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Old 03-15-2008, 09:08 PM   #1
williaty
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Default HOWTO: Saggy Butt Shim Install Tutorial

NOTE: I recently took extra allergy meds due to being exposed to a fluffy cat today. I'm high as a kite. If I accidently wrote out directions for changing the fan belt on the Lunar Rover, let me know and I'll fix it.




All of the pictures in this tutorial can be clicked upon to expand them into 1000px superviews for printing.

Tool List:
12mm deep socket
19mm 6- or 12- point deep socket
19mm 6-point standard socket
19mm 6-point box wrench
Breaker bar to fit 19mm 6-pt shallow socket
~6 foot long cheater bar to slide over breaker bar to extend it
Torque wrench capable of being set to 14lb-ft
Torque wrench capable of being set to 145lb-ft
Flathead screwdriver with a VERY long shaft
BFH (2ish lb plastic deadblow hammer)

Disassembly:
Take a deep breath, and here we go! Open the rear hatch and look for the two strut towers taking up valuable cargo space. They'll be just behind the rear seat. In the picture below, they're the black lumps being joined by the silver bar. If anyone gives me crap about my rear end being muddy from rallycross, I'll take that silver bar and beat them :


If you look closely, the black felt trim is capped on top of each strut tower. This cap can be removed simply by putting a flathead screwdriver in the seam and popping it up. Below the black felt trim is a layer of yellow foam. The yellow foam has a flap that just lifts up to get it out of the way. To make your life a little easier, you can cut the flap off from the rest of the foam to get it out of the way if you want to. In the first picture below, the cap is right above the point where the silver bar pokes through the trim piece. In the second picture below, you can see the yellow foam that you need to move out of the way:




Once you have the felt and foam out of the way, you'll see 3 studs with nuts on them poking out of the top a metal dome. All three studs need removed. It will require a 12mm deep socket to remove these nuts. According to Subaru, these nuts are not reusable and must be replaced each time. Whatever. Also remove the metal dome at this point. Note that in the picture below, the metal dome has been removed during a prior mod and there's a strut tower brace installed. If you have a strut tower brace, remove it at this time along with the metal dome:


After removing the metal domes and nuts from both sides, get out of the car (without banging your head on the sharp thing in the hatchway). Jack the rear of the car up using the rear differential and then support the rear of the car with jackstands. Use a 19mm deep socket on your breaker bar to remove the lug nuts and wheels. I find it convenient to leave the wheels right beside the car to sit on for the rest of the install. Behind the wheel you'll see the place we'll be spending most of our time. The first order of business is to detach the brake line from the strut. This is very simple to do if you know how to do it and a total pain in the ass otherwise. If you look at the first picture below, you can see the strut hiding behind the rotor. Hiding behind the strut down near the level of the rotor is the brake line bracket. The second picture is a closeup of the brake line bracket:




Looking closely at the close-up, you can see that the brake line itself passes through the bracket. The outer part of the bracket is connected to the strut, while the inner part of the bracket is a clip that slides free to release the brake line. In the picture, the clip is the small piece of metal with the tab that makes the top edge of the bracket. To remove the clip, use a flathead screwdriver with a VERY long handle. Place the head of the screwdriver against the tab on the clip. The handle should be sticking out below the lateral links. Hit the screwdriver upwards with a BFH. This should pop the clip up and out of the brake line bracket, freeing the brake line. If things are rusty or dirty (like mine), the clip may try to take the line with it. If this happens, both the clip and line will become jammed in place. You'll need to tap the clip out a bit, then push the line back into the bracket, then tap the clip a little more, than push the.. well, you get the idea.

