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Old 02-25-2004, 05:44 PM   #1
Caddy Daddy
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Question handling improvements

greetings.
my father would like to improve the handling and stability of his FXT. it is stock. his main concern is to not effect the warranty. he considers the car to sway to much in cornering, too much lean, and not stable enough at highway speeds.
upon purchase he requested the dealer install the STi rear sway bar. they refused. they also refused to install short throw shifter, although that is a seperate matter.
besides the STi rear sway bar, are there other things he should consider to improve the handling of the vehicle that will not effect the warranty?
btw we have tried varying tire pressure.
regards,
-C.D.
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Old 02-25-2004, 07:39 PM   #2
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#1 is tires, though that isn't going to help body roll.

#2 is stiffer anti-roll bars. That *may* be grounds for denying warranty claims on your roll-bar end links and roll-bar bushings, but that should be about it. Certainly it shouldn't affect your powertrain or corrosion warranties, for instance. Go google "Magnuson-Moss..."

#3 is a full STi swap, likely overkill.

I'd try a different dealer if there is another one nearby, sounds like this one isn't exactly "mod friendly." BTW, your warranty is valid at ANY subaru dealer.
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Old 02-25-2004, 08:35 PM   #3
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#1 is tire pressure! Go with 35 front, 34 rear as a starter.

#2 is the STI anti-roll bar. We didn't replace the brackets, just the bar and bushings. If the brackets bend I'll replace them but I have to assume that the taller Forester brackets are matched to the suspension geometry of the Forester vs. STI.

These two mods did a great deal to correct the wallowing feeling.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:17 PM   #4
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1--STi springs, lowers the ride ~1" and improves the feel (do a search, Peaty and others have done the swap).

2--17" rims w/lower profile tires (the Geolanders have considerable sidewall flex, a lower and more "sport" tire would flex less).

3--Sti or Cobb sway bars.

4--Strut tower braces (front and rear if really want to tame the ride and can lose the small amount of space for the brace in the back).

5--Tire pressure (35/34) though this won't fix everything, and it will make bumps more noticible, it will help a little.

PROBLEM: All BUT #4&5 will void the warranty.
I asked everyone at two different dealerships.
All of those mods count as "drivetrain modifications" and void your powertrain warranty.
Bumper-to-Bumper outside of drivetrain, and only if unaffected by your mods (ie no warranty for rubbing etc) is still covered.

So, for me, I'm waiting a bit for the above mods, but I do intend to do them once I'm not so worried about the warranty.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:39 PM   #5
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i know for certain he will not change the springs unless they are defective or worn out.
looks like the rear sway bar is the way to go
i have a set of 16"RS wheels with potenza 950s (hi perf all season tire). would those be suitable for a test run on the forester, or would they not yield any worthwhile results (or possibly be dangerous)?

thanks for the responces.
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Old 02-26-2004, 01:02 AM   #6
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Don't worry about the warranty. The beauty of sway bars is that they swap easilly prior to dealer warranty visits! Besides, they make the biggest immediate improvement to the sube's soft handling.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:37 AM   #7
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It may not be a warranty issue at all. It may depend on the dealer. If a dealer swaps out parts and someone gets in an accident, the dealer might get sued. These days you can sue anyone and who needs that headache. Another reason to keep John Edwards as far away from the Whitehouse as possible.
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Caddy Daddy
i know for certain he will not change the springs unless they are defective or worn out.
looks like the rear sway bar is the way to go
i have a set of 16"RS wheels with potenza 950s (hi perf all season tire). would those be suitable for a test run on the forester, or would they not yield any worthwhile results (or possibly be dangerous)?

thanks for the responces.
Isn't the offset wrong for the RS rims?

