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I had done the installation last July-and I just got around to putting up a post showing some pictures and a few points about installation, alighnment, and overall experience. Just wanted to return the favor for all the research information I got from other members and posts, and perhaps provide some better insight for others considering this installation combination.

  • INSTALLATION: As you can tell from the title-I installed the highly recommended Eibach Pro-Kit sping and Bilstein strut combo on my 2002 IS300 with approximately 70K miles. At the same time I also installed Eibach sways. I am the type of guy that is VERY anal about my car-so alot of you may think that my steps where unecessary and this post is ridiculously long-but I can tell you at the end of the day all of my goals where reached. No noises, no rattles, and a smooth, reliable installation.

    For the most part-installation was easy. I made sure I PB blasted EVERY nut and bolt I would be loosening for several days before starting the installation (it also helps I do not drive my car in the winter).

    In addition to several other posts out there about installation, including some very detailed write ups, I have the following to add that might perhaps help some people during installation:

    I did not adjust or touch anything concerning the auto leveling switch system. I merely removed the bolt connecting the arm to the lower control arm on both the front and back, and when I reattached it I got no lights on the instrument cluster telling me it was malfunctioning, and it still works perfectly. When I brake or accelerate I can see the lights move up and down.​

    When removing the front strut/spring assembly some information out there calls for removing the upper ball joint to slide the assembly out OR removing the strut assembly mounting bracket on the lower control arm(as shown in the Hotchkis Installation PDF found on these forums) once you have loosened the three upper strut mount bolts and one lower strut bolt. I did NOT remove any other bolts or brackets or take apart any upper ball joint of any sort other than the three upper strut mount bolts, the sway bar link bolt (I also was installing Eibach sways so I had completely removed the sway bar) and the lower strut bolt that attaches to the control arm. I avoided alot of headaches by rotating the steering knuckle towards the outside of the car as far as possible which gave me room to remove the assembly. For example if I was working on the drivers side, I would rotate the steering wheel all the way to the left. This allowed the steering knuckle to rotate out of the way and literally allowed the strut/spring assembly to drop out. No other disassembly was required to get it out. From the picture below, you can see that when you remove the lower bolt and try and remove the assembly, it will hit the steering knuckle. The picture does not show the steering knuckle rotated-but when u do, it gives the strut enough clearance to be removed. The pictures are of the installed struts and springs, but you get the idea.​


    Once out of the car-dissassembly was fairly straight forward with a few instructions I got off the forums. I tried aligning everything as close as possible to stock (since the spring perch on the Bilsteins rotates freely) I did however stumble upon whether or not to use the Eibach bumpstops or the stock ones. Quite frankly, my stock bumpstops where in perfect condition-and I really didn't like the way the Eibach ones just sloshed around on the shaft. The stock bumpstops had a much better fit. I was fairly dissapointed in Eibach about this, but felt much better after I used the stock ones and they had a much better fit. ALSO a few days before the installation when I was spraying all the bolts, I noticed there was some dry rot in the spring insulators (rubber piece between the spring and top plate). Since my ultimate goal was to install an aftermarket supsension with as few noises as possible at the end of the day-I decided to replace them. Below are pictures of the Eibach bump stops which I did NOT use, and the spring insulators (that's what they call them at the dealer). The top two are the front, and the bottom two are for the rear. I did this for both the front and rear installation. They were in pretty good condition other than a little dry rot, but since I was going to have everything apart, might as well replace them. Below are the parts numbers and prices at my dealer:

    INSULATOR, FR COIL: 48157-22040 - $6.48 (2 required)
    INSULATOR, RR COIL: 48257-30060 - $36.24 (2 required)



    For the rear, many of the instructions found on the forums are pretty accurate in my opinion. Remove the three upper strut mount bolts, remove the sway bar end link bolt, remove the bolt that holds the lower end of the strut to the control arm, remove the 2 small bolts inside the wheel well, and then you need to remove the bolt holding the lower control to the sub frame and let the whole thing drop to remove the assmebly. Again, I did not touch or adjust any auto leveling system other than removing the bolt attaching it to the control arm. I also again used the stock bump stops, and replaced the rubber spring insulators. Here are some pictures of the rear installation also:




    The only thing I have to add here is that during reassembly, I had read that during a professional installation of TRD coilovers, when reinstalling the strut/spring assembly, they tightened the two fender well bolts last. I did the same thing to make sure there were no noises further on down the road. I installed the 3 upper strut mount bolts, reinstalled the control arm to the sub frame with the lower strut bolt connected, reattached the sway bar end links and auto headlight adjuster and THEN lowered the car as much as possible making sure I have enough room to tigthen the fender well bolts. THEN I tightened the two bolts in the fender well. Basically-I made sure there was weight on the spring and strut assembly before tightening the fender well bolts. Below is a picture of the two bolts (it's a bad picture but you get the point):​



