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Old 05-02-2003, 05:53 PM   #1
kbrate
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Member#: 7472
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Macedon, NY
Vehicle:
2001 Legacy
Winestone Pearl

Default Review - Tires, Brakes, Springs

First a disclaimer – you have no idea what my level of competence is, what my experience or areas of expertise (assuming I have any) are so take this all with a grain of salt. (People who write well or forcefully in this media seem to get more credibility than they sometimes deserve.)
Just remember what I’m trying to accomplish may not be what you’re trying to accomplish and, therefore, what I think is great may not be what you’re looking for at all.

OK – having said that the car is a 2001 Legacy L – only previous Mod. are Euro Spec 17 x 7.5 Rims w/ Bridgestone RE011’s. Alignment -.6° Camber Front, Ø Toe Front/ Rear

Tires – Conti ExtremeContact 215/45-17 I now have just over 2000 miles on the Conti’s. Handling is not noticeably different vs the 011’s. I do not seem to experience as much understeer as the majority of people. Probably because 1) I’m not autocrossing the car (i.e. pushing hard at low speed) 2) I don’t push as hard on public roads (i.e. I’m an old fart) 3) I think I tend to carry the brakes deeper than a lot of people which tends to keep the front loaded helps the understeer 4) I even left foot brake sometimes.

There are three big differences - Wear – at this point the re011’s were bald on the inside edge – wear on the Conti’s is negligible. Noise – The re011’s were LOUD! The Conti’s are not. Ride – with the re011’s you felt every pebble in the road, to the point that I almost went back to 16 in rims. The Conti’s are much “softer” without losing the sharp response that I’m looking for. At less than $90 a tire I’m very pleased with the Conti’s. Nice linear predictable handling with a reasonable amount of grip and little lose of comfort considering the section width.

The brakes and springs have been on for approximately 100 miles. I have not checked alignment since the work was done but neat little level gauge was used to maintain alignment so it should be close.

Brakes – Subaru 4-Pot Front Calipers, DBA Disc’s, Goodrich SS Lines and Ferodo DS2500 Pads Front & Rear. In short, the car now STOPS like it should have all along. Installation was straightforward. Brakes and pads went in without a hitch. Even installed WRX front dust shields (changing from 277mm to 294mm front disc’s). The only “problem” was with the rear SS line. Goodrich has the shape near the banjo fitting correct but they have added a hex section. The hex section will not fit in the slot in the rear caliper where the stock line does. Because of the length etc a bit of fiddling around was necessary to get the lines positioned but it can be done. The nice feature of the lines was they fit the stock clips perfectly.

As I said above the car now stops with authority. The pedal is nice and firm but you still have the ability to modulate the brakes and stopping power to spare. There is a difference between dead cold and warmed up but even cold the brakes are 100% improved.

Springs – Prodrive Legacy Wagon Springs. It’s too bad that these seem to be so hard to get. I’m not sure that they are even still in production as I’ve gotten differing stories from Prodrive but if you can find a set……

Install was again straightforward with one exception. The front springs will not fit the stock Legacy top mounts. You will need the smaller Impreza top hats not a big deal just nice to know going in. The other area of concern is the amount of drop on the front. Prodrive advertises these springs as a 20 mm drop. I expect that the car will settle a bit still but as it came off the lift, the drop averaged 5/8 in. (16mm) rear but a full 1 1/8 in. (28.5mm) front. It does look nice and I cannot fault the handling vs ride trade off you get with these springs but I’m a bit worried about snow tire clearance etc. this coming winter but …..

Handling is up a notch or two or three, a much more “planted” feel than before. No real change in understeer/oversteer balance just a better all around feel. The car is solid, predictable. While the springs are meant for the stock struts/shocks and they do seem to work well together in most cases I’m not convinced that they are not under damped under some conditions. On some repetitive bumps, like expansion joints, I start to see just a hint of oscillation. KYB says that they will be introducing GR-2’s for the third gen. Legacy with 10 – 15% more damping in august, might be just the ticket.

The best part is while the handling is up the ride is also noticeably improved. The progressive rate springs just seem to take the jarring you got from the small sharp imperfections and smooth them out. Bumps that upset the car before just don’t seem to matter anymore. It just seems that these springs work better with the 17 in rims than the stock springs.

The ride is not plush or even the stock ride by any means just a nice firm smooth ride. Something even a wife can live with. You know this car connected to the road it just doesn't punish you because of it.

