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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #6
RECARO seats to replace oem sti seats- thoughts

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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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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Stee said:
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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Gran Turismo 4

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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I understand your logic Slowride, but I'm a person who tends to stick with modifications that are tried and true. I welcome such novelties such as DCCD and Variable Valve Timing because they are proven.

The closest I've seen an airbag suspension come to declaring itself as a worthwhile and proven modification for the SERIOUS competitor would be a low-rider hydraulic show down.

I fully understand the concept and agree it IS the best balance for track and street comfortability, but I cannot fathom the idea of taking a honed performance vehicle such as the STI and choosing that method to better the EVO in the handling department.
 

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Air springs have been in use since the 30's. They're more proven than DCCD or even VVT.
 

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Stee said:
I fully understand the concept and agree it IS the best balance for track and street comfortability, but I cannot fathom the idea of taking a honed performance vehicle such as the STI and choosing that method to better the EVO in the handling department.
I don't think they have necessarily "chosen" that setup to better the Evo. They're simply testing a promising new product on their project car and informing the readers on its performance. Don't be surprised if they try several other suspensions before the project car is "finished". I think that's the whole point of a magazine project car.

Besides, SCC's first review of the Praxis system said that it is comparable to coilovers in its Track setting, and having the ability to adjust ride height, damping, AND spring rates all in one system is unprecedented.
 

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I'm just waiting for the Praxis system to fail on the track.

Seriously, that's the last thing i want to worry about-- my super-high-tech 'air spring' blowing up while braking from 120+mph.

I'll stick to a conventional system, thank you very much.
 

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b0rf said:
I'll stick to a conventional system, thank you very much.
A hundred years ago you'd have said that to rationalize your decision to stay with the tried and true horse and buggy over that newfangled "automobile" contraption.

Praxis isn't the ultimate suspension, and I'm sure it'll have its share of problems, but the likelihood of catastrophic failure is very low with Bridgestone's reputation (and wallet) at stake.
 

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hands down my choice is the prodrive active suspension system that they debuted at SEMA. Prodrive ran the reace dervied system on the WRC cars for the second half of this past season. With each strut adjusting itself 1000 times a second and the need for sway bars eliminated I can think of no better choice.

The fact that Prodrive engineered it has something to do with my confidence in this. I am already saving for it :D they are supposed to go on sale mid 2004.
 

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starting at $3k from what I have seen everywhere.

I've seen plenty of coilover setups that cost a LOT more
 

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Xman said:
hands down my choice is the prodrive active suspension system that they debuted at SEMA. Prodrive ran the reace dervied system on the WRC cars for the second half of this past season. With each strut adjusting itself 1000 times a second and the need for sway bars eliminated I can think of no better choice.

The fact that Prodrive engineered it has something to do with my confidence in this. I am already saving for it :D they are supposed to go on sale mid 2004.
Is your STi dedicated to the track? If it's a daily driver, WRC-like handling might get really old, really quick. I can't find any details on the Prodrive system, so I don't know if there are multiple damping modes like the Praxis' street/touring/track modes. If there are, that's great. However, I think the Prodrive suspension still uses coil springs, so you're going to be stuck with one spring rate.

The ideal setup would combine the Praxis springs with the Prodrive dampers so you could adjust all of:

  • damping
    spring rate
    ride height
Now that would be sweet...
 
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