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2011 Subie 3.6R Limited 2013 Cmax e=nergi PHEV
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I am looking at putting in new struts all around on my 11' OB with 125K miles. 125K of hard heavy loaded (full rear basket, full car, full top box, big miles with the rear end pinned down to negative camber) driving on rough roads in addition to the start stop short mommy commutes wear and tear. The struts have had a hard life. It has never been pretty, but it has done a job well. They lack of dampening and delayed slow motion freeway bounces have become too much.

Has anyone used the loaded assembly KYB Strut Plus? I don't plan on loading the old springs on the struts.

Is the most efficient removal and install on the rears by dropping the control arms?

Thanks for any beta.
 

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2013 3.6R Limited
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When it is time for new shocks on my 2013 3.6R, I will go with the Bilstein B6 product. Based upon my prior Bilstein experience with my wife's 2006 Jaguar XK8, I think Bilstein is the way to go.
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '12 Mazda3 skyactiv
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788 Posts
Hi folks,

I am looking at putting in new struts all around on my 11' OB with 125K miles. 125K of hard heavy loaded (full rear basket, full car, full top box, big miles with the rear end pinned down to negative camber) driving on rough roads in addition to the start stop short mommy commutes wear and tear. The struts have had a hard life. It has never been pretty, but it has done a job well. They lack of dampening and delayed slow motion freeway bounces have become too much.

Has anyone used the loaded assembly KYB Strut Plus? I don't plan on loading the old springs on the struts.

Is the most efficient removal and install on the rears by dropping the control arms?

Thanks for any beta.
I'd highly recommend you going with 2013-2014 specific quick struts. Just make sure you specify that they are for the 3.6R. Those years suspension had a higher spring and damper rate which will help you with all the weight you haul as well as improved highway stability.

Quick struts are definitely the easiest way and I haven't heard any major issues with the KYB's. I typically always use KYB struts and shocks but I havent used their full assemblies before.

For the rear you can disconnect the lower control arm and once you remove the top rear shock nuts the shock will drop out the bottom.

Note that you will have to disconnect the rear end link from the lower control arm to drop the mark down. Depending on where you live The end link may be seize and need to he cutoff.
 

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2011 Subie 3.6R Limited 2013 Cmax e=nergi PHEV
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for the repiles.

I was going to go with these:
So the ones above don't have the dampening of the 13/14?

I remember I test drove a 13 or 14 just because of the suspension and pondered making the economic choice of a trade. I put the the beefier sway in my 11, but she has always had a bouncy rear.

So these below are plug and play with the 10-12s and have different valving for a more dampening?



Has anyone used those in the 10-12. It makes sense that they would fit plug and play. I know they changed some of the suspension, but can't imagine they changed the geometry/architecture enough to move the top mount holes or hole position on the control arms.

In So Cal (wishing I lived in BC or AB), but I did (before the vid) spend a lot of time in the mountains. Where I go they usually use sand over the salt (unless uber icy), and I always pressure wash to get sand and salt off, so I hopefully avoided the end link needing a sawzall or whatever would be needed to get it unstuck besides my cordless impact.



That would be an awesome bonus to get a less floaty bounce with the slightly stiffer shocks.

The originals are almost intolerable at speed or with a load. Kids sure like it though on a big freeway dip.



use the 2013/14 smart struts... they bolt right in and improve the ride considerably
I did some searching here and read that you did the swap to the 13/14 strut plus a year ago. Did they go into your 3.6? From what I can find on several sites: the aftermarket KYB strut plus are the same for the 2.5 and 3.6? Did you find different struts for the 2.5 and 3.6?
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i
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yes they did no issue but I used the ones listed for the 3.6R from rock auto. took the car a week to settle in to proper ride neight... got about 10K on them now... the weight difference between a 2.5i and a 2.6R is not very much it is 206lbs so i do not see why they would not use the same springs.
 

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2011 Subie 3.6R Limited 2013 Cmax e=nergi PHEV
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks. I think you are right on the negligible weight difference. I really appreciate the heads up about the 13-14 fit for the 11. That is the info I was looking for. (y) I have been wanting an ride closer to the 13-14 and with the 13-14 strut plus and the thicker rear sway. I know the 13-14 have a thicker front sway, but the greater dampening should be good enough for this 10 year old vehicle.

Gonna tackle a rear hub assembly first. I may wait a month or so on the struts to see if KYB offers a rebate. Looks like Rock Auto has the best prices on the struts and the hub assembly. Not driving a lot right now, but the bearing is more annoying than the struts so it will be first. I got the hub of amazon so I could get it to me in one day. Still a good price on the BCA/NTN which apparently is Subaru OEM.

I saw in another thread you use a hub shocker. Hopefully my hub isn't seized forever. I will try a big pipe wrench and a heavy sledge hammer if a 3lb sledge won't get it off, but will get one of the hub shockers if those methods fail. Might be a nice tool to have for the next hub down the road.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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A number of comments regarding the Jaguar XK8 mentioned in one post have been edited or deleted as inappropriate because of their combative nature, and in any case were drifting this thread off topic. This is about KYB struts being fitted on a Subaru Outback, not a Jaguar XK8, folks.

Please observe the terms of service in your posts.
 

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2011 Subie 3.6R Limited 2013 Cmax e=nergi PHEV
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I missed the jag discussion. Odd. I will update when KYB offers a rebate on a set of 4 strut plus. The wheel bearing went in without complaint.

