After spending Saturday afternoon at the Toronto Subaru Club Spring Fling with the TMBLER, I decided to finish off my weekend by working on the BatBerry. After receiving some great advice/support form Kevin at Air Assisted last week, I decided to tackle the front shocks. When you use a front air suspension kit, like the one from Ride Tech that I’m using, you need to fabricate new mounting points for the front shocks. This is because the old suspension was a spring over top of a shock configuration.
Now that the air bag takes up the space of the old spring, the shock needs to move to the outside of the suspension and bolt onto the bottom A-arm. This involves figuring out exactly where to mount everything while taking into account things like A-arm travel, full collapse and expand of the suspension as well as wheel and tire clearance when the steering is in the full locked position.
First step was bringing the suspension up to the fully collapsed position where the bottom A-arm is sitting on its bump stop. From there you can play around with where the shock needs to attach to the lower A-arm and then pop on the wheel in the full steering lock position to make sure that your position clears the tire. You also need to make sure that the shock still has some travel left in it when it’s at this fully collapsed position. That’s because you want the bump stop to do its job and not put the weight of the vehicle on the shock.
Once you have your mocked up position you can also check to make sure there isn’t any contact with the shock during the wheel travel from top to bottom. It’s also good to make sure (if possible) that the shock isn’t at full extension before the top bump stop hits (i.e. The car is flying in the air). This is a very rare occasion because even with the weight of the tire and spindle I had to push down on the tire to get it to extend to the top bump stop.
The lower A-arm was then drilled and the shock stud was pushed through to hold everything in place. This then allowed me to tack weld the top shock mount and test the suspension travel one last time before permanently welding the top shock mount.
I then repeated the same process for the passenger side of the car to complete the job. Overall it was a pretty straightforward installation and I’m happy with the results. Now I just need to give the shock towers a nice coat of primer and paint when the temperature gets a little bit warmer (it was only 8 degrees out there today). I also managed to get the top chassis brace bolted back into position. Once the shock towers are painted I’ll be able to bolt the front radiator assembly back onto the car using this top chassis brace.
I’ll also have to figure out a new mounting location for the front brake line brackets where the flex hose connects to the hard line. They used to be located right where the new shocks are now located. I figure I’ll likely just find a spot to weld them on just in front of the A-arms.