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 Post subject: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Reference
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:53 pm 
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I Say: I'm an EJ207 fanboi all the way ;)
Vehicle: '04 Golf GTD

Posts: 5946
Location: Sowff Essex, UK
The SH Forester Suspension set up from factory

FSB: 21 mm
RSB: 16 mm
Endlinks: F & R generally thought of as capable of supporting up 21/22 mm RSB and about the same front (so a 1 mm increase on stock)

Front suspension: the front is a McPherson strut arrangement as is found on the previous Forester models, and most post-2000 Subarus. It has a 3-bolt top hat pattern which is identical to the 2008-20013 WRX and STi and also the 2004+ Liberty. It is a different bolt spacing to the pre-08 Foresters and WRX/STis.

Image

^^ That's the STi suspension available for the SH (I believe the t/S JDM SH came with this), but the stock looks identical except completely black.
Also, the above-pictured STi combo lowers the car 15 mm from stock, according to Subaru^^


Spring rates: I'm unsure exactly, but about 4 kg stock seems about the mark.

Camber: From the factory, the SH comes with a camber bolt; it's located in the top bolt hole of the clevis (lower foot of the strut which connects to the hub)

Rear Suspension: the SH is the first Forester to use a multi-link arrangement; incidentally, it is also used on the 08-13 WRX/STi and the 04+ Liberty. Unlike previous model Foresters which used a McPherson strut arrangement in the rear also, the multi-link arrangement does not readily allow for much camber adjustment due to only have 2 mounting bolts at the top of the shock and a single bolt hole which connects to the lower control arm. The XT models have self-levelling rear shocks (self-levelling suspension, SLS) while all other models, including the S-Edition have non-SLS

Image

Above is the stock S-Edition non-SLS rear shock/spring next to a Tein Street Advance unit

Spring rates: Again, as a guess, the rear spring rate is about 5 kg.

Camber adjustment: to be able to adjust camber in the rear wheels (which may be necessary when lowering, depending on your preferences and most importantly, how low you go), aftermarket rear lower control arms need to be installed. From a fairly thorough search (5th March 2014), I could find only two companies that make these; Agency Power and Megan Racing
Whiteline also does some bushes that allow +/- 0.75* camber adjustment.

"Upgrade", Lowering, adjustment options

FSB:
As the FSB is identical across the Foz and WRX/STi at 21 mm, there is no real "cheap factory" option. Your only option is to go aftermarket. The big three are Perrin, Cusco and Whiteline. Whiteline, IMO, seems to be the most common option. Agency Power also makes a compatible FSB in 22mm adjustable, but I'm personally unaware of any importers and think that the shipping costs would make the importing of one non-worthwhile when the Perrin and Whiteline ones are both about $220-$250 locally.
There are possibly other manufacturers of suitable FSBs out there that I've missed.
Perrin only makes adjustable FSBs; one is their "22 mm" (which is 22 or 23 mm equiv) and the other is their "25 mm" (which has 24 and 25 mm equiv settings)
Cusco only does a 23 mm FSB (so far as I can tell, their page is Japanese and even Chrome's built in translator still makes it difficult to decipher)
Whiteline does a couple of different sizes, 22 mm and 24 mm, both adjustable and non adjustable versions. They also specify different parts for the XT/S-Editions, the NA models, and the TD model: be careful which one you order.

WHAT DO YOU NEED: You need a FSB that is specific to the SH Foz, OR, the 2008-13 (09-14 in the US) WRX/STi, and the associated mounting bushes.

RSB:

The general consensus seems to be that upgrading the RSB alone is the best BFYB mod that you can to do improve handling (tyres are either equal, or a damn-close 2nd)

Unlike the FSB, the STi, at least from 2010+, gets a larger RSB than the Foz at 19 mm. These can be had with fairly low use from STi owners upgrading for as little as $50, though the usual price seems to be closer to $75-$100. They are a significant improvement over the stock 16 mm unit.

Again, aftermarket options are Perrin, Cusco and Whiteline and probable others..

Perrin: Perrin only do adjustable RSBs. They do a 16 mm; 19 mm, 22 mm and 25 mm. The way Perrin's RSBs work, their stiffest setting is the 'equivalent' to the bar; e.g. for the 22 mm RSB, the softest setting is 20 mm-equiv, middle's 21 mm-equiv and stiffest setting is 22 mm-equiv. For this reason, unless you after after more articulation from your rear suspension, I highly recommend against the 16 mm option (in fact, Australia's importer of Perrin, Car Mods Australia, don't bother with the 16 mm in their monthly shipments)

Cusco: I think (because of their website) Cusco have a 20 mm option, and an adjustable 23 mm option.

Whiteline: Whiteline has 20 mm non-adjustable, 20 mm adjustable, 22 mm adjustable and 24 mm adjustable options available in their compatible RSBs. Unlike their FSBs, all the RSBs fit all SH models.

Endlinks:
A number of companies make compatible end links, including Perrin, Whiteline, Kartboy, Cusco and Agency Power.

All are most likely of equal strength and value; although some use a solid-bushing arrangement (Kartboy), while others use a spherical connection (Perrin).

