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Discussion Starter #1
Just purchased an '04 XT with about ~98k, automatic trans. Looking to make some upgrades to add ground clearance and additional off-road capability, but nothing crazy.

Here's my current list of intended upgrades, and then some questions:

2" ADF lift (strut top spacers and trailing arm spacers)
King or rallitek OEM height springs
wheels - Black Rhino rumble - 15x7
tires - general grabber AT2 215/75/15

questions:

1) are the upgraded springs a worthwhile mod? I've read conflicting things regarding their utility, so wanted your thoughts. And would you go with the stiffer king springs or the not-quite-as-stiff-but-stiffer-than-stock rallitek?

2) the black rhino wheels look great and are very light at 14 pounds, anyone else using them?

3) any thoughts on the 215/75/15 tires on the 15x7? Most people seem to be putting 235's on the 15" rims, but the 215's in general grabbers are pretty light.
 

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2003 Forester SG9 XT 5MT
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Welcome @sonoran_fozzyroo !
Looks like a great initial mod list.
The thing I would add, is that if your XT is at 98k and hasn't ever had new struts, you will probably need to replace these soon anyway, especially if you go off roading, the originals likely to burst soon. New KYB struts will restore stiffness to your suspension.
I replaced my struts and springs at the same time, with new KYBs and stiffer King Springs, which together made quite a difference. Perhaps a little too stiff for daily driving with little load in my car, but is great when loaded down for offroad/camping. Rallitek might be a good compromise.
Black Rhino wheels look nice. Im saving for some method racing wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was thinking about new KYB struts with king springs, but wasn't sure if the stock struts either needed replacing or, if not, what the benefit of the KYB struts over stock ones is. Can you speak to that?

Also, has anyone used bassett wheels? They've got a black steel wheel in 15x7 with 5x100 bolt pattern that I've seen a couple people use on a forester SG, but there's not a lot of info out there. Anyone got anymore info? offset or backspacing that you used? any problems with vibration?
 

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2003 Forester SG9 XT 5MT
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I was thinking about new KYB struts with king springs, but wasn't sure if the stock struts either needed replacing or, if not, what the benefit of the KYB struts over stock ones is. Can you speak to that?
I believe that new KYB struts are basically equivalent to stock when they were new. The rear stock struts are also the self leveling kind, but this wont be a problem if you are going with stock height springs. If replacing with lowered or raised springs, you need to replace the rear struts.

Check out your struts, any signs of wear? Any oil leaking out of the seals? Are they bouncy? If so, better to replace them at the same time as springs, given changing springs is a PITA / possibly dangerous DIY job or you're paying someone to do it.

Just my limited exp based on owning several subarus, struts tend to need replacing before 200k km (~120k miles). Probably earlier if many miles are off road.

I'm interested to see other's experience too.
 

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2004 Subaru Forester XT 5 speed manual
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To address two of your questions:
2) 15 lbs sounds great for the wheel weight. I've had 19 lbs Methods. This plus general grabbers added quite some weight. I was not happy to see how much power my XT lost overall with this combo. Gotta cut down on weight in this area when possible
3) I was not following the trends for a while but I can hardly picture 235 fitting without rubbing. I used to run Grabbers, 225/70/15, and with 2" ADF lift I had to do some hammering in the front wheel wells. 215/75/15s would have more of a pizza cutter look but otherwise give you additional weight savings (see 2))
 
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