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99 OBS Suspension lift


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#1 blk99obs

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 12:19 PM

Hi I have a 99 OBS, 2.2 5spd.

My tires are getting pretty bad so I want to get new ones, but I'd like to lift first so I can fit some larger ones. I drive on the road mostly, but I like to go to mountain bike races on the weekends up in the mountains, and sometimes to friends houses that are way back in the woods down sketchy roads... So i usually do a fair bit of highway driving down really winding roads and then get on pot hole, rut, and rock filled back roads...

What I want to do is get some suspension lift going on so I have some better ground clearance, something that I can bolt in easy, and then put in some 215/70/15s or something along those lines.

I've read of using forester struts and springs, forester struts and outback springs, forester struts and WRX springs, legacy outback combinations, etc.

I'd like to know how I can best lift my OBS without drastically altering the ride/handling/alignment, which I realize is give and take due to physics, you raise the car and you get more body roll, but I'd like to minimize the effect, through either stiffer springs, stiffer sways, or maybe using wheel spacers to get the car wider. I'm not too concerned about articulation, usually traction isn't an issue where I'm driving, its more trying to get over rocks in the center of the road and such that I need more ground clearance for.

So far from what I gather I can go to my local junkyard, where I saw a 99 forester. I'll want to grab the struts/springs, trailing arm brackets, and rear sway brackets. I'll also want to buy some camber bolts (do they work on the front and back? or do you need something different for each end?) It sounds like my front sway bar should still work fine as it is from what I read in other posts.

Is there any particular reason to use outback springs with forester struts, or any of those other combos?

Is there anything I'm missing?

Really I just want to lift it up, maintain decent highway handling to where I dont feel like I'm gonna roll it in the winding northern cali roads, and get the alignment straight enough that I won't be eating tires.

Sorry for writing a book, just trying to put down as much info as possible as to what I'm after.

Thanks for any insight!

Edited by blk99obs, 12 October 2011 - 12:22 PM.


#2 blk99obs

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 01:18 PM

Ok so now reading further it seems that the outback setup is the way to go as it has more tire clearance and the same gains in height.

#3 superu

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:05 PM

1st gen OB (96-99) struts and springs over 1st gen FOR (98-02) struts and springs BUT a touch more lift than 1st gen OB is using 2nd gen FOR (03-08) strut assemblies (strut, spring, upper spring perch (front) and tophat).
with any of these, get the rear trailing arm brackets too. You'll be comfortably able to fit 27" tires and maybe 28 or 29" with the 2nd gen fozzie strut assembly lift.

Road handling will be fine with any of these lifts. For rally cross you may want a touch fatter (like WRX) RSB to promote oversteer, rather than the factory-tuned Subaru understeer.

-those're my suggestions-

good luck and keep us updated!

#4 blk99obs

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:13 PM

1st gen OB (96-99) struts and springs over 1st gen FOR (98-02) struts and springs BUT a touch more lift than 1st gen OB is using 2nd gen FOR (03-08) strut assemblies (strut, spring, upper spring perch (front) and tophat).
with any of these, get the rear trailing arm brackets too. You'll be comfortably able to fit 27" tires and maybe 28 or 29" with the 2nd gen fozzie strut assembly lift.

Road handling will be fine with any of these lifts. For rally cross you may want a touch fatter (like WRX) RSB to promote oversteer, rather than the factory-tuned Subaru understeer.

-those're my suggestions-

good luck and keep us updated!


Ok so with the 2nd gen FOR setup, can you reuse your IMP rear tophats with a washer (as I understand it) like the 1st gen? I'd really like to avoid any drilling. Also, with the OB setup, is it the same procedure with the tophats or do they match up to the IMP?

Also what about newer outbacks? I think I saw an 02 there last time...

I'll have to go see if the JY has any of those years, thanks for posting the years btw very helpful.

Thanks!

Edited by blk99obs, 12 October 2011 - 02:36 PM.


#5 Ioku

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:59 PM

99 outback is the newest you can use, in 00 they completely changed the rear suspention, the fronts will still fit but thats it.

#6 blk99obs

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 10:16 PM

99 outback is the newest you can use, in 00 they completely changed the rear suspention, the fronts will still fit but thats it.


