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Hotchkis Tuning ( www.hotchkistuning.com ) will soon be offering suspension "systems" consisting of springs, sway-bars, front camber plates, and rear camber links--the stage 2 system will be around $1500. At first glance, this sounds like a great way to achieve a lower, flatter, firmer, and smoother (if the springs are appropriately matched to stock strut valving) ride.

However, there are those both here and at NASIOC that believe the right coil-overs are the appropriate foundation for suspension modifications. As I'm looking for a track-worthy suspension for my daily driver, and I do NOT need height adjustability, can anyone give me compelling reasons to spend the $ for CO's, when it seems I can get so much (more) with the Hotchkis set-up.
 

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You are right, but check out some other systems before settling on the Hotchkis stage 2.


The Stage 2 TVS system includes Sport Coils, Sport Sway Bars, Sub Frame Reinforcement Brackets, Rear Camber Links, Strut Tower Brace and Polished Front Camber Plates.
Competition Kit Pictured

You may be able to get STI parts at about the same price in a package deal without an STI branded front strut bar (front bars are not that effective, but any rear strut bar does improve the car's feel when cornering, hitting potholes, or bumps; ebay has cheap steal ones at liek $50 each).

I have been trying to find time to discuss the STI setup, so I guess this is as good a time as any.Real quick, the STI rear end links come with pillowball pieces unlike the Hotchkis, which come with bushings. This is something that you should look into because the pillowball offer better steering response when cornering.

Also, I have heard that while adjustibility on the lateral links on the rear suspension seems like a great idea in theory, it can cause headaches in reality. This is just what I have heard. Nevertheless, Cusco also makes an adjustable rear lateral link suspension that you may want to check out if that is what you are looking for. Look at quality and weight if you do.

Here is a picture my setup. I love it.
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After talking at length with Dave & Jen at rallispec, this is really a suspension foundation that you cannot go wrong with. If you are looking for a slight improvement in handling, go with the STI springs, Cusco sway bars and STI hardened strut top mounts. If you want a more aggressive feel, go with the parts listed below, which include the above parts, lateral links, rear end links with pillowball joints. If you want to go to the extreme, go with all the above without the STI springs, get a set of coil overs, and a set of the stiffest sway bars you can find (some have told me that Hotchkis does make some of the stiffest sway bars on the market).

Below is a list of the stuff from rallispec.com's website which was recommended to me for daily driving STI, weekend canyon runs, and occassional track days. Some would find this a bit more aggressive than what they are looking for, so just be sure of what you want before you order parts. Do some research on the forums and you will find others that have done similar setups, so ask them what they think.

The only other springs that I would go with as an alternative to STI springs are the Eibachs, which may be less expensive than the STIs. Remember STI parts are not inexpensive especially in light of the weakening dollar against the yen, so you may look for such alternatives when putting together the package that match your needs and amount you are willing to spend.

STi Sport Lateral Link Set, 6-pc.

The six piece STi rear lateral link set upgrades all 8 link bushings to pillow ball type joints (spherical bearings) sealed against dirt intrusion. Also includes metal (w/ uniball joints) rear swaybar links with adapter brackets. With ultra-low compliance joints, this lateral link set significantly improves rear alignment control, handling response, and feedback (with some increase in NVH).
RST-2010 Lateral Link Set for MY02-04 Imp. Sedan (MY04 non-STi) -- $517
RST-2011 Lateral Link Set for MY93-01 Impreza (+02-04 Wagon) -- $517
Also fits Forester & non-multilink rear susp. Legacy models.

***OR***

STi Sport Lateral Link Set, 4-pc. New!

The four piece STi lateral link set upgrades 6 of the link bushings to pillow ball type joints and the remaining 2 bushings (rear outer bushings) to STi group N hardened bushings. For use with stock pyro-ball swaybar links as on the MY04 STi. 6-pc. set can be used on MY04 STi but requires changing rear swaybar to non-STi version.
RST-2014 Lateral Link Set for MY04 Impreza WRX STi -- $355

***AND ALL THE FOLLOWING***

STi Sport Trailing Link Set

Replaces front trailing link bushing with pillow ball joints. Completes the set of rear suspension members when combined with one of the lateral link sets. Note:Some N/A models may require spacers (addiitonal washers) at the knuckle end due to variations in the knuckle bushing width used over the years on non-WRX models.
RST-2013 Trailing Link Set for MY93-04 Subaru -- $280