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Last edited by Sean_XTLux on Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Sticky
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:53 pm 
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I Say: I'm an EJ207 fanboi all the way ;)
Vehicle: '04 Golf GTD

Posts: 5946
Location: Sowff Essex, UK
Suspension:

There are a huge number of different suspension upgrade options out there ranging from increasing the ride height, to lowering springs on stock struts/shocks, to coil overs specific for the Foz, to STi/WRX take offs (STi or WRX suspension taken off the STi/WRX and put on the Foz). There is no real "right" way to approach this as suspension is a very personal thing; what is right and feels good to one person will be wrong for another.

Some of the more common approaches to lowering are as follows:

Lowering Springs

This involves using your stock Forester struts/shocks and lowering the car by putting shorter (and usually slightly stiffer) in place of the stock springs.
The two most common seem to be: Pedders Sportz Ryder springs (smelmechiz rides on these and Tein's H-Tech springs (see damo67's and darkrexy's S-Editions. Proponents for both have been happy with their choice.

One pointer: You should not put lowering springs on SLS rear shocks. The shocks will work against the springs to keep the car at stock height and this will eventually kill your shocks and may even ruin the springs. Stock front struts can be used as they don't have a self-levelling feature.
Some of the options available to use lowering springs in the rear are getting aftermarket shocks (Pedders make a suitable product), or getting the non-SLS shocks from an NA or S-Edition model and using those (these can be imported new from the USA at much less then they can be bought new from a dealer locally).

Forester-specific coil overs
Coil overs generally have the advantage over a strut/shock & spring setup of have ride-height adjustment as the minimum. Many sets of coil overs also have adjustable damper settings as well.

Some Foz-specific coil overs available are:

Pedders XA coil overs. H-are has these.
Tein Street series; Basic, Advance and Flex. My car rode on the Advance for a while, see pics here
KiDo: ExRex is riding on these
D2: genetik_defekt runs these on his car
HSD HR: Gards88 has these on his ride, as does American Dave (Dave's are actually WRX-specific, see dazzz's comment below, unsure of Gards')
BC BRs: FLY.STi has them on his weapon

There are others out there, but these are the most common...

"Take-offs"
The idea of these is basically getting a full set of suspension from a 2008-2013 WRX or STi and putting them on the SH.

WRX. They are direct bolt ons (no modification required), although by all reports, the rear shock/spring combo is too soft for the fat-ass of the Foz, especially when laden with a little extra mass ;)

STi. They are not direct bolt ons in the front (need modification, instructions on subaruforester.org but I can't find them right now cheers Lungy), however rears bolt straight in. By all accounts, STi rears are better than WRX. Although, as the 08-13 STi had 3 iterations of suspension, with the early years being softer and later stiffer and more suited to the Forester's weight, especially if you tow or put a lot in the boot. Ideally, if you use STi rears, the MY11+ are used.

Liberty. Gen V Lib suspension bolts up, but you have to use the Forester top-hats. The GenIV suspension also bolts up, but the lower mount on the rear shocks is slightly narrower so you have to use spacers (i.e. fat washers) to make the fit tight. The Liberties have different spring rates between sedans and wagons in the GenIV, and possibly the GenV as well. Wagons suit better. If you can find them, Bilsteins out of the GT-B or 3.0R-B are a good bet and the tuned by STi Bilsteins are even better.
Gen V Liberty require a 1" spacer in the rear to level the car out, or require lowered spring in the fronts (if using full GenV take offs F&R, see dazzz's comment below)

For take off suspension set ups, there's a seemingly infinite number of potential combinations based on your desired ride height, preferred spring rate, etc. etc. etc.

Non-Foz-specific coil overs
In SH-land, on OzFoz, at time of writing this, I personally don't know of anyone other than dazzz168 running non-Foz-specific coils.

Dazzz has Bilsteins suited for the BR/BM Legacy. They look amazing and apparently they ride and handle as brilliantly as they look. Find shots of his car post-install here

OTHER STUFF

There is a whole bunch of other stuff that can be done to improve the handling of your SH: bushes, bracing, ALK/Castor kits, and of course TYRES.

Good tyres will have a profound effect on the handling of even a completely stock Forester; if you buy something with stock Geolanders, wear them out or just ditch them asap IMO. I've read some comments from some saying "Geo's aren't all that bad", well, compared to rubber bands, or the cheapest of cheap "quality" tyres, yeah maybe they aren't. But IMO, this is like arguing over whether it's better to have Ebola or the Bubonic Plague. Get good tyres, thou shan't be of regret :ok:

Unlike previous models, there is no true "anti-lift" kit for the SH; this is because of the orientation of the connection point of the front lower control arm. However, spacers can be installed on the bushings to lower the LCA and this will effect lift on take-off (see throttlehappy's post below :ok: )

These same bushes can also replaced with offset ones to increase castor (castor increases steering response and feel). IMO, the ~$250 for these bushes is a worthwhile investment in the handling department. Perrin, Whiteline and Superpro (Fulcrum Suspensions' in house brand) all make them.

