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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm a current owner of a N/A Forester looking to move to an Outback XT. I like the stock Outback, but I would like it a lot more with upgrades. I drove a friend's '05 XT several years ago and it was nice/fun. However, I drove an acquaintances modified 06 XT and it was a completely different beast. I want the beast because I'm a bit of an aggressive driver (I'll call it car enthusiast) on normal road driving. I also use my cars to get into mildly rough terrain for some rock climbing adventures and skiing, so I need something that can handle at least mildly rough roads. Basically, I want a well mannered decent daily driver with utility that has some serious track car characteristics. However, I'm an adult and I don't want to be driving anything from the Fast and the Furious. I'm looking for advice on the best components that work together and how to go about this.

My goal is to buy an older XT and to correct a lot of stock "deficiencies" before I even start driving it. Here is my list of immediate modifications:
-BNR16G turbo replacement with appropriate oil lines
-Cobb Access port?
-upgraded TMIC (Perrin?)
-Some sort of new exhaust??
-Bilstein BTS suspension
-Swift front and rear sway bars


I have a few questions for the more experienced.

1. Does anyone know of a reasonable cost efficient and competent shop around Denver? As much as I love to wrench on things myself, I have less time than I have money at this point (a very strange statement for me). I'd like to get my Outback and have it built while I continue to drive my Forester.

2. I have the option, currently, of buying two 5MT OB XT's. One is an 07 in good condition with 82k miles for $13000 and the other is an 06 also in good condition with 135k miles for $8500. My thoughts are that, since I'm going to replace a lot of the major components on either vehicle anyway, I might as well go with the higher mileage OB and use the difference in price to complete the mods and create the car that I want. Does anyone have any thoughts or insights into why this is a good or bad idea?

3. At approaching or well over 100k miles, it seems like the stock turbos start to have failures, so I might as well pre-emptively replace it anyway right? I've seen some charts of the BNR16G and it looks like it produces more oomph and might spool a bit quicker.
-Any personal experience with those?
-Will the stock fuel system hold out on a light tune? I've heard varying levels of confidence.
I would love to have a twin scroll turbo for all the amazing benefits, but those seem to be hard to come by, expensive, and require significant modifications to other components.

4. Given my mods, is a COBB access port a good idea? Is there a better/different option?

5. The Perrin TMIC's get good reviews. Any thoughts?

6. Should I invest in a new exhaust with the other mods? What would be best for my setup?

7. The Bilstein BTS setup seems like the best long term solution to the improving stock handling. Is there anything that I need to watch out for with this upgrade? What else should be replaced? Is there a simpler or more direct method for ordering a "kit" than going through the Japanese ordering procedure? http://legacygt.com/forums/showthre...all-parts-list-114243.html?highlight=bilstein

8. Any comments on the Swift sway bars?

9. Is there anything that I'm leaving out that should also be addressed?

Thanks for any help!
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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try some Stoptech Street Performance brake pads and get some max/ultra performance tires.

tires should have been on top of the list
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
AWDFTW, thanks for the reference. I actually took most of my upgrade wish-list from that thread and it helped considerably in coming up with follow-up questions (I've been lurking for a while). I'm still in need of some answers, though, before pulling the trigger. Which car? Hi/low mileage significant if retrofitting? Fueling necessary? Exhaust necessary? Better method for acquiring BTS? Trustworthy shops in Denver? Does anyone have all of these installed and have any personal comments about how to go about the whole scheme?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1 Lucky Texan, thanks for the advice. On the dream-list of upgrades would be the calipers, but I think I'll leave that for another day. I think while I'm doing the suspension and have everything off, new pads and tires will be on the real-world list.
I'm not necessarily sure what the best option would be for tires. I'm all over the country, so it's hard to find a winter/summer onroad/offroad balance. For example, I was in Death Valley a few weeks ago on dry straight roads at 115F, then in cold rain in Oregon for two weeks, then slush/snow/mud in Colorado during a freak cold storm on some twisty jagged logging roads.
I do like the 2008-2009 Legacy spec.b wheels. If I come across some, I will likely switch over to that wheelset. I saw on the forum here that they fit nicely.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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you might take a look at TripleTreads but it does seem like tires will be a difficult compromise, especially if you can't switch to a winter set or know somewhat beforehand what road conditions you'll encounter. Personally, I'd get excellent dry/wet tires and rely on a combination of skill, AWD and enough sense to stay home, depending on how much snow/ice was on the roads. If you aren't in a position to upgrade your tires, don't waste money upgrading your brakes. Tires stop your car, brakes just stop the wheels.
 

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If you can afford it, skip the Cobb AP and go with a protune. The AP maps aren't that great (I had one for a couple years on my WRX...never went back).

