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05 OBXT 5spd, "lifted"
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Discussion Starter #1
The more I drive our xt, the more I question it's ability offroad. 5spd and turbo seem questionable in an offroad setting. What does your xts or outbacks in general spend most of their time? The reason I'm asking this is because after the winter, I'm getting better tires for our car and I'm not sure if I should get something more street oriented (Continental DWS) or something a little more capable of some offroading (geolanders). I'm not looking to go into mud pits, but some trails and loose stuff would be fun. Or am I asking for trouble by taking this car offroad?
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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847 Posts
I would not even consider taking a 5MT XT off pavement, other than hooning around rally style on groomed dirt and gravel. My XT automatic is merely OK, but I would hate to deal with the turbo lag issues and excessive slipping the clutch in nasty, low grip situations or steep rutted grades. Without a low range transfer case, these cars are just geared way too high.

I really dislike the lack of engine braking too - an idling low compression engine does little to slow you down, so you end up riding the brakes for miles.

I rarely take my XT onto rough stuff, and I am always worried about body and undercarriage damage when I do. But I have a fully prepped off road truck for that, so I am not limited to only one vehicle.....

For your situation I would recommend the A/T-S tires, but stay on reasonably maintained forest roads and don't try those tempting jeep trails. The Geolanders are a hoot on smooth loose surfaces.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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05 OBXT 5eat stg1.2
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2,105 Posts
Engine braking? Plenty of that in manual mode.

I wouldn't do anything crazy with the xt. Especially if I had a 5mt.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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14,368 Posts
I don't know if I can claim "off road" but I regularly drive mine on a very poor dirt road. Occasionally, I need to drive it through sand traps, which are generally 50' sections of very soft sand with a deep rutted track.

The outback hasn't held me up yet. I know the car is taking more of a beating on that road, but it has yet to break.
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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847 Posts
Engine braking? Plenty of that in manual mode.
What car(s) are you comparing it to?

In my experience a 2.5 liter turbo engine with 8.4:1 compression ratio doesn't do squat to slow you going down a steep grade at "jeep road" speeds (below 10 mph). Especially compared to a proper off road vehicle in Low Range.....

I find bumpy rocky descents to be white knuckle events in my XT, and I avoid them.....

Even driving on regular paved roads, I don't think much of the engine braking. Adequate or OK maybe, nowhere near "plenty".

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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05 OBXT 5spd, "lifted"
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'm not expecting the xt to compare to my old 83 Landcruiser w a 4spd or even my 4runner but I do like exploring mild jeep trails and unimproved state gameland roads. Ive taken my 02 Legacy gt on some questionable roads w/out issue (aside from killing the heatshields). That was not one of my brightest moves. I just don't want to be the guy that gets stuck in a wet yard bc I'm running non aggressive tires.

Thanks for the input. Sounds like the xt will be a pretend offroad vehicle.
 

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2008 subaru outback 2.5i
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472 Posts
This is why i kept my jeep for trails like this, since my jeep has lockers in the front and rear and deep gearing and crazy clearance i don't take my daily driver subi out in stuff like that, i use to dd my jeep but 4.88 gears with 37" tires killed my gas mileage.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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277 Posts
Depends on your definition of "offroad". To me, offroad is an unimproved road with a couple of 1-2 ft mud holes and ruts along the way. Some people equate offroad to rock crawling.

Low end torque has been the only thing that has held me back in the Outback. Starting from a stand still on very steep pavement is almost impossible without burning the clutch.
 

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'18 3.6R Ltd
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731 Posts
^ Clearly, this is the beginning of the answer: what's "offroad"?

I wouldn't hesitate to take our 5EAT OBXT where I took my Audi allroad, but that was limited to class 2+ (but not 3) Jeep trails. Maybe those are still "roads", though. HPH
 

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2013 Outback -
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12 Posts
The extent of my "Off Roading" in my new OB will be a rough road used to get to a creek or river to paddle. I consider "Off Road" nasty, not just a few pot holes or a dirt road. I save the nasty stuff for my 77' FJ40.
 

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05 OBXT 5spd, "lifted"
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I'm not talking about Rubicon type trails ;-). I guess common sense is the best bet in this situation. Thanks for the input guys.

Service roads, power line trails, jeep trails and the like sound like they'll be ok. That shod suffice most of my "offroading" w this car
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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847 Posts
Service roads, power line trails, jeep trails and the like sound like they'll be ok. That shod suffice most of my "offroading" w this car
I've encountered lots of very nasty powerline and jeep trails - they are Subaru KILLERS - what exactly do you expect to encounter in PA? Anything that compromises the limited approach and departure angles will result in body damage.

Do you have skid plates? The A/T-S tires will help you go, steer and stop and will mostly eliminate nuisance flats (sidewall cuts), but you need extra drivetrain protection and ground clearance.

Service roads, maintained forest roads, even poorly maintained secondary forest roads - no problem..... usually.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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05 OBXT 5spd, "lifted"
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
The car currently has King lift springs on it and new kybs. Eventually id Like to put saggy butt spacers in the rear. Short of that, it's stock. A lot of the power line trails are "tame" at least where I am. I tend to be cautious when it comes to exploring and after hearing some input from this thread will think twice before tackling anything questionable. Skid plates etc will come eventually. First I need to do the timing belt and other fun maintenance items
 
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