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Old 02-20-2014, 04:32 PM   #1
SwollRX
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Default 06 WRX Spring/Strut Questions and Installation

So, I have been perusing through this website and other resources (including ScoobyMods) and still have some unanswered questions on a new suspension for my 06 WRX TR.

I like to tackle the mountains roads frequently, so I am looking for a mild-moderate bump in handling performance with a good ride quality. I actually don't mind the wheel gap on my car, I like the ground clearance.

I am currently running stock WRX suspension w/ 245/40/17 rubber, whiteline 22mm front and rear sway bars (adj.) w/ HD mounts, Kartboy endlinks, SPT front and rear strut tower and lower chassis braces.

The spring/strut combo that seems most appealing to me (handling increase, quality and price) at this time are the STi Pink/Takeoff (USDM) springs, KYB GR-2/Excel-G struts and STi Group N top hats.

-The STi springs seem to have a moderate increase in rates (~30%-50%) with reasonable drop in ride height (~0.6" front and rear, according to one of the stickies).

-I have read a mixed bag of opinions, but more on the positive side on the KYB GR-2/Excel-G Struts. Also read good things on Tokico Blues, but having tough time finding those. Would either of these struts handle the increased STi spring rates without issue and have reasonable longevity? Also, do I need to get any spacers for these struts or other considerations?

When ordering springs, struts and tophats, are there any other recommended parts that I should consider? (Dust Covers, Camber Bolts, etc...?)
*I am not the biggest fan of re-using parts that have been wearing on 120k miles of driving.

I was originally intending of having a shop assemble and install the suspension, but looking at the helpful DIY stuff, I might just have a place assemble them and I install them myself.

However, on the install located on ScoobyMods, they mention brake bleeding may be required because there is a bracket that the line threads through on the strut. But the 06 WRX Factory Manual for the front struts says "Remove the bolt securing the brake hose from the strut." Nothing about disconnecting the brake line. Are the strut/brake line bracket different from the model years of 02-07?
*I will try to look under my fender soon to see if I can see it without wheel removal.

Thank you in advance!
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Last edited by SwollRX; 02-20-2014 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:26 PM   #2
JonnyV2889
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I'd look for some 04 Sti struts. The options you listed are pretty much for stock rates. The issue isn't so much longevity with handle as more so incorrect dampening which will make things bouncy. As for the brake line bracket it's just a bolt and your golden.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:27 PM   #3
nappingcub
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Review of GR-2 + STI springs:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2345892

You have other options for struts, but they are a bit more expensive. Koni Inserts and Feal inserts come to mind.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:27 PM   #4
SwollRX
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Quote:
I'd look for some 04 Sti struts. The options you listed are pretty much for stock rates. The issue isn't so much longevity with handle as more so incorrect dampening which will make things bouncy. As for the brake line bracket it's just a bolt and your golden.
Quote:
Review of GR-2 + STI springs:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2345892

You have other options for struts, but they are a bit more expensive. Koni Inserts and Feal inserts come to mind.
Ah, thanks for the advice yall. I was thinking that combo was probably too good to be true. I decided to check pricing on new OEM 04 STi Struts... $299 each w/ 25% discount . And I cant seem to find comparable aftermarket struts either. I may just prowl classifieds/CL for used 04 struts and send them Feal's way.
*Just saw that 05+ STi struts don't fit... according to the sticky.

Last year, I was seriously considering TIC "Legendary Legend of Totally Awesome" Package, but no more due to lack of D-specs. I may just hit them up and see what other combos/pricing can be determined. How do Koni Inserts work anyways, something about mutilating the existing strut?

Last edited by SwollRX; 02-20-2014 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:06 PM   #5
Dentt42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwollRX View Post
Ah, thanks for the advice yall. I was thinking that combo was probably too good to be true. I decided to check pricing on new OEM 04 STi Struts... $299 each w/ 25% discount . And I cant seem to find comparable aftermarket struts either. I may just prowl classifieds/CL for used 04 struts and send them Feal's way.
*Just saw that 05+ STi struts don't fit... according to the sticky.

Last year, I was seriously considering TIC "Legendary Legend of Totally Awesome" Package, but no more due to lack of D-specs. I may just hit them up and see what other combos/pricing can be determined. How do Koni Inserts work anyways, something about mutilating the existing strut?
Basically with the Konis, you cut the top of the old strut clean off to extract the working parts (and throw them away) then drill a largeish hole in the bottom. You push the Koni insert down into the empty tube of the cored strut, and thread a bolt into the new hole at the bottom and into the Koni insert to hold it all together.

