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Old 05-21-2004, 04:07 AM   #1
Arnie
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Default 02/03/V7 struts NOT compatible with 04/V8 hats/springs

Up till now, I believe most folks had agreed that one could simply swap 04 hats and springs onto the 02/03/V7 struts if you wanted.

We had installed some V7 struts with 04 STi pinks and STi hats on a WRX. The owner started to experience some knocking in the rear. We disassembled and reassembled the rear several times, only for the knocking to re-occur. Even tried jacking the rear up to see if we could get the struts to lube themselves.

While installing some pink bits I noticed that, while jacking the rear hub up, the strut assembly moved up about 1/2" into the top hat. I thought, WTH?!?! Could that be the clunk? It certainly was. Okay, we thought maybe the nut loosened itself so we tightened it down again. Knock came back almost immediately. Anyway, several weeks later I had a chance to compare an 04 rear strut with an 02 rear strut. Low and behold, the strut piston designs are different at the threaded section. The 02/03 has a bit of a shoulder while the 04 does not. The 04 also have longer threaded section. That little shoulder basically kept the 04 hat from seating completely onto the strut.

Mystery solved. Kids, don't use 04 hats and springs on 02/03 struts unless you properly modify the rear struts.




Towards the end of this thread there are several suggestions of washer fixes if you want to use 04+hats on 02/03 struts.


UPDATED SOLUTION:

Here is a link to the BEST washer mod solution currently available:


Quote:
Originally Posted by DomozitoLK View Post
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=877041

===

I just got these strut spacers made of hardened steel and coated from NASIOC member here: Scooby921. I thought I'd buy them in case I needed them when I decide which suspension to go with.

Here's a link with more info on them: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=971805

Pictures below show how it fits on a set of donor 2003 WRX struts I will be cutting and powder coating for someone wanting to do Koni inserts.

Scooby921 Spacers




Stock 2003 struts (with spacer)







*

Last edited by Arnie; 11-14-2006 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 05-21-2004, 09:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: 02/03/V7 struts NOT compatible with 04/V8 hats/springs

Quote:
Originally posted by Arnie
Mystery solved. Kids, don't use 04 hats and springs on 02/03 struts.
Great information. Thanks for the write-up.
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Old 05-21-2004, 09:40 AM   #3
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For the record, can you use '02/'03 hats on the '04 struts?
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:09 AM   #4
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I ran into this problem about a month ago with my agx on my 04...I had to change the rear over to 03 strut tops , but the fronts are fine. Now I'm running 04 springs on front and 03 springs in the rear...Absolutly no noise whatsoever. Total fix, although I think the 04 strut-tops may have been slightly damaged from the moving around.

Here's the thread I posted awhile back...happy to see this info is finally getting deceminated..

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...&highlight=agx

Lonnie

Edit, just realized you had posted in my original thread...Funny
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Re: 02/03/V7 struts NOT compatible with 04/V8 hats/springs

Quote:
Originally posted by grindMARC
Great information. Thanks for the write-up.
ss
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:01 AM   #6
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But I can use the 04 struts with the Grup-N mounts, right?

This is only when using 04 springs in a 02-03 in the rear.
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:21 AM   #7
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If I am reading Arnie's post correctly. Firstly, he is only talking about the rears.

He is saying the problem is interchanging new top mounts on older struts and vice versa. Since the newer rear springs need to go with the newer rear topmounts as well, basically you cant mix and match the older(Ver7) and newer(Ver8) rear components at all.

As entire units(struts, springs, and topmounts together) there should be no probs swapping Ver7s to 8s and vice versa.

ss
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Old 05-21-2004, 01:54 PM   #8
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subysouth - correct.

Leonardo- It doesn't matter if you are using the STi Group N mounts or not (for the record we were using the Group N mounts). On the rear struts it is not possible/recommended to use 04/V8 hats/springs on 02/03/V7 struts.

I did not get a chance to see if 02/03/V7 hats would work properly on 04/V8 struts. I would think not as the design of the hat probably needs that little shoulder to properly locate it.

So as subysouth pointed out, don't mix and match rear strut/hat years.

Last edited by Arnie; 05-21-2004 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:10 PM   #9
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Hmm, this is a good post. I just installed some 04 Pink Lowering Springs on my V7 STI Type RA Struts. When they were first installed I noticed clunking coming from the rear, but we then found that we didn't tighten the top strut bolt all the way, it was finger loose. Since the struts were already on the car and it was late we just tightened the bolts while they were attached, wasn't to hard fitting a socket wrench in there. Anyways, with those bolts tightened I went out for another test drive. I haven't heard any noises since re-tightening them (which was our fault for not tightnening them all the way in the first place, it was late). But yeah, I haven't had any problems with my V7 STI Type RA Struts, they are super solid, no noises at all.

I am guessing this is only a problem if you try to put 04 springs and top hats on 02/03 WRX Struts. My V7 STI Struts don't have those bump stops on the outside of the strut. Looking at some pictures of the V7 STI struts, they seem to have a lip as well.



The thing is, the lip on the V7 STI struts looks bigger then the ones on your WRX struts. So they probably match up to the strut top hats like the v8 ones, hence no problems for me, or the other people I have seen that are using V7 STI Struts and V8 Springs and tophats

Last edited by KanosWRX; 05-21-2004 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 05-21-2004, 06:39 PM   #10
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Hey Kanos - do you have a close up of the rear strut piston? From your pic, it seems like the rears do have that little shoulder as well. And they actually look pretty identical in size. I would think that it has to have it and be the same size as there are no differences between the Group N hats and stock hats except for the rubber durometer. And no difference between the hats that go on the inverted struts and the OEM struts. Know what I mean?

