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2001 Outback Wagon 2.5i 188,000 miles
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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to buy the set of 4 struts at shock warehouse online for $304. Can't decide if I should do the project myself, or take it to a mechanic. I figure I would save $200+ in labor. Then drive her down to the alignment shop. Don't have a "spring compressor"

Thoughts?
 

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I haven't changed suspension on my outback, since I just bought it today, but I have on other vehicles. If you feel you can do it, go for it. "rent" a spring compressor from autozone/advanced auto/oriellys for ~$50, but you get that back when you return it. Do it.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,289 Posts
Dito.

Just make sure the compressor is attached securely. You don't want the spring kicking out and hitting you or a bystander. That would be nasty.

After all the struts are on the car and the car on the ground, go around to all the center nuts and recheck that they are tight. If they are loose, you'll get a knocking noise on bumps.
 

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Check out SenSen struts on Rockauto.com if you want to save a little cash. $36/ea for the fronts and $23/ea for the rears.

More Information for SENSEN 42140697

I've been running them for a few thousand miles and they feel great. Have done a lot of research and haven't found anyone with anything bad to say about them either, short or long term. Installation went smooth and they seem to be a quality part, nothing sketchy about them at all. Brackets for the brake hoses and ABS wires are in the factory location with the correct thread cut for the bolts.
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 2.5i 188,000 miles
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98 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Check out SenSen struts on Rockauto.com if you want to save a little cash. $36/ea for the fronts and $23/ea for the rears.

More Information for SENSEN 42140697

I've been running them for a few thousand miles and they feel great. Have done a lot of research and haven't found anyone with anything bad to say about them either, short or long term. Installation went smooth and they seem to be a quality part, nothing sketchy about them at all. Brackets for the brake hoses and ABS wires are in the factory location with the correct thread cut for the bolts.
Thanks. I just ordered the 4 struts. $149 to my door in 4-5 days. I will man up, and rent the spring compressor and get busy next week. Lifetime warranty seems like a can't miss for daily driving. I am replacing, not "upgrading" anyway, because I believe the left front is actually broken, to the point where my steering wanders at low speed on rough paved roads, and I get a Clunking when going over the 1&1/2 lip to my driveway. All Struts are original, from the 11/2001 manufacture date.

I will report back after install and a few hundred miles.

Thanks. This forum kicks ass and saves hundreds for cheap/ broke bastards like myself.

:29:
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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17,553 Posts
inspect balljoints, tierods, steering rack bushings and the bushings on the lower control arms.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i CVT Limited, Nav+EyeSight
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Thanks. I just ordered the 4 struts. $149 to my door in 4-5 days. I will man up, and rent the spring compressor and get busy next week. Lifetime warranty seems like a can't miss for daily driving. I am replacing, not "upgrading" anyway, because I believe the left front is actually broken, to the point where my steering wanders at low speed on rough paved roads, and I get a Clunking when going over the 1&1/2 lip to my driveway. All Struts are original, from the 11/2010 manufacture date.

I will report back after install and a few hundred miles.

Thanks. This forum kicks ass and saves hundreds for cheap/ broke bastards like myself.

:29:
I second (third?) the suggestion to rent the spring compressor. Whatever you do, do NOT buy a cheap manual one thinking you'll save money. Be careful with it, too - springs under pressure make great murder weapons.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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277 Posts
Advance Auto will ACTUALLY rent you a pretty good spring compressor for free.
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 2.5i 188,000 miles
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98 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Check out SenSen struts on Rockauto.com if you want to save a little cash. $36/ea for the fronts and $23/ea for the rears.

More Information for SENSEN 42140697

I've been running them for a few thousand miles and they feel great. Have done a lot of research and haven't found anyone with anything bad to say about them either, short or long term. Installation went smooth and they seem to be a quality part, nothing sketchy about them at all. Brackets for the brake hoses and ABS wires are in the factory location with the correct thread cut for the bolts.
Delay of game penalty against Rockauto. They forgot to ship the rears. Oops.
 

