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Old 04-22-2021, 02:54 PM   #1
TitoBandito
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Default OEM strut w/ Koni insert - problem installing on car

Car: 2004 STI

Issue: The struts I built up using koni inserts physically cannot fit on installation. The previous struts were the original 17 year old Sti strut assemblies. I used 2004 WRX strut bodies with Koni's and it wasn't even very close to fitting and being able to get the steering knuckle in place on the lower strut mounting points. Had the sway bar links disconnected to try to get the LCA and thereby steering knuckle as low as I could but still not enough. I installed struts in a GC Impreza with a 1" spacer so I knew it could be a pain in the ass to get these in, but in the case with my GC, the fitment was at least somewhat close before I had to gradually disconnect things.

Notes: -Only tried installing the front, didn't even bother with the rear once I could not get these to fit.
-Strut bodies were 2004 WRX.
-Koni part numbers match up to what is supposed to fit 04-07 WRX struts
-Koni inserts installed per instructions and fully seated to bottom of strut body.
-Reused OEM Sti upper spring perches, since RS, WRX, and Sti have the same part numbers for this.
-Reused the conical washer between spring perch and strut mount.
-Front strut mount is a KYB part that shows up as fitting 93-01 Impreza, however I have seen parts like the Group N front strut mounts, or OEM replacements, are backwards compatible between 93-01 and 02-07 Imprezas/WRXs/STi. Visually, I can't see any difference between my original front strut mount and the KYB unit, at least one that would cause it to be 'taller'.
-I re-assembled and re-installed the original STi struts back on the car and everything went in fine.


I think I'm 15 years behind the times and no one does this anymore? Any suggestions for something dumb I may be overlooking?
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Old 04-22-2021, 05:40 PM   #2
cboggess
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Can you snap some pics of the issues you're having?
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Old 04-25-2021, 09:59 AM   #3
TitoBandito
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I wish I did take pictures as I was working on this part of the car. Unfortunately I didn't and once the cut shocks with Koni's didn't fit I put the original 17 year old shocks and springs back on the car for a track day I had upcoming.
Whenever I get around to another attempt I will post some pictures up on this thread. In the meantime I'll keep checking if there's any suggestions for what to check or try.
Thanks.
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:54 AM   #4
Auval
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So far from what you've posted it sounds like you've assembled everything correctly, without pics, it'll be hard to offer solid input, but you don't specify where you're running into issues within the install, from what I gather, the new strut assembly is too tall, so when you get the upper 3 bolts in the mounting holes, the knuckle wont lower far enough to get the ears on?
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Old 05-01-2021, 11:58 AM   #5
TitoBandito
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Correct, I cannot attach the knuckle to the ears/attachment points on the bottom of the strut.
I just tried again, both to take pictures for posting here, and to see if for some reason I did something different and the struts fit in. They did not, but I have pictures now, so at least that is something. I also measured both version of the fully assembled strut assemblies for comparison. The OEM STi strut/OEM STi spring/Strut mount was 44.5 cm from center of camber bolt hole to upper mating surface of the strut mount (base of the 3 studs sticking out). And the measurement on the hacked WRX strut with Koni insert/RCE black spring/same strut mount was 45.7 cm. On paper that seems fairly negligible but it is making enough of a difference on install.





Even with the 3 strut mount nuts tightened down, the strut is pressing HARD against the axle CV boot, and doesn't afford me much room to maneuver the bottom of the strut around.
I also removed the sway bar link. Then I managed to barely fit one spring compressor on in an attempt to compress the springs to 'shorten' the overall height of the strut assembly but there is not enough room to get more than a few tightening turns on and it didn't make a noticeable difference.
Do I need to pop the axle out of the transfer case side and install the strut to the knuckle first then re-install the axle? Doesn't seem right.
*edit* I'm quickly realizing removing the axle wouldn't do anything to improve the situation. Maybe the rear bushing of the lower control arm, if I removed those two bolts holding that metal bushing housing it would lower LCA and therefore knuckle more? But I still think something is wrong in the first place.




Last edited by TitoBandito; 05-01-2021 at 12:20 PM. Reason: made an addition
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:25 PM   #6
REX_WGN
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Can you push your knuckles down further?

What kind of bushings do you have in the control arms? If it's poly bushings, then perhaps the pivot point is dried out and is causing excessive binding and giving you a hard time to lower the knuckle to it's lowest point.
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:04 AM   #7
xsk7
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undo the swaybar, that should let you lower the knuckle down enough to get the strut into place.
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:08 PM   #8
Denver1357
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With the sway bar disconnected, get a friend to push down on the wheel hub with a foot and their hands on the fender lip for leverage. You should then be able to connect the shock assembly to the mounting tab.

I have had problems with this in the past and it really helps to have a second person to help with pushing the hub down.
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Old 05-05-2021, 04:50 PM   #9
TitoBandito
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-Bushings in the control arm are stock (gotta be weak and worn by now). Even with rubber instead of poly I bet you are still right about the pivot point at rear bushing dried just because of its age.

-I have had the sway bar disconnected for this, but I have not tried getting a second person to push the hub down. Once I get a second set of arms and legs to help me I'll see if pushing that hub down gets me the clearance to move the lower end of the strut and the knuckle into position.

Appreciate the suggestions everyone.
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Old 05-11-2021, 01:11 AM   #10
speedyHAM
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Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
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