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Old 10-12-2006, 01:15 AM   #1
aboothman
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Default 04 STI Springs on 06 WRX Struts

OK, so I have been searching for days, and I just get more confused as each thread is read.

I have an 06 WRX, and I want to put USDM STI Pinks on, or 04 STI Springs which I believe are the same. I need to know if I can:

Use my 06 struts with the 04 STI springs

If I NEED some matching tophats, or if I can use the stock 06 ones. Also, would I benefit from some Group N or STI takeoffs?

Please help explain the differences to me, and help me find the best solution.
What I want is the stiffer the suspension a little, about the rate of the STI Pinks. I would also like a slight lowering. I just need to know what my options are. Thanks!!
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Old 10-12-2006, 03:04 AM   #2
Mark Avery
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Both USDM Pinks and stock USDM STi springs will fit your car just fine with your stock tophats. No fitment issues whatsoever.

Both springs are virtually the same. Finding some used STi stockers will obviously be cheaper than buying new Pinks.

Only one little fly in the ointment. Springs that stiff are at the edge of what your stock struts can control, and making your struts work harder will shorten their life. Using stock struts with these springs will work for a while, but will just be a cheap, so-so solution. Buying struts designed to handle a stiffer spring is necessary for optimum handling.
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:06 AM   #3
aboothman
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OK, so what wouild be my best bet for struts?Should I try and get some STI struts or...I have heard a lot about Koni struts. ANy other good brands?

Also, where are some good places to get them at a good price?
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Old 10-12-2006, 01:13 PM   #4
bcristea
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Mark,

What are the handling issues/traits associated with stiffer springs on stock struts (now under damped) ?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Avery View Post
Both USDM Pinks and stock USDM STi springs will fit your car just fine with your stock tophats. No fitment issues whatsoever.

Both springs are virtually the same. Finding some used STi stockers will obviously be cheaper than buying new Pinks.

Only one little fly in the ointment. Springs that stiff are at the edge of what your stock struts can control, and making your struts work harder will shorten their life. Using stock struts with these springs will work for a while, but will just be a cheap, so-so solution. Buying struts designed to handle a stiffer spring is necessary for optimum handling.
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Old 10-12-2006, 01:30 PM   #5
tairese
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Some stuff that I've felt are kidney-jolting bumps whenever I am on uneven roads. Cornering is a little better though. Just my observations with 05 stock struts/sti springs

Ok it's not THAT bad on bumps. It's not super smooth either.
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Old 10-12-2006, 01:53 PM   #6
Mark Avery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aboothman View Post
OK, so what wouild be my best bet for struts? Should I try and get some STI struts or...I have heard a lot about Koni struts. ANy other good brands?

Also, where are some good places to get them at a good price?
STi struts are certainly a good option. The springs you are planning to use were, after all, designed for use with STi struts. Many owners of STi struts, however, report clunking issues as the struts age. You can only use 04 STi struts. 05-06 won't fit.

If your going to invest in new struts, I'd recommend going with adjustable damping. Give yourself some tuning options. All of below are adjustable:

The bargain option is KYB AGX - good, but not great, limited adjustability. Not 04+ compatible.

Koni inserts - great damper, but not a full strut. You must gut your stock strut to "insert" the Koni cartridge. Fully 04+ compatible.

Tokico D-Spec - great midrange choice. Not 04+ compatible.

Ohlins - extremely pricey, but in a different league quality wise. Not 04+ compatible, but they come with the proper sized spacer.

Subaru redisigned the rear strut/spring/strut top assembly in 04. The 04 style spring is tapered, and must be used with an 04 style strut top. Unfortunately, most strut makers have not updated their product line, and still only offer an 02-03 style rear strut. Mating the older style strut to the newer style strut top is a problem. The theads are longer, so even when you completely tighten the top nut, the assembly is not completely tight. You must add 2.75mm of hardened washer to the assembly to take up the slack.
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Old 10-13-2006, 06:35 AM   #7
bcristea
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Mark,

What are the handling issues/traits associated with stiffer springs on stock struts (now under damped)?
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Old 10-13-2006, 07:43 AM   #8
benton0311
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I've got an 04 STi and my wife has an 06 WRX that I've obviously driven quite a bit. I've got JDM pinks on the stock STi struts then they're kind of on their way out at 40k miles (maybe 15k on springs). Clunking, binding, kind of a rough ride, but not worn out as in blown. Cleaning and lubing helps but only for a few days. Typical STi strut issues.

Her WRX is still pretty new (7k miles) but driving it around it feels like the stock struts aren't really doing their job even on the stock springs. I don't think I'd want to use stiffer springs on those struts.

I had KYB AGXs on my 03 WRX with Eibach springs. I thought they were junk, even when brand new. Mediocre quality and basically like the stock strut but with stiffer valving and adjustability. The stock STi struts are made by KYB which may explain the issues we've been having with them.

Sounds like Koni inserts might be the best bet. Really high quality and a lifetime warranty. I've heard a lot of good reviews of them. I'm considering using these on both of our cars seeing as the Ohlins are a little pricey for me right now. They'd be an evolutionary step backwards on the STi but I think they might make up for technology with quality. For her car I think they would be ideal.

Last edited by benton0311; 10-13-2006 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 10-13-2006, 03:34 PM   #9
Mark Avery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcristea View Post
What are the handling issues/traits associated with stiffer springs on stock struts (now under damped)?
The damper exists to control the energy of the spring. You hit a bump, the spring compresses, then the stored energy releases and it uncompresses. But, without a damper, it will keep compreessing and uncompressing in a diminishing frequency - boing, boing, boing. The damper works to dissipate spring energy, so you get compression then rebound and it's done. Underdamped is when the damper isn't quite up to dissipating the spring energy. So you get a bit more oscillation beyond the first boing.

