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Suzuki Sidekick vs Subaru


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42 replies to this topic

#1 pbz

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:12 PM

So I asked this question earlier on a Suzuki message board, but thought it only fair to give you guys a shot at it too.

'm currently looking for a new rig and I'm considering a Subaru Forester (never owned a Subaru). I'm currently wheeling a 2" lifted, 91 tracker on 30" BFG A/Ts. Trying to figure out whether a Subaru will suite me better. My perceived pros and cons are.

Subaru Advantages (I think) are:
Cheap junkyard LSDs
More power
Better on the street, ice, and light snow
Better fuel economy (primary motivation)

Disadvantages:
More work to fit a given oversize tire
No dual range without a trans swap
Vulnerability of unibody design to damage that is not easily repaired (my biggest concern)

Let me know what your experiences are, especially concerning the last one.

#2 Uberoo

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:27 PM

for what sort of offroading?

#3 pbz

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:32 AM

Here in Michigan, most of the trails I've been are logging roads, forest roads, or sandy orv type trails. In my tracker I typically run them at speed, there are some pretty major woops on these trails, and the suspension is often bottomed out. The other thing I seem to end up doing is a bunch of rutted out hill climbs. Between these two types of things I worry about tweaking the unibody.

#4 Uberoo

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:01 AM

A subaru with some 27" tires and some good skidplates would probably do all that pretty good.Dont worry so much about the unibody.Ive flexed mine to the point where a tire was 3 feet off the ground and all the doors still opened and closed perfectly.

it should also more stable on those high speed runs because of its low center of gravity and independent suspension.

FYI many of the older 80's subarus came with a dual range 4x4 transmission so I am not sure what your saying about needing a transmission swap.

#5 scoobyclimbs

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:21 AM

I know both rigs well..
I have a couple friends with sidekicks ..great rigs but grossly underpowered.. Much more capable , better flex, storage room sux..

I just bought a forester...I love it...It's lifted now...
The forester can be easily swapped to a older dual range trans with and adapter plate..
I like the auto 4eat and 4.44final drive. The forester is great for hi speed stuff...mileage about 19-25...less with bigger tires,lift..
The subarus unibodies are pretty tough....you really have to abuse the hell out of them..I've seen jeep cheerokees take alot of abuse as well..
The forester has better cargo room and handling than the sidekick.
I think the safety rating is higher as well.

the best advice is beef up what ever your gonna abuse the most..Speed and air = $$$ and downtime...

Posted Image

Edited by scoobyclimbs, 15 June 2012 - 01:47 AM.


#6 pbz

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:16 PM

Nice Forester scoobyclimbs.

I have read about doing a dual range swap, and if I get a Forester that would definitely be on my eventual to-do list, although with the better power the Subaru makes, I think I'd be pretty ok without it in the mean time.

Also I think there's room for improvement on the Subaru's flex. We pretty easily get 8" travel out of the front wheels on the Sidekicks, even though they look to have much shorter CV shafts than the Subarus. I think the body will be the limiting factor here, but with a little bashing and cutting, and some longer shocks/struts should be able to make it happen.

I think I'm gonna go make some calls on some Subarus right now.

#7 scoobyclimbs

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:42 PM

Nice Forester scoobyclimbs.

I have read about doing a dual range swap, and if I get a Forester that would definitely be on my eventual to-do list, although with the better power the Subaru makes, I think I'd be pretty ok without it in the mean time.

Also I think there's room for improvement on the Subaru's flex. We pretty easily get 8" travel out of the front wheels on the Sidekicks, even though they look to have much shorter CV shafts than the Subarus. I think the body will be the limiting factor here, but with a little bashing and cutting, and some longer shocks/struts should be able to make it happen.

I think I'm gonna go make some calls on some Subarus right now.


Note: only S model foresters came with a rear LSD...so look for those..

