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Old 02-03-2015, 08:57 AM   #1
vicious_fishes
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Default how to lower your CoG without losing suspension travel

So i'm looking at putting a forester crossmember and engine crossmember spacers (yes i know i need the pitch stop mount, steering rack knuckle and driveshaft too) in my GD sedan to lower the CoG down whilst maintaining all my suspension travel/most of my ground clearance. i am on factory springs so roll centre is not an issue.

basically, i know what part(s) i need, but i don't know which series forester(s) are interchangeable with the GD impreza. there is SF which was up until 2001 iirc, and then SG is from 2002-2007. long story short, does anyone know which part(s) i need from what? and for bonus points, whether the auto and the manual forester gearbox crossmembers/mounts are the same? so far all i've been able to confirm is that i need the steering rack knuckle from the SG series. i have no idea if/how much the chassis changed between the forester series.

thanks in advance
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:24 PM   #2
JarHarms
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Most of it will work either Forester SF or SG flavor. I have a good deal of Impreza GD parts in my Forester SF for example.
You are right about needing the SG version of the steering knuckle-joint. It needs to be "Forester" longer to reach your rack but still fit the splines on your GD column and GD rack. The SG version should take care of that. SF splines are coarser so it wouldn't fit up.
You may also need the longer engine crossmember bolts (u bolts inside engine bay) to clear the extra spacers and still get the flange nuts in place. Also pay attention to the lower radiator hose as it might get stretched out a bit from lowering the thermostat neck relative the radiator neck.
I am not sure how the Forester trans crossmember will fit with your exhaust routing though (EZ30D swap). Really the Forester trans crossmembers are just an additional round spacer under the forward bolts. Maybe about an inch or so tall, I can try measuring them or there may already be specs posted up. You could probably just add spacers to your existing GD crossmember to retain the existing exhaust clearance. May need slightly longer bolts to deal with the spacers.
The actual manual transmission mount is the same as the GD Impreza. I'm using a Impreza 5MT GroupN version right now. The auto trans mount is a bit different in design.
You should be able to keep the Impreza rear shift linkage mount. The Forester version is longer (drops the shift lever position downwards) but it should still function with the shorter Impreza version. Seems to me that more than a few Forester people install the Kartboy rear shifter mount (Impreza height) and do not encounter issues.

That's most of what I can rattle out of my head at the moment. I'll try to update if more comes to me. Hope that helps out a little.

Last edited by JarHarms; 02-03-2015 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:23 AM   #3
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after chatting with the wreckers today he told me they've used SF parts in SG models and so forth in the past all the time so, i've got an SG steering knuckle and the rest of the parts are SF, so i'll let you know if they do/don't fit and anyone searching in future should hopefully find this thread and get their answer.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:17 AM   #4
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If you are putting in the forester spacers between the subframe and engine crossmember then you will also need:

Forester steering joint
Forester pitch stop
Forester tranny x member
Forester shift linkage
Forester driveshaft

I'm actually going the reverse of you and swapping WRX crossmembers, shift linkage, pitchstop, & driveshaft onto my SG forester to raise the inner suspension pickup points. You really need to use all of the aforementioned parts to keep everything in relation to the factory setup.

Keep in mind, if your car is lowered, by adding the spacers in front you will then be lowering the inner suspension pickup point which will inevitably change your roll center. You should also consider swapping the rear crossmember as well since it will lower the rear inner pickup points as well to compensate for the front.

BTW, if you are needing the parts to do this swap I have everything you need and would be willing to let them go for a fair price. PM if interested.


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Old 02-13-2015, 05:55 PM   #5
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thanks man but all good. reference the rear crossmember - the rear of the car doesn't get lowered so, unnecessary IMO. but i have whiteline RCA kit up front to deal with that issue
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:53 AM   #6
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so i just got it done today. oddly, we swapped the forester driveshaft over (which makes the centre bearing lower) and it appears to be *too* low. the driveshaft has a mild "V" to it. looking at the impreza one, if i were to swap that back in, the driveshaft would be pretty much perfectly straight. any input reference whether i should do so or not?

