Old News

Modifications

Stereo

Notes & Tips

Image Gallery

Links

Vendors

Feedback

Subaru Page

Back Home

Suspension Related

Return to Notes & Tips Index

Struts
Anti-Sway Bar

How to replace struts

I would recommend either KYB's GR2 strut, or if you want an adjustable, the AGX. I am pretty performance oriented and quite amazed at the GR2's performance.

As far as replacing the struts. You will need a spring compressor, you can rent one from local auto parts store.

First jack car up and secure. Then take wheels off, then remove the caliper, there is a bolt to remove the top part, and then can slide it off the guide pin. You can do one of two things. You can remove the brake line from the caliper and remove the caliper. You will need to bring the hose through the strut assembly. Other option is to not open up the brake system and cut a small slit in that tab, bend it back so you can get the brake line in. I personally would just open up the brake system....good time to bleed the brakes. If you do open up the lines, sort of wiggle the brake line up and try and get it tied up in near the top where it comes in the fender well. This will help keep fluid from draining out.

Finish removing the calipers. You will need to get the rotor off next. Sometimes they will slide right off, other times you will need a puller. You again could rent one or buy one....I got tired of renting and just bought the sucker.....Take off the shield that helps direct air on the rotor.

Next you will be at the strut....there is two bolts at the base of the strut. I believe the top bolt is a camber bolt, etch or scrape a mark on the top of the bolt so when you put it back in, it will be in the same spot. I'm pretty sure it's the top bolt, but could be the bottom, just mark both to be safe. Get a big breaker bar or impact wrench to get these off. Once you got that done, remove the three nuts in the engine compartment that hold the strut on up top.....once you got everything loose, wiggle it out of there and repeat for the other side. Now you'll want to make a visual picture (mental or drawn) of how the spring is oriented and such. Take your spring compressor, compress spring, remove the dust cover thingy at the top, you'll see the big nut holding the top strut mount on. An impact wrench works the best to get that off because it sort of keeps it from spinning. If you don't have one....you'll have to vice grip the shaft (ONLY DO this on OLD ONE) At this time too you probably should replace the dust boot covers and the bump stops....I know my bump stops were disintegrated at 80k miles. Take the compressed spring off the old strut, place it along with any rubber shields or what not that was on the strut to the new strut, get your alignment correct. Put new dust caps & bump stops on or transfer over old ones. Replace the top mount on the new shaft, use the NEW NUT that is supplied with the struts. Tighten to torqued specs. Slowly uncompress the spring, making sure the alignment is correct with top mount. Replace dust seal on top, and assemble in reverse order. These are the instructions for the front struts.

The rears are pretty much the same, except there isn't a shield to remove. The main difference is if you have a sedan, you will have to remove the back seat. There are two bolts holding the bottom portion on. Once you got them out you can lift up on the front of the bottom part of the seat, and sort of push back and down on the back part, and that should unhook the part that's connected to the back of the seat. Then there are three bolts holding on the back of the seat, remove them....lift the seat back straight up and unhook it, and wiggle out the back doors. You can take the black plastic mat off that's there if you want.....wouldn't hurt...it just gets in the way. You should be able to see the three bolts that hold on the struts at the top....it's a pain in the ass getting these off, a deep socket for 1/4" drive works the best. The rest of the instructions are pretty much the same as the front from here on out.

When you get done, if you open up the brake lines, you will need to bleed the lines, follow the bleeding sequence in Chilton's manual. Also DO NOT open up master cylinder when you have the lines open....that is a BIG no no.

Only other thing is you will need a 4 wheel alignment.

This may sound a little daunting, but it's not too bad if you take your time and have a buddy around to help. You'll get a little faster after you do 1 or 2.

How to upgrade to a larger rear anti-sway bar

This a fairly simple mod to do, and helps take the under steer out of the car. By design, front wheel and all wheel drive cars have under steer, or push as they go through a turn. Another way to look at is if you go into a turn to fast the car wants to continue going in a straight line, it "pushes" towards the outside of the turn. Rear wheel cars tend to do the opposite, they over steer. The rear end wants to come around. The key is finding a nice balance to give the car as close to neutral balance as possible. If you have a car that is balanced very well it will do neither of the above. It will actually drift outwards, but the entire car will do it as one. That's sort of where the term four wheel drift came from.

Ok now to help us do that four wheel drift. A larger rear anti-sway bar will put more over steer into the vehicle, or help us balance it out better. I used an 18mm rear bar from a 91 turbo legacy. You can get aftermarket ones or one that is larger then the stock. Picking the correct size is pretty crucial. If you get too large a rear anti-sway bar, you car will over steer too much. For example, I believe the stock size for my car was 14mm or 15mm. If you already have an 18mm, I would suggest a 20mm or 21mm if the car feels like it needs it.

Now for the install. You will need to block the front wheels, loosen the lug nuts for the rear wheels, jack the rear end of the car up, and secure it on jack stands. Next you will need to remove the bolts that are at the bottom of the drop-links that bolt onto the lateral links. Once you have those out, the bar should move around. Next I would remove the bolts that hold the drop-links on the anti-sway bar. Finally, you will need to remove the bolts on the clamps that hold the bar to the car. Once that is done, you can wiggle the old bar out.

Depending on what you got, old bar or brand new bar, you will want to make sure the bushings are good and new. With a larger bar you may need to do some customizing to the stock clamps or sizing to get everything to fit. When you are putting everything back together you pretty much follow the reverse procedure. However it is better if you secure the bottom end of the drop link to the lateral link first. Then put the wheels back on the car. Slowly lower the car until the drop links meet up with the new bar. You will need to muscle these things around to get them aligned properly. Once everything is secure, finish lowering the vehicle, tighten the lug nuts to torqued specs and enjoy your more balanced car.

Return to top