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On a note related to the '01 OBW gas tank replacement discussed previously...

Dropping the tank is apparently going to require unbolting a lot of stuff, including a driveshaft and the rear suspension, so I think I'll be doing the rear shocks at the same time.  They just seem soft, but I also noticed some weird behaviour last summer.  I was coming into a cloverleaf-style offramp at highway speed (or a little less) with a light boat+trailer (I'd have to check, but probably no more than 600 lb.) behind me.  As I was beginning to turn there was some quick blinky activity on the dash indicating some kind of VDC or skid behaviour.  It wasn't a hard corner (after all, the boat's behind me and I'm not looking for trouble) and the road was clean and dry.  Would this be the VDC system reacting to soggy shocks?

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, jonathan909 said:

On a note related to the '01 OBW gas tank replacement discussed previously...

Dropping the tank is apparently going to require unbolting a lot of stuff, including a driveshaft and the rear suspension, so I think I'll be doing the rear shocks at the same time.  They just seem soft, but I also noticed some weird behaviour last summer.  I was coming into a cloverleaf-style offramp at highway speed (or a little less) with a light boat+trailer (I'd have to check, but probably no more than 600 lb.) behind me.  As I was beginning to turn there was some quick blinky activity on the dash indicating some kind of VDC or skid behaviour.  It wasn't a hard corner (after all, the boat's behind me and I'm not looking for trouble) and the road was clean and dry.  Would this be the VDC system reacting to soggy shocks?

Rear spring(s). 

Replace the rear springs when you replace the struts. They’re cheap from Subaru - like $30.

I think I’ve seen this before. New struts will do the same thing and eventually get worse, dancing side to side when hitting certain bumps. Subaru springs are robust and rarely need replaced but those symptoms point to them. 

wait - did it hit any bumps, even small or was it perfectly smooth road?  Maybe it was due to cornering and loading and more bushing related than spring/strut but I’d still think springs  

ive never seen front springs do it or have symptoms.

Check all rear bushings too. The rear alignment bushings will almost certainly be seized and need torched out. They do that anywhere, no rust state needed.

Edited by idosubaru

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Posted (edited)

Okay.  Now that I'm thinking about it, the ABS was firing the brakes during these events.  That's why I made a mental note of the road having been clean+dry - there didn't seem to be a legit reason for the brakes to be getting busy.

[edit] - I didn't answer your other question.  Pretty sure the road surface was smooth, as it's new - part of the enormous multi-billion-dollar ring road around Calgary that's been under construction here for more than a decade and still has a few years to go.

On the shocks themselves, I seem to recall distant-passed threads strongly recommending KYB.  Does that recommendation still hold?  (Naturally my quick comparison is to others at Rock for 1/2 or 1/3 the price.)

Incidentally, if the springs are cheap from the dealer, it could be another rare case of it being cheaper to buy locally rather than from Rock once the shipping is factored in (springs = big and heavy).  For me, about the only other part like this has been brake rotors.

Edited by jonathan909

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KYB all the way.

If you want to risk a little performance and potential reliability for $, then give the cheap ones a try.  They can’t be unusable, or people and shops wouldn’t be installing them. The set a shop installed for a friend were horrific - floaty feeling like every bump is a butterflies in your stomach.  They were quiet and worked I couldn’t stand them and I’m in the lower percentile of people who care about suspension  

Mounts are the only non-negotiable for me.  Aftermarket mounts are a trash heap. They’re routinely dismissed by Subaru people for good reason.  You can probably find videos or pics of them bulging up as soon as they’re installed. I’ve seen it before. 

I’ve had a few old Subarus that weren’t long for this world that seemed like good fits to install cheap aftermarket mounts on. Surely they all can’t be bad and I can get away this time....nope.  One failed in less than a week.  Entire top rubber bushing blew out and the rod and all was just flopping around. 

If someone asked me to install an aftermarket strut I’d try to talk them out of it but I’d do it if they begged. Mounts - no way in a hundred years.  

I’ll install used Subaru mounts before aftermarket. And I have done that before. Subaru mounts are so robust I routinely swap out a bad mount for a good one with no rubber cracking or bearings crunching. They’re robust. I’m sure failure has happened and I’ve seen some really bad 250,000 mile mounts, but I’ve never seen one fail across triple digit numbers of Subarus but I’ve seen numerous aftermarket issues in 5 total cases...

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Posted (edited)

Also for people who carry or tow a lot, the turbo baja rear springs are a small, common upgrade in stiffness and raise the rear car about 1/2”.  I installed them on mine because I tow a lot and often carry lots of gear and people. 

Thats 2004 baja turbo rear springs installed on 00-04 outback struts and mounts. 

Edited by idosubaru

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Any thoughts on aftermarket springs (i.e. API, MOOG)?  I'll check with the dealer tomorrow, but based on past experience I don't expect any love from those guys.