After detaching the brake line, you need to free the strut from the knuckle. This requires removing the two large bolts at the bottom of the strut. These bolts will require a 19mm 6-point shallow socket on head side, and a 19mm 6-point box wrench on the on the nut side. If you do not use 6-point tools, it's very likely that you will round over the nut or head. Place the socket on the head side with the breaker bar attached. Slip the cheater bar over the breaker bar and heave while someone else holds the 19mm wrench to prevent the nut from spinning. Make sure you're moving in the right direction as the force required to get these loose feels basically the same as the force required to snap or strip the bolts. Break both bolts loose and then remove both nuts. If you're very lucky, the bolts will pop out of the knuckle by hand at this point. If you're just lucky, you can whack them with the BFH and they'll shoot out the other side. If you're like me, they'll be bound in there pretty good and it'll take a combination of whacking it with a BFH, prying with something very strong, and spinning the bolt to back it out by its threads. Just get them out one way or the other. To make sure we're all on the same page, the picture below shows the 19mm bolts in question:


At this point, you should be able to push the bottom of the strut off the knuckle and drop the strut out of the strut tower and remove it from the car. Be VERY careful not to snag the ABS sensor wire or the brake line as you do this. Once you have the strut off the car, look into the spring perches. Very often, mud, stones, grass, etc. will have collected in the perch and be blocking off the drain hole. If this has happened to you, now is your chance to fix it and clean them up!


Assembly:
Once the struts are clean, go ahead and put the Saggy Butt Shims on. The first picture below shows that you need to start all 3 studs into the holes in the spacer BEFORE pressing the spacer down onto the strut mount. The second picture shows the spacer fully seated:



Getting the strut back up onto the car can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you're by yourself. The top of the strut needs to fit up into the strut tower with all 3 studs lined up at the same time as the bottom of the strut needs slipped around the knuckle. As soon as the 3 studs poke through, get someone to thread the 3 nuts on at least a few threads so you can let go of the strut without it falling down. DO NOT tighten the nuts on the studs down at this time. Getting the lower two bolts installed will present its own fun, as the knuckle and strut likely won't want to line up. I find it useful to put a screwdriver into the hole from the backside and then use it to pry the knuckle in strut into alignment enough to get the bolt started in. Hitting the bolt with a BFH will then usually suffice to get the bolts all the way home. Place the nuts on the bolts and drive them down hand tight. Then torque them to 145lb-ft. Replace the wheels and lower the car to the ground.

Once the car is on its feet, bounce it around a bit to make sure the strut is fully seated in the strut tower. Take the nuts off the studs again. Re-install your strut tower brace if you have one. Re-install the metal domes if you feel like doing so. Now, put the nuts back onto the studs, and spin them down the studs. As soon as the nuts get close to snug, switch to a torque wrench. The nuts are only supposed to be tightened to 14lb-ft, which feels like nothing. It's quite common for people to snap these studs by over-tightening the nut when doing this without a torque wrench. Replace the yellow foam and the black felt cap.

Drive and enjoy!
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:23 PM   #2
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You're a lot funnier when you take the fluffy cat meds!!! Nice write up!
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:48 AM   #3
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Very good write up; THANKYOU.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:01 PM   #4
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You went into extreme detail on how to remove the brake line retainer clip for some reason, but it's much easier than you make it. Just put a flathead of about any length in the slot between the clip and the ear and press down. It will open a small gap at the top of the clip. Insert flathead and twist. Takes about 20 seconds.

And you should be turning the nut, not the bolt, unless you can't access it, but I know on the wagon rear you can. And don't bother trying to "hold" the wrench, just let it hit something metal as a backstop.

/Brox
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:51 PM   #5
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On my car, you can't get to the nuts with anything other than a box wrench. You have to work from the head side unfortunately.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:36 PM   #6
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Why did you remove the strut from the car to install these? Just remove the top nuts and drop the strut down enough to slip the spacer on. If you drop both sides at the same time you should be able to get it down far enough.

Tony
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for the write-up! Do you notice any ride differences with the shims? How about some pictures of your wagon!
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:44 PM   #8
williaty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
Why did you remove the strut from the car to install these? Just remove the top nuts and drop the strut down enough to slip the spacer on. If you drop both sides at the same time you should be able to get it down far enough.

