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Old 08-24-2014, 06:35 PM   #1
Firestorm_86
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Bilstein B6's and Swift Sport FRS Installed (now with 15' WRX comparison)

I'm doing this writeup since it doesn't seem like there are a lot of people who have posted their experience with the Bilstein B6 and B8 dampers. My goals are a compromise between DD comfort and spirited driving on twisty roads while still being able to throw on some sticky tires for a track day.

So yesterday I got with @weepel and had a lowering party. He was throwing on his Eibach's and I was putting on the Bilsteins with the Swifts.

We followed a hybrid of the @DarrenDriven, @Racecomp Engineering and SPL's LCA DIY's since we didn't have spring compressors and we wanted a backup when we needed to loosen the LCA's to more easily fit the struts in. Overall the install went smoothly. The most amount of time wasted were my bolts put on at 120+ lbs/ft by the tire shop and losing a nut in the engine bay. Bilstein's visual diagrams were pretty straight forward, but the torque values for their spring nuts were not. Doing the OEM spec didn't quite seem to cut it.

The only hiccup we had was some clunking afterwards. This was fixed by loosening and retightening the spring nuts.



A special thanks to @CSG David and @CounterSpace Garage for the setup.


On to the details

Day 1
-- The Ride
So far I can't tell anything too different. It's no rougher even with the increased spring rate. I've intentionally ran over plenty of sewer caps and taken the crappier lines on my local roads just to get a feel for how it's reacting and it seems the bumps and potholes are a little smoother, but it may just be placebo.
I hope to report back after a few mountain runs, as well as hopefully a track day.

-- The look
The 1.1 inch drop up front and 1 inch drop in the back seem to be perfect. I run spacers on my 17x7.5's which explains the aggressive look. All in all I'm quite pleased with how it's sitting now; not too low, but just low enough.





Long Term Review

Day 3 - It seems that small bumps on roads are kind of chattery. But smooth roads feel like butter. It's weird. Almost as if the springs have a tiny bit of progressiveness that is ultrasoft? OR, it just seems more peaceful since the chatter increased the NVH.
Day 5 - Supposedly your dampers smooth or mellow out after a while. I'm only about 150 miles in (and 5 days worth of the car sitting on them) but it really seems like there is some change. Going on a 800 mile road trip this week, so it should've fully set by the end of that.
Day 15 - So about 2 weeks in now, I'm pretty sure the dampers and springs are fully settled. The ride is smooth. I'd say easily as smooth as stock over the smaller bumps, if not smoother. Potholes and such seem to be a little rougher, that said, it isn't much worse as a pothole sucks either way and the stock suspension didn't absorb them too well to begin with. Handling is still superb. It's awesome feeling the car rotate and staying completely flat. I run Michelin Pilot Sport AS3's and can definitely overdrive the car on the street with the grip I have available. That said, it's WAY more than needed for the street. I'm now at a comfortable street/mountain road setup with the ability to hit up the occasional track day with some stickier rubber. All for under $1200. If I want to dial in the perfect camber for track days and such though, I'll still need some LCA's and camber plates.
Day 30 - So I've had some time to get used to the setup. I think I'm out of the honeymoon phase, so this should be more objective. I'm also to be the lucky (co-)owner of a 15' WRX for more comparison's sake.
-- The car stays flat. Intensely flat where my Michelin Pilot Sport AS3's grip is exceeded by what my suspension can force on them. Previously, the AS3's were pretty much perfect for the stock suspension. This is all good though, since I look forward to Summer rubber being put on in the future.
-- The car is is sometimes more rough. I hate to say it but harder spring rates have added a detrimental affect to NVH, especially on crappy city roads. On smooth suburb roads though, I feel like my cars on a freshly paved racetrack. Normal everyday turns are excuses to downshift and throw the car into the turn, just to rocket out of it.
-- Compared to a sporty sedan (WRX)? The FRS now feels like a proper sportscar. It's low, its loud (I have the transmission bushing), and it hugs the road and lets you know it. The WRX is great fun and an all around amazing car, especially if you got the base that's FRS/BRZ pricing. However, it makes me enjoy driving my FRS that much more. The FRS demands you to work with it, drive it more intentionally, and rewards you with an amazing driving experience. It's not to say the WRX doesn't, but it's much less direct.

Last edited by Firestorm_86; 09-26-2014 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:38 PM   #2
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and pictures!


The Fronts




The Rears






And some random install pics




Last edited by Firestorm_86; 08-28-2014 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:44 AM   #3
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In for review...
Looking forward to a review on the ride quality..
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:04 PM   #4
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Nice! Me want Swift Spec R + B8 or a set of B14.

Any more exterior shots?

I'd love to see if there are any pics on the Spec R's
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yui-Chan View Post
Nice! Me want Swift Spec R + B8 or a set of B14.

Any more exterior shots?