Yup I noticed that today when I was looking at that 02.

I ended up grabbing 03 Forester springs/struts, rear sway brackets, and trailing arm brackets. :burnout:

Now all I should need is some camber bolts!

So where do I get a good set of those?

#7 Ioku

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 10:58 PM

I got some for about $25 on ebay, but I would install everything first and see if you even need them, in the rear Imprezas have alot of camber stock, too much IMO, and you can just crank the stock front camber bolt to full negative in the front and likely have enough. With the forester stuff on there I think you might end up with about .5 degree negative in the rear and about the same in the front.

#8 blk99obs

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 06:50 PM

Ok, I'll give it a try I suppose!

Do the foresters use larger and/or stiffer sway bars? I'd imagine they would... It'd be cool if they were larger and we could bolt them up to the OBS for less body roll.

Also, how about wheel spacers? anyone have recommendations?

#9 Ioku

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 11:10 PM

I don't know if foresters have bigger rear sways, but I know 95 to 99 outbacks have a 17 mil rear sway that will bolt right in and makes a nice noticeable improvement over the stock 13 mil bar.

#10 blk99obs

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 12:41 PM

Ok, a little off topic, but my gearing seems painfully tall to me, and it will only get worse with larger tires... So I was looking through some tranny charts, and it looks like a 98 2.5RS has a 4.111 FD with gear ratios otherwise the same. Would that be a direct swap for my car?

#11 Ioku

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 04:26 PM

Yep, all EJ tranys will bolt up to all EJ engines there are differences in clutches but with a 98 rs trans it will be the same style of clutch. Just make sure you get the rear diff to match the trans. And if you get an adapter plate you could use a D/R trans out of a GL.

#12 blk99obs

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 09:15 PM

Yep, all EJ tranys will bolt up to all EJ engines there are differences in clutches but with a 98 rs trans it will be the same style of clutch. Just make sure you get the rear diff to match the trans. And if you get an adapter plate you could use a D/R trans out of a GL.


You have no idea how much I'd love to run a D/R tranny, but I think its over my head/budget. Far as I've read I'd have to get the adapter plate/flywheel setup, custom axles (or swap front diff so I'd have the right stubs), custom driveshaft, then I'd have to figure out something for the D/R lever linkage... iono seems like way too much for me, especially since its my only car and my daily at that.

#13 Ioku

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 01:25 AM

yeah it is a bit more work on a EJ car, but if you have some time you could still do it on a budget. for axles you can use one out of a FWD manual Impreza or Legacy, there 23 spline, and you can widen the holes on the fly wheel with a die-grinder. But even just going to 4.11's will be nice, or you could try and fined a JDM 4.44 trans but those are usually $$.

#14 987687

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 09:08 AM

The forester XT has a 4.44 transmission, LSD rear end to boot!
Although, with any amount of miles an LSD on a turbo car is likely to be totally shot...

#15 superu

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 12:05 AM

Here's a bit of background and story of my experience lifting my 95 legacy, and gearing.

RE: gearing

I have a 95 legacy "L" and lifted it on 99 OB struts but different springs. The 95 L had a 3.90 FD in the 5MT, but I just swapped that out for a 99 OB 5MT with 4.11s, plus the rear diff.

I'd been rolling on 27" tires for nearly 7 years in that 3.90 5MT.
UNDERGEARED!
But when I swapped for the OB 5MT (like a month ago), the 4.11s took it back to driving like stock, with 27" ATs!!! I had doubts, but was really surprised at what a difference that 21% gearing difference did!!!

Yeah, my rig accelerates very well now and has power on the highway, it can pull hills and still has a top end to all gears at speed. I can't rally spin it up around 80 to well, but I have no need for that ind of speed. The OB 5th gear (.870) has less overdrive than the 95 leggo's 5th gear (.780) did, so my RPMs are about 250 higher for comparable speed in the 3.90 tranny...
Yeah there's the speed compensation with a taller tire, but the RPMS vs. speed still hold true. In fact my speedo now reads a little faster than my actual speed, whereas it read slower than actual speed with the 27" tires and 3.90 FD tranny.

BUT, anyway, my 5th gear was useless unless the road was flat or a downhill... The OB 5th (while a touch higher RPM) can pull 4-5% grades at speed with the cruise engaged, whereas the stock 3.90 tranny needed to drop to 4th at those mild grades.