53mm Vs 48mm? Right?
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Old 02-26-2004, 11:20 PM   #9
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^^ correct.
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Old 02-27-2004, 12:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by irmiger
Don't worry about the warranty. The beauty of sway bars is that they swap easilly prior to dealer warranty visits! Besides, they make the biggest immediate improvement to the sube's soft handling.
And people wonder why SOA gets their panties in a bunch over any failure

Also,
The dealer likely would not install it because the part is not made for the Forester,how are they to know if it will fit or not? They are trained on the vehicles in factory stock form.
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Old 02-27-2004, 07:43 AM   #11
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Here's my plan:

Swaybars are fairly straight forward to install, especially the rear one. They reduce body roll and dial out a bit of understeer. This I will do.

A car with this much power deserves better tires. At a minimum, buy a good set of high performance all seasons like Dunlop SP5000 or the like. A Plus One upgrade to 17" rims is even better. This I will also do.

Get a performance alignment. add some negative camber in back, futz around with the toe in (to the extent you are able; Subaru doesn't give you much to work with). My last Subaru was transformed by this, as it quickened turn in and made the car feel more "dialed in." This I will do very soon.


Springs- I am not convinced that the improvements just springs bring to the table are worth the hassle of installing them. Certainly not in my top 3 list in terms of importance. Heck, I'll probably do XM radio before I turn my attention to springs. I do think the car looks better dropped a little, and Peaty's car is a great example, but I'm pretty happy with the damping rates already. Having sais that, I may change my mind after an autocross or 2, but so far my explorations of the car's damping rates have proven quite satisfactory. I think swaybars and tires are going to make a more dramatic diference, and springs would be the icing on the cake that makes it a complete visual and performance package.
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Old 02-27-2004, 11:11 AM   #12
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"Ghostrider 600

2--17" rims w/lower profile tires (the Geolanders have considerable sidewall flex, a lower and more "sport" tire would flex less).

PROBLEM: All BUT #4&5 will void the warranty."


How would changing your wheel and tire combo void the warranty? As long as you stay the same as the original diameter, there wouldn't be any problems.
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Old 02-27-2004, 12:23 PM   #13
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"Get a performance alignment. add some negative camber in back, futz around with the toe in (to the extent you are able; Subaru doesn't give you much to work with). My last Subaru was transformed by this, as it quickened turn in and made the car feel more "dialed in." This I will do very soon."

The rear camber is not adjustable, only the front, and if you want a "performance" alignment... you're gonna need some "toe out", not in.


"Springs- I am not convinced that the improvements just springs bring to the table are worth the hassle of installing them. Certainly not in my top 3 list in terms of importance."

IMO, second to tires, changing the springs can be the most effective way of improving the cars handleing. lowering the center of gravity and increasing spring rates would be the way to go. the FXT tends to "nose dive" excessively under heavy breaking and can be nearly uncontrolable on an uneven or bumpy surface. exiting corners can also be very tricky on the stock suspension considering the amount of front end lift resulting in nasty understeer.

-cory
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Old 02-27-2004, 12:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ghostrider600
1--STi springs, lowers the ride ~1" and improves the feel (do a search, Peaty and others have done the swap).

I thought the STI Spring swap (Impreza) dropped 3", or are these Forester specific STI Springs, i.e. not off an Impreza?
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Old 02-27-2004, 05:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by turnbuckle1212
the FXT tends to "nose dive" excessively under heavy breaking and can be nearly uncontrolable on an uneven or bumpy surface. exiting corners can also be very tricky on the stock suspension considering the amount of front end lift resulting in nasty understeer.
I sometimes wonder if I'm driving an utterly different vehicle than you guys.

IMO, the Forester's stock suspension excels at sucking up uneven surfaces, and while you can make it push into a corner by turning in too quickly, it tends to start to oversteer mid-corner when approaching the limits of traction. Granted, this is with an auto and 50hp less, maybe the extra power and the manual's VC diff makes it behave differently.

