Project VA WRX, Upgrading the Bushings and Swaybars with Superpro Part 1

by Mike Kojima

We decided to be different and tackle the Subaru WRX as our latest Project Car because it's big sister, the STI has been always getting all the attention.  More people can afford the WRX which we consider to be a performance bargain and more enthusiasts drive them.  We will be working with ARK Design to get this car going and make it more fun to drive. 

One of the first things we did as is typical on most of our project cars is to work on the suspension first.   Since we are still deciding on what to do for dampers on our project, we decided to start with changing the soft rubber suspension bushings with some polyurethane parts by Superpro.

We also upgraded the swaybars to some Superpro units.  Superpro has a long history as a Australian replacement bushing company. Australia is lightly populated and has many mile of unimproved roads which are very hard on a cars suspension.  Thus Superpro made a name for itself in the market with heavy duty lifetime warranted replacement bushings which just happened to improve performance as well.  Now Superpro is expanding their line up to include adjustable suspension links and swaybars as well!

Read about our Project Intro Here!

The VA WRX has a multi link rear suspension compared to the trapezoidal link rear suspension of previous models.  The suspension is designed to provide the advantages of a multilink while still providing a low profile for good trunk room.  The new suspension has ride advantages due to way less articulation bind and a better rear camber curve for more rear lateral grip over the old design.  The new suspension also has less rear antisquat which can have an advantage with corner exit grip. One disadvantage that the mulitlink suspension can have is that there are many more mushy rubber bushings to deflect and cause unplanned changes in toe and camber under load.
The Superpro lower control arms have hard Superpro polyurethane bushings already installed.  They have eccentrics that have a lot of adjustment leeway for setting the camber.  The toe links also have the polyurethane bushings pre installed and have a lot more adjustment than stock which are essential not adjustable. 
You can see how the stock stuff is oriented here before we start removing anything.
You can see the stock toe link here compared to the adjustable Superpro part.  Basically it is adjustable a small amount only through an eccentric at it's mounting point. Since we can now adjust the lower arm for camber, the toe link needs a lot more adjustment leeeway than stock so the toe can still be corrected if negative camber is run in the rear. 
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Tuesday, April 07, 2015 9:38 AM
I'm glad you picked a WRX as opposed to the STi, makes it a little more interesting. I've read the WRX makes a better street car (as opposed to a pure track toy) anyway.

The initial pic at the top of the page seems to already have some modifications. Lowered with new wheels at least. I'm assuming we'll hear about those soon? I'm hoping you just did the bushings and links and got some driving impressions with just those mods before adding the coil-overs or whatever.
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 10:09 AM
WRX is the more interesting platform to me at this point because of the FA engine. Nice choice looking forward to more.
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 12:37 PM
So I've always wondered about the bushings with the eccentric sleeve like the ones at the bottom of page 4 and top of page 5... Once that sleeve goes into the greased up bushing, whats to keep it from rotating inside the bushing? Under one of the pics there's a quote that says you adjusted the sleeves to reduce antisquat, but how do you know it'll stay that way? is there a way to lock it into place? I mean if you can push the sleeve in by hand, how would the forces of a car driving not rotate the sleeve inside???
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 12:40 PM
oh, and I'm a big fan of those "stock" coilover with threaded body and everything :D
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 7:51 PM
The Sleeves are held in place by the clamp of the subframe brackets when the bolt is tightened.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 10:48 PM
Oh no, the CVT! :-( I really wish I had known you guys were thinking of doing a VA. I could have dropped my proper manual off with a few grand to give it the track day suspension treatment!

I do have my other potential I bought as a track project sitting in the garage.....but I'm keeping that on the DL until I decide to full commit(I'm 6'4" and convertibles take a big commitment to get track sanctioned as you know).

PS The FA just made Ward's ten best engine list and motors that make that list are in GOOD company!
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 10:50 AM
This is very interesting because I am seriously considering getting one for my next car.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 3:19 PM
Get the Manual!
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 3:34 PM
I'm kinda glad they picked the CVT. I'm interested to hear about the shortcomings of the CVT and what they do to address them. It's a good chance to hear about the trade-offs an enthusiast might face. I might rather a DSG if you want paddle shift and an automatic mode, but for day to day living a CVT has many qualities that I like. In the intro article Khiem seemed more or less impressed with the CVT. Hope it works out.
Thursday, April 09, 2015 4:01 PM
Use your connections at ARK and convince them to make the R8 wheels in 5x100. Those look soooo good on Subarus, and the STi shouldn't be the only Subaru that they will fit... Think of all the WRX and BRZ owners that would buy them.. Like this WRX owner!
Friday, April 10, 2015 3:12 PM
This particular project car is with the manual transmission. The one I happened to take on a road trip in the Driven article was a CVT. So... some of you will be happy and others sad :) On a side note, Killer B Motorsports told me someone got the CVT to slip at 400whp. So, 350whp is probably relatively safe for the CVT and a GTX3067R happens to be very well sized for 350whp.
Sunday, April 19, 2015 6:18 PM
The rear diff looks so tiny and weak compared to any average rwd car. Its looks like they tried to save weight there but then decided to give the FOUR cylinder car a large and heavy dual exhaust for the "trendy performance look". Similar to the new Altama that i think looks marginally both better and worse than the one from over a decade ago.

Am I right about this being a weak point of the car? And will stiffer poly bushings only add to the shock load it will see?

Sorry, can you tell I'm not a Subaru fan.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, April 19, 2015 6:22 PM
It's the same R180 diff found in other Subarus for awhile. It is reasonably strong, almost the same diff as in the 510. THe poly bushings will reduce the stress on the driveline.
Sunday, April 19, 2015 7:49 PM
^ I'll take your word for it Mike. Just never seen that aluminum mustache bar design before. All the Aluminum reminds me of my friends old CTS-V diff that blew up on him when he put better tires on it lol.
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