Whiteline do a roll-centre-adjust kit (there is a good description of the roll centre adjust that I will find and link here) which, as throttlehappy mentions below, will correct increased camber when lowering and also reduce bump steer.

Bracing is taken care of most commonly with a front strut tower brace. A number of companies make them. The SPT one (from the USA) seems to have the most clearance allowing aftermarket intercoolers. The Perrin one for the WRX will only clear the stock TMIC (don't make the same mistake I did). As for chassis bracing, Cusco seems to have just about every conceivable brace available.

_________________
Previous: MY04 Liberty GT 5EAT
Previous: MY11 S-Edition

maXX wrote:
seriously though...who doesn't enjoy a good fisting once in a while? :dontknow:


Last edited by Sean_XTLux on Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:12 am, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Sticky
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:02 pm 
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I Say: I'm an EJ207 fanboi all the way ;)
Vehicle: '04 Golf GTD

Posts: 5946
Location: Sowff Essex, UK
This is just a basic starting point for what upgrades are available. It's by no means a concise and exhaustive 'list'.

I would really appreciate input from others on their experiences and knowledge where there are gaps as I've only been in the SH crew since May 2013 and I am about to leave (for at least the near future) as my car is going to it's new home tomorrow.


Please keep arguments about the merits of one part over another, or one brand over another (I've really tried to hide my bias towards Perrin in this ;) ) to another thread as I hoped this would be a reference of sorts as to what's available, not what is "best".

:drinks:
Sean..

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Previous: MY04 Liberty GT 5EAT
Previous: MY11 S-Edition

maXX wrote:
seriously though...who doesn't enjoy a good fisting once in a while? :dontknow:


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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Sticky
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:14 pm 
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I Say: Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?
Vehicle: MY11 S-Edition WR Blue

Posts: 883
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:drinks: Cheers Sean - a source of reference for years to come I think. Nice one, and hope to see you back in a FOZ before too long.

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Sticky
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:27 pm 
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http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin ... fxt-65674/
Theres your missing link.
Great job.

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Sticky
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:53 pm 
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I Say: R is for RACE!
Vehicle: '15 CWP 6mt Rex

Posts: 7078
Location: Sydney
I might add that:

- The HSD's that American Dave and the others run are actually WRX specific coilovers.

- Gen V Liberty suspension will require 1" spacers in the rear to level out the SH9 Foresters... Unless of course you run lowered front springs or coilovers with height adjustments. Also, MY12+ are the ones you want as they have higher spring rates and better damping than previous.

- Lastly, I wish I had too much money :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Sticky
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:33 am 
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Vehicle: '11 FXT+'14 GLA45+'15 WRX

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ALK kit in the SH9 is how far 'down' the rear of the arm is pushed due to the difference in stock location on a vertical plane.
Image
The offset adjusts castor
The extra bit of alloy at top acts as ALK

Image
Perrin use a spacer at the top to give ALK

Also, Roll Centre Adjustment kit: KCA313 fixes the issue with lowered suspension causing excess camber and bump steer during corner :)

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Reference
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:44 am 
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Amazing content. Well done

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Reference
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:15 pm 
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Question, when fitting WRX specific coilovers to the SH, is there adequate length in the shock body to allow the maximum range of suspension travel?

Has anyone taken measurements of the stock SH suspension at full bump and at full droop?

Reason I ask is some time ago I contacted Josh at MCA suspension about using their Blue series WRX specific coils in the Mrs' SH. He was concerned that the suspension would not have full travel using WRX specific gear.

This is a good guide on how to properly set up the lower clevis on ride height adjustable coilovers > MCA DIY – The correct way to set the base (bottom mount) position.

If anyone has the above measurements can you post them in this thread, would be keen to know coz still wanna get some nice coils for the Mrs foz.

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 Post subject: Re: SH Stock Suspension & Handling Reference
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:38 pm 
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I Say: R is for RACE!
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garzy wrote:
Question, when fitting WRX specific coilovers to the SH, is there adequate length in the shock body to allow the maximum range of suspension travel?

Has anyone taken measurements of the stock SH suspension at full bump and at full droop?

Reason I ask is some time ago I contacted Josh at MCA suspension about using their Blue series WRX specific coils in the Mrs' SH. He was concerned that the suspension would not have full travel using WRX specific gear.

This is a good guide on how to properly set up the lower clevis on ride height adjustable coilovers > MCA DIY – The correct way to set the base (bottom mount) position.

If anyone has the above measurements can you post them in this thread, would be keen to know coz still wanna get some nice coils for the Mrs foz.


Awesome article Garzy! Very informative. :thumbs:

I use to just measure the leftover shock travel distance with the car on the sitting normally ground then visually look to see how much bump travel is left and measure the wheel gap hahaha!

I noticed with a lot of WRX vs Forester specific coilovers like HSD BCs, Kidos etc, that it's the lower strut body length that is different rather than the available shock travel cause they use pretty much similar spring lengths. So in saying that, when you lower a Forester with Foz specific coilover to the sit the same height as a WRX coilover, bump travel will usually be neither here or there.

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