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long travel Outbacks or making Subarus faster and more reliable offroad


pontoontodd
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1 hour ago, el_freddo said:

That rasp in the exhaust is normal for the H6, they sound like an angry swarm of wasps I reckon. Very different to the H4 burble. 

Glad to hear it ran well at the 4wd park. How did the hose on the shock kink? Easy fix I hope. 

Cheers 

Bennie

Hose clearance to the spring perch is pretty tight, seems like maybe the spring perch rotated (we cut some extra clearance on the side with the hose).  Easy fix but will have to see how it holds up long term.  Should be the same as our other cars and we haven't had problems with the hoses on those for years.

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Posted (edited)

I've owned the green Impreza for (checks notes) 22 months now.  Definitely the longest I've ever had anything on jackstands.  Happy with how it turned out though.  The power to weight ratio makes low range almost unnecessary but it's nice to have that for when I need it.  The big front axles, bolt on wheel bearings, and real parking brake with the billet knuckles definitely gives me some peace of mind too.

I just updated the EZ36 swap page too.  Still have some photos to add there and once I finish the wiring I'll have to update it again.  Also have to figure out some way to share the base map, a lot of this info is kinda useless without it.  Worst case I'll share it on my website.  Tell me if there's anything I should add/edit on the swap page.

 

Edited by pontoontodd
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Given the intense customization that went in to this car, it sounds like a very successful first trip out, congrats! It's been a long process. Nice too see the Impreza finally huckin' some dust!
K

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Posted (edited)

I replaced the front shock hose on the Impreza.  Seems like that spring perch just rotated out of place, hopefully won't be a problem in the future.

We took it and the blue Forester to our friend's little jumps.  Forester seemed to jump a little better than Impreza.  Impreza seemed to nose over more and was probably bottoming out the front suspension on landing when hitting the jump fairly hard.  Also got video driving over parking barrier as a baseline for shock tuning.  Did all that with 40psi in the Impreza's front tires though.

When we got home I put softer springs on the rear of the Impreza.  Only sits about 1/4" lower initially but will probably settle down a bit after some use.  Replaced one of the rear CV boots that had a little rip while I was at it.  Didn't get back out to test jumping for various reasons, curious to see if the softer rear springs help.

The gas pedal in the Impreza seemed too far to the left so I tried to just bend the rod to the right.  Was working for a while until the plastic barrel it rides in exploded.  So don't do that.  Got it super glued and safety wired back together and seems to work. 

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Surprisingly open design.

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Gasket on the black plastic part probably seals against the sheet metal.

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Bought a used replacement off ebay, guess I'll have a spare.

 

Meanwhile B's main project on the blue Forester was removing and replacing the stud for the lateral links out of his knuckle.  Welded a 14mm nut to an acme nut and used my hollow hydraulic cylinder to pull it out.

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I'm working on replacing the two bolt flange connections in the Impreza exhaust with V band clamps.  Will post pictures when that's finished.

Edited by pontoontodd
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Installed V band clamps on the headers. 

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Turned some aluminum slugs to align the various pieces.

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Mockup assembly, I had to cut the Y pipe back beyond those grooves.

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Siliconed some pieces of silicone under the C shaped pads I'd welded on the crossmember to keep the top of the exhaust from denting.  Meant to do this a while ago, hoping it minimizes the noise of the exhaust banging against things.

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V bands welded and exhaust assembled.

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Exhaust is much quieter now on the throttle, seems to have eliminated the raspy exhaust leak noise.  Still sounds good under load though.  At about 60mph the exhaust is so quiet you can barely hear it, at least over the tire/bearing noise.  At about 80mph you can definitely hear the exhaust but it's not obnoxious.  I did get a slightly longer muffler I want to try out sometime too.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Drove up to Z's Friday night. He noticed one of the brake lights in the Impreza was (artistically) burned out so we went to Oreillys and got a pair of bulbs.

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B met us at Z's, we headed up and camped in northern WI.

Saturday morning we headed north and Z took us on some ORV trails north of there so we headed north on those. Within four miles we saw a black bear and a bald eagle and some other wildlife.

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The main one Z had intended to take us on is ATV only. So we just drove up to the UP. Started out in an area north of Norway we'd only been through once and found some other trails and potential campsites there.  Next two pictures are of one of the fairly long rocky hillclimbs (by UP standards) we did that weekend.

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Saw a wolf pup(?) walking down a side road, took a few pictures and let it be and got to the (nearby) dead end.

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Found a hillside with some big sandy hillclimbs so I tried one but stalled out and backed down when it got too off camber. Hit a different one and made it to the top. Found a human shaped sculpture made out of chainsaw parts.