The knocking we had, sorry if I wasn't clear, was on STI V7 RA Spec C struts with 04 STi Pink springs and 04STi Group N hats. This was not on OEM struts. I only have the OEM struts pictured as they are the only one's I had access to at the time. As I was saying above, I can't imagine there would be a difference between the inverted and the OEM at that threaded end of the piston.

If you have a chance, get your car up on jackstands and then with the wheel off (so you can see up there) jack up the rear hub and see if the strut has play going into the hat. Ours did, despite numerous attempts at retightening the 17mm nut at the hat (with an impact wrench).

Maybe I'm jumping the gun here and am wrong but it seems like the answer.
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Old 05-21-2004, 07:23 PM   #11
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The ghetto answer is to add flat washers to the 02 - 03 shafts under the 04 caps until the slop is removed.
I wouldn't recomend grade 3 cheap washers, go all out & get some grade 5's or 8's
The only thing you are changing is the strut placement in relation to the spring & posibly adding 1/2" more droop & 1/2" less travel.
I wouldn't stack so many washers that there is any shoulder either, the cap needs to seat on the part just under the threads on the 02 - 03...
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Old 05-21-2004, 07:33 PM   #12
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That is indeed interesting- I can't tell from the pics of the STi v7's if they have the same shape or not.

I'm curious is the threaded portion the same? Does the v7 simply have some more material removed form the piston and squared shoulder, where the v8 has less materail removed and a rounded edge? Are the piston lengths the same?

I have to plead guilty as one of the ones stating the v7's could be used w/ v8 springs by simply swapping rear tops.

Thanks

Big Sky
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Old 05-21-2004, 09:49 PM   #13
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Here is what I was talking about...
The nut must fully thread on fully (should no problem)
I haven't looked at the underside of an'04 tophat, if when it is all said & done the tophat doesn't seat well on the washers then it is back to the drawing board...

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Old 05-21-2004, 10:02 PM   #14
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Good post, should be a sticky
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:37 PM   #15
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I won't be able to get a V7 pic for a couple of weeks so if anyone has one of the strut piston tip of a V8 or V7 rear strut, that would be great for comparison purposes.
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:48 PM   #16
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DOH!

The struts I have are Ver 8/ 04 so I should have no problems with the pink sti Spec C springs
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Old 05-22-2004, 02:37 AM   #17
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and leo, you will really like that combo. except for the clunking on my friend's V7/04 STi pinks combo, they really do rock.
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Old 05-22-2004, 11:06 AM   #18
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I will have to try taking off the wheel and jacking the car. I just find it odd as you were the only one so far to have a clunking problem in the rear. I have talked to atleast 3 other people with the V7 STI struts and 04 Pink Springs and 04 Top hats and none of them have the clunking noise that I know of. I actually get more noise coming from my front suspension then the rear, its not much noise and is probably just a combination of my aluminum control arms and struts and springs with group n top mounts.
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Old 05-22-2004, 11:10 AM   #19
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It's hard telling looking at the pics and w/ no measurements, but another possible fix could be a machined sleeve w/ rounded shoulders- mimicing the v8, simply slide it over the threaded section.

It would be nice to have them in hand, side by side.

Big Sky
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Old 05-22-2004, 11:31 AM   #20
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When I heard the clunking noise after first installing my v7 struts and 04 springs I had someone ride in the back and look at the strut top mounts to see if the strut was sliding up and down. They said they saw it move up a bit when going over bumps and stuff. Maybe this is what you experienced and saw when you jacked up your hub. When we felt that one big nut on the strut where the top hat is, it was very loose. My guess is once the rear suspension is compressed as when sitting on all fours, that 1/4-1/2 inch lip at the threaded part moved up into the strut top hat and then the thicker part of the sturt piston rested where it was supposed to on bottom of the strut top hat. So once we tightened the bolts again it solved the problem.

I think the added weight of the car pushed that little lip section into the strut top hat which caused the thicker part of the piston that you can see rest where it was supposed to under the top hat. Personally once that lip gets pushed into the strut top I don't see it ever being a problem as once the nut is tightened that top threaded and lip portion should not move through the strut top hat so no extra wear should occur.

So the noise you heard was deffinetly that little lip section going into the top hat. Then the larger diameter outer piston wall coming to a rest under the top hat like its supposed to.

Here is a picture that might help explain what I am talking about. Please excuse my MS Paint skills


Last edited by KanosWRX; 05-22-2004 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 05-22-2004, 02:11 PM   #21
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Good diagram, that's exactly how I envision the situation. Hmmm, makes sense. Perhaps I'm seriously jumping the gun here and should retitle my post! Since I can't get my impact wrench onto the strut when its inside I guess I'll have to get a passthrough type ratchet. Perhaps we'll give that another try.
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Old 05-22-2004, 02:40 PM   #22
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Actually I found just a normal rachet and socket (extended maybe) worked just fine at tightening the nut through the back seat. Maybe its because the strut was compressed since it all four wheels on the ground, anyways, I had no problem with the strut piston spining while I was tightining it. Give it a shot, I bet this will solve your problem.
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Old 05-22-2004, 02:44 PM   #23
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We'll give it a try this weekend. if it works maybe we can delete this whole thread. don't want to confuse anyone!
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Old 05-22-2004, 08:34 PM   #24
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ttt
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Old 05-22-2004, 09:43 PM   #25
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ttt
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