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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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Discussion Starter #1
I know it’s a long post, but I want to see if I have all my bases covered since I’m doing it all at the same time. Questions in green. I haven’t bought anything yet except the wheels. I recently acquired a 2008 outback (110K miles) and am looking at fixing some suspension issues and lifting it. I’m planning on doing the work myself and have done similar work before, but not with this many modifications. This is my commuter (30 miles a day) and my wife and I would take this car for any trips to new mexico, etc. I’d like to keep it a smooth quiet ride because that’s what keeps my stress down when driving in traffic. Any off-roading would be dirt roads and some easier trails and I just like the look and stance of a lifted outback. I’d love to be able to get around the non-difficult trails at Big Bend State and National Parks.
Here is what I was thinking:

Rear Forward Lateral Links (Megan Racing) – I understand this is a trouble point for the outbacks and will help with the alignment and tracking of the back end. It is pretty floaty now, and I’m getting some noises (a rattling clunk?) from the rear on turns. At 70mph it feels like there are wind gusts even though it’s not a windy day.

Loaded Front Control Arms (Mevotech) - current ball joints are shot and current bushings have large tears. Should I upgrade the ball joints to Moog?

Sway bar bushings - cheapy aftermarket ones, just doing since I'm getting in there.

Moog Endlinks front and back - current boots are torn. Is the stock length going to be ok if I stay under a 2” lift?

KYB Struts (2005 +) and Mounts all around – The back end is floaty right now and figured I should do it while everything is out.

Strut Spacers –1.5” spacers, thinking ADF because of the built-in alignment correction.

Rallitek Springs – Unless someone can convince me these won’t firm up the ride too much, I wasn’t planning on doing these. I like a softer ride to soak up the bumps when I’m commuting. The car will mostly be empty when commuting, and I don’t plan on many heavy loads. I think they would be too harsh for my normal driving.

Sub-Frame Spacers –I don’t see any 1.5” sub-frame spacers, so I was thinking of going with 2” sub-frame spacers. With my 16” stock steel wheels, the rear wheels are already not centered and sit a little forward. Is this a bad idea considering I only want to do a 1.5” strut spacer lift?

Wheels – I already picked up some 2015 17” crosstrek wheels for $300. Everything I’ve seen show these will fit without any issues. I have the 16” stock steelies now.

Tires – Considering the Continental Terraincontact 225-60-17, a little concerned about rubbing, so I may get one mounted and switch it around to test. Seems like these should do well on the highway for commuting. Current Michelins are cracking.

CV Axles - Originals have age cracks and I think the lift will do them in, so I'd like to replace at the same time as everything else. Also getting some noises when taking turns and accelerating, but these could be the lca/ball joints. Considering aftermarket RAxles due to cost ($200 vs $340 oem) unless there are other suggestions.

Thanks for reading. I'll make sure to update after I complete with any results.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,306 Posts
I can only offer a little info, but here we go.

I have Moog's ProblemSolver ball joints on Mal, but only have about 10K miles on them.

I'd go with KYB struts. You can put 2004 models on the rear for a firmer ride.

Axles, FWE is Subaru reman. Raxles are typically pretty good. Most aftermarket is plagued with fitment/vibration issues.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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11,401 Posts
Sway bar bushings - cheapy aftermarket ones, just doing since I'm getting in there.
You should go with CKE bushings. Likely similar cost and made right here by our very own @traildogck

Link for more info

Other than that, 04 KYB are supposed to be better for the rear as far as getting rid of ghost walking.

Is there a reason you aren't just going for 2" lift with a 2" kit that includes strut spacers?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,391 Posts
If you're in some traffic the lift will help visibility as well.

Personally i'd install the 2" lift and call it good, i wouldn't drop the subframe.

I buy lift components from SJR: Lift Kits, he's been around forever.

Axles - Reboot OEM axles. They last the life of the vehicle. If you need replacements get used OEM for $20-$35 Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market. been doing it for decades - zero issues and it's been thousands less than any other off the shelf solution. people would save a lot of grief and wasted time and money to follow the same.

OEM ball joints never, ever fail - the boots will degrade and crack though. For that robustness I stick with OEM or the Beck Arnley's that look like OEM. Yes they can be expensive....but ball joints and tie rods really aren't anything to mess around with if you've ever been around one that failed.

As he said - I've heard the earlier struts have some advantages but i haven't installed them in your era vehicle. So in that same inexperience I'm unsure if this is an option for you but On 00-04's people install Baja turbo springs for little more stiffness and tiny rear lift good for a loaded car or towing.
 

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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
AWDFTW, Thanks. I didn't know FWE was still around, and I'll try to do some more searching. I bought some axles from MWE for my 01 legacy several years ago but I don't see a website for him anymore. The MWE axle fixed the vibration at idle in that car.

Brucey, Thanks, I thought he only did the mounts, which I was considering too, so I'll try getting in touch with traildogck. I imagine a slightly less compliant sway bar bushing isn't going to increase the feeling of bumps much if anything.

