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Old 01-09-2007, 03:00 PM   #1
ESmooth
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Default Hotchkis rear sway issue...anyone else?

After installing my Hotchkis front and rear sways I noticed my ride quality went to crap but I figured it was partly due to the increased spring rate effect large swaybars offer. This past weekend I tracked the car at Streets of Willow and was happy with the improved cornering speeds and confindence I had with a flatter cornering car but toward the end of the day I developed a little noise under transitions that ended up being a loosened end link nut. After getting under the car to tighten the nut, I discovered that the rear sway bar is contacting the gas tube cover and actually limiting suspension travel. At ride height with my Eibach pro kit springs (soon to be replaced with RCE springs) there is less than an inch of travel before the bar hits the cover and keeps the suspension from working properly. As a test, I disconnected the rear endlinks and drove home with my rear sway disconnected to find the ride had improved drastically due to my newly found travel. Has anyone else with this setup noticed the issue? I checked the COBB swaybar installation manual since they use "very" similar bars to the Hotchkis and the installation photo shows what Im talking about:



I havent contacted Hotchkis yet but plan to do so. Im 99.9% positive the brackets were installed correctly so I wanted to see if anyone else has expereinced similar issues or if this has already been documented. My RCE springs should bring the car up a little but not enough to where this will likely be solved.
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Last edited by ESmooth; 01-09-2007 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:54 PM   #2
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You should contact Tom @ Kartboy about this problem. You're the second person who I've heard had this problem. The first person was Gary Sheehan who drove the USTCC WRX. Tom made the Kartboy endlinks shorter than* OEM to resolve this issue. I'm thinking it may have to do with the way Hotchkis swaybars are made as Gary Sheehan's racecar had Hotchkis swaybars.

Last edited by Impreza01; 01-09-2007 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 06:01 PM   #3
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Looking at this picture

I now think it's due to the way Hotchkis Tuning designed their rear swaybar. If you look at the right side near the gas tank filler, the Hotchkis bar is straight. Yet in the above picture, the rear swaybar has an elbow to "dip" under to prevent contact with the gas tank filler. Again, below you can see the difference with the Cusco rear swaybar. Tom@Kartboy, I think the reason why no one complained about the filler issue is because judging from this forum few people run hotchkis, cobb or perrin swaybars. Granted the situation seems to occur in lowered WRXs.

Last edited by Impreza01; 01-09-2007 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:03 PM   #4
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Awesome info. I contacted Hotchkis and will be visiting them next week to take a look at the issue and will get these pics to them.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:16 PM   #5
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Is this only an STI issue, or does it affect all WRXs? Could it be that you have the incorrect part for your vehicle? It's hard to imagine with all the bars that they sell that a hard crash of the bar into the fuel system would go unnoticed by most all users!
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:25 PM   #6
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I have the Hotchkis rear bar and have NO issues, 04wrx
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloSubie View Post
I have the Hotchkis rear bar and have NO issues, 04wrx
What if any aftermarket springs are you on? Do you have any pics from under the car?
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue5spdWRXWgn View Post
Is this only an STI issue, or does it affect all WRXs? Could it be that you have the incorrect part for your vehicle? It's hard to imagine with all the bars that they sell that a hard crash of the bar into the fuel system would go unnoticed by most all users!
It probably affects all Imprezas. Gary Sheehan's racecar was a 2002MY Impreza WRX. The problem went unnoticed probably because this issue only arises when the car is lowered a great amount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SloSubie View Post
I have the Hotchkis rear bar and have NO issues, 04wrx
Tom@Kartboy mentions this issue only occurs if the WRX is lowered enough. The original poster's car has Eibach Pro-kit springs, which drop the car a considerable amount (actually to the point it negatively impacts the car's handling).
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:00 PM   #9
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What does lowering have to do with it? The full travel of the suspension is the same whether the ride height has been lowered or not.
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue5spdWRXWgn View Post
What does lowering have to do with it? The full travel of the suspension is the same whether the ride height has been lowered or not.
Was that a serious question? Think of it this way, would you bottom out your shocks on S-techs or stock springs? There's your answer. Plus the Eibach suspension has softer rates than even the stock springs.
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Was that a serious question? Think of it this way, would you bottom out your shocks on S-techs or stock springs? There's your answer. Plus the Eibach suspension has softer rates than even the stock springs.
Was that a serious answer? You will "bottom out" any and all springs. Springs do not affect the limits of wheel travel, all they do is affect where the suspension spends most of its time between those limits.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue5spdWRXWgn View Post
all they do is affect where the suspension spends most of its time between those limits.
Correct! So if you have stiff enough springs or the height of the springs is high enough, then the suspension would no lower to the point where the gas tank filler will contact the swaybar because there won't be a point where the suspension fully compresses. For instance, on stock springs and stock tires, a WRX will most likely not bottom out or at least reach the low height where the swaybar contacts the gas tank filler. Instead the tires would lose traction. However, if the car was lower, the chances of dipping into that height range is much more plausible. If I remember correctly the USTCC WRX's crew only noticed contact with the bar when the car was lowered. Mind you, this was on much higher spring rates with DMS50 adjustable coilovers.

