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Old 08-03-2005, 09:50 PM   #1
Jonathan
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Default Second Generation Suspension options ?

While I am very happy with my stock '99 Legacy GT suspension, my '96 Legacy "L" has an extremly soft, almost "sproingy" (is that a word?) feel. I would like to upgrade its suspension.

While I can spout out pretty much all the major suspension suppliers (Prodrive, DMS, Whiteline, TIEN, Eilbach, H&R, KYB, Koni, others that I missed?), the truth is I dont know whats best. Also whats "best" for me might suck for someone else.

I want a firm, controlled ride that will comfortably soak up potholes, bumps and frost heaves without bottoming or going spastic. I am not looking to slam or drop the car, although I recognize that most every setup will in fact drop the car as much as 1.5 inches. I dont want to appologize to my passangers for having a "race car" suspension, either.

I dont mind spending say $500 to $1500 on a good durable suspension that will last more than 40,000 miles on public roads.

Struts, springs, and antiroll bars what do you recomend ?

Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:37 PM   #2
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$500 to $1500 is quite the span. I'm positive you can find something that suits your needs.
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamrazor
$500 to $1500 is quite the span. I'm positive you can find something that suits your needs.
Yeah, I figure just about anything I do will be a big improvement. All I am asking for is advice - what works best.

Depending on if I do completely new struts, springs, top hats, a-r bars (could be as much as $2000, easy), or maybe pick out some used Legacy GT Springs and anti-roll bars from a junk yard and then maybe just go with some new struts, I might be able to keep it around $500.

Given that the car already has 185,000 miles on it, I am not looking to blow oodles on it, just looking for a cheap quick effective suspension upgrade.

Any suggestions are most welcome.

thanks !
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Old 08-04-2005, 07:39 AM   #4
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this is a 99?
well, IIRC the WRX suspension fits on it. Not sure if its any better or worse since i think the legacy is heavier.
you can get KYB GR2's w/ springs for under $500.
you could add top hats too if you wanted and have them assembled before hand. that'd make swapping nice + easy.

other than those two, I dont know what else is available for your car.
there are quite a few spring options out there. whiteline, H&R, possibly Eibach.
search around or i'm sure someone else will post their setup.
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Old 08-04-2005, 09:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan
or maybe pick out some used Legacy GT Springs and anti-roll bars from a junk yard and then maybe just go with some new struts, I might be able to keep it around $500.
This is your best plan. It's not worth spending anywhere close to $1500 on a suspension for your L, unless you were going to track the car.

I'm still confused- You bought an old L, now it seems like you've been trying to upgrade it to GT type specs, even though you already have a GT...

I have my old '97 GT sedan springs sitting in my garage. You can have them for $20.00. Take those, get a new set of KYB GR2's, and you're good to go.

-Brian
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:24 PM   #6
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Brian, If he doesn't want the springs I'll take them. All I need is a paypal ID and you'll have money ASAP. Thanks, Tim
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Old 08-04-2005, 08:20 PM   #7
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Tim, you have a PM.
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Old 08-05-2005, 12:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD7000
I'm still confused- You bought an old L, now it seems like you've been trying to upgrade it to GT type specs, even though you already have a GT...
Yeah, I have a love/hate relationship with my GT. The leather seats are too slippery, If I open the moonroof, I smack the side of my head against the opening, and if I keep the moonroof closed, I scrouch down too much. Other than that, its a great car.

The Subaru Legacy "L" I bought fairly cheaply. Not having a sun roof on this car, I have a good inch or so of free headroom. And the cloth seats may not be great, but at least I pretty much stay put. Being just a basic transportation car, it doesnt attract attention, and for stop & go bumper to bumper traffic jams the 4EAT automatic is great. This one has lots of minor dings and dents, so if someone slams their car door up against it, or backs into it, its no big deal.

The only real obvious problems are that its basically gutless, it doesn't handle that well, and the stock brakes aren't that great. I figure I can learn to live with the gutless slushbox, but upgrading the brakes and suspension to Legacy GT levels isn't all that expensive and will make a big difference, in how I feel about the car overall.

