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.