In my Own Humble Opinion, the Subaru Leone Gen III (a.k.a: GL, DL, RX, RS, EA82, Omega, Winner, Loyale and even as Isuzu Gemminett II, depending on the Market) has its Weakest Part in the Rear Shock Absorbers. No Matter How Careful I Drive, if I Hit a Pothole with some Load on the Car, is almost sure that a Rear Shock Absorber will say Good Bye...
Those are somehow, the "Achilles Heel" of the Subie:
I've Been part of this Great Club since year 2001 and in this Year 2010 I almost reach Ten Years here and my 1985 Subaru "BumbleBeast" Wagon EA82 almost 25 Years Old being with me... During this 25 Years Relationship with my Subie, Drivin' & Fixin' it; I've Learned a Lot (mainly here, in this Awesome Website) about how to fix & improve many Things, but I personally have Discovered by myself, other many Things about those older subie Models, That I've Shared with you, like the following suspension ideas...
A Brief background history on those Rear Shock Absorbers: Initially, Subaru did two different Rear Shock Absorbers for the EA82, I Learned that the 2WD (FWD) Models' Shock Absorbers, makes the Subie to Sit two inches (2") Lower than the 4WD (AWD) ones, because the Base for the Coil Spring is Welded two inches Lower on the Shock Absorber's Body, and both models used the Same Coil Spring.
Then Subaru Suddenly changed the Production of those two, for one "Universal" Rear Shock absorber, which featured Adjustable Base for the Coil Springs, so you can place it Up or Down (2" of Difference) and also included a "Middle" (1") Position; Despite the Coil Spring's Base position, the Total damper travel of those "Universal" Subaru Rear Shock absorbers, is 160 mm / 6.3" inches.
Here is a Photo of the Subaru's "Universal" Rear Shock Absorber with Part Number:
The Subaru Part Number for the Spring Coil's Base (seat) is: 21025GA230 ... Sold Separately.
But those Rear Shock Absorbers are Still Weak to handle our Horrid Roads, plenty of Potholes -and even Potholes inside the Potholes- with my Loaded Subaru "BumbleBeast", especially during my Usual offroad Weekend Mountain Travels; and I wanted my Subie to be Taller without a Lift kit in the Rear...
So this is my Collection of Easy Suspension Improvements:
intended Not for more Comfort, but for more Capability and Long Lasting Parts, using parts from other Car Brands and giving a more Firm & Sporty Feelin' ~ and Great Off Road Duty. This writeup includes Modifications for Front & Rear Suspension, in two parts.
Remember: Use this information at your Own Risk!
Part Nº 1:
How to Improve the Rear Suspension:
First I Needed Stronger Coil Springs for the Rear of my Wagon, because Usually I Travel with it Fully Loaded and many people in our very Bad Roads; also I do many Weekend "Mountain Adventure" Family Travels offroading; So I Took with me one of the Old Rear coil springs and went to search for a better one to The Local Junk Yards.
By that way, I found that the Subie's Rear Coil Springs are almost the Same Size, Tall and Wide than the Honda Accord's Front Coil Springs (1986 ~ 1989) but the Honda ones are Thicker and has Two More Turns than the Subie ones; so I Swapped the Rear Subaru Coil Springs with the Honda Front ones; it Makes the Subie More Capable to Manage the extra Weight when is Loaded, without going too low; also the Honda's Coil Springs does Lift the Subaru's Rear in two inches (2") and its Movement & Handling while Driving in Unpavemented Roads / Pot Holes, becomes Firmer and Sportier.
The Front Honda's Coil Springs that Fits on the Subaru's Rear, came from the 1986 ~ 1989 Honda Accord, (The Prelude from that Era has them too) it could come either from the Manual or Automatic, With or Without A/C, but Keep in mind that the Hondas with manual trans and without AC, does have weaker Coil Springs than the Hondas with Auto Trans and A/C, so I chose the Stiffer ones.
