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Old 12-26-2009, 09:34 PM   #1
superv
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Default Photo Tutorial for the d-spec install on a 02-03 wrx?

I can't seem to find one around the web. I'm trying to replace a set (rear and front) on my 03 wrx sedan, but would like the read up before I actually spend the day doing it. Springs are prodrive blue i believe. Any help is appreciated.

there's this one, but is not for the wrx
http://www.americanmuscle.com/tokico...4-install.html
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:15 PM   #2
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don't have one for the shocks, per-se. but its very easy n straight forward on the subarus. Be very thankful that you are only doing full strut replacements, not having to do insert like some cars only have. So much less grunt-work.

Just unbolt your full strut, disassemble, and reassemble the top hats/bumps stops/boots on the new springs/struts...
Need some basic ratchets, sockets, breaker bar and torque wrench. Hopefully your new springs will be shorter a bit (most are), uncompressed, so you won't need a spring compressor if ya got a friend around to help.

However, consider rear adjuster extenders if you don't already have them:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1102593
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superv View Post
I can't seem to find one around the web. I'm trying to replace a set (rear and front) on my 03 wrx sedan, but would like the read up before I actually spend the day doing it. Springs are prodrive blue i believe. Any help is appreciated.

there's this one, but is not for the wrx
http://www.americanmuscle.com/tokico...4-install.html
Scroll up. It's an inch or two from the "new thread" button.

OFFICIAL Brakes/Steering/Suspension Installation/Walkthrough Thread (inc. Koni)
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1430598

--> several links, including this one

How To: complete idiot's guide to spring installation (austinpike)
http://www.iwsti.com/forums/how-inst...tallation.html

Should pretty much work the same. Of course if you are installing full assemblies that would be easier.

Rear extenders are not worth it IMHO... takes about five seconds to unhook the rear seat, adjust, and re-hook.

If you get stuck on any particular bolts let us know. I just put my winter suspension back on and have a couple tricks, but the hardest parts are usually getting the big strut bolts out (2 per corner). Helps to disconnect the swaybar endlinks. From there I usually use a punch and a hammer of varying sizes. YMMV.
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:40 PM   #4
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Oh yeah. This is a good opportunity to grease your brake caliper slider pins.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:53 AM   #5
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The most difficult part of installing DSpecs is tightening the bolt on the top of the strut once the spring, washer, and tophat are assembled on the housing. Its difficult because the strut wants to spin while you tighten the bolt. Do some searching - there's a few threads discussing this issue and methods that people have used to get it done.

Other than that, just follow the other tutorials that ButtDyno noted above.
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:01 PM   #6
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^ its not that bad, since it only needs to be like 30-40ft/lbs on most macpherson strut setups. in fact, the little ones that hold the top hat to the car are usually tighter.

I use an air gun for assembly, mostly for speed (much faster, especially if you have to use spring compressors). All i do is re-assemble everything, get the top nut on the strut threads (strut standing on the ground), and then just hold the top hat and hit it with the airgun for a sec till i can't hold the top hat still with my hand (it'll want to twist out of your hand pretty quick once the nut hits bottom). That should be easily tight enuf. I guess the advantage to the air gun is that it will spin faster than the strut wants to. You could easily do this with a ratchet if you have a helper to hold the strut. Again, you only need like 40ft-lbs, its not much.
The advantage of doing it outside the car is that you can still easily see if the top hat/spring/strut perch are all still lined up straight after you crank on it, or if you need to loosen and re-align for any reason.

Its nice to do struts (non-inserts, like the subarus, anyway), since the whole job is only like 7 or 8 bolts/nuts per strut and that's it. And they're usually not rusted up badly. Probably once of the easiest things to do on a car, after changing oil. Heck, it probably takes me as long to do a set of struts as i would to do the alignment after.

Last edited by neko; 12-27-2009 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:12 PM   #7
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Default Need to clear up a few things here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by neko View Post
^ its not that bad, since it only needs to be like 30-40ft/lbs on most macpherson strut setups. in fact, the little ones that hold the top hat to the car are usually tighter.)
No, the three smaller tophat bolts are 14 ft-lbs. Much tighter and they can easily be snapped off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neko View Post
I use an air gun for assembly, mostly for speed (much faster, especially if you have to use spring compressors)
An air gun would be faster, BUT it is not recommended to be used with the adjustable struts like the DSpecs. The use of an impact wrench on these can damage the seals. I do have air tools but I purposely did not use them for tightening the top nut - I'm not about to blow $600 in struts because I'm too lazy to do it right. Some have said that the HarborFreight battery-powered impact tool works well for this because it doesn't have too much torque, but I just used hand tools, patience, and some advice from other NASIOCers who had done it before.

