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long travel Outbacks or making Subarus faster and more reliable offroad


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#626 jf1sf5

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:59 PM

Wow ! Beautiful suspension kit ! Why do you fabricate front control arms, aren't the oem's good enough ?

 

Rear Forester SG lateral links are 15mm longer than Forester SF lateral links. And Impreza WRX are 10mm longer than Forester SF. This may help for more space between strut and body.

 

Thank you very much for the front CV axle measures. I'll go to the wreckers to find some early Legacy/Impreza.



#627 pontoontodd

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 02:03 PM

Thanks, it won't be beautiful for long, so I took a bunch of pictures.

 

We've bent at least two of the OEM front control arms, usually hitting a big rock that doesn't move, and they bend back pretty easily, but just not bending them seems best.

At first I reinforced the front control arms.  (post 44)  http://www.ultimates...-2#entry1231150

Then I built heavier duty, wider arms when we did the long travel.  (post 85)  http://www.ultimates...-4#entry1270481

 

Thanks for the tips on the longer lateral links.  Do you know if they're any stronger?  I could have just built mine longer, thought about it, but didn't want the tire to rub on the fender at full compression.

 

How short do your sliding axles compress to and which ones are you using?  My friend is wondering if they have enough travel to install them in the car without taking apart the suspension.  Would make for an easy trail repair to get back home.  Obviously a broken one can come out easy without taking anything else apart.



#628 jf1sf5

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 02:22 PM

No, the longer lateral links are not stronger...

 

Talking of the sliding axles, do you mean the Heri front shafts ? Not sure that using a sliding axle with a plunging CV is compatible, don't think I will ever try and haven't even counted the splines to see if it could fit.

 

Or are you talking of the rear CV axles ? If so, I have the oem '98 Forester SF's with SG lateral links.



#629 pontoontodd

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 02:31 PM

No, the longer lateral links are not stronger...

 

Talking of the sliding axles, do you mean the Heri front shafts ? Not sure that using a sliding axle with a plunging CV is compatible, don't think I will ever try and haven't even counted the splines to see if it could fit.

 

Or are you talking of the rear CV axles ? If so, I have the oem '98 Forester SF's with SG lateral links.

 

The Heri plunging axles.  We were wondering if they have enough plunge to be removed and installed without taking the suspension apart.  Can you measure one fully compressed?



#630 jf1sf5

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 03:16 PM

Ok, will do tomorrow, its 10:15 PM here and they are at my workshop !



#631 jf1sf5

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:12 AM

Heri are 690mm compressed and 740mm extended.

 

NTN (oem) Forester SF are 685mm compressed and 730mm extended

 

I'm just back from the wreckers and found one SVX 3.3 front axle, much larger inner and outer cv's. The inner cv takes about 32°(!) but has less plunge, 695mm compressed and 735mm extended.

 

I looked for '89-'92 legacy front axles to see if they are ball or tripod and measure them but they didn't have any in stock. If anyone has some sitting around, would be great to share the info !



#632 jf1sf5

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 11:43 AM

The Heri plunging axles.  We were wondering if they have enough plunge to be removed and installed without taking the suspension apart.  Can you measure one fully compressed?

 

I answered giving the lengths but could've also said "no" !

 

When I change my front CV axles, I unbolt the control arms from the chassis, 3 bolts (no swaybar) and no need to re do the settings on the strut bolts.



