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Legacy to Outback suspension - 2000-2004 era


wtdash
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Not seeing a lot online when I helped a friend do this, so my .02 for posterity.

 

Disclaimer - If you work on your own car, you're also RESPONSIBLE for what you do, as I'm 100% NOT RESPONSIBLE for you. Be smart and safe! 

- Started with an '03 Legacy wagon. The 'Special Edition' model that was actually the standard for the '03 MY, for the Sedan and Wagon - Cars101.com. This should apply to any '00-'04 model and as far as I've seen the sedan uses the same suspension setup.

- I spent some time trying to discern if the strut body or the spring or both raised the REAR of the Outback/OB - along w/the sub-frame spacers. The online Subaru parts catalogs were no help as they showed the same part numbers for the strut AND spring for "L" and "OB", which was confusing. Not sure what - if anything - I was doing wrong.  But I did note that KYB sold different part numbers for the L and OB strut.

Here's a comparison of the the 'L' on the left and 'OB' on the right. Looks like it's the 'strut' that provides the lift - not the spring - although the OB is heavier, so maybe the springs are stiffer?

MzuoJrv.jpg

- Originally thought about adding spacers to the OB front and rear struts/shocks, but the type the owner bought required spring compressors.

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- Ended up  with the OB struts front and rear - for now. May add the spacers later. 

- Owner bought some OB 'quick struts' for the Front, which I had my concerns as most of the aftermarket options are not high-quality. But KYB didn't make a set for the front or rear.

- I grabbed a set of used OB Rear struts from the local yard.

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- Installing the front struts is an easy process - just remember to mark the head of the top bolt's (at the hub/knuckle) orientation to keep the alignment (camber at least) close. 

    ---Sidenote: Don't bother removing the brake lines on the older Subarus ('99 and older). Pull the retaining clip (note how it attaches!), dremel or hacksaw the bracket on the outer edge, bend it out of the way, remove the brake line, install new strut, install the line, realign the bracket, and pull the line's hose fitting into the bracket toinstall the clip. 

- The rears were more of a challenge, mainly because it can be a 2-person job to jack up the rear and align the bottom bolt at the same time. 

- A couple different ways to do it after installing the top and screwing on the nuts:

      -Jack up the knuckle just outside of the mount point, which worked for us.

      -Use the car's scissor jack between the car's body and subframe to spread it up and down at the same time. We didn't try this but worked for others.  CAREFUL as the scissor jack could slip!

-Torque everything down - look up specs online. 

 

Edit: With the 215/65R16 General Grabber tires installed. They are ~ 1/2" taller than the stock OB 225/60R16 tire.

XYrUk2q.jpg

 

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For Tires, owner is looking at an AT tread - likely a Yokohama G015 or the ubiquitous (at least on Subarus) Falken Wildpeak. Looks like a 215/65R16 will fit best and it has the most tire options, but could go to either a 225/65R16 or even a 215/70R16, if they can find an AT tire  in those size. But those do make a tight fit on the rear fenders. 

Spare tire- I brought along a 225/60R16 to use as a spare - IT DOESN'T FIT in the Legacy's rear tire well, and I'm guessing that means the OB must have a temporary spare, too. Kinda sucks. 

Edited by wtdash
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