We are 24 hours into our 120-hour Week to Wicked build and already we've checked off several key items from the to-do list for our 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited project car. As promised, we're purposing this little flat-4 FR to be a daily driven street machine with occasional track use in mind, about as relatable an aim as there is in the world of vehicle customization, and our approach is to do this in stages, very much like your average enthusiast would. They probably wouldn't do it in five days, but that's really about the only difference.
Suspension and brakes were slated for Day 1, pretty much the first place you're told to begin when you pick up any project. We're looking to maximize handling and agility, especially since a healthy power-adder is on the horizon for the Subaru; the side benefit is, of course, in pursuit of better performance we find improved stance. And since more grunt is on the menu in the not-too-far-off future, some insurance in the form of braking upgrades is warmly appreciated. Both systems are conveniently in roughly the same area on the car, and that's where we went today.
Our BRZ was old enough to already have some pretty tired factory rubber bushings, so we started there, picking up an Energy Suspension Hyper-Flex System Red Master Kit for the ZC chassis. Energy's polyurethane replacement bushings offer increased stiffness that help the driver feel a little more connected to the road and durability that lasts far longer than traditional rubber. Plus, several are fairly easy to replace, even for the average DIYer.
For example, the rear anti-sway bar comes off pretty easily by first unbolting the end links and then the brackets holding it to the sub-frame.
The Energy setup includes both the bracket bushings and complete replacements for the end links. Energy supplies the lube as well.
Other bushings required some additional work, and for many enthusiasts probably should be left to the experts. For the bushing on the rear lower control arms, we first popped out the metal sleeve at the center by using a press.
We then took a grinder to the metal collar that was leftover in the arm, cutting the wall of the collar as deep as we could without breaking through to the surrounding metal. Then with a chisel we were able to finish the job of removing the factory rubber bushing.
The Energy Suspension Hyper-Flex rear LCA poly bushing went in a lot easier (and looks a hundred times better, too). Additional Energy bushings were employed throughout the front of the chassis as well.
We teamed up with RS*R USA for the spring and damper portion of this build, and they pointed us in the direction of their Sports-I line of coilovers. The Sports-I feature set includes a monotube design damper using RS-R's proprietary oil and 36-level damping force adjustment via dial on the unit; additionally, the front struts offer a urethane bushing upper mount with an aluminum upper plate (for max comfort, minimized NVH), and the upper mount can be rotated to add 1.5 degrees of negative camber. The coilovers sport Ti2000 springs, and on MacPherson-style suspensions utilize roller bearings to eliminate spring binding noise (sorta like you find on the Acura RSX and other platforms).
Dropping the factory suspension in front means first removing the brake lines from the suspension bodies, and also disconnecting the end link from the sway bar. Then its 2 bolts at the knuckle and three nuts atop the strut tower and the OE suspension should be free enough to remove.
In back, since we had lower arms out anyway, all we had to do was undo the upper mounting bolts, which are tucked under a mess of rugs, panels, and Styrofoam. Installation goes in the reverse order.
Last but definitely not least, EBC lent a hand with its BSD slotted brake rotors and Yellowstuff pads. The rotors come in a painted "bedding" finish that gets worn off the contact area as they're used, while the Yellowstuff pads are geared to light motorsports applications.
Since we're replacing rotors, we had to completely unbolt the caliper and bracket, which we just set off to the side (making sure not to put any stress on the brake line). These rotors have a couple of threaded set screw holes, which we employed with a pair of bolts to break the discs free. Assembly is in reverse order, and when it comes time to replacing the pads you will likely have to push the caliper piston back into its housing (which is easily done with a big enough c-clamp).
All buttoned up for the day—our Project BRZ has new handling hops and should be able to stop on a dime.
We still have plenty of wrenching to do, so stay tuned for the next update.
For this build, the official sponsors of the Super Street Week To Wicked Subaru BRZ build, includes: Falken Tires, Konig Wheels, Greddy Performance Products, SPEC Clutch, Covercraft, Energy Suspension, Odyssey Battery, RS-R USA, and Vortech Superchargers
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