The Part Number for the Honda's Coil Springs, is:
~► MOOG CC248 for "Moog" Brand.
~► NCP 2775298 for "Napa" Brand.
So, How to get Rid of those weak Rear Shock Absorbers?
My Subie was in dire need of Stronger Rear Shock Absorbers for Sure,
so after Searchin' a Lot ... I Found This Solution:
To Swap the Toyota 4Runner's Front Shock Absorbers
in the Place of the Subaru's Rear ones!
As you can See in the Pictures, the 4Runner ones are the Same extended Tall than the Subie Ones; Also the 4Runner ones has the Same Wide Base for the Coil Spring and they use almost the Same Design; But the 4Runner Ones are Thicker and Heavier, more Capable to manage the Stress of Riding in my Crazy Country Roads with a Fully Loaded Subaru Wagon.
The Subie Ones had their Threaded top of Nº 10 mm and the Hole opening on their Base is for a Nº 10 mm Screw; While the 4Runner ones has them Nº 12 mm Screws; So the Subie's Nut on the Base for Nº 10 mm Screw had to be Removed in order to Use a Pass-Thru Nº 12 mm Screw with its own Nut.
The Subie's Part for the Shock Absorber's Top shall be Modified too, in order to Accept the Nº 12 mm Screw Size instead the Older Nº 10 mm One... I Just made the Hole Larger; pretty easy!
For Those who want the 4Runner's Shock Absorber Part Number, it is:
~► KYB 341232
in KYB (Kayaba) Japanese Brand
The salesman from the Aftermarket parts store where I purchased those KYB 341232 Shock absorbers, said that those are for the Front of a Toyota 4Runner for the 1998 model year; However, Toyota used the same platform and shared these shock absorbers in the Hi-Lux Surf, and the Land Cruiser Prado (J90) Which is a very Popular car here, in LADM (Latin American Domestic Market).
The Following is a Screen Caption of a website that I Saved long time ago, where you can find the Original Toyota's Part Numbers for their OEM Shock Absorbers...
...which are the Same KYB 341232 that I Used in the Rear of my "BumbleBeast"
According to online databases, it does interchange with:
~► Monroe D8344
~► Sachs 230631
~► BOGE 27-D67-A
I Tested the KYB 341232 only, any other Toyota Shock Absorber could be "Visually" Identical, but might have some differences, such like even shorter travel, Harder ride, Thicker Body, etc... So I Kindly suggest you to Stick to the KYB Part Number I Provided, I can not guarantee to work the other ones...
My Subaru "BumbleBeast" Runs very well with those
Toyota Shock Absorbers + Honda Coil Springs in the Rear since years ago...
...despite that they has only 4.3" of total damper Travel
(as I wrote above, the Subaru rear Shock Absorbers has 6.3")
But that shorter travel is not an issue, because the Coil Springs won't let it go down more than 4" under compression, and the total expanded -extended- lenght is Equal to the Subaru's ones, as you can see in the photos above.
► IMPORTANT NOTE: You can use the 4Runner's shocks along with the subaru coil springs, to keep the original height of the suspension, if you use the Honda coil springs, the rear suspension will be lifted two inches (2"), stressing the angle of the rear axles in 4WD (AWD) models only. The 2WD (FWD) models doesn't have any problem with that configuration.
Since Those front Honda Coil Springs does Lift the Subaru's Rear two inches (2"); after that Swap, I had to Lift the front of my "BumbleBeast" an equal amount, as you can read ~► Here.
Part Nº 2:
How to Improve the Front Suspension:
The 4WD (AWD) Shock Absorbers has a 5.75" / 147 mm in Total damper travel, While 2WD (FWD) Shock Absorbers has a 6.12" / 155 mm in Total damper travel. I couldn't find any 2WD (FWD) Shock absorbers locally, So I installed into my "BumbleBeast", New Monroe Front Shock Absorbers; this are their part Numbers:
Passenger Side: ~► 71876
.................Driver Side: ~► 71877
Next, I wanted to install Firmer Coil Springs for the Front of my Subaru, as I already did on the Rear...
