While there have been few entries for a while we have been quite busy getting the “new” Evo fitted out with more goodies. One Saturday we laid out just about all the suspension pieces that we wanted to equip the car with.
That includes the Swift Spec R springs that we found to be such an advantage on the track. Also a 25mm adjustable anti-roll bar (a.k.a, anti-sway) from Road Race Engineering. The folks from Whiteline make an essential pair of kits to restore the roll center in the front suspension after lowering and a bump-steer fix for the rear suspension. It was also time to install the front fender braces and upgrade the front anti-roll bar bushings.
There is nothing like having a garage and a lift at your disposal when executing a project like this and the first thing to do was to remove the wheels and tires from the car. This allowed easy access to the suspension pieces.
I started on the fender braces while a couple of friends tackled the rear anti-roll bar.
The first thing to do when installing the braces is to remove the front fenders and the first thing you have to do is remove the fender liner. This consists of removing many push pins, a couple of scrivets (screw rivets), and one bolt. Then you pull the liner out from under the wheel well.
From there you unbolt the bolts on the top of the fender and loosen the fasteners holding the headlight assembly.
You also have to pop off the J-panel by the rear view mirror in order to get to one of the fender’s bolts.
Another bolt is accessible by opening the door.
Finally there are two bolts at the bottom of the fender as you pry back the rocker panel.
After all those fasteners are taken care of you should be able to pull off the fender. It helps to have some extra hands so that things don’t get scratched or bent. The fender is very light since it is made from aluminum.
That exposes the area behind the fender and that is where the fender braces are mounted.
It is best to keep the car’s door closed as you must remove three bolts on the door’s hinge and then bolt the brace using those bolts. Later you should test how the door latches and adjust the hinges if necessary.
Then you need to drill two holes for the two Allen-head bolts at the front of the brace. You can also install the single Allen-head bolt using an existing hole in the subframe.
With the holes drilled you install and tighten the bolts. The result is a brace that will hide behind the fender and provide excellent stiffness to the chassis.
Meanwhile my friends were making progress with the rear bar. We had to unbolt the shocks and rear hub so that the new bar could be exchanged with the factory bar.
The new 25mm bar has stops welded in so that the bar won’t slide back and forth.
It also has a new mount that accommodates the added diameter and provides a strong anchor to deal with all the torque the new bar will have to sustain.
The bar is adjustable with three positions to choose from. I am starting with the softest setting since my other modifications will provide the rotation I need. That leaves plenty of roll stiffness I can add in later if I need it.
With the new bar in place it was time to replace the stock springs with the Swift Spec R springs. I had found these springs to be just fantastic on the road course. They may not be as exotic as coil-overs, but they worked exceptionally well to keep the tires planted and transferring power to the track surface. They really complemented the factory Bilsteins.
The rear springs were mounted over the shocks so they were unbolted from the shock towers from inside the trunk. Fortunately I had not fastened the trim panels and they just pulled out of the way allowing access to the top bolts.
With the shocks unbolted from the car they were put in the spring compressor and the new springs were exchanged.
With a little help from a suspension screw jack the lower arm was held up high enough to secure the shock bolt.
Before the front struts went through the same process a couple of other steps took place.
First, since the new rear bar now had Energy bushings to rotate on the front bar was unbolted so that new Energy bushing could be swapped out for the factory rubber bushings.
The front bar did not have to be removed to get the new bushings installed. The Energy bushings were liberally coated with synthetic grease and popped into place and then the bushing clamps were bolted into place.
The description above makes this process sound trivial, but believe me it was not. The guys installing the entire new rear bar had a much easier time. The front bar is best tackled using a lift in order to have access to everything and even then it is difficult. The bar has to be unbolted from the control arms as well and here is where it was discovered that the optional brake deflectors were missing and the mounting brackets were bent. Hmm, I wonder what happened to this car?
Fortunately I had a nice set of carbon fiber brake deflectors that came with new brackets. They fit and worked just as the factory ones had, just a lot more bling.
After getting the new roll bar bushings installed I pulled the lower control arms so I could fit a new set of arms that had the Whiteline ball joints installed. Normally it would have been some extra steps to press out the factory ball joints and press in the Whiteline ball joints, but I had an extra set of control arms that I had done all that work to already. That made it a simple job to swap out the lower control arms and attach the ball joint to the front hub.
All the bolts were tightened to proper torque and the anti-roll bar was connected to the arms. Then the new brake duct and brackets were installed.
The struts were unbolted and the Swift Spec R springs were installed using the shop spring compressor.
Finally the new Whiteline tie rod ends were swapped with the factory ones completing the roll center correction kit.
Next it was time for an alignment since everything was new or had been unbolted. I also purchased new eccentric bolts, washers, lock washers, and nuts for the key suspension links in the rear. The old ones were okay, but didn’t feel right was the nuts were loosened and tightened. I didn’t want to save a few bucks only to end up like I did last fall with a stripped bolt.
The initial alignment went well. I had ground the rear toe links just a little so that they had plenty of room for me to minimize toe.
The new front tie rod ends were easy to adjust, as well. Later I would work on perfecting the camber settings, but it was fine for now.