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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed new springs and struts on my car yesterday. I didn't want to pay someone to install my suspension for me, so i decided to enlist the help of some like-minded friends and go DIY. I already had almost everything i needed to do the swap, the only thing missing was a shop to do the work in.
A friend of mine who lives down in Bradenton offered this family’s metal working shop. He said they’d have more than everything we’d need, and he was right. The only catch was that, to get to the shop, you have to drive across a huge, boggy field littered with heavy machinery and cattle.
After sliding around in the mud, trying to avoid angry cows and big, scary puddles, we made it to the shop. The car was completely caked in mud. We had to hose it off completely before we could do anything.
The whole job took four suspension virgins four hours to finish. Then I had to drive my car, which had barely made the first trip on stock springs, back across the swamp. I had almost no steering control at all. It was very dark, and there were very big cows who looked very surprised sliding in and out of my field of vision. I made it, though.
The car rides awesome. It was a good weekend. Didn’t even hit one cow.
 

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Robofunc said:
The whole job took four suspension virgins four hours to finish. I had almost no steering control at all.
lmao four suspension virgins...nice, original way of stating that. I myself am one too.

Robofunc said:
It was very dark, and there were very big cows who looked very surprised sliding in and out of my field of vision. I made it, though.
The car rides awesome. It was a good weekend. Didn't even hit one cow.
haha i can just imagine the cows standing there thinking wtf is that?

Good job. Got any pics of it now? Glad it all worked out wonderfully!

ps. what kinda suspension products did you end up using?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have H&R springs and a set of Tokico S/R struts. I've also got that 1" stabilizer in back, but that was already on. The one regret i have is that we forgot the camera. But i know i'll be back out there to do more work eventually, though. Hmm. Maybe i'll go out there and re-enact it with a camera. that might actually be more fun than the real thing. Wait, i've already washed my car...
 

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4 hours ain't bad at all. :D

Be sure to get an alignment, ASAP.

If you can hire a few drifters and a nun or two to be "run over" in your re-inactment I'll be sure to give it 5 stars. Drifters dressed up as nuns will get you at least 3 stars, easy. :wink: Oh, and don't hurt the cattle.

Find some places to do this:


And take pictures.. I want to see at least 8" under your tire :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. we were moving at a relaxed pace, it being Sunday and all. You are lucky you have a wagon, man. for the 97 four-doors, you have to take out the rear dash, the center brake light, the rear "seat trim" and the seat "extenders."
Not to mention you have to take out the seat itself to get to the bolts holding in the extenders. blah. The good part is, though, that there is no need for a rear upper strut bar.

I think you mentioned that you have the group buy rear bar on your car. If you do, tell me, is there a little creaking when you go over speed bumps and stuff? i'm getting some, and i'm sure it's just from the poly bushings, but i'm getting paranoid about binding and things breaking.

Yeah, i'm getting an alighnemt ASAP. It actually drives straight as an arrow, though. i guess i kinda got lucky

ha ha. i love that picture. i'm in FL, so it's pretty flat here, but i'm planning on taking some photos of my car tommorrow. a wheel lifting picture is on the list.

Your car looks good, man. nice and clean. the rotas look good on there. nice side benefit to being light as hell.
 

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Thank you, thank you, thank you :oops:

Yeah.. there are 3 panels to remove on the wagon to install the strut bar.. and you only really need to remove the speakers to get to the strut mounts (although, I removed all 3 panels to make wrenching easier).

Yeah, I've got the swaybar, and I was getting some creaking, but it was just my rear strut bar being a little loose. I've tightened it up (and actually added quick release bolts) and it stopped making most of the noise. I think I might still have a little creak from the swaybar whenever I drive diagonally over a hump. I say, just get a friend to get down and listen 'n watch as you slowly drive over some stuff that causes the creak (just don't mistake him for a nun).

What did you think about working with the springs? Did you ever get yourself scared while compressing them? (what kind of compressors did you get to use?) After doing it, can you believe some shops get away with charging up to $400 to install a suspension? 8O
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Working with the springs was less scary than i was imagining. I had a set of OEM brand external spring compressors. One on each side of the spring and an impact rachet made quick work of them. Once they were on and i got a look at it, i couldn't really see anything to be worried about.
We also had the biggest frickin' vise i've ever seen mounted to a metal table. it held the strut assemblys and it rotated, so there was plenty of room for tools.
The shop had a plasma cutter, too, so we naturally had to find some scrap to cut. those things are awesome. cuts like butta.
 

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Yes, very nice look, Robo... and thanks, James. :D

When I replaced the rear springs on our Subaru Legacy, I felt I was about 3 seconds from losing my arm the entire time. There were less coils, so you had to get the compressors at just the right spots.. and then they weren't positioned symmetrically, so I ended up watching the compressors slip sideways as I was wrenching on them.. one went flying across my garage. Scared the *poop* outa me. The escort springs were nuthin by comparison.

PS: Are you dissapointed about the H&Rs not lowering more than they do? I was at first.. but now, every time I hit a huge bump, or have to drive over some deep ruts, I'm really glad my car's still at a very 'real world' street height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks, beaverboy.
Hah, you'r lucky you didn't get hurt shooting springs around like that.

I'm happy with the ride height now. It does have a bit of fender gap, but i'm more concerned with how well it works. If the gap ever really bothers me i'll get a set of 16" wheels for the street and keep my 15"s for autocross or something, but that's probably not going to happen.
 
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