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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i wanted some coilovers for my '04 sti. buddy club, a brand better known in japan, were highly recommended by a good friend who owns a speed shop and has had good experience with them. i bought some racing spec dampers (some pics) from a nasioc vendor (synic motorsports). after ~2000 miles, i discovered one of my front outer boots was torn. see this picture.

as you can see, the threaded collar is very close/touching the cv boot. when i installed the coilovers, i noticed that there was very little clearance on both front corners. (here's a photo of the driver's side to show how close the fit is; this boot hasn't failed as yet, but you can see the sheen on edge of the second fold from the right where it has been rubbing the collar.)

anyway, i figured a close fit was okay since it didn't actually touch. i now realize though that a cv boot goes through various stretching and distortions depending on steering and camber angle. i believe that some combination of these in everyday driving caused the boot to occasionally contact the collar and that this has happened enough to cause the premature failure of the boot. (my car only had 52k when the suspension was installed.)

in trying to figure out if i somehow screwed up the install, i compared the rear and front threaded collars; here's a photo of them; the rear collar is on the left; the front is on the right. you can see that the rear collar would allow maybe 0.25" more clearance over the cv boot, i figured the collars were simply reveresed front-to-back at the factory. i tried putting one of the rear collars on the front axle mount but discovered that the mounting holes in the collar were too small to allow the the camber bolt to pass through. (you can see that the top hole on the front collar is enlarged to accept a camber bolt.) this means that at least the collars weren't switched front to rear.

so guys, i need a sanity check. did i screw up the install somehow? is this bad design or a manufacturing error by buddy club?? i think it is a design or manufacturer error. (i compared the mount points of the stock struts; the fronts are angled to increase clearance over the boot whereas the rear is "flat"; this is the reverse of the buddy club collars.) also, i recently checked the setup on a wrx with KW v3s. there was like 2.5" clearance between the outer cv boot and the bottom of the coilover!

can some of you post some pics of the clearance with your setup? turn your wheel to full lock and snap a digipix. i've emailed buddy club usa and naturally haven't heard back, but i'd like to get some data on other designs. many thanks.

as an aside, i had to order two new shafts from subaru; $400 per. :crying:
 

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are the axels aftermarket? like advanced auto? possibly the boots are bigger then stock? Do JDM axels have smaller axel boots? I mean why would buddyclub let something like this hit the streets? Did you get the wrong coilovers? maybe for a bugeye wrx? Possibly the fitment is diffrent. I know the spring rate is diffrent, maybe a STI has larger boots? im sure you already plan on this but call buddyclub or the Disty. hope some of this helps..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the feedback nhluhr! the clearance may be a little larger when the suspension is loaded. it isn't possible to get as clear a shot to do a comparison. regardless, any increased clearance wasn't enough to keep the collars off the boots.

justindfrank, the axles i'm getting are from the dealer so they're OEM. i've called all the aftermarket sources: pep boys, napa, car quest, olympic (local joint), advanced. their computers either note the sti then say they're not available (as in "not manufacutured" or "still in development"), or make no mention of the sti at all.

my friend with the speed shop ordered me some that were specifically noted as "sti axles" by his source, but when i got them, they were clearly different. they were new, not remans. they had 26mm shafts rather than 28mm. the outer cv boots are smaller (pic), suggestive of a different outer joint. also, there isn't an "baffle plate" (as subaru calls the thing right behind the tone wheel) to keep debris off the tone wheel (pic). and fatally, the diameter of the outer joint isn't the same as stock, so i couldn't reuse the baffle plate if i was so inclined.

from this, i conclude that no one has or has figured out aftermarket axles for the sti. YMMV.
 

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4MLA1FN said:
from this, i conclude that no one has or has figured out aftermarket axles for the sti. YMMV.
http://www.driveshaftshop.com/wrx.ivnu

For some random reason I remember seeing this when I saw BruceChapman's post about his driveshaft from The Driveshaft Shop. Seems pretty pricey, but then again I don't know what OEM ones go for.

Good luck figuring out the problem with the Buddy Club coilovers. It looks like a manufacturing issue and/or they sent you a mislabelled set of coilovers (maybe for a GC8?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hey, that's interesting info on those strenghtened shafts. btw, OEMs from my dealer were $580/shaft. i'm getting 'em from courtesy subaru for $400/shaft. thanks for the encouragement. i'll update the thread if/when i hear from buddy club.
 

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justindfrank said:
are the axels aftermarket? like advanced auto? possibly the boots are bigger then stock? Do JDM axels have smaller axel boots? I mean why would buddyclub let something like this hit the streets? Did you get the wrong coilovers? maybe for a bugeye wrx? Possibly the fitment is diffrent. I know the spring rate is diffrent, maybe a STI has larger boots? im sure you already plan on this but call buddyclub or the Disty. hope some of this helps..
its normal on a subaru my coils rested on mine but i left a smidge of clearance but it wasnt enough for some reason ive seen posts of these and it always seems to be the passenger side that rips. how i found out was wrong :eek: i was doing my dp install and i put my hand on my passenger wheel for a resting spot and come to find out my wheel was caked in teh gunk the cv boot had in it lucky thing they were rotas :tdown: i got bbs now so what i did i took off my sdrs and washed em down and cleand up my coils and cv boot and black duct taped it but im getting it replaced this week by the dealership.
 

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That certainly is odd. I can't see any other clear pix of the brackets, but it appears that the JIC FLTA2 has the bracket angled up a little bit to avoid just that (like your rear bracket).

Its a shame, I was looking at picking up a set of the Buddy Club's but this is disconcerting. Do they have the rear camber plates? Also, how much negative camber do you have set on the bolt (front), and also how much camber do you have set on top at the hat?

