Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey, Forum:
Longtime reader, just registered.

Drove a 1998 OB since I bought it new, and just traded it in on August 27th for a new 2012 Pearl Green OB Limited. Love the car - got the Bluetooth to work, dig the HK stereo (especially the seamless Ipod connectivity), heated seats are sooo nice. Got used to the CVT much more quickly than I thought. Get nothing but comliments on it - the 2 most memorable being from my neighbor who could not believe how 'smooth' it drove, & another from a buddy who remarked that the stero sounded 'much better' than the one of his Mercedes..!

I was hoping to get some advice/opinions from the knowledgeable folks on these boards:

I live about a mile down a dirt road, so I log 2 miles on dirt everywhere I go. I was wondering whether it makes sense to do any suspension upgrades (heavy-duty aftermarket shocks, etc.) as "preventative maintainence" given my situation.

I'm just thinking in terms of proactively preventing stress on the suspension in general, as I plan on keeping my new OB for somewhere near the 14 years I enjoyed my old one...!

I'm not really a DIY guy when it comes to cars, so any thoughts/info/advice would be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,836 Posts
Hey, Forum:
Longtime reader, just registered.

Drove a 1998 OB since I bought it new, and just traded it in on August 27th for a new 2012 Pearl Green OB Limited. Love the car - got the Bluetooth to work, dig the HK stereo (especially the seamless Ipod connectivity), heated seats are sooo nice. Got used to the CVT much more quickly than I thought. Get nothing but comliments on it - the 2 most memorable being from my neighbor who could not believe how 'smooth' it drove, & another from a buddy who remarked that the stero sounded 'much better' than the one of his Mercedes..!

I was hoping to get some advice/opinions from the knowledgeable folks on these boards:

I live about a mile down a dirt road, so I log 2 miles on dirt everywhere I go. I was wondering whether it makes sense to do any suspension upgrades (heavy-duty aftermarket shocks, etc.) as "preventative maintainence" given my situation.

I'm just thinking in terms of proactively preventing stress on the suspension in general, as I plan on keeping my new OB for somewhere near the 14 years I enjoyed my old one...!

I'm not really a DIY guy when it comes to cars, so any thoughts/info/advice would be appreciated.
Nope Just drive it! Nothing is more reliable than stock suspension assembled in the assembly plant when it comes to long term use over more or less just a rough road.

The type of preventative work we did on the ranch was simply running the tractor up and down the road with a drag bar and some chain link fence to get rid of the wash board. The washboard tore up our horse trailers more than any of the cars or trucks. Heck Grandpa's Caddy drove up and down that **** road for nearly 18yrs before he replaced it.

Aftermarket suspension gear is there to add capability it NEVER EVER extends life and nearly all the aftermarket stuff has a known shorter life ie expected performance over time than the stock stuff. So like I said nope just drive it. If your worried borrow a tractor and drag the road a couple of times a year your neighbors will thank you too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
thx

Subiesailor -
Thanks for the prompt reply. Seems to make a heck of a lot of sense.

The town comes through with a grader every once in a while, but when the ground freezes, we're stuck with whatever shape the road was in at that point...!

I live in Plymouth, Mass and we have over 200 mile sof dirt roads in town, believe it or not. Maintainence budget on those...? $0.00 :eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,836 Posts
Subiesailor -
Thanks for the prompt reply. Seems to make a heck of a lot of sense.

The town comes through with a grader every once in a while, but when the ground freezes, we're stuck with whatever shape the road was in at that point...!

I live in Plymouth, Mass and we have over 200 mile sof dirt roads in town, believe it or not. Maintainence budget on those...? $0.00 :eek:
My town here in CA hasn't allocated ANY road maint funds since incorporating in 73. This year the voting population voted down any sort of tax that wasn't avoidable the basic parcel tax was never even suggested for funding roads. Yet all the options on the table presented by a town council that meets mid week at 6pm were based on tax base related to home value. We have Prop 13 here which means all the people who can attend a 6pm town meeting mid week pay $1000 or less per year in taxes on homes which are selling for 1million Plus to us newer home owners.

In short I predict we will be driving on gravel and tar type roads very soon as long as the current elder voters run the show.

I had family in AnnArbor MI they have a number of primary roads which are still gravel so no surprise. Tires and shocks will take a beating but those are fairly low cost items when you consider the rest of the vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
I agree with Subiesailor on this one. Dirt roads is one place the suspension shines. Plus, warranty will take care of issues it would not if you change something!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,354 Posts
I have a similar situation, except its 4 miles each way.

I fully agree with subiesailor. Yes, I have considerably modified my own suspension, but I should point out:

My car was out of warranty before I started.
My rear suspension was worn out.
05-09 outbacks have lousy rear suspension to begin with. Many things corrected in the new one.

In your situation... Drive it and enjoy it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
I live about a mile down a dirt road, so I log 2 miles on dirt everywhere I go. I was wondering whether it makes sense to do any suspension upgrades (heavy-duty aftermarket shocks, etc.) as "preventative maintainence" given my situation.
I'm assuming that driving on a dirt road will make your shocks wear out sooner (not sure if it's really true, but I would imagine if anything is going to wear out, it would be shocks). The logic of replacing them before they wear out to prevent them from wearing out escapes me. I don't think a more heavy-duty shock/spring/etc is going to prevent anything from wearing out sooner apart from itself, so it makes no sense to replace it early unless you want more performance.

