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Old 02-09-2006, 03:56 PM   #1
vaj
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Default Final opinion on my setup, please..

Well, after hours and hours of coffee and search I've mostly got my head around the various nuances of the suspension modifications I'm planning for my 04STi. (Thanks to all the board members for that.)

This is not a daily driven car, strictly 90% fast mountain road use/10% sitting in traffic cruising to Coldstone . This car is auto-X'd monthly and has 20K miles of similar conditions on the stock setup. NVH is not my primarly concern. So far I have steering rack bushings, an ALK (waiting to install with following) and the next planned mods are sways and EITHER pinks and RCE camber plates OR MR coilovers/Helix coilovers.

The bars/springs/coilovers have yet to be purchased and herein lie the questions. The coilovers vs. the pinks/plates combo are roughly the same price. I was going to go with a 27adj front/24 adj rear swaybar setup with the pinks/plates OR coilovers. I have no problem with the inherent maintenance and other nuances associated with coilovers so... I'm mostly concerned with putting pinks on a used set of stock struts VS. coilovers and the BAR CHOICES involved.

If I go with the coils/pinks will I be defeating the purpose of their compliance with the somewhat unbalanced nature of a 27adj front/ 24 adj rear bar setup? Would i be better off with a 24/24 f/r set? Would the car be balanced better as far as the relationship of these go?

OR should I go with the pinks/RCE plates and take my chances with my used struts. Again the balance of the swaybars is called into play. 27adj F/24adj R OR 24/24 adj. all the way around. Decisions decisions..

I realize this is a set of multiple choice questions so all opinions are welcome and I thank you for them. I am also getting into a bit of suspension theory as well, (some good posts here on that topic) I'm gonna make this thing handle, just looking for some "expert/experienced" opinions here. THANKS.
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Old 02-09-2006, 04:10 PM   #2
Turn in Concepts
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First and foremost, thanks for searching. It appears you have been doing your homework.

To get right into it, Pinks with the stock struts and with RCE's/other's top mount plates will be a great start to a great handling car. It will be tolerable for street and will perform well for autox and track purposes. Coupled with the bars you have chosen and a proper alignment it will handle very well.

As far as the bars go I don't think you can go too big in the front. We run the Whiteline 27mm (adj to 29mm) bar on the front of our STI for autox. I have found this to be a great bar for street/race. Quickens turn in and prevents camber loss through corners.
For the rear bar the 24mm would work well, but one thing I have noticed is the stiffer you go on the springs in the rear the less rear bar you need. When installing a set of Zeal V6's with 10F/8R springs we found we had to soften the rear bar to it's softest setting (running a 22mm bar) to prevent wide power on oversteer from occurring. If you end up going with the coilovers the I would probably recomend a 22mm that can be adjusted to 24mm as starting with 24 would be on the strong end of things and would not allow you the progression softer (other than reverting to stock) should you feel it in order.

Haven't heard much in the Helix coilovers, but the MR variety seem to be getting good reviews. That being said the two don't seem to be far from each other. I was going to try a set of the Helix soon on my wrx just to check them out and get a baseline for them.

I think the Pinks, top hats, and bars would be a great place to start. I also find however that this tends to only hold STI owners over for about a year when doing mostly performance driving before they want to go to a coilover system.

Tony
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Old 02-09-2006, 04:17 PM   #3
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Don't forget an ALK will do crazy things to your autocross class.
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Old 02-09-2006, 05:27 PM   #4
vaj
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First off, TIC and flyboymike, thanks for your responses.

As far as the autox class I am already deep into SM with my current EM, TBE, exh. manifold and uppipe. No way to go back from there. The autox takes place on a tight kart track that serves double duty and the acceleration potential of my setup is very useful in that regards. The ALK will help keep things under control (lousy turn-in is my problem.) Of that much I am sure. (not too much else, just enough to be dangerous )

TIC- Your posts were very influential on the FSB decision I am making but I must have missed something in regards to the RSB...Which is why I'm thankful I made this post. When I read your reply it makes perfect sense and was one of the things I was worried about with the stiffer rear setup; serious oversteer. A little is fine, neutral car would be preferred and for that reason alone I will consider a smaller bar.

As far as the coils vs pinks/tops/plates I'm fairly sure I'd be happy for a while. I think for the $ I will most likely go with the coils as my stock struts have already seen a fair amount of use.

Thanks for the help guys!
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Old 02-09-2006, 06:02 PM   #5
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vaj,
To be quite honest if you removed the ALK I doubt you'd find any difference in time.

I'll second the bigger front bar; I think it is a good idea. If you have lousy turn-in, then do these things to make it better:
1) Steering rack bushings. Helps a little.
2) More negative camber.
3) Larger front swaybar.

-Biggly
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Old 02-09-2006, 06:15 PM   #6
vaj
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Thanks Dr. Biggly. I was hoping you would chime in here as your posts have a great deal of information. (I know, I've perused many of them) Mostly I was hoping the ALK would give me a bit more grip/control on the fast mountain roads I frequent. In regards to turn in the bushings/camber/bar are the decisions being made and parts being ordered now. I'm sorry I was unclear in saying the ALK will help keep things under control and then follow it with my other problem of turn in. I will try to keep my issues seperate as I'm dealing with many simultaneously right now.... Suspension theory is a very interrelated topic that I am only beginning to understand. Thanks for your help!