I doubt that the autocross or track day people would find this setup “extreme” enough and I’m sure that some would want to stay with 16 in wheels to improve the ride but for me, the compromise is spot on.

KCB

PS – Tires – The Tire Rack
Brakes – Calipers etc..& Lines - Vermont SportsCar
Ferodo Pads – RalliSpec
DBA Disc’s – Teague’s Auto
Prodrive Springs – SPI Motorsport (Irvine Subaru)
Installation - Langer Enterprises (Jeff Langer)
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Old 05-03-2003, 01:46 AM   #2
tora
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Very well said. You've stated your opinion clearly and what you were looking for in the car and what you got. It would be nice if everyone (including myself) wrote so well about our opinions on various upgrades. I've found that other springs (Whitelines) also require the impreza front tophats. Again, not a big deal if you know going in but a bit of a pain when your car is up on a hoist and some dude is telling you your springs don't fit.

Veru nice sounding brake system. I think as far as affordability and being able to use a brake kit with a fairly wide variety of wheels and wheel sizes that is the best bang for buck.

I'd love to see pictures of the amount of drop you got on your wagon. Also, do you plan to beef up the struts? Are the prodrives meant to go with stock shocks? I had Whitelines on my car last year and they were quite rough on the stock shocks (I did auto-x though..)

Hope to hear more reviews in the future.
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Old 05-03-2003, 09:42 AM   #3
KD7000
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2004 Honda Pilot

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Thanks for the great write-up. I always like to hear actual details about what folks have done, performance-wise.

-Brian
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Old 05-03-2003, 12:01 PM   #4
gtguy
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2005 Legacy GT wagon
Platinum Silver Metallic

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Very nice, KCB. I remember back when I was the only one trying to do anything with a Legover wagon!

Your caveats are also very well-put. I think, as you, that forcefulness of opinion is often misconstrued for authority on this message board, which often makes speculation become fact.

Sounds like you have a great wagon. I spent quite a bit of time trying to find Eibach Legacy springs, and never could, which led me down the coilover path.

Good luck with the car, and it sounds like it's a great one.

Kevin
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Old 05-03-2003, 03:46 PM   #5
kbrate
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Macedon, NY
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2001 Legacy
Winestone Pearl

Default

Quote:
Originally posted by tora
I'd love to see pictures of the amount of drop you got on your wagon. Also, do you plan to beef up the struts? Are the prodrives meant to go with stock shocks? I had Whitelines on my car last year and they were quite rough on the stock shocks (I did auto-x though..)
Tora - Pictures may take a while but i'll see what i can do. My schedule this coming week is pretty full and I will need to borrow the camera from work....

Prodrive say's that the springs are meant to go with the "stock" struts/shocks. I think it's a safe bet that the development was done with either UK or JDM "stock" suspension. How much that differs from the US Spec I do not know. The match is really very good, damping rates are not far off, if at all. As I said I only have about 100 miles on this setup and I haven't checked the alignment yet. I need to live with it for a while longer to really decide. If I do anything it will come down to the KYB replacements due out in August or the STi adjustables.

I have no idea what kind of life I'll get from the struts or how the springs will effect it. The Prodrives are progressive, the spring rates at the start should be close to or maybe a little less than stock. Since Prodrive will not release rate data and I just never got around to testing them I don't know but I'll sure find out.

How far did the Whiteline's actually drop your car?

KCB
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Old 05-03-2003, 05:27 PM   #6
tora
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+ NA Miata

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The whitelines dropped my car about 1.8" when fully settled. I wouldn't want it any lower unless on coil-overs and even then only for the summer. I would like probably 1.5" as the perfect drop. Enough to visually make the car have a nice stance, and lower the center of gravity a touch. However the Linear Whitelines did not match the stock struts that well. I didn't realize KYB was finally coming out with some shocks for our car. Are they the AGX's or just an OEM replacement?

Most companies that make Progressive springs don't seem to give out their rates. (Or at least I've been unable to find the info). I'm still debating between a spring/strut combo or coilovers.

Anyways, enjoy. No rush on pics, just if you get a chance it would be great to see. Thanks.

Jamie
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Old 05-03-2003, 08:04 PM   #7
kbrate
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2001 Legacy
Winestone Pearl

Default

I e-mailed KYB yesterday and their response was GR-2's (OEM replacements) due in August. 10-15% stiffer rates than stock good to 1.5 in. drop.