the oem shift linkage works, kind of. with the increase in the angle of the little bottom ball mount shaft, you can shift into the odd/front gears the same (1,3,5) but the even ones (2,4,6) are a different story. the throw is "shorter" as you can't pull the shifter back enough to properly engage the gears. 2nd doesn't go in at all, but 4th and 6th are usable but clearly not fully engaged. i'm going to get that sorted tomorrow.

the transmission mounts are indeed the same, which was totally throwing because the thread on forester.org suggested that the forester mount was different. the crossmembers are definitely different though. we kept the impreza pitch stop mount as well. i used SF forester stuff (thread on forester.org is SG) and instead of being at greater angles and so on, the crossmember actually had spacers "built in" to it that required longer bolts up front.


driving impressions: the improvement in handling was immediately apparent/obvious as soon as i drove around the block. there is noticeably less bodyroll/the car feels more "responsive" to changes in direction.

overall, i thoroughly recommend doing this. great way to lower like 300kg of CoG down an inch and still maintain all your suspension travel. comfort will actually increase due to the lesser bodyroll (and it did).

10/10.

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Old 02-19-2015, 08:51 AM   #7
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Did you end up needing the longer Forester front cross member bolts (u-bolts) or were you able to re-use the Impreza length ones?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicious_fishes View Post
so i just got it done today. oddly, we swapped the forester driveshaft over (which makes the centre bearing lower) and it appears to be *too* low. the driveshaft has a mild "V" to it. looking at the impreza one, if i were to swap that back in, the driveshaft would be pretty much perfectly straight. any input reference whether i should do so or not?...
Interesting. I re-read through the thread and now see that you are not planning on changing the rear cross member. I know the earlier Foresters do have rear cross members that are "taller" between the chassis to Rdiff and the lateral link mounting points. The newer Forester may (or may not) have had taller than Impreza rear cross members. I am thinking this might be what you are dealing with. I bet the lower Forester driveshaft support is more there to deal with the positioning of the taller Forester rear cross members, which you are not using.
Regardless I'd say if the Impreza driveshaft mounts up with more favorable driveshaft angles in your particular set up, I would just go with that and be done with it.

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Originally Posted by vicious_fishes View Post
...the oem shift linkage works, kind of. with the increase in the angle of the little bottom ball mount shaft, you can shift into the odd/front gears the same (1,3,5) but the even ones (2,4,6) are a different story. the throw is "shorter" as you can't pull the shifter back enough to properly engage the gears. 2nd doesn't go in at all, but 4th and 6th are usable but clearly not fully engaged. i'm going to get that sorted tomorrow...
Are you using the Impreza rear shift mount or the Forester version? I had v6 Impreza STI and SF Forester shift linkage assemblies to compare side by side and did not see any obvious geometry changes in the links. I even used the Impreza upper linkage with the SF lower support linkage, they worked fine together. Note I am using the Forester rear mount (~1" lower than Impreza) since my Forester still has all the cross member spacers in use at this time. I would suggest trying the Forester rear shifter mount and re-test your gear engagement, if you are not already. I would not originally think that the rear mount would cause those issues but that is just a thought. At least the rear mount is an easy part to swap out and re-try. Please comment back on what you find out.

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Originally Posted by vicious_fishes View Post
...the transmission mounts are indeed the same, which was totally throwing because the thread on forester.org suggested that the forester mount was different. the crossmembers are definitely different though. we kept the impreza pitch stop mount as well. i used SF forester stuff (thread on forester.org is SG) and instead of being at greater angles and so on, the crossmember actually had spacers "built in" to it that required longer bolts up front...
Yea. Part of my gripe over there is that component terminology is mixed up so much it becomes misleading. Mixing up "trans mount" and "trans cross member" is not surprising. I think it is troublesome especially when you are discussing parts interchange between separate models and multiple model years. That mixing of terms really makes a world of difference when you are trying to pick out the parts to replicate their work. Am I right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicious_fishes View Post
...driving impressions: the improvement in handling was immediately apparent/obvious as soon as i drove around the block. there is noticeably less bodyroll/the car feels more "responsive" to changes in direction.
overall, i thoroughly recommend doing this. great way to lower like 300kg of CoG down an inch and still maintain all your suspension travel. comfort will actually increase due to the lesser bodyroll (and it did).
10/10.
Cool. It is uncommon to actually have someone reflect back with the actual effect of these sort of changes. I think your scenario eludes that most of the effect is net from the front changes. Which makes sense since the engine and trans carry most of the weight and their vertical location would have more CG effect. Also betting that the WL roll center kit had a good hand in this as well. Good job. Photos?

