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pontoontodd

long travel Outbacks or making Subarus faster and more reliable offroad

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35 minutes ago, scalman said:

Did those gen outback cant use any other subaru or other cars links that ate longer and just fits in? So only way are those lile whiteline and similar names? When i did MOT they where looking hard do i have some modifications on links. I guess if i would have aftermarket ones they wouldnt like that. 

I don't know of any stock or aftermarket longer arms for the multilink.  Should be easy to make though.

In most of the US (including where I live) there are no vehicle safety inspections for passenger cars.

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What thickness did you use for the strut body’s? I’m about to build a similar set  

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5 minutes ago, Rallyru said:

What thickness did you use for the strut body’s? I’m about to build a similar set  

First set used .120" wall 4130, never bent or anything but went to .187" wall so we had grind stock for the bushings.  Let me know how yours turn out.

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We'll be parting out my friend's 2000 Forester in a month or so.  Definitely taking the suspension off, probably axles, most likely trans/driveshaft/rear diff.  If he gets a replacement with the same body style we'll take off the corner lights and probably fenders and hood.  Probably at least the intake if not the whole engine.  Anything else we should keep for a spare?  Anything else anyone would want from the car?

We've also been discussing a long term Subaru substitute.  Seems you can get a decent long travel Ranger for $10k or so.  Similar money to what we'd have in a Subaru with long travel suspension and an STI trans and rear end.  I think the biggest downside would be the increased height not cornering as well and occasionally not fitting under trees.  Thoughts?

I'm still doing the long travel on the 2002 Outback, possibly a manual swap too, this would be a few years down the road.

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maybe doing something that not many other do is main thing. i can see that thing more excited then just put kit that someone did and its done. no more work on car.

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18 minutes ago, slammo said:

Maybe a dumb question, but why not just build a Tacoma like (seemingly) everyone else?

Sorta what I was getting at.  Biggest downsides I can see would be the increased height making it harder to fit (rarely) and not corner quite as well.  My 99 Outback and 96 Impreza have both been up on two wheels, I can only imagine a pickup would be on its side or roof instead.

Also, without making it super wide, a Tacoma with 4WD won't have the suspension travel we have in front because the axles are so short.

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3 minutes ago, scalman said:

maybe doing something that not many other do is main thing. i can see that thing more excited then just put kit that someone did and its done. no more work on car.

Doing something different is more interesting.  Really we got into the Subarus since the stock Subarus ride much better off road than fairly stock Jeeps and trucks.  With similar money in either for aftermarket suspension, maybe the truck is the way to go, real low range, lockers, bigger tires, etc.

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34 minutes ago, pontoontodd said:

Doing something different is more interesting.  Really we got into the Subarus since the stock Subarus ride much better off road than fairly stock Jeeps and trucks.  With similar money in either for aftermarket suspension, maybe the truck is the way to go, real low range, lockers, bigger tires, etc.

I've been putting a lot of thought toward this too.  Any real truck starts off with a body-on-frame construction which solves what seems to be the biggest issue your build has faced, which is the finite service life of certain parts of the unibody.  Then there's a wider selection of more powerful and/or reliable engines and transmissions, huge amounts of aftermarket support, readily available locking differentials and heavy duty axles, the list goes on.  The two biggest downsides I can see are higher weight and initial price.  The weight can seem substantial but I think it comes down to more heavy duty construction in all the components, and is proportionally smaller when you consider fully loaded vehicles.  The price, well I guess that's why I still don't have one.

Subarus are by nature low budget off roaders.  They do ride and handle better than body-on-frame options, and make sense for 90% of people who just want to get to the next camping/hiking/skiing/canoeing/adventure location and aren't trying to find the toughest terrain their cars can handle.  It seems like most people who get too serious into driving off-road run into the inherent limitations of the platform and often decide to switch.  That's not to say you can't get around them - brace the chassis, swap in a 6cyl or turbo engine and STi 6-speed, use long-travel struts, etc - but it very quickly stops being cost effective.

As for me, I think I'll continue driving the wheels off my Impreza as long as it lasts.  The car will always be a compromise - the 2.2 won't win any races, the stock Forester struts are far from ideal, the chassis is starting to fatigue, the first gear isn't low enough, etc etc - but for the total of $2000 that I've spent purchasing, fixing, and modifying the car, it's hard to beat.  I can't personally justify spending more on something that at the end of the day amounts to a toy at this point in my life, so I'll make the most of it for what it is.

