Evolution MR Suspension Swap

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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This entry was posted in Automobiles, Care and Feeding, Modifying Cars, Sports Cars, Suspensions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Evolution MR Suspension Swap

  1. Noel says:

    Am just about to do this on my Saab 9000 CSE.

    The 9K has three models–CS, CSE and Aero. The Aero, in addition to having more power, also has a 10mm lower suspension with stiffer springs and shocks. It is available from Saab as a “Sport Chassis” or “Roadhandling Kit.” Cost is about $600 with new, all factory parts: one of the better bargains in European car performance upgrades. The lowering is minimal, but that’s fine with me as the ride remains decent and it’s better to have some ground clearance on New England roads.

    Mine should be here this week. It consists of already assembled spring and strut units for the front and springs and shocks for the back. It is a matter of taking the old parts off and putting the new ones on. No alignment is really needed as the struts aren’t involved in the alignment on the 9000, but I’ll do one anyway as the car will be a little lower and I’m due for an alignment.

    This set up supposedly makes a big difference in the 9K and I’m looking forward to it. I think the car will still lack the roll stiffness I want, so I’ll do F & R anti-roll bars next.

  2. Rodney says:

    Well the trip from your house to mine just wasn’t enough to get a good feel for the new suspension and I could hardly wait to return home from a business trip and give the Evo another run. After a week, I finally made it back and was ready to test out the new suspension. But, fist things first, an alignment was needed. So, I took the Evo by Hubcap Heaven, where they have some of the latest equipment for performing alignments. They set the car up nicely with a degree of negative camber on both sides, front and rear. I picked up the car after work and headed for some nice curvy back roads and little less traffic. The car performed like dream. Heading into the curves the Evo just hug the road as though the car was part of the latest steel roller coaster ride at the amusement park. With each curve I felt more and more confident in the Evo’s handling. I felt overwhelmingly in control as a smile came across my face and I powered through the next curve. Lost for words, all I could think of is WOW, this is very much different. The stock suspension handled much harsher and felt more like a wooden roller coaster, throwing me off at times. It was almost as though the stock suspension was feedback overload for me. The Bilstein however, feels much more refined with just the right amount of feedback and comfort. On the straight a-ways the Bilstein suspension smooths out some the harshness and still provided me with plenty of feedback and handling. Also during acceleration the Evo seems to more easily pin my head back into the Recaro seats as I pressed the accelerator, a really nice sensation.

    I highly recommend this upgrade to anyone who feels the stock suspension a bit too much in feedback and uncomfortable at times. Thanks again Jim for sending me the Ebay link and helping me swap out the suspension.

    Anyone interested in upgrading their older Evo to a nearly new 2006 Evo IX stock suspension, just let me know. Now accepting offers.

    Rodney

  3. jimsgarage says:

    Fantastic Rodney, it is always good when things turn out as good or better than you expected. The MR suspension from eBay was quite the bargain. Send me some photos of your GSR and I’ll update this entry.

    Jim

  4. jesse says:

    What does MR stand for?

  5. jimsgarage says:

    MR = Mitsubishi Racing

  6. Pingback: Mitsubishi Dealerships Parts Department | Mitsubishi Photos Blog

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