To the OP - check out this thread http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...ferrerid=40579
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Old 12-27-2009, 11:44 PM   #8
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thanks for the input. Looks like I need to get a spring compressor for the front struts since i'm doing this solo.... My car has 120k on her. What are your advice on changing the springs? I was planning on only replacing the d-spec and didn't think the springs would go bad. Opinions?
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superv View Post
thanks for the input. Looks like I need to get a spring compressor for the front struts since i'm doing this solo.... My car has 120k on her. What are your advice on changing the springs? I was planning on only replacing the d-spec and didn't think the springs would go bad. Opinions?
Your stock springs won't go bad but the D-Spec can handle a LOT stiffer spring than that. By keeping your stock springs on you're leaving a lot of performance potential on the table. If you don't want to throw a lot of money at it I'd consider picking up a set of used stock STI springs (and rear top hats) for cheap.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:28 AM   #10
03SubyWRX
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I used my battery powered Craftsmen impact gun on the lowest setting. I had no problems, and I checked the torque after installing them on the car. Amazingly, it was at 40 lbs/ft. Not bad for a Craftsman haha.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:53 AM   #11
thrasher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper74656 View Post
Your stock springs won't go bad but the D-Spec can handle a LOT stiffer spring than that. By keeping your stock springs on you're leaving a lot of performance potential on the table. If you don't want to throw a lot of money at it I'd consider picking up a set of used stock STI springs (and rear top hats) for cheap.
The original post says Prodrive Blues, so you will be fine with those as long as you like the ride characteristics. Still, as viper said, the DSpecs can handle much stiffer springs, so if you are looking to upgrade spring stiffness, now is the time. RCE and Swift make excellent springs that match the DSpecs performace very well.
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:05 AM   #12
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If you are disassembling your stock struts to reuse the bump stops I would recommend using a spring compressor. I didn't have much difficulty on the tophat nut used a torque wrench once it was on the car and tightened to 50ft/lbs.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:01 AM   #13
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I've managed with great difficulty to install the left rear strut today and it took me like 3 hours. Getting the 2x19mm bolts back in was a huge pain. OMG Any advice on making this easier doing it myself?
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superv View Post
I've managed with great difficulty to install the left rear strut today and it took me like 3 hours. Getting the 2x19mm bolts back in was a huge pain. OMG Any advice on making this easier doing it myself?
You have the car on four jackstands, right?

Use a floor jack to move the hub assembly to the right height.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno View Post
You have the car on four jackstands, right?

Use a floor jack to move the hub assembly to the right height.
hm only 2 (back ones)
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:13 AM   #16
ButtDyno
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That should be fine... the important thing is that you are not doing this using a jack for each corner (that is not a good idea). That way your jack is free to use on the hub.

Just jack up the hub until the holes loosely match, then use a screwdriver or a punch to get the strut hole and the hub hole lined up correctly, and stuff the bolt in. Tap it lightly with a mallet of some kind if it doesn't slide in all the way.

IMHO it is easiest to do this if you remove the two 14mm bolts that hold the rear brake caliper on to the bracket, and then hang the caliper off of the swaybar or something (don't let it dangle by the brake line - use zip ties if you have to). That way you can get punch/hammer/torque wrench/etc in there without conflict.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:51 PM   #17
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^^^^+1 on this. I had a tough time getting those 19mm rear bolts in too but using a floor jack to move the hub up helped immensely.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:33 AM   #18
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I installed all four oem sti springs in 1 1/2 hours. Went smoothly.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:38 AM   #19
thrasher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyboi677 View Post
I installed all four oem sti springs in 1 1/2 hours. Went smoothly.
How is this info helpful to the OP? The time spent to do a mod is pretty irrelevant because everyone works at a different pace, and there are several variables that can affect how long it takes to complete a project. Even though I have my own garage, air tools, jackstands, etc., I typically take longer to do stuff because I am very organized and thorough, and I like to keep my car and the workspace clean and clutter-free. Others end up with the same result but are able to work very quickly and do their clean-up after the fact.
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:39 PM   #20
superv
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^i live at an apartment, so it's hard to get a clean space to do some of the work. I've only had a few hours at a time to do this. So far it's gone good. I've done the rear replacement. And i've added the rear adjustment which i'm liking a lot. Taking the seats out is more work than i like. http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1102593

Also, I found a breaking bar + pb blaster to be good ideas to get the big 19mm bolts off. Unlike others, I haven't had problem with getting the strut bolt tightened once that assembly is in the wheel well. Weird, I was worried about that step a lot.

Next up i'll do the front.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:51 PM   #21
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Hint for the rear seats:

Just leave them unbolted. They work fine that way
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:56 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno View Post
Hint for the rear seats:

Just leave them unbolted. They work fine that way
speaking of which, I can't believe they're just pieces of foam. Guess i'm just naive
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno View Post
That should be fine... the important thing is that you are not doing this using a jack for each corner (that is not a good idea). That way your jack is free to use on the hub.
This turnout out to be an important tip. Thanks
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