Suspension Upgrade Options
The leading replacement part options are, Prodrive, ScoobySport and MRT.
The upgrade offered by Prodrive, was for a long time the only source available. The standard dampers and springs are replaced with Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs. The system provides firmer damping and stiffer springs, which also lower the car by 20mm. This is a very good system, that greatly improves the handling of the car. Bilsteins are rebuildable, but Prodrive are unable to offer this service at the moment.
ScoobySport have been working with Leda Suspension and now offer three options for upgrading Impreza suspension, The first is a fast road kit, with 30mm lower, up-rated springs and 24 stage adjustable dampers. The second option is a road/competition kit, and offers fully adjustable ride height in addition to the features of the first kit. Finally, a full Group A rally kit, offers gas pressurised damping and remote reservoirs. Leda suspension kits are fully rebuildable and can be fitted at Leda's factory in Braintree or by a dealer.
MRT's suspension is fully adjustable, but no other details are known at this time.
The recommended toe and camber settings for the Prodrive suspension may be applied with good effect to the standard items. The benefit is improved turn-in, better in-corner steering response, and reduced squirm under braking, especially with bigger wheels. The reason for this is that braking places huge forces on the front wheels and suspension components, causing them to splay outwards. The toe-in corrects this tendency. These settings are apprently within the limits specified by Subaru for the car, but are outwith those supplied in the UK handbook.
Note that these settings are different from the handbook specifications for standard suspension (presumably due to the potential for uneven tyre wear), so Subaru dealers will often refuse to make the changes when the car is still under warranty.
|Camber||Max equal negative||not adjustable|
Apparently different cars have different limits for the front camber - it's usually a bit less than 1° but possibly as high as 1.25° Just make sure left and right are the same!
We are also hearing very favourable reviews of some changes made to remove bump steer which is built into the cars. These changes involve lowering the steering rack (using spacers/shims), and requires several hours labour. These changes are performed by Powerstation
It is of the opinion of many (including specialist after market tuning suppliers) that the Impreza is one of the stiffest chassis around and that a strut brace is of dubious advantage. Even the WRC car that Colin McRae drives (using a bare Impreza 2 door shell as a starting point) does not have one. To quote a well known Impreza supplier:
"A strut brace has no effect on "sag" - it simply transfers any load from one side to the other. Our experience with them is that they are better "look" value than performance. And yes, this is why they are supplied on up-market Sti models ..."
There is also the consideration that to fit a brace for the Impreza, it has to be bent at each end to clear the intercooler so will be necessarily weaker than a straight brace.
Here are two views from owners who have fitted one :-
"I fitted one recently and as far as I'm concerned it was the best £50 I've ever spent :-).""Took the car for a blast around some really tight 2nd gear corners and instantly noticed the difference. It seemed to sharpen the steering in the corner and the suspension really was working hard. I would imagine that the brace would not make that much difference being so close to the bulkhead, but there you go."
If you do fit a strut brace ensure that you then get the tracking checked and readjusted. It has been known for this to alter these with devastating effects on tire wear!
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