BTW Koni said nothing past 1996 for Legacy's currently and nothing that Koni US is aware of. Koni in Europe might be developing something, you'd have to contact them directly.

KCB
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Old 05-03-2003, 08:23 PM   #8
tora
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You know what's wierd. There is a local guy (chaneric) that has KYB AGXs on his '00~ BH wagon. He got them in HK. So, KYB DOES make an AGX for our cars, they just aren't sold here. And I can't find how to import any. I would WAY rather get some AGX's and decent springs than shlling out twice (almost) the money for coilovers. The GR2's and the Prodrives sounds like a good street system though.
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Old 05-03-2003, 09:20 PM   #9
balyndraks
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2003 Legacy L-SE Wgn
Mystic Blue Pearl

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Thanks for the feedback. Some time ago you said that you had purchased those springs and I was waiting to see what you had to say. If I decide to keep this car (and not sell/trade it in to get a new turbo Legacy soon) than I think those springs sound like a good investment. I'm pleased to also hear about the upcoming availability of the GR2 struts for the BE/BH guys.

Jay
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Old 05-04-2003, 12:16 AM   #10
subysouth
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Excellent write up kbrate! I am gonna try to be as lucid with my comments on my suspension changes.

Its interesting to me that in the case of the Prodrive and WL springs mentioned had to use Impreza topmounts. I wonder if they didnt use an Impreza spring at the front to save development costs. They couldnt really fake the rears but the front could be swingable.

Just thinkin I dont know this.

Please see my not yet posted suspension post.

ss
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Old 05-26-2003, 09:48 AM   #11
Heather
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Talking excellent!

So still no rear swaybar huh? Why not? It will make a huge difference in the way your car feels and handles. We set our Whiteline adjustable bar to 20 (the center setting) and the car plants it's butt on the road with no lean whatsoever. And the fear of oversteer is non-existent. This has to be your next purchase.
Heather
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Old 05-26-2003, 10:14 AM   #12
WAFlowers
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Black

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I have the Cobb Stage 1 suspension package on my BD ('97 2.5GT). Everyone (yes, even my critical driving enthusiast wife) says it was the best $500 I spent on the car.

I have the Cusco adjustable rear swaybar set to the stiffest setting (22?) and find it to be just perfect ... for me. I wouldn't suggest this setting for everyone. I suspect I'll have to back it off when I give the car to my daughter after I get a new Legacy STi.

I was quite surprised at the difference the front strut tower brace made. It had been on backorder so I was without it for some time. When it finally arrived I had my 12-year old son install it (under supervision -- good practice for him in the future because I know he is fascinated by the thought of what well chosen mods can do) then took it out for a drive on a twisty road I know well. I wasn't expecting much change and I suppose that it is true that it wasn't a LOT different, but the difference was definitely noticeable and for the better!

The stock suspension on our cars is feeble and is probably the best "bang-for-the-buck" change anyone can make. IMHO of course.
--
Bill
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Old 05-27-2003, 10:10 AM   #13
kbrate
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Member#: 7472
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Macedon, NY
Vehicle:
2001 Legacy
Winestone Pearl

Default Re: excellent!

Quote:
Originally posted by Heather
So still no rear swaybar huh? Why not? It will make a huge difference in the way your car feels and handles. We set our Whiteline adjustable bar to 20 (the center setting) and the car plants it's butt on the road with no lean whatsoever. And the fear of oversteer is non-existent. This has to be your next purchase.
Heather
Hello Heather,

No no rear bar yet..... The springs were a priority - the change in spring rate has really made a big difference to both the handling and ride, something that a bar alone won't do. Also, I'm still not convinced that anything that's on offer is the right way to go.... Maybe Cusco if I can get the right rate, I'm still mulling it over.

As far as bang for the buck - a good set of tires is still the the first step, and will yield the most noticable change, again in my opinion....


KCB
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Old 05-27-2003, 11:09 AM   #14
Heather
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Question agree!

I agree that tires are the best first option before upgrading a thing. I bought a WRX and the first improvement for her was Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires on stock rims. What a huge difference! We just put in a 20mm rear swaybar with Whiteline endlinks and the effect of the swaybar is amazing! It's a huge improvement in handling and cornering with no sway or body roll whatsoever. It is like a new car (eventhough she is only 3 weeks old )
Heather

Oh! Kbrate:
My old computer blew-up and I lost the link to that Technical Driving School website you sent me a while back. Do you still have it?
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