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This sign was a bit misleading, while the road was rough by many peoples' standards, it was about average for what we drove on that weekend.

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Got to a man made dam that appeared to have blown out and then repaired by beavers.

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At the bottom where we had to drive by it there was a big leech sucking on a dead crayfish.

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Forester had been making a lot of exhaust noise under load so we stopped to fix that. One of the bolts had fallen out of one of the exhaust flanges so we found a nut and bolt and B got it back together while I cooked some burgers.

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Z spotted a big Eastern Fox snake in the trail.

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Wandered north and hit a bunch of trails and found a giant pile of potatoes in the woods.

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About a mile from the nearest farm, not sure if it was just a handy berm construction material or if they just needed to dump a bunch of potatoes. We had decided to go up to Craig Lake as B and Z hadn't been there before. Drove up to a campground and stayed the night.

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One of the random assortments of decorations we've seen in the UP over the years.  This is miles from pavement.  This weekend was a good demonstration that you never know what you'll find in the UP.

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Came across several beaver dams that were flooding old roads we were trying to follow. Got to a wetlands reserve and hiked in there a mile or so. Unfortunately we got up near Craig Lake to find that it's closed for the summer for maintenance. Hit some trails and did a little hiking and then camped in that area. Saw a ruffed grouse alongside the trail. It was jumping around and fanning its tailfeathers etc.

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It was on the passenger side and I looked out the drivers side while Z was taking pictures and saw what looked like a mouse on the ground. I went to take a picture of it and realized it was a chick so we continued on.

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Monday morning we went down a snowmobile trail to start wandering back home, it was eventually flooded so we found a different trail and headed south.

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Hit a stunt area we found last year and did a few hillclimbs.  Impreza had a lot of wheelspin and rev limiter in first gear climbing a fairly steep one.  Saw a turtle wandering around.

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Went through an area we'd been years ago that looks significantly different now, some berms gone, other berms added, trees growing up in areas that had been clearcut, etc. Found one stretch that would be good for suspension testing/tuning. A mile or so with decent sized dips and bumps and another section that's quite rough with holes in between small logs. Wound up taking a few narrow trails that went on for miles and surprised me by connecting to main trails. We took a tour of an old iron mine that was interesting. Drove through part of the southern UP we hadn't explored before with some decent camping areas. Saw a lot of turtles and some muskrats.

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Aired up and drove home on pavement.  Lots of rain on the way home. I'm a little surprised the Impreza doesn't seem to have any leaks or electrical problems even driving through heavy rain for hours, I've done it a few times now.

Overall a good weekend. No major issues, never even got stuck or got a flat tire. Impreza is great on the trails. Not used to having good rear visibility, way easier to back out of trails and the shorter wheelbase and rear overhang make it easier to turn around in the woods. The 60% rear bias and light rear end and open center diff make it handle almost like a rear wheel drive car. It was never close to actually spinning out but it has power oversteer in second or third or even fifth gear sometimes off pavement. Surprised me once in first gear on wet pavement. Steering seems to be a little quicker than the Outbacks which helps in those situations. There was one time on Saturday when B was driving it and he got stuck in a soft muddy trail. I could see just the rear tires spinning. He locked the center diff, all four tires started spinning, and he was able to drive out. It's easiest to lock and unlock when moving, never makes any grinding noises, helps to pump the clutch. So if we were in a really rough or muddy or sandy section I'd just lock the center diff for a while until we got back to some easier trails and then unlock it. Never used the low range all weekend. There was at least one hill I climbed in first gear high range that B had to use low range in the Forester to climb. Some things I like about it aren't from our doing but just because it isn't as beat and rusty as the black Outback. You can drive around with the windows down without choking on exhaust fumes, drive through all kinds of water and rain without getting any in the car. Found myself keeping it under 2000RPM most of the time and it had plenty of torque for normal trail riding. Fans ran more than I expected, when we'd start going really slow or stopping and starting the temps would creep up and at least one would kick in and then basically stay on until we shut off the car for a while but temps never got much above normal. As soon as we were moving the temps would drop back to the normal spot. Wondering if this is partially caused by our current tune being lean at part throttle at 2-3000RPM in an attempt to save fuel. Seemed like it would run a little cooler at 1500RPM where it's probably running richer. Probably a couple times a day after nearly stalling the engine it would start running rough. I just shut it off and restart it and then it would run smooth. Impreza might get a little better fuel economy than Forester on the road but worse on the trails. Might be something wrong with the fuel filler on the Impreza, on the last couple fillups it didn't seem to actually fill the tank. I've noticed recently you can feel crosswinds push you around. Not dangerously like an air cooled VW but something I never notice driving Legacy Outbacks.