I only AutoX monthly and I think the engine management is what keeps me in SM class. I don't want to give it up. Most of my friends here are running SM anyway. It's a new chapter of SCCA here on Big Island with less than 100 members. Only 20-30 people come out for the monthly events.

Would you agree with TIC's post above in regards to the RSB sizing for this setup?
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Old 02-09-2006, 06:46 PM   #7
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vaj,
Once you get the other parts in you really won't need the ALK IMO. You could try it with everything and remove it to see if you miss the effects; my bet is that you likely won't with a full out suspension.

I would agree with TIC's post above regarding the rear sway bar sizing on an STi. Granted, which year model of STi one has will affect how it comes around while on throttle. The typical style of "adjustable" bar that one can change holes in to alter its effectiveness would be ideal to get the rear to where you feel it is "neutral." My idea of neutral and your idea of neutral could be quite contradictory thus that particular recommendation.

-Biggly
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Old 02-09-2006, 08:08 PM   #8
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I don't know how much your local club will care, but an ALK moves a suspension pickup point, therefore putting you into one of the Modified classes (not Street Mod, tube-frame-silhouette-any-motor Modified).
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Old 02-09-2006, 08:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboymike
I don't know how much your local club will care, but an ALK moves a suspension pickup point, therefore putting you into one of the Modified classes (not Street Mod, tube-frame-silhouette-any-motor Modified).
Yep. Personally on a local level I don't give a crap if someone runs an ALK in SM, but I do let them know that it's not legal and try to explain why, even though the ruling on it is admittedly quite stupid.

I've found that folks who rely on an ALK as a core suspension modification aren't very fast so it has never been much of an issue.

-Biggly
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Old 02-10-2006, 01:24 AM   #10
vaj
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Excellent!
flyboymike, Dr. B, thanks very much for the responses. Since our SCCA Branch is brand new (under a year old) I had no idea of the implications of the ALK on class legality. I've autox'd the car only 8 times and much more often take my 5am sunday morning sessions in the mountains...That being said, the ALK has not yet been installed. I was waiting to install it until the rest of the mods were purchased thus cutting my 60$/hour custom alignment time to just one (hopefully) session. From what I had read I thought it would help with the caster angle and front end grip. As of right now I'm only running the steering rack bushings. They are a good mod for the $ spent. I am but a nasioc n00b but I have been driving sports cars for 15 years and am not an unexperienced driver. I place in the top 3 out of 30 cars consistently and have won one event. That being said, the only real competion comes from other STi's, Evo's, a modded WRX or two and a civic run by one of Progress group's original designers (he is a WICKED driver with coilovers worth more than the civic itself..) Only time I won was when he didn't show up..


So.. the local club would not care to be honest, they are focused more on garnering more members and public support at the moment. The ONLY place we can run is the kart track for now after all.

And..Dr Biggly I had NO idea that a full blown coilover setup would eliminate the need for the ALK. In my research I thought that the ALK would compensate for the 1" or so lowering effect of the coilovers or springs that I would run by correcting the caster angle. I am usually able to sense small differences in, for instance, tire pressure so being the anal perfectionist type I bought the ALK in a group buy for cheap thinking it would help when the car was lowered a wee bit... I have ordered the coilovers today so....Would it be your recommendation to NOT put the ALK on when I get them and why? BTW, My definition of NEUTRAL is all tires breaking loose at once rather than over/understeer. Thanks!

SORRY TO BE SO LOOOOONG WINDED. Wanted to cover all the bases. I APPRECIATE YOUR RESPONSES.
dave
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Old 02-10-2006, 01:50 AM   #11
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I believe that your engine management would be fine in BSP. Somebody correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:40 AM   #12
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Dave,
Coilovers won't nullify the effects of it, but you'd have quite the diminishing return and honestly, it's not a big deal.

The ALK adds about +0.5 degrees of caster. If one were to add +2.0 degrees of caster to a Subaru, under load with a normal amount of roll the most you could see is about -0.2 additional camber. However, that's dynamic so if you are like some folks who don't use a lot of slip angle to get around the course it is a complete waste.

My best times and best feel have come from having what looks to be a retarded amount of camber. (I'm past 4 degrees and the car has never felt better for turn-in and grip.)

Dave: What sort of tires are you running? If you're in BSP I'm guessing some big meat V710s or Hoosiers? Those don't always require the same level of camber as would a soft street tire like myself, however with more grip comes more roll and thus more camber. Go by tire wear on the outside edge; if you have much then it's not enough camber. I've seen far too many fast folks that could be nothing but faster if they would just quit relying on a 1/2" strip on the outermost edge of their tire for grip.

Good luck!

-Biggly
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:10 AM   #13
vaj
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Dr,

Thanks for the geometry explanation. Makes good sense! Think I'll try the coilovers/bars without the alk and see how I like it before deciding to put it on there. I understand the diminishing returns on the investment.

As far as my tires..I am currently on street tires and stock suspension(rolls like a ship at sea, plows like a pig in mud.) The outer edges of my front tires are...umm... fairly worn down. (ahem) Since the car is primarily a street car a set of 615's are on order. Towards the fall I'll be looking for a set of victos and slightly wider wheels. This suspension $$ is adding up fairly fast. I'm sure I'll be fooling with the camber and suspension settings for quite some time so I'll be keeping busy. I've missed a few events this year due to a broken hand. So, I'm very much looking forward to gaining some suspension prowess with the information I've learned. Thanks again for your help!

dave
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