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Lifting my 93 LSI wagon (not as easy as it sounds)


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8 replies to this topic

#1 patinoly

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:32 PM

Hi! And thanks in advance for any help I can receive here. I understand that the easiest way to gain ground clearance is to replace the shock/struts & springs from a pre 99 Outback. So I went on to ebay and found sets of four new KYB at pretty reasonable prices. One set says it will not work with ABS (which the lsi has). Another set says not for use with the air lift system (which my lsi had, but has been disabled since it didnt work). I just want to make sure I am getting the right stuff before I throw down the cash as iz po. Any help with exact year parts/stuff, or model numbers, or anything specific as this is starting to seem harder than it should. Also what size tire can I get away with once the deed is done? Thanks much!

#2 Gloyale

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:36 PM

They will work. Provided that you DO have the tophats and coils for non airbag installed. (if the bags are in, just flat, you'll need to source 90-94 tophats and springs for the rear, and any year front tophats, and springs for front)

Swap your springs and tophats over to the KYBs and throw them on.

#3 patinoly

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 10:25 PM

Thank you for the advice. Should I use my stock springs, or get corresponding outback ones? Also do you think a 2" taller tire is appropriate? Im not looking to do anything serious. Just a camping fool that doesnt want to bottom out and get stuck somewhere stupid. Any other good advice would be greatly appreciated. (ie. add a certain skid plate(s), body spacers etc)? So I should avoid the KYB shocks that say not for ABS right? Thanks again!

#4 WoodsWagon

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:56 PM

Abs vs non Abs doesn't matter. On the older cars there's a bracket for the ABS wire on the front struts. 98 and older that bracket is held on by one of the 2 big bolts that holds the strut to the knuckle. 99 and newer the bracket is replaced by a tab welded to the strut. You most likely already have the separate brackets, so they will go on the new struts just fine. If not, easy to find the brackets in a junkyard.

Struts need to be from a Legacy Outback 96-99. Not a Impreza Outback Sport, or a 95 Legacy Outback.

Use the springs meant for your car, or ones from a 95-99 legacy wagon, they're all the same. What's different is the bolt pattern of the rear strut caps. You can redrill your strut towers to fit the newer style caps in (not recommended but I've done it), or use old style strut caps on the new struts. This often requires an extra washer ground to fit that goes on under the nut that holds the strut into the strut cap. If the threads don't go far enough down the strut shaft, the nut bottoms out before it clamps the strut cap to the strut, so you get clunking noises from the back.

215/75r15's are about as big as you can go without needing to trim the body.

Swapping the body brackets that the rear trailing arms attach to under the back seat to Legacy Outback or Forester ones will help re-center the rear wheels in the wheel wells, but it's not required.

Honestly, with your car having air suspension, I'd go to a junkyard and grab a full set of complete strut/spring assemblies out of an Outback. The fronts will bolt right in and you only need to swap strut caps on in the rear. That leaves you with more money for buying bigger tires.

#5 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 12:17 PM

Personally I've had bad luck with junk yard struts on the EJ cars - the rear's are almost always blown and the front's are usually not in great shape either. Unless you find a gem where the struts have all been replaced.

I've always heard that you need to use the Outback springs as well for full effect - which on the early first gen's (90 through 92 at least) means you need '93/'94 top-hats for the rear's as the early one's used cone shaped springs and not the conical shaped units that the later models had.

GD

#6 1982gl4

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 03:02 PM

Both my 92's had the right spring perches, not the cone shaped ones oddly enough, maybe been swapped out I know the LSI had been as it no longer had air struts...

Anyway I agree, buying used struts is like buying used underwear. All the ones I've had leak, and are no good. Best just to start out with good (new) ones so you aren't doing the same process again down the road in six months wishing you had just started off with new parts. Been there. Mine even looked great when I started the swap but went bad after just a few months.

As for the springs I used the outback ones in the rear, and due to my fronts being broken on the OBW I started with, I used the stock ones in the front off from my 92 legacy. As stated on the earlier models the abs has a separate bracket so no need to worry about those.

Regardless the end result was good. This is also before the rear trailing are brackets mentioned before were added. The rears were close to the body, but no rubbing occurred. Unfortunately I forget the tire size and can't look as I have now sold the car.

Posted Image

Edited by 1982gl4, 19 July 2011 - 03:09 PM.


#7 WoodsWagon

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 09:07 PM

I've always heard that you need to use the Outback springs as well for full effect - which on the early first gen's (90 through 92 at least) means you need '93/'94 top-hats for the rear's as the early one's used cone shaped springs and not the conical shaped units that the later models had.

GD

90-91 had cone shaped springs, 92+ have normal ones.

I've lifted first gen legacys using just the struts, and using outback springs too. The effect was exactly the same.

WRX springs are significantly shorter than the legacy springs, and were loose on the strut at full extension, so I used some 1st gen legacy wagon springs I had around on that one.

If his car has air suspension, he needs new strut caps, springs, bumpstops, and strut boots along with the struts. Grabbing a full set out of the junkyard gets him all that at the same time for cheap money. Front struts seem to hold up really well, the rears are mostly blown. Even the replacement rear KYB gr2's are easy to blow. If he grabs the struts from a u-pull-it yard, they should be dirt cheap and he can look around for ones that aren't leaking.

#8 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:06 AM

Huh - that's weird because a friend of mine just did OB struts on his '92 LS and it had the cone shaped springs. We had to hunt down some '93/'94 top hats and used the OB springs on it..... but now that I think about it that car originally had air suspension so I guess it was just a case of what they happned to use to replace it with :rolleyes:.

GD

#9 patinoly

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:19 AM

Thank you all so much for the great advice. I like the idea of swapping the body brackets that the rear trailing arms attach to under the back seat to Legacy Outback or Forester ones. There is a 96 outback at my local pick a part yard. Over 300k so i dont want the struts, but re centering the back wheels seems as if it would be important when adding larger tires. Time to head on down with the tool box. Anything else I should grab while im there?




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