I thought 2" made it look a little too high if that makes any sense, and I thought the 1.5" was a good compromise with extra wear and tear on cv joints and other bushings. Thinking on it though, what's another 1/2 inch. I also thought if I wanted to add the rallitek springs later, I could do that pretty easily with the 1.5" lift without buying different spacers and still staying under the 2". The 2" makes a little more sense to me now though.

idosubaru, I know I'm getting some noises from the front, I am just unsure if it is the axle or the bushings/ball joint. Axles are pretty easy to change out, so to keep the cost down, I should probably replace the LCA first and see if that gets rid of the noise, then reboot if the noise is gone. If the noise is still there, I can buy some used and go that route. I know the lower mileage the better, but is there a good cutoff? I'd hate to reboot an axle then have it still click on me.

I think the baja springs would require baja tophats too, and I'm not sure if that would open up other issues like the mounts being different or spacers not fitting? Could be a good in-between the current stock and rallitek.

SJR didn't have the 1.5" but if I go with the 2" now, I'd consider him too. Why no spacers, just an extra cost, or are there other negatives?

Thanks!
 

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2020 Outback XT Touring
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17 Posts
My only advice would be to get your eyes on as many of the link bushings before tearing the car apart. I ended up with a delay while I waited for rear, inner, upper control arm bushings to arrive as my local dealer did not have them in stock. My outback is my daily driver but I have a truck too so it was not a big deal on my end.
 

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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Corbet, Thanks, that’s a good reminder. I need to spend a good half hour under there inspecting everything I can. Luckily, I was going to wait to sell my 01 legacy until I had this car and my wife’s Impreza LCA’s done.
 

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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
My 2" ADF lift should be arriving beginning of next week and I think that is the last of the parts I need.

Since I'm pretty sure it was my axles clicking on turns, I found another provider of rebuilt OEM axles called CVJ Axles out of Colorado. MWE doesn't see to be taking orders (maybe all local business now), and RAxles was out of stock. CVJ does a lot of off-road Toyota stuff and came in at a good price. The price when I ordered was $94ea plus a core of $75ea and they require OEM cores. Shipping for both axles was about $35 and I asked for a prepaid label for about the same price. I priced them out over email and had to call to order. They use neoprene boots and don't come with the axle nuts. It sounds like they have some boot upgrades with their toyota axles, not sure if they offer for their subaru axles. Axles look good and if there are any problems I'll definitely post them up.

Anyone recommend an install sequence for replacing rear suspension? I was thinking:
Remove sway bar
Remove then install Rear Upper Control Arm with new bushings
Remove then install new Lateral Links (forward and rear)
Remove then install Subframe Spacers
Remove then install Struts with Lift
Install sway bar with @traildogck CKE Bushings and Bracket
Brakes

Thanks!
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,144 Posts
@Otteru

I think your install process is a solid one. The order is good and it should keep thinks from getting wonky. Especially when it comes to the subframe spacers. You want UCA and the LLs in place and adjusted to the stock length when you drop it. I'd have everything finger tight, but not torqued.

My only alternative comment would be on the rear sway bar work. I would just take it off 1st and have it out of your way. If you don't disconnect the endlinks at a minimum, you will fight it with the other work.
 

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2013 BRZ 2005 OBXT
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231 Posts
In regards to axles I have had good luck with the Napa gold replacement axles.

I got the Whiteline rear Lateral link kit. A friend of mine has the Megan racing ones and after one year they already have alot of rust on them.

When I lifted mine I just removed the rear sway bar completly as I felt the stock length moog endlinks I had were kinda restrictive and the king lift springs I put in I felt did a pretty good job at keeping the car from being to rolley in the rear even with no sway.


I know it’s a long post, but I want to see if I have all my bases covered since I’m doing it all at the same time. Questions in green. I haven’t bought anything yet except the wheels. I recently acquired a 2008 outback (110K miles) and am looking at fixing some suspension issues and lifting it. I’m planning on doing the work myself and have done similar work before, but not with this many modifications. This is my commuter (30 miles a day) and my wife and I would take this car for any trips to new mexico, etc. I’d like to keep it a smooth quiet ride because that’s what keeps my stress down when driving in traffic. Any off-roading would be dirt roads and some easier trails and I just like the look and stance of a lifted outback. I’d love to be able to get around the non-difficult trails at Big Bend State and National Parks.
Here is what I was thinking:

Rear Forward Lateral Links (Megan Racing) – I understand this is a trouble point for the outbacks and will help with the alignment and tracking of the back end. It is pretty floaty now, and I’m getting some noises (a rattling clunk?) from the rear on turns. At 70mph it feels like there are wind gusts even though it’s not a windy day.

Loaded Front Control Arms (Mevotech) - current ball joints are shot and current bushings have large tears. Should I upgrade the ball joints to Moog?

Sway bar bushings - cheapy aftermarket ones, just doing since I'm getting in there.

