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Discussion Starter #1
Everything suspension and handling wise is completely stock in my 2000 2.5 RS, I was just wondering what you guys would suggest as a good upgrade to do first... I appreciate any responses...

Thanks,
Scott
 

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The first and best of course would either be tires or a rear anti-sway bar. I did 20mm bar and 205x50x16 Nitto tires ( won't ever do those Nitto tires again ) but it really made a difference. I like the smaller diameter tire but even a good tire at stock sizes will make a big difference.

You really won't need a front/rear strut tower bar until your suspension is much stiffer. So try the tires and sway bar first. You won't be disappointed.

I run all-season Toyo Proxes FZ4 tires and love them (pretty darned good in the snow too)! Toyo also makes a great summer tire to I just can't remember the name of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I couldnt decide between the strut brace and the rear sway bar... and I was already planning on new tires. What brand was your sway bar?

Scott
 

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2004 Forester XTi
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Although the OE Bridgestone RE92 is called a performance all season tire, it cannot perform well and can cause accidents if driven too hard. Get them changed when you realize you have a lead foot.

A sway bar is also a recommended modification. If I'm correct, the front sway bar is already 19mm. So to understeer, get your rear 13mm one swapped with a larger one.

I'm running Dunlop SP Sport 5000 tires (a good all-season tire w/ unimpressive tread wear) and the FHI 18mm sway bar to complement my stock suspension. I also have both F/R tower bars. I don't know if they do much, but they are there when I'm in trouble. :p
 

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MY99 GF4 EJ227 JDM 6spd
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To get the best of the susension to suit your needs, it depends what kind of driving you do.

If you are doing track racing mostly then Coilovers kits i.e. DMS 40mm, 50mm or LEDA would be somthing to look into. Sway bars such as a 20mm front and 20-24mm rear wouls suit the coilover system. Strut bracing and maybe a rollcage would benefit from hard cornering and track angles. Camber/toe plates would come in handy for fine tuning. Also checking tire pressures for that extra bit of maximizing contact patch would help. You would need one of those temperature reading ga-jets to check for temperature diffence across the tire.

If you're just wanting a suspension setup for spirited driving, Progressive springs with either adjustible or non-adjustible shocks, upgrade rear sway bar (18mm-24mm) and struct bracing would be a nice setup. Tires must also be addressed.

Rims would be either 16 (stock), or upgrade to 17's and lower profile tires. The stock 16's is a nice size already.

IF you're weekend autocrossing/track then something along the lines of DMS 40mm (I think these are fully adjustible bound and rebound), other coiloverkits, or spring/strut combo would be good. There are several spring rates where you can choose to suit the type of driving you do.

BTW, coilovers are a little more on the expensive side. Some owners like them very much while others don't.

Comfort will have to sacrafice for performance, remember that. Progressive springs will have the best of both worlds if you still want comfort.

FuJi

EDIT:Here's a link to a discussion on DMS 50mm
 

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Stime187,

I purchased mine from JC Sports but that was a long time ago. They have since gone under. Whiteline makes an adjustable one and there are a few others out there I just don't know the brand names.

I run a very conservative suspension setup consisting of: SPT/Eibach springs, KYB-GR2 struts, Group N strut tops, 20mm sway bar and 205x50x16 Toyo Proxes FZ4 tires. I needed something that was sporty yet comfortable for my 100 mile round trip to work.

I used to run Tein S-tech springs and KYB-AGX struts and with that combo I definitely needed strut tower bars. With my conservative set up I do not.

Although the 205x50x16 tire size knocks my speedo off (4mph) it does help with turn-in and handling. I'm not worried about mileage so this is why I went with this tire size. At 80 mph I am turning 3500 rpm's. I have not had one problem in the snow with this size.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
98imp,
Thats awesome! I was wondering who drove that... nice car by the way. I've seen you driving around, and you seem to usually park near my church. Pretty damn cool what the internet can do...

Scott
 

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yea i live in albright, i like your headlights, and grill. did you get a lift in the front cause it looks higher than normal:checkit:? any ways i was talking to someone at an autocross who owned an RS, they said that they noticed the biggest differance with a sway bar and struts.
 
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I would say the Whiteline ALK (anti-lift kit) and an adjustable rear anti roll bar are mandatory first mods. They transform the car!

If you are in So.Cal, You can drive mine and see for yourself :)
 

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ampsarus said:
I would say the Whiteline ALK (anti-lift kit) and an adjustable rear anti roll bar are mandatory first mods. They transform the car!

If you are in So.Cal, You can drive mine and see for yourself :)
Would you happen to know if the ALK will benefit a stock strut/spring setup? I ask because I want to find out if it will work before I try, and no one has answered me back so far. :devil:
 
Silver 2K RS Coupe
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I think it would benefit ANY setup.
As you may know, it adds half a degree of static castor to the front lower A-arm and replace the soft rubber bush with a poly one. Sounds simple, but the results are huge.

It makes lift on accel and dive on braking almost vanish. It adds turn in crispness and lowers understeer: I can pitch around corners at 40 now. It makes the car more stable at high speed; it just feels more "on the road" and the car feels more solid and locked down. There is more traction on the front.

The only down side is that they are a BITCH to install and there IS some added noise and harshness. Pump your tires to 45 PSI and roll down the street, that's about how much added noise and harshness you will see with the kit.

