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Old 02-03-2004, 02:20 PM   #1
gordon
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Question '02 WRX wagon: lower front only?

The fender gap on my 02 WRX wagon is 1.5" higher in front than back. Eibach says that its '02 wagon ProKit drops 1.1" front and back, so I'm considering installing them in front only. If it really drops my car 1.1" in front as Eibach claims, I'd be stoked.

What do you guys think - Is it gonna work? What's the worst case scenario?
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Old 02-03-2004, 03:13 PM   #2
mrmcderm
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I've recently been doing a lot of research here, and else where on this exact subject.

The first thing I would say, and this is more from a common sense point of view then a factual view, is that I think it would be really really bad to have aftermarket springs in the front and stock springs in the back. I know plenty of people run different spring rates front to back, but I think those are on more custom vehicles and I think the springs and rates were carefully selected for a dialed in competition setup.

With that said, I have discovered that Tein makes a set of s-tech springs for the wagon that drops the front 1.7 and the rear .5. Tein has a picture of a white wagon on their site with I think 17" wheels and those springs level the wheel well gaps quite nicely, while at the same time maintaining the consistency of a matched set of springs at all four corners.

I have also learned through my research that most aftermarket spring kits are stiffer than stock to varying degrees. Since the stock strut rebound and dampening settings are matched to the stock spring rates, if you put stiffer springs on, you instantly have struts that are underdampened, and my guess is that the car will bounce a lot on the street, and you'll wear out the stock struts really quickly. I see lowered cars all the time that bounce really bad, and I always wondered why. Now I know: stiffer aftermarket springs with stock struts.

With all of *that* said, I am currently investigating the possibility of either

a) buying KYB AGX adjustable struts and modifying them for my wagon (they were designed for the sedan which has a wider track, so the bolt holes need to be tweaked to maintain stock camber settings)

b) buying the Koni inserts, dismantling my stock strut housings, and adding the inserts. This way I know without a doubt that I will be able to dial in stock camber settings, but still have adjustable dampening to match the new springs and my driving style.

I am going the strut/spring route instead of the coil-over route because I want an agressive street setup, not a track setup.

If anyone else wants to confirm or deny my findings, please comment.
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Old 02-03-2004, 03:44 PM   #3
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You will screw up the weight balance of the car, and you'll induce a LOT of understeer with the stiffer front end (I think?).

Just lower the whole car all at the same time.
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Old 02-03-2004, 04:50 PM   #4
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I think you'll be fine with this setup. Reducing body roll up front with stiffer springs helps keep the front tires at a happy angle to the road and will usually make an otherwise stock WRX understeer less. When you talk about tuning you have to look at the whole car not just one component.

The difference between pro-kit and stock spring rates is so minimal anyways
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Old 02-03-2004, 04:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for the thoughtful replies A few thoughts...

Quote:
Originally posted by mrmcderm
... if you put stiffer springs on, you instantly have struts that are underdampened ...
Good point, but I don't think this is an issue in this case because the spring rate on the Eibach ProKit is only 5% higher than stock, and I don't think a 5% higher spring rate would result in noticeable underdamping.

Quote:
Originally posted by BAC5.2
You will screw up the weight balance of the car, and you'll induce a LOT of understeer with the stiffer front end (I think?).
Not sure about "weight balance", but you're right, this will increase understeer a bit. I'd be very surprised if it increased understeer a lot though - anybody have first-hand experience this this? That said, I'm ok with a little more understeer - my wagon has been oversteering a bit ever since I installed the 20mm rear sway bar (OEM sedan bar), so a slight increase in understeer would be ok by me.

Quote:
Originally posted by BAC5.2
Just lower the whole car all at the same time.
Trouble is, I really think I'll rub if I lower the back, but there's plenty of room to drop the front.
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Old 02-03-2004, 04:54 PM   #6
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Have you looked into the Prodrive springs.


Jeremy
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Old 02-03-2004, 05:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by jland67
Have you looked into the Prodrive springs.
Yea, I like the fact that they drop the car less (20mm for Prodrive vs 28mm for Eibach), but the Prodrives are way stiffer (20% stiffer than stock vs 5% for Eibach), so it seems more risky to install the Prodrives in front only. I could probably install the Prodrives all around, but then I still have a bigger fender gap up front, right?
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Old 02-03-2004, 05:28 PM   #8
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Not really, I have Prodrives in my wagon and the gaps are sorta even.
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Old 02-03-2004, 05:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by z wrx
Not really, I have Prodrives in my wagon and the gaps are sorta even.
Yeah. My prodrives made the gaps even........in fact shouldn't all spring sets??.....regardless of what drop your looking for? Isn't this the reason that the kits come with labeled "front" and "rear" springs in the first place??
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Old 02-03-2004, 06:03 PM   #10
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Feel free to PM me for pics of a wagon on Prodrives...

They give a very mild drop and even out the fender gaps nicely.

