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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,144 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Am I alone in thinking the stock suspension set-up on a Gen-3 was designed for retired librarians. No offense, some of them rip it up.

Seriously, though, this rig is SOFT. Shocks and Struts are sill performing normally. I have 68,000 miles on it and it is a new vehicle to me. The spring rate just seems to soft. AND, there is a compelet lack of any usefull rebound control. All of this is more pronounced in the rear end. The car actually seems to handles a bit better when loaded down. From the rebound perspective.

I wouldn't mind a bit more lift, definitly stiffer spring rate, AND rebound dampening.

I've been looking at some of these coil-over rally set-ups. Cool specs but I don't want to ruin my street car.

ANY advice or experiences, I've seen some threads mixing and matching Subi springs from different vehicles. I am more interested in anyone who has purchased and installed new aftermarket applications to the Gen-3 model.

Thanks
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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14,366 Posts
I'm a believer in the use of 2000-2004 rear struts to cure this problem. I can't remember who gave me the idea- I first read about it on this board. Anyway, I'm sold. It no longer wallows along hovercraft-style. True, I can actually feel bumps now, but in the normal and expected way.

I had the 2004 KYBs installed by the local indie wrench up the street. The guy sees 400 chevies for each Subaru that rolls in the door, so by no means a specialist. They had no difficulty installing the struts. The parts ran me $125 and appear to be easy to get through hundreds of distributors when this set wears out.

Shortly after I had these put in, I found an independent Subaru specialist a little further out. He also owns an '06 XT. I had him do a few odds and ends on my car, just to try the guy and see if I liked doing business with him. When I went to pick up my car, he complimented me on how nicely mine handled compared to his own. Asked for the recipe. I take that as high praise.

I have ignored the coil-overs and other options because I want something that's pretty close to a street car with fairly ordinary parts that don't leave me stranded and waiting for something fancy to get fedexed out. Also, I think most of those coil-over setups are really made for lower-riding cars like legacies and imprezas, and really not so much for the Outback with its higher ride.

I still have original springs, but I did switch to a Rallitek swaybar for a little extra lateral stiffness.

In summary: it's nearly a perfect Anti-Marshmallow.

PS also worth mentioning that you will get better rebound control out of a new set of stock rear struts. The factory ones wear out quickly. I doubt you'd be satisfied with this though.
 

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2005 LL Bean
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138 Posts
I just put the gen 2 KYB's on the rear of my '05. I kept the stock springs. It made a huge difference in ride quality. I no longer get seasick when hitting bridge abutments on the highway, lol.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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16,144 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input guys.

I am still researching my suspension/spring/strut/coilover quandry. The dealer assures me the struts are still well within spec.

While I make up my mind on cushions and dampers. I followed rasterman's advice and checked out the sway bar situation. Both stock front and rear bars are pretty wimpy, the links as well. The bushings and links are significanly worn. Of course, I have been building off road jeeps and trucks since my Gen 1. So I have no reference.

All that being said...Whiteline front and rear adjustable sway bars and heavy duty links are on the way. It may have been overkill. We'll see when I get them on the car.

I'll start with the rear and go from there. One change at at time
 

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304 Posts
Thanks for the input guys.

I am still researching my suspension/spring/strut/coilover quandry. The dealer assures me the struts are still well within spec.

While I make up my mind on cushions and dampers. I followed rasterman's advice and checked out the sway bar situation. Both stock front and rear bars are pretty wimpy, the links as well. The bushings and links are significanly worn. Of course, I have been building off road jeeps and trucks since my Gen 1. So I have no reference.

All that being said...Whiteline front and rear adjustable sway bars and heavy duty links are on the way. It may have been overkill. We'll see when I get them on the car.

I'll start with the rear and go from there. One change at at time
Doing the front and rear bars with new endlink's was a good choice, you notice a difference as I did after I did mine. I have the 3.0 and doing the front had to drop the exhaust manifolds so not sure what yours is. Also when adjusting the bars go soft at first to get use to the difference. I would change both, so many only go with the rear and what's the point if you want a total change.
Take a few day or so to notice the change but as many that have talked to the mounting braces on Subaru's especially gen 3 are weak and thin so a thicker bar will have the possibility of tweaking it. Avo makes a add on support.
 

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09 OBW base => 07 OBXT LTD 5sp
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297 Posts
The sticky: 05-09 outback suspension FAQ is a must read for you. Short answer: get the rear 04 KYB's. Sways are good, but do nothing for rebound. Your dealer simply doesn't understand...or is a liar...you pick
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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16,144 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The sticky: 05-09 outback suspension FAQ is a must read for you. Short answer: get the rear 04 KYB's. Sways are good, but do nothing for rebound. Your dealer simply doesn't understand...or is a liar...you pick
I hear you. I've been there. I have read and read. AND for what I think I want the car to ultimately do....

Where I am basically at is this:

New King Springs (standard ht) rear
04 KYB's rear
06 KYB's front

-0R-

Some yet undetermined coil-over set up. There doesn't seem to be any real conclusive info out there....other than....they all kind of s**k one way or the other. Don't get me wrong. There is alot of info...just not anything that points in any clear direction...other than STAY AWAY.

Plus set up sounds real PAINFULL. I've set up bikes and dirt bikes, but never automotive coilovers.

