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2007 FXT Limited 5MT
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2,815 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for some help and guidance finding some mods for my stock 2003 Forester X.

I want to add some parts that are relatively easy to install because i'm pretty much a newbie to cars.

I basically will be using my car to drive to school, in the snow, a small bit of light offroading on some trails every once in a while.

I'm open to any suggestions, so go ahead and post :)
 

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Administrator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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39,836 Posts
Not sure what you've already done to your Forester, so take a look at our '03 X Member Journal "Table of Contents" here. The full Member Journal can be reached via the link below. I woudn't recommend the power MODs, but most everything else could be easily done to your Forester. :wink:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,827 Posts
While you did not specify what type (performance,handling, etc.) of enhancements you want to add, I'll go with these to start.

Very good advice here http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f98/thank-you-skid-plate-73041/. Just when you think it wouldn't happen to you threads.

Tires-too many choices but worth asking in the Tire and Wheel forum.
Dedicated snow tires and rims. You don't need to spend lots of money, just get steel rims with the correct or close offset and inexpensive tires like Firestone Winterforce. That will get you to school regardless or not, should you decide to take a snow day.:biggrin:

Better horns, Search "Hella".
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,450 Posts
Advanced driving lessons?
^^This! Forget the car... mod the driver instead! Sign up for a Teen Street Survival or performance driving class, and you'll learn skills that will serve you well for a lifetime.
 

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2006 Forester XT Limited
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106 Posts
Some of the best things I've done regarding cars:
rent an audi a4 quattro and headed to Thunderhill raceway to find the limits of a car, and how to correct when you've exceeded these limits. It's an instant lesson on drifting, especially around turn 2.
tires. What's the point of having power or handling if you can't connect it to the ground. They also play a huge part in how enjoyable your car is, i.e. cruising speed noise as well as stickiness and predictability.
This one is debateable, but I would NOT change the suspension angles, i.e. raise or lower your car. Whenever I have done this in the past, it created a lot of extra work to maintain.
I've also really enjoyed every air intake I've ever upgraded. Super simple, fun to do yourself for a first thing to do, and you get instant gratification from the extra speed and sound from your engine.
 

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2007 FXT Limited 5MT
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2,815 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Bobby...I will check out your journal.

good dog..I was thinking about buying new wheels and probably new tires too. Right now I have the stock steel rims with the stock tires. Should I buy a set of winter tires and put them on my stock steel rims to use in the winter?

In regard to the driving lessons...I'm very interested in those..I'll try to find one in my area!
 

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2007 FXT Limited 5MT
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2,815 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
On-road or off-road, you can't go wrong with a sound system upgrade.:rock:

And there is TONS of info on this site to do this mod, and you'll enjoy it for the life of your Fos.
I've been really looking into this, first i'd start off with a decent head unit then probably get an amplifier and subwoofers.
 

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2004 Subaru Forester XT 5 speed manual.
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741 Posts
Lots of great advice. Coming onto this forums has to be the best start.

Rallyarmor mud flaps. They're larger than stock and provide much better coverage against rocks/mud etc from hitting your paint. Subarus worldwide go with these on their rally cars.

Like previously mentioned : If you're not familiar with a skid plate, it's a large thick aluminum plate or "shield" that prevents your oil pan and other engine/transmisison bits from being severely damaged while offroading. It doesn't mean you're indestructible, so you'l have to be careful when you do offroad, of course, but it's a MUST if you plan to go off the beaten trail.

Lighting! IF you're going through dark streets, or offroading a little later in the day, you can look up quite a few threads here where people put up lighting bars etc to get some enhanced lighting.

Change your fluids! If you don't know when the last time they've been changed, or if the previous owners don't either (mom and dad possibly?) then you should considder it time to change those fluids! (brake, engine oil, transmission and/or differential fluid, engine coolant).

Filters: fuel filter mostly

Bushings: If you think your ride is too squishy, or you have a higher mileage vehicle, Subaru Forester and most Subaru Impreza bushings are all interchangeable.. You could upgrade to Kartboy, TIC(Turn In Concepts) or other polyeuthothane type bushings for added stability.
In fact, if you have a 5 speed manual, I'd strongly suggest changing out your bushings related to your shifter asap as those seem to be very flimsy in OEM form from Subaru.

Tires for sure. If you're on a lower budget, and cannot afford seperate sets of summer and winter tires, which are recommended for sure, you can still do some research and find an all terrain/all season tire that meets your needs. With research, you can find the best bang for your buck.

Welcome to the forums!

Oh, and take it from someone who had a nice headunit , fronts, mids, rears and subwoofers/amps in a vehicle before. Get a two-way alarm system that will alert you when your car is being broken into. Unless you declare and make sure that your audio equipment is covered under your insurance, your insurance company may not cover that part of your claim should that happen. I know I was out quite a bit of money since I only had fire and liability when I lowered my insurance to get into a new car.. ;) Lesson learned.
 

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Just don't mod it honestly.

The car is going to cost a highschool/college student enough as it is to just keep maintained. DIY the regular maintenance and learn about the car and keep it in good working condition.

On the nonturbo, power mods won't make any significant difference unless you do expensive major engine work.

Suspension mods will put more wear and tear on the car, especially brakes, struts, bearings, tires etc.

Maybe upgrade the sound system if you want.