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For struts I only use KYB.

Short story on cheap struts. About 5 years ago, the coil spring on the left front strut broke on our second 95 RHD Legacy Wagon. I pulled the strut from our 93 parts wagon and put it on the 95. Both front struts on the 93 had been replaced by the PO with cheap aftermarket ones. They were not very old, I could still read the part numbers on them. About 2 weeks later, when my wife got home from the mail route she said the steering wheel was pulling real hard to the left. I found that the perch on the strut that the coil spring sits on had bent down and was rubbing on the tire. It had worn through the steel cords on the fairly new tire. I am really glad she made it home.

I swapped the spring to the original strut and put in back on the 95.

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Posted (edited)

"Meets or exceeds OEM specifications" indeed.

Edited by jonathan909

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Posted (edited)

I’ve got some !@!$&’ aftermarket strut stories too but I’m not typing them. Luckily I didn’t install any of them. 

Id use aftermarket springs if they’re the right size rate and diameters. We use them on older gen Subarus to dial in our lifted ride heights. I’ve bought them and they’re super common across a wide range of applications.  Not sure I’d want no name hack job recycled backwoods Chinese refrigerator metal - but I don’t even know if brands like that exist for springs outside my head. 

Edited by idosubaru

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1 hour ago, Rampage said:

found that the perch on the strut that the coil spring sits on had bent down and was rubbing on the tire. 

Just when I thought I knew all the failure modes of aftermarket struts....they surprise me!

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Posted (edited)

^^^^ that  reminds me....

Jonathan, I don't recall you saying, but I'm betting you've swapped struts before?  If not, the only gotchas are, making sure the top 'perch'/hat maintains its orientation. There may be an arrow or hole that should point to the fender or just scratch or mark it before removal. And, there is an asymmetrical spacer (thick washer) that is domed or conical. The narrow side goes UP against the bottom of the bearing in the mount.

From reading only, seems like a lot of risk getting away from KYB for a strut.

The only mounts I bought so far, was some group N from an online dealer into my WRX, the rubber cracked on one side. They cost as much as the strut!

Before you think; "well, I'l just run these old original mounts", take one off and spin it around a finger, shouldn't be a crunchy feeling bearing....

How are the KYB mounts? I've read some folks use thos in place of OEM.

Not sure about a non-OEM spring with stock characteristics. Springs from a dealer are not priced outrageously. King and Rallitek springs seem to be favorites for special applicatons. (lifts,drops or w'ever)

 

 

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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i used the KYB top mounts on my 95 Lego Wagon when I did the Forester strut swap - was quite happy with them.

Went brand new with everything on that one.. mounts, springs & struts - mounts & struts were KYB, springs came from Subaru.

 

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Yes, I've done a few - both front and back (and a couple of non-Subaru).  Again, one of those things I don't do often enough for it to be "natural" and I usually seem to make one minor mistake or another during reassembly and have to recompress the spring - just dumb not-paying-attention stuff.  I don't think I've ever replaced a top perch, and just used Rock cheapies (FCI?) in non-demanding applications.  I'll check with the dealer shortly, but to date have found that "not priced outrageously" does not necessarily apply north of the border.

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12 minutes ago, jonathan909 said:

Yes, I've done a few - both front and back (and a couple of non-Subaru).  Again, one of those things I don't do often enough for it to be "natural" and I usually seem to make one minor mistake or another during reassembly and have to recompress the spring - just dumb not-paying-attention stuff.  I don't think I've ever replaced a top perch, and just used Rock cheapies (FCI?) in non-demanding applications.  I'll check with the dealer shortly, but to date have found that "not priced outrageously" does not necessarily apply north of the border.

Don't bother calling - OEM mounts are $$$$. 

Get KYB or used ones.  I installed more used OEM ones than new.  They don't fail that often and it's really obvious - either the bearings are crunchy or the rubber is cracking/separating...it's usually the bearings.  

I've replaced some due to severe rust rotting out the body and strut mounts - that doesn't sound like what you'll encounter. 

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...though this body is by far the worse of the two '01 H6 OBWs.  The fender rust is uncharacteristically severe, so I really hope I don't find terrible things when I get up in there to unbolt the struts.  A little strange, actually, because the POs were both (only two, I think) local.

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The VDC system uses a yaw sensor, steering sensor, wheel speed sensors, and more information from the ECU and TCU to determine if it thinks you're sliding sideways and can grab the brakes individually via the ABS pump to help regain control.

If the VDC light isn't on all the time, you probably don't have an issue with any of those sensors themselves. But if the suspension isn't in good shape, that can throw off the readings. Our '04 VDC would grab the brakes on some LH curves until I got an alignment, but worn suspension components (ball joints, rod ends, shocks/struts and of course any of the 18 bushings) can confuse the system.

