Project GD Subaru STI Part Two- Performance Suspension, Wheels and Tires

By Mike Kojima

In the last installment of Project GD Subaru STI, we set about replacing our car's worn out bushings, ball joints and tie rods with some trick stuff from Whiteline.  We also reduced the anti geometry in our front suspension and raised our front roll center while making everything fully camber adjustable.  For this edition we will finish off our suspension by adding some high performance KW Clubsport coilovers, some chassis reinforcement and some Advan wheels with sticky Falken 615K tires. 

Read More about Project STI here!

For swaybars we turned to Whiteline.  Whiteline has put a lot of development into the GD and their product line has many different choices for bars ranging from non adjustable street bars to two different sizes of adjustable models.  We opted for the large diameter 27mm adjustable Motorsports bars, the stiffest in the line up.  The GD STI has bars with short ends so they are very effectively stiff.  We are going to run stiff bars and relatively stiff springs for our daily driver STI.  We also feel that adjustability is critical for any car that is going to be seriously driven.
The front bar is 27mm in diameter and more that 2x the stiffness of stock.  It has two adjustment points and stiff urethane center bushings.  The bar has a nice powdercoated finish for rust resistance.
To reduce stiction and eliminate the chance of the bar ever squeaking, we wrapped it with teflon tape in the area under where the bushings will be.
A little moly grease over the tape and in the bushing will keep the bar smooth and quiet for a long time.
We opted to use Whiteline's heavy duty end links.  Whiteline makes several types of end links and we decided to use these parts instead of the heim jointed Motorsports parts because of the sealed ball joint ends.  Our car is a daily driver and we think that these end links will fare better in daily all weather use.  They are still length adjustable for corner weighting and to get the best angle from them when adjusting the link position on the bar.


We set our front bar in the soft position.  With limited space between the lower arm and the tie rod, it is hard to make the front bar more than two way adjustable.


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Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, July 23, 2012 6:59 AM
As a guide to shamelessly cop... er... er, adapting the products you showcase to my own GD and driving situations, would you fiddle the sway bar sizes for something based around V3s and their spring rates as opposed to the Clubsports? From what I'm seeing, it looks like the Clubsports are 515/345 lb/in, or around 2.4hz ride frequency... with the roads around here being such that I was seriously contemplating something on the order of a somewhat revalved gravel rally coilover setup, that sounds like it wouldn't really be suitable. Plus I don't want that much drop, and there's the snow factor.

Was hoping to find out what new KW thing you were referring to, but hey, anticipation never killed anyone. It's also heartening to hear that, as pretty unbiased folks, you're saying that it's turning out comparable or better than its competitor; "should have got an Evo" is tiring to hear. ;)
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, July 23, 2012 8:08 AM
The ride on the Clubsports can be adjusted to be pretty smooth, much smoother than stock actually so I would not worry. You can also adjust the ride height up to an inch higher. If the roads in your area are really rough I would consider using the Whiteline ride comfort or standard bushings instead of the super hard Motorsports ones like we used in the first installment.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Monday, July 23, 2012 8:57 AM
What size are those wheels, and how much do they weigh?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, July 23, 2012 9:06 AM
The answer is on page 6-7 18x9.5, 45mm offset and 19 lbs
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, July 23, 2012 9:28 AM
Hmm; how different are the Clubsports and V3s internally? I'm really just worried more about big hit (pothole, ruptured asphalt, etc) and snow than constant low-amplitude stuff. I know both of them will handle the spring rate a lot better than, let's just say, most coilovers out there... but in my head I was already using that to justify the V3 spring rates. Fiancee has problems with a couple discs in her back too, which is a bit of a consideration. Probably I'll end up having to find someone local to ride along with at some point.

I realize full well that by most normal standards I'm overthinking this; I mean I'm seriously thinking of putting some accelerometers in my car during my daily commute to test some assumptions I'm making about ride roughness. I just figure I have quite a bit of time before I'm making any purchase (at least next year) and I would really just prefer to do things once, right.
Monday, July 23, 2012 9:35 AM
The KWs have a huge range of compression and rebound adjustment. On Project S2000, with the initial settings with the Clubsports, it rode significantly softer than stock. Lexus-like even. I've readjusted them for track use and the ride is comparable to stock, but with much better motion control.

