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Old 07-28-2004, 01:59 PM   #1
1 BLOWN V8
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Default New owner of 05 STI what type of suspension mods to do?

Hey all first I want to say thanks to everyone with all the great advise I have been getting, I do apperciate it.
Well I want to improve the handling on my new 05 STI and want some great advise on what to do.
I really dont want to lower it so that in mind what is the best place to start and also not going to cost me a lot of $.
Thanks all
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Old 07-28-2004, 03:13 PM   #2
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A lot of modifications depend on what you intend to use the car for. Street, AutoX or Track?

Also, what don't you like about the way it currently handles?

Just some things to think about so that you are happy with the changes you make.

The STI comes with some decent tires, so I would probably start with some adjustable swaybars. Then you can tune the over/understeering charateristics to your liking.
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Old 07-28-2004, 08:42 PM   #3
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EVO said the '05 was the best handling STi ever, and that the model year changes addressed all they complained about with the '04.

I reiterate what SF said... What do you want to change?
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Old 07-28-2004, 08:47 PM   #4
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Spend some $$$ on driving schools....THAT would be the the best 'MOD', IMHO.
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Old 07-28-2004, 10:06 PM   #5
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Just for street use only. I like it dont get me wrong I just keep reading and hearing, even on this site how the sti needs a few add on's to really compliment it in handling is all. As for driving school maybe it would help on the AWD but I have been to the 3 day training event on nasscar circuit and got to race around the track at 150-160 MPH plus through my work (Goodyear) I am a store manager and also have been racing cars at the drag strip which some of my cars have ran high 9"s on up in the 1/4 mile for almost 20 years now. I also have a blown 85 mustang sitting in the garage. What will I learn from this class? I am always open to suggestions.
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Old 07-28-2004, 10:16 PM   #6
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First step is to get a good alignment. Factory alignment would be more appropriately called a "malignment". Mine was way out when I got my car. I got a "performance street" alignment, but they only gave me about -0.7* camber in front... would have liked more than that to go with the -1.4* in back. Toe is a hair out in front, and zero in back, if I remember what me sheet said correctly.

Hotchkis sways did tighten up the transitional response, but they also impacted ride quality more than I'd like. I didn't like the car with just the rear bar on, either. Felt unpredictably over-steery. They may have also compromised grip on uneven pavement. I think maybe they are probably too stiff for the stock springs.

It may sound silly, but getting 03 WRX seats, which sit lower, made a big difference in the feel of the car. Probably just because I don't feel like i'm falling out of them, and they put me closer to the CG.

I have STI Pink springs with Group-N strut tops coming soon. Can't vouch for how they'll work.

If there's nothing that's bugging you on a daily basis about the way the car behaves, I'd leave it stock.

-Mike
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Old 07-29-2004, 12:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 BLOWN V8
Just for street use only. I like it dont get me wrong I just keep reading and hearing, even on this site how the sti needs a few add on's to really compliment it in handling is all. As for driving school maybe it would help on the AWD but I have been to the 3 day training event on nasscar circuit and got to race around the track at 150-160 MPH plus through my work (Goodyear) I am a store manager and also have been racing cars at the drag strip which some of my cars have ran high 9"s on up in the 1/4 mile for almost 20 years now. I also have a blown 85 mustang sitting in the garage. What will I learn from this class? I am always open to suggestions.
As far as the STi isn't a drag car, and you are going to be driving it on the street that has right turns as well as left ones....a good driving school that will acquaint you with the particulars of the car, un-modded, may serve you well to determine its strengths and/or weaknesses so that you can make more informed decesions on possible mods.
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Old 07-29-2004, 12:49 AM   #8
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The answer to everything is: It Depends.

