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I need a fog horn, ,
2004 Outback Sport
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OK- so i decided to take the senic route home from work today, US 74-A from Asheville to Bat Cave, connecting with US 64 on to Hendersonville. The fun part US 74-A stretch begins with a climb from 2200 to about 2800 over about a mile- lots of twisties and switchbacks. After the crest, the road goes down, down, down (not sure how low here probably 1200-1500 ft) slowly- straights between lots of twisties. 64 climbs back up to about 2300 on a curvey road. Lots of fun. I am extremely familar with this road, as I used to run it constantly in my old del Sol. This was my first run in the OBS- It was all I could do to keep this thing on the road sometimes, granted I was probably pushing too hard, but the Subie inspires confidence. I felt like I was out-driving the tires & suspension- the tires were getting squirelly from time to time, and the back end was breaking loose a little more than I had expected it to.

I now realize just how bad the RE92's really are. Funny thing is I was about to defend them in a thread earlier today. I'm seeing some ContiExtremes in my future.

Sorry- this is a long lead up to a short question, but the other thing that bothered me was the looseness of the back end- will a heavier rear sway bar change how loose the rear end feels?
 

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Superb Moderator, ,
MY12 WRX, MY07 FXT
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6,186 Posts
To answer your question- no, it will not fix your loosy goosy rear end. What a larger rear sway will do is make the rear tires do more work and have less suspension travel. That, however, technically will let the rear end slip out from you if you don't have good tires to keep the rear end planted.
Less body roll also with a larger sway. Now, if the '04 setup is still the same, you have a rear 13mm sway bay (or anti-sway) What I did was get a WRX wagon rear sway (17mm) from a buddy, and voila! What a difference. A lot of Wrx owners upgrade theirs, so I got his practically new one for $25. Now, my understanding was that I had to have it off a WAGON, so I shot for the 17mm stock WRX wagon one. Find one for cheap and do it. A great change.
If you push hard with the added anti-sway, you will loose traction also, but without the body roll you have now. And get some Continental ContiExtreme Contacts for better tires. Brian
 

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I need a fog horn, ,
2004 Outback Sport
Joined
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Equal sway bars look good. After digging around nabisco a bit, I think I've got the problem a lot of Subie owners have. I'm still driving a FWD in my mind. I need to spend some time just cruising (not driving) my favorite shortcut and unlearn FWD. The zen of AWD, if you will.


oooooommmmm....
 

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OBS Obsessed, ,
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250 Posts
HA! I have one of those type shortcuts I take on my way home too. Not exactly short, but fun.

I think you are smart to drive the car a while before making any changes to it's driving characteristics, especailly if you are new to AWD.

The larger RSB will decrease body roll and reduce understeer. Like Brian mentions it will make the tires work harder, especially the outside tires. 17mm will be a noticeable difference. Better tires will also help, but add the bar and you can have some fun wearing the RE92s out. :) I replaced my stock anti-roll bar with one from a WRX sedan and it is 20mm. Bolted right on and I also added the solid Whiteline links with it. Oh, and the larger bar can be tricky in the snow with the backend breaking loose a little easier. I don't think any more than a 20mm bar would be much fun in slick conditions, to be honest.
 

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I need a fog horn, ,
2004 Outback Sport
Joined
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Mountain roads are the best!

Once the tourists come back (which seems to be this weekend) my short-cut actually becomes much quicker, and much more rewarding, than sitting in traffic on the interstate. Plus I get to cross the Eastern Continental Divide at least 3 times depending on the route.

...And I have to remember to pull the ABS fuse before any spirited driving.
 

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I need a fog horn, ,
2004 Outback Sport
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I picked up a WRX rear bar on nabisco and threw it on yesterday. It settled down the rear end a lot and softened the body roll. The rear tires were screaming more than usual (I was pushing it harder to see when it would let loose), so I'll have to rotate them frequently until its time for new ones.

The rear end felt a bit jumpier on gravel, so I might just disconnect the bar when I plan on having some serious forest road fun. I just need to throw a tube of Loctite in the glovebox.
 

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I need a fog horn, ,
2004 Outback Sport
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I left the stock mounts and links as I drive on a lot of gravel roads and don't want the rear end hopping around too much.
 

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I need a fog horn, ,
2004 Outback Sport
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
just bolted the bigger bar on- took about 10-15 to do the install.
 

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Superb Moderator, ,
MY12 WRX, MY07 FXT
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6,186 Posts
What size? 17mm is the WRX wagon upgrade I did. Made a big difference. Brian
 

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I need a fog horn, ,
2004 Outback Sport
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
yep it was a 17- makes the stock bar look like a clothes hanger.
 

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MY04 OBS
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30 Posts
getting ready to install the sway bar

I finally got ahold of a WRX Wagon rear sway this weekend. I'm getting ready to install it sometime this week.

