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99 Outback lift/new struts


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10 replies to this topic

#1 Junkie

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:12 AM

I recently ended up the new owner of my mom's 99 Outback. She was kind enough to loan it to me so I could pick up furniture and I was in a not at fault accident, the other guy's insurance admitted fault and paid out. She didn't want the car at that point, but buyback was $400 so it was hard for me to say no. Damage was fender, hood, headlight, and framerail - all on the front driver's side. No damage to the framerail behind the crumple zone, and it still drives straight. 

 

I'd like to keep it a reliable car, and reasonably comfortable for long trips, but it won't see daily use. It will see occasional use on sand dunes, as I live 15 minutes from some (Oceano Dunes) and enjoy going there. 

 

It's a 100k mile car. It needs head gaskets, which is on the list of things I need to do soon. 

 

It also could use new struts, as they're original. I'd like to get a couple inches of lift (from what I read, that's about all I can get without overstressing the CVs) if it's possible. I've seen various HD springs etc, but haven't found good shock options. I'd love to get something a little more off road oriented. It'll never be a crawler, so I'd like to keep the spring rate (and damping rate) high to help it handle decently on pavement while hopefully staying up out of the sand, and not bottoming too hard if I come over a dune a little faster than I mean to. 

 

Here's how it looks now, the bumper isn't my best work but it was out of scrap material and free is usually the best price. 

 

 

Any suggestions on what to do for suspension? I'm happy to do creative things, and have some fab ability, but the budget is fairly limited - I'm not about to drop $400+ on King springs, that price seems way too high. That might be a reasonable price for shocks, though.



#2 wentz912

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:08 PM

98-02 Forester springs on Outback KYB GR2 struts is your best bet and will net you the 2" of lift you are after. Other than that, spacer blocks are your only real option AFAIK. And they don't offer anything other than being able to stuff more tire under her.



#3 Junkie

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:30 PM

Is there really no better strut out there (for a reasonable price) than GR2s? 

 

I wish something like the Bilstein 5100 was available. I'm happy to do some modification to make something better fit, if it's been tried before.



#4 Junkie

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:41 PM

Has anyone disassembled the OEM struts to put new inserts in? I can deal with ride height by way of springs/spacers, but I'm coming up blank on good struts. 



#5 bluedotsnow

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:03 AM

KYB is your best ECONOMY option! I got a set of the gr2's from a local pick and pull USED and have not had a problem with them at all!

 

if you want better shocks/more tire/rim/performance get coil overs! your going to pay "wongleflute money" for them but thats a way better purchase than tons of money on some other non coil over struts.



#6 bluedotsnow

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:10 AM

BTW since you have an outback already you can't add more stock lift blocks as your car came with them and forester springs wont give you 2" more. when you go from a legacy L to an outback you see around a 2" lift gain.

 

when your lifting an outback you really need a professional lift kit with things like adjustable control arms, proper higher than stock body spacers, steering linkage cut and re-welded(most pro lift kits don't come with the steering linkage) possibly a transverse link spacer set for the front and absolutely drive shaft spacers if your going to put after market lift blocks on there are like 5 ujoints in the drive shaft but you still don't want to stress it out while driving down the road.



#7 Fairtax4me

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:41 PM

The stock struts actually do very well offroad. The rebound rate is excellent for keeping the tires in contact with the dirt.

As for lift, if you have metalwork experience you can make your own strut top lift blocks.

Ditch the subframe spacers for extra ground clearance under the cross-member. (About an inch in the front)
You should also seriously consider a front skid plate.

#8 Junkie

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:11 PM

I have original struts on a 100k mile car, so it could use some new ones anyway. I'm looking for some more compression damping to help keep the car from nosediving as badly on the dunes. 

 

I'm in the process of making some strut spacers, but out of HDPE rather than steel. People sell them so I'm sure they're adequate. 

 

If I want to un-lift the subframes do I have to do both ends? Do I have to do anything to the driveshaft? What else is involved?

 

I'm planning on making a skidplate. 

 

 

Why would coilovers be better? All of them that I'm finding are for lowering the car, and that's the opposite of what I want to do. 



#9 Junkie

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:38 PM

http://www.ebay.com/...bbe4e2b&vxp=mtr

 

I read that Baja springs will provide a little more ride height on 2g Outbacks, which I believe have the same basic front suspension as 1g Outbacks. Rear is different so I can't use those. 

 

Does anyone know if 03 vs 04+ Baja matters, or if these will in fact work?



#10 wentz912

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:02 PM

In my opinion you're better off using the foz springs than just about anything since they are pretty widely available, AND you can use all four instead of mix/matching a set.



#11 Junkie

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 12:03 AM

Any suggestion as to where to buy them? I'm having trouble finding any 03-07 Forester springs. I could go for the Foz struts too but I guess that would mean buying new struts, which I was considering delaying. 

 

Apparently the early Bajas were the same ride height as the Outback so I'd go with these instead: http://www.ebay.com/...bbe52f2&vxp=mtr






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