General upgrade for 2.5i

Springs, shock absorbers, swaybars,
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General upgrade for 2.5i

Postby Turbo Lag » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:46 pm

Hi all,

I have been doing some research as to how I should go about upgrading the suspension on my 2.5i. It's of course my daily, but sees a lot of the hills and I plan on doing some light track work towards the end of the year. The current shocks are long gone and it bounces around like a soggy spring bed after any bump, and this is especially upsetting mid corner. The car has a lot of body roll and excessive pitching under heavy braking which also does not inspire confidence, but of course I understand that body roll is not always a bad thing. The rear end does step out fairly often in lower speed corners, but then tends to understeer in higher speed ones. I want to achieve a more neutral rear end setup that does not step out, but also a front end that enforces less understeer/more turn in. Comfort is also a factor of course, but the current setup is quite terrible anyway. I also do not care how the car sits and looks; as long as it is above legal height.

Currently the car is bone stock in terms of suspension hardware, on 17x8 +53 rims matched with brand new Michelin PS4 235/45/17. The tyre does rub on the strut under very heavy compression but it is nothing I worry about. I would also like adjustability of bound/rebound in the shocks, ride height (if necessary), camber (especially at the front) and hopefully a tad more caster too, but this would not be necessary if the car can be setup the way I want it anyway. My current alignment as follows, which I got done out of factory spec for a bit more toe out on the front http://i.imgur.com/KZqrMdg.jpg

The typical things I see are doing strut + spring matching, coilovers, relevant bushes, sway bars, bracing etc. A set of Shockworks or MCA purple coils seem tempting but I don't really see much documentation or info online about their application in comparison to their competitors as most just tend to shout MCA blue and Shockworks as loud as they can without actually having tried them. I have been eyeing the Whiteline caster (Anti Lift Kit) bushings and sway bar for the front, and some sort of coilover application to suit. Alternatively, I would buy some decent shocks and match them to some springs. I believe a corner balancing and properly setup alignment will need to be accounted for too.

Budget wise, I am looking to stick to around the 2k mark ideally but if it means spending a bit more to have a proper setup, so be it.

I am after any recommendations or suggestions!

Thank you!
'04 Subaru Liberty 2.5i Safety Pack 5MT OBP - Rebuilt EJ25 N/A - SMF Conversion - Shockworks Coilovers - 2012 WRX Wheels - Michelin PS4 235/45/17 - RDA Slotted/Dimpled Rotors - Intima SS/SR Pads & '08 Subaru Liberty 2.5i 4EAT
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Re: General upgrade for 2.5i

Postby HyRax » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:52 pm

There's quite a bit you can do, but be aware that you will start to remove large chunks of the "luxury" aspect of the ride. It will become firmer/stiffer and add a lot more NVH to the cabin.

Your preference may be different, but I've put BC Racing coilovers in my car and I quite like them. As a daily driver, the car feels great on everything bar potholes. It even handles quite nicely on the track, though for more serious track days I'd need better spring rates.

The coilovers gave me the ability to adjust camber and the like as well.

Consider a change of the lower control arm bushes to polyurethane, such as the Whiteline KCA334 and W0506 kits (aka an "anti-lift kit" - is great for cornering). Note that this mod in particular adds a noticeably large amount of NVH to the car.

Change out your swaybars for fatter ones - 22mm front and 20mm rear does wonders.

All of the above could be done under $2K and it will transform the handling of the car.

Have a read of my profile thread to see what else I've done to my own '08 2.5i over the years.
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Re: General upgrade for 2.5i

Postby Turbo Lag » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:14 pm

HyRax wrote:There's quite a bit you can do, but be aware that you will start to remove large chunks of the "luxury" aspect of the ride. It will become firmer/stiffer and add a lot more NVH to the cabin.


Of course! There must be a trade off somewhere. It's just finding that rather impossible to achieve balance that I'm after like everyone else. At the moment the car is very crashy over any bumps and the little-to-no damping does not help - therefore I don't think NVH should be a huge issue as it's something I'm already used to dealing with.

HyRax wrote:Your preference may be different, but I've put BC Racing coilovers in my car and I quite like them. As a daily driver, the car feels great on everything bar potholes. It even handles quite nicely on the track, though for more serious track days I'd need better spring rates.

The coilovers gave me the ability to adjust camber and the like as well.


I'm very wary of these cheaper coils, I'm sure you've heard of the stigma surrounding them. However, I have personally not had a chance to compare or sit in a car with this type of setup. Have you ever managed to compare with a more typically known "quality" brand? I've always wondered what could be done with a cheap set of coils and a proper setup. It's really the typical stigma and reliability issues that have put me off from purchasing a set like this - although it must be noted that MCA Blues are reaching similar prices as the BC BRs. It's very difficult to objectively compare these things unless you've managed to secure them for yourself and that's the conundrum I'm facing.

HyRax wrote:Consider a change of the lower control arm bushes to polyurethane, such as the Whiteline KCA334 and W0506 kits (aka an "anti-lift kit" - is great for cornering). Note that this mod in particular adds a noticeably large amount of NVH to the car.