Once they DO wear out, though, that's when it makes sense to investigate what other options exist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,836 Posts
I'm assuming that driving on a dirt road will make your shocks wear out sooner (not sure if it's really true, but I would imagine if anything is going to wear out, it would be shocks). The logic of replacing them before they wear out to prevent them from wearing out escapes me. I don't think a more heavy-duty shock/spring/etc is going to prevent anything from wearing out sooner apart from itself, so it makes no sense to replace it early unless you want more performance.

Once they DO wear out, though, that's when it makes sense to investigate what other options exist.
^ Yep
Not to mention heavier shocks often mean they are transmitting more vibration and shock loads to the rest of the car hence probably causing other more costly things to wear out even faster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Se7enLC:
Thanks for the additional input.

The car is designed for the dirt road situation (which of course I realized) so the consensus seems to be: 'stick with stock'. When/as suspension components eventually need to be replaced, I'll be sure to research the topic, and get OEM quality or better replacements.

I've actually read a lot on the rear sway bar upgrade topic as well, and I'd like to maybe give that a go as my first real "DIY" car project, but given what I've read I'm thinking that the weaker stock RSB may be the better option in my situation, even though I like the idea of the improved on-pavement handling characteristics from the upgrade.

Any thoughts on that...?

On a related topic, I see your listed as being from Arlington, MA - I bought my '98 OB off Cityside Subaru when they were still located on Mass Ave. there in East Arlington. Owned a home there from '95 to '02 - absolutely LOVED the town, miss it still. With baby #2 on the way in '02, we needed more space & I couldn't afford anything bigger in town. Would have had to double my mortgage for a half-bath and another bedroom...!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,354 Posts
Subiesailor -
Thanks for the prompt reply. Seems to make a heck of a lot of sense.

The town comes through with a grader every once in a while, but when the ground freezes, we're stuck with whatever shape the road was in at that point...!

I live in Plymouth, Mass and we have over 200 mile sof dirt roads in town, believe it or not. Maintainence budget on those...? $0.00 :eek:
I do most of my dirt road driving in Plymouth as well. Howdy neighbor!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Unless the road is deeply rutted your suspension will be fine as long as you're driving at appropriate speeds. If the road is really bad you may notice some squeaks and rattles a little sooner than most but that's about it. You will want to change your air filter a little more often of course.

A better sway bar will give you better stability and a slightly stiffer ride without causing any long term damage to everything else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Subiesailor -
Thanks for the prompt reply. Seems to make a heck of a lot of sense.

The town comes through with a grader every once in a while, but when the ground freezes, we're stuck with whatever shape the road was in at that point...!

I live in Plymouth, Mass and we have over 200 mile sof dirt roads in town, believe it or not. Maintainence budget on those...? $0.00 :eek:
PLEASE tell me you're on Ryder Way and that I can visit you!

I went out there with my 4Runner a few years back and turned back just a few hundred yards out there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
If it's longevity for your suspension components, then the biggest thing you can do when driving on gravel roads is to SLOW DOWN. While the car may drive very well at higher speeds on these roads, and it may even be fun, the added stresses of higher speeds will take a toll on the components. Also keep in mind that it's not just about tires and shocks, it's also about springs, tie rods, bushings, etc etc.

Case in point, I used to have a cottage that was 3 km down a private road. The road was maintained sporadically by the cottage-owner's association (typically 3 to 5 gradings per year). My cars (Camry, Sienna, and a 2000 Subaru Outback) all experienced suspension problems after about 5 years of driving on this road.:( I was driving too fast ! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I'm talking about Mast Road in Plymouth, primarily.

I DO drive too fast, I'm sure - usually near 40, but I gots to get where I'm going...!

My kids and I have a standard (corny) joke about getting caught behind what we call "rookies" on the dirt road - I can't tell you the number of times I've crawled along @ 10-15 mph behind Grand Cherokee's, Ranger Rovers, or honking huge 4x4 pickups. I tell the kids the next time I pass a Jeep crawling along at 10 mph, I'm going to stop and ask them if their Jeep was "trail rated", or if that maybe costs extra & they didn't get that 'option'...!

Sounds like the consensus is that the upgrade to the 19mm sti bar would be recommended - it'll imporve the on-road handling, and won't affect the gravel/dirt performance. I do not take mine rock-hopping, so I should be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,822 Posts
forget what everyone else just said. buy strut spacers, king springs, and 235/65/17 toyo open country AT tires. once you realize you aren't happy with any of that stuff, send it to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Well, a contrary opinion pops up it's head...! Any guesstimate on what all that would set me back...? Again, I'm not rockhopping here - just driving home.... ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,495 Posts
My comment was directed at bradze.

I would seriously wait a couple of years before I did anything. I had about a 2 mile rutted dirt road on the last leg of driving to the farm house that I lived in, in Italy. The house was on a hill top; and the access road as well as, the road to the hill top were dirt/gravel. It was "fixed" about once a year in the late spring because I had to pay for the gravel and such on my own (about $300 in the middle 1970's).
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
About this Discussion
34 Replies
14 Participants
Pattie
Subaru Outback Forums
Welcome to the Subaru Outback Owners Forum, we have tons of information about your Subaru Outback, from a Subaru Outback Wiki to customer reviews.
Full Forum Listing
Top