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Old 03-24-2009, 12:04 AM   #1
tourette
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Default Suspension Too Firm - Advice Needed

I have an 03' WRX that's riding awfully rough lately it seems. I replaced the front and rear swaybars with Progress adjustable sway bars when I bought it. Also replaced the endlinks. And I have 17" Rota wheels with Advan Neova tires.

It rides fantastic for sporty driving. But now my wife is pregnant and spends more time in the car than I do. And it rides *way* too rough for her. Even to me it seems like its not as comfortable as it used to be.

I tried putting the old wheels and tires on it, and that was no better. So I don't think that's the problem. Should I try moving the adjustable bars to a softer position? Replace them with the OEM bars? Or will this do any good at all? Maybe I need new shocks or springs? I really don't want to get rid of this car, but it sucks for my wife and I can't imagine strapping a car seat in and having my baby bouncing all over the place. haha

Any advice on how to make this better (without spending a ton of money) is much appreciated.
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:30 AM   #2
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Sway bars don't affect ride quality as nearly as much as you've described. It may be the struts. How many miles on it?
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:07 AM   #3
tourette
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About 70K. Is that too soon to worry about the struts?
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:39 AM   #4
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It may be time for some new struts. Some KYB GR2's would do fine.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:44 AM   #5
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Strut wear

Good shape ->
-> loss of gas charge -> still largely functional, some cavitation issues ->
-> leaking fluid -> still functional until enough escapes ->
-> fluid loss, worthless hunk of metal.

The odd ride behavior may point towards an actual problem, although this shouldn't happen but something like the swaybar flipping or something goofy. Worn shocks just make the ride bouncy, not harsh.

Maybe you're just getting paranoid because the misses is whining. The baby probably doesn't mind so much. They tend to be comforted by motion and noise.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:55 AM   #6
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Is the 03 WRX even close to being Harsh? Like Back Road Runner said... maybe you are paying a little too much attention to it now. I remember my 06 WRX being very very easy to live with in stock form, and even after I added some slightly uprated springs it didn't change the ride very much. A STI is a bit different in harshness.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourette View Post
I have an 03' WRX that's riding awfully rough lately it seems. I replaced the front and rear swaybars with Progress adjustable sway bars when I bought it. Also replaced the endlinks. And I have 17" Rota wheels with Advan Neova tires.

It rides fantastic for sporty driving. But now my wife is pregnant and spends more time in the car than I do. And it rides *way* too rough for her. Even to me it seems like its not as comfortable as it used to be.

I tried putting the old wheels and tires on it, and that was no better. So I don't think that's the problem. Should I try moving the adjustable bars to a softer position? Replace them with the OEM bars? Or will this do any good at all? Maybe I need new shocks or springs? I really don't want to get rid of this car, but it sucks for my wife and I can't imagine strapping a car seat in and having my baby bouncing all over the place. haha

Any advice on how to make this better (without spending a ton of money) is much appreciated.
Are you commuting down Lombard St?

But seriously... the WRX in general is a pretty comfortable ride (not the STi). If you have stock suspension with just sway bars, then yeah, it seems strange that the ride is so bad. But what is bad?

Is it jarring, are is the ride bouncy? Is she going "ouch" or "I'm getting nauseous" ?

The sway bars shouldn't make much difference unless you're constantly driving down coble stones. The bay area roads suck, but they don't suck so bad that sway bars make the ride uncomfortable.

Are you sure you don't have urethane bushings somewhere in the control arm mounts?
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:30 AM   #8
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Agreed...and If you want her to deliver early (PROM-premature rupture of membranes, I is Dr)....take her for a ride in an STI or EVO, Or it will make her appreciate the WRX suspension more. ha
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimchimm5 View Post
Is it jarring, are is the ride bouncy? Is she going "ouch" or "I'm getting nauseous" ?
Ha, she says both. I may be just a bit paranoid. Paranoid of having to give up my car too, as she always says things like "my old corolla was such a nice car compared to this." Shudder...

But I really have noticed it being more jarring than it used to be. Driving down mission street or any pothole laden street really sucks. I wouldn't say its bouncy though. Its only noticibly bad when the roads are bad, which tends to be alot of roads in this part of town.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:30 PM   #10
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struts first
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourette View Post
And I have 17" Rota wheels with Advan Neova tires.
Look here for an inexpensive solution. Swap to the OEM 16 wheels and tires for the pregnancy. What you need is more sidewall on your tires. And that side wall should be more flexible as well. Run them about 2 psi low. Nice and comfy.

Alternative: run your Advan Neova's 4 psi low.

Too many people forget that the sidewall of the tire is a component of the suspension and should never be written off.
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Old 03-24-2009, 12:32 PM   #12
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It costs you nothing to go to the softer sway bar setting, and use the 16" stock wheels and pumped down to just 32 psi.

And a lot it probably in her head, not that it matters. (Because once a girl gets it in her head -real or not- that she doesn't like something, it becomes a law of the universe and she fully will hold you responsible for making sure it is a reality.)

Last edited by chimchimm5; 03-24-2009 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68Cadillac View Post
Look here for an inexpensive solution. Swap to the OEM 16 wheels and tires for the pregnancy. What you need is more sidewall on your tires. And that side wall should be more flexible as well. Run them about 2 psi low. Nice and comfy.

Alternative: run your Advan Neova's 4 psi low.

Too many people forget that the sidewall of the tire is a component of the suspension and should never be written off.
In op, he said he already tryed that.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grippy monkey View Post
Is the 03 WRX even close to being Harsh?

I actually find the WRX to be fairly uncomfortable. IMO my car is much more comfortable, and i'm running stiffer springs (with good struts).

I think the WRX dampers just suck.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:05 PM   #15
chimchimm5
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We know the OP said he already tried the 16's... but if his wife has already decided that his car's ride sucks, then it won't matter what he does until she decides herself to be open minded again.

OP, if the ride still sucks the same way with the 16's for YOU, then it's probably your struts.

Are you the original owner? Are you sure your springs are stock? Are you sure your strut tops are stock? Are you sure your bushings are stock?
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:19 PM   #16
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If the swaybars are big enough they will affect suspension independence which will affect ride quality. Not a huge effect, but it adds up. Your tires have a rock hard sidewall. I use Neovas myself and can notice the change when I swap to winter tires for the snowy months. Next time you need new tires I'd pick something with a little softer sidewall and see what happens. Try the Hankook R-S2 for your next summer tire. They still grip well enough for sporty driving, but the sidewall is a bit softer and will make the ride more comfortable.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:48 AM   #17
tourette
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thanks for the advice. i have an appointment at my mechanic to get my brakes checked next week, so i'll have him check out my struts and change my sway bars to the softer setting. the latter is free, so why not. i'll also try running 4psi lower and see if that helps a bit.

i am original owner, so i know there are no other mods to the suspension. the neovas are still pretty new, so when i replace them i'll look at other options. i was purely looking at performance when i bought them, should have considered the wife.

jeff
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourette View Post
thanks for the advice. i have an appointment at my mechanic to get my brakes checked next week, so i'll have him check out my struts and change my sway bars to the softer setting. the latter is free, so why not. i'll also try running 4psi lower and see if that helps a bit.

i am original owner, so i know there are no other mods to the suspension. the neovas are still pretty new, so when i replace them i'll look at other options. i was purely looking at performance when i bought them, should have considered the wife.

jeff
What kind of tires are on the 16's?
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