Overland OBS (OutBack Sport) Build

vwhammer

Adventurer
Well, until I get my garage set up properly to do the 4x4 conversion on my Vanagon, I decided to build something a little less involved so my wife and I can do a little out of the way exploring and camping in this great country of ours.

I don't expect to do a whole lot of rock crawling or anything like that.
I just want something that can handle a little rough stuff when the going actually gets rough.
It would also be nice if it got decent mileage too to save a few bucks on our travels.
In keeping with the simple build scheme I also wanted something that didn't require a ton of custom fabbed parts to make it all work.

After talking with some friends, one friend in particular offered me a decent deal on a fairly neglected and practically abandon 06 Impreza Outback Sport.




It had been sitting for longer than a year, had 4 flat tires, a whole pile of scrapes and dents, some seriously trashed rear brakes and, to top it all off, smelled like a rats nest inside.
However, there was a little glimmer of hope left in this abandon pile.
1. it was cheap.
2. it ran like a champ and just (ok, 30,0000 miles ago) had nearly 1500 dollars worth of work on the engine which included a new timing belt and several seals and gaskets (unfortunately no head gasket work)
3. It has decent mileage (137557)
4. Did I mention it was cheap?

I am no stranger to Subarus. This would be my third Impreza so I know that, save for a couple of issues, they are reliable, simple to work on and fun cars.

With all that said lets get to it.
I mentioned that the rear breaks were trashed and boy were they.
Apparently he had the stereo blasting nearly every time he drove it and could not hear screeching as the right rear brake gave everything it had in an attempt to slow this thing down.



I don't know if you can tell from the pic but there is no pad left and there is more than 6mm of material ground off of the caliper itself.

The saddest thing about all of this is that at one time the friend that owned this vehicle was an ASE certified technician.
His dad is the president of one of the largest performance car parts stores on the planet and surely taught him better than that.

Anyway this is nothing that a few bucks at any online parts retailer and a couple of hours worth of time could not fix.

Then I pulled the car into the garage and went out the next day to find this...


As many know, this is not a good sign to anyone that owns any Subaru with the 2.5L engine.
However, I did realize that that seemed like an awful lot of oil from a gasket that I don't suspect is holding that much oil
I removed the factory plastic "skid plate" expecting the worst.
It was only as I was wiping everything down looking for a seriously busted head gasket that I found the oil filter loose enough to spin it with one finger.
I tightened the filter and the problem was solved... For now
For the record the head gaskets are weeping a little oil and will need repaired but I will work on getting the car running and drive-able first before tackling the gasket job.

Anywho.
I know this thing needs new tires and I also know that I am not slapping some puny stock sized tires back on it.
So I ordered up a set of General Grabbers in a size that is pretty popular with the lifted Subaru crowd.

Lifted?
Yes I plan on a lift.
A little bit of extra ground clearance is a welcome modification for when the going gets to the aforementioned "rough"
From my Knowledge the 215/65R16 tires will not fit on most stock Imprezas so I also knew a lift would be in order.

The problem with fitting tires this size on an Impreza is not hitting the fenders or body (well maybe a little) but the interference with the tire and lower spring perch on the strut.
The most common way to remedy this issue with with the fitting of the strut assembly from a similar year forester.
This is exactly the route I plan on going.
For the time being I am simply running a set of used full strut assemblies from an 04 forester.
I will get all the wrinkles ironed out then upgrade as necessary.

I know I would like some stiffer springs primarily because I plan on carrying a fair amount of stuff and I would prefer that the rear end not sag too much and I would like to avoid bottoming out all the time.

I got all the rear brakes taken off and the new parts ready to go on but a decided to clean up and paint a little to keep rust to a minimum.
Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of that so it will have to wait until next time.

Stay tuned for more details.
 
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vwhammer

Adventurer
Oh I should also mention that I had to loosen the rear lug nuts and damn near do donuts in a parking lot to get the rear wheels to pop loose so I could remove them.
I have never seen or had a wheel stuck on so badly.
 

freshlikesushi

Free Candy
to be fair, the most common way to clear the spring perch is a wheel spacer. Get to it!'


if you care to documen this on the OffroadSubaru website I would love to spread the info!
 

Hondaslayer

Adventurer
to be fair, the most common way to clear the spring perch is a wheel spacer. Get to it!'


if you care to documen this on the OffroadSubaru website I would love to spread the info!
Uhhh, no.

On that chassis, the most common way is Forester struts. Wheel spacers on a GG is the most common way to destroy wheel bearings prematurely.
 

freshlikesushi

Free Candy
Show me scientific data that says that. Yall been sayin wheel spacers kills bearings for decades, but noone can actually show a scientific data point.

Yet everyone has 16x8 +20s on there
 

vwhammer

Adventurer
Well I want the lift anyway so I guess it does not matter. I will be using the struts and no wheel spacers
 

Hondaslayer

Adventurer
Show me scientific data that says that. Yall been sayin wheel spacers kills bearings for decades, but noone can actually show a scientific data point.