 

Just my opinion ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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i chose subaru but for same price i could get grand ZJ or WJ even.  i didint drove those yet and others tell that stock ZJ is not capable .. as of stock city tyres. but i think they would me more capable more flex real low gear , maybe no locks but you can get them with full time / part time / low gears and that would beat subaru AWD . again i just think that from all videos i saw and from my own understanding. i never needed sporty driving style thats why i dont care now to drive lifted outback without sway bars. it  drives ok for me for everyday and for trips. 

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11 hours ago, slammo said:

I've been putting a lot of thought toward this too.  Any real truck starts off with a body-on-frame construction which solves what seems to be the biggest issue your build has faced, which is the finite service life of certain parts of the unibody.  Then there's a wider selection of more powerful and/or reliable engines and transmissions, huge amounts of aftermarket support, readily available locking differentials and heavy duty axles, the list goes on.  The two biggest downsides I can see are higher weight and initial price.  The weight can seem substantial but I think it comes down to more heavy duty construction in all the components, and is proportionally smaller when you consider fully loaded vehicles.  The price, well I guess that's why I still don't have one.

Subarus are by nature low budget off roaders.  They do ride and handle better than body-on-frame options, and make sense for 90% of people who just want to get to the next camping/hiking/skiing/canoeing/adventure location and aren't trying to find the toughest terrain their cars can handle.  It seems like most people who get too serious into driving off-road run into the inherent limitations of the platform and often decide to switch.  That's not to say you can't get around them - brace the chassis, swap in a 6cyl or turbo engine and STi 6-speed, use long-travel struts, etc - but it very quickly stops being cost effective.

As for me, I think I'll continue driving the wheels off my Impreza as long as it lasts.  The car will always be a compromise - the 2.2 won't win any races, the stock Forester struts are far from ideal, the chassis is starting to fatigue, the first gear isn't low enough, etc etc - but for the total of $2000 that I've spent purchasing, fixing, and modifying the car, it's hard to beat.  I can't personally justify spending more on something that at the end of the day amounts to a toy at this point in my life, so I'll make the most of it for what it is.

 

Just my opinion ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Definitely if you're trying to do traditional off roading (slow crawling), a truck or Jeep is the way to go for all the reasons you listed.

I wonder how much of our body problems have been due to corrosion and how much of the problem is fatigue.  I've never had to fix the body on my Impreza, it is originally from Colorado so it's not super rusty.  The same corner of the Forester has come apart twice now, I would think if it was due to insufficient spot welds it would have held after being fully welded.  I have had rear shock/strut mount portions of the body come apart on a couple Subarus now and seemed mainly where they were rusty.  Points toward corrosion as the main cause.  In the next few years we'll find out, we should have a rust free Outback and Forester with long travel by the end of the year. 

Also, full frame doesn't mean it doesn't break, one of the main problems with the Raptor was that the frame would crack.  More easily reinforced than a unibody for sure.

Everything fairly stock, Subarus definitely ride better than any truck or Jeep I've been in.  We usually go 2-3 times as fast in stock Subarus and I just can't drive at a Jeep pace.  Most trails within 1000 miles of my house, even at off road parks, can be driven in a fairly stock Subaru, so I'd rather just do them at a quick pace for more entertainment.

I think I really need to get a ride in a decent pre runner or two and see how it compares to what I have now.  For say a $10k budget that might be the way to go.

Similar vintage Tacomas and Rangers are similar curb weight to our Subarus.  Certainly full size trucks are heavier.

The stock(ish) Subaru seems to be the way to go on a ~$2000 budget.  We have also beaten the crap out of my 96 Impreza, it's amazing where that thing will go and be fairly comfortable doing it.  Another big advantage is a few guys can each buy one and have common spares and tools.

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I've been thinking it would be much easier to just start with an STI than do what I'm doing, you'd have good power and a strong drivetrain without swapping in six cylinders and six speeds.  Until recently I have only seen them as low as $8000 and that's with some body damage and a lot of miles.  One of my friends who has one was just telling me he has seen them fairly cheap on auction sites with body damage, but we're going to do that regardless.  Looks like three have sold in the last two months on ebay for $3000-5000 without significant damage.  There are a couple on another auction site right now with 50-100k miles with hail damage and clear titles.  So it looks like they're much cheaper than I thought.
I would put different struts on it and might have to space the subframes, but that's probably less work than an engine and/or trans swap.  Could sell the stock struts if they're decent.  Not sure if I could find decent off road tires for 17 or 18" wheels to fit over the brakes.  Wouldn't have the interior space we're used to.