Last edited by JarHarms; 02-19-2015 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JarHarms View Post
Did you end up needing the longer Forester front cross member bolts (u-bolts) or were you able to re-use the Impreza length ones?

had to use the forester ones

Interesting. I re-read through the thread and now see that you are not planning on changing the rear cross member. I know the earlier Foresters do have rear cross members that are "taller" between the chassis to Rdiff and the lateral link mounting points. The newer Forester may (or may not) have had taller than Impreza rear cross members. I am thinking this might be what you are dealing with. I bet the lower Forester driveshaft support is more there to deal with the positioning of the taller Forester rear cross members, which you are not using.
Regardless I'd say if the Impreza driveshaft mounts up with more favorable driveshaft angles in your particular set up, I would just go with that and be done with it.
yep i'm going to put the impreza shaft back in tomorrow. the rear crossmember is an absolute nightmare to change and would really only be something you would do when you already had the diff out for whatever reason (r180, 6 speed conversion, whatever). there's just not enough weight back there to really bother unless you've already got your hands dirty doing something else. the weight of the engine/gearbox and other junk up front is about 10x what there is at the rear. having said all this, i've wanted to put one of the gen (6?) legacy 70L fuel tanks in my car for quite some time. dropping the crossmember (and diff and so on with it) might be an excellent way of getting some extra clearance needed to fit the bigger tank. i have NO idea about fitting the 70L tank/haven't put them side by side yet though.


Are you using the Impreza rear shift mount or the Forester version? I had v6 Impreza STI and SF Forester shift linkage assemblies to compare side by side and did not see any obvious geometry changes in the links. I even used the Impreza upper linkage with the SF lower support linkage, they worked fine together. Note I am using the Forester rear mount (~1" lower than Impreza) since my Forester still has all the cross member spacers in use at this time. I would suggest trying the Forester rear shifter mount and re-test your gear engagement, if you are not already. I would not originally think that the rear mount would cause those issues but that is just a thought. At least the rear mount is an easy part to swap out and re-try. Please comment back on what you find out.

i'm using the impreza 6 speed stuff. is there a forester 6 speed shift kit anywhere you might know of? i was planning on doing a cut & weld job of the impreza stuff to get it to play nice.

Yea. Part of my gripe over there is that component terminology is mixed up so much it becomes misleading. Mixing up "trans mount" and "trans cross member" is not surprising. I think it is troublesome especially when you are discussing parts interchange between separate models and multiple model years. That mixing of terms really makes a world of difference when you are trying to pick out the parts to replicate their work. Am I right?
i think the thing that got me was that i used SF stuff whilst they're using SG. AND, sf and sg are interchangeable whilst not being the same. SG is a 38mm lower crossmember with a 13mm higher mount. SF uses the same mount and just has a 25mm lower crossmember, which actually makes it better due to less leverage on the mount and higher ground/exhaust clearance for the same drop in driveline height.

we had to have a proper good look at everything and ensure that everything was lined up/level and so on and so forth before we bolted it all up for the last time as we were clearly working with different information to what we needed.



Cool. It is uncommon to actually have someone reflect back with the actual effect of these sort of changes. I think your scenario eludes that most of the effect is net from the front changes. Which makes sense since the engine and trans carry most of the weight and their vertical location would have more CG effect. Also betting that the WL roll center kit had a good hand in this as well. Good job. Photos?
i put the whiteline RCA kit on before i did this and i was AMAZED at the difference just 10mm made. i would wager that this mod makes about 1.5-2x the difference the whiteline kit did. as for how much it's a case of "combination being greater than the sum of the parts", i have no idea. but i can thoroughly recommend it. i've got to go back and swap the driveshaft over and get part of my H6 exhaust rerouted tomorrow so i'll get a bunch of snaps then
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:06 AM   #9
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Awesome. IMO there is already better quality information in this thread than the accumulation of all those other forum(s) threads.

v - thanks for posting the photos

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Old 02-19-2015, 09:58 PM   #10
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agreed. here in aussieland the forester guys aren't exactly known for being the most intelligent bunch, might be the same elsewhere too.

so for anyone doing this swap in future the summary is basically as follows:

forester engine subframe bolts up front for the spacers (SG or SF)

complete forester gearbox subframe from an SF forester and reuse your impreza mount. also get the bolts for the SF subframe as they have spacers (built in) and your impreza ones are not long enough. otherwise you need the complete subframe AND mount from an SG forester, but this is worse due to the 38mm lowering +13mm raising setup it has.

