Let me thank those who made this possible...
-Anyone in this thread
, especially The Yeti, for making me aware of the potential of this project.
-Brucey for his instrumental DIY walkthroughs:
Front Strut Replacement
Rear Shock Replacement
-Anyone in this thread who helped with specific problems/questions I had in the preparation for this project:
Lift Project Planning-Need Smarts to supplement my Dumbs
-All contributing members of subaruoutback.org and the other various forums that I probably got information on while researching this project.
This is not a walkthrough or tutorial (Brucey has that covered; see above links). It's just an overview of some of my experiences in this project. Be aware that the methods I used to help me through this project are probably not
the best, easiest, or even the right ways to do things. In fact, I wholeheartedly welcome criticism.
Finished picture first (note that all my old struts/springs, a bunch of tools, and my subwoofer are all in the cargo area when this picture was taken):
1-KYB GR2 334448 Front Left Strut
1-KYB GR2 334447 Front Right Strut
2-KYB GR2 341276 Rear Strut
1-Subaru Outback 2004 H6 Front Left Spring
1-Subaru Outback 2004 H6 Front Right Spring
2-Subaru Baja 2004 Rear Springs
The struts were ordered through AJUSA.com and the springs through subarugenuineparts.com. No problems with either retailer. I was going to go with Baja springs front and rear, but the fronts were out of stock, so H6 it is.
There were no other parts that were used for my install; strut tops, boots, and all hardware were reused, except for strut top bolts, which came with the struts.
-Metric sockets 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm.
-Box wrenches 17mm, 19mm
-Hydraulic floor jack (for lifting the car)
-Scissor jack (for lining up the mounting bolts with the strut holes)
-PB Penetrating Blaster Oil
-20-150ft. lb. torque wrench
-Big pieces of pipe as breaker bars (absolutely necessary to have the leverage, btw)
-Spring compressors (rented at Autozone)
Tools I wish I had:
-Pass through socket set: In order to get the strut top bolt off the strut, you need a way to brace the shock from spinning. A 6mm? allen and a 17mm passthrough socket would work best, but I did it without.
-A big garage: Did this whole project on gravel driveway. Misplaced bolts are extremely hard to find, busted out the metal detector only once, though
-A little gnome that compresses springs for me. I must have spent an hour and a half just on the spring compressing/uncompressing part of the project.
Things I wish I didn't do
-I decided to remove the front brake caliper and rotor to get better access to the strut bolts on my drivers side. Not a bad idea, but next time I have a stuck rotor to get off, I should try and ONLY hit the rotor with the sledge, and not the lug studs...
...A couple of the ends on the wheel studs are messed up due to my carelessness...I won't make that mistake again.
-Estimate that the entire project would take me 4-5 hours. It took me at least twice that plus a couple more.
-Scratch the paint on one of the wheelwells due to carelessness with a wrench.
Per request, I took measurements of the stock springs free length and the replacements. All measurements are approximate. I apologize for using both inches and millimeters:
Left Front Spring-14" tall, 14mm wire diameter
Right Front Spring-13.75" tall
Rear Springs-14.25" tall, 13.5mm wire diameter
H6/Baja (please keep in mind that these springs have not settled yet, so the accurate height measurements are probably about 1/8 to 1/4" less than these, I think?) :
Left Front Spring-14" tall, 14.6mm wire diameter
Right Front Spring-13.75" tall,
Rear Springs-14.5" tall, 14.5mm wire diameter
Onto the process pictures:
The two front strut bolts were very easy. Not. Notice the ratchet on the bottom bolt? I had to have a ~3ft. pipe extension to break the bolt free. Not easy.
Everything (two bottom strut bolts, ABS line bolt, and brake bolt) loose and the strut removed.
These 14mm nuts were easy, both front and rear. Torqued them to the correct spec when the new strut assemblies were in.
Rented Spring compressors at autozone. The rears were easy to compress. The fronts required the spring compressors to be practically bottomed out on their threads, but it's definitely manageable.
Butterfly my friend took a picture of. I felt bad that he stuck around all day and watched me do stupid things, so I let him take pictures of butterflies after he got bored of making fun of me.
Had to loosen the front strut top bolts a bit before compressing the springs. Waiting to try to loosen them until after compressing the springs meant that I needed to keep the shock from spinning with a 6mm allen and loosen the bolt with a pass through socket set, the latter which I didn't have.
New strut assembly in, the fronts were easy enough to line up with the hub by pushing down on the hub with my foot.
On the other hand, the rears required a scissor jack to push the hub down...I got this idea from someone on this forum, sorry I can't recall who...worked AWESOME though...
And...you'll feel good.
I'm open to questions and criticisms..