#633 pontoontodd

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 02:50 PM

I spent a few hours Saturday night getting the Impreza and Outback hooked together and loaded up in the driveway.
Got up at 5AM Sunday and headed for the Badlands off road park.  By the time I got there the rest of the guys meeting me were there.  I didn't recognize my friend's Forester at first glance with no bumper covers and the long travel struts.  He had put the 2WD axles on the day before and they seemed to have enough travel.  He did spacer one of them out from the hub a little bit.  We got the cars ready to go and hit the trails.  First thing I wanted to try was a rocky trail we'd seen last time.  Our friend got the Impreza up there and thought we shouldn't try it, then took a while to get the Impreza turned around and back down, dented the hatch a little.  The Outback's power advantage is significant on the big soft hills of tailings.  You can easily climb any grade while the four cylinder Forester and Impreza can sometimes barely maintain speed in first gear on a slight grade.  Unfortunately I decided to try a steep climb of large broken concrete pieces in the Outback and broke the rear spider gears near the top.  I basically made it to the top with the front tires, so then I had to try to roll back down.  Didn't quite make it all the way back down and the car was stuck, but didn't really look high centered or anything.  That's when we noticed there was some fluid, probably not water, under the back of the car.  My friend pulled his Forester a little closer and we hooked up his strap.  I put it around his front bumper, which instantly ripped off since the tabs on the body were already cracked and rusted, which I didn't realize.  We got the Outback down off the hill and towed it back to the parking lot.  Took a little break and our friend made lunch.  As we were finishing, SnatchedHatch showed up and we went back out on the trails with the Impreza and Forester.  Some guys in a full size Toyota SUV that looked perfect were going the other way.  They liked seeing the Subarus and said they wanted to follow us.  Our friend warned them we were going in the woods and the guy said “I can go anywhere you can go.”  We were on some super narrow trails, probably mainly used by ATVs, and after a while we heard a bang and looked back to see the plastic front bumper hanging off the Toyota.  Then he ran it over and they threw it in the truck.  Also dented the front fender.  The guy later told us he'd never taken it off road before so he was breaking it in.  On some narrow woods trail Jerry broke the RF marker light and front airbox on the Impreza.  I used some duct tape that kept them together the rest of the time.  Later on I was riding in the Impreza and we were following the other four in the Forester through the tubes.  We were trying to figure out what noise the Impreza was making as we drove through the tube and then went away when we got out.  It sounded like the exhaust dragging but nothing was hanging under the car.  Later on I realized it was probably the CB antenna rubbing on the top of the corrugated tube.  That part of the stream has a lot of 10” rocks and we managed to get stuck on some of them in the Impreza.  They backed the Forester close enough to us to throw the strap and we pulled it off the rocks and drove the rest of the stream.  We tried climbing a concrete grade we've gone up before.  Couldn't make it in either car, my friend backed into a tree with his Forester but just made a dent, so we turned around.
My friends towed the Outback back to my house with the Forester, I followed in the Impreza.  Got home without any other issues.

Looking into doing an R180 conversion since the rear diff has to come out.

Got lots of video, eventually I'll get that edited and posted.  I had gotten pretty far editing the video from Texas before we left but now that will probably have to wait while I replace the engine and rear diff in the Outback.



#634 pontoontodd

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:19 AM

I got a different H6 from the junkyard, this one with supposedly 70 some thousand miles on it.  It does look much cleaner inside than the last one.  They butchered this one too though, the O2 sensor wiring plugs are pulled apart, cut one of the other engine harness plugs off, ripped the small lower coolant hoses again, bent one of the fuel lines, etc. 

 

Got a rear diff coming in from NC with 52k miles on it.  Looked into the R180 conversion and didn't seem worth it.  The 4.11 was only available in Nissans, and they have different diff splines, so then I'd need an STI diff and set up the gears.  Best solution would really be a 6MT and R180 with 4.44 gears.

 

Finished editing video from our last trip to Texas and put that on youtube:

https://youtu.be/bCveN9WYcvc

 

Just started putting together the video from Badlands, I'll post that up when I'm done.


Edited by pontoontodd, 02 June 2017 - 10:36 AM.


#635 ferp420

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:44 PM

Looks like fun If it wasent for all the green stuff i would say your racing up and down my street lol it looks just like the main road to my house



#636 pontoontodd

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 03:05 PM

Looks like fun If it wasent for all the green stuff i would say your racing up and down my street lol it looks just like the main road to my house

 

Ya, the course is good, most of it isn't super rough.  Probably less than ten spots in the fifty mile loop you really have to slow way down and get in first gear to creep over something.



#637 pontoontodd

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 02:31 PM

I got a replacement H6 engine from the junkyard for the 99 Outback that supposedly only has 70k miles on it, but they really butchered it.  Fuel lines are bent, at least four wire plugs were cut on the engine side, coolant hose at the bottom of the engine is screwed up again, no oil fill cap, etc.  Fortunately I still have the original engine from the donor car to rob parts from.  One thing I did while the engine was out was to shave down part of the timing cover to give more clearance for the radiator hose.

 

DSCF1204s.jpg

 

Also drilled another hole in a new thermostat and put that in, figured it will make it easier to bleed if nothing else.

 

DSCF1205s.jpg

 

Put this one in the Outback and it runs OK but idles high and hunts up and down.  Doesn't really run rough, just not a stable idle.  Sometimes idle is steady but probably less than half the time.  Need to clean out the idle air control valve, my brother did that on the 2002 he bought in CA, just waiting on the gasket first.

