only difference here is that you'll need to use spring compressors which I'll note further on. FSB is stock to start off with so no differences there. If you see a lot of silver gunk on all my bolts, rust really killed me on this install so I lathered everything up in anti-seize "just in case" purposes for the future.
I will be breaking this up into 3 parts so anyone can do it in steps to minimize downtime of their vehicle. I was lucky I have a daily driver since I ran into a few speed bumps along the way. [B]Keep in mind you MUST get an alignment done after install!![/B]
Big thank you to all my friends that helped: Chris D, Choker, Sher Jun, and Hell Yeah.
[COLOR="Red"][B]** DISCLAIMER **[/B][/COLOR]
Modifying your car can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. Something as simple as forgetting to tighten a bolt could cause damage to your vehicle and possibly endangerment to you and others. You could also risk having warranty claims denied. Take all necessary precautions. This is how I did it; it may or may not be the best/safest way. If you're not sure about something, ASK someone!
The parts came in two separate boxes. One for the springs, and another for the rest. If you're picking these up from a shop or a shipping company, note that it will fit in the truck or backseat. Just make sure you have little back there since the box with the sway bar does span the entire width of the vehicle.
Pretty straight forward and simple here. 4 springs and an instructions packet.
It was nice to see that Eibach split the packages into. Both sway bars are obvious. There are two large bags, each bag contains a pair endlinks (front and rear separated), bushings, bushing grease, and instruction package.
** Note **
I just want to make a note before we begin. If you have an older with a lot of rust, or you live in one of the salt belt states, consider having a professional install this. I am by no means a pro when it comes to wrenching. However, I know what I'm doing (most of the time), but the amount of rust was a nightmare in certain respects - seized nuts, breaking bolts, etc. If you're vehicle is newer and/or has minimal rust, all this will be a cake walk.
Lucky for you, I ran into all those problems I mentioned, so I'll let you know how I managed to complete everything. You can probably consider my situation worse case scenario. And I'll make notes of everything I did wrong that you shouldn't do to save time and frustration in the end.
I use a variety of methods and tools to work on this car. I had access to a lift for one part which I know the majority of the world does not have access to. Luckily 2 sets of jack stands and a floor jack is all you really need. You'll need a decent mechanic's tool set too. Let's begin.
Installing the Springs
[B]Removing the rear seat[/B]
Get your car in the air. I opted to just put them on 4 jack stands to get all 4 tires off the ground, but if you're in a pinch, you can just do one side at a time. Remove the wheels once the car's in the air. Remember to break the lug nuts in the front before lifting up the car all the way, otherwise you'll have to have someone step on the brake to prevent the wheels from spinning.
We're going to remove the back seat first. You'll need a 12mm wrench - deep well or with extension preferred. There are two bolts under the seat. Take them out.
Lift up and remove the seat from the vehicle. Be careful not to accidentally scratch your car taking it out.
Next, you'll see 4 more bolts running along the bottom. Remove those.
Open the rear seat pass thru. You just need it open so it's not "locked," preventing you from removing the seat. Ignore my trunk clutter.
Lift up, and start sliding out the back seat. The seat belts will get in the way so you'll have to slide them off as you go along. BE VERY CAREFUL not to scratch your paint here. The brackets that held the bolts you just removed can easily scratch your door jams in this process, especially with the seat belts hindering you. Two hands would help, but is not required for safe removal.
Back to the front of the vehicle. With the vehicle on jack stands and another person helping me, it was just easier to do in this order. Feel free to skip to the rear portion dissemble and come back if you wish.
With the wheels off, you'll see where your strut attaches. Two massive bolts hold this on, one being the camber bolt. Spray them down with PB Blaster or something to loosen them up.
The whole car is metric, but I think I friend grabbed a 3/4th. You should use whatever metric bolt will fit it. Don't be like us and risk rounding out the nut.