STi Impreza Lowering Spring Set

STi lowering spring set reduces the vehicle's center of gravity for improved handling characteristics while still maintaining reasonably good ride comfort. Excellent for fast road and mild competition use. Can be used with factory struts, or more effectively with STi factory or sport adjustable strut set. (MY04 springs pictured)
RST-2110 Lowering Spring Set for MY02-03 Impreza (all) -- $383
RST-2119 Lowering Spring Set for MY04 Impreza including STi -- $383
RST-2116 Lowering Spring Set for MY93-01 Impreza (all) -- $340

STi Hardened Strut Top Mount

Low compliance strut top mounts ensure precise alignment control under heavy cornering forces while also being more resistant to coming apart under severe use such as rally and rallycross. Tightens the handling feel and improves steering & suspension feedback. Strongly recommended for any upgraded suspension kit that uses factory top mounts.
RST-2030 Front Strut Top Mount for MY93-04 (all) -- $54/each
RST-2039 Rear Strut Top Mount for Impreza/Forester MY04 -- $96/each
RST-2031R RH Rear Strut Top Mount for MY02-03 Impreza -- $89
RST-2031L LH Rear Strut Top Mount for MY02-03 Impreza -- $89
RST-2031X Rear Strut Top Mount for MY93-01 Impreza -- $54/each

Cusco Front & Rear Swaybars

This Cusco rear adjustable swaybar is 3-position adjustable to allow precise tuning of the handling balance. Front & rear swaybars are highly recommended as the first step in suspension modification. Each bar comes complete with hardened rubber mounting bushings (group N spec.). We have switched from Whiteline to Cusco because the quality of the Cusco bars is far superior and well worth the small additional cost. These bars are manufactured from the highest quality materials and are formed and drilled to so much tighter tolerances than Whiteline and just about all other swaybars on the market. In addition, the bushing quality and choice of material ensures noiseless and effective operation over the life the car.

CU-6621 Cusco 21mm Front Swaybar for MY02-04 Impreza -- $168
CU-6622 Cusco 22mm Front Swaybar for MY02-04 Impreza -- $168
Our general recommendation is 21mm for fast road & autox and 22mm for track use.

CU-6018 Cusco 18mm Front Swaybar for MY93-00 WRX -- $168
CU-6021 Cusco 21mm Front Swaybar for MY93-00 WRX -- $168
CU-6022 Cusco 22mm Front Swaybar for MY93-00 WRX -- $168

CU-6722 Cusco 22mm Adjustable Rear Swaybar for MY02-04 Impreza -- $168
CU-6922 Cusco 22mm Adjustable Rear Swaybar for MY04 STi -- $168

CU-6119 Cusco 19mm Adjustable Rear Swaybar for MY93-01 Impreza -- $168
CU-6121 Cusco 21mm Adjustable Rear Swaybar for MY93-01 Impreza -- $168
Our general recommendation is 19mm for fast road & autox and 21mm for track use.

***Below is optional (and price prohibitive but is pretty under the hood***

STi Carbon Fiber Front Strut Brace

Strut braces increase chassis rigidity for better alignment control, steering response, and suspension feedback. Genuine carbon fiber and aluminum bar manufactured by Fuji Aerospace. The GC/GF version was a factory installed part on GC8 STi models.
RST-2090C Carbon Front Strut Brace for MY02-04 Impreza -- $443
RST-2095 Carbon Front Strut Brace for MY93-01 Impreza -- $540

I also went with the above strut brace and Cusco carbon fiber rear strut brace. You can probably acquire the above front one from $300-350 as a takeoff and the Cusco rear carbon fiber one for $200-250. Otherwise, eBay has those steel STI replicas for $50 that I mentioned above for front and rear.

Also, if you take the car to the track, you may want to considering getting stainless steel brake lines by Goodridge for improved pedal firmness and braking performance while on the track.
 

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clinking from rear

I think maybe the "conventional wisdom" is to do as much of the work as possible with the struts and springs, thereby eliminating some of the need for lateral reinforcement and the associated weight gain. Dampening and camber adjustability might also be issues; particularly independent dampening adjustment of the four corners.

The STi suspension is obviously a good bit more sophisticated than many, so maybe that changes things. More and more I'm hearing about the relatively high quality of the stock dampers, and that they are appropriately valved for use with stiffer springs.

The proof's in the puddin' though. It's going to be interesting to see how the various different approaches resolve over the next year or so.
 
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