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goof_ball

Rallitek sway bars..minor update

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I want to improve the road manners of my '96 Outback wagon. I searched this forum and the web in general, and the best description of the problem I feel is 'boaty'. It doesn't feel up and down, but more side to side. Also in my search, I see lots of comments about the Outback's somewhat lacking sway bar. I don't believe everything I read, but it sounds reasonable. I've had the car checked out but no smoking gun was found. Haven't been on a test drive with a mechanic though. Is the Rallitek kit a good way to go? Other options? Looking at the rear sway bar kit from Rallitek. Having moved from Oregon to Rustville, NY, it's hard to put money/time into cars seeing how every third one on the road I see looks like swiss cheese from rust. I don't know the strut history as I'm far from the original owner of the car. Is there a chance of messing the alignment up during the install? All the directions I've looked at make no mention, but thought I'd ask. Not really a car person so sorry if my questions are not super technical. I think that about covers it....Put new struts in the rear. They were quite weak. The fronts still have some life. I don't get the rollercoaster car feel going over little rollers at speed. Also found a loose end link on the passenger side of the rear sway bar. Once that gets replaced everything will be a-okay I hope. Might replace the part or go whole hog and get the rallitek. A guy at work is/was a mechanic so he offered to do the work for the cost of parts. For once it paid off to talk to the people I work with. Sweet. Updated for others who may have similar problems.

Edited by goof_ball
clarifying which sway bar kit

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I'm pretty sure putting in swaybars doesn't mess with the alignment and I know the kit ur talking about bc I was looking at the same one for my 97 obw and the sway bars should make the car more responive thru turns. And I believe if ur looking at the kit with front and back sway bars with bushings and hardwear and what not for about 300 or somewhere in that ball park I think its a good idea for what ur looking for

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i have a 98 and i feel the same way. it could be due to the fact my struts are so old but ive looked at the rallitek sway bars as well. ive changed the two struts that have blown with used ones so im thinking it could be that some new struts will tighten things up but ill probably end up buying the sway bars if that doesn't completely remedy the problem. my commute everyday is on long windy country roads so i know your pain.

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If your struts are original, it is time to change them!!

 

8-10 years or between 80-120K miles, depending on the kind of roads you drive on, and the struts are worn out. Fully.

 

Fitting a better sway bar, on old struts, might "improve" things a little, but I expect you will get some akward handling...I mean unpredictable.

 

 

Fit four new struts/dampers. Springs will still be fine. And yes, you MUST get an alignment afterwards. Toe-angle, should be 0.0, or if you want a direction stable car, a teeny weeeny but inward on both ends. 0.0 gives reasonable stability, but more willingness to change direction, like for cornering.

 

The front camber is adjustable. The alignment computers have the factory settings for almost zero on the front, but I would STRONGLY recommend dialling in negative camber, that matches the fixed value on the rear axle. Should be around -1.0 degree on the rear. Front struts are moody, and you might have to make do with -0.5 degrees.

Negative camber means that the wheels lean inward at the top, and this improves grip.

 

With these mods in place, and your bank account feeling a little drained, I bet you will LOVE the handling, and you can put off the swaybar until after winter.

 

 

When you do get a new bar for the rear, don't go overboard. Find something in fixed 20mm, or and adjustable 22mm that you should fix in the softest setting. Cornering will become more "flat" and the back becoming willing to play around a little, but not slip out every time you let off the gas.

The really noticeable improvement will be in the steering wheel, the car will "turn-in" eagerly, and your confidence will be boosted.

 

 

New struts...alignement...then the bar :clap:

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Yes, a 14 year old wagon with 183,000 miles probably could use some new suspension parts. Will have to do some more homework.

 

If your struts are original, it is time to change them!!

 

8-10 years or between 80-120K miles, depending on the kind of roads you drive on, and the struts are worn out. Fully.

 

Fitting a better sway bar, on old struts, might "improve" things a little, but I expect you will get some akward handling...I mean unpredictable.

 

 

Fit four new struts/dampers. Springs will still be fine. And yes, you MUST get an alignment afterwards. Toe-angle, should be 0.0, or if you want a direction stable car, a teeny weeeny but inward on both ends. 0.0 gives reasonable stability, but more willingness to change direction, like for cornering.

 

The front camber is adjustable. The alignment computers have the factory settings for almost zero on the front, but I would STRONGLY recommend dialling in negative camber, that matches the fixed value on the rear axle. Should be around -1.0 degree on the rear. Front struts are moody, and you might have to make do with -0.5 degrees.

Negative camber means that the wheels lean inward at the top, and this improves grip.

 

With these mods in place, and your bank account feeling a little drained, I bet you will LOVE the handling, and you can put off the swaybar until after winter.

 

 

When you do get a new bar for the rear, don't go overboard. Find something in fixed 20mm, or and adjustable 22mm that you should fix in the softest setting. Cornering will become more "flat" and the back becoming willing to play around a little, but not slip out every time you let off the gas.

The really noticeable improvement will be in the steering wheel, the car will "turn-in" eagerly, and your confidence will be boosted.

 

 

New struts...alignement...then the bar :clap:

 

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If your wagon is an Outback Impreza version (as opposed to the Outback Legacy), you can fit a 20mm rear swaybar from a 2002 WRX (very cheap since the WRX owner usually throws it away after fitting an expensive aftermarket swaybar). I got mine for $20 and it suits my Impreza L wagon just fine.:)

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