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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, as the title goes, it really is nothing to see. Then again, it might just become something to see. The plan is to keep it tame for daily purposes while I turn the Miata into a racecar, but I've never owned an AWD vehicle before, so the temptation is definitely there...

So, anyways, the story is that the shop that built my Miata motor, Track Minded Performance in Atlanta, also dabbles in Subarus. The shop owner texted me about one he was selling, and a few weeks later he delivered it to my driveway.



Little bit of rust in the fenders, but it's easily accessible and nothing some POR 15 can't fix.

218,000 miles with a new timing belt/water pump.

Within minutes of getting the key, I was already testing out the AWD.

It was actually a pretty steep incline on some sandy soil to get here, so I was impressed. Then again, I'm coming from a Miata on coilovers, so I don't know if I should be, lol.







Window looks off track, but that's actually how it rolls down. Kinda weird looking.




The plans? Well, it needs a new head unit for sure. It's got the OEM tape player in it. I might get a nice double din touchscreen so I can have a built in GPS/backup cam. I'd like to upgrade the lighting, too (I've always had a guilty pleasure for those humongous LED bars). The wheels will be painted bronze this weekend and I want to put a good layer of truck bed coating on the beige lower pieces. I need to repair some small rust spots and get the fog lights working. I don't want to go nuts. I have a Miata to supercharge still!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Auto. Deliberately chose an automatic so I wouldn't be tempted to make it another project, lol. It's supposed to be my every day, boring, not-a-money-pit daily driver.

I'm trying my hardest not to lift it. Is that yours? How much of a lift is on it? Body lift or coilovers? Looks great, man.

Also, how's the radiator behave with the light bar right there? I'd prefer to put mine there, but that's where the rad is. What tires you running? Sorry for all the questions, I'm just finding myself really into these right now.
 

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Careful, these junks will get under your skin. I was only supposed to keep my WRX for a couple months... two years ago, and I've had four other Subarus come and go since then (and I'm looking at two more right now :lol: )

I condone lifting it. Strut top spacers are simple, cheap, effective and have zero negative repercussions in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Proper 2" strut top spacers with trailing arm correcting spacers are $550 from what I've seen lol! Good, yes, cheap, no. Unless...you wanna help a guy out with a better deal somewhere?
 

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I don't think you will need to mess with trailing arms for that I got my 1" spacers from Gorilla Offroad for ~$150. Now, with Foz struts and stock springs, I have approx 2" of lift and 225/60-17 on an Impreza and still have not had to do anything with trailing arms. Maybe the Legacy chassis is different though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've done some more research and it appears that the best I can do on an Outback is a 1" lift with strut top spacers. Since I have multilink suspension, anything above 1.25" requires relocating...well, a lot of things (motor, trailing arms, etc.).

I can feasibly do the Gorilla spacers and a taller tire and effectively get a 2.5" lift. Thanks for the heads up.

Dumb question: do you have to realign the car when you add strut top spacers? I'm unfamiliar with this geometry.
 

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I know you wanna keep it stock but my 97 OBS dd was massively improved with the addition of a WRX rear sway bar from eBay for $50 (from understeering grandma wagon to wow this actually feels like a rally car). The legacy chassis take different parts but there should be a factory sway bar which is upgrade for that car. Subaru suspensions are like legos, easy to swap around and some cheap craigslists finds can go a long ways.
 

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I've done some more research and it appears that the best I can do on an Outback is a 1" lift with strut top spacers. Since I have multilink suspension, anything above 1.25" requires relocating...well, a lot of things (motor, trailing arms, etc.).

I can feasibly do the Gorilla spacers and a taller tire and effectively get a 2.5" lift. Thanks for the heads up.

Dumb question: do you have to realign the car when you add strut top spacers? I'm unfamiliar with this geometry.
Interesting.

An alignment is recommended as you will be removing factory camber bolts at least in the front end, and the extra height will have a minor effect on the camber adjustment. IMO, if you mark the position of the bolts before you take them out you will probably be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again for the heads up on everything, guys. I'll be sure to give everything a shot.

I just took my pay day splurge on a 20" light bar for the front, and two 4" units for reverse lights. (I park by backing into a dead end street, and I almost hit a tree the other day. Ha)

This weekend it should see some trail action. I live right next to 200 acres of woods. We'll see how the stock suspension/all season tires work out. So far, I really haven't been disappointed on the smaller trails I've been on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well nothing quite as spectacular as that, but lo and behold, the 200 acres behind my house has some utility trails and whatnot. The neighbors filled me in on how to find them. They're avid dirtbikers. I haven't really explored much...it's still not registered yet, lol...so I'm not trying to draw much attention yet.