I like:

More clearance for the front tire vs. the spring seat.
Height adjustability. (Once set up though...set and forget)
REBOUND ADJUSTABILITY...

That is the kicker...If I coud find option there. That too, TRULY, once set up...I feel I would forget about as well. That has mostly been the case with the bikes, trucks, and Jeeps. Except in extreme cases.

PE @ Primative is advising the above King/KYB set-up. I know he sells it, but he sells alot of other things as well. He is advising AGAINST the sway bar upgrade. Says..not needed.

ANY OPTIONS out-there I wasn't able to find in my idiot searches let me know.

ANY Coil-Over experiences where people actually kept them on the car?
35,000 life span a few years worth of real life testing?:29:
 

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'18 2.5 Outback LTD, Magnetite Grey; '11 Outback 2.5i LTD; '06 Outback LTD, MT; '02 Legacy GT wagon, MT
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120 Posts
Hey can you guys summarize for me?

I want to upgrade the suspension in my '06 LTD with 114K on the original struts.

Should I get the '04 KYB's for the rear, and the '06 KYB's for the front then? Are there any modifications needed to install the '04 struts?

Thanks.
Lisa
;)
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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16,144 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Hey can you guys summarize for me?

I want to upgrade the suspension in my '06 LTD with 114K on the original struts.

Should I get the '04 KYB's for the rear, and the '06 KYB's for the front then? Are there any modifications needed to install the '04 struts?

Thanks.
Lisa
;)
Correct.

It is my understanding there is no fit issue. The the spring seats/body mounts are the same. I have not yet done any of this work first hand.
 

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'08 OBXT MT5
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121 Posts
I did the '04 rear shocks and Rallitek RSB myself. Pretty easy, and totally transform the car. I later did the upgraded sway bar mounts, just to make me feel better. If you own strut compressors (or borrow them) the rears are straightforward and relatively easy, and the RSB is truly simple. I also did the front struts and that was a lot harder, with far less dramatic effect. I eventually farmed the fronts out to a shop that had the big wall-mount compressor, then had a four-wheel alignment. Aaahhhhh!
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
Joined
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16,144 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Consolidating Posts

TODAY...I dedicated the garage to prepping the XT for a new rear end and front KYB's. I am a full believer in "soak, soak, SOAK!!! w/ whatever your choice...but...I got it up and started to look at the car from the bottom.

Turns out...NEW REAR END...is not far off. I have more work in the rear so I drove the front on the ramps and jacked up the rear at the cross-member. Wheels hanging! I get under to see what I need to remove, considering...


My suspension plans over the next couple weeks:
  • Rear King Springs and KYB's Rear and Rear Whiteline camber kit
  • New KYB's Front
  • Overall suspension assesment. (Suspect bad FSB bushings/end links, RSB bushings/end links, interested in F/R "tennis balls @ each location)
My findings are a follows. Keep in mind my vehicle has just hit 69,000 miles. (I have had for about 3,000 miles). I tried to get pictures but I can't with out the car being on a lift:

  • Rear trailing arm "tennis ball"...small 1/8" cracks when hanging..nothing close to other pics posted..especially the front pics. Anyway...my subjective opinion...10% failed/20% degraded.
  • Upper Control(B lateral link)Arm...upper or in-board bushing(at the body/center)...BAD. 25% torn/40% degraded.
  • Lower/Rear lateral link( Kinda looks like the "dogbone" engine mount/but steel. The upper/In-board bushing (at the body/center)30% torn/50%degraded.
All other rear bushing look good... NEAR 100% best I can tell.

Classic/Typical info supports the RTB(Rear Tennis Ball) is usually the hardedst hit and early to fail. In my unique experience, I am lucky. It seems my car has done well here.

However, the 4 others (2 / side) are essentially toast.

My conclusion:

The pivot/wear point is most concentrated where the rear suspension's "Connection Points" are to the "Body"

Essentially the "Wheel Pod" acts as a tight localized mass. The soft rear Gen-3 suspension shakes itself apart at the tips.

The lower lateral link doesn't seem to have a SUBI part #...only for the whole steel link(inner and outer bushing complete). Centrainly easier to change the link than pull it and press the bushing...but..$$

The GOOD news is...the front end looks great. Aside from the FSB bushings are TOAST. Links maybe.
This post is from a few days ago. Anyone reading is probably aware of the well documented Gen 3 soft rear end. I wasn't when I started this post. I am following similar fixes all many others.

However, my in-board (lateral link bushings) seem to have taken a unique beating. So there is some additional info there.

In an attempt to eliminate too much overlap...If any would like to follow my repairs and mod miss-adventures. Follow the Gen 3 Forum...what did u do w ur Gen 3 today...I'll be there with updates.

CK
 

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09 OBW base => 07 OBXT LTD 5sp
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297 Posts
Hey Lisa / Princeli

One thing, front upper mounts (tophats) have a bearing. It gets worn over time. A pair may be $100 plus or minus. But, no actual extra labor if done with the front shocks. Might be good to do them to while you are at it. I can't comment on OEM vs aftermarket.
 

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91 Posts
On my 2005 XT, I have:
1. King Springs front/rear (overload in rear)
2. whiteline sway bars front/rear
3. whiteline bushings

It rides higher, handles better, has no sag or dive. I like the way it feels at this point. In the future, I may go to 04 KYB's in the rear and Subtle Solutions spacers for more clearance.
 
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