A breaker bar has been immensity helpful for the entire install. ~$24 bucks from Sears got me a 22inch Craftsman T-bar. It's a good investment. In a pinch, you can just use a large pipe over the handle. Break the two bolts loose. It was pretty difficult for us. There was a fair amount of rust.
You can actually see the bar bending a little in this photo.
When it's loose, you can just use a ratching to get it the rest of the way off. For us, it was still very tight from all the rust/oxidation. PB Blaster is your friend.
With the two bolts off you can see just how bad of a shape these are in.
Now, you'll have to slide the bolts out. Easier said than done. We had a small debate on whether to put the nut on to do this or not. You'll need a hammer or something heavy if they don't come out easily. Thread on the nut enough to get about half the threads in. Hammer on the nut you just threaded back on to pop them out as much as you can.
The reason for this is that if you do what we did here, which is hammer it without the nut, you have a high risk of damaging the threads. This will either not allow the bolt to go back on when you need to get it all back together or force it to cross thread which is also bad.
The bottom will drop down once both bolts are removed.
Wait wait wait, you didn't listen and damaged your threads? And now the nut won't go back on? This is obviously for people that jumped in mid way and stumbled upon this how-to since the damage has already been done. All of you that followed from the beginning can skip this step.
Well, you have a few options. First one is to grind off the top flush to eliminate all the damaged threads. In our case, this worked for one of the bolts.
You're trying to cut down past those burrs.
Our camber bolt was too far gone and had to be replaced. Expect a day of downtime since most dealerships will have to overnight it. Keep in mind, both are obviously different. The one I had to replace was the top one, the camber bolt. Expect to pay ~$5-10
Side by side, you can see how much corrosion does to parts on your car. My vehicle is 6 years old and has seen every winter snow since it was driven off the lot.
There are 3 bolts where your top hats are. Just pop the hood to find them.
You'll need a 12mm socket. Unbolt them.
The assembly will start to drop down with the two bolts on the bottom gone. Just carefully slide it down and maneuver it out of the wheel well.
Here it is outside the vehicle with the rubber cover popped off the top. There's a socket attached to the top in this picture. We were just seeing what size we needed.
You'll need a 17mm deep well socket for this part and either some strong hands or a rag with a set of adjustable pliers.
In the following photos we do not use spring compressors since there are already aftermarket springs installed. If you have stock springs, use a set of spring compressors. They are cheap and most places like Advance Auto and Auto Zone loan them out. This is about the 4th one I've seen/done. The velocity of the parts that fly off without the use of compressors is scary and just dangerous. Use them!
Keep in mind I already have aftermarket lowering springs installed. It's not required, but recommended.
Start breaking the nut free. If the shaft turns, hold it still with your hands or pliers with a rag around it to protect the shaft.
With all the pieces apart.
Testing the shock to see if it's still OK.
A piece of advice, if you have the cash or can spare it, it's a really GOOD time to upgrade them at the same time since everything is apart. On top of that, the benefits can be drastic. If you don't understand, read the argument thread on lowering springs misconception. Lowering a little is good. Lowering a lot is bad. Best part, Eibach makes a set of shocks that match their springs.
My bump stops were already cut, so I did not mess with them. From what I could tell from the instructions, you don't modify the bump stops. Most I've seen you have to cut them, so double check the instructions yours comes with.
Apply some anti-seize if you have it to make things a little easier for you.
If you have a protector around your springs that are in there, might as well use them. If not, don't worry about it. The one's I'm pulling off happen to.
More of putting it all back in together.
Carefully maneuver the whole thing back into the vehicle, linking up the holes up top.
This part helps with two people. Start threading up top to prevent it from dropping back down.
Start replacing the nuts and bolts, tighten everything down, and that completes one. Repeat on the other front shock the same way you did this one.
Same deal here in the rear. Spray down the bolts with PB Blaster to loosen them up.
Up on the rear deck, behind the seat belt.
you'll see 3 12mm bolts holding the strut in place. Mine looks slightly different because of the SPT rear strut brace. Concepts the same. You'll have to unbolt the seat belt to access the bolt closest to the rear.