It IS easy to get into trouble when transitioning -- the amount of body lean means that snap-oversteer is easy to make happen. When that starts happening it's not a good time to be lifting the loud pedal. Stiffer roll bars should help.
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Old 02-27-2004, 07:23 PM   #16
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confused about this wheel offset.
am i to understand that:
04 FXT: +48mm
any impreza: +53mm
but I am seeing threads about wrx owners running +48mm and vice versa.
question is, what wheel width/offset are safe to use on the FXT? and which to steer clear of?

edit: its called the search button:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...light=forester

Last edited by Caddy Daddy; 02-27-2004 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 02-27-2004, 10:17 PM   #17
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Cory- thanks for the correction on toe. That's embarassing

I guess my Legover acquired negative camber in the rear when I installed the v5s and H&Rs. 1.6 degrees negative, actually. it was just about perfect, and she looked a little like an e28 535is from the rear then.

So now you've got me back on the fence about the order in which to do things. I've got a baby coming in September now so I'm on a much smaller budget than I was 5 weeks ago.
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Old 02-28-2004, 07:13 AM   #18
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yes the forester does suck up the bumps pretty well... overall i'd say that it rides pretty nicely, even at high speeds. what i was getting at it is that under hard braking on a bumpy road the front end of the car seems to be all over the place and i attribute that to the considerable nose dive and excesive amount of weight and force placed on the underacheiving stock tires.

-cory
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Old 02-28-2004, 08:40 AM   #19
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The real question I have is, is it a car or a suv? Half the people I read love the forester's ability to soak up crappy pavement and it's usable interior space, but the second they taste the turbo's power....bam....how the heck can I make it into a sti? I for one love the car for what it is...but then again...my roads really suck.
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Old 02-28-2004, 08:57 AM   #20
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For the record, the government classifies it as a car.
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Old 02-29-2004, 01:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by lucien2
For the record, the government classifies it as a car.

Hmm...guess it depends on where you look...

The EPA's MPG rating section on my F-XT's original window sticker states "Special-Purpose SUV"



-=-

As to Wheels&Tires&Warranty--when I asked service techs at both local dealers if there were SPT/STi rims for the F-XT; or, if not, If I could swap to aftermarket wheels & tires, they told me flat out that "any alteration of the driveline by the consumer will void the warranty."

They claim the wheels & tires are "components" in the drivetrain and alteration to non-spec (ie aftermarket/diff size) rims would void the warranty.

Granted, throwing 20s on there might well screw things up, and since SoA can't control what you'll put on there, *anything* other than stock is technically a voidable offense--if they decide to deny your claim, they can.

Personally, I'd just keep my stockers in the garage, and hope it never has to be towed in w/o swapping them back on first.
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:57 PM   #22
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I may be mistaken, but from what I understand, the dealer still has to prove that the modification caused the failure! Just saying that you put on sway-bars or lower-profile tires voids the warranty is false. The modification has to be a contributing cause or it doesn't count. That train of thought means that if I replace my shocks with non-"subaru", non-oem shocks my entire suspension isn't covered...I don't think so!
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Old 02-29-2004, 05:17 PM   #23
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ps: Anyone thinking of aftermarket and warranty issues should read the info recenty provided by SEMA. http://www.sema.org/content/?ID=22237&criteria=warranty

This may make some of you feel a bit better!!
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Old 02-29-2004, 10:14 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by irmiger
I may be mistaken, but from what I understand, the dealer still has to prove that the modification caused the failure! Just saying that you put on sway-bars or lower-profile tires voids the warranty is false. The modification has to be a contributing cause or it doesn't count.
The way I read it, (and from experience where a K&N FIPK caused a warranty denial), it's up to *you* to prove that the aftermarket part *didn't* cause the failure, not the dealership to prove it did.

So, I'm not saying you will get a denial, but don't expect the dealership to take any and all mods in stride as some won't.

Granted, you can fight it, but sometimes it's not going to be worth it, and the avenues you can use aren't amazingly helpful (BBB for instance--it's typically useless).

Anyway, YMMV.
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Old 03-01-2004, 12:16 AM   #25
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if anyone is interested... i can get impreza STi springs, brand new, directly from subaru, for about $350 dollars plus S&H. i've heard that they will fit on a forester, but if you're interested you may want to check around and be sure first.

contact me directly if you're interested

-cory
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