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JDM 2008 BP 9 Outback 2.5i Limited
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91 Posts
Today, I replaced both lower control arms on my JDM Gen 3, hoping to fix a persistent “clunk” from under the floorpan. I was certain it had to be a rear LCA bush, but after fitting two new Mevotech alloy arms, with AVO poly bushes (0.5 caster control in the rear), new Mevotech TTX ball joints, AVO end links and new poly sway bar bushes, the **** clunk is still there.

Lots of people have posted how-tos on this, so I won’t repeat it all here, but I thought I’d add a couple of my experiences today: someone said the job should take three hours. It took me all day, but I spent a lot of time cleaning tectyl off various parts.

As everyone else has noted, getting the old ball joints out is a right PITA... I disconnected the arm from the two bush mounts, but left it connected to the ball joint. I removed the pinch bolt, drowned the bolt-hole in PB Blaster, then drove a cold chisel into the split, but not so far as to bind the ball joint. Then I took a club hammer and drift to the control arm. The cold chisel needed re-setting into the split periodically, but the ball joints came out with a little violence.

I was a bit nervous about adding caster, as I run 225/55/17s, and I worried they might rub on full lock at the front of the wheel well. I needn’t have fretted, but there probably won’t be room for snow chains in there now.

It might be the new part effect, but it does feel like the car is more willing to turn in now. Early days, but I think the bump steer is gone. The NVH from the poly bushes IS noticeable.

I hope this helps anyone else considering this mod.
 

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2009 Outback 3.0r, 1998 Forester
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39 Posts
My Outback: 2009 3.0R UK spec, 155000 miles. I've just refreshed the suspension:
Front - KYB Excel G struts part number 334375/4, Whiteline rear lower arm bushes part number W53353, new ball joints (from Subaru), new top mounts and spring cups. I kept the original springs.
The rear is more complicated. Our EDM Outbacks, and also JDM ones as far as I can tell, come with self levelling as standard. This uses a Nivomat type shock with a shorter spring and a different top mount. These are the top mounts referred to on this site as "JDM" ones, when in fact they are simply the top mounts for the self levellers in all markets that offered them. When the self levellers go bad, the rear of the car sags, and the damping becomes ineffective. The replacement self levellers are only available from Subaru at an extortionate price. Pedders, the Australian company, do a conversion kit consisting of a regular shock and a heavy duty, shorter spring, to be used with the existing self leveller top mounts. I ended up using the Pedders springs with Bilstein B4 shocks (part number 19-229584). These shocks should work with the longer springs and regular top mounts on the USDM Outback, but I don't know if they're available in the USA. They also do Bilstein B4 struts for the front, part number 22-248145. I also added a Whiteline 20mm adjustable sway bar (BSR39Z).
The result is really very good. It's transformed the way the car behaves on bumpy back roads, with no apparent loss of ride quality. Much less understeer, and great control in the bumpy bends, feels more like a Legacy than an Outback.

B4 shock and Pedders Spring (part number 2938) with self leveller top mount on the left, OEM self leveller on the right:



 

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shocks / struts

here are the slim pickings that I am aware of:

rear:
Stock (by KYB): few fans of these
KYB 341443: 18% stiffer rebound, 9% stiffer compression: spec'd for 05-09
KYB 341276: approx stock rebound, 30+% stiffer compression: spec'd for 00-04, but talking about using on 05-09
KYB 341354 non US: 34% stiffer rebound, 46% stiff compression THAN 341443 (60% rebound/59% comp over stock???)
Monroe SensaTrac: unknown specs, but not well liked in reviews
Bilstein BTS 5056: JDM: incl springs: few have them (one guy?), expensive, supposedly the best option for daily street use

Bilstein has unobatainium desireability, KYB 341276 has several fans lately
good luck getting non-USDM KYB's in USA

Megan Racing Coilovers: mixed reviews (some are good)
BC BR Coilovers: make sure to get the longer body vs Legacy version

Or drop down to Legacy suspension and have their Bilstein, KYB, and Coilover options...and limited height / travel.