If "e myself and I" doesnt take you up on those springs, let me know.

- Thanks.
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Old 08-05-2005, 10:23 PM   #9
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Jonathan,

It just so happens that I have what you're looking for right now, at a price point that will fit your budget.

Eibach Pro-Kit performance lowering springs (brand new in the box) specifically for the 2nd Gen Legacy
KYB AGX (93-01 Impreza AWD) fits perfectly (400 miles previously setup for GC Coilovers)

They don't come with strut mounts but Dale Teague www.Boxer4Racing.com has the STI Group N Top Hats (probably a bit harsh for what you're looking for), or you can pick up a WRX or Legacy top hat set from any Subaru parts outlet for about $50.00 each if you need them. I had always intended to go with the Group Ns but now I'm just selling my stock 98 BD GT.

As I mentioned, the springs are new in the box and have never been installed. They still have the warranty card, the Eibach sticker (possibly two) and an information brochure that came with it. They were $230.00, I'll sell for $180 plus shipping.

I paid $400.00 for the struts shipped and they are in great shape mechanically. They have 400 miles on them, previous owner had them setup with Ground Control Coilovers so there are some rub marks on the struts and I think one has a tire rub mark under the bottom perch. They do come with bump stops but do not come with the front slotted adjuster. I always lose that anyway. I'll sell these for $280 plus shipping. These would work great with your "L".

So that looks like $460.00 plus shipping for a matched set of Eibach Pro-kits and KYB AGX front and rear struts. Shipping will be ~$60.00 (weighs in over 60 lbs) but I'll ship the whole set for $500.00 even. I do consider reasonable offers from GT owners. Let me know.

Dale

Last edited by Subietonic; 08-06-2005 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:44 PM   #10
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Holy crap that sounds like a hell of a deal^^^

That almost sounds like exactly what i want too... Crap. Gotta sell some stuff... Subietonic, if Jon is not interested, shoot me a PM. Thanks.
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Old 08-06-2005, 12:35 AM   #11
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Jonathan,

Don't know if your "L" is a wagon or a sedan but unless you go with the WRX Wagon suspensino, the Legacy is just enough heavier that it will sag in the rear and may also feel a bit underdamped for the vehicle. .

Find a 2nd gen Outback rear sway bar and install it in place of the tiny RSB on the "L". It's amazing how small that stock RSB really is, even compared to the GT. Alternatively, a Whiteline ARB 20-24 would help to really tighten up the rear quite a bit.

I wouldn't mess with the front sway at all unless you also upgrade the rear. But, I would recommend adding a Whiteline front strut brace. This has really tightened up the front of my "L" wagon. Also, get some Perrin or Whiteline end-links (the weakened link in the whole suspension) to really benefit from any sway bar improvements that you make.

Convert the wheels over to Legacy GT or WRX (02-03) Wheels and upgrade the front brakes to the Legacy GT brakes. If this is a a 30th anniversary "L" then you'll also have rear discs too. A good set of Bobcat, Axxis or Hawk pads all around would easily help with the braking.

If you haven't done the grounding mod on the "L", then recommend that. It really brought our 2.2L Autobox alive. This is the little motor that can and it will cruise all day long at 80+ @ 28-29mpg. Not too shabby. Once you tighten up the handling, then you'll be amazed at how much power you have to work with, even at 187,000 miles on the odo.

Dale
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Old 08-06-2005, 08:15 AM   #12
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Dale -

Both my '99 GT Ltd and my NEW '96 "L" model Legacys are sedans.

Thanks for all the information! Getting an Outback rear sway bar certainly makes a lot of sense. Instead of doing GT front brakes, I have the front rotors and calipers from a WRX, although with this much front brake, I am thinking that a later model year H6 rear brake setup might be best just to not have too much front biased braking.

I hadn't thought a whole lot about doing a "grounding mod", although it shouldn't be that hard, and could prove to be benefitial.

Most people do indeed tend to favor the KYB struts (generally GR2s over AGXs), however I have no sense as to what the specific advantages of Eilbach springs over H&R, Whiteline, (or for that matter a used set of Legacy GTs) are. Roughly how much firmer are they ? What sort of a drop do they provide ?