Mike, I think Project S2000 still has GD covered in handling. It might be time for a project car shootout soon.
Monday, July 23, 2012 10:03 AM
You should do an article about DIY alignments using those mechanical gauges. I think it would be a big help for people like me that live in areas without many alignment options. Also, how long until swaybar manufacturers just start coating their bars in teflon where the bushings ride?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, July 23, 2012 10:26 AM
Haha, bring the S2K, it's going down.
Shifter Kart
Shifter Kartlink
Monday, July 23, 2012 11:26 AM
what is KW planning on releasing, when you refer to their 'latest and greatest'?
Monday, July 23, 2012 11:30 AM
@ Khiem: Project car shootout would be fun, so long as I don't have to bring Hypermiler (which would lose in just about any contest of speed...) ;-p

@ DieselTech: The problem with a DIY alignment is your garage floor/driveway just isn't level/even enough to get it dialed-in properly. I'd use it as a temporary stopgap to get you to the alignment shop later in the week than a long-term solution.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, July 23, 2012 11:42 AM
Garage being level... actually, for limited purposes you can make some platforms to fix that. You need a really accurate level and consistent placement of the car though; surveying stuff works great if you have it. Fundamentally though, you just need to measure how far off of level the floor is at the 4 places the platforms go, then fabricate them all to be level. A little pain in the ass, but unless the concrete's pretty thin you only have to do it once.
Monday, July 23, 2012 12:09 PM
For the Professional Awesome Evo, we only worry about levelness side to side. We use vinyl flooring tile to level as well as using them as slip plates. We use a camber gauge, string and jackstands for the alignment. This has been how we've done it for years without issue. There are better ways, but not many that are as cheap and repeatable!
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, July 23, 2012 12:18 PM
Ooh, hadn't thought of flooring tile; we ended up using wood.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, July 23, 2012 12:43 PM
It is a new consumer priced 3-way adjustable shock with daily driver durability.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, July 23, 2012 12:46 PM
It is perfectly acceptable to align a car on a relatively flat concrete floor. I do this all the time on race cars. The time you have to be really careful about flat is when doing corner weighting. The DIY alignment story is a good idea. We show some of this in some of our drift suspension basics articles.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Monday, July 23, 2012 1:14 PM
Consumer priced 3-way with durability? That trips my "things I don't actually need but am going to badly desire" alarms, heh heh.
Monday, July 23, 2012 9:24 PM
@ Rockwood - You're talking to a guy who's DD pickup has been on an eyeball toe adjustment for 50,000 miles. Yes, I was too lazy to even break out the string.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 5:43 AM
@ Kenku - I did some research on this as I was offered a great deal on the KW V3s for GD.

KW V3 for the GD Subarus come with progressive rear springs, the the Club Sport comes with linear springs all around. Racecomp Engineering makes a conversion kit for the V3 that allows it to take linear springs in the rear with rates up to 400lb/in.

I ended up passing it up and going for a set of Racecomp Engineering Tarmac 2s which IMO are basically just a set of V3s revalved with a more aggressive setting, and costs less than the KW Clubsports.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:09 AM
Are any project cars going to make it to the Super Lap/Global Time Attack Finals at Buttonwillow in November? It will be the first time we drive the Pro Awe Evo at that track.
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:11 PM
did someone say project car shootout (fires up project 370z) :D
Saturday, August 04, 2012 3:59 PM
Do you have any more info on why this alignment technique is better than lasers?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, August 05, 2012 8:37 AM
Just do a few alignments and you will know. Also note that real race teams don't use machines.
Paul Jons
Paul Jonslink
Thursday, August 09, 2012 4:31 AM
Would the 27mm bars (fronts and rear) be overkill for the stock suspension of the WRX?

Also, what it's like to drive the car with 27mm sway bars on the road?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, August 09, 2012 8:23 AM
It is not that bad, not much worse that stock. To run big bars you need more damping.
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