#8 tron

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 12:11 AM

ha!
this is great...
I just bought a subaru over saving up for the ultimate samurai.
I had many dreams of trailing my future samurai.....
Posted Image
86 Samurai
1.8 sidekick engine
Trail Tough YJ spring conversion
31in BFG Mudders


Now I dream of moderately offroading my wagon.
Posted Image
So far im in love.
Sayonara Samaurai Deams!
Bring on the Imprezza realities!
:D

Edited by tron, 30 June 2012 - 12:14 AM.
you try to spell Sayonara!!!!!!


#9 turbosubarubrat

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 01:40 AM

what u need is a 2nd gen brat lifted with ej swap (wish this was my brat im stuck with stock motor and peugeot wheels for now:D)
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#10 Scott in Bellingham

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:00 AM

weak point with the subaru is your rear axle setup the sidekick will have a stronger axle and you can buy a locker

the ea81 is the weakest
ea82 axles and stub shafts will break with a locker

newer gen stuff is stronger

#11 Prwa101

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 01:33 PM

My stock forester could outrun my buddy's sammari in the snow, and he was running 32's with a 3"lift. I was really surprised! But I bet if we had hit the mud, he would have gotten me there. Haha.

-Prwa AAE

#12 blk99obs

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 02:50 PM

You should be aware that there were a few years of 2.5L motors that were notorious for headgasket problems, someone with more knowledge can tell you about that. I just know theres a reason I see a ton of earlier 2.5L subies in the local junkyard, and have yet to see a 2.2L. Best of luck, and keep us posted!

#13 bratman18

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:06 PM

You should be aware that there were a few years of 2.5L motors that were notorious for headgasket problems, someone with more knowledge can tell you about that. I just know theres a reason I see a ton of earlier 2.5L subies in the local junkyard, and have yet to see a 2.2L. Best of luck, and keep us posted!


All the 2.5 N/A's have head gasket issues, they just vary in the way they leak from phase 1 and phase 2.

#14 89ChevondaSI

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:18 PM

and 2.2's are almost bullet proof. you can take a 2.2 300k with no internal maintenance. :headbang:

#15 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:21 PM

Just for refference, here is a friend of mines Suzuki Sidekick, we just installed a 2" lift on it today.

Its got a solid rear, 1.8 EFI, and apparently quite a few bits and pieces from Samurai and Toyotas can be made to fit.

Posted Image

Thats with 30" tires.

#16 Jibs

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:48 PM

That's what sliders and bumpers are for, do that and don't worry about the unibody. I've been looking at parts for sidekicks, they're pretty inexpensive.

I've seen a spool for the rear of a sidekick for 103$, a 2" body lift for 119$. That body lift with a 2" suspension lift (195$ including new rear shocks) and you can fit 32's. That, and having a solid rear axle and stock 5.12's, and you're already off to a superior start compared to a subaru. In my opinion... Just sayin.

#17 Prwa101

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:41 AM

That's what sliders and bumpers are for, do that and don't worry about the unibody. I've been looking at parts for sidekicks, they're pretty inexpensive.

I've seen a spool for the rear of a sidekick for 103$, a 2" body lift for 119$. That body lift with a 2" suspension lift (195$ including new rear shocks) and you can fit 32's. That, and having a solid rear axle and stock 5.12's, and you're already off to a superior start compared to a subaru. In my opinion... Just sayin.


Hahah. 119$ for a lift for a sidekick, I've seen my buddy use hocky pucks, Way cheaper! And are really strong, It's prolly 2$ a puck for the body lift. :)

#18 Uberoo

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:19 PM

I don't like body lifts on framed vehicles.I have always felt its like putting the body on stilts.So I go suspension lift or cut/reweld the perches higher.

#19 scoobyclimbs

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:25 PM

You should be aware that there were a few years of 2.5L motors that were notorious for headgasket problems, someone with more knowledge can tell you about that. I just know theres a reason I see a ton of earlier 2.5L subies in the local junkyard, and have yet to see a 2.2L. Best of luck, and keep us posted!