Personally, on a 2.5L motor, I would go bigger than a 16g. They are good for 2.0 or 2.2 L turbo cars since they spool up so quickly. However in a 2.5 car, you could spin a larger turbo up faster than a 2.0. There are many options; it depends how much power you want.

You will need an exhaust to make significantly more power, especially with a 16g turbo. You could do it without, but you might hit a power wall and perhaps also boosting issues because of too much boost and nowhere for it to go. Depending on how you want it to sound (deep, raspy, subdued, ballstothewall, etc) there are many options, just look up the exhaust/year of FXT combo on youtube.

I'm not sure how great the XT TMIC is, but it might also be a restriction depending on how much pressure certain years can hold and how much cooling efficiency for your target power level. An STi IC is a cheap upgrade and likely fits, if not, then perhaps an 05+ LGT IC. There is lots of info out there on this.

A fuel pump when upgrading power isn't a bad idea, but you may also need injectors. Pumps are only ~$90 for a Walbro 255HP (255 L/hr at high pressure) and takes about 20 minutes to install yourself. Injectors are usually from STis (565cc I believe) and will help you reach you power goal as well. You never want to run more than ~80% injector duty for example and an injector upgrade is part of what gives you that headroom.

08+ WRX wheels are cheaper (~$350-450 for a set), although likely heavier. Rather than spec B wheels, buy multiple sets of cheaper ones with different types of tires to suit your path/destination. I'd suggest earlier WRX wheels, but I'm not sure how much brake clearance you need in an FXT.

Cheers
Trevor
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Trevor, thanks for the info. While my inner kid would love to have my personal rally car with 1000whp, I think this could be an excellent real-world compromise with practicality and reliability. (I was looking at legacies as well, like this crazy build http://legacygt.com/forums/showthre...acy-gt-unlimited-sedan-twinscroll-186187.html)

ECU
If protune is better and it's one-time expense for the life of the car, then protune it is. Could you elaborate on what you liked better? What about fuel mileage?

Turbo
My goal is around 260-280whp. However, it will be a daily driver and my number one concern is quick spool-up for normal driving. In dreamland, I would love to have a twin scroll like the Legacy in the link above because of all the amazing benefits (why aren't all turbos ball bearing nowdays? Why aren't there any stock or many aftermarket twin-scroll setups?)

I've read that the 16G is a hybrid half-bearing setup that has essentially the same or even less lag than stock. However, if there is a better option with similar lag that would provide better performance, then I'm all ears.

Exhaust
I've heard drastically different reports on exhaust systems from people I've talked to while car shopping. Most people have said a new exhaust made a huge difference on on moderate tunes, especially at altitude. However, the performance thread here states that it doesn't make much of a performance difference until you're making crazy power.
As far as sound goes, I'm not interested in sounding like the Fast and the Furious. In my youth, I liked the flashy loud stuff, but nowdays I like my cars relatively quiet and refined, within reason. I don't mind hearing the engine, but I want to be able to listen to details in music, carry on a conversation, allow someone to sleep in the car, and pull into my driveway without waking the neighbors.

Intercooler
I've been told that the stock intercooler barely handles a remap boost increase and will cause leaks and head problems. I've also been told that replacing it has made immediate noticeable changes in throttle response. I think a Perrin TMIC is the way to go for all of those reasons.

Fuel
After reading more, it seems that a light tune with a 16G can 'maybe' get away with stock fueling, but that's putting it at its limits. I suppose I'll have to bite the bullet and replace injectors and fuel pump. Probably a good idea in case I mix in some E85 at some point anyway.

Wheels
There's something that I just really like about the 08-09 18" spec.b wheels. I think I'm going to keep my eyes open for some.

Suspension
I'm interested in suspension upgrades currently because that is the crux or Achilles heel of my plans. I was hoping to find a Bilstein BTS setup, but it appears that it now costs over $2800 to import that kit. $1200 was pushing it far, but essentially $3k is too outrageous. I'd really like a much-stiffened suspension and I'm not terribly concerned with plush ride quality as long as it doesn't rattle my teeth. If the BTS are too crazy, what would be the next closest option that preserves most of the ground clearance?
 

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ECU I'm using your headings to answer :D

It was smoother, boost came on when I wanted it to (early torque, you can decide) and it was significantly better on gas. I used the AP with a stock turbo, STi TMIC and full catless exhaust - it had a low spot in power from 3000-3800 and also just before 5000 a slight almost hesitation in the ramp up of power.

I then installed a Forced Performance small 16g, STi injectors, 255HP fuel pump and had it protuned...better power of course, but one difference was how the boost came on. This was done by adjusting the wastegate duty cycle and other parameters, you can tune it to respond how you like. I wanted autocrossing power, so that's why I went with early torque. If you want your power for hwy passing at 5500rpm, you can get it tuned for that as well.

The really interesting difference was that it was better on gas and more powerful. In the same season, same gas (Ultra 94), same driving style, it got ~75-100 kms more per tank than with the stock turbo set up.

