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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Front Camber

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6 replies to this topic

#1 910GL



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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:47 PM

Hey guys, I'm new around here so I will begin with the back-story. So recently I purchased my first Subaru, a one-owner 86 GL 4WD Wagon with 130k miles. It's in decent shape, with only a couple minor rust spots and was pretty well taken care of by the only previous owner (it came with a 3" stack of service records and even the original window sticker).

I'd always been kind of a Jeep guy, and had recently moved on from my previous weekend beater of a 96 XJ so I was looking for something with some character for my next car, and stumbled across the GL and figured it would be relatively easy to keep running... Little did I know of the struggles of finding parts for these things... Anyway I digress... On to my question.

Among the stack of service records and receipts that came with the car, I noticed an unfathomable trend of endless tire rotations and new tires... And when I got it home and started looking it over I noticed the pretty significant positive camber on both front wheels.

After researching, I have come to learn that this is somewhat normal and a certain amount of positive camber is within specs for these things... But the tires that came on it are balding along the outer sides so it's due for a new set. I however, am not keen on throwing new tires on this thing every 5000 miles.

My specific question is will a set of subframe spacers in the front counteract positive camber by pushing the lower control arm out? Or are camber issues corrected (I've learned this issues come about a lot while lifting these) only by offsetting the top strut perches with tapered blocks?

Again, new to Subarus and I'm a fairly novice mechanic so if I'm way off base you'll have to forgive me. I may be able to post some pictures on my PC later if it would help. Thanks!

#2 andrsn


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Posted 15 January 2018 - 10:25 AM

I haven't heard of anyone pushing the lower control arms out to correct camber, not to say it wouldn't work. It is necessary to offset the strut spacers when lifting the car to retain camber, I'd guess you could probably just adjust it at its stock height by offsetting the mount (you'd have to remove some material for clearance etc).

#3 skishop69


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Posted 15 January 2018 - 10:38 AM

The control arms could be modified to reduce camber. Some guys have re-drilled another hole where it mounts, though  it's not a good idea to do this as there isn't enough structural metal left on the outboard side and it will eventually lead to metal fatigue and cracking, The best bet is to lengthen the lower control arm the correct amount. There are a few ways to do it so it will be structurally sound and actually make it stronger. The other is as you thought, move the top of the strut inboard.

Edited by skishop69, 15 January 2018 - 10:38 AM.

#4 910GL



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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:00 AM

Thanks for the replies guys, kind of what I figured. Still trying to wrap my brain around it... I slept on it and the subframe route doesn't really make sense as it would just push the inside of the control arm down and the strut would maintain the same camber angle. Is that correct?

#5 Gloyale


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Posted 15 January 2018 - 12:28 PM

I did excactly that on my XT (same chassis)


used the 1-1/4" spacers from a 96-99 Outback or 98-02 Forester.  Also added a 3/4" spacer at the trans crossmember too to keep the driveline output straight in the back.  1/4 spacers a the carrier bearing.


requires longer bolts, and a longer steering coupler.  93 Legacy coupler worked for me.

#6 bratman2


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Posted 15 January 2018 - 09:55 PM

Does the 86GL lack the height adjusting nut/studs on the struts that Brats and such have? 

#7 skishop69


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Posted 16 January 2018 - 10:35 AM

If you drop the subframe, the control arms will be pushed down which will actually change (lengthen) their effective working length which in turn pushes the bottom of the tire out. Since you're not changing the actual strut height or position, the ride height doesn't change.

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