I'd love to see if there are any pics on the Spec R's
Photo:



My initial decision was to go B14. I think if you're looking for stance/aesthetics, that's the way to go. If you're going to the track/performance than the Swift Spec R and B6, maybe 8's are the way to go.

Having driven it for a few days now I can say that it rides just a tad stiffer than stock, but the damping for the potholes seems to be improved. However, when turning, my car now stays completely flat, even when driven slightly spirited.

Given the spring rate for the Sports, I wouldn't recommend the Spec-R unless you want a pretty rough ride. The B14's are the opposite of this, with a progressive spring rate that should make for great DDing and fairly good track performance as well. So my suggestion would be:

Goal - setup

Daily driver - B14
Spirited Driving - Sport FRS or BRZ & B8
Track - Spec-R & B6/8
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yui-Chan View Post
Nice! Me want Swift Spec R + B8 or a set of B14.

Any more exterior shots?

I'd love to see if there are any pics on the Spec R's
The Spec-Rs look similar in height. The springs are black. Let me know if you're interested since we're running Spec-R springs on OEM shocks on our shop car right now (testing purposes). The drop actually looks pretty good.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSG David View Post
The Spec-Rs look similar in height. The springs are black. Let me know if you're interested since we're running Spec-R springs on OEM shocks on our shop car right now (testing purposes). The drop actually looks pretty good.
@Yui-Chan

I want to say that my car is now about 1/3 of an inch lower than that day. So with the B8 + Swift Sport FRS setup, you can expect .25-.5" more drop than they state. I presume this is due to the Bilstein B8's vs the stock damper.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firestorm_86 View Post
@Yui-Chan

I want to say that my car is now about 1/3 of an inch lower than that day. So with the B8 + Swift Sport FRS setup, you can expect .25-.5" more drop than they state. I presume this is due to the Bilstein B8's vs the stock damper.

Don't think so bro.
I have the Swift springs and the drop is lower than the advertised 1", 0.25 - 0.5" additionally lower is abt the right guestimate.

I am running on stock dampers.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:50 AM   #9
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Don't think so bro.
I have the Swift springs and the drop is lower than the advertised 1", 0.25 - 0.5" additionally lower is abt the right guestimate.

I am running on stock dampers.
Ah, well then it looks like Swift needs to revise their advertised drop. But that's good to know. That means the Bilsteins are direct replacement for stock and the Swifts are just a tad more of a drop than you'd think. 1.1" front and 1" back is advertised. So between your results and mine, 1.2-1.4" for front and maybe 1.2-1.5" for the back.

You run the Swift Sport FRS or BRZ?

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Old 09-09-2014, 06:35 AM   #10
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Ah, well then it looks like Swift needs to revise their advertised drop. But that's good to know. That means the Bilsteins are direct replacement for stock and the Swifts are just a tad more of a drop than you'd think. 1" front and 1.1" back is advertised. So between your results and mine, 1.2-1.4" for front and maybe 1.2-1.5" for the back.

You run the Swift Sport FRS or BRZ?

I run the Swift FRS version, i reckon you are right, final drop is prob 1.3' averaged out.

Perhaps Swift was being conservative in their product ad. Better lower than sorry!
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:40 PM   #11
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I thought the Swift lowering springs were progressive?

I'm thinking about going with Spec-R & B8
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I thought the Swift lowering springs were progressive?

I'm thinking about going with Spec-R & B8
No more Buddy Clubs or R2s?

A few clients purchased into the Spec-R and B8 setup that we recommended. Based on our testing, Spec-Rs are literally at the edge of the damping range for the OEM shocks. Bilsteins are much needed for this application. The ride height on the Spec-Rs look really good though.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSG David View Post
No more Buddy Clubs or R2s?

A few clients purchased into the Spec-R and B8 setup that we recommended. Based on our testing, Spec-Rs are literally at the edge of the damping range for the OEM shocks. Bilsteins are much needed for this application. The ride height on the Spec-Rs look really good though.
Yep, I sold my R2s and looking for a cheaper setup.

Would you say Spec-R and B8 puts the damping at the edge as well?
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:30 PM   #14
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Yep, I sold my R2s and looking for a cheaper setup.

Would you say Spec-R and B8 puts the damping at the edge as well?
The Spec-R on OEM shock pairing was validated at Buttonwillow before the repave (wasn't bottoming out very hard or losing control like some other spring setups). The setup felt quite good on track (surprisingly) hence why I know Swift decided to choose those particular spring rates and drop. It does, however, feel much rougher on the I-5 freeway in some really rough places. Keep in mind, Spec-R is around 1kg/mm more than the Sport springs, which is really designed to be operating in the optimal damping range for the OEM shocks.

So to simply conclude, the B6 and B8 options would actually be a more optimal setup for the Spec-R than the Sport springs. Pair that with camber plates and rear lower control arms and it should be a very potent setup with no need to worry about dialing in damper settings.
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