Turbo

For that power goal, I don't think you need an upgraded turbo, but it depends which model you get. Talk to other FXT owners to see which turbo has the best power potential for your goal. Don't make it your deciding factor though, all of the stock turbos (WRX, Sti, LGT, FXT OBXT I believe have all the same mount points to up pipe and downpipe, slight water/oil line differences) are interchangeable save for the twin scroll set up.

On that, the twin scroll is ridiculously awesome and you get a ton of early torque. Down sides are : 1. your car will sound like a Honda. 2. it's expensive. 3. hard to come by used parts.

On your question about why they aren't all ball bearing: Ball bearing turbos are 'relatively' new technology in mass market and are therefore expensive.

If all you are looking for is quick spool up, talk to an experienced tuner to see if they can get you what you want out of your stock turbo and some accessory upgrades.

Exhaust
I didn't think of the altitude, but I would do it personally...it does help spool up as well. A tuner can help you with all of these choices based on their experience. Make sure you find a reputable one that has done many similar tunes, or you will be asking for trouble.

For sound, as I mentioned, check youtube to see what you can tolerate and go from there. I doubt you would get an aftermarket exhaust that is that quiet, so you might be better off staying stock. However, 280whp might be hard to acheive with a stock exhaust. Maybe a custom exhaust locally built with a stock STi muffler added at the end?

Intercooler
Perrin TMIC is a gem - great choice, but possibly overkill for your goals. But hey, it will look like gold bullion under the hood!!

Fuel
Plan carefully if you are going to run E85 - you will need a LOT bigger injectors than standard. e.g. if you need 565's for a tune at 91 octane, E85 will need about 50% more flow if I recall correctly. Don't quote me on that, but it is a LOT more.

Wheels
Cool - sometimes your inner baller has to shine :)

Suspension
Stay away from coilovers - they will rattle your teeth out. I would suggest checking what STi and WRX suspension will fit. You will lose height, but will gain handling, especially with inverted strut setups if you can find some JDM ones.

Are you planning on staying with stock tires? You can get a lot of compliance out of your ride with stock or stock-sized tires. It will have to be part of your consideration.

Another thought, just install aftermarket adjustable front and rear sway bars - they will flatten out the cornering and will only mildly increase the effective spring rate. If that's not enough, still keep the stock springs, but upgrade the struts to GR2's or other slightly stiffer stock ride height struts.

Cheers
Trevor
 

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Couple other things you will need:

A stronger clutch!

Stronger brakes! At least pads are needed. If you get wild, then think about upgrading rotors and calipers, but you should be pretty good with pads at that power level.

You might also need an aftermarket boost control solenoid as some stock ones don't have enough to go any higher than 18psi. Not sure what the stock FXT one is like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Excellent info. Thanks. I believe stock XT's dyno at 190hp/191tq at the wheels, so if I'm going for 280hp at the wheels and adding almost 100hp, then I'm going to have to upgrade injectors and exhaust, and clutch, it would seem.

I'm quite fond of the ball bearing turbos. My brother had aftermarket upgraded turbos on his 2002 Audi S4 and those things were practically in lockstep with the gas pedal. But alas.....

I'm fairly worried about the suspension. I need clearance greater than a typical car for deep snow in ski towns and to get to remote climbing areas that sometimes require old logging trails and oil company roads, so I can't sacrifice TOO much clearance. I wouldn't mind a little lowering 2 inches would be max.
I also really like a stiff suspension, so I'm sort of stumped. It sounded like the BTS had the best of both worlds, but that's a little out of reach.

Do STi rotors and calipers install easily or is that an intensive install?

Any recommendations on boost controllers?
 

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did Subaru ever have SPT 'pinks' springs for your car? They only lowered my WRX about 3/4 inch or so - but they were very noticeably stiffer. (worked with stock struts and didn't violate warranty either)

I just didn't want to slam it or get too far away from design roll center w'ever.
 

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I'm fairly worried about the suspension. I need clearance greater than a typical car for deep snow in ski towns and to get to remote climbing areas that sometimes require old logging trails and oil company roads, so I can't sacrifice TOO much clearance. I wouldn't mind a little lowering 2 inches would be max.
I also really like a stiff suspension, so I'm sort of stumped. It sounded like the BTS had the best of both worlds, but that's a little out of reach.

Do STi rotors and calipers install easily or is that an intensive install?

Any recommendations on boost controllers?
So, you do not want sway bars, or you really want stiffer springs? You will sacrifice a fair bit of clearance going to WRX suspension. Maybe see if there is a solution discussed on the Forester sites, or on NASIOC.

No, they will not be easy unless you can find some 2004 STi stuff (replacement parts are $$$$$$$$$)...2005+ will require a hub change to 5x114.3 (STi bolt spacing). Plus the STi brakes will require wheels to fit over them... Stock FXT should have significantly improved braking abilities with upgraded aggressive street pads in my opinion, especially with only a 100hp jump.

