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Old 12-12-2004, 11:35 AM   #1
ButtDyno
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OMGHi2U What is the best coilover? Best brake pads? Best springs? Best sways? etc etc.

Disclaimer: this is meant to be general (i.e. wild overgeneralization). If there are any factual problems, let me know.

The goal of this is two-fold:
1) Take some of the load off of the Gurus so they don't have to repeat the same junk every five minutes
2) Make sure people don't buy more stuff than they really need

If you really want a BBK, or coilovers, even though all you do is drive down the street to buy groceries... more power to you. But you don't need to. If you aren't sure if you want one, this can help you decide.

Read the suspension forum rules!
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...3#post19054553

Suspension

"I want a better suspension, because I participate in 'spirited driving', in the 'twisties', winky face, tee hee, spirited driving, know what I mean, nudge nudge? "

In a collision between your car and a tree, the tree will win.

"I want my car to handle better, like an M3, like it's on rails, etc"

First of all, realize that you are starting with a car that already handles pretty well. The RS, WRX and STi are all reasonably potent cars with a good set of tires.

"What are some of the best bang-for-buck handling mods I can do?"

0. Driving school, autocross entry fees, track days, and other things that will make you a better driver. The good driver in the bad car will always smoke the bad driver in the good car. There are plenty of drivers on this forum that can whoop you in your coilovered STi with a stock RS. With sufficient practice, you can be one of those people And then the money you spend on suspension will be worth it, because you will be able to get immediate meaningful feedback about how your suspension changes are affecting handling.

2004 STX champ Tom Hoppe talks about beating people with more expensive setups

1. Tires. Your tires are the only part of your car that touches the road. If you can afford to run two sets of tires, or if you live in warm weather all year long, run a good set of summer tires. Be warned that with good, stiff-sidewall tires comes road noise and decreased ride quality. If you buy a bunch of suspension mods, an expensive set of coilovers, etc, and then buy mushy all season tires or some "tuner" tire that doesn't have particularly good sidewalls, you are probably wasting the money you spent on suspension parts. You can do this without TOUCHING your suspension or voiding your warranty or anything like that.

2. An alignment. You want to research this first, but if you are not buying camber bolts or plates, try to go with as much negative camber as you can evenly get in the front, and as little as you can get in the rear (again, GENERAL rules).

You can control a lot of understeer/oversteer balance this way. A lot of people who install shiny new coilovers who say "holy crap my car handles great now" might actually be raving about the alignment moreso than the coilovers. A properly set-up strut/spring combo, with camber plates and an aggressive alignment, can be an effective weapon. Only fiddle with toe if you know what you're doing.

Most importantly - alignments are CHEAP! The most expensive alignment I've ever seen was $200, which is a lot, but still cheaper than just about any other suspension mod you can do. The flipside: if you are going to try to make your car handle better, you are fighting gravity unless you go with a matching alignment. You don't want to be driving on the sidewalls of your front tires under load. That = understeer city and horrible noises.

2a. Camber bolts, for the same reason as an alignment. They're cheap.

3. Swaybars. Pick some that are appropriately sized for your application. As Jim/ITWRX4ME points out, make sure you know what lift throttle oversteer is, how to cause it, and more importantly how NOT to cause it before you start dabbling.

4. Once we get here, you may be ready to swap out your stock struts and springs.

"My STi understeers! I turn the wheel and the car doesn't turn! I just hear this horrible screeching noise? I thought this was a JGTC car, what gives?"

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=816572

Understeer can be dialed out lots of ways.
-Driving style. This is hands down the biggest one. If you are going WOT and yank the wheel it's very possible to get it to plow. "Slow in, fast out" can get rid of a lot of driver-induced understeer.
-Tire pressure. If you are on RE92's and you are experiencing understeer, add pressure Most tires have sissy-la-la sidewalls and without a lot of air you will be driving on the sidewalls under hard cornering. Try jacking up the pressure in the rear higher than the fronts and see how you like it.
-Alignment. See above: find one for your application.
-Actual suspension modifications

Great thread (thanks to Jeff for bumping it)
Make your car handle like you like it!

