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Old 04-29-2003, 10:55 PM   #1
annointed
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Default '95-99 Legacy wagon suspension upgrade...best bang for buck?

I have a '96 Legacy L AWD wagon that has nice stock handling capabliities, but I'd like to take it to a higher level.

What is my best single mod to improve handling? Can WRX wagon swaybars fit up?

I like the look of lowered cars (witness my Impreza), so my mod of choice would be springs that would drop the car 1-1.5"

But if swaybar/ALK/struts would improve the handling and cornering ablities of the car more, I'd rather go with that. I'm just seeking outside opinions before I dump $200 into springs.

Thanks!

Mark
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Old 04-30-2003, 10:00 AM   #2
Charlie-III
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OK, here is my route.
Front and rear strut tower braces from CUSCO.
Tire upgrade to Dunlop SP Sport 5000's.
So far, big improvement.
Later this year I will do Impreza KYB AGX's with Whiteline Control springs. The Impreza struts have a bottom spring seat that is about 1/2"+ higher than the Legacy and you can't get adjustable struts for the Legacy. The Whitelines give ~1.3" drop so the struts limit that for use in the snow.
I may also do the ALK's, don't know yet. I also have a 3 way adjustable rear bar but it is not in yet.
Look up "NUBARU" on this forum. He is in CA and has done most of this work on his wagon.
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Old 04-30-2003, 10:01 AM   #3
GT-Bevan
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Your "best bang- for- the- buck" suspension mod, and most definately your most worthwhile mod with respect to handling will investing in a beefier performance oriented rear sway bar. Especially for a wagon, tightening up the rear end will make wonders in your cornering even with stock endlinks, etc. At least going 18mm would be ideal - (that's what I have), anything more might be too much according to how you drive and whether you want the car to handle more neutral or oversteer - the SB all in all will help all in all will decrease the understeer dramatically.

If your budget allows for it -- by all means do upgrade to performance rear endlinks and rear control arm bushings to stiffen everything up --

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-30-2003, 12:33 PM   #4
annointed
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Cool, thanks for the feedback. I put a good set of tires on the Legacy's WRX rims already, Dunlop SP Sport A2's. Aside from more road noise and a stiffer ride, there are no drawbacks, and they are so far superior to the RE92's (but not quite as good as the RE011's on my Impreza, which were even better than SO3's).

I still want to know if the WRX wagon rear sway bar bolt up. Someone told me they do, but I need confirmation.

Charlie, I am interested in your stock GT wagon springs and struts when you upgrade.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old 04-30-2003, 01:34 PM   #5
maciek
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I might have some KYB AGX's for sale in the near future...the perch of the strut is about 1/2" higher, so even w/ lowering springs the car sit just a tad lower than stock. They are designed for stock height up to 1.5" lower. They are 7 months old.


maciek
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Old 05-02-2003, 04:42 PM   #6
Mx5racer
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Cheap upgrades?

beefy rear sway bar. I'm at 22mm and loving it.

That still did not get rid of the legacy's horrid understeer - especially when on the throttle. Next step - Whiteline ALK. Much much better.

Those two in combination are a real treat. I drive on real roads, and like the suspension travel, although better struts would be nice.

I have autocrossed this against some fast drivers, and was impressed with how competitive it was. It has very nice turn in and holds its line exiting corners. IMHO, Without either of these two things, the car just sucks.

Also, the ALK gets rid of some of the trailing throttle oversteer that may be caused by a big bar, allowing you to go stiffer than you would otherwise do.
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Old 05-02-2003, 04:56 PM   #7
2.5GT
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In all honesty, you will NEVER be able to dial out on-power understeer on this car since it is a front engine AWD car based on a FWD platform. Unless you change the bias of the differential towards the rear, it will always understeer under power.
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Old 05-03-2003, 05:03 AM   #8
Patrick Olsen
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Best bang-for-the-buck is clearly the larger rear sway bar. I'm not sure a WRX bar would bolt up - my guess would be no. I think I may have tried to do the opposite - put my old 18mm bar on my sister's WRX wagon, and it didn't fit. Anyway, with my first 2.5GT my first mod was that 18mm rear bar and I was honestly amazed at what a difference it made. Even in day-to-day driving, taking my favorite on/off-ramps at moderate speeds, it was definitely noticeable. With my current 2.5GT I have a Whiteline 18-20-22mm that I think is set on the middle hole (I'm on deployment right now, port call in Guam, so I'm a few thousand miles from my car ). I had it set at the max setting for a while and snapped one of my stock endlinks at an auto-x - oops! Now I have MRT endlinks, which didn't make any noticeable difference, but at least they haven't snapped in half. With stock springs and struts and the larger rear bar I generally take FSD (Fastest Subie of the Day) because I pretty much rule.

There are some who don't like the ALK, even with the softer "street" bushings, because those softer bushings are still firmer than stock and cause a bit more harshness (or so I've read here in the Suspension Forum). I plan to get some MRT caster/camber plates to allow me to get even more caster than the ALK provides without any effect on ride/comfort.