(I'm fairly certain) All foresters are .780 5th gear and 4.11 final drive, and some RS imprezas are the same, but OBs I think have the higher geared 5th across the board. I think OB's got a little different in the mid 2000s and am told 99 had some internals changes (vehicle speed sensor in early models no VSS in later models), but I kind of doubt IMPS and FORs did that...
My wife's 03 OBS has a VSS (but is 3.90 FD).....

So I suggest 4.11s all the way with a taller tire on a car that originally had 3.90s!!
:burnout:
I can't imagine what 4.44s would be like, especially coming from 3.90s :brow:



RE: lift

I have a 95 legacy "L" and lifted it on 99 OB struts, then more with 99 FOR rear springs and SVX front springs. The 95 L had a 3.90 FD in the 5MT, but I just swapped that out for a 99 OB 5MT with 4.11s, plus the rear diff.

My front camber (with a camber kit) is still out of spec and the rear (no kit yet) is just bearly off too.

I put a 99 OB RSB (I'm pretty sure it's 18mm and stock leggo was 15), and THAT'S NICE!!! I kind of doubt an OB bar will fit in a 99OBS.. different body play (IMP/FOR LEG/OB), BUT a tribeca will go into an IMP, and they're meaty fatty!!

I lifted a 93 IMP on 98 FOR struts, but got new IMP tophats for the rear...

This pic shows the new 93 IMP rear tophat next to a 98 FOR rear tophat
Posted Image
Posted Image

rear springs...gen 1 FOR left, gen 1 IMP right
Posted Image

So you'll want IMP rear tophats, but the rest can be all 03 FOR...
I'm pretty sure you'll want a camber kit for the front. I got mine at checker 6.5 years ago and they've been fine until i put SVX springs in the OB struts...
TOO much lift for the camber kit to adjust...
So I'm trying to work that out.

but yeah:

  • 03 FOR struts, springs, upper spring perch and tophats for the front
  • FOR strut, spring and IMP tophat for the rear,
  • plus camber bolts
  • rear trailing arm bracket

and you'll be Psyched!!! :popcorn:

#16 superu

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 12:35 AM

Ok so with the 2nd gen FOR setup, can you reuse your IMP rear tophats with a washer (as I understand it) like the 1st gen?

Thanks!


I'd assume so. I haven't had a 2nd gen FOR strut in hand but I did figure out how to do the washer trick on the 1st gen FOR strut, after the install and thunking...

This is the IMP strut collar
Posted Image

This is the 98 (1st gen ) FOR strut collar
Posted Image

So that's where you'd put the washer, to take up that extra collar length...


This shows the rear trailing arm bracket out of my legacy (your IMP should be similar)
Posted Image

and an OB bracket (FOR should be similar)
Posted Image



I think this IMP is on 2nd gen FOR strut assemblies....... it might be OB and blocks, but I can't remember. . .
At any rate, it's pretty badass!!
Posted Image

Also check here for good info and photos
http://forums.nasioc...d.php?t=2166272


Ciao and good luck!!

#17 blk99obs

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 12:10 AM

Wow thanks everyone, that was huge on the replies! :clap:

My poor OBS sprung a coolant leak last night, was sitting talking to my gf and it was rather cold out so left the car running for heat, dropped her off, went to leave and saw my temp gauge was at like 3/4 or so, damn close to being pegged anyway. so I shut it off and looked under and found a big puddle... filled it with water and drove home, pulled the leaking... what I believe is called the bypass hose (little 90 deg one next to the lower rad hose) and the lower rad hose cause it looked like it was starting to bloat out, and replaced both, really crossing my fingers that it didn't have any lasting damage from getting that hot. Thinking I'll commence with the lift operation pretty soon, just need a couple more parts and I should be good.

Where do you get those top hats from? I'd like to just buy some so I don't have to mess around taking my stock setup apart.

Also, what are the spring perches? I just grabbed the whole strut assemblies, and trailing arm brackets, so hope I didn't miss anything.