 

I bought some Rallitek overload rear springs and KYB Excel Gs that will be going on our "new" '02 VDC once I get to it.

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Posted (edited)

FYI, dealer just quoted $85 USD for each spring and $135 USD for each mount.

For comparison, Rock carries API at $32 USD  or Moog at $43 (plus $18 shipping) per PAIR of springs, so $20-$25 vs. $85 per spring.  We're talking >3x the price to buy OEM locally.

I asked previously whether anyone could offer any opinions on the API or Moog, but nobody answered that one.

Also, there are two different API parts listed - w/ and w/o "self-leveling suspension".  How do I tell whether that applies?

They also have the KYB top mounts for $22 ea, so that one's easy if any are needed.

Edited by jonathan909

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ouch

a quick look at one site here shows prices from the $40s to the $80s ??? maybe 4 vs 6 cylinder but ?????

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I have no experience with API parts. Moog had good parts in the past, but now I don't know.

Look up the struts HERE and compare prices. They list them with springs and top mount and without.

The only Gabriel I have used are Hijacker Air Shocks on the rear of my pickups, 75 Lincoln Mark IV and 70 Matador.

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Rock has KYB for the struts (and mounts if needed), so I'm fine there.  It's the springs that are the hard(er) part.

Honestly, I doubt many of you fully grasp the misery of getting stuff over the border these days.  Either shipping is exhorbitant or sellers won't ship here at all.  For those cases I have a friend with a Montana mailbox (he lives just a few minutes north of the border).  But even though he got a commercial carrier permit so he could fetch stuff from it, the feds changed the rules, forced him into quarantine (despite having come into contact with nobody during the hour he was in the US), and threatened lose-your-house sized fines.  So now we've got six or eight months worth of stuff piled up there that we can't get.

Which is why - as much as their super-low prices - I like buying from Rock.  They ship here via fedex without breaking the bank.

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23 minutes ago, Rampage said:

Look up the struts HERE and compare prices. They list them with springs and top mount and without.

They list the KYBs - cheaper than Rock, actually - but not with springs.  And... wait for it...

Do You Ship Internationally?

We do not ship outside the United States. We only ship to the Continental 48 states. On some products shipped by air freight we can ship to Alaska and Hawaii. We do not ship to Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, or to any international destination. We also do not ship to freight forwarding companies or hotels.

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Rock carries KYB top mount, coil options,  and ships CAN. You’re all set!

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Posted (edited)

BZZZT!  Sorry, that's not the right answer!  But Vanna has some lovely parting gifts for you.

They don't have the KYB springs, whether with or without the strut.  Struts and mounts only.  That's why I was looking for some feedback on the springs they do have.

Please trust that I'm not trying to bring all this wrong-side-of-the-border tedium to your lives.  I just want some parts...

Edited by jonathan909

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1 hour ago, jonathan909 said:

BZZZT!  Sorry, that's not the right answer!  But Vanna has some lovely parting gifts for you.

They don't have the KYB springs, whether with or without the strut.  Struts and mounts only.  That's why I was looking for some feedback on the springs they do have.

Please trust that I'm not trying to bring all this wrong-side-of-the-border tedium to your lives.  I just want some parts...

BZZZT ! I’ll take he misread my sentence for $200 Alex.  It said coil options, not KYB coils. Notice it’s a Canadian reference lol

Did you Google those brands with “Subaru” and without for reviews?  Moog is ubiquitous in shop and DIY world across a wide spectrum of applications, Subaru reviews seem likely. You’re quick so I’m sure you noticed usmb is tiny compared to most forums.

They’re typically not replaced here, so finding a used set isn’t a bad idea...but they are old.  05-09 springs might fit, getting into newer/lower miles if you have any used joints close by. I know the struts interchange

have you conclusively diagnosed the coils as the issue (maybe you don’t need them and it’s bushings?), or you’re game to just replace while they’re apart?

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Not at all (conclusively diagnosed, that is).  I'm just doing the anticipatory legwork based on your initial answer.  I'm under there now, unbolting crap (tank covers, exhaust, propeller shaft), getting ready to unhook the tank, and hoping that the manual is wrong in telling me I have to drop the entire rear suspension, because it sorta looks like if the front of the tank tilts down enough to clear the floor pan the front of the diff might not actually be in the way.  A girl can dream...

We have a few self-serve yards, but honestly, the weather here has been so damn miserable.  Normally there's one late spring honker of a snowstorm - a foot of the heaviest and wettest that takes down trees and power lines and that's the end of it - but this year there's some kind of torture underway.  Hovering around 0C, light snow on and off every day, cold wind, winter just saying screw you I'm not leaving.  Not the most desirable time to be crawling around in the boneyard.

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