I'm also planning on doing Koni strut inserts (waiting at home for me already) and Ground Control coil-over conversion sleeves. Koni does make inserts specifically for the Legacy struts, but the part numbers aren't obvious from looking on their website. I have the P/Ns on my laptop, which is up in my hotel room. If anyone is interested I can post them later.

I'll probably go with spring rates in the 300f/250r range or something like that. The Konis and GCs will give me all the adjustability of "real" coil-overs for a helluva lot less. I spent nearly $2k on DMS 40s, was I think the 2nd Legacy owner to have them in the US, and after a year I returned them because I was sick of the lack of durability. I don't anticipate any such problems with the Konis.

Pat Olsen
'97 Legacy 2.5GT sedan
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Old 05-03-2003, 12:56 PM   #9
gtguy
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Hey, Patrick. Yes, I was with Patrick in the DMS on Legacy club, though my experience was far more positive.

The nicest upgrade you can do for an L wagon, is to find a rear sway bar from a Legacy turbo, then swap on a GT suspension.

Some GC8 parts, like the AGX adjustable strut from KYB, also work, but I tried those in my quest for a great handling wagon, and didn't like the ride quality of the AGX.

My first step, when I had my '98 GT wagon, was the sway bar. Biiiig difference. Then I put on 17" P1s. Again, big improvement. Then I went to an AGX/Eibach combo, and got too much drop from the springs, a typical Legacy complaint. Then it was AGX/stock GT springs for a while, which was pretty good, except for the unrefined AGX.

After that it was Tein coilovers, then DMS coilovers, before I traded my GT for a WRX wagon, and swapped everything over to that car (except the sway bar, which doesn't work).

You have to be very smooth driving a Subaru. If you aren't, the car will push like a bulldozer. Use the AWD to your advantage, which means that you're entering the corner and turning in a bit earlier, to offset the tendency of the AWD to push at power on at the apex, when the car isn't really turned yet. Turn in a bit more sharply at the apex, and hammer the throttle.

Good luck with the wagon,

Kevin
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Old 05-03-2003, 06:44 PM   #10
annointed
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Excellent feedback, please keep it coming, guys.

I did all this stuff to my Impreza, did the rims, KYB's, Eibach's, beefier sway bars, strut tower braces, Whiteline ALK, etc. The Impreza handled phenominally. I'm not shooting for the same level of performance from the Legacy (hey, my Impreza was running 200 more horsepower than the EJ22 Legover!

But I would like less body roll, a slightly lower ride height, and more neutral handling. It sounds like my best bet is 18 mm rear sway bar and GT wagon springs. There is probably a good possibility that I can find the parts for under $100 total.
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Old 05-03-2003, 06:45 PM   #11
annointed
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I do have some '00 RS springs laying around, but I suspect they won't sit right on the Legacy struts, but I'd love to hear otherwise...anybody know?
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Old 05-04-2003, 02:26 AM   #12
subysouth
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It should be interesting to see the differences between your L suspension and the GT suspension. I think I posted before the stock L tires are about 3/4" shorter than the GT tires, so the GT suspension on your car may turn out to be the same height as your stock suspension but stiffer.

I am glad to hear so much support for the rear ARBs, thats my next upgrade.

ss

edit: Take out STi ver 7&8 takeoffs as an option with conditions. See my suspension install thread for details.

Last edited by subysouth; 05-09-2003 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 05-09-2003, 01:47 PM   #13
Mx5racer
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What is the difference between a GT suspension and a L suspension? Anything besides the rear sway bar?

My car (2000 wagon) does not have any understeer problems. It had serious understeer problems before I put on the ALK and the rear bar. Sure, if I go into a turn too hot it will understeer. If I nail the apex right, it will pull itself out of a turn quite nicely (well, assuming I am not spinning the inside front tire).

Its a nice set up. In my last Auto-X, I was matching times with a comparible driver in a supercharged Miata. Heck, if I can get this beast to keep up with my time in the blown miata, I know I have the handling dialed in.

I agree with Patrick, the ALK is a bit harsh. My CD player doesn't like it.
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Old 05-09-2003, 04:11 PM   #14
subysouth
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mx5racer
What is the difference between a GT suspension and a L suspension? Anything besides the rear sway bar?

My car (2000 wagon) does not have any understeer problems. It had serious understeer problems before I put on the ALK and the rear bar. Sure, if I go into a turn too hot it will understeer. If I nail the apex right, it will pull itself out of a turn quite nicely (well, assuming I am not spinning the inside front tire).

Its a nice set up. In my last Auto-X, I was matching times with a comparible driver in a supercharged Miata. Heck, if I can get this beast to keep up with my time in the blown miata, I know I have the handling dialed in.

I agree with Patrick, the ALK is a bit harsh. My CD player doesn't like it.
Stiffer and lower springs and differently valved struts allegedly. The stock GT suspension is not bad. If the car were lighter it would be a pretty good setup.

ss
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:38 PM   #15
typhoonslippery
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get some GT-B Bilsteins
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:23 AM   #16
Patrick Olsen
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I'm sure the OP has been waiting 10-1/2 years for someone else to chime in on this thread so he could finally make a decision.
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