Really, what don't you like about the car and the way it handles? Here are typical recommendations that address most folks' woes with stock Subarus:

If you want less understeer on a stock STi/WRX/Subaru-whatever, get a bigger front bar, not a bigger rear bar. The resulting improvement in your camber curve will help you retain grip in the front unlike what conventional wisdom will tell you which is that bigger bars make the car understeer more. This is not the case on stock Subarus! The bigger rear bar will create odd feelings like grippgoat mentioned when used by itself. I typically recommend a slightly larger front bar than rear, and the results have always been quite positive. More predictable, more grip in the front.

An alignment is the cheapest thing you can do; if you are a store manager you probably have some crash bolts lying around; toss those in the front of the STi and go for about -1.5 degrees of camber. Toe out in the front will add wear to the inside but gives you nicer turn-in response however that makes it notably more twitchy at highway speed. (The front bar also helps in turn-in response; no adverse tire wear on that one.) Front toe-in makes it more stable at high speed. Rear toe-out makes the car really over-steer prone; only advised for autox-only duty cars. (Notice that nearly everything is a tradeoff?)


So, go for a little more camber up front on an alignment (and 0 toe all around) and do a bigger front bar (add a bigger rear bar later but not at the same time if you feel you need the bigger rear bar.) Total mod cost: $200. Wonderful improvement.
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Old 07-29-2004, 02:47 AM   #9
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A car with 0 static toe will tend to have toe-out at highway speeds or in higher drag conditions (like rain on the road at moderate speeds).

If you want a car that's easy to drive, err on the side of toe-in, but you don't need much at all.

Of course, you can go closer to 0 toe without worrying about toe-out at speed if you get harder bushings in the control arms.

I think the best possible daily driver suspension setup for an STI includes:

21mm Cusco front swaybar
22mm Cusco rear swaybar
STI Pink Springs
STI GroupN Tophats
STI GroupN Front Control Arm Bushings
STI Sport Lateral Links & Sport Trailing Arms (with pillowballs)

Then if you want to increase the "refined" feel a little bit, look at a JDM front bumper beam and a V-Limited Front Lip Spoiler. The combination of these two will increase turn-in (less weight on the nose) and make for a smoother riding car on rougher pavement at speed (less lift, holds the car more stable).

Going with a monster front swaybar (as DrBiggly suggests) is going to work well on dry pavement but when it gets wet, it won't work as well as a more rear-biased roll stiffness. Of course, My opinions are based on my driving style, which tends to use a little extra throttle on corners if you know what I mean. The 21f/22r sway setup is very controllable with the DCCD on auto.

Add 245/40R17 summer tires and a Braille lightweight battery to the above setup and you'll be outhandling EVO's, no problem at all.

Last edited by nhluhr; 07-29-2004 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 07-29-2004, 11:31 AM   #10
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After reading this thread I'm highly considering purchasing a larger front sway bar for my 05 STi. But one of the complaints I have with the handling is how the car leans (rolls) in the turn. I imagine the sway bar will help this, but how much so? would a strut tower bar compliment the sway bar well?
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Old 07-29-2004, 01:59 PM   #11
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The swaybar is an anti-roll bar. It helps reduce lean/prevent roll/reduce roll, however you woudl like to say it. It will be a notable amount. If you don't like it, you could always sell the swaybar quite easily to someone here on the forums for maybe a $20-$30 loss?

I say go for it. 21 or 22mm up front. I don't remember Miranda complaining about the car not turning in the rain after her 25 or 26mm swaybar in the front of her STi.

nhluhr, why do you say that it won't work well in the rain?