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DIY-Turbo 2.2l OBS 12.89s 1/4mile @ 106.17MPH
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399 Posts
Check out SenSen struts on Rockauto.com if you want to save a little cash. $36/ea for the fronts and $23/ea for the rears.

More Information for SENSEN 42140697

I've been running them for a few thousand miles and they feel great. Have done a lot of research and haven't found anyone with anything bad to say about them either, short or long term. Installation went smooth and they seem to be a quality part, nothing sketchy about them at all. Brackets for the brake hoses and ABS wires are in the factory location with the correct thread cut for the bolts.
I used sensens on a friends civic & they work well + they have a LT guarantee...
 

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DIY-Turbo 2.2l OBS 12.89s 1/4mile @ 106.17MPH
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399 Posts
Not sure if they do this around your neck of the woods, but there are shops over here that will assemble your new struts with springs, top mounts, etc from your old struts cheaply - price I remember is around $10-20/strut (You remove your struts, get them over to the shop with your new parts then reinstall the new struts on your car).

I've never done this as I like to do things myself & have all the tools needed for this type of job but I thought the price was very good for the work/tools involved.

Whoever puts the struts together has to make sure the lower mounting hole on the strut body is oriented correctly in relation to the top mount on the rear struts or you'll have issues getting the rear struts back on the car.
 

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Whoever puts the struts together has to make sure the lower mounting hole on the strut body is oriented correctly in relation to the top mount on the rear struts or you'll have issues getting the rear struts back on the car.
This is why I don't use compressors when assembling the rears.

Thread the strut mount loosely into the body, put the spring on the strut, slide it into the upper mount, then jack the assembly up into the body so the lower bolt can be installed into the knuckle. Can't fail this way! Although it is a little tricky at first getting the jack to stay put...
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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the spring compressors are a bit of a pain to work with. so if you don't mind fiddling for a couple hours your first time, tear it up it's definitely doable but those things are under some serious pressure. i have the simple screw type set and i use my impact guns, i can't imagine doing all that turning by hand that would be terrible!

harborfreight has great prices on tools like this that you may only use a couple of times and the spring compressors are totally useable. (avoid their brake caliper kit and multimeters)

if fiddling, issues, etc don't sound like a good fit it might be worth $50 to find a shop that you can take the parts to and have them assemble the struts. you remove and replace, have them assemble.
 

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DIY-Turbo 2.2l OBS 12.89s 1/4mile @ 106.17MPH
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This is why I don't use compressors when assembling the rears.

Thread the strut mount loosely into the body, put the spring on the strut, slide it into the upper mount, then jack the assembly up into the body so the lower bolt can be installed into the knuckle. Can't fail this way! Although it is a little tricky at first getting the jack to stay put...
I use a spring compressor & make sure I have index marks on the old parts & make the same indexing mark on the new strut so everything lines up.
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 2.5i 188,000 miles
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98 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Half way done with fronts. Insane. 2 3/4 hours for the drivers side. Had a froze bolt issue. And re-assembly of coil spring is a beotch. Gonna eat a snack and go back in.

:gasp:
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 2.5i 188,000 miles
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98 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Finished the front struts today. Going to save the rears for another day off. Spent over 5 hours, a bunch of sweat, and some skin on this one. As DYI projects go, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being you sit and watch someone else do it. 10 being you can't even finish and need to call in reinforcements, this job rates about an 8.8 for the weekend warrior.

I will rent (borrow), 2 spring compressors next time for the rears. 1 is adequate for removing the top hat assembly, which will still shoot a couple feet when you let it go, The 2nd would have been handy to further compress the spring for re-assembly. (I did not have an assistant).

Anyway, the test drive felt like a solid improvement. I will wait until all is complete to have it aligned.

Thanks to all on the board who have posted pictures and recommendations on how to do it.
 

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2000 Limited Wagon 5MT
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303 Posts
I would say more like a soft 5 ;)

If you think stock springs are bad, try a drivers side Baja-turbo spring with hand tools. I will NOT do that again.
 
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