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What is the difference between a regular Subaru Legacy wagon and OutBack wagon?


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47 replies to this topic

#1 WickedV6

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 01:59 PM

I just picked up a 1995 Subaru Legacy wagon. I realy like the way the Outback looks. Can I convert my regular Legacy to the Outback look? is it just bigger tires and struts? what does it take? is it worth it? I need struts anyway.

T.I.A

Prasad

#2 Gnuman

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 02:28 PM

The outback is lifted 3". given a two tone paint job, and several features that are optional on the Legacy are standard on the Outback. Oh, and the Legacy comes with a 2.2L engine, and the Outback came with the 2.5L that had the headgasket problems.

#3 WickedV6

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 02:47 PM

The outback is lifted 3". given a two tone paint job, and several features that are optional on the Legacy are standard on the Outback. Oh, and the Legacy comes with a 2.2L engine, and the Outback came with the 2.5L that had the headgasket problems.


Can you get the Legacy to lift 3"? what is involved in doing that? How about the tire size?

Thanks
Prasad

#4 Gnuman

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 02:48 PM

15" rims vs 14" rims. you need the struts, springs and lower control arms, IIRC

#5 lostinthe202

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 03:39 PM

If you go to the 15" wheels, remember that your speedo won't be accurate anymore.

#6 wtdash

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 04:08 PM

I'd do a Search here for more info ...Here's my spiel:

I did this to my '90 Legacy. All you need are the struts - the complete unit - I got mine from a JY for $150 for all 4. The only issue is on the rear end where the top-hat bolt holes on the '95 may be different than the '96+ OBs (the '95 OB wasn't lifted). But I'd bet they're a direct swap. On my '90 I just drilled a hole to match the top hat and I've had no issues in the last year/10K+ miles.

Other people have played around w/different springs and such, but I didn't want to deal w/spring compressors and top hats.

I run 205/60R-16 tires on WRX wheels, and I use 205/70R-15 (stock OB tires up 'til about 2000?) for my winter tires. They both rub slightly @ full lock, but otherwise cause no issues and wear evenly.

Remember to mark the top strut bolt on the front struts b4 removal - it's oval to adjust the alignment - put it back where you found it and you won't need an alignment (unless it's already out)- I didn't.

My speedo is off between 5-8% so I just keep that in mind @ 70mph....in town it's not an issue. Here's a great tool for calculating:
http://www.1010tires...ecalculator.asp

Lastly, there are a few links on here about using Forester struts, too, and I know another member put '04 Forester struts on his '95 Legacy....but can't find the link.

Have Fun:)

Edited by wtdash, 24 September 2008 - 04:10 PM.


#7 mtsmiths

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 05:20 PM

I lifted our '95 Leg, and our '00 Leg. I replaced struts and springs on both, but not the control arms. Never had a problem with either.

Search, there have been a number of others who have posted. Also, contact Jamie (Subiegal) for parts.

#8 hankosolder2

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 07:12 PM

I'm going to be the dissenting voice here; unless you do mild off roading, live in an area with exceptionally heavy snowfall, etc. the standard Legacy is a superior driving vehicle to the Outback. The jacked up suspension on the Outback is a real handicap to good handling in my opinion. (I say this as the owner of an Outback; I bought it b/c it had a horked engine and was cheap... but a GT wagon or "plain" Legacy wagon is much more of a 'driver's car.' ) I understand that many have the opposite preference and add even more than standard lift to the Outback...I just don't want you to think that there's not going to be a handling penalty. It's all down to how you use the car and what your priorities are.

Nathan

#9 98obster

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 07:38 PM

I always go to www.cars101.com when looking for stock ride height differences, options, etc. I want everyone to go measure their rear strut mount bolt pattern and report back here. thanks.

#10 davebugs

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 08:16 PM

What playing with fuel filler tubes I thought that I saw a body spacer on the OBW's.

I know there is about another inch of clearance to get the hose clamp off the rubber hose on an OBW than a regular Legacy or GT.

That would lead me to believe that there is more than struts - perhaps both a suspension and body lift.

Surely someone else around here will comment on this.

I don't currently have any OBW's to look at or take a pic of.

Dave

#11 WickedV6

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 07:51 AM

Great info here, thanks guys.