Yet everyone has 16x8 +20s on there
Torque = Force multiplied by distance.

The further you move the wheel from center, the more torque you apply to the bearing via the axle. Every impact, no matter how small is multiplied by the distance from the bearing.

A force applied at a right angle to a lever multiplied by its distance from the lever's fulcrum (the length of the lever arm) is its torque. A force of three newtons applied two metres from the fulcrum, for example, exerts the same torque as a force of one newton applied six metres from the fulcrum.
Will it cause immediate failure? No.
Will a small spacer / altered offset cause increased wear? Yes, but likely still within the expected service life of the bearing.
Will a large spacer (ie: One to clear the lower mount) / altered offset cause premature failure? Absolutely.

Can't argue with math.
 

freshlikesushi

Free Candy
Torque = Force multiplied by distance.

The further you move the wheel from center, the more torque you apply to the bearing via the axle. Every impact, no matter how small is multiplied by the distance from the bearing.



Will it cause immediate failure? No.
Will a small spacer / altered offset cause increased wear? Yes, but likely still within the expected service life of the bearing.
Will a large spacer (ie: One to clear the lower mount) / altered offset cause premature failure? Absolutely.

Can't argue with math.
Math? sure?

But saying that it will without a doubt kill wheel bearings, no.
Thats what i have an issue with when all the same people run a 8inch +20 offset wheel at the same time they say that.
 

Detslider

Adventurer
I had both an '02 and '03 Impreza wagon, both with Grabber AT2 tires (which are a great tire). I also wanted to do a Forester lift but didn't have time to source the parts and go through the chore or getting the wheels re-centered in the wheel well. I ended up just going with a strut spacer lift. Yes, clearance was tight on the spring perch but in over 30K miles I never had any rubbing or other sort of complication with either vehicle. Not trying to dissuade you from the Forester lift (go big if you can) just giving you an easier (and cheaper) way to make the AT2's work.

While not necessary, you can also install front fenders of an Impreza sedan which are flared out and will provide more clearance.

 

vwhammer

Adventurer
Yeah I have heard of several people running these tires with no lift an very few problems.

My primary reason for the lift is to increase approach and departure angles as much as possible and get a little extra clearance under the car.

I may cut up some of the stock bumpers to gain a little extra angle but I do intend on some custom bumpers once I get my garage up and running.

As for updates I don't have too much.
with no electric in the garage and as quickly as it gets dark now after work I don't have a lot of time to do much during the week.

I did get the rear brakes all fixed up.
Nothing special but now both sides look a little something like this.


There was a lot of crud packed into all sorts of places.


I am going to need to get this thing in the air outside and blast it with the hose for a while to get all the dust and rocks out that have been packed into every nook and cranny.

It's probably a good thing I am replacing the struts.
While working on the front brakes it became pretty apparent that the front struts are on their way out or likely already gone.
The both look like this.


I am still on the fence as to what exactly I am going to do with the suspension.
As I mentioned, I would like a little stiffer springs for carrying more stuff
I also noted that I would be using Forester Struts but it is my understanding that they have more than an inch less suspension travel than the Impreza units.
There are a lot of parts I can swap between different cars and a whole pile of options if I go with some new stuff.
I just have to sit and look at it all and see whats best .
Then to top it all off I want to spend as little money as possible and not spend a ton of time fabricating things.
Here is just a handful of options with some of the parts that I know about.

1. Simply run the forester struts with the forester springs
Pros: About 2 inches of lift and the raised lower spring perch for even bigger tires if I choose.
They are cheap.
Cons: a little over 1 inch less suspension travel and the softer stock springs so things could get saggy once its all loaded for a trip.

2. Forester struts with stiffer stock height aftermarket springs. (if I can find them)
Pros:2 inches of lift and the raised spring perch.
More load carrying capacity
Cons: Still have the limited suspension travel compared to the Impreza units.
The cost for springs is considerably more than the stock Forester strut units I can get.
Could be a little weird with stiffer springs and old stock struts

3. Impreza struts with stiffer lift springs
Pros: 1-2 inches of lift and extra load capacity
Cons: The springs put the strut further into its suspension droop limits so downward wheel travel will be limited (without an extra load)
Will not have the extra tire clearance at the spring perch.
Will need new struts and springs making this a costly option.

There are several other options by swapping different stock springs and different struts and several people have tried several set ups with varying results so it may just boil down to what I can do cheap and upgrade or swap as necessary

I will have more of an idea what I actually need after I get the new tires on the rims and see if they fit with the Impreza struts.

I will be taking the wheels in tomorrow to get the old tires removed.
Then it will probably take most of the weekend to get them cleaned up and repainted so I can get the new tires mounted.

More to come...
 
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