For the front:
Stock: allegedly not too bad
KYB 339098 -99 somewhat stiffer, I don't know specs
KYB 00-04: even stiffer (at least is 1 direction), different dimensions???
KYB 334374-75 non USDM: supposedly 70% in stiffness (which direction???)
Bilsteins as above (the kit includes all 4 corners: springs/shocks)
the Coilovers above

based on only Schneider's review, the unobtainium Bilstein BTS kit has the highest regard. For the rear, the KYB 341276 (designed for 00-04 but fitted to 05-09) is becoming popular favorite among more affordable options.

Megans' have fans and foes
BC Racing as limited reviews on Outbacks, but evidently a lot of fans amongst the Legacy owners.

non-USDM KYB's hard to acquire, and requie some unknown fitment bits (but probably similar to Bilstein BTS kit)

There, now you know everthing I do. I hope this helps somebody.

DISCLAIMER: I have NONE of these installed (well, I have 100% stock and I hate it)...but not for long. Talk about analysis paralysis
Do you know if the JDM kyb and Bilstein assemblies are the same height as USDM?
 

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2005 Outback VDC limited 3.0r
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722 Posts
Looks like Moog recently released a adjustable rear lower/forward control arm for camber at about $60 on rock auto! Haven't been able to find pictures, part number rk100419. If this is actually what it says it is, will make cheaper/easier option then whiteline arms. Found this when pricing new front lca's
 

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2008 Outback 3.0R L.L. Bean
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48 Posts
Here's the Outback with BC Coilovers BR Series and Swift Springs. The spring rates were their recommended rates. I think it's 8K front, and 6K rear, or vice versa.
Parts installed:
  • BC BR Coilovers w/ Swift springs
  • Legacy Rear Bump Stops
  • Legacy Rear Upper Control Arms
  • Whiteline KTA124 Rear Control Arm Assembly
  • Whiteline KCA313Front Roll centre/bump steer correction kit
  • Whiteline BSR39Z Rear Black Sway Bar
  • Moog K750023 Stabilizer Bar Link Kit Rear
  • WhiteLine Sway Bar Front Endlinks (Previously had Moog in front and ruined after 2 years)
  • White Line LCA Lower Inner Bushing
  • White Line LCA Lower Inner Front Bushing (Both previous LCA bushings were ruined after 2 years)
481101
481102
481103
481104
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,074 Posts
Here's the Outback with BC Coilovers BR Series and Swift Springs. The spring rates were their recommended rates. I think it's 8K front, and 6K rear, or vice versa.
Parts installed:
  • BC BR Coilovers
  • Rear Bump Stops
  • Rear Upper Control Arms
  • Whiteline KTA124 Rear Control Arm Assembly
  • Whiteline KCA313Front Roll centre/bump steer correction kit
  • Whiteline BSR39Z Rear Black Sway Bar
  • Moog K750023 Stabilizer Bar Link Kit Rear
  • WhiteLine Sway Bar Front Endlinks (Previously had Moog in front and ruined after 2 years)
  • White Line LCA Lower Inner Bushing
  • White Line LCA Lower Inner Front Bushing (Both previous LCA bushings were ruined after 2 years)
View attachment 481101 View attachment 481102 View attachment 481103 View attachment 481104
Where's the CKE sway bar bushings?

:love:

I have BC BRs on the red car. They are OK.
 

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2008 Outback 3.0R L.L. Bean
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48 Posts
I have BC BRs on the red car. They are OK
Yea, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about the BC BRs so I was skeptical... which was why I opted for the Swift springs. I never heard a bad review about the Swift upgrade. Unfortunately, I don't know how it feels with BC's standard springs so I cannot compare.

And as for the CKE bushings, are they a good upgrade over Whiteline's bushings?? I never heard of them. The Whiteline sway bar came with it's own bushings. I also saved up money to buy all the upgrades at once, so I don't know how substantial of a change one part makes over the other. I figured to doing everything at once would be easier.