It's a little messy, you need a good saw and a pipe cutter, and I'd suggest rounding up 4 used struts to convert and have ready ahead of time. It's totally worth it though.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:27 AM   #6
JonnyV2889
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dentt42 View Post

Basically with the Konis, you cut the top of the old strut clean off to extract the working parts (and throw them away) then drill a largeish hole in the bottom. You push the Koni insert down into the empty tube of the cored strut, and thread a bolt into the new hole at the bottom and into the Koni insert to hold it all together.

It's a little messy, you need a good saw and a pipe cutter, and I'd suggest rounding up 4 used struts to convert and have ready ahead of time. It's totally worth it though.
This,

I'm rocking koni's and blacks. I would suggest looking into some bump extenders as well if you go this route. I think Drex sold the design to TIC? There are people who just stack up washers. I just made a set out of some scrap aluminum and an open mill at work.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:13 AM   #7
SwollRX
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Good to know, thanks for the advice. Only been a day, but no luck so far in the hunt for a set of good used 04 Struts.

The Koni's seem good, I would have them professionally installed as I lack experience, tools and confidence to perform a proper gutting of the strut and installation of the insert. I may also consider looking at buying 04 STi Struts from Feal, or maybe their inserts. Any opinions on the Feal WRX inserts?

Also, since I am considering a better strut, I think I may want to go with the JDM Pinks or RCE Blacks. JonnyV2889, how do you like your Koni/Black combo? Is it very good on the twisties and quality ride for street/interstate driving?
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:57 PM   #8
Dentt42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyV2889 View Post
This,

I'm rocking koni's and blacks. I would suggest looking into some bump extenders as well if you go this route. I think Drex sold the design to TIC? There are people who just stack up washers. I just made a set out of some scrap aluminum and an open mill at work.
Yep, I got mine from Turnin Concepts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwollRX View Post
Good to know, thanks for the advice. Only been a day, but no luck so far in the hunt for a set of good used 04 Struts.

The Koni's seem good, I would have them professionally installed as I lack experience, tools and confidence to perform a proper gutting of the strut and installation of the insert. I may also consider looking at buying 04 STi Struts from Feal, or maybe their inserts. Any opinions on the Feal WRX inserts?

Also, since I am considering a better strut, I think I may want to go with the JDM Pinks or RCE Blacks. JonnyV2889, how do you like your Koni/Black combo? Is it very good on the twisties and quality ride for street/interstate driving?
The only thing you need to do the Koni conversion yourself is a little bit of confidence. I picked up a pipe cutter like this:



And a stepped drill bit like this:



Add a few hardened hacksaw blades (they're like $1.50 each instead of $0.50), and you're ready. A vice helps, but I didn't have one, and you can paint them whatever color you like. When you extract the insides of the strut, you have to make sure to hold it over your head triumphantly as the strut oil bleeds from it, bare your teeth and roar like a Viking.

Last edited by Dentt42; 02-25-2014 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:30 PM   #9
JonnyV2889
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And breathe deeply!
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:44 PM   #10
SwollRX
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Reading the Koni install, it seems more doable. Speaking of used WRX struts, lets say I find a set that has no damage other than scuffs and surface rust, is that a good buy? If so, what is the process of restoring the strut body (removing surface rust, recoating, etc..)?

I also have discovered a set of used 04 STi struts . I just need to go check them out and see if they are undamaged and can be rebuilt. If so, I will send them Feal's way .
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:41 PM   #11
Dentt42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwollRX View Post
Reading the Koni install, it seems more doable. Speaking of used WRX struts, lets say I find a set that has no damage other than scuffs and surface rust, is that a good buy? If so, what is the process of restoring the strut body (removing surface rust, recoating, etc..)?

I also have discovered a set of used 04 STi struts . I just need to go check them out and see if they are undamaged and can be rebuilt. If so, I will send them Feal's way .
The metal of the tube is thick enough that surface rust is no concern. I used this stuff:



You can tell it's for painting struts because they put a picture of one right on teh can!
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:09 PM   #12
SwollRX
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I will be inspecting a set of 04 STi struts soon, and called up Odi at Feal suspension. He was very nice and informative, and told me what I needed to look for during the inspection. Effectively, there should be no damage to the chrome part of the strut.