Thanks again.
- Jonathan
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Old 08-06-2005, 02:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan
Dale -

Both my '99 GT Ltd and my NEW '96 "L" model Legacys are sedans.

Thanks for all the information! Getting an Outback rear sway bar certainly makes a lot of sense. Instead of doing GT front brakes, I have the front rotors and calipers from a WRX, although with this much front brake, I am thinking that a later model year H6 rear brake setup might be best just to not have too much front biased braking.

I hadn't thought a whole lot about doing a "grounding mod", although it shouldn't be that hard, and could prove to be benefitial.

Most people do indeed tend to favor the KYB struts (generally GR2s over AGXs), however I have no sense as to what the specific advantages of Eilbach springs over H&R, Whiteline, (or for that matter a used set of Legacy GTs) are. Roughly how much firmer are they ? What sort of a drop do they provide ?



Thanks again.
- Jonathan
Sounds like the H6 brakes might be the best fit for you, and yes, you will likely have some significant brake bias issues with the WRX set up especially since your 96 L has the drum rear brakes. You could covert it over using either a GT system or the H6 system.

WRT springs:

Eibach has put a ton of time and investment dollars into their Pro-kit series springs. They are progressive (only linear springs have "rates") so they have a nice smooth, compliant ride for daily-driver duties. But, when pushed (fast roads or loaded with passengers and/or goods) the progressive nature of the springs kicks in and they become more resistant (not harsh) firming up the ride considerably while still retaining a smooth ride. If you drive lightly, you’ll get a smooth, comfortable ride. If you drive hard, you’ll get a firm, controlled ride. Best of both worlds. You'll have about 1" to 1.5" total drop (average appears to be 1" front 1.2 rear). Advantages of the Eibach Pro-Kit:

Excellent ride quality - comfortable in cruising
Sportive handling in cornering, resulting in improved performance
Lowered center of gravity, increased stability
Enhanced appearance of vehicle
Manufactured according to ISO 9001 quality system as well as T/V approved
10 year product warranty

H&R Sport Springs are completely linear and this means stiffer and likely more harsh through all suspension travel than OEM. You'll feel expansion joints, potholes and road surface irregularities. Sport Springs will lower your vehicle an average of 1.5 - 2 inches for a lower center of gravity, improved handling and a more aggressive appearance. Sport springs feature more control than that of the OEM spring, but are still reasonably comfortable for daily use. Sport springs are an excellent choice for street and occasional track use.

Whiteline Control Springs - lower your vehicle between 3/4 - 1.5" depending on application. Control Springs, increase your OEM spring rate about 15-35%, and will reduce squat during acceleration, reduce body roll in turns and reduce nosedive under braking, providing better stability, safety, and performance. These are a good compliment to the KYB AGXs.

Whiteline Flat Out Springs - If you're looking for that dramatic, cosmetic, low line look then the Whiteline Flatout springs may be the ticket for you. They are a lowered spring range designed more for the race track to offer superior driving control through a lower center of gravity and a stiffer spring rate. Body roll and bounce are reduced and you experience a slightly firmer and more responsive ride. Flatout springs provide the ideal ride height for each application and varies between 1.5 - 2" lower than the stock and are about 15-35% stiffer than stock springs. Too low in my opinion and you lose too much suspension travel.

GT Takeoff Springs - As I mentioned above, these would work well for your application and run you about $75-100 shipped. The only down-side is that they don't offer much advantage over the stock L springs except a possible 1/2" or so lowering. And, depending on how many miles they have on them, may not offer the compliance/rebound that you're looking for... in other words, they could be ready for recycling themselves. They are linear and that means that they will be stiffer throughout the compression cycle but you're familiar with those anyway from your car. And at 187K miles, you'd want to replace the struts too.

WRT Struts:

KYB AGX - gives you the ability to tune your car's suspension to match conditions without sacrificing ride quality. Easily adjustable in a matter of seconds, through external adjustments, the front struts offer 4 different dampening settings while the rear struts offer 8 different settings, and there is no need to disconnect or remove anything to change settings. The AGXs also feature a unique 3-valve system which constantly adjusts for the road conditions by making small, soft movements on smooth surfaces and automatically reacting quicker as the road gets rougher. The 93-01 Impreza AWD AGXs are a great match and compliment to the 2nd Gen Legacy's handling dynamics.