I'm sure Tom could provide some perspetive on the front roll bar only bit as can Kevin H, both of whom ran stock class. Actually now that I think about it, I remember watching Tom run his WRX in the rain at the first National-level event he ever did; he was nearly 2 seconds faster than everybody else in his class that first day. (Front sway, Konis, and a cat-back.)
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Old 07-29-2004, 02:14 PM   #12
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Hey DrBiggly are you talking about Miranda with the Black 04? She was on the mountain cruise with us last year.

edit- thanks for the info I think i'm gonna go with a 22mm Cusco.
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Old 07-29-2004, 02:17 PM   #13
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Yep, that's her. I don't know if she had the swaybar in at that point; I'm pretty sure that she didn't do that until later in the year.
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Old 07-29-2004, 03:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 BLOWN V8
Just for street use only. I like it dont get me wrong I just keep reading and hearing, even on this site how the sti needs a few add on's to really compliment it in handling is all. As for driving school maybe it would help on the AWD but I have been to the 3 day training event on nasscar circuit and got to race around the track at 150-160 MPH plus through my work (Goodyear) I am a store manager and also have been racing cars at the drag strip which some of my cars have ran high 9"s on up in the 1/4 mile for almost 20 years now. I also have a blown 85 mustang sitting in the garage. What will I learn from this class? I am always open to suggestions.
I don't post here often anymore, but driving school is a comprehensive course that will teach you to be a better, and safer driver in your everyday life, or on an actual track. You learn skid control, cornering, braking, car control, and lots of other things that can save your bacon in an everyday situation. It will also make anyone short of a working race car driver realize that they didn't really know how to drive as well as they thought they did going into the course.

Your '05 STi is better than you are. This isn't any slight meant to your driving abilities, but more a compliment to the STi. It is an astounding car that, frankly, needs no help in the handling department, despite what some people in this space might think.

People claim that they want a car that is neutral or oversteers, but they don't know what they're talking about. You want a car that is on the understeering side of neutral. That way, if you overcook it, you have somewhere to go, but it will still handle beautifully.

Further, don't mistake body roll for "bad handling." This is a common mistake here. To have a car with zero body roll is, for some, a rara avis, but they don't really know what they're asking for, unless they want terrible ride compliance, precious little bump compliance, bump steer and other negative handling artifacts.

I have a Legacy GT wagon ('05). It has more body roll than my WRX wagon did, with an STi suspension, STi rear links package, Cusco lower front brace, and some uprated bushings. But in the same corners, the Legacy is every bit as fast as my WRX was, which tells you what? That the car's suspension is working beautifully, irrespective of what the car's body is doing. What you want your suspension to do is keep all four tires planted on the road at the best possible contact angle, as much of the time as is possible.

Now, the stiffer your suspension gets, approaching that no body roll point, the suspension begins to move with the car. So when you hit a bump, the corner of the car comes off the ground, rather than the suspension's compliance taking up the bump and allowing the suspension to do its thing unimpeded. Compliance and suspension travel means body roll. But when you look at what you want the suspension to do, you can see why body roll isn't a bad thing.

Live with the STi for a while, before deducing what deficiencies it may have. I lived with a stock WRX wagon for a while, before beginning a gradual modification process that left it a comfortable, great-handling car. But the stock WRX wagon wasn't anywhere near the car, handling-wise, that the STi is. Even modded up, the STi, stock, is STILL a better handler than the WRX wagon. It's a great car. Be patient, and understand what you want before you touch a suspension bolt. The fact that your post doesn't really have a specific issue that you need to address is one clue that you might want to show some patience, until you find what it is you really want to address.

The other caveats, "no lowering and not a lot of $$$," further argue for limiting your view toward tweaking the stock car in easy ways (camber settings, tire pressures).

Good luck, and sorry this is so long. As I said, I don't post here much anymore.

Kevin
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Old 07-29-2004, 04:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhluhr
21mm Cusco front swaybar
22mm Cusco rear swaybar
STI Pink Springs
STI GroupN Tophats
STI GroupN Front Control Arm Bushings
STI Sport Lateral Links & Sport Trailing Arms (with pillowballs)
I'd agree with that, with the possible exception of the swaybars. They're nice but negotiable. In place of the STi pinks (if you want to shop around), how about the new Prodrive springs? They're advertised as for the '04 STi, but do they fit the '05?

(The '05 went to black STi struts instead of red. I assume they're still the same, save for the color, but you know what they say about assumption.)


I think the GpN tophats will be a very nice change. From there, do springs.

