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Evo X Wheels, Suspension & Brakes General discussion for wheels, tires, brakes, and suspension topics that are unique to the Evo X. IF THE TOPIC IS COMMON WITH OTHER LANCERS, PLEASE POST IT IN: '08+ Lancer Common.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:43 PM   #1
kcandiloro
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Evo X Handling Package Review (ISC, Cobb & Whiteline)

I recently worked with Kaizen Tuning to purchase and install a handling package on my Evo X. The items purchased included:
  • ISC Coilovers
  • Cobb Front and Rear Sway Bars
  • Whiteline Endlinks




Until now my car had been on stock suspension and sway bars which are decent for a daily driver. The MR level Bilstein struts and Eibach springs are good for every day comfort while still performing well for a stock setup. However, I was looking for a solution that would produce less body roll and allow better feel of the road.

The stock MR spring rates are reported to be ~3.5 kg Front and 2.9 - 3.8 kg Rear while the ISC Street Sport configuration spring rates are listed as 8 kg Front and 6 kg Rear. This is a jump from the soft side of the scale well into the moderate portion. I've never installed aftermarket suspension in any of my vehicles before so I was a little wary going in that a full coil solution might sacrifice too much comfort for daily use. However, they haven't found a cure for the mod bug yet and I went ahead with the install. At the very least I would learn something in the end.

Kaizen has fairly recently begun offering ISC suspension products and I believe this was their first set installed for the Evo X. The quality of the parts appears excellent and the price was very reasonable. ISC is local to the Massachusetts area and they stress their commitment to customer service. Kaizen has been happy with the response they get from ISC, so I expect if I ever have issues with their product that it will not be a hassle to get assistance. It would be nice to never need to test that policy, but if it ever comes down to it I will share my experience.

It was pretty much a toss-up between the Cobb sway bars and the Whiteline solution. Whereas the Whiteline bars are solid construction and may be a bit more resilient, the Cobb bars are hollow, but with a larger diameter. This meant that performance between the two is similar since they both offer comparable rigidity, however from reading reviews of both sets, it appeared that the Cobb pieces have a slight edge in overall weight and build quality. In the end, I purchased the Cobb set during their 10% off sale so that pushed the Cobb pieces over the edge for me.

Kaizen recommends either Whiteline or Perrin brand end links for the Evo X. I went with the Whiteline links. I'm not sure Perrin offers a set of front links for the Evo X since they're not listed on their web site...

Let's start out with photos of the stock setup. This photo is with the stock suspension setup and my winter wheels (stock size and offset):









The next photo shows the new suspension setup with the same winter wheels:







Right away everything looks better, of course. The stock Evo spring height just isn't aesthetically pleasing and I always thought the MR setup was a little worse in the looks department than the GSR, since the front looked even higher. One of my next projects will probably be tackling the wheel offset, but it looks a little worse in pictures than it does in person so I can live with it for a bit.

I've taken a few drives since I've gotten these parts installed and so far I am very pleased with the outcome. The increase in spring rate that the ISC coils provide is definitely noticeable, but the ride quality is still comfortable enough for daily use. I took my wife out to lunch in the Evo and asked her if she had noticed any differences. She said that she hadn't noticed anything. Let me underscore that my wife is not a car person so I wouldn't expect her to note any improvements in handling, however if comfort had been drastically affected she would definitely have noticed. I call that a win folks, especially with the poor condition of the local roads after the crazy winter. Additionally, I don't notice any new interior rattles than I had with the stock suspension setup and I was thankful for that.

There are quite a few twisty back roads in the Nashua / Hollis area and I had a lot of fun trying them out with the new setup. Steering is super-sharp and the car holds through turns and over crests fantastically. Cornering is flat and tidy. One other thing I've noticed happening more often is the activation of traction control during starts on an uneven surface. I guess that is a result of increased rigidity where one wheel may not have as much traction as the rest. I'm not assuming this is any kind of issue worth investigating. Maybe I'm just having too much fun with my right foot.

Overall, I'm very happy with the upgrades. I really hope I can make it to some track or autocross events this season to really test it all out.

Thanks to Kaizen for their help selecting upgrade parts and the quality installation work they provided. I have to say that I would recommend the ISC coilovers for anyone looking for an improved street setup with performance that will certainly carry over onto the track. The Cobb sway bars and Whiteline end links round out the package nicely. I'll be sure to post any updates as they come.

One small correction: My winter rims are stock size and offset, but the tires are 235 width instead of 245.

Adding more installed pics from swapping out winter wheels:





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Last edited by kcandiloro; 04-11-2013 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:48 PM   #2
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good review man. Those sways sound like fun
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:27 PM   #3
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Awesome write up. Hopefully I'll get to see this in person next month.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:31 PM   #4
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Good write up, another example of Kaizen and the Kaizen Tuning difference!
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:36 PM   #5
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Where did you get those tails? Those are nice.

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Old 04-01-2013, 12:31 AM   #6
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good review man. Those sways sound like fun
Thank you. So far so good. It's sort of like getting used to a new car again.

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Awesome write up. Hopefully I'll get to see this in person next month.
Thanks, rides are $2 each

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Good write up, another example of Kaizen and the Kaizen Tuning difference!
Of course. It was worth the patience of a couple days' work. I don't know how the guys stand it when they're car is in the shop getting upgrades for weeks. Kaizen always does great work.

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Where did you get those tails? Those are nice.

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Depo Ralliart style tails off eBay. They've held up great for a couple years now. The indicator reflector is clear instead of amber on the OEM RA tails.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:06 AM   #7
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Nice! Car looks way better now
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:08 AM   #8
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Sweet ride Kev. I'll be slapping these on next week.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:17 AM   #9
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Nice! Car looks way better now
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Sweet ride Kev. I'll be slapping these on next week.
Thanks guys. I think you'll be happy with the coils. It'll be interesting to see how you like them.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:41 AM   #10
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I might get a set soon but I'm going to see if they can put a 9-10k spring in back. Supposedly the stock rear suspension design warrants a slightly stiffer rear spring than the front for neutral handling.
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