Tony
With all the Group N bushings in the rear, it wouldn't drop far enough to do it easily.

I tried that way first, believe me.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sr20dehauler View Post
Thanks for the write-up! Do you notice any ride differences with the shims? How about some pictures of your wagon!
It's more stable on the highway do to the removal of the rearward rake I had.

If you want to see my wagon, just check out my Flickr account. There's pics of it mixed in with the tutorial pics.
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:47 AM   #10
HawkI56
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Great write up. I just had a quick question. Will I be able to drop both struts and add the shims without removing the two 19 mm lower bolts if I have a larger rear swaybar (Cobb)? I'm just curious because I want to throw the shims on tomorrow but I won't have time for an alignment for a while and I don't want to have to pull the rear struts and mess it up. Aside from the swaybar and H-techs everything else is stock (no group N bushings for me ).

Thanks for the help. I'm adding 1/2 inch HPDE spacers BTW.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:39 AM   #11
Tahoe SC
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Like TIC said you should be able to if you drop both sides. you may have to unbolt the endlinks on the sway bar. at least that's much better than removing the lower strut bolts right?

as for the 1/2"...you may not have enough thread left up to to fully get the nuts seated.
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:08 PM   #12
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who makes these spacers and where can i find a set?
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:44 PM   #13
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1) Made by Paranoid Fabrications, you can find the sales thread for these in the Vendors For Sale forum

2) When Clint from TiC was up here last week, we both looked at the rear suspension and the spacers and decided there was no way in hell they could have been gotten on without dropping the strut off the car.
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:04 PM   #14
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Would you need to get an alignment again after adding the 1/4" shims to the rear struts?
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:12 PM   #15
Tahoe SC
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you should get one...but do you have no...no...but you REALLY SHOULD...
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:32 PM   #16
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Great write up and damn funny!
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somboa View Post
Would you need to get an alignment again after adding the 1/4" shims to the rear struts?
I've checked my rear alignment after most of the work I've done on the rear. Short of when I had the lateral links off the car, it never changed a measurable amount. YMMV
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:09 AM   #18
Tahoe SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
I've checked my rear alignment after most of the work I've done on the rear. Short of when I had the lateral links off the car, it never changed a measurable amount. YMMV
meaning when you're off on dirt roads, etc...you can't tell
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:28 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahoe SC View Post
meaning when you're off on dirt roads, etc...you can't tell
No dumbass, meaning that when I specifically measure the rear toe and thrust angle, it's never changed.


Berk.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:36 PM   #20
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wow...not a monday guy...
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:19 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
Why did you remove the strut from the car to install these? Just remove the top nuts and drop the strut down enough to slip the spacer on. If you drop both sides at the same time you should be able to get it down far enough.

Tony
Truth. If you want to keep your suspension on the car and do this entire job in like 20 minutes follow this writeup:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...3#post22870983
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:40 AM   #22
williaty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by impreza_GC8 View Post
Truth. If you want to keep your suspension on the car and do this entire job in like 20 minutes follow this writeup:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...3#post22870983
Just keep in mind that about 50% of the people who have tried the "just slip it in" method have been unable to make it work and have had to resort to removing the rear strut anyway. The difference seems to be how low the knuckle is willing to drop. On some cars, the rear suspension seems to be tighter, and therefore allows the knuckles to drop less, than on others.
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Old 07-15-2008, 12:58 AM   #23
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any idea if "just slip it in" method would work on 02 WRX sedan with 1/4" spacer?

Eibach + AGX struts:

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Old 07-15-2008, 01:17 AM   #24
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It's all about how tightly the suspension in your car is bound up. No way to tell until you get in there.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:24 PM   #25
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If you disconnect the swaybar and have the car jacked up at the rear diff the hubs will drop enough to slip them in. There will be no "bind" as was mentioned. The suspension will be allowed to completely unload. The key is to disconnect the swaybar from the endlinks.
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