The GM 3 port boost controller is what most people use up here. They go for about $35 ...see here: Link to BCS page on Horsepowerfreaks.com

Cheers
Trevor
 

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^^^ good point, doing just heavier anti-sway bars should maintain nice cruising comfort on the highway but improve cornering/reduce roll.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wasn't planning on a WRX suspension. Perhaps brakes. Just stiffer springs and sway bars on the BTS suspension, modeled after M. Schneider's build
http://legacygt.com/forums/showthre...-list-114243.html?t=114243&highlight=bilstein

A 1" drop on that setup would be perfectly acceptable.
It seems like there's plenty of discussion about it on this forum, but no great solutions within reason or consensus. The BTS suspension seems to be the overall winner to stiffen and retain ride height, but it is difficult to import and costs a ridiculous sum. Other options compromise other features according to my readings.

Perhaps I should just weld in some leaf springs like my old Dodge Cummins and call it a day.. haha. Good height, stiff, minimal roll or sagging on acceleration/braking .... haha

It seems like if I ever wanted to upgrade to STi Brembos, they're pretty easy to come by in the 04 or older 5x100 pattern. I did a search on the local craigslist and found several with calipers, rotors, and lines being sold.
I think I'll just get better pads for now. My main concern was brake fade in areas like Loveland Pass, CO to Denver where downhill lasts for miles dropping from 11000ft to 5000ft. Even using engine/transmission braking, there's still a lot of foot braking if there's lot of traffic and you have 1500lbs of gear and bodies in the car.

Sag is my other concern with the stock suspension. I frequently have a lot of weight in my cars and I need a suspension that can handle weight changes without dropping to the ground and dragging over terrain. I think the BC BR Racing coilovers are my best bet.
 

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Higher heat rated pads will be better, but you still could get fade in those situations. I used to live and play near the Rockies in Alberta, so I know what you are talking about.

If staying with stock brakes, the only other things I could suggest are: put in better brake fluid (Motul blue) as well to lower the boiling point as well as brake ducting directed at the rotors.

Other possible options are slotted or drilled rotors (not my preference). Slotted are hard on pads, drilled will crack usually and will need replacement almost yearly (or more often if they are cheap).

Yeah the kicker with USDM 2004 STi stuff is the cost of replacement parts. Availability will be an issue for anything earlier as you will need to source JDM parts.
 

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hello,

I am brand new to this forum and I am having a major issue with my 06 Outback. I went to the store, came out and started the car to hear a horrible noise coming from the engine. I brought it to a Subaru dealership and it was found to have a rod knock and the 4th cylinder was misfiring. Long story short I have to get a new motor. My car has been properly maintained and with only a little over 100k miles on it I am baffled as to why the motor would just go like that on me.

Even the service person Frank was a little baffled by it. Unfortunately the vehicle is no longer under warranty and I now have to shell out a small fortune to get it repaired.

Why did it fail on me? Does anyone else have these issues? I thought Subaru was great car and that is why I bought one.

The people at the dealership didn't even give me a discount on the new motor which I am upset about.

Even the sunroof has a crack in it and Subaru wouldn't even replace that without charging me an arm and a leg. I brought it to them and they deemed it was some manufacturing defect but are still charging me to replace it.

Can someone who is higher up in this forum explain to me what I need to do in order to not have to pay an arm and leg for two things I wasn't responsible for.

No impact was found on the sunroof....it just cracked..

All service to the motor was performed as per Subaru recommendations.

Please help me

Chris
 

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I think the BC racing BR coilovers are my best option. It's my understanding that this kit is direct replacement of stock. Are there any other components that I need/should get to install or replace for the job?
BC Racing Suspension - BR Coilovers - Subaru Outback 2002-Up
Coilovers will be harsh for you in my opinion...I would think it would be unlikely that you will like the ride. Take a ride in someone's car with coilovers first to see if they are for you...it really is a whole new world.

I had coilovers for 2 years on the WRX (only in summer). Incredibly awesome handling with the right alignment, looked great, but harsh. They can squeak/creak often even when well maintained. Consider install and alignment costs as well. It will likely be more than regular suspension as there is much more to adjust. On that note, every time you adjust them for height, it requires alignment.

There is no description of spring rate F/R which greatly affects balance, ride comfort as well as the ability to achieve razor sharp handling.

Also, rebuilding once a year at about $100/corner for the parts is not uncommon for low end coilovers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
yikes, I didn't realize that. That sounds like a real pain that I am not willing to deal with.
I guess I'm back to square one. Any suggestions on what my best option is, then?

I haven't actually handed over the money and picked up the OBXT I was going to buy at this point. Should I just scrap it and look for a legacy gt?
 
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