"I want to do track days, rallycross, autocross, and also daily drive. What should I do?"

It's really really hard to find a setup that will be good at all of these. The optimal setups for all of these are all different.

Fred (that's his username) has a lot of experience doing both rallycross and autox on the same suspension. Those are probably the hardest two to combine, so search for his posts on the subject (like this one). He is currently running a set of Tein HG's IIRC. BIGSKYWRX also has a "compromise" suspension. One post of his about it is here

The STi suspensions in general are very good all around, just not specialized for one thing - which is fine, if you are not trying to specialize either.

My personal opinion - pick the one you like the most. Prep your Subaru for that. If you still want to do the other ones, buy a beater. You don't need a 300 hp AWD car to enjoy rallycross! And you don't need one for autox or track days either. You can have a front wheel drive beater rally car (Neon? Old 2WD Subaru? Old VW?), or buy a cheap rear wheel drive beater track car (Miata? Old BMW?)... etc etc.

If you want to specialize, you'll know


I hope this helps some people. It's definitely not a Unabomber-class FAQ, more like a series of starting points. Feedback appreciated; I don't pretend to know all this stuff.

john
(not really a Guru)

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Last edited by ButtDyno; 10-22-2007 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 12-14-2004, 11:21 AM   #2
ButtDyno
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Brake Upgrade FAQ / Big Brake Kit FAQ moved to its own thread!

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1154081

Last edited by ButtDyno; 12-11-2006 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 12-24-2004, 12:07 PM   #3
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Part 4: Springs, Struts, and Coilovers... Oh My!

Visit the Tein S-tech FAQ for any S-tech related questions:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1267918


"But my wheel gap is uneven"

We've been over this

"best tophats/strut tops/camber plates"

Some factors:
-Do you want camber plates or camber/caster plates? Generally camber plates are better at getting JUST camber than combination plates. Whether you want more negative camber or more caster is a decision you can make based on what you'll use the car for.
-Can these plates achieve your desired alignment? Best bet is to search to see what other people have gotten.
-Do you need to adjust your plates before/after events? IMHO, best to just get the car aligned once and leave it alone, but it can be done.
-Can you live with a little bitty raise in ride height? Most camber plates will raise the car a little. RaceComp Engineering has a set that don't - as far as I know they are the only company to offer such a product.
-Can you live with more NVH? There will also likely be more NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) with most aftermarket tophats/plates/whatever. It depends on what they're made of - you'll get less NVH with, say, Group N tophats than regular pillowball mounts that come with your average set of coilovers.

Last edited by ButtDyno; 12-16-2007 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 12-25-2004, 08:22 PM   #4
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Nice post, certainly good info to be had in here.
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Old 12-25-2004, 08:45 PM   #5
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amg!! sticky this beast PLEASE. Your right about generalizing, but you have to in order for it to be any reasonable length!! Great FAQ and I am sure it would give total newbs (both with respect to subies & cars in general) a good place to start!

STICKY!!!!!
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Old 01-05-2005, 04:16 AM   #6
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bump! good stuff!
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:46 PM   #7
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Want to add this too
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck H
Not likely. I highly doubt that you're even seeing 50% of your car's "full potential". I learned that the hard way both at auto-x and HPDE events. Get in your car with a really good driver as an instructor and you'll be absolutely amazed at how high your car's full potential is, and by the fact that you're not even scratching the surface of it on public roads.

WRX's and especially STi's are incredibly capable cars, and there's no way on earth you can possibly drive them anywhere near 10/10ths of their performance potential on public roads. If you think you are, then all you're reaching is the limit of your skill, not the car's roadholding ability. And if you're really pushing the car up to 100+ and then back down to 30 on that road, you need to slow the heck down. It doesn't matter how much fun that is, it's not even remotely safe.

