A good friend of mine bought a 2006 Evolution after owning one of the sweetest 1998 Eclipse GSX cars ever. He bought it new at the local Mitsubishi dealership just a few months ago. Since Mitsubishi did not make a 2007 Evolution he picked an Evolution IX in a beautiful blue.
While he certainly likes his performance he also likes some creature comforts so he did not opt for the MR version and instead picked up one with leather seats, sun roof, and subwoofer. Since it was purchased he has carefully shopped eBay and picked up nice add-ons such as the Mitsubishi gauge cluster that comes on the MR and most recently an MR suspension.
The standard Evolution has a fantastic suspension that provides excellent cornering, but the MR version comes equipped with Bilstein shocks and springs (struts on the front) that not only provide enhanced handling, but also a far less jarring ride.
My friend loves his Evo, but had a bit of envy of my MR’s suspension and its more civilized ride. He checked with Mitsubishi on what the parts counter would sell the MR springs and shocks for and it came in at about $2200.
So when I saw a used MR suspension for sale on eBay I forwarded him an alert. He was lucky and consummated the purchase for about $500. Such a deal!
Yesterday we put his car up on the lift and went to work.
First off we had to remove the subwoofer and all the trim from the trunk area. I did that while he loosened the wheels. Pulling up the spare tire cover revealed the bolts and single screw that held the subwoofer in place. There was a connector to undo at the top of the subwoofer case and the assembly could be removed. Next was all the grey cloth-like trim. The pin clips that Mitsubishi uses work fine, but they are a royal pain to remove without losing the center pins that lock the clips in place. You have to gently push the center pin in far enough to release the clip without pushing the pin all the way in and losing it as it finds its way into the crevices of the body folds. I was lucky on some, but many were lost in the body work.
Then we loosened the nuts on the top of each of the rear shocks and did the same for the front struts. Up went the car on the lift and my friend pulled the wheels off while I rolled in under the rear with an air gun to remove the bolts securing the lower shock mounts. I also had to unbolt the control arm from the rear hub so I could rotate it out of the way and pull the shock/spring assembly straight down after my friend removed the top nuts completely.
There is a small rubber ring that was taken off the top of the old assembly and moved to the new Bilstein assembly. This provides insulation between the top of the shock assembly and the mounting point in the trunk.
It was then just a matter of my holding the assembly in place while my friend tightened the nuts from inside the trunk. Once those were finger tight I could rotate the lower control arm back in position and bolt it back together along with the bottom of the shock. With both sides in we tightened all the bolts and nuts we had taken off.
Then it was time to tackle the front strut assemblies.
With air tools it is quite easy. I just undid the nuts on the two bolts that hold the lower part of the struts to the steering knuckle. Then I wiggled the bolts out of their holes as my friend undid the three nuts holding the top of the strut in place. There is plenty of room to take the assembly and move it out of the wheel well.
My friend handed me the Bilstein assembly and then guided the unit from the top while I pushed from the bottom. From the engine compartment he could guide and rotate the strut bearing assembly and its three studs into place. I held it up while he put on the three nuts and tightened them up some. Then I put the steering knuckle in place and inserted the two bolts.
We would have to get the car aligned after all this, but I spent time moving the steering knuckle so that as much negative camber was pre-loaded as possible.
All of this was repeated for the other side and then everything was tightened up.
My friend mounted the wheels back on his car while I put the trunk liner and subwoofer back in.
We are fortunate to have an independent tire installer in our town that not only has the most modern and accurate alignment equipment, but he also has no problem with non-factory alignment settings. It helps that he also drives road racing tracks with his own race car.
My friend drove his Evolution back to his house so it would be off the road until he had his alignment scheduled. But just those few miles showed him that the car’s ride was vastly improved.