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Thread: Raceland Coilovers: An In Depth Review

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    Moderator Mr Dobalina's Avatar
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    Raceland Coilovers: An In Depth Review

    This review can originally be found at:
    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2262616 by username "KJK"

    He discusses his experience with Raceland coilovers; including everything from the quality of hardware, to the handling profile achieved on numerous cars (Subaru 2.5 RS, BMW E36 M3)

    ::

    Approaching a full year of ownership with my RS, I realized that I was really growing to like the car, and decided that the tired chassis could use some refreshing. I purchased the car with the intention of using it solely as a winter beater, but Iíve always wanted one, and the more I drove it, the more I fell in love with it. I actually ended up driving the RS more than my M3!

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    Frontal profile prior to install

    Now before I delve into the review, some background information is in order. Iíll be the first to admit that she may not come across as the prettiest of beasts, but donít pass judgment based strictly on appearance. Iíve included pictures of some of my more ďaesthetically pleasingĒ automobiles, just in case the state of my RS leaves some of you questioning my judgment. But if Iím honest, I think there's a presence about my RS that canít be captured by cars with the stereotypical look of perfection. (The red hood, mismatched headlights, bumper damage, and A/C delete are all thanks to a deer)

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    How they arrived

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    Unpackaged and laid out

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    Front OEM comparison

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    Rear OEM comparison

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    Moderator Mr Dobalina's Avatar
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    Front before

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    Front after (Zip-tie's were temporary)

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    Driver side camber plate orientation (Caster and camber is adjusted simultaneously)

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    Rear before

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    Rear after

  3. #3
    Moderator Mr Dobalina's Avatar
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    How she sits as of today

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    Opposite-side profile

    The above photos should hopefully give you a better understanding of the Raceland kit and how it compares to what came on these cars from the factory. I first installed a Raceland coilover kit on my M3 after being very impressed by the ride quality of a friends E46. After several months as a satisfied customer, the M3 was fitted with TC-Kline coilovers that offered damper adjustability that would be more suited to track use. However, on the street the difference was hardly noticeable. If anything, I found that the Racelands were a bit more forgiving for daily use (Most likely due to the softer spring rates).

    A few months later, with this comparison still fresh in my mind, I headed to Raceland’s site to see if they offered anything for my Subaru, and what I found surprised me. The coilovers that Raceland offers for the Impreza are much more advanced than the basic kit that my M3 was fitted with. The Impreza kit features pillow-ball bushings on all four corners, isolated ride height adjustability, and front camber plates. At less than $500, I knew this was a purchase that I needed to make.

    First impressions upon receiving the kit were excellent, the packaging was very well padded and the coilovers/hardware looked great. When installing these I soon noticed that my car would be immobile before I ran out of height adjustability. Although this does not appeal to everyone, I was surprised to see that this kit enables you to lay frame while still retaining full suspension travel. If going low is your thing, I haven’t seen any other coilovers for the Impreza that will offer this kind of height adjustability with a full shock stroke.

    When taking the initial test drive, I immediately noticed the connected feel that the pillow-ball bushings provided. The steering response was much more direct, enabling greater awareness of road irregularities and offering a better overall feel for what the tires are doing. Although my car is low (by most standards), it does not ride like a bouncy, shock-bottoming, fender-rubbing, functionless piece of metal. Instead, it’s quite the contrary; my car is a joy to drive, cornering is flat, and yet I can still enjoy throwing the car’s weight around.

    I’ve ridden on many different coilovers - Tein, Stasis, KW, Bilstein, TC-Kline, Rokkor (Raceland’s sister company that offers stiffer spring rates), and more. What I’ve learned from my time spent driving on theses various kits, is that if you’re not pushing the car or driving over some seriously ugly roads, the noticeable difference between most coilovers will be negligible at best.

    I found my Racelands to ride very similarly to a friends GD WRX that is on Teins. In fact after spending a substantial amount of time in both cars, I can confidently say that the damping rates feel near identical. Now obviously these coilovers won’t cater to a track-focused car as well as some other kits will, but for a substantial percentage of Subaru owners out there, I truly believe that this is a great offering.

    I’ve had these coilovers on my car since the beginning of September, and I have yet to find a fault. They’re not overly harsh on inclement road surfaces, turn in is sharp, and handling is predictable. I also find the spring rates very well suited to the GC chassis. You can still transition the cars weight around, and steering input isn’t met with the snappy handling characteristics of coilovers that are overly stiff.

    What I believe a lot of people don’t understand about the high dollar coilovers that offer several ways of adjustability, and many other features, is that it takes an exceptional amount of knowledge to get the most out of such a kit. On top of this, to truly optimize such a suspension system, it needs to be very focused in its setup. Corner balancing, road surface (Nearly all tarmac is different), road conditions, projected loads, and so much more are all taken into consideration. This means that for nearly every day you drive, the suspension setup will need to be re-evaluated. Now this kind of precision is excellent for the track, but for the road and day to day driving, you will need to settle on a compromised setup, and if you’re running on a compromised setup for the majority of your cars use, then you’re not tapping into the full potential of the kit that you paid top dollar for. Now I’m not saying that Raceland offers the only solution, but I’ve been very satisfied with their product, and I believe that many others could benefit from what they offer.

    Also, I cannot stress how important proper alignment specs are!

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    Moderator Bobcapecod's Avatar
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    To be honest, immediate suspension reviews are useless. Sure they are great, everything is great when you first get it. Everyone that knocks racelands say, lets see that after 1 year review once the ride has gone to shit. (just what ive heard, after a year they are terrible)

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    Moderator Mr Dobalina's Avatar
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    I've had racelands for about 2 years

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    I wish I could buy coil overs for my car for under $500. I only have like 2 options, BCs fo $1000 or KWs for $2500

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    Member CuratorXAngelus's Avatar
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    Nick can you get the Suspension Techniques version of the KW's? I know they did them for Subie's. I also own Racelands on my 02 WRX Sedan and I love them as well. Had them on the car since last spring/summer. I had a set of half blown Megan coilovers with all the adjustments that the previous owner installed. I would take the Racelands over those all day long. I daily drive my car and beat on it pretty well from time to time. I've even AutoX'd at ADSI and the Racelands held up pretty well for the somewhat uneven surface of the airbase. From smooth windy backroads to bumpy pothole filled city streets, these coilovers do pretty damn swell for under $500. I would highly recommend these to a fellow Subaru owner looking to get some more stance and handling from their car.

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