One of the guys at work was looking for a new car. He was interested in finding something sporty with performance. He had heard about the Subaru WRX and the Evolution from Mitsubishi.
I told him I could take him for a ride in my 2005 Mitsubishi Evolution MR. He enjoyed the experience but kept looking. He dropped by local Subaru dealership and tried out the WRX. Both of them were great performers but a little too taut in the handling department. It became clear that he was looking for a car that had some luxury to go along with performance. This can be a tough combination to find, especially if you were looking for a four door sedan in the $35K range.
He eventually settled on Subaru’s Legacy GT spec. B sedan. Turbocharged, all wheel drive with Bilstein struts, it was a great choice. Within a week he was frustrated. He felt it was a great car, but the handling was was not what he was expecting. Body roll was excessive leaving him frustrated and feeling that he had made a big mistake. He asked me my opinion.
I took the car for a drive. Yes, it had a lot of body roll, but the basics were there. I told him that I felt that it had great tires, perfect shocks (struts), but a little too much body roll and that we would fix it. I did a little research and came up with an aftermarket anti-roll bar, up rated end links, and a front strut tower brace.
The guy took my advice and wanted to go farther. He ordered the parts I suggested but added a set of springs to lower the car and stiffen things up. I understood his attraction to a more aggressive stance and the lowering of the center of gravity, but warned him against going too far too quickly.
When ever you take on a car modification it is important to stage out the changes. It not only prevents you from going too far too fast, but it also allows you to easily determine if you’ve introduced a problem along with the change. It finally sunk in and he returned the springs. We scheduled a Saturday at Jim’s Garage.
It took about an hour to remove the rear bar and replace it with the larger, adjustable bar and new end links. The front strut brace was pretty simple to add and really did a great job of firming up the front end.
I took him on a test drive to see how the changes worked out. There is a little circuit I use that is made up of public roads. It goes through a mall, the perimeter actually, and has a nice ninety degree left hander. Then it takes a quarter mile straight that ends up with a tight right hander that delivers you to the on ramp of the highway. It gives you a chance to see what all aspects of your car’s handling has to offer.
The guy was shocked at the level of improvement with these few changes. He was delighted. A few weeks later he dropped by my office to gush about what a great transformation had been accomplished. Now he wanted me to do much the same for his son’s car.
More to come on that.