[Note, this document is published with the understanding that there is no knowledge of the longterm reliability of the parts described within. The author, nor AudiWorld, is not responsible for you finding that they wear out rapidly.]
OK, so I've been hinting at different front drop links to get rid of
the stock C-shaped parts with the rubber bushings. You know, the ones
everyone complains about, especially dealers, that they don't look
properly lined up.
Last Saturday when I had my car up in the air at a local shop, I checked out the WRX up in the air on the lift next to me. Looked as if the rear drop link on the WRX looked awfully close to the front ones on our cars. So today I went back and picked up a pair to try.
Here's the OE link as I'm disassembling:
Before installing I studied the new parts. They come from Perrin Performance and are used on the rear of late model Subaru WRX (but not STI). Machined from aluminum and replaces the rubber bushings with PTFE Teflon lined spherical bearings. Very nice parts. Note the angle of articulation that the bearings allow without the binding of the rubber parts:
Once I had it off, I placed them side by side and took some measurements. Both used the same bolt diameter so that part was easy. The only major difference was that the ears of the OE part are approx 89 mm apart, while the Perrin part is 98 mm. This will cause the trailing edge of the sway bar to hang about 9mm (about 1/3") lower to the ground though still not as low as the front cross member. And the width across the bushings is thicker on the Perrin by 2.6 mm but there is plenty of thread on the lower bolt to work. The top one is close, just barely contact the locking threads. I'll probably get bolts a couple mm longer for the top to be safe. They are grade 10.9 so need really strong ones.
Here's what it looks like on the car:
Here's the clearance between the link and the control arm. There's as much clearance here as with the stock part. (Note: all pics taken with the suspension locked in place and the front end on its wheels up on ramps.)
Entire swap took just 45 minutes, and that includes time to make measurements and take pictures. Simple 4 bolt swap that doesn't require removing the tires or dropping the front belly pan.
And the results? Front end steering response is much improved. When I turn the wheel, the car responds immediately, no slight delay as all the rubber flexes. And that's with the snows on. Can't wait to try with good 18's on the car! Can't wait for rush hour to end so I can go play on a couple of my favorite entrance ramps and get a feel for how it works at higher speeds. Downside? Well, it feels like a slight bit of road vibration is getting to the steering wheel, but that could just be me being overly critical. Again, I'll test this evening on my favorite piece of rough concrete.
Was it worth the $140 and 45 minutes. Hell yes. Who thought a Subaru could improve an Audi.