Prasad

#12 newsoobdude

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:06 PM

The 96 and newer Outbacks have a body lift per say as all it is is spacers between the body and subframes to keep the axles in "good" geometry. Mind you that is for the Average Person that does squat with modifying their ride and want "the best" from the factory. A LOT of people have used Outback struts and springs (springs are the same regardless of Outback or Legacy from what I've heard, it's all the strut) without using the spacers and have had NO problems and a few people have taken their 96 and newer Outbacks and replaced the struts with factory GT struts (hence LOWERING their Outback) without removing the "body spacers" and have had NO problems. Check out SL-i.net and find Sybir (honestly don't recall if he's on this board but he's also om NABISCO too) and talk to him about his lowered Outback and his axle life if you're really concerned. Here is a pic I have of a factory Outback vs a Legacy with Outback struts/ springs and tires. Notice the difference in ground clearance. Posted Image

#13 JT95

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 10:58 PM

My 95 LSI came with 15" wheels on it. I thought all the Subarus of the mid/late 90s had 15" wheels, but IDK.

Do you want to go all out or go on a budget? If on a budget, put 205 instead of 195 on 15" wheels the next time you buy new tires. I swapped wheels/tires between my Legacy wagon and my "new" Outback Sport wagon. The OBS had 205 tires on it, and it made a little difference when I put them on my Legacy. Runs fine with them. To look a little taller from the side, buy some flat black spray paint and paint you rocker panel flat black. (Not the whole two-tone from the side molding, do that too if you want, but the length of the rocker panel area below the doors--from where the fender "bumps' at the very bottom.) Make sure you paint it flat or matte and not gloss or it does nothing. I did that a few years ago on a white LSi wagon and visually that gave me a 2" lift. Cost me less than $10. Not sure if you'd like it? Buy a can of that black temporary bug guard paint from Wal-mart and do it with that first. Stuff washes off when you wash the car w/ soap.

As far as an outback bumper--ask. When I replaced the bumper cover on my LSi, the outbacks used a rebar with a different part number, so an Outback bumper cover might not bolt right up to the metal beam you have. I dunno--it might--but they do have different part numbers for the structural part of the bumper assembly and not just the cover. Get outback logos from eBay. Hey--you won't have that frumpy Outback roof either, which is cool.

#14 johnceggleston

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 11:16 AM

My 95 LSI came with 15" wheels on it. I thought all the Subarus of the mid/late 90s had 15" wheels, but IDK.


legacy L , LSi and GT each came with different size wheels, but the diameter of the tires were very ,very close. so the GT has a 16' wheel, but the over all tire size is the same as the L and LSi. you can put GT tires on an L with no problems, no adjustments.

the reason you can't put L wheels on a GT is the the 14" steel wheels will not clear the brakes. the same is true for outbacks.

you can put outback wheels on a L, with out any lifting, if you use 205 tires with a smaller aspect ratio. so the diameter is close to that of the leg L. the width is not the isue, it's the height.

there is a tire size calculator by miata that will help.

#15 rweddy

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 07:11 AM

Notice the difference in ground clearance.

I did the OB struts on my 91 legacy and after parking to stock outbacks noticed how much higher I was then them.

Great picture

#16 newsoobdude

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 10:55 PM

I did the OB struts on my 91 legacy and after parking to stock outbacks noticed how much higher I was then them.

Great picture


Yeah, the joys of the body spacers and weight difference.

#17 grossgary

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 08:02 AM

has anyone done this on a sedan? a friend needs to replace his struts and would like a bit of lift on his in the process if he can.

what would a sedan do with outback wagon struts? they're surely much easier to find then SUS struts.


myth - changing tire size will not necessarily make your speedo inaccurate. speedo's can be quite inaccurate to begin with as-is (they usually read low). so increasing the overall tire size can actually make them more accurate more often then making them less accurate. in reality the differences are usually really small so it's not likely to matter anyway - swap away. i've swapped wheels on all sorts of subarus.

#18 rweddy

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 10:33 AM

myth - changing tire size will not necessarily make your speedo inaccurate. speedo's can be quite inaccurate to begin with as-is (they usually read low). so increasing the overall tire size can actually make them more accurate more often then making them less accurate. in reality the differences are usually really small so it's not likely to matter anyway - swap away. i've swapped wheels on all sorts of subarus.