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On 6/9/2024 at 4:59 AM, pontoontodd said:

Drove up to Z's Friday night. He noticed one of the brake lights in the Impreza was (artistically) burned out so we went to Oreillys and got a pair of bulbs.

large.IMG_2296s.jpg.c02ac5c6ee078d6068cac9e820a0ecda.jpg

B met us at Z's, we headed up and camped in northern WI.

Saturday morning we headed north and Z took us on some ORV trails north of there so we headed north on those. Within four miles we saw a black bear and a bald eagle and some other wildlife.

large.IMG_2299s.jpg.2af1ed5f4080f5499c34c5669c246a46.jpg

The main one Z had intended to take us on is ATV only. So we just drove up to the UP. Started out in an area north of Norway we'd only been through once and found some other trails and potential campsites there.  Next two pictures are of one of the fairly long rocky hillclimbs (by UP standards) we did that weekend.

large.IMG_1549s.jpg.a05f89cf9afa5b6beddd29b41d02eb70.jpg

large.20240601_104431s.jpg.0e4ecf04f04f1093246cebfe90379c6b.jpg

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large.IMG_2307s.jpg.3486fd5fae72051906ad0b8f60f1f2a9.jpg

Saw a wolf pup(?) walking down a side road, took a few pictures and let it be and got to the (nearby) dead end.

large.IMG_2316s.jpg.1c2859ead549e8696c48536f6d02f49f.jpg

Found a hillside with some big sandy hillclimbs so I tried one but stalled out and backed down when it got too off camber. Hit a different one and made it to the top. Found a human shaped sculpture made out of chainsaw parts.

large.IMG_1567s.jpg.6a6b9694512a1c94d68d326465c646c9.jpg

This sign was a bit misleading, while the road was rough by many peoples' standards, it was about average for what we drove on that weekend.

large.IMG_1569s.jpg.5486fcce927e6c848804a992bb2adb90.jpg

Got to a man made dam that appeared to have blown out and then repaired by beavers.

large.IMG_2319s.jpg.70bb1359889ccd8e7a7d1d1e990d2fe6.jpg

At the bottom where we had to drive by it there was a big leech sucking on a dead crayfish.

large.IMG_2328s.jpg.d7164e849a07935ea21b9df91bcd8984.jpg

Forester had been making a lot of exhaust noise under load so we stopped to fix that. One of the bolts had fallen out of one of the exhaust flanges so we found a nut and bolt and B got it back together while I cooked some burgers.

large.IMG_2331s.jpg.4d69c140c45a82b5988d0dc88260fe55.jpg

large.IMG_2335s.jpg.1a0efcb3126cc60ff12b1906b5950bbb.jpg

Z spotted a big Eastern Fox snake in the trail.

large.IMG_2336s.jpg.e9349a882cb013c34867eb1e2735be60.jpg

Wandered north and hit a bunch of trails and found a giant pile of potatoes in the woods.

large.20240601_183934s.jpg.1a74f17d7aba27397dc131c4af361511.jpg

large.IMG_1580s.jpg.2f9d271d78b8c619aa047b9028e698cf.jpg

About a mile from the nearest farm, not sure if it was just a handy berm construction material or if they just needed to dump a bunch of potatoes. We had decided to go up to Craig Lake as B and Z hadn't been there before. Drove up to a campground and stayed the night.

large.IMG_2338s.jpg.758a7052cac962d63ac86771509e03ae.jpg

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large.IMG_2349s.jpg.6598a966a25bbe12f5d721e7f8392ca6.jpg

One of the random assortments of decorations we've seen in the UP over the years.  This is miles from pavement.  This weekend was a good demonstration that you never know what you'll find in the UP.

large.IMG_2351s.jpg.91ec2d26cf071140d073570cbd039f6f.jpg

Came across several beaver dams that were flooding old roads we were trying to follow. Got to a wetlands reserve and hiked in there a mile or so. Unfortunately we got up near Craig Lake to find that it's closed for the summer for maintenance. Hit some trails and did a little hiking and then camped in that area. Saw a ruffed grouse alongside the trail. It was jumping around and fanning its tailfeathers etc.

large.IMG_1598s.jpg.cd499723fdb24d7eef6355bdef0a7b63.jpg

It was on the passenger side and I looked out the drivers side while Z was taking pictures and saw what looked like a mouse on the ground. I went to take a picture of it and realized it was a chick so we continued on.

