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Old 04-02-2006, 01:37 PM   #1
spdracr00
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Default FAQ Legacy vs WRX Suspension swap questions

So you wanna use WRX/Impreza parts to lower your legacy, well ok.. Here’s the down and dirty of it. I will be using specs from 97-99 legacy’s and 02/03 impreza’s.

What will fit:
From - Any spring/strut combo made for MY02/03 Impreza WRX/RS/L
To – MY97-99 Legacy GT/L/Outback wagon/sedan

Please keep in mind…

Impreza sedan swaps to Legacy Sedan.
Impreza wagon swaps to Legacy Wagon.

Specs:
Ground Clearance:
Legacy = 6.1 (both sedan/wagon)
Legacy Outback = 7.3 (SUS+wagon)

Springs: I don’t know the exact spring rates but the curb weight between Impreza sedans and Legacy Sedans are pretty close, same with the wagons with the exception of the Outback.. I think its heavier due to the beefier struts/springs.. but its only off by a few hundred pounds. And lets face it, if you’re doing this swap you’re looking for a cheap down and dirty drop so it’s not gonna make a huge difference in ride quality. But I do know this..

GT springs are 25% stiffer than L model springs.
Outback/SUS springs are taller/stiffer than L/GT springs.

Struts: It’s pretty much a KYB world here folks.

GR-2’s – 25% stiffer than stock Legacy struts.
AGX’s - have 4 settings
Setting #1 this is pretty close to the OEM stiffness
Setting #2 25% stiffer than setting #1 same stiffness as GR-2’s
Setting #3 I cant remember for sure but its either 15% or 25% stiffer than setting #2
Setting #4 is the stiffest. Track use only, very uncconforatble street ride.

So what strut is best for you? Well figure out where you’re gonna be driving.

Myth #1 The Legacy Outback/SUS uses body spacers to get its height.

WRONG! There are no spacers, the Outback/SUS gets its extra inch from stiffer/taller springs + A beefier longer strut.

*edit* Ok so I was kinda wrong here.. there are body spacers on the Outbacks, I saw them when replacing my rear subframe, but its to keep everything aligned not for any type of lift.

Ok, unless there are any other questions here's the meat..

Question #1 - I want to lower my Legacy Outback/SUS what do I need to do this.

Answer #1 – Get suspension from same model legacy/GT this will drop your outback to 6.1” from 7.3”. easiest and best way. If you use GT springs you will get a performance upgrade as they are a slightly stiffer spring.

Question #2 – My cousin/friend/message board said I can use WRX struts/springs is this true?

Answer #2 – YES! Is it true, all rejoice! Now, how do you do it.

Step 1 – Source 02/03 WRX/Impreza struts/springs/upper spring perches/strut tops(tophats)
You will need to get the same parts as what you have. (wagon to wagon, sedan to sedan) this is due to the wagon springs being designed for a wagon. Now you can use wagon parts on your sedan it just may sit a little higher in the rear. Also WRX wagon springs are softer in the rear than sedan springs. So its just better to keep it wagon to wagon….etc… The upper spring mounts for the fronts are the same between wagon/sedan so that doesn’t matter.


Step 2 – Front: You will need to re-use the rubber spring spacer from your legacy upper spring mount. You will need to trim it a bit to fit the smaller impreza spring as they are tapered at the top.
Rear: You can re-use your legacy parts here, as the rear upper spring mounts are the same.

So a quick recap.

Parts: Front impreza struts/springs/upper spring perches/strut tops.
Rear struts/springs

Bolt those on and get an alignment and you’re all done.


After Market vs. OEM – So yes any aftermarket springs will work with what ever setup you have. Once you’ve swapped on your WRX suspension you can use any spring made for 02/03 wrx’s.

I have a 1999 legacy outback with a 02/03 wrx struts with Tein S-tech springs. My car is low.. really low. I get rubbing in the rear fenders which if I roll the fenders would prob fix this problem. But I did also pay $150 for the whole setup and it does handle very well. If I could do it all over again I would prob go with this setup..

GR-2’s + (GT/aftermarket springs) swapping on GR-2s will drop my outback down to stock legacy height (6.1) then any other drop would be from the springs. The only reason for this would be legacy springs are made for legacy’s.. So the rates would be closer to perfect. But I do flip-flop on this every week or so. I have rallycross’d this setup quite nicely for over a year as well, but I did break a Y-pipe and trash my OEM exhaust due to being so low.