In the OP's case, his car is lowered and on softer springs than the stock springs. This is similar to S-tech springs in the example I used. The chances of reaching the height range where the bar will contact the gas tank filler, coupled with higher degree of body roll due to the softer springs allows for a much greater chance of knocking around.

You are correct that any suspension can reach the limits of the travel, but say a person only had hotchkis tuning swaybars. Why bother fixing a problem that will probably never appear unless he goes rallying or the roads he travel have huge potholes and dips? This address the your earlier statement:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue5spdWRXWgn View Post
It's hard to imagine with all the bars that they sell that a hard crash of the bar into the fuel system would go unnoticed by most all users!
It probably never happens for the majority of the people.

Does the swaybar have a design flaw? Yup. How often does the problem arise? Given the OP is the 2nd person I've read complaining about this issue, specifically with Hotchkis Tuning swaybars, probably almost never. Either that, or too many modders think that because a suspension piece has been changed, one must always live with squeaks and knocks.

Last edited by Impreza01; 01-09-2007 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Impreza01 View Post
Tom@Kartboy mentions this issue only occurs if the WRX is lowered enough. The original poster's car has Eibach Pro-kit springs, which drop the car a considerable amount (actually to the point it negatively impacts the car's handling).
I to am running Eibach proline springs aswell, with kartboy endlinks. set to the middle stiffness (would go all the way but the endlinks are too short)
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloSubie View Post
I to am running Eibach proline springs aswell, with kartboy endlinks. set to the middle stiffness (would go all the way but the endlinks are too short)
Read the post above. Kartboy's endlinks are shorter than the OEM endlink lengths. For this reason, the hotchkis bar will NOT contact with the gas tank filler.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:37 AM   #15
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Im interested to hear you say that the ProKit lowers the car to detrimental levels when they are advertised as dropping the car 1.2" front and .8" rear. That ends up at 30mm front and 20mm rear which is very close to the RCE springs advertised at 24mm front and 20mm rear. Im sure the higher RCE spring rates will help to keep the bar from contacting the gas tube but if the heights are in fact accurate from both sources I dont stand to gain much in the way of clearance. As you can see in the pic below the car is by no means "slammed" and this is on a downhill grade where the rear would tend to sit even lower than if it were on flat ground:



I will likely end up changing endlinks eventually which should help but Im concerned there might be a little more than just too low of a car going on here.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESmooth View Post
Im interested to hear you say that the ProKit lowers the car to detrimental levels when they are advertised as dropping the car1.2" front and .8" rear.
Do a search on camber curves and roll centers. The thing about RCE's springs is that they drop the car to the height when the control arms are parallel to the ground. If you drop your car lower than that point, when your car rolls into a turn, it is gaining positive camber. This is why I say the ProKit drops the car excessively. RCE's springs are pretty much the limit of the drop. Plus the RCE springs have higher rates to prevent body roll than stock. If you do a search for Tein S-tech springs, which drop the car the lowest among all aftermarket springs (last time I checked), you'll find all the suspension gurus trash talking them.

