Install: Group-N Front Top Hats

After going through my options in a previous post, I decided to go with the Group-N top hats. I’m going to school and starting a new job so I needed a known quantity for a reliable setup. I won’t have the time to tinker with my car like I want to. However, the swap took about 30 mins, since I have lowering springs (read: no spring compressor needed), and I have done this way too many times.  There are two 19mm bolts holding the strut to the knuckle (sans a couple of 12mm bolts for brake lines and whatnot) and three 12mm nuts holding the strut to the tower.

I mark the upper eccentric bolt’s position with a marker or fingernail polish so I can reinstall the struts in a similar manner. With lowering springs, and as mentioned above, I didn’t need to use a spring compressor to remove the 17mm nut holding the top hat in place. An impact or a pass-thru ratchet works here too.


Whiteline Top Hats (left), Group-N Top Hats (right)


Remove the top hat and replace with the new top hat and tighten down the 17mm nut.


Group-N Top Hats Installed


Then reinstall the strut assembly reverse of removal. Torque the bolts down and done.


Strut Assembly Reinstalled


After a test drive, I noticed all of my rando noises from my suspension have disappeared. I suspected some of them belonged to the WL top hats, but I didn’t think all of them did. However, I do miss the inherent handling capabilities of the WL top hats, but the assortment of noises, along with the slow destruction of my upper spring perch effectively made the choice for me. I’m just waiting for the Subie dealership to ship out my replacement perches. Other than the loss of handling, the steering is smoother and somewhat more direct; perhaps due to the failing bushing and bearings.


Ready for Daily Duty


I am going to look into anti-lift kits to regain some of my lost caster. Or look into caster adding mods that shim the rear control arm bushing.