Change out your swaybars for fatter ones - 22mm front and 20mm rear does wonders.


Have researched these quite a bit, especially the sway bars and KCA334 ALK. I just read of your review of the KCA334 and it's quite a sell to me. There's a lot about them but none as indepth as yours :D The only thing putting me off the sway bars for now is having to purchase the mounts as well as I hear many tend to snap/bend. Did you feel any NVH downgrade with the sway bars at all? I would assume not or little-to-none.

HyRax wrote:All of the above could be done under $2K and it will transform the handling of the car.

Have a read of my profile thread to see what else I've done to my own '08 2.5i over the years.


Just gave yours a read, certainly looks like a well set up car that I would aim towards :D Thanks very much for the reply! Was what I was looking for.
'04 Subaru Liberty 2.5i Safety Pack 5MT OBP - Rebuilt EJ25 N/A - SMF Conversion - Shockworks Coilovers - 2012 WRX Wheels - Michelin PS4 235/45/17 - RDA Slotted/Dimpled Rotors - Intima SS/SR Pads & '08 Subaru Liberty 2.5i 4EAT
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Re: General upgrade for 2.5i

Postby HyRax » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:27 pm

Turbo Lag wrote:I'm very wary of these cheaper coils, I'm sure you've heard of the stigma surrounding them. However, I have personally not had a chance to compare or sit in a car with this type of setup. Have you ever managed to compare with a more typically known "quality" brand? I've always wondered what could be done with a cheap set of coils and a proper setup. It's really the typical stigma and reliability issues that have put me off from purchasing a set like this - although it must be noted that MCA Blues are reaching similar prices as the BC BRs. It's very difficult to objectively compare these things unless you've managed to secure them for yourself and that's the conundrum I'm facing.

Early BC Racing models had issues. The BC BR's are fine IMO, but they are strictly street coilovers with occasional track use. Mine haven't given me any issues since installation. As you say, there are plenty of other brands in the same category now as well.

Turbo Lag wrote:Have researched these quite a bit, especially the sway bars and KCA334 ALK. I just read of your review of the KCA334 and it's quite a sell to me. There's a lot about them but none as indepth as yours :D The only thing putting me off the sway bars for now is having to purchase the mounts as well as I hear many tend to snap/bend. Did you feel any NVH downgrade with the sway bars at all? I would assume not or little-to-none.

The bushes will give you the highest change in NVH. The swaybars do not.They simply make the ride firmer (but not stiffer). It will be track days that will stress the mounts the most. I doubt day to day driving would snap a mount. Maybe slightly bend it, but definitely not snap. I added my mount braces a few years after I did the swaybars and only one of my mounts showed any bend after a track day. Thanks for the kudos. :)

Turbo Lag wrote:Just gave yours a read, certainly looks like a well set up car that I would aim towards :D Thanks very much for the reply! Was what I was looking for.

No worries. Good luck!
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Re: General upgrade for 2.5i

Postby Turbo Lag » Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:32 pm

Update: Did something rather stupid and spent a hell of a lot more.

Image

If you can't tell what it is, they're the redesigned Shockworks. :D

I heavily considered MCA Blue, Purple X-C and X-R, and Koni Yellow + suitable springs. Ultimately decided on Shockworks due to the ease of not having to worry about matching springs and shocks, and availability and price on top. Needless to say I got a decent price on them, and it ended up being a tad bit cheaper than the MCA Purple option.

Initial impressions: very impressed. The car feels completely different and is a lot more point and shoot. I have set both F+R damping to the softest + 2 clicks. The ride feels very OEM but with much more feedback - I can even feel the small vibrations through the throttle pedal (but this is not a negative!). Bumps are a lot more pronounced but it has never felt crashy at all. It's a more taught feeling ride that inspires a lot more confidence than my old shocks. They by no means uncomfortable, but I may tone it down to the softest setting for day to day use as I see a lot of speed humps in my area. They are definitely daily-able and are not overly harsh or uncomfortable at current settings.

I have also raised the rear by about an inch, and done the opposite at the front. The rear has settled in and has already dropped to the previous level, so I may have to raise it around 2 inches for it to remain stock looking. The front height is perfect and looks stock as well.

As a rather cohesive system with the rest of the suspension remaining stock, I'm happy with the outcome. The NVH is easily bearable and is not really much of a compromise; it is better in just about every possible way.

I will update another time after I have had a chance to really push them on some proper roads. :D

Update: I have finally had a chance to push them reasonably hard, I'm extremely impressed. Out of the limited cars I have driven I can safely say mine has seen an incredible delta of improvement. Happy to answer any questions for prospectives!
'04 Subaru Liberty 2.5i Safety Pack 5MT OBP - Rebuilt EJ25 N/A - SMF Conversion - Shockworks Coilovers - 2012 WRX Wheels - Michelin PS4 235/45/17 - RDA Slotted/Dimpled Rotors - Intima SS/SR Pads & '08 Subaru Liberty 2.5i 4EAT
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