You can't really tell in the above pic, but I bought some spray on bedliner and covered the ugly tan lower bumper pieces. I also painted the OEM wheels bronze. Looks so much better. I'll grab a pic sometime.

It also served its purpose quite nicely when hauling lumber today. (I'm building a dining room table.)



I tell you, after exclusively driving a NA Miata for 7 years, this is a whole other world. I almost contemplated making it my exclusive project and really going nuts with the off road thing, but I can't turn my back on my Miata. Plus the Subaru has an insane amount of rust in some places (it was an Ohio car originally, turns out). Ah well. I'll drive it til the wheels fall off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Pic dump time! Got lots of work done this week. I really want to say I'm happy with the car and it's probably all I'm going to ever do it it, barring AT tires once the need arises, of course.

Painted the ugly beige with truck bedliner and painted the OEM wheels bronze.

I also got it all muddy and added crazy lights!



We'll start with the reverse lights. These are 4" LED bars bolted to a piece of aluminum bar stock. The bar/bracket itself is bolted to the license plate holes. The license plate is then bolted on top of the bar and hides the wires behind.











Then my friend and I found a trail with a bit of a muddy section. That's where all the dirt in the pics comes from, actually.



Now, the PO I think had hit something: The grille was cracked, the hood dented, and bumper cracked. I think my trail riding further exacerbated the bumper so I wound up taking a page from CR.net and zip-stitched it back together. It...kinda actually looks good. Rugged, even? (Can a station wagon be called rugged?)

The fog lights never worked, so I replaced those with LED units and yellow vinyl.

Of course, I had to get a ridiculous 20" light bar too! And MAN, what a difference it makes at night. I need to snap a pic of the output but it is unbelievable.











What aren't pictured (and not very exciting) are the two door speakers I installed up front (the DS one wasn't working) and the tape deck AUX cord adapter thing.


Well...that's all! I really think that this is all I'm going to do to it. I mean, yeah, it might get lifted 1-2" one day. I definitely would like AT tires. But seriously, I'm really happy where it is now. Even with the stock suspension and all season tires, it handles the terrain & trails by my house with ease.

Hope you guys liked checking out this short little project!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There will be plenty of that, lol. Still contemplating a mild lift, but definitely going with AT tires once these wear out.

There have been no shortage of off road shennanigans. I'm actually contemplating cutting the front bumper down because it is the biggest hindrance when it comes to dips and inclines.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm actually contemplating cutting the front bumper down because it is the biggest hindrance when it comes to dips and inclines.
Well, the other day I did just that. I guess it's mandatory that all NA owners cut off a portion of the bumper of whatever car they drive.

But first, one last pic of the full factory bumper. You can see how it's been beat up on the lower part. In fact, the smooth all-season tires have failed me less than the overhanging bumper has.



So yeah, I really like the way it looks - but of course it is much more functional too. Look at how much more of an angle I can go with.



Really all I did was follow the body lines and cut it all off with a jigsaw.



I painted all of the underbody stuff with regular matte black paint. Blends in nicely.





I think I might be able to retrofit a push bar/brush guard up front now that the frame is exposed and easy to access. On the other hand, the frame is a unibody structure, so any smash the bar takes translates to the entire frame of the car.

I also swapped out my 20" light bar for a 24" curved model. I sold my old 20" to my neighbor who's putting it on his canoe, so win-win.



Love the way it follows the curve of the car. It's actually a perfect match.



Other than that, just some random stickers here and there.

219,000 miles and counting.



Rear end



That's all for now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Had to test out the new angles on the local dirt pile. It did not disappoint, and the cut bumper proved itself mighty worthy on the steep slopes. I wish I had some better trails to ride around here besides a utility line and a construction pit.

IG collage



Ascent





Notice the big dirt piles that would have mauled the original bumper.



Big pile under the front. I do enjoy the better angles it's capable of.



So I think the only thing left to do is a 2" lift and some AT tires. Turns out I can indeed do a 2" lift with spacers on top of the shocks without horribly messing up the geometry. The AT tires should give me 3" extra of clearance total combined with the spacers.

Until next time!
 
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