KYB GR-2 - are specially designed to provide a smooth, secure ride with excellent control for drivers who are looking for ride comfort and improved handling. The GR-2 has a patented check valve, that enables it to maintain excellent performance, providing comfort and control that is equal to, or somewhat better than, original equipment. They are the only KYB strut that are specifically available for the 2nd Gen Legacy.

I was going to go with the Whiteline Control and the AGXs but after some more research decided to go with the Eibach Pro-Kit due to the progressive nature of the Eibach's. This set up together provides a reasonable drop 1" F/1.2 R and the beauty of adjustability.

Check out this link for KYB AGX fitment http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9186

If I had your two cars, I'd take the GT suspension off of your 99 and put it on the 96 L. Then I'd put the KYB-AGX/Eibach Pro-kit setup on your GT. Just a thought.

Hope this helps and let me know if you're interested.

Dale
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:05 PM   #14
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Subietonic- you are my hero. This is EXACTLY what I been trying to find for months now.

You sold me on the Eibachs. I was talking to iON Performance and they were trying to help me out, but couldnt because of the lack of 2nd generation specific springs.

I am still worried about the AGX strut fitting tho (Same height and use of 2nd gen legacy springs). That post is over 4 years old, just would like an update. Also, if the AGX is not designed for our car, would the dampening characteristics be different due to the different weight in each of the 4 corners? Do the AGX's need impreza (what model year are you talking about here) top hats, or do the 2nd gen legacy ones work.

I wanted to get AGX, but I would need new top hats, and that brings up the price 200 dollars, along with the extra 100-150 for AGX over GR2. I heard the GR2 was the same as AGX just without adjustment, but you mentioned different valving systems. Care to explain?

Last edited by JjSwee; 08-09-2005 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 08-10-2005, 12:15 PM   #15
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jj - I started with GR2's on my 99 Legacy and while they were better than my 70,000 mile old struts, I was not impressed for performance driving. They just are not really very stiff.

Moving to 93-01 Impreza AGX's, the dampening levels worked for me, but sacrificed ride comfort as turning them stiffer makes them incredibly harsh. This may be because compression/rebound are both increased at the same time.

If I had to do it all over again, I would go for Koni inserts in stock struts, and your choice of springs depending on how aggressive you would like your setup.
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Old 08-10-2005, 05:07 PM   #16
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JjSwee - You've mis-interpreted the information. We do have BD and BG specific springs. What we had said was you cannot use our BD/BG specific springs on a GDA strut. The tops will not fit on properly. You can however use our BD/BG specific springs on any strut original designed for the BD or BG chassis. The AGX's for the GC/GM will also work.

If you've got the funds and the technical expertise, the Koni inserts would be the best option.
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:22 PM   #17
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I really would like to do AGX's with eibachs. Looks like they will lower it the perfect amount, plus the AGX being nice and stiff. Im just worried about putting suspension made for a different car on my car. It seems to me like this would affect in some way, the performance of the strut. Someone tell me im wrong... please
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper20t
It seems to me like this would affect in some way, the performance of the strut. Someone tell me im wrong... please
You're wrong. But the AGX's just aren't very good anyway. For another couple $100 you could have Koni's.
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper20t
I really would like to do AGX's with eibachs. Looks like they will lower it the perfect amount, plus the AGX being nice and stiff. Im just worried about putting suspension made for a different car on my car. It seems to me like this would affect in some way, the performance of the strut. Someone tell me im wrong... please
"You're wrong".

Seriously all the strut is, is a "damper" or "shock asorber" as long as it is designed to fit your chassis that shouldn't be a problem. The real issue is the springs. Eibach makes springs specifically designed for the BD Subaru Legacy. The CG8 Subaru Impreza RS is closely related enough to the BD Legacy that the struts are effectively interchangable from one chassis to the other..