large.IMG_2401s.jpg.6793379d743dac70c358100e30beef81.jpg

large.IMG_2399s.jpg.08ccb749a222ebfd1fa2e754178b66a3.jpg

Monday morning we went down a snowmobile trail to start wandering back home, it was eventually flooded so we found a different trail and headed south.

large.20240603_090418s.jpg.65d2d893b36df29dec453a1e72dd8117.jpg

Hit a stunt area we found last year and did a few hillclimbs.  Impreza had a lot of wheelspin and rev limiter in first gear climbing a fairly steep one.  Saw a turtle wandering around.

large.IMG_2408s.jpg.49e7aba9ff353944f92344bb797df3c8.jpg

large.IMG_2409s.jpg.fdc0fd99dd1a9ec899d9979462533fb4.jpg

Went through an area we'd been years ago that looks significantly different now, some berms gone, other berms added, trees growing up in areas that had been clearcut, etc. Found one stretch that would be good for suspension testing/tuning. A mile or so with decent sized dips and bumps and another section that's quite rough with holes in between small logs. Wound up taking a few narrow trails that went on for miles and surprised me by connecting to main trails. We took a tour of an old iron mine that was interesting. Drove through part of the southern UP we hadn't explored before with some decent camping areas. Saw a lot of turtles and some muskrats.

large.IMG_2430s.jpg.f63a91f8ec3216a05ab75cb1972707d7.jpg

large.IMG_2435s.jpg.e0854f9d40f9d665f8bf816353033921.jpg

Aired up and drove home on pavement.  Lots of rain on the way home. I'm a little surprised the Impreza doesn't seem to have any leaks or electrical problems even driving through heavy rain for hours, I've done it a few times now.

Overall a good weekend. No major issues, never even got stuck or got a flat tire. Impreza is great on the trails. Not used to having good rear visibility, way easier to back out of trails and the shorter wheelbase and rear overhang make it easier to turn around in the woods. The 60% rear bias and light rear end and open center diff make it handle almost like a rear wheel drive car. It was never close to actually spinning out but it has power oversteer in second or third or even fifth gear sometimes off pavement. Surprised me once in first gear on wet pavement. Steering seems to be a little quicker than the Outbacks which helps in those situations. There was one time on Saturday when B was driving it and he got stuck in a soft muddy trail. I could see just the rear tires spinning. He locked the center diff, all four tires started spinning, and he was able to drive out. It's easiest to lock and unlock when moving, never makes any grinding noises, helps to pump the clutch. So if we were in a really rough or muddy or sandy section I'd just lock the center diff for a while until we got back to some easier trails and then unlock it. Never used the low range all weekend. There was at least one hill I climbed in first gear high range that B had to use low range in the Forester to climb. Some things I like about it aren't from our doing but just because it isn't as beat and rusty as the black Outback. You can drive around with the windows down without choking on exhaust fumes, drive through all kinds of water and rain without getting any in the car. Found myself keeping it under 2000RPM most of the time and it had plenty of torque for normal trail riding. Fans ran more than I expected, when we'd start going really slow or stopping and starting the temps would creep up and at least one would kick in and then basically stay on until we shut off the car for a while but temps never got much above normal. As soon as we were moving the temps would drop back to the normal spot. Wondering if this is partially caused by our current tune being lean at part throttle at 2-3000RPM in an attempt to save fuel. Seemed like it would run a little cooler at 1500RPM where it's probably running richer. Probably a couple times a day after nearly stalling the engine it would start running rough. I just shut it off and restart it and then it would run smooth. Impreza might get a little better fuel economy than Forester on the road but worse on the trails. Might be something wrong with the fuel filler on the Impreza, on the last couple fillups it didn't seem to actually fill the tank. I've noticed recently you can feel crosswinds push you around. Not dangerously like an air cooled VW but something I never notice driving Legacy Outbacks.

Awesome adventure!

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B and I weighed his blue Forester and my green Impreza loaded with our usual off road trip cargo but no camping gear.

Blue Forester weighs 3739#.  With both of us sitting in it, 4126#.  Either way it's super close to 50/50 front/rear weight.

Green Impreza weighs 3714#.  With both of us sitting in it, 4102#.  Either way about 150# more on the front than rear.  I was a little surprised it was that heavy, with no cargo it was 3245# a month or so ago.  So we started unpacking it, with a few bottles of oil still in it we got it under 3300#.  So we had over 400# of tools, spares, recovery gear, tow bar, etc.  This stuff really adds up.  Just a couple folding recovery ramps and a couple straps was 30#.  Definitely not as much volume as we used to pack in the black Outback but apparently most of the weight.  Will have to keep working on packing lighter.