Most people just keep modding the car, then can't afford it or get tired of it and end up selling it, just enjoy the car as it is!
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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1,988 Posts
Just don't mod it honestly.

The car is going to cost a highschool/college student enough as it is to just keep maintained. DIY the regular maintenance and learn about the car and keep it in good working condition.

On the nonturbo, power mods won't make any significant difference unless you do expensive major engine work.

Suspension mods will put more wear and tear on the car, especially brakes, struts, bearings, tires etc.

Maybe upgrade the sound system if you want.

Most people just keep modding the car, then can't afford it or get tired of it and end up selling it, just enjoy the car as it is!
I agree with most of this. And the driving skills enhancement.

The more you mod your car, the greater your chances that you will be tempted to do either dangerous or illegal things with it, and you do not need any marks on your driving record. Loud exhaust=cop magnet, for instance.

You should also avoid putting a hugely loud sound system in your car, as you need to concentrate on driving. Distractions make it more difficult to remain in touch with the car and the things around you.

I vote for learning to do basic maintenance, oil and filter changes, etc, and banking the rest of the money for either future repairs or other things you need or will need in your life. Modding a car is one of the worst "investments" possible in life, where mods generally reduce, not increase, the value of your car. Keep good tires and brakes on the car for safety, for sure.

Just drive it, safely, and enjoy its functionality....
George
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,499 Posts
^^This! Forget the car... mod the driver instead! Sign up for a Teen Street Survival or performance driving class, and you'll learn skills that will serve you well for a lifetime.
You sound like me. :banana:

Just don't mod it honestly.

The car is going to cost a highschool/college student enough as it is to just keep maintained. DIY the regular maintenance and learn about the car and keep it in good working condition.
Pretty much.
 

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2006 Forester XT Limited
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106 Posts
Just don't mod it honestly.
This is probably the most sage advice aside from adding a skid plate. After owning and modding a few vehicles (started with a 93 integra in HS and ended up putting $13k into it) I've learned one thing. Stock vehicles work better. The whole time in my integra I was under this assumption that the aftermarket stuff was more efficient and better. It's not. Most of it makes it so your car does not work as well as a whole. And I was sparing no expense. Spoon, mugen, AEM, Skunkworks, Tokiko, adjustable coilovers, you name it...At the end, after all that money, i said to myself one day, "This stuff is ALL junk." If you want to enjoy stuff like that, learn to wrench, buy yourself a Datsun 510, and set it up for the track. Want to off road? Buy a 1990 Bronco w 4wd and just run it till it don't no mo.
 

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2004 2.5XT
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73 Posts
I agree with the above on lessons. I took MSF courses when I learned to ride my motorcycle even though I already "knew" how to ride. I learned a ton and realized I was doing several things wrong.
same exzact thing i was like ohh i ride... classes go a LONNG way.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,220 Posts
In regard to the driving lessons...I'm very interested in those..I'll try to find one in my area!
NASA NorthEast Region - Safe, Affordable Way to get on the Race Track
If you are serious, join this organization and spend the money on a track weekend. You'll get on course and classroom instruction that is relevant to everyday driving. I also recommend autocrossing as a good way to learn car control, but if you're not getting instructor assistance while you're doing it there isn't necessarily real benefit. You can do an autocross completely wrong and still do okay.

There is a big difference (to me) between modding a car and personalizing it. If you just want to make it look unique and stick different wheels on it, that's one thing (and nothing wrong with that). If you're thinking of ways to make it go faster or handle better, that's a different (and typically more expensive) avenue to take. As someone who has built a few project cars over the years and now races with NASA, my sage advice is if you want to go faster, buy a faster car (after, of course, you learn to drive!). But, you will learn much more driving a slower car first, because you can't mask lack of skill with gobs of torque.

Lastly, a Forester isn't ever going to make a great platform for a performance car (sorry XT guys). Sure, they can be fun, but ultimately they will be limited by their weight and where they carry it. Be realistic in what you hope to accomplish and don't spend lots of money trying to make a pig's ear into a silk purse.
 

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2007 FXT Limited 5MT
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Discussion Starter #18
NASA NorthEast Region - Safe, Affordable Way to get on the Race Track
If you are serious, join this organization and spend the money on a track weekend. You'll get on course and classroom instruction that is relevant to everyday driving. I also recommend autocrossing as a good way to learn car control, but if you're not getting instructor assistance while you're doing it there isn't necessarily real benefit. You can do an autocross completely wrong and still do okay.

There is a big difference (to me) between modding a car and personalizing it. If you just want to make it look unique and stick different wheels on it, that's one thing (and nothing wrong with that). If you're thinking of ways to make it go faster or handle better, that's a different (and typically more expensive) avenue to take. As someone who has built a few project cars over the years and now races with NASA, my sage advice is if you want to go faster, buy a faster car (after, of course, you learn to drive!). But, you will learn much more driving a slower car first, because you can't mask lack of skill with gobs of torque.

Lastly, a Forester isn't ever going to make a great platform for a performance car (sorry XT guys). Sure, they can be fun, but ultimately they will be limited by their weight and where they carry it. Be realistic in what you hope to accomplish and don't spend lots of money trying to make a pig's ear into a silk purse.
I completely get what your saying, yes I meant more like personalizing, I'm not trying to get more performance out of it i'm just trying to make it look nicer.
 
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