  • ALIGNMENT
    As I have read on the forums-most people say to wait two weeks before aligning the car. This is in my opinion is very accurate. I only waited one week before aligning the car. The techinician was not able to get the rear camber within specs. I was okay with this as it was really only a little outside. HOWEVER-for the following two weeks I noticed the car got looser and looser and the steering became more and more crooked. Additionally the rear end of the car would "hobble" when going over a bump. At this point after all the work and money I put into the car I was very angry! I know what most of you are thinking. The technician did not know what he was doing. I assure you this is not the case. He was a friend of mine, and after I had went out of town for a couple of weeks and drove the car a little more (around 500 miles), I brought the car back in for a second alignment. EVERYTHING had settled-and when he went to align the car again everything fell within all specifications and within limits without a problem, and the car drove amazing afterwards. Conclusion: I would drive the car for at least 300-500 miles before getting it aligned. You should be able to get all the alignment specifications within limits with this spring shock combination.

  • DRIVING IMPRESSIONS
    Upon lowering the car down and taking the car for a drive-I noticed the car was GLUED to the road, and was very responsive. I thought this was decreased significantly after I got it aligned the FIRST time (my thoughts are that when you lower the car and take it for a ride-the negative camber is so much that the car is very grippy-but if you leave it like this you will chew through your tires). Once the suspension settled though, and I got the car aligned for the second time-the car now was EXTREMELY responsive and agile. Some people say this suspension setup is a mild improvement over stock. My opinion is the car is COMPLETELY different. It now handles very well with minimal body roll, with much less squatting and diving during accelerating and braking. In fact-I barely notice the headlights move up and down during braking and accelerating since the car does not move as much with the stiffer suspension. In addition-I might mention that the car is still comfortable to drive absorbing bumps and surface irregularities with only a touch more feel over stock. It also looks much more aggressive.

    I did however have a concern with some understeer the car displayed and I was a little afraid on some turns which made me uneasy. For those of you who feel the same-my feelings of insecurity and understeer were very much eliminated after I installed the PLP Front Strut Tower Brace. After I installed the tower brace-the car felt HEAVY and STABLE along with a very high level of agility.

    Currently-the car has an Eibach Pro-Kit Bilstein comibination, along with Eibach Sway Bars, a PLP Front Strut Tower Brace and a TRD Rear Strut Tower Brace. I am very happy with this setup which to me achieved the goal of a reliable, close to stock ride with considerable increase in handling capabilities. I pretty much believe that the car is capable of so much more with a better driver than me! I recommend this to anyone who is looking at similar suspension upgrade goals. I should also mention I am driving on Yokohama S. Drive tires.


  • COST AND PART #'S

    Eibach Pro-Kit (Part # 8260.140) - $225.00
    Front Bilstein HD SHOCK (Part # F4.BE5.6048.H0) - $228.00
    Rear Bilstein HD SHOCK (Part # F4.BE5.6049.H0) - $228.00
    Shipping from TIRERACK - $33.00

    Eibach Anti Roll Kit (Part # 8260.320) - $317.00
    Shipping from TIRERACK - $16.15

    INSULATOR, FR COIL: (Part # 48157-22040) - $6.48 (2 required)
    INSULATOR, RR COIL: (Part # 48257-30060) - $36.24 (2 required)
    Purchased locally at Lexus Dealer - Total with Tax: $92.92

    TOTAL FOR SUSPENSION UPGRADE: $1140

    Parts added afterwards:
    PLP Front Strut Tower Brace
    TRD Rear Strut Tower Brace​

And now for the good stuff, some before and after pictures:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

And a few after pictures:









Thanks to everyone who posted anything on suspension that helped me make my selection. Hope this does the same to anyone thinking about upgrading the suspension on their IS.

Questions or comments are always welcome.
 

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Absolutely terrific write up. Wish I had some of this info before I did my Eibach+Bilstein combo. +rep
 

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That's alot of typing..lol. I also have the same setup and to me it's very good for a daily driver. Which part of NY you from?
 

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Nice write up! Well done, looks good.
 

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I did the same last weekend, replacing S-Techs and stock struts.

Visually, the fronts are just slightly higher than before. The rears are a huge difference IMO. They were tucked, didn't even have a finger gap...now there's about a 2 finger gap. That is going to take some time to get used to.

