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lifting a legacy on OB struts


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22 replies to this topic

#1 superu

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 08:54 AM

I know there is a lot of interest in this.
I have done it and got a LOT of good info here before during and after the strut swap.

I put 97 or 98 legacy Outback struts and springs on my 95 Legacy L.
I gained about 1.5-2 inches clearance with that setup, put taller tires (27.5x8x14) on and gained another inch.

BUT, when thinking of adding lift blocks or doing king/scorpion raised spring, I got a lot of conflicting info from folks here saying that by pushing the hubs down so far it might push my CV axles down to a steep angle, which might shorten their lives. Folks will argue this. BUT, this leads me to another tid-bit of good info I've received ere from a few different folks.

When doing the strut swap, it is ALSO a good idea to bring over the engine crossmember blocks (go between the frame/unibody, and the engine crossmember. This effectivly also pushes down the engine/transmission/axles. Also, bring over the rear swing arm mounting brackets. This does a similar "pushing down" to the rear hubs as well, keeping mellow axle angles.

Mellow axles are happy axles, and happy axles tend to not break.


Now, I finally got these parts too (though the engine blocks are from a forester, but I'm confidant they're the same)!! :banana:

BUT, I have not installed them yet. Not important for this thread!

Point is, here are some pix for you all so if you (like me) get this information or whant to upgrade your OB strut swap with further OB suspension lift parts, this is what you want to look for.


Engine crossmember blocks and their funny bolts
(there's a platic clip that hold this block to the frame. it goes in that notch on the left side of the block on the right with itsmounting bolts in place.)

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Kind of a tough picture, but this is the right rearswing arm mounting bracket as site in the car. Lay down on the ground on the passenger side of the car with your feet towrd the front of your car, now shimmy left under the car then now look up to and to your right and this it your view.
NOTE: how close the swing arm bolt is to the top of the bracket. Go ahead and try to squeeze your finger up in there on your car.
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Now note the greater distance between the swing arm bushing and where the top of the bracket is, where it mounts to the car. Plenty of room to squeeze your finger(s) up in there.
(this might be the left one, but its irrelevant, technically)
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Happy lifting new genies!!!

-mark-

#2 Gloyale

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 12:21 PM

double post.

see below

#3 Gloyale

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 12:22 PM

Sorry to nay say.....BUT NAY

You really don't want to do this.

3 reasons

1. You don't need to. The CVs will be just fine at that slightly increased angle. Axles break when they are under load. When you are wheeling, any tire with enough traction to snap an axle will likely be under load and pressed up inside the body. Having the starting stance be slightly more "up" is better because you get a more nuetral angle under compression.


2. You lose all the added ground clearance underneath by "lowering" the subframes.


3. And this is the biggy.....THERE ARE MANY MORE ELEMENTS TO THE OUTBACK LIFT THAN THE BLOCKS! The A-arm mounts, the trans crossmember(MT), and the rear diff snout craddle mustache thing too. They are all *dropped* by about 1 1/4 inches compared to Legacy. The crossmember and the diff snout probably don't matter (we did 3" AND OB struts on a Legacy and didn't drop the diff snout mount)

BUT......the pivot mounts for the front A-arms are *taller* on the outback to match the crossmember block. If you put the blocks in and keep your legacy mounts they will be under a bad strain all the time, and you might get funky alignment and steering.


If you really are THAT paranoid about C/V angles, you should at least install the pivots for the A-arm with the OB blocks.


I know of at least 3 cars running with just the struts and bigger tires for well over a year, with no problems so far.

#4 Gloyale

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 12:34 PM

Also you'd need the longer OB steering shaft coupler to use the blocks.

And a longer upper radiator hose.

And a longer pitchstopper (dogbone)

#5 superu

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 01:59 PM

well, shewt....

There I go again, not knowing enough... :banghead:
I thought I was doing good and sharing good info. :-\

I've been running my legacy on OB struts and springs for 5 years and 27 - 27.5" tires for 4, no problems here either (well, save low gearing and inability to climb serious grades, but that's another story :grin: ), but now I'm thinking about raised springs. That's when people told me to get the crossmember blocks and the rear swing arm brackets.


So since there's more to it than this should i just delete the post? :eek:

:(

#6 Gloyale

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 09:22 AM

I've been running my legacy on OB struts and springs for 5 years and 27 - 27.5" tires for 4, no problems here either (well, save low gearing and inability to climb serious grades, but that's another story :grin: ), but now I'm thinking about raised springs. That's when people told me to get the crossmember blocks and the rear swing arm brackets.