Moog Endlinks front and back - current boots are torn. Is the stock length going to be ok if I stay under a 2” lift?

KYB Struts (2005 +) and Mounts all around – The back end is floaty right now and figured I should do it while everything is out.

Strut Spacers –1.5” spacers, thinking ADF because of the built-in alignment correction.

Rallitek Springs – Unless someone can convince me these won’t firm up the ride too much, I wasn’t planning on doing these. I like a softer ride to soak up the bumps when I’m commuting. The car will mostly be empty when commuting, and I don’t plan on many heavy loads. I think they would be too harsh for my normal driving.

Sub-Frame Spacers –I don’t see any 1.5” sub-frame spacers, so I was thinking of going with 2” sub-frame spacers. With my 16” stock steel wheels, the rear wheels are already not centered and sit a little forward. Is this a bad idea considering I only want to do a 1.5” strut spacer lift?

Wheels – I already picked up some 2015 17” crosstrek wheels for $300. Everything I’ve seen show these will fit without any issues. I have the 16” stock steelies now.

Tires – Considering the Continental Terraincontact 225-60-17, a little concerned about rubbing, so I may get one mounted and switch it around to test. Seems like these should do well on the highway for commuting. Current Michelins are cracking.

CV Axles - Originals have age cracks and I think the lift will do them in, so I'd like to replace at the same time as everything else. Also getting some noises when taking turns and accelerating, but these could be the lca/ball joints. Considering aftermarket RAxles due to cost ($200 vs $340 oem) unless there are other suggestions.

Thanks for reading. I'll make sure to update after I complete with any results.
 

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Registered
2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
@jasonojordan - Thanks for the info on the Megan links. I was planning on using some anti-seize on threads and I'll keep an eye on other metal. I'm in Texas, so will hopefully have better results. I was wondering about the stock size endlinks, and how the lift will do with them, so I'll keep an eye on that too. What size wheels/tires did you end up going with and how much total lift do you have?
@traildogck - Thanks. I was planning on using new endlinks so the sway bar will definitely be coming off.
 

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2013 BRZ 2005 OBXT
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231 Posts
@jasonojordan - Thanks for the info on the Megan links. I was planning on using some anti-seize on threads and I'll keep an eye on other metal. I'm in Texas, so will hopefully have better results. I was wondering about the stock size endlinks, and how the lift will do with them, so I'll keep an eye on that too. What size wheels/tires did you end up going with and how much total lift do you have?
@traildogck - Thanks. I was planning on using new endlinks so the sway bar will definitely be coming off.

Wheels are a 16x7 Sparco Terra. Tires are a BGF KO2 215 65 16. 1.5" lift over stock with the following kit.

2005-2009 Outback Lift Kit - Primitive Racing
 

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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I was thinking of going with 225 60 17. Looking at your setup, do you think you would have room for .6" more overall diameter and .4" more overall width?
 

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2013 BRZ 2005 OBXT
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231 Posts
I was thinking of going with 225 60 17. Looking at your setup, do you think you would have room for .6" more overall diameter and .4" more overall width?
I honestly have not poked my head in there to see how much clearance on the strut I have. Everywhere else there is a ton of room.
 

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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thanks! I was more concerned about the fender wells and mudflaps, so that's good news.
 

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2013 BRZ 2005 OBXT
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231 Posts
Thanks! I was more concerned about the fender wells and mudflaps, so that's good news.
When I head out to my car here in 10 minutes I can snap some photos of the various clearances for you.

*edit* as promised.









So as you can see at full lock with fender liners its very very close.
 

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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Thanks! That is a huge help and it is very close =)
 

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05 OBXT
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76 Posts
OK I just mounted new wheels and tires: Enkei RPF1s 17x8 Cooper AT3s 235/60





I have ordered all new KTB Excel-G struts and KYB top hats. Still trying to decide on springs (Rallitek lift springs vs lifted King Springs) or just Rallitek overload vs stock height King springs?

I also have new moog rear endlinks, rsb, and sway bar reinforcements (from what a read...no need for the rsb)

Rallitek said if I go with the lifted spring I should use whiteline adj control arms.
 

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2008 Outback Base, 2.5, automatic in Granny Gold
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Discussion Starter #20
@goob_os101 - Nice Meaty Tires! Do you have any rubbing as of now? Which offset did you go with? How is the ride/noise of the Coopers?

I decided against the springs because I like the soft ride and figured all of the new parts are going to stiffen it up quite a bit anyways. I would have gone with the Ralliteks if I did though because they are a little softer than the Kings. As Corbet said, see if you have any play in the rear-inner-upper control arm bushings, the bushings are hard to visually inspect installed, but mine had some play so I am going to try to press in some new bushings.

My ADF kit came in Monday, so I'm hoping to get the majority of it done this weekend. Taking the front control arms (lca) and struts off at the same time made it a little awkward with the hub hanging there and I tore the outer tie rod end boots so I have a new set of those too.
 
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