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
justindfrank said:
possibly the boots are bigger then stock? Do JDM axels have smaller axel boots? I mean why would buddyclub let something like this hit the streets? Did you get the wrong coilovers?
hey justindfrank. sorry i forgot to answer some of your questions. i have wondered about the JDB/USDM difference. i didn't import these though; got em from a US-based distributor who said they applied to the 04 sti. it might be possible i got the wrong coilovers, but there's no way for me to tell. the box (which i no longer have) said "GDB" which should be the '04 at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CFar said:
I can't see any other clear pix of the brackets, but it appears that the JIC FLTA2 has the bracket angled up a little bit to avoid just that (like your rear bracket).
yeah, i've seen the mounting bracket for several brands that have pretty severe angling, but there's no way to know if they're sti fronts or just a generic marketing shot of some random model.

CFar said:
Do they have the rear camber plates? Also, how much negative camber do you have set on the bolt (front), and also how much camber do you have set on top at the hat?
yep, rear plates, which was one of the things that made them attractive. they're also inverted which makes adjustments (esp on the rear) really easy. (front adjustments isn't so easy since there's no darn space between the collar and the outer cv boot.) regarding camber, sorry, not info; the camber bolts were maxed, but i don't remember the tops having fiddled with them while debugging this boot clearance problem.
 

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there is a audi axle boot that fits, i'll try to find out what one it is b/c theres 3. it's the one that made of rubber. :)
 

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I'd like to see what comes out. Wish I could help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
bump.

hi guys. i spoke with a guy at buddyclub/usa -- 909-923-9188 -- on sept 5th. i sent him an email describing the problem with pics and a link to this thread. :) i gave him a call tonight for an update. he said he received the email. it was a problem he'd never heard of. he forwarded it to buddyclub/japan, buddyclub/uk, etc for them to look at. no one has seen this problem either. the one person i know with these same coilovers has a wrx and has no clearance problems. this convinces me that the difference in size of the outer boots (pic) accounts for why no wrxs have problems.

anyway, buddyclub/japan is making me some custom lower collars. i'm hoping to have 'em in a couple weeks. i will update when i know more. i hope that whatever modifications they make to the lower collars will not compromise the amount of drop i can get.
 

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Holy crap that's a tight fit...

Despite the fact that I just installed '05 knuckles on my car and I had a good close look at the '04's, do you think it's at all possible that they sent you coilovers for an '05 on accident? I'm not sure if it's the fitment or the bolt spacing that's different between the two hubs, I'd have to go compare my car to a buddy's WRX.
 

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Here's some crappy pictures of my coilovers...




If you like, I can go take better pictures focusing on the axle/coilover clearance with the steering wheel turned at different angles. Just say the word.

Also, it should be noted that in those pictures, my ride height is set at about 1/2 inch higher than it needs to be.
 

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Wheel turned just enough to make it easy to get a camera in. Pictures are taken facing the front of the car.

Driver's side



Wheel cranked all the way to the left, driver's side...



Steering wheel still cranked to the left, passenger side suspension as taken from the opposite direction, camera pointed forward like I would be looking if I were driving...





Man, that's close, even with my setup, and I still have to drop it a half inch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
hey, thanks for posting the pics. what coilovers are those? interesting they don't use the customary pair of jam nuts on the threaded body. if you need to drop another 0.5" it looks like it may be kinda close. (the drive shaft is about 28mm, so half of that is about 1/2".) regarding your question that perhaps i have '05 threaded collars...since buddyclub's make some custom collars for me, i'm guessing this isn't the case or they would have just sent the right collars. <shrug>
 

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NP, hopefully it was useful to you.

I think I might be ok with another 1/2 inch, the only thing I could be worried about is with the suspension compressed and the wheel turned. But I doubt it'll be an issue.

The coilovers pictured are ZZYZX Motorsports coilovers. If you look at the small bolt in the upper/middle left portion of each of those pictures, in one you'll see a nut and in another you'll see an allen head bolt, you'll see how the threaded housing is secured in the upright. You just tighten and loosen those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i don't think there'll be any change on compression; just steering and camber changes (when the outer joint is used). but i think you're right; 1/2" should be cool. just keep an eye on it though. new shafts are so d**m expensive.

thanks for the info on the coilovers. cool to see another effective design.
 

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4MLA1FN said:
i don't think there'll be any change on compression; just steering and camber changes (when the outer joint is used). but i think you're right; 1/2" should be cool. just keep an eye on it though. new shafts are so d**m expensive.

thanks for the info on the coilovers. cool to see another effective design.
Dislexia strikes again... :lol: It isn't compression that I should be worried about, it's rebound, which is easy enough to check with the car on a lift or stands.

So you're absolutely sure that you can't just buy new boots? Unless you've been driving around on those axles with absolutely no grease in them for some time now you could repack them with grease and put new boots on them. It would seem extremely odd that Subaru wouldn't offer this part separate from a whole new axle. Also, check the WRX part number for CV boots, *maybe* that would work.

You can buy new replacement boots for pretty much any other car ever made that has front axles or an independent rear suspension. Maybe call the producers of aftermarket driveshafts for the STi and see if they can offer a solution. Paying out of your rear for a new axle is insane if the CV joint isn't damaged.
 

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FYI,
After getting nervous with your horror story, I went and checked my Cusco Zero 2Rs and I have plenty of clearance. In fact, no part of the assembly hangs lower than the flange on the lower bolt.

Dont forget that at speed, the centrifugal force will make those boots flare out quite a bit compared to at rest.

Gud luk
 
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