Last edited by ButtDyno; 08-18-2006 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:44 PM   #8
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I would stop bumping this if people stopped asking THE SAME DAMN QUESTIONS
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:13 PM   #9
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*bump*
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:19 PM   #10
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Sometimes people need a better answer then "there is no best _____, whatever fits your application" some parts have a good, better and worse grade but few people talk about it.
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:34 PM   #11
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this should be bumped at least once a week


- andrew
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Old 05-09-2005, 11:18 PM   #12
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pull it on up to the bumper...bay-bee......( grace jones ) ole skewl jam....

mw
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Old 06-07-2005, 03:18 PM   #13
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bumpity bump bump
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:29 AM   #14
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bump !

Thanks,

Preston
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:38 AM   #15
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Maybe you can answer my noob question and put it in this thread or a more specific FAQ...

I'd like to run my car dual purpose with tein flex. Is there anyway I can run high for rally and low for tarmac without getting an alignment each time I switch between the two? Is this even possible? Does it have something to do with camber plates? Or would something like this be fine:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TyrannoSullyRex
You can mark your tie rods so you can change as you change the camber on the front. Mark the street camber/zero toe with white paint and the race camber/zero toe with red paint or something.
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunk_Monkey
Maybe you can answer my noob question and put it in this thread or a more specific FAQ...

I'd like to run my car dual purpose with tein flex. Is there anyway I can run high for rally and low for tarmac without getting an alignment each time I switch between the two? Is this even possible? Does it have something to do with camber plates? Or would something like this be fine:
1. Start a new thread. This thread is not the place for that question.

2. You can't change your ride height by adjusting your camber plates. You can only change your camber by adjusting your camber plates IMHO, best to specialize, but that is just me.
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Old 06-16-2005, 11:06 AM   #17
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I know that the plates dont change ride height I was wondering if plates would compensate for the changes that accompany changing ride hieght. Definately I would specialize in tarmac but would also want some mild rally-x/snow too. IMHO throwing this into this pseudo-suspension FAQ would be good.

Last edited by Trunk_Monkey; 06-16-2005 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 06-17-2005, 12:22 AM   #18
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Good info!
Admin should stick this!
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Old 06-17-2005, 06:50 AM   #19
ButtDyno
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunk_Monkey
I know that the plates dont change ride height I was wondering if plates would compensate for the changes that accompany changing ride hieght. Definately I would specialize in tarmac but would also want some mild rally-x/snow too. IMHO throwing this into this pseudo-suspension FAQ would be good.
A "I want to do rallyx and autox. What should I do?" question?
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Old 06-17-2005, 09:17 AM   #20
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BD, nice thread!

I'd like to add one more point, which goes deeper into the "What do you do with your car?" question.

Try to learn about WHY you should, or shouldn't, use a given aftermarket component on your car. Reading the FAQs helps immensely. There are also great books on driving and suspension setup and you should read them.

What specifically are you trying to accomplish?

For example, I've seen many threads started by folks that want recommendations for aftermarket brake pads when they never exceed the capacity of their OEM pads. Why waste your money paying for upgraded pads when you don't need them? No one can see them. If you got 30k miles on your OEM pads, believe me, you aren't overtaxing them.

Understanding why and when you should upgrade your pads is far more important than what's the best pad. And the learning experience will benefit you more than all the opinions about which pad is 'best'.

Learn about the tradeoffs associated with the component. Harsher ride, more noise, more dust, shorter life, increased maintenance, warranty issues, more oversteer, more understeer, more bumpsteer.

You shouldn't put a stiffer rear anti-sway bar on unless you understand what lift-throttle oversteer is, when it will happen and how to counteract it.

Educate yourself on the 'whys'.
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Old 06-20-2005, 10:35 PM   #21
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^^^^^ Listen to teh Jim. He is wise about the "whys".

Bump for updated info.
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Old 06-22-2005, 09:08 AM   #22
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Bump for more sarcasm.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:53 PM   #23
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*whump*
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Old 06-24-2005, 03:37 PM   #24
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this needs another bump...
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:44 PM   #25
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Bump so Biggly Arnie and Uncle Scotty don't have to post so much?
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