As far as suspension mods, we (rex owners) don't have many options other than coilovers (excluding tires, wheels, swaybars-lots of options here). SOA offers a strut/spring combo that is slightly lower and firmer than stock. The down side to this combo is price ~$1,000 and the lack of any adjustability in the struts.
Some are using KYB AGX's (adjustable struts) for the GC Impreza in combination w/ aftermarket springs (HR, Whiteline, STi, Eibach(soon), others). The down side of this set up is their are differences in mounting points between GC & GD in the rear struts causing increased negative camber (from an already high stock -1.3 degrees). I have been told that this can be corrected w/ camber bolts (Whiteline, Eibach, others). You will also have to secure your brake lines w/ zip ties as there is no bracket w/ the GC struts (my understanding is you may have to do this w/ many of the coilover setups as well).
That then leaves coilovers for which we do have alot of options. There are many manufactors of coilovers for the rex- Cusco, Tein, DMS, Leda, Intrax, Hotbits-several others I'm sure.
Coilovers are nice- lots of adjustability (varies w/ manufactor) w/ ride height, rebound, choices of spring rates etc. Most can also be rebuilt. The obvious down side w/ coilovers is $$$, ranging from ~$1200 to over $3000.
I think a quality adjustable strut/spring combo would make a nice suspension upgrade w/o a too giant hit to the wallet-somewhere in the $600-700 range. I was hoping someone (Koni, KYB, Tokico, anybody) would be coming out w/ an adjustable strut specific for the rex this winter or early spring (in time for autox season) but have been assured that would not be happening. Thus I am seriously considering coilovers-presently leaning towards DMS 40mm's.
Sorry for the long winded response, but suspension is at the top of my list to get lined out.
I'd also like to hear from folks who have already upgraded or are planning their upgrades for their suspension.
Well Tein has announced they will be making an SS setup for the WRX. Should be out after the first of the year. Cost is estimated at $1350 (same as the RS version). Their HA setup is $1550. Let's hope it goes as planned.
That would take me pages. Take a look at my website for some info on the different setups. the SS setup is basically an HA but with an S-Tech spring (like the NA).
Basically, NA and SS are street, HA is street/track, RA is track.
Do you suppose that having rebuildable stuff would be a better option as the overall longevity is there relative to having a strut blow out and totally replacing it? I guess it also boils down to how long you plan on keeping the rex to see any sort of monetary benefit from buying rebuildable. Am I on track, or way off?
I think having the ability of getting your struts rebuilt is a important consideration when choosing a coil over sytem. Considering the high cost of coilovers it makes sense to me to have the ability to rebuild these high cost componenets over replacing them. It is possible, depending on driving styles, roads driven, use(street v autox v rallyx v track) and how long one keeps his vehicle, that you may never need a strut rebuilt. However, if the need does arise, it would be comforting to know that the strut could be rebuilt, saving $$ over replacing it.
To my knowledge most of the high end coilovers are rebuildable.
Leda now has a facility in the US as does DMS. According to Dan, Tein will have a facility in the US soon. As far as I know, Cusco does not have a facility in the US at this time- someone correct me if I am wrong.
I think the other advantage to purchasing a rebuildable strut is that there will be individuals (in the US) knowledgable on the inner workings of your system that may be able to help w/ set up options, trouble shooting and other problems if they arise.
That's sort-of what I was figuring. I'm the type to keep a vehicle for a long time, so I think it would definitely be in my best interest to go the rebuildable route. Not so sure exactly what I'd be doing with the vehicle, but rallyX would be a lot of fun as that's what got me interested in the WRX to begin with (actually Rallying, but close enough).
Whichever you choose, don't ever go for the ground control setup. I've had some major issue's with them on my integra and a friends maxima. They tend to rub against the spring during hard cornering causing the rings to be worn out and destoying the height adjustable feature you paid for. I've had a off brand set which are ground control style in which the sleeve actually split during hard driving and ruined my shocks. Buy an actual full coilover setup and you'll be so happy with the results you get for the extra you pay for.
The M2 kit consists of KYB AGX adjustable struts and (unknown manufacturer) springs that are higher weight and lower than stock.
The reason camber bolts are included in the rear is that the AGX's are actualy GC8 (RS) struts and due to geometry differences cause quite a bit of negative camber (~-2.5 degrees) the camber bolts are needed to offset this increase.
It's a reasonably priced kit and I think people are using with success. It would be nicer if it was actually engineered for the WRX.
The adjustments would be in the damping (stiffness) of the struts and possibly adjustment in the sway bar.
Tein SS kit would be a dramatic difference and unlike the M2 kit is short stroke so you won't have bottoming out issues from the lowered ride height. Pillow ball mounts are not included and not necessary for milder setups. Tein's rebuilding facility is complete now.
From my understanding the camber bolts will get you back close to oe camber specs in the rear ~-1.3. The down side to many of the camber bolts is they sometime come loose (thus changing your camber)- locktite and properly torqued bolts will help.
I think there are several manufacturers that are close (so they say) to getting out WRX specific struts. If your not in a super hurry, it may be worth the wait.
The only strut/spring setup that I know for sure is working well is the STi/SPT setup that the dealers are selling. These are the same struts springs that the STi runs as oe. Not much drop, but significant improvement in handling. Ofcourse the price is rather high at ~ $1200 and getting close to coilovers.
I think this price is in the ballpark that dan is mentioning w/ the SS system.