The fact that the '98-'01 Impreza RS is approximately ~600 pounds less weight isnt really all that significant, if you are using springs designed with the weight ratings and ride height of the Legacy in mind.

The issues that concern me are folks who swap in entrie suspension setups (Struts, tophats, and springs) from either the '98-'01 Imprezas, the '02-'05 Impreza (or some other generation legacy or Impreza) and just mount them up on their Legacies and drive off. While these setups it seems generally do work, they are no where near "optimal" for our cars.
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:51 AM   #20
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Jonathan, you pretty much answered a question I was about to ask. I will ask it anyways.

I did some research on the Koni's and I want them. It is amazing to hear no complaints from a product (other than price and labor). My question is: Would the Koni's from another car and model year be different than what I need? Say I see someone selling their used ones, could I use them? Also, say its already installed in a 02-03 WRX strut. If the top of the koni's are all the same, would it slip right into my car? (Mentioning this because I heard the tophats were the problem with WRX struts, and with Koni's you chop that off and replace it)

I am having a hard time understanding what swaps between our cars.

Also, iON: That is good to hear, expect a call from me once I get budget back on track.
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Old 08-12-2005, 12:56 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan
Seriously all the strut is, is a "damper" or "shock asorber" as long as it is designed to fit your chassis that shouldn't be a problem. The real issue is the springs. Eibach makes springs specifically designed for the BD Subaru Legacy. The CG8 Subaru Impreza RS is closely related enough to the BD Legacy that the struts are effectively interchangable from one chassis to the other.

The fact that the '98-'01 Impreza RS is approximately ~600 pounds less weight isnt really all that significant, if you are using springs designed with the weight ratings and ride height of the Legacy in mind.
And this is the exact reason that I chose the 93-01 Impreza KYB AGX because they offered the ability to change dampening 4 ways on the front and 8 ways on the rear and fit the LGT perfectly with no fitment issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan
The issues that concern me are folks who swap in entrie suspension setups (Struts, tophats, and springs) from either the '98-'01 Imprezas, the '02-'05 Impreza (or some other generation legacy or Impreza) and just mount them up on their Legacies and drive off. While these setups it seems generally do work, they are no where near "optimal" for our cars.
This is also the reason that I chose the Legacy GT Sedan Eibach Pro-Kit springs to go with the KYB AGXs because it gave me the functionality of the AGXs with the ride and progressive nature of the Eibach springs. A really great combination.

Dale
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:51 AM   #22
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Suspension items (struts and springs) are sold.

Thanks,
Dale
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:04 PM   #23
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First of all, great thread that I somehow missed over the course of a few months. Secondly, I've decided on the Eibach pro-kit springs as a result of the great-comparo write up here. Howeveer, I'm now more concerned with making the right choice for struts.

The GR2's have gotten praise before, but within the write-up appear to be barely an improvement over stock. the AGX's sound nice, but I doubt that I'd ever adjust the struts and therefore cannot make make the arguement to spend the additional $$. Unless someone can persuade me as to why I would want the AGX's?

So, these Koni's...anyone running on these? Impressions?

I'd like to go all new by this Spring (2006), including top-hats and need to decide now.

thanks,
Oquipah
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:25 PM   #24
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Oquipah -

If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, I still recommend the Koni's. My only hesitation with them is that - as I understand it - you will lose some strut travel as the insert sits higher in the shock body. This can be remedied with some fabrication, but it's something to take into account if you plan to lower your car.

If you're really looking to feel a difference in handling and eliminate roll, I would stay away from the GR2's. Get the AGX's and find settings that you like, then stick with them. If you're an enthusiast, I think you may be dissapointed with the GR2's.
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Old 11-13-2005, 02:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic
Sounds like the H6 brakes might be the best fit for you, and yes, you will likely have some significant brake bias issues with the WRX set up especially since your 96 L has the drum rear brakes. You could covert it over using either a GT system or the H6 system.