One more thing, I have quite a bit of play on and off the gas in the transmission, is that par for the course with these cars? like if im in 3rd and I go on and off the gas, the shifter knob bounces back and forth... Its very annoying, and makes clutching out in 1st akward, etc. I tried pulling out the dog bone and filling it with polyurethane (worked on my old hondas so figured id give it a go) but no luck, problem must be somewhere else. Is there another mount I should be looking at?

Edited by blk99obs, 08 November 2011 - 12:18 AM.


#18 superu

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 05:02 PM

Wow thanks everyone, that was huge on the replies! :clap:


Glad to help!
This info wasn't around or as common when I did my swap 7 yrs ago, so I can totally appreciate your position!!

Where do you get those top hats from? I'd like to just buy some so I don't have to mess around taking my stock setup apart.


I think I got those (in my post above, and photo here) from tirerack.com.
I think
Posted Image

Also, what are the spring perches? I just grabbed the whole strut assemblies, and trailing arm brackets, so hope I didn't miss anything.


If you got the whole assemblies you won't need to bust apart the fronts, just rent a strut spring compressor from your parts store and compress the spring on the rears to swap out the top hat.

The spring perch is only needed for the front (if you do weird things like add FOR springs to OB struts, etc....) and the upper spring perch for the rear is part of the top hat.
Posted Image

This is why FOR spring perch with FOR spring and NOT OB perch with FOR spring... You can see the top of the FOR spring gets smaller, OB doesn't... I do NOT know for sure if 2nd gen FOR do this, but no matter, since you have the complete assemblies! :clap:
Posted Image
But again, if you got the whole assemblies, your don't need to worry about it..

Here's a repair manual diagram though for your edification.
Posted Image
#2 os the "tophat"
#4 is the upper spring perch (for the front.. the rear perch is integrated with the tophat)


One more thing, I have quite a bit of play on and off the gas in the transmission, is that par for the course with these cars? like if im in 3rd and I go on and off the gas, the shifter knob bounces back and forth... Its very annoying, and makes clutching out in 1st akward, etc. I tried pulling out the dog bone and filling it with polyurethane (worked on my old hondas so figured id give it a go) but no luck, problem must be somewhere else. Is there another mount I should be looking at?


could be a blown shifter linkage. The part which connects the shifter with the rod that comes out of the tranny.
Mine went and the shifter floated around quite a bit. When in 3rd, the stick looked like it was in 1st. . .
It's the rubber grommets that blew out...
......
looked a bunch but couldn't find a pic of the universalish-joint looking thing where the rubber grommets go in... I might have a newer linkage I can take a pic of though to give you an idea of what to look for when you crawl under your car and look up.. . . .

Edited by superu, 08 November 2011 - 05:07 PM.


#19 blk99obs

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:36 AM

I didn't notice anything wonky with the shift linkage when I worked on the tranny, but I could have overlooked it. I had to do the 5th gear fix and pop off the xfer case because the mainshaft nut backed off and well... caused the transmission to eat a few of its own parts like the synchro, hub and slider, and some sort of thrust washer thing, a plastic piece for routing oil to the center diff... among other things... anyway 5th gear works again, but it still has a lot of slop... I don't know how to describe the feeling really but the tranny is for sure moving around under there and makes the car drive jerky, im just not sure what else holds it... I think I remember a strange looking rubber mount under the tranny that I suppose I'll look at, wanna say it was attached to a big support for the tranny under there. think its the same thing pretty much as these... Posted Image

EDIT: Ahh now I see they make inserts for that and "group-n" ones (whatever that means) that are filled in more, guess I'm on the right track!

Edited by blk99obs, 09 November 2011 - 12:39 AM.


#20 blk99obs

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 05:22 PM

Ok, so I see the top hats and camber kits on tirerack, thanks for that one and all the other answers to my long list of questions, haha!

It looks like my lugs stick out of the lugnuts a little bit and so I was thinking I could run a thin spacer to try and get a bit more track width and also gain some tire to suspension clearance.

Anyone running spacers? I just have steelies on atm, dont know if they are stock but I assume so. was thinking like 5-8mm? would like to space out just a little bit... like get as close as I can but not be running the tire into the fenders. Although now the thought just popped into my head that once I have wider tires + the spacers I might end up running into the fender anyway lol...