If you can swing it, get the ALK, KYB AGX struts, and a big rear bar then just use your existing springs. I know a place that sells new AGX for under $400 shipped, if you are interested.

For $700 you can really bring the RS up to world class road-holding levels.

Hope this helps!
 

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MY00 2.5RS(RIP)02WRXWagon
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Kinda long

I would agree with most of what Ampsarus says.

The ALK (Anti Lift Kit from Whiteline) and larger rear bar are the cheapest, most effective ways of improving the handling of a stock car.

There are 3 types of ALK (normal, comfort, motorsports) If you have rough roads or are sensitive to NVH then get the comfort(close to OEM). These thing work great on a stock suspension. Some say they don't but my experience says they do. They don't completely eliminate lift but it reduces it considerably and you will feel it when you power out of a turn. I did not find it too difficult to install. I was able to do it alone though a helper is alway handy. Some of the bolts are really torqued on there so you'll need a breaker bar.

An adjustable rear sway bar is usually a good idea, so that you can change the stiffness of the bar as your suspension needs change or your driving skills improve. For the RS with a stock front bar an 18-22mm is a good size. The 22-24mm I really wouldn't recommend them as it takes quite a bit away from the independent suspension compliancy. Its good if you are doing serious track work and don't need a suspension that conforms to the road. If you do decide to go with the big mutha then get yourself the heavy duty sway bar mounts (from Whiteline/MRT)as the stock ones will eventually break with such a large bar and the stresses it puts on the cheap "c" mount.

After these basic suspension mods comes the struts and springs. The stock RS suspension can feel a bit floaty. Its still pretty decent but can be improved. You have two basic paths you can pursue:

1. Struts/Springs
2. Coilovers

Your options for 1. are pretty numerous as far as spring choices go. You have Eibach, Whiteline, STi, 5Zigen, and H&R, etc. Strut choices are starting to get a bit limited. Mike Shields of SPD tuning recommends that the optimal ride height is about a 3/4" drop from stock for a fast road setup. He says that for a road car, the roll centers, strut travel, etc. are best at this ride height. Prodrive and STi concur as their best suspension kits lower the car this much. Which brings us to those options. Prodrive has an awesome spring (Eibach) /strut(Blistein) combo available called the WR. They used to have a GT which was a bit softer but that is no longer available. The P1 setup is a combo V5/6 strut and special Eibach/Prodrive tuend springs. Also very nice. Mike is running this on his car right now. STI has a few setups available from their V5/6 and RA cars. Also there are adjustable struts from STi as well. The best thing is to go for a matched set of struts and springs. The springs are properly designed around the strut's damping characteristics/travel and this is really important as some have discovered (amparus!) Eibach and Whiteline work well with the KYB AGX's.

Your options for 2 have been covered by the others. You have DMS, Cusco, Ground Control, Tein, H&R, Bilstein (one of these days!) and a host of other hard to get japanese brands like Zeal, etc. Coilovers allow infinite adjustability of ride height and damping characteristics. If you like to fiddle, these are for you. it also allows one to corner weight their car. Very important if you have coilovers.

Warning:<<< Coilover rant: My personal problem with coilovers is I'm not a suspension tuning expert. Who am I to say what is "good handling" for the conditions I am driving in. Is a flat cornering car, the end all, be all of suspension tuning? How does the car react when it hits a bump mid corner? How much rebound damping and compression damping should I use? Other than, "uhh, that feels stiffer" or, "it bounces a lot" i don't think I could properly/optimaly tune these things and I think most people are kidding themselves if they think they can. Most people like the ability to slam their cars and have flat cornering. For them, that's great, but for me, I want more out of my suspension and I would rather trust STi or Prodrive to tune it for me. Thus my suggestion of going with a tuned for your car from the factory strut/spring combo like the Prodrive of STi units. >>>End Rant.
 
Silver 2K RS Coupe
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I think that was very well stated, Arnie.
I'd like to emphasise where you said "I don't think I could properly/optimaly tune these things and I think most people are kidding themselves if they think they can."
Exactly.
It is way easier to ruin a suspension's balance then it is to get it half-way decent, much less right on the money. After spending several hours of messing with damping and spring settings in a coilover setup just to get it right, don't be supprised if the Prodrive P1 or other popular kits are the same out of the box. Although, it is nice to be able to add damping for say, a track event, then soften it down again for the ride home, which of course you can do with AGX struts. I see the attraction people have in coilovers. Being able to show low then go 2" above stock and womp on gravel would be cool, but I personally would not trust my own adjustments.

So true that I've learned the hard way that good looks and good handling are a comprimise. You can't have the best of both with a conventional non-coilover setup. I regret the labor more than the expense.

Regarding ALK, I'd like to mention again that the Forester A-arm rear lower link's geometry is similar (the same?) to the ALK, just the bush material is different. One could find a wrecked Forester and get them for cheap to see if they like the geometry change.
 

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MY00 2.5RS(RIP)02WRXWagon
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One thing I would like to add about coilovers, is that the valving can be much more sophisticated. (Probably mostly due to the upfront increase in cash outlay that most are willing to pay that allows a bit more "bling" to be included) They are also less prone to fading or bottoming out when they are getting a serious workout. You might want to search NASIOC for John Felsteds's post in the Motorsports Forum describing his laps at the Nürburgring in his STI V5 RA. The ring is a really rough road course and he was actually getting rear strut fading with the stock suspension. He replaced his V5 struts/springs with Leda's and had no problems as well as improved times.
 
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