I know about this first hand. After I put on my lift and then put on 205/70 15 my speedo was actually correct after I checked it with my GPS.

#19 wtdash

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 11:01 AM

I know about this first hand. After I put on my lift and then put on 205/70 15 my speedo was actually correct after I checked it with my GPS.



On my '90 w/OB struts and 205-70R/15s @ 70 MPH the speedo was slow by 5 MPH according to the GPS...BUT i can't verify it was correct b4 the lift and wheel upgrade...so your mileage will vary :).


Just don't want anyone getting a ticket!:headbang:

#20 wtdash

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 12:43 PM

Wanted to add that these tire sizes work well w/the OB struts. I've tried them all - you may get some rubbing @ full steering lock :

205/70R-15 - Stock size for '96 - 99 Outback and '98-02 Forester, I believe. On the rear tires, there is very little clearance between the fender @ the front of the tire..... be advised if using 4-wheel tire chains, for example.

205/60R-16 - 16" wheels from newer Legacy/Baja/Forester/Impreza/WRX will work....but not SVX/Tribeca (18")/STI (17") '05+ as they are a 5x114 bolt pattern.


205/75R-14 - If you just want to fill up the wheel well, these work on the stock rims and are very close to the 205/70R-15.

Have Fun!

#21 rweddy

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 04:48 PM

I lifted our '95 Leg, and our '00 Leg. I replaced struts and springs on both, but not the control arms. Never had a problem with either.

Search, there have been a number of others who have posted. Also, contact Jamie (Subiegal) for parts.

I second this, I lifted my wagon with only new struts, no springs or control arms. I was even able to re-connect my sway bars.

The ride is great, and you will be even higher than a factory outback.

#22 rweddy

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 04:52 PM

Wanted to add that these tire sizes work well w/the OB struts. I've tried them all - you may get some rubbing @ full steering lock :

Speaking of rubbing, is there anyway to adjust or limit the steering on a subaru? I know you can do this on other vehicles, when I used to lift Jeeps I would adjust the bump stops so the rubber would not rub. But looking under my roo I see no adjustment area?

#23 vic/se

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 05:59 PM

has anyone done this on a sedan? a friend needs to replace his struts and would like a bit of lift on his in the process if he can.

what would a sedan do with outback wagon struts? they're surely much easier to find then SUS struts.


myth - changing tire size will not necessarily make your speedo inaccurate. speedo's can be quite inaccurate to begin with as-is (they usually read low). so increasing the overall tire size can actually make them more accurate more often then making them less accurate. in reality the differences are usually really small so it's not likely to matter anyway - swap away. i've swapped wheels on all sorts of subarus.


I do agree with you!!

#24 SoobieKoralli

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 07:47 AM

[QUOTE]grossgary Re: What is the difference between a regular Subaru Legacy wagon and OutBack wagon?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
has anyone done this on a sedan? a friend needs to replace his struts and would like a bit of lift on his in the process if he can.

what would a sedan do with outback wagon struts? they're surely much easier to find then SUS struts.
/QUOTE]

I am curious about this as well. I live in an area that gets a LOT of snow... Would it be safe to lift it a little? I need all new shocks/struts anyhow. 91 Leg LS AT 2WD


#25 rweddy

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 04:49 PM

I'm going to be the dissenting voice here; unless you do mild off roading, live in an area with exceptionally heavy snowfall, etc. the standard Legacy is a superior driving vehicle to the Outback. The jacked up suspension on the Outback is a real handicap to good handling in my opinion. (I say this as the owner of an Outback; I bought it b/c it had a horked engine and was cheap... but a GT wagon or "plain" Legacy wagon is much more of a 'driver's car.' ) I understand that many have the opposite preference and add even more than standard lift to the Outback...I just don't want you to think that there's not going to be a handling penalty. It's all down to how you use the car and what your priorities are.

Nathan

I have heard people say this before but Aaron on this list smoked several WRX on rally courses using the lift mention here. I can tell you there is a bit more sway around corners but a Subaru isn't a 911 to begin with so the very small handling penalty is well worth the additional ground clearned and it looks way better too. Plus most people doing this lift are swapping out 100,000 mile blown sturts like myself so the new sturts make a world of difference anyway.




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