Maybe investigate a full GpN bushing kit (www.subaruwrxparts.com). I'd do it for my car, if I had the cash. Bushings make a big, BIG difference in the feel of the car. And don't forget the GpN engine & transmission mounts while you're at it. Oh, and the pitch stopper.

See? It's a disease.

=S2=

Post-script: Definitely do a driving school. I plan on doing several, again when money allows. The only one I've done, aside from two autocross days, was a one-day course up at www.teamoneil.com for their Winter Performance class.

Even one day can make a HUGE difference. Besides.... aside from one-day-old (at the time) Nokian Hakkapeliitta 1 snow tires--without studs--my car was stock. Tim and his guys did things with my car that made it feel like a Porsche GT2.
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Old 07-30-2004, 03:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhluhr
STI Sport Lateral Links & Sport Trailing Arms (with pillowballs)
Are those available for 05's yet?

-Mike
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Old 10-03-2004, 05:38 AM   #17
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Yes. Click on the photos for more details.

Kevin@kingofimports.com
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2005:


STi even made the aluminum available for the 04s:
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Old 10-03-2004, 11:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grippgoat
Are those available for 05's yet?

-Mike
My car currently has everything in that list and then some. My most recent addition to the mod list was a set of camber bolts to replace the lower strut bolts in the front struts... So there is the stock camber bolts in the upper holes and the replacement camber bolts in the lower holes. IMHO, the range the stock bolt gives you is the wrong range. You can go from about +0.5 to about -0.8 or so. With these things, I can go from about -0.8 to somewhere around -2.3. The amount that this changes the handling is profound, considering the bolts cost all of $10.
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Old 10-03-2004, 05:30 PM   #19
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We offers some specials for your car that would greatly help its handling, etc.

http://www.racecompengineering.com/product-susp1.htm

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Myles Williams
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Old 10-04-2004, 04:40 AM   #20
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if you guys recommend a 21mm sway bar up front and a 22mm on the rear...
does that mean that the COBB (Hotchiks) bar are an overkill at 25mm front and rear?
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Old 10-04-2004, 06:15 AM   #21
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if you're not going to do any kind of track days or autoX and want the car to turn better just put on an adjustable rear sway bar and be done with your suspension mods.

if you want the car to look lower then get some lowering springs + rear sway bar and call it a day.

all this stuff the 'gurus' are saying is true. however, it is overkill for a car that won't be autoXed or tracked. plus, what's the point of doing all these suspension mods if you hardly ever get to put them to good use.
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Old 10-04-2004, 08:29 AM   #22
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How about some ADJUSTABLE aluminum latera links. They are lighter than the STi aluminum links and FULL pillowball, not 6 w/ 2 bushings (in case of the 4 piece set STi set). You can find them HERE



Dariusz
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Old 10-04-2004, 10:32 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacek
if you guys recommend a 21mm sway bar up front and a 22mm on the rear...
does that mean that the COBB (Hotchiks) bar are an overkill at 25mm front and rear?
well without sparking a big ole ..hollow vs solid bar fight,..........I think there is some value to using a conventional sway bar set up, but yes the 21 front and 22 rear bars work well. Some like the 21 front and 24 rear for rotational purposes. But like the guy above said, you gotta get out and use this stuff and learn the car etc....personal preference.

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Old 10-04-2004, 04:45 PM   #24
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well I guess I need to rephrase my question then.... he he

Would going with the 25mm sway bars reduce the ride quality considerably?
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Old 10-04-2004, 04:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacek
well I guess I need to rephrase my question then.... he he

Would going with the 25mm sway bars reduce the ride quality considerably?
Do you mean solid vs. hollow? There won't be a difference in ride quality I don't think. Perhaps the hollow would be a little more harsh with less room for a bushing (thinner bushing, less squish room) in the mount to the frame, but that would be the only thing I could think of.

I'd do a 25mm solid in the front if I could get hold of one.
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