Are we not up to date on the headgasket issue yet..:Flame:

Most rigs have been updated and done over ten years ago...I would not worry about headgaskets so much now..
My rig is 14yrs old.. with year old hg's on...not worried about it abit..it's got 180k on the motor ..

why are there so many 97-99 rigs still on the road..? Hg were done a decade ago..nuff said..:burnout:

I see more ej22 legos in the junkyard than ej25 rigs.. All the rebuilders get the ej25 rigs and fix/sell them...

Edited by scoobyclimbs, 03 July 2012 - 02:29 PM.


#20 bratman18

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:45 PM

Are we not up to date on the headgasket issue yet..:Flame:

Most rigs have been updated and done over ten years ago...I would not worry about headgaskets so much now..
My rig is 14yrs old.. with year old hg's on...not worried about it abit..it's got 180k on the motor ..

why are there so many 97-99 rigs still on the road..? Hg were done a decade ago..nuff said..:burnout:

I see more ej22 legos in the junkyard than ej25 rigs.. All the rebuilders get the ej25 rigs and fix/sell them...


I have over 200k on my 98 now and have no worries, but it's the fact that so many people redo the head gaskets with non Subaru gaskets, or don't follow the correct torque sequence, or the fact that they overheated it to the point that it cooked the bearings, or warped the heads that is the biggest issue, if any of that was done, then they will be an issue again!

The EJ22's are in the junkyard because the tranny is toast or the body is jacked up, not usually because of the motor!

#21 maozebong

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:03 PM

I've seen a spool for the rear of a sidekick for 103$


ive seen a universal spool, works with every open diff in existance, and it flows out of the tip of my lincoln mig welder. just sayin.

the welder costs quite a bit, but the feed wire and gas it takes to weld a diff costs less than 10$.

#22 TheSubaruJunkie

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:34 AM

His point was, the parts are readily available.

Here's something else you wont find for a subie:
http://www.lowrangeo...ir-lockers.html

:Flame:

#23 mikaleda

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:21 AM

i just sold my old sameri and bought a gl 1600. my sameri was plane jane stock except i had a set of walnut shell 235-75-R15s on it i went through some nasty mud with it almost never got stuck and as for flexing i could climb over tank traps but there was alot of flex. my gl is actually stronger and can go dang near as far as my sameri, and it has stock tires :D

#24 pbz

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 07:15 PM

Well I ended up buying a 1998 Forester S.

Got a heck of a deal on it since it was running like crap on account of a couple bad sensors, primarily the VSS, which I figured out from reading the ad and information on this board :) Plus confirmed the head gaskets and timing belt done a couple years ago.

Plan is to do a strut bottom lift and 30in all terrains with snow chains in reserve. Hope to have it ready for a trip up north at the end of the month.

Going to the junkyard soon for an LSD and a couple spare half-shafts.

Dreaming about a dual rang swap down the road.

Excited about the Subaru, but I'll probably have to have a go at building that ultimate Samurai one of these days (diesel).

Anyone know which Subarus have half-shafts and LSDs that fit this vehicle (MT btw)?

#25 WoodsWagon

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:42 AM

i just sold my old sameri and bought a gl 1600.

A friend wheeled the piss out of an 88 samurai and I wheeled the piss out of my 94 Loyale, both with 235/75r15's on them. The samurai could go a lot more places because there wasn't anything vulnerable on the underside. We'd get it jammed up on rocks, highcentered on logs and stuck deep in brooks, but you couldn't break anything underneath. Just keep the 1.3l screaming and hammer it back and forth until it would find a way out.

I had issues bending the suspension, tearing the captured nuts out of the body, ripping off the exhaust, folded the driveshaft carrier bearing over, and nearly tore the oil filter off my subaru in various wheeling adventures. There are a lot of exposed weak parts under a subaru that you don't get on a samurai or sidekick, so you have to be more careful wheeling them.




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