DIY Shock+Strut replacement - how difficult? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Shock+Strut replacement - how difficult?

I have an '01 Forester on which I would like to replace the shocks/struts.

Is this straightforward?

Did you buy the shock/struts with new coil springs, or put back the old springs using a compressor?

Can you direct me to a good source for the replacement parts?

2001 Subaru Forester S, M/T, 2.5L N/A, 165K miles
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 11:51 AM
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Our cars have struts on all 4 corners, only '09+ have shocks in the back and struts in front.

It's not a difficult job, but can be time consuming and impossible to complete without the right tools. I'm down to less than 2 hours for strut/spring swap for either front or rear. You will need spring compressors and air tools help alot.

As far as what to replace and options you have, you need to read up on that and decide -- there are a few options depending on budget and goal.

Stan

Shocks > struts.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 12:59 PM
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Roo did an excellent, very detailed write-up here: The cost of a Swift install?

You can reuse your springs (they don't really wear out), and replace the struts with KYB-GR2's. They are very similar to the stock struts, maybe a little firmer. Can be had VERY cheap on amazon.com:
Amazon Amazon

-Silke
04 FXT PP PSM ~ "Subed"
98 Forester S ~ "Slynki"
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 01:37 PM
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pleiad7 speaks the truth about the KYB Excel-G. KYB is getting away from calling them GR-2s. KYB no longer manufactures them in silver; only black. If you order a GR-2, you will get an Excel-G. They are considered OEM replacements.

I just installed a set with Swift Spec-R springs last night on my '08 FSXT. A little more firm than stock but a great trade off over AGXs for price on a daily driver especially if you are not going to track the car. The strut and springs combo will make a great combo for a DD and an occasional track session.

The time it took us to do the install...3 hours start to finish. That includes building the new struts to install them. My son and I were really taking our time too. Keep in mind though that I only have 40K miles on my '08 FSXT. Your mileage may vary and nuts and bolts may not be as forgiving for you as mine were for me.

I used the '04 WRX Sedan specific struts, springs and top hats. I used a 1/2" spacer in the rear and the car is level at 26" front and rear at the top of the fender lip. I am glad I opted for the spacer. Definitely would have had the saggy butt going on.

Overall...I am extremely pleased with the outcome. My wife...not so pleased. She says it looks small now. It will grow on her though. She didn't like my 1-ton diesel pickup at first after a bit, I couldn't get her out of the seat unless the 30 foot RV was hooked to it.

Anyway, the Foz rides firm, yet not bouncy like coil-overs and handles like its on rails. If I had a set of Star Specs or similar tires, it could only be better.

08 FSXT - Deceased 11/27/13
06 Mini Cooper S JCW
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 02:16 PM
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$269 for set of 4 KYB struts for 2000 Forester

The Amazon price from this company is $39 cheaper. KYB Outlet | Shocks and Struts from Just Suspension, an Authorized KYB Dealer

2000 Forester S 5-speed manual

Last edited by Tony; 06-26-2010 at 02:18 PM. Reason: New information
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bjcarter2 View Post
I just installed a set with Swift Spec-R springs last night on my '08 FSXT. A little more firm than stock but a great trade off over AGXs.
Really? Those springs are designed for an STi, mainly for the track with some daily driving in mind. They are also super low for the Forester. Just another proof that everyone's idea of a DD-friendly setup is very different.

Stan

Shocks > struts.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 01:08 AM
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Really? Those springs are designed for an STi, mainly for the track with some daily driving in mind. They are also super low for the Forester. Just another proof that everyone's idea of a DD-friendly setup is very different.

Stan
I drove an '08 FSXT that these springs were on except they were matched to a set of AGXs. A great way to loosen teeth or induce labor. I bought the set and scraped the AGXs (as it turns out, one was dead anyway) for the Excel-Gs.

I just returned from a 100 mile round-trip drive with my wife and she only made one comment about harshness and that was over a normally sharp bridge joint. She's happy; I'm happy.

No tires rubbing at all. Plenty of room for loading anything of weight. And most of all, it looks great.

08 FSXT - Deceased 11/27/13
06 Mini Cooper S JCW
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 04:27 AM
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Wormguy:
You will need the struts (KYB, as suggested above) and spring compressors. KD Tool makes a pretty decent one for not a lot of money, or you can borrow from many chain parts stores. You will also have to crack the brake lines open thanks to Subaru's stupid design, so will need some fluid and a helper to pump the pedal. If you've never bled brakes before look up the how-to before you try. After installation you will need an alignment also. So yeah, you can do it yourself, but it's not a simple afternoon project where you're done once the parts are on the car. You may want to get quotes from some shops and see if the savings are worth the hassle.

'02 L m/t. Insurance adjuster 4 U.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ddavidv View Post
Wormguy:
You will need the struts (KYB, as suggested above) and spring compressors. KD Tool makes a pretty decent one for not a lot of money, or you can borrow from many chain parts stores. You will also have to crack the brake lines open thanks to Subaru's stupid design, so will need some fluid and a helper to pump the pedal. If you've never bled brakes before look up the how-to before you try. After installation you will need an alignment also. So yeah, you can do it yourself, but it's not a simple afternoon project where you're done once the parts are on the car. You may want to get quotes from some shops and see if the savings are worth the hassle.
No need to crack the brake lines if you have the tools to cut in on the strut. The part of the strut holding the brakeline in place can be cut into. There is a clip on the brakeline anyway. So all my kyb's are cut on the outer end where the brakeline sits.
But cutting the old strut while it sits on the car you must be careful so you don't cut the brakeline or anything else. Like the strut itself you don't want to cut.

07 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 5EAT
99 Forester: Sold
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the advice. I have some 20 years of shadetree mechanic experience but haven't tackled struts before. While I don't have air tools, I have breaker bars and sockets because I am planning to do a timing belt on an '01 Honda Odyssey very soon.

This job looks quite doable. I will order KYB struts and borrow coil compressors from AutoZone. There is a shop nearby from me that can do an alignment.

ddavidv & Elmy: I have bled brakes many times before, but didn't realize that one could try modifying the (rear?) struts to avoid having to do it.

Let's see how it all goes...

2001 Subaru Forester S, M/T, 2.5L N/A, 165K miles
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2010, 03:45 AM
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Air tools or electric impact gun will make using the spring compressors far faster.
I'm not a 'cut the strut' kind of guy so it never crossed my mind, but I don't see anything wrong with doing that, either. Sounds like you are capable of doing this job.

'02 L m/t. Insurance adjuster 4 U.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 11:25 AM
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I have done this three times now. Do yourself a favor, buy new nuts for the bottom strut bolts. They are easily stripped, even when using a torque wrench and actually supposed to only be used once as per the subaru manual. I stripped one on my car re-installing, it stripped the camber bolt alos, and it was a PITA, had to get a special nut cracker to get it off.

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