Install: Cusco Front/Rear Sway Bars (22mm)

I initially wanted to wait to install the R180 before the sway bars, but the mod bug got the better of me. Also, the R180 will probably require more parts than I initially anticipated. I have a full STi suspension, so I picked up the sway bars from RSD via Kyle at Subiewerks.

The first step is to disconnect the end links. I am keeping the stock STi end links for now. I prefer the ball and socket design.

Next, we can remove the jack plate. For whatever reason, Subaru made the rear bolts easy with captive nuts, the fronts are not, and it is a tight squeeze to get a wrench in there. I might throw a couple of rivet nuts in there one day.

With the jack plate out of the way, we can drop the sway bar by removing the two front sway bar mounts.

In the photos, the Cusco 22mm bar almost looks like it is the same size as the STi 20mm bar. In person, the Cusco bar is noticeably bigger. It weighs around a pound more than the STi bar.

Cusco 22mm (8.1 lbs) vs STI 20mm (6.8 lbs)

The install is reverse of removal. The Cusco bushings are rubber, but I put a little bit of grease on them anyways.

The rear sway bar is more or less the same as the front. Disconnect the end links and then remove the sway bar mounts. You may have to remove the gas filler cover to access the bolts.

As in front, the rear Cusco bar looks similar in size to the stock STi 20mm in the photos. It weighs almost 2lbs more than the OEM STi sway bar.

Cusco 22mm (10.3 lbs) vs STI 20mm (8.5 lbs)

For the install, I also have new hardware for the sway bar mounts. As mentioned in the previous post, I somehow had two left sway bar mounts. FastWRX sells a hardware kit, which includes new brackets, mounts, and fasteners.

We can now replace the parts with shiny new ones.

And then install the rear sway bar.

I decided to use the softest setting on the rear sway bar as a baseline. I generally prefer a neutral handling car. I will probably leave it in the softest setting until I install the R180.

All done!

Review

Overall, this is a fairly subtle mod. The WRX is flatter in the turns; however, I haven’t pushed it hard yet. One thing that surprised me was how much smoother the ride was. I am running STi struts with RCE Yellow springs. Compared to the stock setup, the RCE Yellows got rid of a lot of the bounciness in the stock springs, especially at speed. This feels like more of the same. Low-speed uneven surfaces seem a little harsher.

I was hoping for more turn-in, but I didn’t really notice any change there. In the turns, the rear end seems more willing to follow the front. With the R180 and the plated LSD, the rear end might play an even greater role in handling. It does feel like the rear sway bar is sliding around a bit, so I ordered some lock collars.

Also, the fit and finish of the Cusco sways are more or less like OEM. Everything lined up as it was supposed to, and there were no modifications needed to get anything to line up. I am not a JDM-fanboi, but I am starting to understand why people like Cusco parts. It is unfortunate that sway bar options for the GD chassis have dropped to Whiteline, Cusco, and Eibach.

I’m not sure what’s next for the Bugeye besides the sway bar collars. I have been doing a lot of small things here and there. Most of which aren’t worth making a single blog post about. I’ve got a lot of plans and no money, haha.

6 Comments

  1. Ken L says:

    REX_WGN from NASIOC here. Curious as to why you didn’t upgrade the endlinks as well? It may be a good thing; you can now figure out if endlink upgrades alone will be a noticeable mod. I have been trying to avoid Whiteline solely based on their terrible coatings. They rust to hell after 2-3 years of northeast daily driving. My Perrin front bar’s coating looks like-new and I’ve had it on since 2009.

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    1. A.A.Smith says:

      Personally, I like to do things in stages so I can judge any changes as independently as possible. Also, I don’t really like the KB end link design, which nearly everyone has duplicated. It’s not a bad design, just personal preference.

      Also, my STi end links are in decent shape so I don’t see a need to replace them just yet. I have been looking at options though. Some Miatas have a similar ball and socket design, so I am looking into their aftermarket for alternatives.

      Unfortunately, WL bought SuperPro so they are more or less unavoidable at this point. I just bought their sway bar lock collars since all of the other options were unknown brands (to me at least) and the same price.

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      1. Ken L says:

        You’re the second person I’ve heard that doesn’t like KB endlinks with me being the first. What I don’t like about them is the ID of the endlink crush tubes do not match the OD of the bolts. So as the swaybar articulates, it’s much easier for the endlinks to slip and clank. I’ve reached out about the design years ago and I was told they were made that way to prevent road grime from building in there seizing to the bolt. When I said it clunks, I was told to just tighten them down more. I didn’t like how this was the solution and not allow the swaybar and endlinks to work like they should so I went away from them after trying them out for a few years.

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      2. A.A.Smith says:

        I don’t like that they clunk either. What end links are you running now?

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      3. Ken L says:

        Whiteline ball joint style ones in the front so that my JDM aluminum arms – angled endlink tabs – can work with the front swaybar. I don’t run a swaybar in the rear. Had Whiteline rear swaybar with KB endlinks. Then I was able to upgrade to MSI billet adjustable lateral links but their adjustable endlink mounting single tabs are really only made for the STI style endlinks. I talked to TIC and they said I could still run WRX endlinks in a unique way. I bought a Superpro rear swaybar and Superpro WRX endlinks and never got around to install them yet.

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      4. A.A.Smith says:

        Gotcha.

        Hmmm, it looks like SuperPro still makes a 24mm front sway bar for the GD chassis. Part of me wants to pick it up before it is discontinued. I’ve been thinking about getting adjustable lateral links to dial in my rear camber. At some point, I plan to get coilovers as well so I should probably wait until then.

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