Lateral bumper support tubes rubbed a little on the front tires and the tires aren't fresh so I wanted to add some clearance.

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Gas tank guard has already been put to use.

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Looked over the front end of the white Outback.  It's been shaking increasingly worse at certain brake pressures, seems like both the front lower control arm bushings in the aluminum brackets are sloppy.  At some point I'll probably replace those and the rotors.

 

B replaced the LF rear lower control arm bushing in the Forester, it was shot.

I noticed as we were driving home from the UP the LR of the Forester would change camber occasionally, maybe when cornering but it was hard to tell.  We noticed this.

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B took the link out, replaced the bushings (bolt was frozen in one), welded that piece back in and ground it flush, welded and painted a thick washer over the top, and reassembled everything.

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Wow! It’s amazing to see how much wildlife you come across up there - and how different it is to what we get down here! 

That suspension mount point cracking off like that is a bit hairy! I’m glad you got it sorted before it really let go. That could be fun… 

Awesome write ups as usual! 

Cheers 

Bennie

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Weather looks like it was still nice and cool up there. The random, dumped mound of potatoes is super bizarre! I think I've only seen one leech in person.

Lighter weight vehicles are more fun to drive. Sounds like the rig you built will work well for you in the long run. Congrats, after all that hard work and seeing it thru.

K

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First thing we did yesterday was swap out the long travel struts in the black Outback for some stock Outback/Legacy struts.  We plan on revalving these shocks so we have a set ready to swap in the other cars for easier/faster shock tuning.

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It looks like a lowrider in person now.  I'm pretty sure those are stock Legacy/Outback struts and springs but it does weigh significantly more than stock and the stock springs are pretty soft.

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White Outback has been shaking under moderate braking for months now.  Light or heavy braking it's not too bad.  Noticed a while back that the control arm bushings were shot so I replaced those.

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Have had this pair of Whiteline increased caster bushings for a while.  Maybe easier to install than their normal bushings since they're not flanged.  Only shifts the wheel about 1/4" which works out to about 1/2 a degree of caster.

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Also replaced the front rotors.  Not sure if they were causing the shaking but we're going to need some used ones to turn down for rear use eventually anyhow.  Replaced the air filter, it'd been 30k miles and it was super dusty.  Still seemed to have good power though.  Also replaced fuel filter and front diff fluid.

 

B replaced the taillights on his blue Forester, they've been cracked and leaking for a while.  He tried replacing the AC condenser since it had rubbed through on the radiator but apparently the 2001 Forester condenser is different than the good 2000 Forester condenser he had.  Also replaced his trans fluid and some other things.

 

Got the STI shift yoke from the dealer.  In retrospect I should have just modified the one I'd welded and ground the holes on to clock it but this was easy.

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Replaced the bushings.

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Centered up, way less slop, can now fit the shift boot and trim on.

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Edited by pontoontodd
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On 6/16/2024 at 10:05 PM, pontoontodd said:

First thing we did yesterday was swap out the long travel struts in the black Outback for some stock Outback/Legacy struts.  We plan on revalving these shocks so we have a set ready to swap in the other cars for easier/faster shock tuning.

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It looks like a lowrider in person now.  I'm pretty sure those are stock Legacy/Outback struts and springs but it does weigh significantly more than stock and the stock springs are pretty soft.

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White Outback has been shaking under moderate braking for months now.  Light or heavy braking it's not too bad.  Noticed a while back that the control arm bushings were shot so I replaced those.

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Have had this pair of Whiteline increased caster bushings for a while.  Maybe easier to install than their normal bushings since they're not flanged.  Only shifts the wheel about 1/4" which works out to about 1/2 a degree of caster.

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Also replaced the front rotors.  Not sure if they were causing the shaking but we're going to need some used ones to turn down for rear use eventually anyhow.  Replaced the air filter, it'd been 30k miles and it was super dusty.  Still seemed to have good power though.  Also replaced fuel filter and front diff fluid.

 

B replaced the taillights on his blue Forester, they've been cracked and leaking for a while.  He tried replacing the AC condenser since it had rubbed through on the radiator but apparently the 2001 Forester condenser is different than the good 2000 Forester condenser he had.  Also replaced his trans fluid and some other things.

 

Got the STI shift yoke from the dealer.  In retrospect I should have just modified the one I'd welded and ground the holes on to clock it but this was easy.

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Replaced the bushings.

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Centered up, way less slop, can now fit the shift boot and trim on.

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Way to go, Todd!

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