Originally I searched for stiffer Coil Springs for the Front of the Subaru around the year 2000; Because my 2.7 Wagon had the Heavyweighted ER27 engine, plus a Fiberglass & Metal sheet Reinforced Front Bumper; I Needed Something Stronger than the EA82's coil Springs to hold better that much weight.
So I Took with me, one of the Old Front coil springs and went to search to The Local Junk Yards...
By the way, the Local Junk Yards, called here "Yonkers", doesn't carry complete cars, they have classified parts areas such like: Doors' Area, Engines' Area, Seats' Area, transmissions' Area, etc... as you can see pictures ~► Here.
I Searched among a Pile of Strut assemblies in the Suspensions' Area, comparing each coil to the one I had on my Hand, taken from my Subie; that way I Found by myself that the Tempo coil Springs looked almost identical to the Subaru ones, they had around two more Turns and a were li'l more thicker.
Since I Found those Tempo Coil springs already taken outside their car, they only had a Mark done with white paint marker on them, that said: '94 Tempo.
But it is interesting that since the damage done to my 2.7 wagon (More info, ~► Here) I Removed certain parts from it to make my EA82 Weberized Wagon (Now My BumbleBeast) a Better car with the Better parts from the Two; that included the Tempo Springs.
So, I installed those Tempo's Coil Springs on my "BumbleBeast" and that adds to the Front Suspension the Same Firm & Sporty Feeling that the Rear suspension obtained with the Above written Modifications.
► IMPORTANT NOTE: The Ford Tempo Coil Spring total radius -diameter- is Half inch (½") smaller than the Subaru one, but that is not a problem, I Drive my Subaru "BumbleBeast" with them since Years ago and they doesn't "Shift" nor make any clunk noise.
The Front coil Springs came off a 1990's "Second Gen" Ford Tempo with in-line 4 Cylinder engine, Those are "Non-Progressive" Coils, so they measure the Same between each turn. I searched on internet for The Part Number for those Ford Tempo Front Coil Springs,
So it should be:
~► MOOG CC854 for "Moog" Brand.
~► NCP 2775375 for "Napa" Brand.
► IMPORTANT NOTE: The Tempo Coil Springs I used came from a used car found in a Local Junk Yard, so they were not as Stiff as brand New coil Springs and I didn't had any fitment problems; but People who has brought those Coil Spring brand new, had to Trim them up to 1.5 Turns, especially the Moog CC856 because those are "Progressive" so they has different spaces between coils and they're intended for a V6 Tempo and are even Stiffer than the Moog CC854 I Used, so I don't recommend to use those, they're too stiff for the Subaru.
So, for those who are interested in Improving the Suspension of their Subies (Specially for Off-Roading), let me Tell you again that this Mods are intended for a More Rude Use and Longer Lasting Parts; not for Confort; so be adviced that the Ride will become Harder...
To Drive my Modified Subie with those 4Runner Shock Absorbers + Accord's Coil Springs in the Rear, and the Subaru 4WD Shock Absorbers + the Tempo's Coil Springs in the Front, Changes the Handling & Feeling of the Subie just like Driving a Police Car after being Driving the Civil Version of it before.
I've Test Drove it Unloaded and Loaded, even at 160 KPH (100 MPH) in Bad Pavemented Roads and it Feels Great, but is Pretty Hard to be a "Family Wagon" anymore.
Feel Free to Ask Questions, comment or Share your own Experiences & Photos, on the Discussion Thread about this Modifications, which is Here:
I Hope this Ideas could be Helpful,
► Edited to update the Web Links and Add the Tags for the New Search System
Edited by Loyale 2.7 Turbo, 20 April 2013 - 12:19 PM.