The other issue about dropping the car a lot with just springs is the loss of suspension travel. You're increasing the chances of your struts bottoming out, which will blow the struts fast.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:50 AM   #17
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While that would explain the redcution in performance, it still does not address the possible issue of not having any more clearance in the rear, just a higher rate spring to help combat the possibility of contact.

On a side note, I contacted COBB about the issue since they use a similarly designed bar and they did not have any reports of this issue when their springs are rumored as being far too low for optimal performance.
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESmooth View Post
While that would explain the redcution in performance, it still does not address the possible issue of not having any more clearance in the rear, just a higher rate spring to help combat the possibility of contact.
That's something I don't have an answer for. You're going to have to talk to product providers and what not. The easiest solution is to swap out the rsb.
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:44 AM   #19
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I had the same problem with my Hotchkis bar on my 05 STI.

Here was my solution:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...ghlight=collar

EDIT: A couple other notes...

The thing you're hitting is a plastic cover over the gas fill tube. And if you hit it, it would probably just pull the bar to the side. I doubt that was your ride quality issue.

Make sure you torque the bushings to the spec in the instructions. It's easy to over-tighten them and cause the bar to rotate less freely, which could cause ride quality issues. Also, I don't remember where I heard it, but I think the hot thing to do instead of greasing the bushing is to just put teflon tape around the bar where the bushing goes.

-Mike
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:57 AM   #20
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Does anyone know if the Hotchkis heavy duty mounts are taller then the factory ones? I used the Hotchkis mounts when I installed mine and I don't have an interference issue with lower springs. I don't have access to the factory mounts at this time or I would check.

I see that Hotckis offers a specific kit for each WRX and WRX STi, so I assume you received the correct kit.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:39 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESmooth View Post
After installing my Hotchkis front and rear sways I noticed my ride quality went to crap but I figured it was partly due to the increased spring rate effect large swaybars offer. This past weekend I tracked the car at Streets of Willow and was happy with the improved cornering speeds and confindence I had with a flatter cornering car but toward the end of the day I developed a little noise under transitions that ended up being a loosened end link nut. After getting under the car to tighten the nut, I discovered that the rear sway bar is contacting the gas tube cover and actually limiting suspension travel. At ride height with my Eibach pro kit springs (soon to be replaced with RCE springs) there is less than an inch of travel before the bar hits the cover and keeps the suspension from working properly. As a test, I disconnected the rear endlinks and drove home with my rear sway disconnected to find the ride had improved drastically due to my newly found travel. Has anyone else with this setup noticed the issue? I checked the COBB swaybar installation manual since they use "very" similar bars to the Hotchkis and the installation photo shows what Im talking about:



I havent contacted Hotchkis yet but plan to do so. Im 99.9% positive the brackets were installed correctly so I wanted to see if anyone else has expereinced similar issues or if this has already been documented. My RCE springs should bring the car up a little but not enough to where this will likely be solved.

I got the exact same problem, clunk, and decreased ride quality due to travel limitations due to the bar. My setup is GC coilovers and camber plates, ride height is 13.5 rear, 14.0 front from center of hub to fender, the endlinks are adjusted to the shortest setting and the bar hits the filler tube cover and actually limits travel and causes clonky noises.

I have not figured out a solution other than going back to the stock sway bar. Anyone found a solution to this?? Help would be greatly appriciated at this point!
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Old 08-19-2012, 03:38 PM   #22
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Same here. Looking for a solution...
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