SG steering knuckle for GD impreza, i *think* it's SF knuckle for gc's. i don't know about any other models.

reuse your impreza driveshaft if you're not lowering the rear subframe as well (not worth doing IMO).

really very easy and makes a world of difference to the handling.


only thing i have left to sort out is the shift linkage.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:25 PM   #11
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I still don't really understand why you insisted on lowering the engine. The change to your suspension geometry, roll center, and decrease in caster will surely outweigh a slightly lower center of gravity.

The point of forester guys using WRX parts is to get rid of bump steer and wandering issues and increase caster, giving better handling characteristics. It just seems like you went a step backwards unless you've lifted the ride height as well.




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Old 02-19-2015, 11:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smuro04 View Post
I still don't really understand why you insisted on lowering the engine. The change to your suspension geometry, roll center, and decrease in caster will surely outweigh a slightly lower center of gravity.

The point of forester guys using WRX parts is to get rid of bump steer and wandering issues and increase caster, giving better handling characteristics. It just seems like you went a step backwards unless you've lifted the ride height as well.




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that's like asking people why they lowered their car?

my car is on OEM height suspension. the lowest it's going to get is RCE blacks. this is a great way of lowering your CoG without losing suspension travel to do it (so are lowering camber plates, which i'll be using), which = comfort for DD whilst improving your handling.

i also have the whiteline RCA kit, which mitigates any geometry change disadvantages. i'm getting my exhaust custom fabbed next week to match my h6 swap and raising it as much as possible in the process so i don't think i'm going to lose any ground clearance either. i think this mod + whiteline RCA kit is a fantastic way of improving your handling without sacrificing practicality/comfort (ANY practicality/comfort) to do it. the difference i noticed (immediately) upon taking the car for a test drive was hard to believe. i could not be more pleased with this mod. make sure you add the forester anti-lift kit to keep the ALK geometry level/as factory. or run the whiteline one.


from what i can gather with the shifter issue, all i need to do is get a forester rear shifter bushing/mount. it's the one that mounts onto the chassis/gearbox tunnel and is kind of square shaped with a couple bolts on either side and a hole in the middle for one of the linkage rods to mount in. so far as i can tell, once i get that bad boy and put my 6mt shifter into it, i'll be golden.

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Old 02-20-2015, 08:38 AM   #13
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pictures!

here's a shot of the spacers installed:



and here's the "inbuilt" spacers that are a part of the SF forester crossmember:



ones where i sliced the crossmember up to give me more exhaust clearance (it was only a tab, nothing structural). you should also be able to see the standard size mount i used:




standard impreza driveshaft installed (which is a vast improvement. it's almost arrow straight with the standard one in):



original pitch stop mount:



and the LCA angle with the drop and whiteline RCA kit installed:


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Old 02-21-2015, 02:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicious_fishes View Post
that's like asking people why they lowered their car?

my car is on OEM height suspension. the lowest it's going to get is RCE blacks. this is a great way of lowering your CoG without losing suspension travel to do it (so are lowering camber plates, which i'll be using), which = comfort for DD whilst improving your handling.

i also have the whiteline RCA kit, which mitigates any geometry change disadvantages. i'm getting my exhaust custom fabbed next week to match my h6 swap and raising it as much as possible in the process so i don't think i'm going to lose any ground clearance either. i think this mod + whiteline RCA kit is a fantastic way of improving your handling without sacrificing practicality/comfort (ANY practicality/comfort) to do it. the difference i noticed (immediately) upon taking the car for a test drive was hard to believe. i could not be more pleased with this mod.


from what i can gather with the shifter issue, all i need to do is get a forester rear shifter bushing/mount. it's the one that mounts onto the chassis/gearbox tunnel and is kind of square shaped with a couple bolts on either side and a hole in the middle for one of the linkage rods to mount in. so far as i can tell, once i get that bad boy and put my 6mt shifter into it, i'll be golden.


