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Discussion Starter #1
I live in CO and just picked up an '18 2.5 premium.

I was wondering if anyone has had any issues going over trails that go above 12k feet in altitude with steep inclines. The trails on my mind are the alpine loop and imogene pass down in the Ouray & Telluride area . I've done these trails in CJ's with 4 bangers in them but they're a bit lighter than our outbacks (not to mention the transmission differences). I'm very familiar with rock crawling & offroading so I know the basics as far as clearance, tires, tire pressure, etc..

Has anyone had personal experience doing these type of high altitude trails with steep inclines in their 2.5?


Thanks for any replies & help.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Brucey
'17 3.6
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We did a lot of that area last year in a 2.5 (2" Lift, 245 KO2 tires)

In that configuration it is the absolute limit of the car. It's not so much a clearance issue on the car in that set up as it's a power issue. We stalled it several times on black bear pass.


I wish there was a way to get a lower gear but you can get a good idea of what to expect with the 2.5 at high altitude. It can do it, just be prepared for multiple attempts (or 3)

We actually had more trouble with California/Corkscrew than we did with Black Bear.

We ended up getting everyone out, letting the car cool off, and me gunning it all the way to the top. It could barely do 1 mph with me standing on the gas pedal.

After that, I learned a neat trick about "momentum" and finished the trail. If maybe a bit faster than I would have liked.

I think @MiddleAgeSubie did Imogene this past year.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the link!
It's comforting to know people at least attempt the trails in their outbacks. I'm probably just going to have to start on the easier trails out here above 8k feet and work my way up.

I'm going to have to find a group of folks to go up there with or anywhere else in here in western CO really. I'm hoping there will be some subaru people in the jeep clubs out here but there sure weren't a decade ago.

I really hope I don't regret going with the 2.5.. dont know why this didnt occur to me at the dealership.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Thanks for the link!
It's comforting to know people at least attempt the trails in their outbacks. I'm probably just going to have to start on the easier trails out here above 8k feet and work my way up.

I'm going to have to find a group of folks to go up there with or anywhere else in here in western CO really. I'm hoping there will be some subaru people in the jeep clubs out here but there sure weren't a decade ago.

I really hope I don't regret going with the 2.5.. dont know why this didnt occur to me at the dealership.
I lived in Montrose for almost 10 years. The best decade of my life. I mostly drove lifted trucks and Jeeps when I lived there. Since I had to move to the city, I drive Subarus again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I traded in an expedition for the subaru... might have to buy an old beater truck or jeep for these trails with the $10k i saved not getting the 6cyl. At least I'd know how to fix it if anything happened up there! I sure feel like a dummy and cant imagine bringing my 2.5 with 300 miles in to trade for a 3.6r..
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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Yeah, unfortunately, the H4 proved weak as expected. While Brucey had heavy KO2s, he was also nearly empty, so that is not an excuse.

I have not done Imogene. Last year I did Governor Basin, which is right there, but not Imogene. Governor Basin is not that steep or rocky. No idea why it is rated difficult in Wells; it is very narrow in one spot, but that's it. Sydney Basin is a different story but it is not part of the Wells trail anyway.

So...back to the H4, I would personally do:
--Engineer from Lake City to Animas, but not the other way round.
--Cinnamon either way but clearance will be very tight on at least one spot on the east side, if fully stock.
--Corkscrew going down towards 550 rather than up from it, clearance may be an issue if eroded
--Hurricane is probably okay either way
--Brucey did get up California from the west side so that should be okay both ways
--Placer/Picayne only going from California to the awful Animas-Silverton dirt road, not trying to climb the steep side
--Porphyry Gulch aka Bullion King
--Minnie Gulch I guess is okay, both forks
--Maggie Gulch
--Eureka Gulch
--Brown Gulch
--Brown Mountain
--Alta Lakes, that's car suitable to the lakes
--People always say that Last Dollar is easy, which it is when dry, but when is it dry? It is the only place that has given me some trouble--due to mud both times. Bent my rear diff skid plate there last summer while going too happily through a deep hole, never taken even cosmetic damage in the San Juans in 3 trips, except that.

Those are some examples of what I would do if I had a stock H4 and the experience I have now.

You are well experienced and certainly more than me, but I would NOT recommend any of the above to the typical driver of a stock Subaru. Such have gotten in trouble everywhere and unlike the Jeep case, where everyone would say, "meh, inexperienced drivers," their failures are attributed to the car and then I have to explain to rangers and sheriff deputies what a Subaru can and cannot do. It is usually fun, but still. I have noticed that if you show up with KO2s and a roof basket people think you have a clue but if you are on milder tires, they assume you are just another accident waiting to happen.

In other words, there are some intangibles to consider when "wheeling" a Subaru.

I have 129 completed trails in the OB (42 designated as 4x4) and 159 complete runs but if I were starting all over again, I would just purchase an old X-terra OR/Pro4 as a trail/dog/camping rig and kept the OB for long-distance highway and associated dirt roads with mild AT tires and maybe front and middle skid plates. This is actually the direction I might go. The OB excels in dirt, but even the mildest 4x4 trail is a push for the bumper of a stock car and it remains a big issue with the lift. The rocker panel is about as hopeless as the bumpers. And AWD, no matter how good, can only get us that far in CO/UT/AZ....
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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I traded in an expedition for the subaru... might have to buy an old beater truck or jeep for these trails with the $10k i saved not getting the 6cyl. At least I'd know how to fix it if anything happened up there! I sure feel like a dummy and cant imagine bringing my 2.5 with 300 miles in to trade for a 3.6r..
Oh yeah, totally.