You'll have to remove the clip that holds the brake line in place.
You can use a flat head screw driver to slide it out.
Now you can unbolt the nuts holding the strut.
Disassembly is the exact same as the front.
According to the instructions, the bump stops do not need to be cut.
New spring goes in.
All goes back together. When you secure the top hat, it will make your life easier to align the 2 bolts so it lines up with it goes back in. Observe the photos.
Put the assembly back in, and secure the bolts.
Now you can re-attached the seat belt and the rear seat.
Repeat with the other side. And that's it, springs are installed.
Rear Sway Bar Install
The bushing for the endlinks don't come pressed into the endlinks. Luckily for you, it's not really that hard.
In the instruction sheet they provide, they have you press them in with a vice like I do in the following photos.
After the bushing is pressed in, just slide in the guides.
Not everyone has a vice. It's actually not that hard to push them in. All you need is something with leverage. Like a big flat board pressing on a table surface, or even just stepping on it. I did a method like this for the front endlinks.
Again, PB Blaster is your friend. Hose em down.
Unbolt the endlinks. you only have to do the side that's attached to the car since the bar is coming off. Then unbolt the bar from the sway bar mount.
Remove the cover protecting the gas fill pipe. There are 3 bolts. I managed to snap all 3. I had to cut a small slits and use zip ties to get it back on when this was all said and done.
If you forgot to memorize how your stock bar was orientated and have no idea how the original bar went in, well I did too. Luckily, my friend was there with his 05. So I snapped a picture for reference.
When you work this hard, you tend to gather a crowd. Helping hands.
Okay, this is where I side track again. This won't apply to most, so skim it and skip it if you don't run into problems. I'm removing everything that came with my last bar with included the mounts. I saved my stock mounts and am putting them back on. Ran into a problem where I snapped a bolt that held the mount (rust). Not only that, it was on the worse side, right above the gas filler pipe.
Some may run into this if they decide to go ahead and buy upgraded mounts and want to change out their stock mount. Well, we tried to torch it out (very dangerous!! only let a pro do this! my friend is a mechanic). After about 30 minutes of heating, PB Blastering, and turning with a vice grip, the heat eventually took out the weld on the nut on the opposite side. We lost the nut and snapped bolt in the chassis forever. Now what?
There were only a couple options, but we opted to weld one side of the bracket on.
You gotta prep the weld area. Clean it up, and make sure it's level. Scuff up the paint so you get some metal contact. I used a $7 hard scowering brush attachment for a power drill to remove paint on the bracket (not shown). Put the side that has the good bolt in to line everything up for you.
In our case, it was above the filler pipe. We used a soaked rag to protect the pipe. Again, this is dangerous. If you run into something like this, best that you take it to a pro. No point risking your safety or your life. I was under the supervision of a mechanic in a garage and my welder has gone thru his classes.
More of what not to do. We forgot the mask in the other car. NEVER DO THIS. My friend can be an idiot if he wants, but your vision is pretty important. USE A MASK
After you finish, clean up the weld with a wire brush
Then spray it with some paint or primer to protect the weld from rust.
Start prepping all the parts.
I made the mistake of assuming that all the bolts were identical. They're not. There are two different sizes. The longer one is for attaching to the sway bar (top of the endlink).
Correct orientation. Washer to metal contacts. Giant disk thing for bushing contact. Read ahead to see the photos so you have a clear idea of how everything is mounted and where the nuts and washers go.
Start by mounting the endlinks to the control arms. Mine probably looks different since I have Whiteline control arms and lateral links.
Now mount the new bushings and sway bar to the mount itself. You pretty much need someone giving you a hand here to hold the other side of the bar up. This is kinda tricky, but everything is directional and the factory parts give arrows on the parts and whatnot.
Be sure to use the supplies lube to lube up the inside of the bushings.
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