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Outback struts into Legacy question


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20 replies to this topic

#1 KootenayJK

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:48 PM

So, last weekend I decided to put Outback struts into my 1994 Legacy wagon (stock fronts were shot). Front went great, rear took a little time. I went the route of putting the Legacy springs into the OB struts with the Leg top hats.
So, now I have an issue: there is a rattle/clunk coming from the struts, especially when I go over sharp bumps. Any ideas?

#2 Subafreak

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:22 PM

From the rear struts I assume? It's possible you may need a spacer on the rear strut shaft to take up some space with the top hat.
It's been awile but I believe I had to do the same on my legacy.

#3 KootenayJK

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:39 PM

Kinda what I was thinking might be the case. Anyone else confirm?

#4 NorthCoast

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:16 AM

Confirmed. Put the OB springs in if you can.

#5 KootenayJK

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:10 AM

OB springs did not look safe- too big for top hat.

#6 NorthCoast

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:12 AM

Use the OB top hat.

#7 ezapar

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:20 AM

The clunk is probably from the spring being bigger and rubbing against the car on bumps. You'll need to take both assamblies off and beat the area behind the springs back to clear them. The best way to check theis is the old finger test. Can you fit your finger back there?

#8 KootenayJK

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:02 PM

I did not try my finger, but did run some cardboard up and down behind. Plus, these are the original spring, same diameter, just the angle relative to body has changed slightly with longer struts. On smooth road, with gentle undulations, no noise. Sharper bumps - noise.

#9 KootenayJK

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:04 PM

Use the OB top hat.


OB top hat requires so much more work. Drill new hole, slot or drill out the other two, and the center of the hat still does not line up with large hole. I did keep all the OB parts just in case, but not sure if I will go that way or not.

#10 monstaru

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:53 PM

You need a spacer between the tophat and bolt.It is making noise.

#11 NorthCoast

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:36 AM

OB top hat requires so much more work. Drill new hole, slot or drill out the other two, and the center of the hat still does not line up with large hole. I did keep all the OB parts just in case, but not sure if I will go that way or not.


You are making this way too difficult. It takes less than 5 min per side. I didn't have to drill any new holes at all, just slot the two inboard ones. Way easier than breaking out the spring compressors and switching top hats.

#12 ezapar

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:34 AM

I did not try my finger, but did run some cardboard up and down behind. Plus, these are the original spring, same diameter, just the angle relative to body has changed slightly with longer struts. On smooth road, with gentle undulations, no noise. Sharper bumps - noise.




Just to humor me, look back there with a light and look for shiny spots. :brow:

Adding OB struts to an impreza is not a new idea to me.
http://www.hatchpatr..._serialNumber=1

Edited by Zap, 17 October 2012 - 11:36 AM.


#13 KootenayJK

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:12 PM

You are making this way too difficult. It takes less than 5 min per side. I didn't have to drill any new holes at all, just slot the two inboard ones. Way easier than breaking out the spring compressors and switching top hats.


I tried this first - if I just slot the two inboard ones, I will definitely have the spring hitting the inside of the tunnel - it almost touches without doing so. (drilled the outboard hole first - was just about touching)
Also, there's still the issue of the hat not centering on the large hole, so the studs are now bearing most of the load, instead of the hat flange. My kids and friends use this car - safety counts to me.

Just to humor me, look back there with a light and look for shiny spots. :brow:

Adding OB struts to an impreza is not a new idea to me.


Yes, but this is a Legacy... different dimensions back there, no?

Edited by KootenayJK, 17 October 2012 - 07:15 PM.


#14 Gloyale

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:29 PM

I tried this first - if I just slot the two inboard ones, I will definitely have the spring hitting the inside of the tunnel - it almost touches without doing so. (drilled the outboard hole first - was just about touching)
Also, there's still the issue of the hat not centering on the large hole, so the studs are now bearing most of the load, instead of the hat flange. My kids and friends use this car - safety counts to me.


I'm glad you have a good handle on the work involved with properly fitting OB tophats into first gen LEG and IMP. It is very difficult to get the top centered properly to spread the load into the body, and keep camber and caster correct. The way you've done it is better.

Using The LEG hats and springs will work, without clunking if you put a spacer in between the hat and the nut. There is a step on the OB struts rod that prevents the LEG hat from being tightened fully without a washer in there.


Yes, but this is a Legacy... different dimensions back there, no?


Not really......First gen LEG and IMP are 99% identical chassis.

#15 KootenayJK

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:55 AM

Thanks again for all the input, everyone. Hopefully I'll have time to get it sorted this weekend, as well as bring my parts car home, and do some more work on the EJ Loyale!

#16 thatswhatshesaid

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:53 PM

Let us know how it goes.

After my Forester struts were installed and 225/60r16s mounted, I measured over 9" clearance at the rear diff on my 94 Touring Wagon. Pretty darn cool.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#17 WoodsWagon

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:06 AM

DON'T BOTHER WITH SWITCHING SPRINGS AND TOPHATS!

The problem is that the threads on the newer strut rods don't go down as far as the old ones. So when you tighten the nut, it's bottoming out on the threads before it actually clamps the strut cap. So that leaves the strut rod loose to rattle over bumps.

With new struts there's usually gas pressure holding them extended. So you can take the nut off with the struts installed in the car with the weight of the car sitting on them. Then grind a washer to fit or flatten out a lockwasher so it can go under the nut. Zip the nut down with and impact and you're done.

I delt with exactly the same problem on a 94 turbo wagon with outback struts

Edited by WoodsWagon, 30 October 2012 - 12:09 AM.


#18 KootenayJK

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:50 PM

Here's mine so far:
Posted Image

I am sitting about the same height as an Outback, even with the puny stock tires. Great car!

#19 Subaru_dude

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:53 PM

I think I ran into the problem you're having and it was because I got the left and right tophats on the wrong struts. There's a difference...

#20 KootenayJK

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:51 AM

Forgot to update here.

Dad turned a couple spacers on the lathe, and I put them between the top nut and the top hat. Problem solved. Center bore on spacers was the same as bore in top hat, so it would sleeve over the shaft where the threads end.

BTW, I also looked for shiny spots on body where the spring might rub, as one guy suggested. None there, as I expected.

#21 KootenayJK

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:22 PM

Little update: I finally picked up a set of used iPike tires on steelies (225/60-16)!
Mounted them up on the car yesterday, and got a chance to drive it a bit today. Awesome! Feels like I'm sitting at the proper hight now. Also, my speedo always read high, but its just about bang on with the bigger tires!




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