It's nothing like asking why someone would lower their car.

Sure, you're not losing suspension travel, but if anything you are decreasing the handling characteristics of the car, not increasing them. You are also increasing body roll. As stated before, you are putting the control arm in a less than ideal position by lowering the inner pickup point.

A RCA or ALK will do nothing to mitigate any geometry changes, you are still lowering the control arm inner pick up points, so the RCA/ALK is just like putting factory Forester mounts on to resist changes to caster.

You are losing ground clearance, about 1.15" due to the spacers lowering your crossmember.

Again, you are not improving handling, you are decreasing it. Why do you think the lowered Forester guys swap WRX crossmembers in? To increase handling characteristics and decrease roll, wandering, and bump steer issues that are associated with having the control arm at such a bad angle.

Your shifter issue will be corrected by the forester linkage. Since you lowered the tranny, the forester linkage is a different length to accommodate the change. The boot is also lower.



I'm not trying to be a dlck. But I don't think you have a complete grasp on what those modifications really did to your car.







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Old 02-22-2015, 06:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smuro04 View Post
It's nothing like asking why someone would lower their car.
yes, it is. see below.
Quote:
Sure, you're not losing suspension travel, but if anything you are decreasing the handling characteristics of the car, not increasing them.
you're aware that subaru's own factory suspension upgrade lowers the car, right? sure lowering isn't ALL positive due to the geom changes, but up to a certain point it IS of net benefit. i'd say RCE know what they are doing too.
Quote:
You are also increasing body roll. As stated before, you are putting the control arm in a less than ideal position by lowering the inner pickup point.
which is exactly what happens when you lower the entire car.
Quote:
A RCA or ALK will do nothing to mitigate any geometry changes, you are still lowering the control arm inner pick up points, so the RCA/ALK is just like putting factory Forester mounts on to resist changes to caster.
um... that is exactly what an RCA kit does. it is literally its purpose.
Quote:
You are losing ground clearance, about 1.15" due to the spacers lowering your crossmember.
the crossmember is not the lowest point, the exhaust is. and i was getting that custom fabbed anyways.
Quote:
Again, you are not improving handling, you are decreasing it. Why do you think the lowered Forester guys swap WRX crossmembers in? To increase handling characteristics and decrease roll, wandering, and bump steer issues that are associated with having the control arm at such a bad angle.
yeahhhh the "lowered" forester guys don't do it at a mildly lowered point. they do it when they have dumped the car on its guts, largely due to the ridiculous angle the CV's and LCA's are at when they do. it's not done when they lower them just 25mm.

why do you think subaru did this to the foresters in the first place?
Quote:
Your shifter issue will be corrected by the forester linkage. Since you lowered the tranny, the forester linkage is a different length to accommodate the change. The boot is also lower.
thanks. i have a 6mt and finding 6mt linkage is proving difficult. i'm hoping i can just put a rear lowering mount in and it'll work.
Quote:


I'm not trying to be a dlck. But I don't think you have a complete grasp on what those modifications really did to your car.
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i think it might be the other way around. the car IS handling better with this done and the logic above suggested it before i even did the mod.
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:10 PM   #16
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Your logic is backwards, but what do I know, I'm just an engineer.






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Old 02-23-2015, 09:45 PM   #17
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you're saying that lowering the car doesn't improve the handling because the suspension geometry gets so f**ked it negates any reduction in CoG. that's what you're saying. which would mean every single aftermarket spring manufacturer including racecompengineering and subaru themselves do not know what they are doing.

i'm all ears for anyone trying to help me man. really. but i don't see how you're correct here. i understand that the suspension geo change makes things "worse" but the reduction in CoG is "greater" than that loss and you you get a "net" improvement. this is particularly so with the RCA kit.
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:49 PM   #18
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I can't comment on the previous stuff you've done, I'm not an engineer, but if you're that crazy about dropping your COG, look into MSI solid motor mounts. A slight increase in NVH, but they drop the motor another 10mm lower compared to stock, or any other aftermarket mount.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:21 PM   #19
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I get why this is here, but I think this would be better placed in the suspension brakes forum.

Very interesting post.

The pics are not working for me though. :^(
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