Wow, thanks for all the feedback. It's good to hear what your experiences actually are with lifts, welded diffs, etc rather than the usual "it should do this."
You could though mount a second E-brake handle, and seperate the cables run one to each handle it's mechanical manual traction control!!!
We were actually just discussing that last night. I would probably use it more as a turning brake on a buggy, but it would be helpful if one rear was up in the air. The Outback definitely does not oversteer like my Impreza so it'd help get around turns. Like anything else, it's been done:
There are various suggestions of making it push/pull or left/right rather than twin stick but I think it'd do it the way he did but handles farther apart.
1.5in in my experience is as tall as you can go with out dropping the sub-frame and rear diff on an Outback, if you want to keep good alignment angles for the highway, and you will find when the suspension is hanging all the way down your cv axles are close to binding. Looks like you are on the right track though, I like you fuel tank guard and I see you discovered why the front bumper must go. As for the other stuff it depends on the level of comfort you want out of the car, mine is still my daily driver until I get another one so a welded diff wont work for me. I would like to have 4 to 6 in of lift eventually because I do some wheeling with my buddy's that have Toyota trucks and Jeeps and I can usually keep up pretty good but I have to use momentum a lot more than they do, so the Outback can take some hard hits. If I had more lift and lo range gearing it wouldn't be as much of an issue.
It also looked to me like 1.5" was all the Outback would take in the rear without binding at full droop.
You are right about most Jeep and truck guys. First, they usually don't ride as well as a Subaru so they tend to go slower. Second, like you say, you have to use momentum in a mostly stock Subaru where they can creep. We have been on a trail ride with some Jeeps that was painful. It took about 2 hours to cover what would normally take us 20-30 minutes. We basically had to start and stop a lot in order to hit things with speed and not burn up the clutch.
I think there are two different approaches. One is to turn the Subaru into a Jeep with a big lift, tires, low range, welded diff, maybe even solid rear axle. That is cool, don't get me wrong. Maybe out west it is the only way to go. Here in the midwest there just aren't that many trails covered in giant rocks like Dusy Ershim.
My philosophy is to just go faster. It's more fun and you get to see a lot more in a given amount of time. Most of the trails around here you're more limited by the ride quality at speed holding you back, or maybe concern for denting a wheel. I've been thinking more along the lines of a long travel suspension. I have an off road racing background and could design and build the parts, I just have to see how much travel we could really get out of a Subaru, if we could get decent geometry, and whether it's worth the time and money. One of my friends who has a lot of rally/off road experience and I were discussing it last night and our thought is:
Throw away the struts.
Mount an upper control arm to the subframe mount. The balljoint axis at the outer end of this arm would be oriented front-back to allow max vertical travel. The cutting brakes would help make up for the limited steering angle.
Bolt a mount for that balljoint where the strut would go on the top of the spindle.
Upper shock mount would be where the strut normally mounts to the body, it could even go up through the strut hole some if needed. Easier to get at the shock bolt that way too. Lower shock mount probably on the upper arm.
I think if you even increased from the stock travel of 7" (??) to 10" with well tuned shocks and springs, you could really eat up some terrain.
Again, of course it's been done before, this is ROUGHLY the concept:
As this thread points out, you could possibly have some kind of pivoting rear subframe for more articulation or just go to a solid rear axle:
I've also got an idea for easily adjustable ride height.
Edited by pontoontodd, 13 March 2014 - 01:53 PM.