They are a bit stiffer than stock, but not enough to kill your struts too quickly.... in fact, they were designed to be used with the stock struts....

Matt-
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Old 02-03-2004, 06:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jfrankon
Yeah. My prodrives made the gaps even........in fact shouldn't all spring sets??.....regardless of what drop your looking for? Isn't this the reason that the kits come with labeled "front" and "rear" springs in the first place??
Makes sense to me, but then why is the OEM setup so goofy? I guess the aftermarket kits fit the car better than the OEM parts? Go figure
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Old 02-03-2004, 06:41 PM   #12
z wrx
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Here's a pic of mine (ignore the front, its turned a bit):

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Old 02-03-2004, 06:49 PM   #13
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Default Nice!

Quote:
Originally posted by z wrx
Here's a pic of mine (ignore the front, its turned a bit):

Looks nice. And you're right, it does look even front & back.

That's more than 20mm drop in front though, right? Looks like ~40mm in front & ~10mm in back to me. You didn't measure the drop front & back by any chance did ya?
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Old 02-03-2004, 06:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by gordon
Not sure about "weight balance", but you're right, this will increase understeer a bit. I'd be very surprised if it increased understeer a lot though - anybody have first-hand experience this this? That said, I'm ok with a little more understeer - my wagon has been oversteering a bit ever since I installed the 20mm rear sway bar (OEM sedan bar), so a slight increase in understeer would be ok by me.


Trouble is, I really think I'll rub if I lower the back, but there's plenty of room to drop the front.
Part 1:

When you lower the front of the car, the whole car is tilting forward. More weight over the front end. Balancing the front to the rear by adding stiffer springs is putting a bandaid on the problem.

Also note: When attacking bumps, the stiffer front will feel harsh while the soft rear may bounce. Roll stiffness in the rear will be increased by the rear sways, but a sway bar is no substitute for stiffer springs. The front will act much stiffer, and I wouldn't be surprised if you had a fairly large increase in understeer. Which would you rather have? Understeer or Oversteer? Exactly.

Part 2:

I doub't you'll rub by dropping less than 1". The tire will tuck underneath the fender as the suspension arcs through it's travel.
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by BAC5.2
Which would you rather have? Understeer or Oversteer?
neither
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:26 PM   #16
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Im actually riding on tein H.techs on the front and stock springs on the back...this is only because our breaker bar broke while trying to take off the rear strut bolts, but will be finishing it up on friday. WIth stockers in back I get serious understeer, my front end would screech loud if I turned too fast....as I did while trying to get onto the onramp. Plus there is an uneven bounce to the car when going over bumps. Firm and stiff up front, soft and bouncy in back. Can't wait to get the rear springs installed.
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:29 PM   #17
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Sorry, didn't get to measure the drop

All I know is the gaps are even and the car shoulda came like this stock. The stock gaps were insane
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by gordon
neither
Haha. True.

But IF you had to choose, Oversteer is much more favorable.

"Oversteer is where the passenger is scared. Understeer is when the driver is scared."
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by JxOxExY
Im actually riding on tein H.techs on the front and stock springs on the back... I get serious understeer ...
Good info. What's the spring rate on the H Techs?
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Old 02-03-2004, 08:13 PM   #20
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Default Not a good idea

Here's an example of what happens when you put on a TEIN Wagon S-Tech spring in the front and stock WRX Wagon spring in the rear. This is makofoto's car when he was having rubbing problems with his 225/45-17 S03's. he tried putting on the stock rear springs to get some height back. As you can see, not only is it higher in the rear, the much lower front actually pulls the rear spring up a bit making it even higher than stock.

Get a matched set like the Prodrives or Eibachs and you should be fine till your struts wear.

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Old 02-03-2004, 08:16 PM   #21
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And here is Slvrwgn's Wagon on Prodrive's with stock struts:




Edit: I meant struts not springs. d'oh!

Last edited by Arnie; 02-04-2004 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 02-03-2004, 08:19 PM   #22
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And here's mine with STi Genome suspension (3/4" drop all around):

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Old 02-03-2004, 08:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jfrankon
Yeah. My prodrives made the gaps even........in fact shouldn't all spring sets??.....regardless of what drop your looking for? Isn't this the reason that the kits come with labeled "front" and "rear" springs in the first place??
i don't think so, i'd perfer to lower the front and rear the same. You loose a little bit of caster when the rear is higher then the front. Also, i think it looks funny when the side skirts are 1 inch off the ground in the front and 2 inchs from the ground in the rear, maybe not that much but you get my point.

edit: sti pinks springs lower the same front and rear and those are though of being some of the best out there. Also just opnions.

Justin C
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Old 02-03-2004, 10:31 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arnie
And here is Slvrwgn's Wagon on Prodrive's with stock springs:

stock struts
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Old 02-03-2004, 11:42 PM   #25
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Cool, thanks guys. Lots of good pics of Prodrive setups. Any pics of Eibach kits out there?
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