WRT springs:

Eibach has put a ton of time and investment dollars into their Pro-kit series springs. They are progressive (only linear springs have "rates") so they have a nice smooth, compliant ride for daily-driver duties. But, when pushed (fast roads or loaded with passengers and/or goods) the progressive nature of the springs kicks in and they become more resistant (not harsh) firming up the ride considerably while still retaining a smooth ride. If you drive lightly, you’ll get a smooth, comfortable ride. If you drive hard, you’ll get a firm, controlled ride. Best of both worlds. You'll have about 1" to 1.5" total drop (average appears to be 1" front 1.2 rear). Advantages of the Eibach Pro-Kit:

Excellent ride quality - comfortable in cruising
Sportive handling in cornering, resulting in improved performance
Lowered center of gravity, increased stability
Enhanced appearance of vehicle
Manufactured according to ISO 9001 quality system as well as T/V approved
10 year product warranty

H&R Sport Springs are completely linear and this means stiffer and likely more harsh through all suspension travel than OEM. You'll feel expansion joints, potholes and road surface irregularities. Sport Springs will lower your vehicle an average of 1.5 - 2 inches for a lower center of gravity, improved handling and a more aggressive appearance. Sport springs feature more control than that of the OEM spring, but are still reasonably comfortable for daily use. Sport springs are an excellent choice for street and occasional track use.

Whiteline Control Springs - lower your vehicle between 3/4 - 1.5" depending on application. Control Springs, increase your OEM spring rate about 15-35%, and will reduce squat during acceleration, reduce body roll in turns and reduce nosedive under braking, providing better stability, safety, and performance. These are a good compliment to the KYB AGXs.

Whiteline Flat Out Springs - If you're looking for that dramatic, cosmetic, low line look then the Whiteline Flatout springs may be the ticket for you. They are a lowered spring range designed more for the race track to offer superior driving control through a lower center of gravity and a stiffer spring rate. Body roll and bounce are reduced and you experience a slightly firmer and more responsive ride. Flatout springs provide the ideal ride height for each application and varies between 1.5 - 2" lower than the stock and are about 15-35% stiffer than stock springs. Too low in my opinion and you lose too much suspension travel.

GT Takeoff Springs - As I mentioned above, these would work well for your application and run you about $75-100 shipped. The only down-side is that they don't offer much advantage over the stock L springs except a possible 1/2" or so lowering. And, depending on how many miles they have on them, may not offer the compliance/rebound that you're looking for... in other words, they could be ready for recycling themselves. They are linear and that means that they will be stiffer throughout the compression cycle but you're familiar with those anyway from your car. And at 187K miles, you'd want to replace the struts too.

WRT Struts:

KYB AGX - gives you the ability to tune your car's suspension to match conditions without sacrificing ride quality. Easily adjustable in a matter of seconds, through external adjustments, the front struts offer 4 different dampening settings while the rear struts offer 8 different settings, and there is no need to disconnect or remove anything to change settings. The AGXs also feature a unique 3-valve system which constantly adjusts for the road conditions by making small, soft movements on smooth surfaces and automatically reacting quicker as the road gets rougher. The 93-01 Impreza AWD AGXs are a great match and compliment to the 2nd Gen Legacy's handling dynamics.

KYB GR-2 - are specially designed to provide a smooth, secure ride with excellent control for drivers who are looking for ride comfort and improved handling. The GR-2 has a patented check valve, that enables it to maintain excellent performance, providing comfort and control that is equal to, or somewhat better than, original equipment. They are the only KYB strut that are specifically available for the 2nd Gen Legacy.

I was going to go with the Whiteline Control and the AGXs but after some more research decided to go with the Eibach Pro-Kit due to the progressive nature of the Eibach's. This set up together provides a reasonable drop 1" F/1.2 R and the beauty of adjustability.

Check out this link for KYB AGX fitment http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9186

If I had your two cars, I'd take the GT suspension off of your 99 and put it on the 96 L. Then I'd put the KYB-AGX/Eibach Pro-kit setup on your GT. Just a thought.

Hope this helps and let me know if you're interested.

Dale
You can also use the Impreza STi v5 dampers as well. I have them on my car, with the H&R sport springs. You can definitely feel the road, the whole road, and nothing but the road. But I don't drive in areas that are all that bad often enough to warrant anything less. And she holds the road VERY well with these Firehawks.
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