That's a description of one bump. In the real world you hit a jillion bumps of all sizes on your way to work each day, and what's going on down there in suspensionland is extremely complicated. If your car has inadequate dampers, there are loads of extra shimmies and shivers that quake through the suspension that wouldn't be there with the right dampers. That extra energy that's not being controlled properly effects your comfort, your feeling of control, and the grip of your tires.

Bottom line: dampers that are designed to handle the energy from your springs are the best at keeping your tires firmly in contact with the road.
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Old 10-13-2006, 03:50 PM   #10
bcristea
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Thanks,

I thought I'd ask the question since I currently have an 06 WRX wagon on STi/SPT pink wagon springs and stock struts.

IMO, the car handles like crap (wallow's, out of control, etc). I've checked everything and have come to the conclusion that it's the stock dampers.

I've not seen a bad report other than mine when running this combo. Why nobody else has this issue I don't know.

I guess I'll have to save up for some Koni's or Tokico's.

Thanks,

Brian

(
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Avery View Post
The damper exists to control the energy of the spring. You hit a bump, the spring compresses, then the stored energy releases and it uncompresses. But, without a damper, it will keep compreessing and uncompressing in a diminishing frequency - boing, boing, boing. The damper works to dissipate spring energy, so you get compression then rebound and it's done. Underdamped is when the damper isn't quite up to dissipating the spring energy. So you get a bit more oscillation beyond the first boing.

That's a description of one bump. In the real world you hit a jillion bumps of all sizes on your way to work each day, and what's going on down there in suspensionland is extremely complicated. If your car has inadequate dampers, there are loads of extra shimmies and shivers that quake through the suspension that wouldn't be there with the right dampers. That extra energy that's not being controlled properly effects your comfort, your feeling of control, and the grip of your tires.

Bottom line: dampers that are designed to handle the energy from your springs are the best at keeping your tires firmly in contact with the road.
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Old 10-14-2006, 02:45 AM   #11
aboothman
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thanks for the info...I had lost this thread until just now lol.

I am thinking that some Konis are the way to go as well, or maybe the Tokicos. Where are some good places to buy these on the cheap, especially the Konis?
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Old 10-14-2006, 12:48 PM   #12
bolderer
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I also have an 06 wagon with the SPT pimks and although it isn't as tight as I would like it is certainly better than it was when it was stock. I am definitely going to upgrade dampers but not for a while. How big of a PITA is the Koni insert install?
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Old 10-17-2006, 09:29 AM   #13
Gachinto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Avery View Post
The damper exists to control the energy of the spring. You hit a bump, the spring compresses, then the stored energy releases and it uncompresses. But, without a damper, it will keep compreessing and uncompressing in a diminishing frequency - boing, boing, boing. The damper works to dissipate spring energy, so you get compression then rebound and it's done. Underdamped is when the damper isn't quite up to dissipating the spring energy. So you get a bit more oscillation beyond the first boing.

That's a description of one bump. In the real world you hit a jillion bumps of all sizes on your way to work each day, and what's going on down there in suspensionland is extremely complicated. If your car has inadequate dampers, there are loads of extra shimmies and shivers that quake through the suspension that wouldn't be there with the right dampers. That extra energy that's not being controlled properly effects your comfort, your feeling of control, and the grip of your tires.

Bottom line: dampers that are designed to handle the energy from your springs are the best at keeping your tires firmly in contact with the road.
Hey Mark. You seem very knowledgable of the WRX. Could you plz gimme some advice on what to do? I will probably get a 06 WRX soon, but I've heard a lot of problems regarding its suspension, as everyone has discussed here. Is there any options / improvement that I should get when purchasing from the dealer? Or if aftermarket, such as getting the Koni insert, would I keep the stock springs and should I first break-in the car before I change anything? I'm living in Vancouver, BC, and I would occasionally go to autocrossing, hopfully tracks as well later on. THX
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Old 11-02-2006, 01:48 PM   #14
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are the rear strut tops the same for all 'o4 and up WRX and STi?
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Old 11-02-2006, 04:27 PM   #15
Mark Avery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_poser View Post
are the rear strut tops the same for all 'o4 and up WRX and STi?
Affirmative.
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Old 11-02-2006, 04:37 PM   #16
Mark Avery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gachinto View Post
Hey Mark. You seem very knowledgable of the WRX. Could you plz gimme some advice on what to do? I will probably get a 06 WRX soon, but I've heard a lot of problems regarding its suspension, as everyone has discussed here. Is there any options / improvement that I should get when purchasing from the dealer? Or if aftermarket, such as getting the Koni insert, would I keep the stock springs and should I first break-in the car before I change anything? I'm living in Vancouver, BC, and I would occasionally go to autocrossing, hopfully tracks as well later on. THX
I'm not sure what "problems" you are talking about. As with any upgrade/modification project, you need to educate yourself and avoid ignorant mistakes. Fortunately, you can learn from the mistakes made by those who went before you.

When to make your mods is up to you. Some mods can cause warranty problems, so you may choose to wait until the warrenty period is up. Then again, it's your car, do what you want. I personally recommend making modifications in stages, and learning from how the car feels different after each successive change.

Here are the best first WRX suspension mods:

- good tires (stock tires are crap)
- stiffer swaybars and solid endlinks (rear is good, front AND rear is better)
- anti-lift kit
- steering rack bushings
- good alignment (stock specs are crap)

Do these before you think about upgrading springs and struts. For some this was all that was needed to create a fun daily driver.

On the subject of autocross, read the rules and make sure the mods you are planning are legal in the class you want to race in.
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