But I was thinking about something when I got down underneath the car to see what I'm going to be up against....

I got the bar without the bushings. WIll I be able to use my existing bushings? I would say no, due to the different diameter of the bar? Or is it possible to squeeze the 13mm bushings on the 17mm bar?
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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1,572 Posts
no, you won't be able to use the 13 mm bushings with the 17mm bar. maybe if you were desparate and willing to drill/whittle em out, but don't bother....new center bushings are usually really cheap, and replacing swaybar bushings is one of my favorite cheap tricks (along with shifter bushings) to make old cars feel newer.

absolutely correct on the rear bar adding more tail happiness. Nissan used to put a decent size rear bar on the original 200SX back in early 80s, and all the rags testing it (and more than a few owners)complained about tail happiness in wet or snowy conditions.

you're also right on the AWD driving differently than FWD and demanding different technique...approach it more like a rear wheel drive car, it just slides more predictably and controllably, but you still can use the throttle to help you get around corners. for learning what works and finding limits in safe environment, i highly recommend trying an autocross or 2. no need to be competitive or even care who wins, but you can push it hard and if you lose it, no matter...you'll learn car's limits and become a better/safer street driver. also there will be a bunch of people who can help you with specifics of car setup.

also...i notice no one has mentioned TIRE PRESSURES and the HUGE effect they have on handling, and how you can fine tune front-to-rear handling balance with adjusting pressures. again, the autoX folk can be helpful. have someone check your tire temps after a run to determine what parts of the contact patch are working hardest and which ones are being lazy, and then adjust for optimum car behavior. take a look at website grassrootsmotorsports.com for a lot of info on anything to do with autocrossing...great rag, only car rag i still subscribe to. (they also run a really FUN event yearly where the only rule is that you can't spend more than $2004 on the car....you compete in autoX, drag race, and concours. fastest car this year ran mid 10s in the drag race...take THAT, Mr. all-carbon-fiber STi, or for that matter Mr. Viper or Mr Ferrari Enzo...!)

on tires, also look at Yoko AVS Es100s...excellent sorta all weather (NOT snow acc to all the reviews on Tire Rack web site) tire with decent treadwear rating, i think abt 280.

bw
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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1,572 Posts
also on the transition from FWD car....with FWD, the =gear you're in doesn't seem to affect car handling balance as much as with RWD and AWD cars.....with AWD, like RWD, it makes a BIG difference if you're one gear too high...you can really control the attitude of the car, in terms of its angle and positioning on the road, with the throttle when you;'re in the right gear...again, think RWD but without the fishtailing stuff, just the controlled sliding around the corner. go to a local drifting event, these guys don't care abt fast but they do practice the ragged-edge person/car ballet well.
 

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MY04 OBS
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30 Posts
DONE!

Threw the new sway bar (& new bushings) on last night. What an easy change! Going for a nice long windy drive tonight to test it out.
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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1,572 Posts
whoo ha

coincidentally, i just did Rex bar and solid links last night too. Brian is right, this is one of the best mod.s you can do to an OBS, completely transforms car from econocar to driver's car, and in <1 hr and for <$100!!!

i had been a tiny bit concerned that the whole conversion might make it too tail happy...no worry, bar is still factory stuff and so ain't gonna make yr car into an oversteerin-off-the-road 911RSR replica.

car is so good this way that one has to wonder what they were thinking when they put that pencil thin bar on the OBS in the 1st place....

bw
 

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MY04 OBS
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30 Posts
great mod

I've had the bar on now for almost a week....I was totally surprised with the difference in handling. The car feels great going through the corners now!

I've already recommended this mod to a couple of my friends who have TS's and OBS's. If any of you haven't done this one yet, I'd start searching NASIOC for a used rear sway!
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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1,572 Posts
SHO--
yes, the stockers on WRX rear bar are rubber. the solid end links i used do have poly bushings, but i decided to stay with the stockers for the center bushings due to concerns abt squeaking (not uncommon on poly center bushings), harsh ride, and too abrupt response when signif other is driving the car. i'd go with poly for a more hard-edged car but not for an OBS. at least, not if the S.O. had to drive it.

bw
 

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Outback onsight...
'03outback, '98 forester S lifted m/t's, 4eat, lsd
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1,264 Posts
tires

I can't understand why the conti extremes? I checked the Tirerack.com and compared them to BF Goodrich Traction TA H 225/60R16 . The Conti extremes 225/60R16 rated a 8.4 overall score at $81 a tire -VS-

The BFGoodrich Traction TA H scored an overall 8.6 at $77 a tire . Seems to me the BFG is the way to go....I may be abit biased since I just got a set of the BFG's and love them!
 
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