The ride is a bit stiffer with this setup compared to what I had. Even my wife mentioned it and she doesn't usually notice that type of stuff. But I will say that my stock struts were probably ready to let go. I will reserve full judgment on the ride quality after I put some miles on it and get an alignment.

I did the install myself and followed the DIY Coil Spring Installation Instructions along with this post's additional info. I also installed new spring insulators on the front and back. Like the OP said, you're there anyway and the ultimate goal is a quiet ride. Parts were only $81 from Carson Toyota, which was cheaper than what I could get locally. The only draw back was waiting for delivery, but that's not a big deal if you just plan ahead a bit. On the fronts, the sway bar was a bit of a hassle because I tried to avoid removing it, I just disconnected the endlinks. Do yourself a favor and remove the sway bar, it makes life much easier. I figured that out after I tried getting the strut out and the sway bar was just in the freaking way. If your calipers are painted, I would highly recommend covering them up with a couple of rags or something similar. I managed to chip a couple of mine and now need to repaint them. Also, when doing the rears, I had a beast of a time lifting the control arm and aligning the holes. So I used my floor jack to lift the control arm up to the subframe and then took a pry bar and manipulated the whole assembly to align the holes. If you use a floor jack, just make sure the endlink is in the control arm and not outside the arm. I will say that there is a small brace right by the lower control arm bolt that made it a bit difficult to get the bolt back into the control arm. I dealt with it on the driver's side, but I removed that brace on the passenger side, which made things go alot easier.

Oh, and one last thing. DO NOT CHEAP OUT ON A STRUT COMPRESSOR. I wanted a strut compressor so I bought the $10 set from Harbor Freight. A mistake I won't make again. They lasted all of 1 spring. Actually not even 1 spring...they made it through the removal but on the install one of the compressors decided it would cross thread itself somehow and my impact wrench wouldn't hardly budge it. Then it slid to the the side where the other compressor was and that was a mess. I ended up going to AutoZone and borrowing a strut compressor from them through their tool loaner program.
 

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Sigh. I drove 300 miles already. Went to get alignment. The fronts were perfect. The rears is giving me trouble. I'm at 1/8" on both sides and -1.5/-1.6 camber in the rear. Can't get it into specs. I might try another 500 miles or something to see if it still needs some settling time. If I'm desperate I'll go get an spc rear camber kit. Is there anyone here who got this setup and can't get it into spec?
 

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Sigh. I drove 300 miles already. Went to get alignment. The fronts were perfect. The rears is giving me trouble. I'm at 0.125 on both toes and -1.5/-1.6 camber in the rear. Can't get it into specs. I might try another 500 miles or something to see if it still needs some settling time. If I'm desperate I'll go get an spc rear camber kit. Is there anyone here who got this setup and can't get it into spec?

-1.5 rear camber is not bad really. As long as your toe is in spec you should be fine. Just keep an eye on your tire wear
 

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My toe is off... that's why I'm concerned. Is 1/8" toe bad? I'm not too educated on alignment specs so I do not know for sure.

I also noticed the car is less responsive after the alignment as the OP posted. I might have to drive it a little more and go for another alignment...
 

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Dang, good job! Your wheels/tires/calipers/rotors are so shiny I am blinded!

+rep :)
 

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i just swapped my struts this weekend and it turns out that i didn't even have to mess with the front sway endlinks at all. I did turn the steering wheel the opposite way but i'm not sure if that makes a difference though. in my case, i just pushed down on the lower control arm a bit and pulled the bottom of the strut towards the front of the car. then the whole assembly just came out. almost no fuss replacing the shock with this method either.
 

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Thanks for this post! This has definitely helped me make up my mind on what to do. Eibach + Bilstein all the way.
 

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It looks awesome. I have 2 questions.lol. First question is what brand of tire shine do you use? My second question is I see you have a 2002 IS which Im told sits a 1/2 inch higher then 2001 IS. Eibach claims a one inch drop with the pro kit. Which im sure you got because you have an 2002 but what about us 2001 owners? Wouldnt that mean that we only would get a half inch drop out of these springs since we are a half inch lower then 2002-2005 IS models from the factory?
 

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Hey man, I love the look of your car. I have a '03 sport design with 67xxx miles and im thinking about putting the eibach pro kit on my stock shocks/ struts with a camber kit and spacers. My questions are, did the bilstein shocks help your car look lower? (because your car look lower than most IS's with the pro kit) and do u think the ride will be terrible with the stock shocks/struts although the pro kit is designed for stock shock/struts? Your judgement and input will be appreciated. Thanks
 
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