So far I'm very happy and pleasantly surprised the BCs are smooth and not jarring. I took them through some nasty construction sites yesterday as a test. I've only had them for a few days, I may be speaking too soon!
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i limited
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4 Posts
Here's the Outback with BC Coilovers BR Series and Swift Springs. The spring rates were their recommended rates. I think it's 8K front, and 6K rear, or vice versa.
Parts installed:
  • BC BR Coilovers
  • Rear Bump Stops
  • Rear Upper Control Arms
  • Whiteline KTA124 Rear Control Arm Assembly
  • Whiteline KCA313Front Roll centre/bump steer correction kit
  • Whiteline BSR39Z Rear Black Sway Bar
  • Moog K750023 Stabilizer Bar Link Kit Rear
  • WhiteLine Sway Bar Front Endlinks (Previously had Moog in front and ruined after 2 years)
  • White Line LCA Lower Inner Bushing
  • White Line LCA Lower Inner Front Bushing (Both previous LCA bushings were ruined after 2 years)
View attachment 481101 View attachment 481102 View attachment 481103 View attachment 481104
Your outback is exactly how i want mine to look height wise! Beautifully done!
 

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2008 Outback 3.0R L.L. Bean
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48 Posts
Thanks! The coilovers let you dial in the exact height that you want. Plus, you can dial in your camber in the front using the camber plates... super easy. If you get the adjustable arms, dialing in camber/toe is a cinch as well.

I ran into issues with rubbing with my tires, whether or not I had coilovers or stock suspension. I have 245/45 on 18"x8.75" +33 Rims. If you go this meaty of a tire/wheel setup, you will have to put in some work with the wheel fenders/camber adjustment.

Otherwise, I'm super happy, and good luck!
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited & 2007 Subaru Impreza 2.5i
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25 Posts
Any rubbing issues? Stock size tires/wheels?
It was rubbing the first couple of days on big/sudden dips then went away after. Stock tire size, aftermarket wheels. 17x7.5 et40. I'm gonna slightly roll the fenders in the summer because I might install the Tein springs.
 

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41 Posts
2020-05-27: UPDATE below ...

A list of stock KYB shock/strut lengths vs. new Oredy Legacy complete/loaded assemblies -- fitted onto a 2006 Outback XT in my case:
(included here as I couldn't find basic shock lengths ...)

Code:
FRONT length (top of tophat ignoring bolts to middle of bottom install hole):
Outback: 21-1/4"    Legacy 20-3/8"

Rear length:
Outback: 18-3/4"    Legacy 17-1/8"
Tags: Legacy LGT Outback OBXT shock strut length

stock wheels, tire size: 225/55-17. Just installed the shocks+struts Thursday and haven't driven much at all. Getting an alignment done Tuesday. I'm concerned that the fronts will rub - it's tight and I reinstalled the strut adjustment bolts for max positive camber ...

UPDATE: I'm trying not to go all fanboy on my own upgrade, simply because I did the work but ... This package has really improved the handling. Tighter, better cornering, the works ... and my teeth are whiter too.

I'd hope a change of dampers from the oem 14-yr old ones would impress and it has. I no longer have the floaty SUV ride.

And I'd like to be more specific to lend credibility but really can't - it's too new but it does go much more where it's pointed. I'd like to think I have some familiarity with how a car should handle - my other car is an '06 Cayman S (987.1) - with quite a bit of HPDE and autoX behind me.

That said, the 2 cars are very different -- and I'm weighing those differences when considering how well my OBXT handles; it has all-season tires and only in the stock 225/55-17 size. The porsche sits 'way (!) closer to the ground, its brakes and steering are really precise.

The OBXT isn't that but it's really good, especially from where it started.

Other bits on the car:
Whiteline rear anti-roll bar,
whiteline rear camber kit;
energy suspension front (stock) bar mounts;
new cast aluminum front control arms.

undoubtedly the new dampers and bushings have really helped. If you're looking for a significant handling improvement for not too (!) much work and money, consider this package. I'll probably do saggy butt spacers as I'd like a bit of rake.

Cheers && mmmv,
-M.


484623
 

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2008 Outback 3.0R L.L. Bean
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48 Posts
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