Suspension/Stiffening HANDLING- OK IF COST WERE NO OPTION.......... - Subaru Impreza WRX STI Forums: IWSTI.com
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HANDLING- OK IF COST WERE NO OPTION..........
HANDLING- OK IF COST WERE NO OPTION..........
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Old 01-11-04, 06:26 AM   #1
kencav
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I have been trying to solicit many opinions, forums, performance shops etc... Seems to me some agreement on mods is based on what you want to do with the car- example myself. weekend/off day use(second car), will take to racing school and track for fun, maybe rallies. Desire handling but not horrible ride quality. Driven friends EVO numerous times- desire some of its stability. QUESTON- not taking into account cost, spring vs coilover issue- seems factory shocks were set for subaru pinks 15-20% stiffer based on forum(similar to eibach). Still would probably want to add mounts, struts sway. Isn't this "factory type setup" a coilover unto itself but not as stiff say as other aftermarket coilovers. Seems coilovers also need some additional mods as well according to pro- strut, sways. Am i starting to finally answer my own queston- for MY NEEDS would springs as suggested be just fine for now- sorry know i have been beating a dead horse but i find the wide range of opinions interesting. FT has been great source of info but i find part. useful those owners who didn't do coilovers but report significant increased driving pleasure- with all the technical mumbo-jumbo thats what its truly about i would think. Thanks for the feedback-ken
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Old 01-11-04, 07:07 AM   #2
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If cost is truly not a concern, go with the Praxis air spring coilovers, upgraded swaybars, and strut tower bars. See the Feb. issue of Sport Compact Car...this is what they did with their Project STi.
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Old 01-11-04, 07:16 AM   #3
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THX SLOW-read that article also several times, and a previous issue had a "darth vader" sti with the tein electronic system. My concern is cost(i know what i said; now getting back to reality), durability/repair costs, and foremost ALIGNMENT ISSUES- would constant height change cause need for numerous adjustments, even with mods to aid in this?
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Old 01-11-04, 08:12 AM   #4
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Do not buy into that Praxis Air Suspension stuff. Aside from being expensive and complex, albeit comfortable, there are much better ways to attain better handling. I cannot think of any other reason why they chose to install that on Project STI other than the fact that they probably received some type of royalty for promoting it.
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Old 01-11-04, 08:17 AM   #5
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As far as I know the term "coilover" is primarily intended to refer to a coil spring that is concentric about a damper (over it). The two work in conjunction as a unit. In that sense, yes the factory setup or the factory dampers with pinks are coilovers.

In the lexicon I'm familiar with coilovers are assumed to be height adjustable. The dampers are engineered to work over a range of extension. Height adjustment is accomplished via threaded perches. Ranges vary, but 3" or so is common. Obviously this allows you to really dial in you ride height, it also allows you to *change* it relatively easily. In my case, I need to travel over a mountain pass to get to the track, so that's a nice feature. I would think just about anyone would want more ride height in 18" of snow or on dirt than they would at the track. I use different coilover height settings for winter and summer wheels because they are different sizes (that's on the CRX).

Several of the higher quality aftermarket coilover setups can also be revalved by the manufacturer. That's also true of some aftermarket dampers which can be mixed and matched with perches (eg the popular Ground Control / Koni setups). As I've already said, I recommend a true coilover with a damper that's specifically engineered to work with its spring. Several coilover manufacturers will supply springs over a range of rates and valve the dampers for you accordingly.

Other advantages of better coilovers relative to the stock damper/pink setup is would include pillowball mounts which allow adjustment at the top of the strut and individual damper adjustment which allow you to control the aggressiveness of the dampers independently.

I haven't tried the STi pinks, but no doubt they are an improvement over stock as others have observed. True coilovers offer substantially more flexibility though. That was the main point I was trying to make in my other post, that and that aftermarket colivers often provide significantly better performance than stock springs and struts. The other thing I was trying to get across is that properly tuned coilovers can do a good portion of the work that one would need aftermarket sway bars for if sticking with the stock shocks.

More broadly speaking, I think handling is the STi's weak suit. In my opinion $2k or so for a nice set of coilovers is a higher priority than power mod's on this car. For me, that's going to be a much better use of the money in terms of my ability to really enjoy the car. I think you would be leaving a lot on the table if you just installed lowering springs, but as they say, YMMV.

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Old 01-11-04, 08:33 AM   #6
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thx guys- ditto on praxis- Paul i still see your point, and real issue of cost gap does close when adding mods to spring setup. Wish i could hear from people who have experience with both setups(give or take) on sti
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Old 01-11-04, 08:45 AM   #7
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I think what you really want to do is drive both setups at the track. Depending on where you live, that might not be such a tall order.

Obviously the STi hasn't been around all that long in the U.S., so we lack empirical data. That's going to change fast.

If you're looking for general information on coilovers vs springs you might check around on Honda Tech. There are a fair number of autocrossers and recreational track drivers over there.

To address the issue of fiscal proportion, I'm thinking I'll do around $10K in mod's overall with maybe $4k in suspension. That easily allows for coilovers. My car's a daily though, not a proprietry track car.
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Old 01-11-04, 09:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stee
Do not buy into that Praxis Air Suspension stuff. Aside from being expensive and complex, albeit comfortable, there are much better ways to attain better handling. I cannot think of any other reason why they chose to install that on Project STI other than the fact that they probably received some type of royalty for promoting it.
Our cars are expensive and complex. That doesn't make them bad, does it? Is the DCCD worth the complexity and expense? Is variable valve timing?

The Praxis system does things no other Impreza suspension can do, the most important of which is the ability to adjust the spring rate. If you're only driving your STi on the road or the track, then it's easy to install a strut/spring or coilover setup that meets your needs. But if your STi is your daily driver and you want to autocross it or track it, too, the Praxis is hands down the best suspension available. It was engineered specifically for our cars by a major player with deep pockets, who backs it up with a strong warranty.
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Old 01-11-04, 09:35 AM   #9
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slo what about frequency of alignment issues with praxis
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Old 01-11-04, 10:49 AM   #10
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Frequency of alignment shouldn't be an issue. You align the car once for all three settings, and the Praxis suspension should hold its alignment as well as any other Impreza suspension.

Of course, since the suspension geometry changes with the ride height, a single alignment for all three is something of a compromise. In the SCC article I mentioned, they used Hotchkis adjustable rear toe links to allow easily adjusting rear toe-in. There has been quite a bit of discussion of the Praxis system on NASIOC.
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