Thoughts?

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We parted out my friend's 2000 Forester over the weekend.  Took all the body panels, lights, suspension, drivetrain and more out, left most of the interior in.  The shell with the interior weighs 1200#.  Sunday we pulled all the suspension off his 2001 Forester he drove back from Oregon and put the long travel struts, long front CV axles and tie rods, front control arms, etc on it.  We still have to put oil pan and gas tank guards on it but we can probably reuse the guards from his 2000.

Still working on long travel parts for my 2001 Outback.

Will hopefully have money soon for the STI drivetrain conversion for my 99 Outback, have a plan for replacing the center diff with low range.

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On 7/4/2018 at 11:08 AM, scalman said:

if i could ask something as you made lots stuff for cars suspension i was wondering why go for very expensive long travel version ? so no cheap or any other version like to take longer struts from other car , they could not fit right away but everything can be redone. is there any reason subarus cant use any other car struts in front and rear ?  like no longer struts then ours ? i mean where is problem to just cut out other car strut mounting points and weld new ones, make new top mountings 

shame subaru got so small support. did you saw renault/dacia duster model that is similar size as forester and its AWD as well with traction control and thy got both lockers and longer shocks for them. like 5cm longer so no need any strut spacers and stuff. poor subaru just have nothing. 

There is a company called Subiefish that makes adapters to fit Tacoma struts on the rear of a Subaru.  They say you get some lift and the Tacoma Bilstein shocks are fairly cheap and are much stronger than the Subaru rear struts.  Sounds like you might be able to just use the Subaru top hat and the Tacoma spring and strut.

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Thanks for info. Could be nice to test or see anyone done that on subaru. We dont have tacomas over here. And hiluxes are not so popular as well.

Weird i cant find anyone on internet that would have that conversion done to subaru. Top mounts not so important i think as you can make any adapter there to fit . idealy it would be some 5-8 cm longer strut body itself with longer travel and just be similar size and fit bottom mount.

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The Subiefish adapter looks pretty cool, and looks like a basic lift block with a different pattern on the bottom. Looks to me like the bottom of the strut should bolt right in place.

Because the geometry on the Tacoma, they use a very heavy spring (~450 lb/in for the standard, and ~550 lb/in for the TRD Offroad, from what I can tell the stock Outback rear is about 200). The downside of this, as the shock actually has about an inch less travel.

 

I sent them a message yesterday asking about it, and I'm assuming I misunderstood the price (or what's included), because it's astronomical. He did say they should have their website updated with that information today, though. I badly need an overload spring option for mine, as we tend to load it down. And while I don't push it hard enough to need the travel, I'd rather not loose it.

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Couldn't find stock spring rate right off, but 200#/in sounds about right.  Rear suspension has about a 2:3 motion ratio, so that's effectively 2*2*200/(3*3)=89#/in at the wheel, which seems low, I think the springs on the struts are usually around 150 stock.  You would want to shoot for 150-200 at the wheel, probably closer to 200, more than that and it will start getting harsh.  The 450 would be exactly 200 equivalent so it might not be terrible. 

Another way to look at it is you'll have say 900# sprung weight on each rear tire.  2:3 motion ratio means 1350# at the spring.  With no preload a 450#/in spring will compress 3", which is probably more than half the shock travel.  With an inch or two of preload you'd probably be sitting about where you want to be.  The stock springs are 11" long installed, so you could get a 12" long spring 400-500#/in.  I would be tempted to go with a 400#/in 14" long spring to make it a little softer and give you lots of bump travel but it might coil bind.  If 3" ID springs would work you can get those for under $100 each, you'd have to measure.  Might be able to find something on that Moog chart that would work, in that case they're usually under $50 each.

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Putting smaller (276mm) front brakes on the 2002 white Outback so I can put 15" wheels on later.

IMG_1680s.jpg

 

Got a 6MT/R180 swap on order for the 99 Outback, should be in Friday.

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