If I were in your shoes, I would do nothing except mild AT tires and maybe the front plate from LP aventure or the front and middle from Primitive, no need to bother with the diff one, which is much harder to put on. That will make you King of Dirt:grin2:

Then, a trail/dog/camping rig. Totally. I would love an LJ but an X-Terra OR/Pro4 is cheaper and better on the long highways to/from trails plus safer/more comfy for the kids and dog.

You can totally buy a nice X-Terra OR/Pro for 11-12,000, I plan on waiting till December so the '11s can come down a bit more. If I do go that route at all, lol.

Just be wary of SMOD on pre-2009 ATs and the timing chain tensioners on all pre-2011. Much better designed for outdoors use than a Subaru or, frankly, a Jeep. Not saying more capable than a Jeep, but more thoughtfully designed for full-blown outdoors use.
 
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Also, join TrailDamage.com if you have not already! The most amazing resource for Colorado and Utah trails.
 
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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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I traded in an expedition for the subaru... might have to buy an old beater truck or jeep for these trails with the $10k i saved not getting the 6cyl. At least I'd know how to fix it if anything happened up there! I sure feel like a dummy and cant imagine bringing my 2.5 with 300 miles in to trade for a 3.6r..
I used to buy solid axle Subarbans all day long. $1000-$1500. Put $1500 in tires and lift and they go anywhere. The '89-'91 got the throttle body fuel injection. Carbs s*ck in altitude unless properly jetted for it.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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I used to buy solid axle Subarbans all day long. $1000-$1500. Put $1500 in tires and lift and they go anywhere. The '89-'91 got the throttle body fuel injection. Carbs s*ck in altitude unless properly jetted for it.
Cannot beat this value!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, unfortunately, the H4 proved weak as expected. While Brucey had heavy KO2s, he was also nearly empty, so that is not an excuse.

I have not done Imogene. Last year I did Governor Basin, which is right there, but not Imogene. Governor Basin is not that steep or rocky. No idea why it is rated difficult in Wells; it is very narrow in one spot, but that's it. Sydney Basin is a different story but it is not part of the Wells trail anyway.

So...back to the H4, I would personally do.....
Wow thanks for all the details!

I'm definitely saving all your advice on those trails and will be testing it out this summer.

I also appreciate the recommendations on some semi-trail rigs that can get me a few hundred miles to trails without being too uncomfortable. I can start researching now and then if need be pick one up next fall or winter depending on how the summer goes!

You guys have all been very helpful!
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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Oh yeah, totally.

If I were in your shoes, I would do nothing except mild AT tires and maybe the front plate from LP aventure or the front and middle from Primitive, no need to bother with the diff one, which is much harder to put on. That will make you King of Dirt:grin2:
I thought the LP Adventure covers what the Front and Mid from primitive covers? And it's a single plate instead of two.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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Right, should not have said "front," since it is only one!
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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moved to the unpaved section from general discussion

"unpaved" where many such existing discussions, trails, pics, movies all live in happiness.
 
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GrandMesa;5358673 I've done these trails in CJ's with 4 bangers in them but they're a bit lighter than our outbacks (not to mention the transmission differences). Thanks for any replies & help.[/QUOTE said:
I doubt Jeeps are much lighter than the OB. My '98 Wrangler(TJ series) weighed around 3500. I suspect having a low range is a bigger deal than weight differences on climbing steep trails.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
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I remember a poster here that had a 2.5 2010-14 out on a desert trail with grades and they ran into a park ranger who did not think something without a low range should be on it,

but the outback did OK, = subaru symmetrical AWD,
vs. all the cute sidewinder mounted I4 and I6 junk out there that may ruin their wimpy AWD on such treks.

(maybe someone will remember it, ...it was the the trail that someone left a box on marking a old wreck that was still visible down off the road,...to state everyone lived, and there was no reason to hike down to see if there was anyone hurt ....

it was in one of the 4 corners states.

edit: plenty of cool threads here, with tires, lifts and skid plates, 3.6 and its muscle or the good enough 2.5.
just have to look up where the people were going, and how nice the trail was that day.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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I doubt Jeeps are much lighter than the OB. My '98 Wrangler(TJ series) weighed around 3500. I suspect having a low range is a bigger deal than weight differences on climbing steep trails.
true. But My OBXT is about 3500lbs. The 4.0 straight 6 is torque king and would do in H with a payload of (5) and gear ... what Brucey almost couldn't.

Your point is valid tho....
 

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cant imagine bringing my 2.5 with 300 miles in to trade for a 3.6r..
If it's really a concern, give them a call. I'm pretty sure my dealer would give me full purchase price towards a 3.6R if I had just bought a 2.5 and only put 300 miles on it. Probably depends on whether they've got any 3.6Rs in stock, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to give them a call. If you really just bought the car, they'll probably be giving you a call in the next couple of days anyway.
 

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Not sure how I do not remember this thread, must have missed it.

It is not that the H4 lacks power per se. If H4s do not have issues on the White Rim Road, they won't have issues on any hill they have the clearance to climb at reasonable elevation. It is that it lacks power at altitude because at the trails discussed above we are talking about 30% reduction from sea level.

As for the H6, I have not faced such issues but lack of low range is still a problem when dealing with grouped rocks and small ledges (I am yet to see a Subaru negotiating anything bigger than a small, and that would usually mean "tiny" ledge).

I do not want to hear about X-mode because it is all brakes based, effective in controlling speed and wheelspin yes, but no low range. EDIT: without low range, VDC works, X-mode enhanced or not, but in bursts. What you want is steady movement, more control, less wheelspin.

The reason so many law enforcement folks are perplexed is because their perceptions are really based on antiquated, underpowered trucks that without low range could not get out of their own way. Modern vehicles have incredibly more powerful engines than what was the norm as recently as the 1990s. Add effective AWD and a low center of gravity, and up we go.
 
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