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Strut replacement on a 1998 Subaru Forester


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5 replies to this topic

#1 binary visions

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 06:00 PM

Hey everyone -

First post here, so hello. Looks like you guys have a great resource going here.

I've done a search, and couldn't find the information I was looking for. I've got a busted strut on the back of my 1998 Subaru Forester. Now, I'm not a mechanic, but I'm mechanically inclined (I work on mountain bikes a lot and have a fairly good working knowledge of cars - enough to change brakepads, oil, etc.) and have some tools.

The question is, is this a procedure that can be done at home with a little patience and some time? The shop quoted me almost $200 to install, and $200 buys a lot of my time. I just haven't done it before, and frankly, don't want to undertake a project that is going to leave me frustrated or lacking a tool that I need. Plus, it's getting dark early, I'm working late, and I'm not sure how long it will take. What am I looking at to do this?

Should I just say "Screw It" and pay the mechanic? If not, where can I find some instruction on the procedure?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

#2 Setright

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:15 AM

I would leave this to people with big air-driven tools. Mainly because I don't have two time/space to leave a car standing. It's a simple procedure and doesn't require any special tools - just hex bolts - but it's the sort of job that can expand timewise. Unfamiliar territory and so on.

Goes something like this:

There are three little nuts holding the top of the strut, just like those you see in the engine room. Only these are hidden behind the outer frame of the back seat. Back seat must come out, start at the bottom. Depending on model, you might need to remove some of the plastic trim back there too. Actually, on your Forester it might be much easier - only just realised.

The bottom of the strut is held in place by two large bolts that attach it straight to the hub. These could be tricky to free up.
Don't worry about alignment, only toe is adjustable on the rear and this is done on the lower suspension arms.

#3 cookie

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 02:13 AM

Of course if your area uses salt on the road even simple things can be difficult. the spring must be compressed and moved to the new strut unless you fit a whole junkyard unit. This requires a compressor and a bit of manual labor.

#4 binary visions

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 05:29 AM

I would leave this to people with big air-driven tools. Mainly because I don't have two time/space to leave a car standing. It's a simple procedure and doesn't require any special tools - just hex bolts - but it's the sort of job that can expand timewise. Unfamiliar territory and so on.


That's sound advice. I think I'm going to do that - it's getting dark when I get out of work, and I've got my consulting job on the side which means I'm working nearly 80 hours a week. I suppose it was more wistful thinking that I wouldn't have to drop $200 on installation... oh well.

Thanks for the info on the struts anyway - I'll tuck it away in the back of my head if I'm ever in the position that I have time to take on a task like that.

#5 jamal

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 06:31 AM

Mine came out fairly easily after I pre-lubed the bolts and bought an 18" flex handle (on a 93 from Montana). I think the other stuff I needed were a 19mm combination wrench and a deep socket. Well, and a floor jack and jack stands, but I was going to get those anyway.

I switched out both front assemblies in less than an hour. The rears took a lot longer, but that was partially because I took the springs off. I rented a spring compressor at autozone, which was surprisingly easy and not scary to use.

I'd say buy a can of PB blaster or something, spray the bolts every day for a few days, and then give it a try Saturday morning. If things don't go as planned you have the whole weekend to figure it out.

#6 binary visions

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:26 PM

Well, I went ahead and had the shop do the rears. The spring retainer had broken loose and was beginning to wear a groove in my tire; between my lack of time and my needing my car to be in running order right away, I couldn't afford to do it myself.

The fronts will need replacing eventually, and I'll probably do that myself, since I can do it at my leisure, when I've got a weekend free or something.

Thanks again for the advice, guys. I've got the thread bookmarked for future reference!




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