21 April 2010|
A while back, we published an article of two identical new STis that followed different upgrade paths. The 5-door GRB chassis was modified by Whiteline in two different ways, one had every single suspension and bracing part they had in the catalog and the other STi was pushing 500hp. The Whiteline team went out there and pushed each car to its limits on a track, gathering data and telemetry on how each car performed at dozens of different points on the track. In the end, it was almost dead even despite the Whiteline-equipped car being down 200hp!
It was at this point that we decided “Hey, we want to do that to our WRX!” Before we could even schedule and install, the Whiteline gear arrived at our door. Boxes upon boxes were delivered with several part numbers that Whiteline had for the GD chassis. Below is the list of gear that showed up:
- KCA335 Strut Top Camber/Caster Adjuster
- KSB511 Rear Strut Bar
- KCA359 Anti Lift Kit
- BSF33Z Front Sway Bar
- KLC32 Front Sway Bar Endlinks
- KBR20-24 Rear Heavy Duty Sway Bar Mounts
- BSR36XZ Adjustable Rear Sway Bar
- KLC26 Rear Sway Bar Endlinks
- KSB751 Differential Sport Lock Bushings
Then it was time to select an installer, and the guys over at APEX Automotive Solutions in Markham, ON stepped up right away. The crew started the work by installing the KW Variant 2 coilovers which would compliment the Whiteline gear. Whiteline manufactures every suspension part with the exception of coilovers, with a focus on specialized and niche items you won’t find elsewhere. The front coilovers were fitted with the Whiteline strut top camber/caster adjusters in the front for later tuning.
The crew pulled off all of the old and worn suspension gear to make way for the Whiteline equipment. The old sway bars are 20mm and 17mm, which were supplanted with Whiteline 22mm and rear 24mm adjustable units. All of the bushings were greased up prior to reinstalling and torqued back down to spec with the beefy billet aluminum end-links. Whiteline also supplies two sets of bushings for the rear adjustable sway bars since Subaru changed them in 2003, so an install for any year will go smoothly. The rears were adjusted to the stiffest setting to ensure the rear suspension will provide modest amounts of oversteer when powering out of corners. The billet end links fitted with urethane bushings connects the bar to the mount and ensures that zero flex happens in order to resist bodyroll.
Up front, the factory sub frame connectors were removed. The new Whiteline billet connectors are part of the anti-lift kit which reduces flex in the chassis and, ultimately, the suspension under load. The CNC-machined pieces are over-sized and are hard anodized in gold for a lasting finish. The increase in stiffness at this connection means the car will exhibit flatter cornering by distributing the forces more evenly.
The strut tower bars were ready to install now that the undercarriage was all sorted. Any front strut bar is a really easy affair, just unbolt the upper portion of the strut and torque it down. The rear was more complex, considering the rear seat had to be removed to install it. The advantage of these pieces is that they tie up the chassis together in a way that forms a box where the two strut towers are the open ends.
At a grand total of six hours to install everything (including the coilovers) the move to Whiteline benefited this WRX greatly. When making major changes to the suspension, it has to be tuned, so the WRX was delivered to our partners at CAN-Alignment for a proper track alignment and corner balancing. Scott Murfin at CAN-Alignment has set up dozens of Subarus from mild tune to full-out race cars with the Subaru Performance Drivers Association (SPDA). Murfin explains that the GD chassis has a small window for proper alignment. The inner and outer pivot angles determine the roll center of the car and proper suspension travel must be maintained.
After lowering the car 1.5-inches, the final numbers were modest with the front camber set to -1.0° with 0° toe-in and the rear is also -1.0° with a +0.0325° of toe. The end result is a WRX that will corner flat, bite harder and keep the rear end involved with no tendency of plowing. After installing new Work Wheels 11R wheels and 225/40R18 Yokohama Advan Neova AD07s, we wanted to ensure decent tire life in this fairly soft 180-AA-A tire. After inflating all tires to 32psi and with “Sneddie” in the driver’s seat, the corner balancing was underway. The grand total was a decent 3,375 pounds with driver and balancing to keep all four wheels involved at all times.
“I’m really happy with the end results,” says Shintani “The new Whiteline gear is quieter and less clunky that the JDM parts I have owned before. The car is much more planted and has almost no body roll. It corners so flat versus the mushy operation of the stock components. Even the acceleration is better without the car lifting the front and squatting in the rear. I want to put even more Whiteline gear on now.”
APEX Auto Solutions
Alignment & Corner Balancing