NW and east coast subarus are earning their stripes this winters. Stay safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looks like I posted too soon. KYB has an offer starting MONDAY. I will check rock auto and a couple other spots on Monday and figure out which is the best price with the $50-$75. Thanks for the heads up.

Buy as set of four shocks/struts and get:


$25 off $125-$300
$50 off $301-500
$75 off $501 up
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Got one of the 4 13-14' strut plus in one day from Rock Auto. It was close the other 3 are coming across country. The KYB strut box had been opened before (staples all pulled and retaped). Wondering if it was a return. Hope the other three are not like that.
 

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2013 Limited // 189k+ miles
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I bought KYB Strut Plus all around for my 2013 Outback Limited (2.5) at 134000 and 15k miles later, I can say, they still seem a bit stiff. Also, I've added a 20mm rear swaybar. I did that for towing cross country and have no intention of switching back.

With the new struts, I've off-roaded on rough forest roads in the Pacific Northwest at 45mph and driven it cross country while towing a 2k lb Uhaul. It's performed marvelously for all of it.

Rock Auto has them for a decent price and they have a rebate currently. Not sure how long that will last. I'd pull the trigger on Rock Auto.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I bought KYB Strut Plus all around for my 2013 Outback Limited (2.5) at 134000 and 15k miles later, I can say, they still seem a bit stiff. Also, I've added a 20mm rear swaybar. I did that for towing cross country and have no intention of switching back.

With the new struts, I've off-roaded on rough forest roads in the Pacific Northwest at 45mph and driven it cross country while towing a 2k lb Uhaul. It's performed marvelously for all of it.

Rock Auto has them for a decent price and they have a rebate currently. Not sure how long that will last. I'd pull the trigger on Rock Auto.
Thanks. I ordered them Monday from Rock Auto - the day the rebate opened. One arrived Tuesday (only had to travel 40 miles), and the other three were shipped from IL and will arrive this coming Tuesday.

Great to hear about your shocks performance under serious trial.

I have put the hurt on my originals with lots of overloaded hatch and hitch basket driving on the mountain roads and trails of UT, OR, WA, BC, and AB with plenty of rough dirt road and short trip heavy trailer hauls and they are pretty much done. I have not been kind to the struts or tires (though I am learning to be more sensitive).

I am excited to install them and feel the difference a bit more dampening will make after an alignment. The old ones were much better 60k ago, but they were always a bit too lively on the highway - better a low speed on difficult roads - but that was their only advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well the 13/14 KYB Strut Plus went in easy until they didn't. On the last one, the left rear, I had a bear of a time getting the control arm link to line back up to get the bolt through. The other three were easy. That pesky left rear.
BEFORE
505025

AFTER
505026

There may have been a slight change in ride height on the rears. Camera angle is off.
Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive lighting
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Locking hubs Tread
Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Car

No leaks on the originals and they still seem to have some life in them after 125k. I probably could have gone longer considering we are not taking any trips with loads and not doing much on the freeway right now.

Initial impression is that it is flatter and more dampened. Couple of turns I made felt better. I'll update after alignment and a real test. I expect them to be better than the 11/12s as those that have popped them in have stated.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i
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what I did was unbolt lower control arm at the differential carrier and installed the new rear shock assembly i used my jack to raise the shock enough to line everything up. There is about an inch difference in rife height until the car settles in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
what I did was unbolt lower control arm at the differential carrier and installed the new rear shock assembly i used my jack to raise the shock enough to line everything up. There is about an inch difference in rife height until the car settles in.
I used that method with jack and on the right rear it lined up perfectly.


I got over to the left rear and for some reason - the strut was a couple degrees off. It took me forever to line up the control are end link with the differential carrier. It was just enough off that I could get it in one side and not through the other of the diff carrier bracket. I tried going the opposite way and finishing with the lower arm link on the knuckle. That wasn't going to play.

I finally had to jack it up higher than I wanted to with the car lifting of the stand on one side to line up the lower control arm with the diff carrier bracket after starting the bolt on the one side so I could line it up on the other and finally bang it through with a dead blow. It was a long process until I finally jacked it up a bit higher. Not sure what the difference was with the two side's geometry to make one side easy as pie and the other a knuckle buster?

The right rear lined up the first go with slight assist from the jack and went right through.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Gave her some new power steering fluid and went for a mountain drive in the San Gabriels, San Bernardino, Mt San Jacinto on Saturday.

No more bouncy cushy old Buick. Much firmer and faster recovery. Far greater control in steep tight turn. Much more feedback from the road. More sporty. Every nook and cranny is transmitted night and day difference between the 124k 11/12 struts and spring and the 13/14 strut plus assembly. It took me ten years. Better late than never.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Let me add. I was checking my pads. Noticed one of the caliper pins was missing on the R Rear. It had somehow loosened out.

Check your fastening points on the wheels (brakes, suspension) after some miles with the new struts.. After a big road trip and about 7k miles I am glad I checked the pads as routine. Putting the new pin in now. No uneven wear on the pads or rotor issures, so it must have been recent. The struts have settled a bit over a hard 7k miles. They are still great, but not quite as hard as they were new.
 

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should give an update. KYB must have gotten the paint for the actual strut from the bargain basement.about 1.5 years in and the spring perches were already rusted. the ORIGINAL OEM were not rusted when I took them off
 
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