I hope this helps out, and feel free to send me updates or anything I might have missed and I’ll add it.
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Last edited by spdracr00; 11-07-2008 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:45 PM   #2
DLC
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This has been added to the forum FAQ in the BD/BG area. If it is expanded to encompass BC/BF, it should be moved to the General section.
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:53 PM   #3
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They changed the rear setup in the BE/BH so you cant use WRX suspension parts. FYI.
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:17 PM   #4
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Awesome! so what about aftermarket Impreza top hats. Will they work with both Impreza and Legacy suspension?
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:38 PM   #5
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Impreza springs must use impreza (upper spring mounts)tophats and vice versa.
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:21 PM   #6
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Yes, BE/BH and BL/BP are entirely different in the rear. The next Impreza will probably have something similar to the Legacy suspension in the rear, but that's a ways off.
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLC
The next Impreza will probably have something similar to the Legacy suspension in the rear, but that's a ways off.
A ways off? The impreza gets changed every two years

So they completely changed the suspension from BE/BH to BL/BP also?? I know it went to multilink from BD-BE, what is it with the BL?
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiscon_Mark
A ways off? The impreza gets changed every two years
Well, the chassis doesn't, but I feel like a new one will be coming within the next 2-3 years which would probably have a different rear suspension design.

Anyway, is the BD/BG track as wide as the GD? I feel like it's not, which will cause the same issues as when swapping to 1st gen Impreza or Legacy. I'm using 04 STi stuff and I'm not happy with how the camber turned out.

I was also under the impression that the rear strut tower bolt pattern was the same for 95-99 Legacy and 02+ Impreza, so you would be able to swap entire assemblies instead of trimming spring seats or whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLC
If it is expanded to encompass BC/BF, it should be moved to the General section.
I'm working on it.
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Old 04-03-2006, 05:09 AM   #9
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Okay here goes:

Since front suspension is basically a direct swap between all Subarus, I'm going to focus on the rear because that's where most problems come in.

There are two different 90-94 Legacy rear suspension designs, and two different 02-06 Impreza rear designs.

The 90-91 Legacy has a tapered rear spring with an integrated spring perch and top, like this:


thanks for the source image, THAWA

The 92-94 Legacy has straight spring and a separate top and perch, like this:


(This is also identical to the 93-01 Impreza)

The 02-03 Impreza has a straight spring and an integrated top and perch, like this:


thanks for the source image, oakos

The 04-06 Impreza has a tapered spring and an integrated top and perch like this:



The neat thing is that the tapered springs and the straight springs have the same top and bottom diameters so you can switch tops.

A 90-91 Legacy top/perch will fit on an 04+ Impreza spring.
A 92-94 Legacy (and 93-01 Impreza) perch will fit on an 02-03 Impreza spring.

Then you can just get the tops that correspond to the set of suspension you want to put in, and you're all set. You probably need washers to prevent clunking while using 04+struts with 90-91 tops because the shoulder on the top of the strut is slightly different.

Since BD/BG tops are all the same pattern as an 02-06 Impreza, fitment there is pretty simple. I'm curious as to how different springs fit on different upper perches and struts between the two though. From what I can gather the springs all fit on any strut, so the only conflict comes with the upper perches and rear tops.

The next issue that comes up is the alignment. The GD has a wider track than a GG, which comes from longer lateral links and control arms. This changes the geometry slightly and the angle of the mounting holes on the bottom of an 02+ Impreza sedan strut. This basically means that if you put Impreza sedan struts in a Legacy, there will be less negative camber. The most camber available seems to be about -1 degree in the front and it will be about half a degree positive in the rear. However, the difference between the cars is not simply an issue of track width. There is also a slight difference between a GG and the Legacy, so the angles of the holes on the flange on BC, GD, and GG struts are all different. I suppose it's all close enough to get away with switching things. I'm sort of working on figuring out the exact differences.

I have 04 STi suspension with camber bolts maxed out in the rear and I'm at about -1.5 degrees. I don't want to touch them to avoid slippage, and I'm happy with the amount, so I need to get more up front. Camber/caster plates seem to be on the menu, or I could go the route THAWA is taking, and convert to the wider track. Rolled fenders seem to take care of most of the rubbing, but you'll need to change control arms, lateral links, and axles.

There is also the possibility of ride height issues. My car is about 3/4" lower, and I'm happy with it. Other people run into other problems, and putting any rear spring not made for a Legacy wagon on one is going to cause a lower rear because they have fat asses.

If you're not interchanging entire strut/spring assemblies, you'll also need to make sure you have the right spring perches for the front springs. Also 05+ STI front struts don't fit without some serious ghetto-rigging because the knuckle/hub/bearing was beefed up.