:(


All well meaning. I think 99.9% of the posts on this board are (refreshing)

And if you where to go any higher spring lift, like king springs, you probably would want to grab at least the A-Arm pivots, the steering shaft and the front blocks from an OB.

Just not needed with regular OB struts and springs.

#7 monstaru

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 11:00 PM

2. You lose all the added ground clearance underneath by "lowering" the subframes.



(pssst...........which is why you get bigger tires):lol:cheers, brian


#8 Gloyale

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 10:18 AM

2. You lose all the added ground clearance underneath by "lowering" the subframes.



(pssst...........which is why you get bigger tires):lol:cheers, brian


Even still, you have more height without the blocks than with.

No matter what size tires you run.

#9 monstaru

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 10:25 AM

well, no ************....but bigger tires nets more ground clearance.no matter what.cheers, brian

Even still, you have more height without the blocks than with.

No matter what size tires you run.



#10 superu

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 01:00 PM

All well meaning. I think 99.9% of the posts on this board are (refreshing)

And if you where to go any higher spring lift, like king springs, you probably would want to grab at least the A-Arm pivots, the steering shaft and the front blocks from an OB.

Just not needed with regular OB struts and springs.


Word.
I appreciate the tips.

I'd probably have been a wreck if i got through putting the engine blocks and the rear arm brackets, then couldn't line up my tranny, etc. etc. and so on.

I have noticed car sits higher than outbacks (b/c of the tires too), like more clearance under the rear diff and the front exhaust.

Anyway I am considering kings but it looks like i'm still not ready to just slap springs on. i'll need to get more stuff if i go that road.

Maybe you know this too.
What about FOR struts? I hear lately they give a bit more lift than OB struts,a nd since I need new struts ayway, what about FOR GR2s rather than OB GR2s? And reuse my OB springs??

I put FOR struts and springs on my wife's IMP, but the rear tire swung forward and was taller than front (think 60's muscle car raked look) with the complete FOR setup. So i put my stock LEG springs on the rear FOR strut and that levelled it off pretty well, then we went for 295x65? 15s (OB rims) on her IMP, and it looks stock, unless parked next to a real IMP, then you notice its taller.

Thanks again!
Sorry for hijacking a little there. . . :rolleyes:

#11 Gloyale

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 11:30 AM

The tophats used on the rear are taller in the Forrester. So that is why the rear end gets pushed up so much when you swap the whole assembly, springs, tophats and all.

The strut itself is actually about the same length as the OB strut. However, the spring perch on the Forrester strut is actually a bit lower.

I used a set on on a recent lift and the spring perch was too low. the guy couldn't fit the 235/75/15 tires on it. We swapped out to 99 Outback struts and all was well.

#12 zyewdall

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:42 AM

So... I've read about half a dozen threads, and am still confused on the forester vs outback struts (for an imp). I'd be buying new struts (and forester ones are slightly cheaper than outback ones for some reason...) and probably reusing the impreza tophats... but what springs to use?... some threads seem to imply that the outback struts are taller (or more travel?), but the forester springs are taller... I'd like a nice 2 to 3 inch lift, nothing extreme..., just to get it back up to the clearance of my stock old GL wagon for snowdrifts, which seems to be about 2.5 inches. Right now the back springs are sagging anyway... it's got about a 3/4 to 1" inch drop. Hauling a woodstove in the back probably didn't help (and the previous owner hauled landscaping supplies i.e. dirt, in the back).

Forester front struts, with forester front springs and imp tophats, and forester rear struts, with imp tophats, and legacy springs? Or...????

#13 Gloyale

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:45 AM

OUtback struts with your Imp tophats. You could get Forrester tophatas for a tad extra lift.

But Forrester struts don't have quite as much room to the spring perch.

#14 zyewdall

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 02:15 PM

OUtback struts with your Imp tophats. You could get Forrester tophatas for a tad extra lift.

But Forrester struts don't have quite as much room to the spring perch.


And what springs? Outback springs too?

#15 superu

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 03:34 PM

zyewdall, what is the vehicle? I went back to scan the posts and think you're talking raising an IMP, but still not sure.

From my experience (lifting a 93 IMP on 98 Forester gear...)

rear? 98 FOR left 93 IMP right
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and the above pic is the front? 93 IMP left and 98 FOR right

and all stock 93 IMP
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all 98 FOR suspension (strut, and spring, BUT IMP tophats)
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Mellowed out the rear rake by using 95 LEG springs in rear FOR struts
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I did not like the rear rake, and the wheel swung forward with the lift.
Some just grind out the body and call it good, others swap out the forester trailing arm? I lowered with a legacy spring and got 195x65 15" tires in there with an inch of clearance to the fender and over an inch to the strut above just fine. Could've gone 205x5's but got a good deal on the odd size tires. . .

here is 98 FOR strut, spring and tophat with the new IMP tophat for comparison.FOR tophats don't bolt into IMP rear mounts, front does!!
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FOR upper spring perch and topha

Edited by superu, 28 January 2010 - 06:48 PM.


