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Hi Everyone,

I'm a 1st time Outback owner and have been reading these forums a lot in the last few months. Just picked up a new 2013 2.5 Limited with Eyesight. It has less than a 100 miles and I noticed a ding on the radiator already.

Are there any OEM or aftermarket screens that will prevent rocks and stuff from hitting the exposed radiator? I thought about using some expanded metal but that will probably look bad on a new car. I also thought of perforated stainless steel metal, but that stuff gets expensive quickly. Either case, mounting it and making it look good is another story.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
kelly
 

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97 Outback 230000
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1,138 Posts
I used to see home made ones in Alaska. None of them looked good but that wasn't the point. It's a good question but I don't have an answer. Congrats on your 2013. There are folks on here who should chime in soon that are interested in modifications. I like reading this board, it's very entertaining and I learn a great deal.
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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Some cars seem to be natural magnets for stone hits and AC condenser (that's what's really up front) damage. When I owned a Honda Odyssey, it seemed everyday someone new was on the board stressing out over a $1000+ cost for replacement of a punctured unit. The main culprit was the lower airdam intake under the bumper. Very little actually came in thru the main grill above that. Just something about the road height, scoop angle, etc., that caused problems. So like many, I went to Lowes and bought fine mesh galvanized box wire (1/2", IIRC), pulled the front bumper and grill, and fashioned a custom guard that fit behind the scoop but several inches in front of the condenser & lower piping.

The only caveat is that you must inspect it regularly to keep it clean! Modern arrangements don't duct a lot of air thru the front (aerodynamics), so a clogged grill could lead to overheating during heavy use (including transmission damage).

Over the years my grill guard took a number of significant hits, but it prevented damage. That was the only vehicle I have ever felt motivated to do this on.
 

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As a 3 week old owner I too am amazed at this cooling unit with no protection. Have to study this wire mesh solution.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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I am working on a black carbon fiber honeycomb to cover that area. Once I have it, I will everybody know what I had to do and where I sourced it.... stay tuned....
 

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No tennis racket?
Oddly enough that was my first carbon item though I recall they called it Graphite something. LOL

No tennis since about 20yrs of age when my little brother ranked #1 western Conference served up one of his 100mph serves. Nothing like catching a tennis ball in the chin after it clipped the frame of your racket to change your mind about the sport. **** that hurt!

I do see the wife and I taking it up as a week night activity in the near future though.
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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OK, double checked my mesh (still have plenty left), and it is 1/4" box wire.

Remember:
1) No finer than necessary to stop rocks. Anything that can cleanly get thru a 1/4" is unlikely to puncture the condensor. Going finer just increases the hazard of a clog in high bug or floating organic (think milkweed seadpods) situations.

2) Keep it away from direct contact with the heat exchanger whenever possible so that air can always find a path (see item 1).
 

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Post some pictures if you can. I had the same question/idea. Seems like the radiator is a bit exposed to potential problems.
 

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