November 19th, 2005:
WRX Winter Prep and STi spring upgrade.

Since the “real” racing season is done for the year… at least in Michigan… I’ve been playing a fair amount of racing video games. Gran Turismo 4, Need For Speed Underground 2, Burnout: Take Down, and so on… During those games, installing a part is a simple button click and viola: 3 seconds later and your suspension is upgraded. Today I got a good dose of reality. I replaced the springs in all 4 corners of my WRX with STi parts as well as switched to my winter tires and installed less aggressive brake pads. I’m sure that plenty of folks could have done it in less than the 6 hours it took me. However, working in my 12 foot long driveway in 40 degree weather was a factor.

One thing I discovered about my suspension is that the upper bolt that secures the front strut to the hub is what’s known as a “crash bolt.” I’ve not aware of many factory suspension configurations that make use of crash bolts, as they are likely to be misused by the local mechanic or alignment shop. I must have loosened the left side crash bolt at some point, changing the camber. After discovering these bolts, I made some adjustments and it shows.

Above and beyond the improved stiffness and suspension response, fixing the camber issue has made a huge difference in the stability and drivability of the car. The ride is neither too stiff nor too low. First impressions seem positive, but the approaching winter will be the real test.

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