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2006 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! I'm starting down the long path towards off-road/rally-fying my '06 XT - I figured a key first step is to up-armor the under carriage. Rear diff is easy, throw on a Primitive, call it a day.
The front, on the other hand, is a question - I think a light bar and winch would be useful, but that means I'm locked in to a Gorilla skid plate& bar combo.

The other option is a Primitive 3/16" plate with the stinger tail (max protection), and have a "winch-in-a-bag" as the extraction method on the tow eye.

Does anyone have good experiences with either of the options? Bad? Clearance isn't my first concern, as a lift will follow in time.

I'm planning on this still being my daily driver for a while, so that fact weighs in the decision.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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Hmm...I am afraid there is no perfect answer for your question, when it comes to the winch.

I know some people put winches on Subarus but to me that is a contradiction in terms on a DD. If I were to go that far, I would just get a Wrangler where road performance is irrelevant. The weight of the winch bar and the winch itself is significant plus there may be consequences in a case of bad accident. Lots of on-road compromises for rare use off-road. Now, if the XT becomes just a toy, that's another story.

I can write you a l-o-n-g essay on the subject of portable winches. I spent lots of time looking into electric and hand ones last fall. In sum, it makes sense to me if:

--one travels solo and cannot avoid dealing with serious mud;
--the winch is electric and
----weighs no more than 40sh lb (a 4,500lb can be used with double line and there are some 9,000 lb winches in the 40s)
----and thus comes with synthetic rope
----is powered by its own battery (can double as camping power source)
----and thus can be set for use at anchor, rather than hitch, providing for flexibility rivaling that of hand winches
--last but CRITICAL, one travels where natural anchors abound.

If you have to deal only with the above, you could be looking at about 250-400 for a winch, 100 for a quality extension rope from a forestry site (I like Westech rigging in Oregon), 60 and up for quality ropes, then add a plate for the winch, shackles, etc necessary to fix it at anchor point. The Winch In a Box by Superwinch sounds very intriguing but unfortunately, it is a low-end model. I am not saying it is bad, I don't know, but just not very convincing. If it were a Terra 45 inside, I would probably go for it.

The problem is if you need to setup artificial anchor points. Forget the buried tire trick. There are workable options for artificial anchors (the sliding ones won't work with portable) but they all are laborious and heavy since they involve at least 3 42" steel stakes. Add a big hammer and we are talking another 40-50lb plus lots and lots of work.
 

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2006 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like the heavy favorite is skid plate only, which lends itself to rally-type fun and minimal impact to the on-road use. The plan is to eventually use it for overlanding activities, and have a separate daily.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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Sounds like the heavy favorite is skid plate only, which lends itself to rally-type fun and minimal impact to the on-road use. The plan is to eventually use it for overlanding activities, and have a separate daily.
Rallying is right in the XT's DNA.

Overland, otoh, is another story. There is a fine line between maximizing potential and chasing dreams. It is a payload issue first and a matter of general offroad capability second. You could be successful, though, if the overland activities are mostly beach related.
 

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2006 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter #5
Rallying is right in the XT's DNA.

Overland, otoh, is another story. There is a fine line between maximizing potential and chasing dreams. It is a payload issue first and a matter of general offroad capability second. You could be successful, though, if the overland activities are mostly beach related.
I figure, start at the rally/beach/ forest road over landing, work from there. The XT has its limitations- I won't have the prowess or cargo of a Land Cruiser, and with a manual, crawling isn't going to be a core activity. I am all right with that. If I feel the need to amp it up, I suspect there are much better options. Thanks for the input.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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2,777 Posts
I figure, start at the rally/beach/ forest road over landing, work from there. The XT has its limitations- I won't have the prowess or cargo of a Land Cruiser, and with a manual, crawling isn't going to be a core activity. I am all right with that. If I feel the need to amp it up, I suspect there are much better options. Thanks for the input.
Yeah, can't go wrong with that approach and you have got a fun car. I, too, have been improving gradually and reactively and I am practically done (lift, skid plates, bigger tires on a second set of wheels, better brake pads and fluid, better battery). I would love a SubaX front bumper, but there are downsides even to that.
 
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