Anyway was thinking something like this.

http://www.ebay.com/...=item5890a83abf

#21 blk99obs

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 01:34 AM

Well now I have a problem... went to put the 03 fozzy stuff on today and found that one of the rear struts was all messed up, looked like someone didn't tighten it down all the way or something because the top hat was all wallowed out about an inch sideways where the strut goes through it and the threads for about half the threaded portion were non-existent. I also went to the parts store and they couldn't find/didn't have the rubber piece that the spring sits on under the top hat, though they did have the top hats... Guess I'll have to go back to the pick and pull and see about trading for some different ones... Think they had a 99 foz there but no more 2nd gen... I want the 03! grrr!

#22 Ioku

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 02:39 PM

that rubber thing that goes in the spring perch isn't that important ive throne them out before because they always fall apart, this just to help with noise but even with out them I've never noticed any more noise.

and as for spacers I think the most you can run is 5mm before you need longer studs.

#23 blk99obs

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 02:57 AM

Cool thanks Ioku!

So its pretty much either 5mm or get one of those ones that has its own studs its so big haha.

I went to the JY again today, pulled a Loyale front skid plate, and a 99 fozzy speaker which im hoping is the same as my imp because I blew a speaker...

I also pretty much pulled the suspension from that 99, just need to snag the brackets and knock the struts out... got them all unbolted at least.

I think I can get a full set of Fozzy steelies, so might give those a shot, anyone running them? And if so, is the offset different from the imp ones?

I would hope so and it would be favorable. at any rate there were only 2 fozzy wheels out of all 3 of the damn cars! and I thought I was out of luck until I happened to look in the spare compartment and realized that they come with a full size spare fozzy steelie! so if I take 2 of the spares ill have brand new tires on two of them (spare missing from the 3rd) and then if I can find 2 more matching tires I'll be set!

EDIT: WEWT! from what I've read a couple places the foz wheels are lower offset!!! +48 for foz and +55 for imp/Leg! So if I really luck out I won't even need to put in spacers to get the desired effect.

Edited by blk99obs, 15 November 2011 - 03:17 AM.


#24 blk99obs

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:53 PM

Ok 99 foz sus lift is complete! got it all under there and was very pleasantly surprised at the ride quality/handling :D

I think the ride quality actually improved, seems like when I go over the same bumps I feel them less! and cornering is nothing like I expected based on some reviews, its not bad at all IMO, I expected to have to slow way down in the corners, but really I've only barely had to slow down so far.

I've yet to really hammer it hard, in my normal daily driving I corner pretty fast, most people not used to it are looking for things to grab on to in my car when a corner comes up lol, but every once in a while I really smash thru a corner so we'll see what happens when I decide to try it with the new setup.

So far I've got 99 fozzy wheels, rear sway brackets, trailing arm brackets, and spring/strut assemblies all the way around.

I also put on the front skid plate from a loyale, which to my surprise was a very easy install, the rear mounting holes were the same so all I had to do was bolt it on for those, and then for the front there were 2 unused and threaded holes in just the right spots so all I had to do was drill 2 holes in the skid plate and it was good... I also blew a hole in it with a torch so I can get at my oil drain plug without taking the plate off.

At this point I'm stoked on how things turned out and I love being the only guy in town with a tall suby :D Now just need to get her aligned, put some wheel spacers on, maybe rear camber kits before I align *shrugs* and put a tranny mount in and I should be all set for the time being.

I picked up some tires, ended up with some 215/65/15 mastercraft all seasons, not as aggressive as I'd hoped but there wasnt much available that I wouldn't have to nip/tuck to fit and since its my daily pavement machine I figure thats fine... I mainly just needed the clearance anyway as most places I go traction isnt much of an issue, plus these tires won't bury themselves in the sand! and I live right on the beach so thats always a good thing. I also figure aggressive tires will decrease fuel economy so might have been a good thing I didn't get them for that reason too.

Thanks to everyone who helped, for their time and patience with the suby noob!

Pics coming soon!

Edited by blk99obs, 25 November 2011 - 11:09 PM.


#25 blk99obs

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 11:59 PM

Posted Image Stock

Posted Image Stock wheels/tires, fozzy lift.

Posted Image skidplate

Posted Image new wheels, 215/65/15 tires

Posted Image

Edited by blk99obs, 28 November 2011 - 12:06 AM.





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