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1996 Impreza 2dr ej18 5spd AWD
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So a few years ago I needed to get my car on the rd and the struts were shot, as in leaking and car pogo'd like it had no struts at all. I was in hurry and broke (still broke) so I bought $99 ebay coilovers to get it on rd quick. Well after 3 back surgeries the ride was too much to deal with (apparently someone at maxpeedingrods thinks a impreza needs 560lb.in and 336lb.in spring rates.) and I had a 1997 Outback Sport parts car so with help of my dad and a friend I swapped the struts over, everything bolted up ok with no issues but now it looks like I lifted the front but rear stayed same height as coilovers....

I had searched before but everyone seems to do a swap to lift them with mix match of forrester and legacy outback parts, I'm not looking for a lift at all really I just want a car to drive and not break out in cold sweats at the sight of a expansion joint or pot hole. I had car aligned already because it really needed it and I'm happy with how the front rides\handles but the rear is bugging me. Do I need different top mounts to match the coupe towers or is it the whole strut that needs changed? I was debating just getting a set of saggy rear spacers for now but not sure if that will bring it up enough.

Also my car didnt have any rear sway bar and the OBS did so I'll probably grab that at later date and swap it in, is there anything I should know before starting this? I know I need the mounts off car body and will probably just take whole rear arms rather than try to cut and weld mounts on my current control arms.
 

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1996 Impreza 2dr ej18 5spd AWD
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Oh I should add that I had thought about buying new rear springs for the coilovers and putting the current springs on the front coilovers. Since stock is supposed to be around 140lb.in front and 130lb.in rear I figured maybe 336lb.in front and 230ish rear would be firm but livable but not sure about that either having only had experience with stock and worn out or new coilovers that are bricks.
 

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'96 OBS
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239 Posts
Hey, late to the party, but if you're still trying to solve this:
- 200 front / 190 rear is a great handling comfortable setup for the street
- STI "pink" springs are more like 285/270 and those are considered pretty abusive for rough roads


Is your brighton FWD? Could you have swapped the rear struts from left to right accidentally? If so you need to look at the alignment of your rear strut mounts/strut tops on the OBS struts. There's little notches cut fort '4WD L' 'FWD' and '4WD R' that you need to line up properly as well as lining up the correct corner of the rear strut mount itself. See if you can find the Subaru factory service manual or chilton/haynes manual. It should discuss this, otherwise I can try and track down a PDF. Other than that I have no ideas. The rear of the OBS should weigh *more* than the brighton and pitch the car forwards (positive rake) if anything.
 

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1996 Impreza 2dr ej18 5spd AWD
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for info on the STI's rates, I think that seals the deal on the coilovers being unusable with current springs.

On the struts both cars are AWD and the struts were swapped one at a time so they are all on correct corners, I ended up buying 2 new rear struts and swapping the springs and mounts over and it doesnt sit too bad but still rear is bit lower than front. I think the biggest difference at first was just that I went from the coilovers that I had adjusted to be perfectly level to the struts that the front sits higher, I also did not have car lowered on the CO's and had tried to keep it stock height.
 

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'96 OBS
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239 Posts
Ah, yeah, that'd do it. You were probably running some slight positive rake with the coilovers. Stock the distance between the top of the tire and the wheel arch is not the same front to rear because the wheel arches aren't the same height :) Also, correcting myself on STI spring rates:
Normal STI is like 220-257 front, 190-220 rear depending on year. The special "Gymkhana" springs are the ones that are like 285/275, which is just abusive. Your coilovers were basically setup for a smooth race track. :)

More spring rates here: 403 Forbidden
Not all of those are exact, but they'r in the ballpark. I have Eibach-produced P11Ls, which are Prodrive P1 replicas (and despite that site, more like 200/190). With good dampening they are very comfy on the road and handle really well. It's possible you can find some springs with a similar rate for the coilovers, but the dampening might not match well. Are the coilovers double adjustable? i.e., separate settings for ride height and spring rate?
 

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1996 Impreza 2dr ej18 5spd AWD
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Yeah the coilover's used a really simple setup where the entire body is threaded and then the lower mount threads on without having to touch the preload on spring. I'm actually pretty happy with the new setup but do miss the handling through corners that I had before. I think once I get the rear sway bar mounted up it will be a good enough mix to leave it alone.

When I first put the coilovers on I laid a level on the rocker panel on each side of car and adjusted each corner like 3 or 4 times before I was happy with the level front to back and side to side. The fender openings do really make it seem like rear is lower than what it actually is.
 
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