 

My friend helped me finish swapping a low mileage rear diff in.  Did some brake and other work while it was all apart.  Here are the broken spider gear teeth:

 

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We drove to dinner and on the way back home the clutch pedal stuck to the floor.  There is some kind of spring loaded toggle mechanism at the pedal that pushes it down once it's past 1/4 or 1/2 way down, possibly to make it easier to hold the clutch pedal down.  Seemed like the clutch was fully engaged (clamped) with the pedal up or down, so I drove most of the way home in third gear timing stop lights as best I could.  The slave cylinder wasn't moving much so we tried bleeding it.  The bleed screw was of course clogged with rust/debris, so I cleaned that out.  Put a clear plastic hose on the bleeder nipple.  When you push down the clutch pedal it fills the hose with brake fluid, but then letting up on the pedal sucks it all back in.  So we're guessing the master cylinder is bad.  I ordered a master, slave, and hose (that looked damp), they should be here tomorrow.  Most concerning though is that this engine might also have a head gasket leak.  After we drove around the coolant level had gone up in the overflow bottle and didn't go back down when it cooled off.  A couple hours after we drove it I started to take the radiator cap off the pressurized coolant bottle and there was still pressure in the system.  I'll have to mess with that more once I can drive it again.  I think the first thing I will do is to just connect the top of the radiator to the normal overflow tank and run it without the pressurized overflow a few times and see what happens.

 

We replaced a couple of CV boots on my friend's Forester.  Also fixed the exhaust where it had broken at the offroad park and did a couple other little things.  We still have to replace/repair his front bumper.

 

Changed the engine oil, filter, and rear diff oil in the Impreza.  Engine oil has been in there for over 3000 hard miles and was getting pretty black.  Dunno if I've ever even checked the rear diff fluid, but that seemed full and clean.  Also replaced a front marker light we broke at the park and replaced a burned out rear brake light bulb.

 

I have video from the offroad park edited, just need to upload it to youtube, I'll do that soon.  Aside from the hillclimb where I broke the rear diff it's not very exciting though.



#638 ferp420

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 05:56 PM

Weld that diff up solid and use it offroad only use a different diff on the street



#639 pontoontodd

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 05:59 PM

Weld that diff up solid and use it offroad only use a different diff on the street

 

I thought about it.  Then our steering brake wouldn't work.  And we drive it hundreds or thousands of miles to where we off road it.



#640 pontoontodd

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:20 PM

Good news I think.
First I took the clutch hydraulics out.  The first thing I noticed (yes, after removing it from the car) is that the master reservoir is bone dry.  It's translucent and looks like it's a little over full from the outside but that was just dirt.  I did wipe it out and put in fresh fluid, but I was still unable to bleed it.  The hose is damp, so I'm guessing what happened is that the hose was leaking slightly, eventually the master ran dry, maybe after that the master went bad.  Put in a new master, hose, and slave, bled it, and that seems to work fine.
Figured I'd try something different with the overflow so I just plumbed the small hose from the top of the radiator to the bottom of the (non pressurized) overflow.  One thing I noticed that I'm pretty sure the other engine didn't do is that this one misfires at 5000RPM in first gear, but pulls fine in the other gears.  Idle eventually seemed to smooth out and went down to 700RPM too.  By the time I got home there was actually less coolant in the overflow than when I started.  I let it sit and idle for a while and tested it with the head gasket color changing fluid.  Fluid color never changed.  Seemed like at first it was bubbling into the overflow quite a bit.  Eventually the fans cycle on for about thirty seconds, which brings the coolant level in the overflow down 1/4 or 1/2".  I started picking stuff up in the garage and let it just cycle a bunch of times.  After a few times it would just pump coolant into the overflow as it heated up, then suck the coolant back in when the fans ran and stopped bubbling.  So maybe no head gasket leak?  Going to drive it some more tomorrow and hope for the best.

The overflow system we've been using is a small hose going from the top of the radiator to the bottom of a small pressure tank with a radiator cap on it.  A hose goes from the top of that to the bottom of a large non pressurized overflow tank.  That seemed to work fine with the four cylinder, that's how we ran the Vegas to Reno, but the six cylinder seemed to keep pushing coolant into the overflow until there was a lot of air in the radiator/engine and it would overheat.
I think what I'm going to do about the radiator is make a longer water neck for them to weld on closer to the bottom and just cap the current one since it has to be welded anyhow.  At that point I could probably get/make a radiator cap fitting for the top for them to weld on.  With a little cutting of the hood bracing I think it would fit.

I could leave it as is, I will for a while just to see what it does driving around town, but will it cause problems having a non pressurized coolant system?  I know having it pressurized raises the boiling point, but I am running 50/50 so the boiling point is much higher than the engine temps ever get.  I have heard one reason is that the engine will have localized hot spots that the pressure will keep from boiling.

Thoughts?