Last edited by jamal; 05-09-2006 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:40 PM   #10
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so if I put some Leg GT stock OR aftermarket springs on my gr2's I will acheive the same ride height as a stock legacy?
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:41 PM   #11
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Spdracr - can you elaborate on "Step 2 Front: You will need to re-use the rubber spring spacer from your legacy upper spring mount. You will need to trim it a bit to fit the smaller impreza spring as they are tapered at the top."

My WRX suspension will be here Wednesday. Do I need to remove the front strut tops from the WRX suspension and put this spacer in, or does it just plop in between the top of the tophat and the strut tower?

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:13 PM   #12
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I was planning on putting 04 STi suspension on my BD, now im a bit afriad. Is this going to mess things up bad in the rear?
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYfirst00
Spdracr - can you elaborate on "Step 2 Front: You will need to re-use the rubber spring spacer from your legacy upper spring mount. You will need to trim it a bit to fit the smaller impreza spring as they are tapered at the top."
if the strut/spring combo you're installing is already in one peice with the tophat installed you wont need to do anything. jsut take out the legacy one and install the wrx one. if its in peices then you just need to make sure you install the rubber bushing/grommet thingy that goes between the spring itself and the upperspring mount. It helps take up shock and prevents that "clunk" of metal on metal. Hope that makes sense.
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdracr00
if the strut/spring combo you're installing is already in one peice with the tophat installed you wont need to do anything. jsut take out the legacy one and install the wrx one. if its in peices then you just need to make sure you install the rubber bushing/grommet thingy that goes between the spring itself and the upperspring mount. It helps take up shock and prevents that "clunk" of metal on metal. Hope that makes sense.
10-4 captain, loud and clear. My set is already assembled, going in this weekend. I guess I can post pics of the install if I remember to document it. Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2006, 07:50 PM   #15
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Ok so I have a 97 2.5 GT, I want to go over to an adjustable strut but want to keep my same springs, can I just bolt in 02+ WRX struts without any modification? or do I have to also do WRX springs and tophats?

Last edited by revhigh96; 04-14-2006 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 04-14-2006, 08:29 PM   #16
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Yep, you can mix and match.. just make sure your tophats match the springs.

My new setup is Legacy GR-2's with WRX wagon Springs/tophats vs my current setup "WRX struts/Tein S-Tech wrx springs"...
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdracr00
Myth #1 The Legacy Outback/SUS uses body spacers to get its height.

WRONG! There are no spacers, the Outback/SUS gets its extra inch from stiffer/taller springs + A beefier longer strut.
Actually that's not wrong. There are spacers, but they're spacers for the other suspension components. There are spacers above the engine crossmember, the front part of a manual transmission crossmember, the outrigger mount, the rear diff crossmember, and other mounts are extended for the extra height. So yes there are spacers, and leaving them in when lowering the car isn't the best way to do things.
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Old 04-26-2006, 01:54 PM   #18
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Im going to bump this real quick.


Im seriously thinking about ordering up AGX and H&R' springs for my legacy today. My friend will be selling his 04 STi suspension soon, and i am considering buying it, although im afraid from what i hear that the rear camber will be whack. Is this true? Do you think i would be better off going after market on this one, even though its going to cost twice as much?

Any opinions will be helpful, thanks
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Old 04-26-2006, 01:57 PM   #19
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Sti stuff wont work.. rear struts are different.. only 02/03 wrx struts will work.
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:05 PM   #20
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Ok, thanks
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdracr00
Sti stuff wont work.. rear struts are different.. only 02/03 wrx struts will work.
what's the difference? camber? hub attachment? people put 04 sti suspension (completed with tops) on 02/03 and then 02/03 would fit our BD...
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:14 PM   #22
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I thought they changed the bolt pattern or somethign like that. when you buy oem and after market stuff its always 02/03 or 04/06 stuff.. I dont know for sure, but it stands to reason that if it works on an 02/03 wrx than it should transfer over..
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:18 PM   #23
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read jamal's post above... the difference of 02/03 and 04+ is the tapered rear springs and new rear top design... if you match the spring with top, it will fit.. how much camber adjustment? I don't know.
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:18 PM   #24
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So i cant use the STi top, but if i put say, BD lowering srings on the STi struts with the legacy tops, then it would work??
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Old 04-28-2006, 11:06 AM   #25
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no, you can use the STi top. All four assemblies will bolt in directly.

That's one thing that isn't in there because I don't know a lot about BD/BGs. Apparantly, being a 2nd gen car, it has the same strut tower bolt pattern as the 2nd gen Impreza. The track, however, is still narrower than the GD, but there is apparantly more to the camber issues than that.

With camber bolts set to the max, you should be able to get something like -1.5 degrees in the rear. It might be slightly positive without them. In the front on stock bolts I would think -1 degree is possible.
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