2003 w/ H6 + Baja Springs and KYB struts done! - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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2003 w/ H6 + Baja Springs and KYB struts done!

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):



Parts used:

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.

Tools used:

-Metric sockets 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm.
-Box wrenches 17mm, 19mm
-Jackstands
-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:

Stock:

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..
Tim

Just the way that her hair fell down around her face...and I recall my fall from grace.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 11:32 PM
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I love what you have done. It's not something I can see myself doing anytime soon, but I appreciate and respect the write up you have done.

Car looks great, now get some crazy tires on that thing and get it dirrtyyyyyy haha.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 11:48 PM
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Thank you very much for the spring measurements and pictures. I had no idea the front left and right springs were different lengths. I wonder what weighs so much on the driver side to account for the difference? The battery and windshield washer fluid reservoir perhaps? I guess those two combined weigh about 80 pounds or so.

I reckon if you wanted the advantages of stiffer springs, but not the added ride hieght, you could use a dremmel tool and cut about 1/4 of a coil off the H6/Baja springs. That should provide roughly the original ride height with the increased spring rate. Thats probably what I'll do when I'm ready to do dampers on my 2003.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-18-2011, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tibug View Post
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.
snip

I'm open to questions and criticisms..
Tim


Where can I get all the torque specs? I think the little mount bolts are 14.5 ft/lbs but I can't find the strut or the knuckle bolt numbers for legacy outback.

(we have an 03 H6)

tia

Carl

Time Flies Like an Arrow,
Fruit Flies Like a Banana!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-16-2011, 01:52 AM
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In addition to the trick with the scissor jack - which did help a lot - I think using a floor or other jack to elevate the hub about 3/4-1" will make it much easier to slide out that bottom bolt on the rear struts when disassembling. Should be pretty close to neutral height differences. basically, think about WHY the scissor jack is needed and you'll see why raising the hub about an inch means the bolt will slide out.

I also had to create a tool to torque the top mount. I bought a 6mm hex key wrench and cut off the short side of the L to make a 6mm shaft. I then stacked 1/2-3/8-1/4 adapters with a 1/4 sq drv 6mm socket on the hex shaft. I put vice grips on a 17mm deep socket and could 'pass thru' the 6mm hex shaft. This allowed me to remove and reinstall and torque the top nut with handtools. Might be better with a 3/8 drive 6mm. I just don't own one.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-16-2011, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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If my memory serves correctly, I think I tried to use a jack to lift up the hub assembly and it ended up lifting up the whole car... I could be mistaken, but I think that's what happened.

And that's some ingenuity in making your pass-through socket and 6mm allen! Awesome! I didn't come up with anything nearly that smart.

Just the way that her hair fell down around her face...and I recall my fall from grace.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-16-2011, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 Lucky Texan View Post
Where can I get all the torque specs? I think the little mount bolts are 14.5 ft/lbs but I can't find the strut or the knuckle bolt numbers for legacy outback.

(we have an 03 H6)

tia

Carl
Sorry that I didn't respond to this earlier! I didn't see it. I think I got torque specs from Brucey's DIY threads on this site. I think I linked them in my first post. I also bought a Haynes manual for 25$ after the fact, and this thing has already paid for itself!

Just the way that her hair fell down around her face...and I recall my fall from grace.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-16-2011, 09:48 AM
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You should post what part #'s you used for the springs.
There are different part #'s for the front depending on auto tran, manual tran, wagon, sedan, with or w/o outback. (4 different part #'s in the front per side.)

Do these #'s match what you installed?
1-Subaru Outback 2004 H6 Front Left Spring - Auto trans Outback H6 - 20330AE87A
1-Subaru Outback 2004 H6 Front Right Spring - Auto trans Outback H6 - 20330AE86A
2-Subaru Baja 2004 Rear Springs - Baja - 20380AE50A

I tried to pick the #'s that would be the heaviest duty.

Do you have a side by side large photo comparing before and after while loaded?

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Yes I can dial in % of torque delivered to the rear wheels.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-16-2011, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tibug View Post
If my memory serves correctly, I think I tried to use a jack to lift up the hub assembly and it ended up lifting up the whole car... I could be mistaken, but I think that's what happened.

And that's some ingenuity in making your pass-through socket and 6mm allen! Awesome! I didn't come up with anything nearly that smart.
I didn't put that much pressure on it.

Basically, rear end up on stands - both wheels in the air.

As you know from use of the scissor jack, when one side is disconnected, there's about an inch offset. The loose shock bottom sticks about an inch down past the knuckle. Well, that same shear force is there BEFORE you disconnet the bolt so, on the second side (I didn't realize what was happenning until I finished the first side) I used my floor jack to just raise the hub about 3/4 inch from where it was hanging. Not nearly enough to raise the car. Jsut enough to reduce the side forces on the bolt. It meant I could just twist and wriggle the bolt out with little fuss(uh - AFTER the **** of busting it loose of course).

It MAY be what is shown in pic#3 here;Rear Shock Replacement, 2000 Outback Wagon



Now, after using the scissor jack during reassembly and 'hand tighteneing the shock bolts and mount nuts, I DID use the floor jack to raise the hub until the front link was almost level - that was a lot of weight. The manual says to do this before you put final torque on the bottom bolt. Not sure why - maybe to ensure the parts are all bottomed out like they will be on the road I guess.

like shown in this document;

dl.dropbox.com/u/33330380/2003%20Outback%20Rear%20Susp.zip

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-19-2011, 12:27 AM
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This seems like a good place to drop off a coupla pics and 1 or 2 details that may help the next guy (BTW - thanx to everyone here and elsewhere on the net - finally got all 4 struts and a half-axle replaced.)

In the below pictures, you will want to note the following;

Use of vice grips to keep the top hat in the correct place on the spring before removing the old strut(left on during the procedure).

Use of a vice grip to position the end of the spring in the correct spot on the bottom perch.

The best way I found to position and compress the spring compressors from AutoZone.



note the vice grips. After I position and tightened the compressors a little just by hand, I put a vice grip near the end of the spring on the top hat, and another approx 180 around. Then, later - after putting the new strut in - I clamped the end of the spring in the correct position on the bottom perch.
You WILL want to include 3 coils on each compressor. In order to increase the likelihood of avoiding clearance problems for an impact wrench, place the first compressor as close to the bottom spring perch as possible with the bolt-head positioned 'up' (towards the top-hat. Then, position the second compressor 180degs around from the first, but still as low as possible on the spring (down from the top-hat) but I think it's best to have it's bolt-head positioned down - towards the bottom perch. While you may still need to use a box/end wrench a little, you will have clearance for an impact gun 'most' of the time. this was the best way I found to do it



. And, as mentioned, you will want to compress thes guys down to around 1-1/4" to 1" between the blocks. Or, if using different compressors, try to get the coil-to-coil dimension close to what I have shown (approx 3-1/2" across the 3 coils at the compressor).




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