During our discussion, he got me considering coilovers, particularly the 441 setup. This setup seems to be affordable and complete (~$1350). I believe the rates are 7k/5k (Fr/Re). I am unfamiliar with the spring rates conversion, but I thought he mentions it is in the ballpark of 280 lbs/in (Fr) and 220 lbs/in (Re), please chime in if I am off. In addition, I can maintain my stock ride height! What are the pros/con(s) to running coilovers like these? http://www.rallyracingsuspension.com/page16.php

I still have not ruled out inserts either, which is a choice between Koni or Feal. Since I have a second vehicle, I may just pull the factory struts from my car, remediate the body of any damage/rust and install the insert!

So many options!
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:37 PM   #13
Dentt42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwollRX View Post
I will be inspecting a set of 04 STi struts soon, and called up Odi at Feal suspension. He was very nice and informative, and told me what I needed to look for during the inspection. Effectively, there should be no damage to the chrome part of the strut.

During our discussion, he got me considering coilovers, particularly the 441 setup. This setup seems to be affordable and complete (~$1350). I believe the rates are 7k/5k (Fr/Re). I am unfamiliar with the spring rates conversion, but I thought he mentions it is in the ballpark of 280 lbs/in (Fr) and 220 lbs/in (Re), please chime in if I am off. In addition, I can maintain my stock ride height! What are the pros/con(s) to running coilovers like these? http://www.rallyracingsuspension.com/page16.php

I still have not ruled out inserts either, which is a choice between Koni or Feal. Since I have a second vehicle, I may just pull the factory struts from my car, remediate the body of any damage/rust and install the insert!

So many options!
I'm not a big coilover fan, but my reasons are largely based on personal preference. For one, I don't care to ever adjust them because my car is 99.9% street and I live in snow and hill-free South Florida. This makes for a boring commute, but since conditions never change the car doesn't ever have to either. I chose to stick with the extremely durable factory-style arrangement (albeit upgraded with better springs, mounts, and struts), and have been happy ever since.

Full disclosure, I also stayed away from coilovers because I have a wagon and most suspension parts are designed with the sedan dimensions, including almost all coilover kits. Sedan parts change the suspension geometry on a wagon, but you don't have to concern yourself with that.
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:28 PM   #14
SwollRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dentt42 View Post
I'm not a big coilover fan, but my reasons are largely based on personal preference. For one, I don't care to ever adjust them because my car is 99.9% street and I live in snow and hill-free South Florida. This makes for a boring commute, but since conditions never change the car doesn't ever have to either. I chose to stick with the extremely durable factory-style arrangement (albeit upgraded with better springs, mounts, and struts), and have been happy ever since.

Full disclosure, I also stayed away from coilovers because I have a wagon and most suspension parts are designed with the sedan dimensions, including almost all coilover kits. Sedan parts change the suspension geometry on a wagon, but you don't have to concern yourself with that.
I fully understand where you are coming from, and the setup on your car is definitely something I like as well! Whenever I used to hear/read "coilover," I think "Super-ultra-mega stiffness, no compliance, lots of noise, expensive and short lifespan."

But after some additional research, it seems to be about finding the "right" set of coilovers for my needs/wants. The price on the Feal units are reasonable too (~$1400), maybe a bit less expensive than my newly budgeted Spring/Strut/top hats combo (~$1400 - $2000). I believe Odi said they can make a "softer" setup for my tastes: Default is 7K/5K, Im thinking more of 6K/5K or 5K/4K for my preferences. In addition, the ride height is adjustable and adjustable dampening (30 settings). I have read mostly positive reviews.

I spoke with the guys at TiC, and they recommended the budget minded HVT Coilovers (~$900, ~$1200 w/ Group N Top hats). These coilovers are 4k/4k and do not have dampening adjustability, but I think ride height is adjustable? And I know TiC is a reputable Subie suspension vendor.

In addition, if I go with one of these choices, ill have room in the budget to get the TiC fender cowl braces and TiC brake master cylinder brace. Maybe even some additional bushing n goodies!

Like you said, it all about preferences and price. And I am still more comfortable with the traditional Strut/spring setup, but have opened my options to select coilovers. I like to tackle those twisty Colorado mountain roads, and have most of the suspension goodies replaced/added except bushings, ALK, and struts/springs/coilovers. but I also would like part-time daily driver characteristics for the regular days or winter days!

Last edited by SwollRX; 02-25-2014 at 04:34 PM.
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