#16 superu

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 03:36 PM

I used a set on on a recent lift and the spring perch was too low. the guy couldn't fit the 235/75/15 tires on it. We swapped out to 99 Outback struts and all was well.


Pix of this one?? I've been interested in you IMP lifting experiences too, since doing mine the way I did.

#17 Gloyale

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:33 AM

Pix of this one?? I've been interested in you IMP lifting experiences too, since doing mine the way I did.


Let's clarify. ALL of the vehichles in discusson here share a common plattform. It really doesn't matter what combination, other than end results.

Posted Image

This was the car lifted, with Forrester struts, but with stock(ish) size tires.

you can almost see how close the rear perch is.

Forrester tophats are taller, but the actual strut is a hair shorter than the Outback.

When you think about the fact that the Outback weights several hundred pounds more, it starts to make sense that they gave them the beefiest springs, and the most travel.

#18 zyewdall

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:39 AM

It's a '97 Impreza Outback Sport (which I understand is only a trim difference on the impreza, no lift like the Legacy Outback vs regular Legacy.

#19 superu

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 07:02 PM

Let's clarify. ALL of the vehichles in discusson here share a common plattform. It really doesn't matter what combination, other than end results.


roger that. I was thinking you'd done FOR struts then OB struts into an IMP. Thanks for clarifying your rig was a leggo, as IMP/Forester platforms are a bit different than legacy/OBs.
I realize the thread title is lifting legacy on OB stuff but there's been discussion introduced on lifting imprezas (which I helped fuel if not address :rolleyes:).

When you think about the fact that the Outback weights several hundred pounds more, it starts to make sense that they gave them the beefiest springs, and the most travel.


Yes in weight (OB>FOR), but aren't forester springs a bit stiffer. I've read, but haven't personally confirmed, that LEG and OB springs are the same. If so then FOR springs (if not also stiffer) are taller then OB springs (as in my pic above with FOR sping left, LEG center, IMP right.)

Gloyale, your wagon looks taller than my sedan ended up, but maybe its the difference in stockish tires that I don't remember on mine (its been almost 6 years on ATs).

Looks good and tall, kudos!

*EDIT* it is taller! The body line looks at if not a hair above the center of the wheels. That green Leggo is JUST on OB struts and springs, is that right? Nice work!

Edited by superu, 28 January 2010 - 07:12 PM.


#20 Gloyale

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 02:45 PM

*EDIT* it is taller! The body line looks at if not a hair above the center of the wheels. That green Leggo is JUST on OB struts and springs, is that right? Nice work!


Sorry for confusion. The green wagon has Outback struts and a 3" HighGuys lift kit.

#21 subimonster

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 08:39 AM

my 95' legacy sedan has 98 ob struts on all four corners. i want to do the high guys lift as well same as the green legacy. should i use a forester trailing arm in the rear to keep my tire away from the body more or will it fit fine? i am assuming the lift comes with the proper drive train drop brackets? also i am wanting about a 30" tire is that feasible with the 98 ob struts and an additional 3" lift or will i be running into issues with the struts at that point? Thanks to all help i can get.

#22 newsoobdude

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 06:35 PM

subimonster, the HighGuys lift includes all the parts to drop the suspension and drivetrain down minus the center support bearing. On my Outback with 3 inch lift + Forester struts I just flipped the center bearing and dropped it down 1 inch to relieve stress on the bearing and u-joint.
As for the Forester trailing arm, I know Austin did an Outback trailing arm bracket on his Legacy build with Outback struts and 3 inch lift (look for "water wagon" build thread).
30 inch tires will not fit without some massive offset and major cutting of the wheel wells/ fender openings (28s are a tight fit on my Outback and I've stuffed them in the rear without rubbing and in full flex). Granted I don't have a rear swaybar anymore but........
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#23 subimonster

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 09:59 PM

thank you for the info. with just the outback struts on my car though it already fit 28 inch tsls without rubbing, that is what i had on it. just wondering i have aome 15 inch offset wheels already to go on it i was just wondering what the maximum size tire i can get with the extra 3" lift was. but again thank you. here is a pic of it on the 28's right after i lifted it... they fit fine in my opinion.

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