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Discussion Starter #1
I installed the 04 STI Pink Spings and hardened strut top mounts on my 03 WRX sedan. Everything in the installation went fine I thought. When I was tightening the top strut nut on one of the rears I accidentally spun the Strut for awhile before I noticed the strut was spinning. When I took it for a drive there was a clunking from the rear when going over bumps. I haven't yet taken it apart to investigate but does anyone have any advice. Did I damage the strut by spinning it? Could it be something else in the assembly? I already checked the 3 nuts on the strut top mount and they seem fine.

Any guidance is appreciated!

Thanks,
Coetav :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot to mention that the struts are the STI RA struts and are 1.5 years old.

Coetav
 

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You could have stripped the top bolt possibly which would allow the strut to move through the portion that is stripped- just like having a loose top nut. If the bolt isn't stripped spinning the strut shouldn't hurt it. Your going to have to take out unfortunately. Also make sure the top is aligned w/ the arrow pointing out. The three top nuts if loose will also casue a clunk- careful as the trque spec on those is very low ~ 14ish IIRC.

Let us know what you find.

Big Sky
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I took the strut assembly off and the problem is that the distance on the stepped shaft of the strut is taller than the depth of the material on the strut top. The old strut tops (03) have almost twice the thickness. So I'm not sure what I should do. Would it be safe to add a spacer? The struts are from the SPT dealer suspension package from 03 and the strut top mounts are the hardened STI 04 mounts. I still have my original struts somewhere so I will check the dimensions on those.

Coetav
 

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pm Kanos- he's got the same setup. I believe the problem is the different "shoulders" between v7 and v8 struts, but he got around it by seating and tightening the top while it was underload (on the car). Best to pm him though as I'm giving it to you second hand.

Big Sky
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I tried doing it under load and it didn't work. Once I had it apart it was obvious that it wasn't going to work as the gap between where the threads bottom out and the bolting surface of the strut top was quite significant. I went out to Home Depot and bought some 5/8" steel spacers, I placed four of them on to the strut "shoulder" and then put the strut top back on. I just finished and went for a drive and it seems fine. What I don't understand is that the passenger side seems fine also, but tomorrow I will take it apart anyway and have a look to see if I need to do the same thing.

Coetav
 

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Sorry for not jumping in sooner. Basiclly as you have said the lip on the v7 struts makes it harder for them to seat properly in the 04 strut top mounts. This is fixable though and isn't a big problem.

When I first installed them I had someone watch the threads slide up and down in the top hat when I went over bumps, this was causing the clunk noise. We then just took a 17mm (I think thats the size for the one strut top bolt) and tightened the nut again. This was all while the struts were still installed on the car, so the struts were under the load of the car. Luckily my struts did not spin while tightening. Once we did this the noise went away completely.

I also had a friend installing 02 KYBs on 04 rear wrx top hats, so technically the same thing I did. He had the same exact clunking and this time I watched the strut slide up and down in the top hat. Unfortunetly his KYB strut spun while we tried to tighten it. So we had to take off the struts and push the top hat down hard and use the air tools to tighten the bolt. This way the strut went the correct distance into the top hat and didn't have any play. Once we put them back on the car he had no more problems.

We have both been driving around using this method to fix this issue for a couple months now and we each have done a auto-x on this setup with no problems.
 

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Here is the link to all the info on NASIOC when this issue was talked about over there.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=563382&highlight=sti+struts

If you really wanted to fix this perfectly, the fix would be to just use a lathe or some other grinding device to take the lip off the 02/03 struts so that its the same diameter as the threads above. It would probably also be best if you could use a tap and die (I think thats what its called) to add the theads to the modified lip. This requires some skill though, but should be possible.
 

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I'm also considering a similar setup, since I have an 04.

Instead of hacking away at the struts, could you simply enlarge the tophat instead without any ill effects?
 

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ShapeShifterz said:
I'm also considering a similar setup, since I have an 04.

Instead of hacking away at the struts, could you simply enlarge the tophat instead without any ill effects?
The top hat opening is a bearing- so no you couldn't (wouldn't).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So here is my theory: There is alot of tolerance in spring heights relative to the other components in the stack up. Looking at the top hat on the strut it was clear that the shoulder on the strut is longer than the bearing on the top mount. It doesn't matter how tight you make the nut this gap will always exist. However if your pink springs are on the low side than when you go over a bump and the suspension is unloaded there is not enough preload to stop the clunk. If your spring is a little taller than the larger spring preload will keep the nut loaded and there is no clunk. My spring was not loose but I could easily make it move myself by pushing up on the strut so the preload was very light. What do you think?

I drove around all day today with no clunk, but I haven't put the spacers in the passenger side yet, so the difference could be in a slight preload difference from different spring heights or maybe if the spring isn't fully seated. When I first went out for a drive after the install the clunk didn't happen for a little while until I hit a big bump and then it made the clunk over every small bump, could this have happened because the spring rotated a bit and seated better which would effectively reduce the preload. This also explains why the clunk would disappear if you didn't fully tighten the top nut because by tightening it the preload would be increased.

I will update the thread with my findings when I get around to checking out the passenger side strut.

Coetav
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have been driving around for the last several weeks with the spacers in the driver's side rear and nothing in the passenger side. Everything felt great.

Today I decided to go back in and add the spacers to the passenger side which never had the "clunking" problem.

Here is what I found:
The top of the strut shoulder and the strut top mount both showed a ring of damage that was the same size as the difference in the shoulder and bearing surface. This means that eventhough there was no clunking and everything felt fine the strut was moving up and down in the mount. It was difficult to get the strut top mount off, I had to turn the assembly upside down and hammer it off with a mallet. Looking at the parts in the damaged ring you could see pits where metal was gouged out and pieces of metal welded on also. I had to file off these small pieces of metal to get the strut top mount to go back on nicely and rotate nicely. I put the spacers in and put it back together.

I'm not sure what this means for everyone with this setup, you may not have the clunking but there could still be damage and movement of the strut in the strut top. I don't know if this poses any danger. Any thoughts? I will try and post a picture of the damage and the spacers below:

Coetav
 

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I was going to purchase the new STi 04 wagon springs to put on my v7 GGB struts- this is the reason I didn't. The fitment while close, is different.

If I do decide to do it, I'll bring in one of my 04 rear struts and my vv7 rear ones and have a machine shop duplicate the piston design of the v8 to properly fit the v8 rear tops.

Another fellow on Nasioc too just two rear bare struts (no springs)- both v7 and v8 and set a v8 rear top on- the v8 strut no play, firm fit. The v7 had some play and not an overly firm fit.

Big Sky
 
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