#641 pontoontodd

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 03:52 PM

I drove the 99 Outback quite a bit today, some 80mph cruising and some driving around town.  Pulls through first gear now, but stalls sometimes, thinking that's the idle air control thing being dirty.  It still seems to slowly push coolant into the overflow, maybe not as bad as before, but definitely still bubbles sometimes.  Tried the head gasket leak tester a couple times and it hasn't changed color yet.  One of my friends thought maybe there's a hot spot somewhere that's boiling a little coolant.  My brother said they way they plumb those expansion tanks is usually to run a 1/4" hose from the top of the hot side of the radiator to the top of the expansion tank.  Then run a 1/2" hose from the bottom of the expansion tank to the bottom of the cold side of the radiator.  I think that should continuously purge the air out of the system.  Maybe not really fixing the problem but if it can keep the air out of the coolant it should work.  Ordering a bigger expansion tank right now.  Should be able to just run it without the radiator cap to see if it works.
When I have them reweld the lower neck on the radiator I'll have them weld on a couple of 1/2" NPT pipe bungs, one near each water neck, then we can try various sizes of hoses if need be.



#642 ferp420

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 09:58 PM

Sounds like a wasserboxer colling system set up to me lol



#643 jf1sf5

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 07:42 AM

Seems that non oem thermostats don't work on Subarus, had cooling issues because of that but all good since I changed it.



#644 pontoontodd

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:20 AM

I cleaned out the idle air control valve and replaced the gasket.

 

DSCF1226s.jpg

 

Another friend told me the 07+ Silverados are plumbed the same my brother described.

I got a two quart expansion tank and some bungs welded in the radiator.  Cut and capped off the old lower water neck and made a new, longer one that better clears the valve cover.

 

DSCF1244s.jpg

 

DSCF1251s.jpg

 

Put a bung in the top of the other side of the tank too in case we want to put a bigger fitting there.

 

DSCF1246s.jpg

 

DSCF1248s.jpg

 

So I ran a 1/4" hose from the top of the hot side of the radiator to the top of the expansion tank.  Ran a 1/2" hose from the bottom of the expansion tank to the bottom of the cold side of the radiator.  Ran a 1/4" hose from the overflow fitting of the expansion tank to the bottom of the overflow tank.

Once it's warmed up at idle there isn't any coolant flowing into the expansion tank, but if you rev it up there's a little stream. The level in the expansion tank never seemed to change. When I take off the cap, even if the engine is hot and running, there is no sound or spray. When I have the cap on the expansion tank and the overflow hose from the expansion tank hooked up to the bottom of the overflow, the overflow tank does get some bubbles in it, but it still has no coolant in it. One indication of cooling system effectiveness I've noticed is that when everything is working right (minimal air in the radiator), the fans only run for about 30 seconds and the engine is cooled back off. If it does have air, the fans will run for minutes or continuously. Now they just run for 30 seconds or so. So I think it's working. Drove for about an hour on the highway. Only 70F outside. Temps were 176F at 65mph, 181-183 at 80mph. Once at the start and once at the end of the trip, after getting up to speed it went over 190F briefly but then came back down around 180. Never did that with the AC on. This is with no skidpans/shields on, they may actually make it run cooler. Expansion tank had about the same amount of coolant as I started when I got back. Let it idle for a few minutes until the fans kicked on, they only ran for 30 seconds and shut off. No noticeable pressure in the expansion tank when I took the cap off, did see one bubble in the overflow tank while it was idling, but that's still basically dry.

Also, intake air temps with the old cooling setup were 110-120F, but it was about 90F outside. Today it was about 70F outside and intake temp was about 90F.  Thinking about making some kind of hood scoop or making the stock one ducted over there.

We mounted the expansion tank and overflow tank, ran it until it got hot enough to run the fans, coolant level seemed not to change, so hopefully it's good now. Going to drive it around this week.

 

DSCF1255s.jpg

 

DSCF1256s.jpg

 

DSCF1259s.jpg

 

We did some other little things on the Outback like getting the rear hatch power lock working and worked on mounts for the recovery ramps.  My friend noticed the short vertical vacuum hose in front of the throttle body was cracked so we swapped it out with the one from the old engine.

The Impreza has been handling funny for the last couple weeks, I've looked at it a few times and finally noticed one of the tires is about to blow.

 

DSCF1260s.jpg

 

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At least one wheel is bent so we went through those. I have at least four steel wheels that are pretty straight (.030-.040") and a bunch that are bent .1"-.2", so I have to get a couple tires and do some wheel/tire swapping. While I was trying to get one of the wheels off I noticed the LR strut was moving around at the top. The top hat is broken. With weight on it, not a big deal, but when it droops out it can wave around and wind up elsewhere. The other side is cracked about 3/4 of the way around. So I need to replace those.



#645 pontoontodd

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 07:50 AM

Video from our trip to Badlands off road park.  Near the start you can see the hill climb where I broke the rear spider gears in the Outback.  After that we were kind of taking it easy with the other two cars.

 

https://youtu.be/DWI89w6mrtU



#646 Subaru Scott

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 08:03 AM

Nice video!






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