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1998 forester
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I drive a 2004 subaru forester 2.5xt

Its my daily driver, and probably wont be put on a track any time soon but I live out in the country with winding mountain roads and I'm looking to get the "on rails" feel. I already have my brakes, tires, wheels and engine upgraded.

Im not looking to lower or raise my cars clearence. I live in the northeast so snow is a factor and would like to keep my forester at stock height unless I have to lower it.

I have a few grand to spend, I dont need the best parts, I just want good parts.

1) Im trying to get everything done in one shot. Am I missing anything on this list?
sway bars
end links
bushing
springs
strut bars
lateral links
trailing links
end links
chassis brace
control arms
steering rack

2) Is there a company that sells full kits that have all this or do I buy each one separatly?

3) Do you recommend a company to buy them from?

I am a complete noob when it comes to this so anything you can "explain like I'm 5" the better.

I'm currently reading this post http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f70/how-turn-better-than-sti-cheap-10696/ but I figured the more info I get the better.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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2006 Forester 2.5X 4EAT
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168 Posts
1) Im trying to get everything done in one shot. Am I missing anything on this list?
sway bars
end links
bushing
springs
strut bars
lateral links
trailing links
end links
chassis brace
control arms
steering rack
That's a pretty complete list (so complete you have endlinks 2x). If you're going to do it piecemeal, there's a few different tracks you could take. I went in order of cost, slowing increasing as I went along, looking at the overall utility of each buy. You can see my progression in my build journal http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f115/dwhs-2006-2-5x-100486/.

Swaybars = Do, particularly rear
Endlinks = Do
Bushing = Depends on which, but honestly it's never going to hurt
Springs = Really only choice w/stock strut is Forester-specific STi pinks (~$500 new) or Swift Sport (~$300)
Strut Bars = Ehh. I got them, I didn't notice a huge difference, but it is nice to stiffen things up. Having done them, I'd move them down the priority list.
Lateral Links = Do if you've upped the sway and endlinks, that'll be your next point of failure if you push. Alternatively, you can get a bracing kit if you don't want to spring for the STi Lateral links. Whiteline carries the bracing kit for far cheaper than you can find lateral links.
Chassis Brace & Control Arms = I'd move these down on the priority list. From what I understand, they will help, but not near as much as the others.
Steering Rack = Probably the most technically difficult install on here. I have one but haven't put it in yet. From everything people have said, it makes driving the Fozzy like night and day. Some people advocate for this being among the first upgrades that you do, period. I cannot yet personally attest to the effectiveness of the upgrade, but clearly I've drank the Kool-Aid as I have a rack awaiting install.

I'll get into brands options below.

2) Is there a company that sells full kits that have all this or do I buy each one separatly?
Generally separately. There are some brands, like Whiteline, that sell the majority of these components. Others, like the steering rack, are going to be OEM. To my knowledge, there is no kit like you have with stage-1, stage-2, etc for power mods.

3) Do you recommend a company to buy them from?
Any of the forum sponsor Vendors are always a great choice.
RallySportDirect is where I've gotten a number of my bushings, etc from.

I'm currently reading this post http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f70/how-turn-better-than-sti-cheap-10696/ but I figured the more info I get the better.
Read it, re-read it. That's a great guide.

Brands: Whiteline makes good quality products, I know a lot of people like their sway bars in particular. For endlinks, you can do Perrin, Kartboy, Whiteline and others. I went with Kartboy, I just liked the look and feel of how solid their endlinks are.

For the rear sway: Unless you really want to go big, go for the Stock STi bar. It can be had for $50 on the Nasioc forums and you can put that money saved towards other mods.

For the Steering Rack: Make sure its the '04 STi rack, or check the Saab 92-X forums & ebay for a used 92-X Aero rack. They are often cheaper than the STi rack b/c the Saab guys don't know that they are selling the exact same product.

One more thing: Something I noticed was not on your list - Tires. Good tires can make all the difference. Bad tires can render all your upgrades meaningless. You might already have good tires, but it needed to be said in case you didn't.
 

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2004 Forester XT 5MT
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511 Posts
I have a complete set of STi aluminum lateral links with brand new Turn in concepts urethane bushings and stainless inserts. I picked them up from amember here about 2 months ago. I'm never gonna get around to using them so I will pass them on to you if are interested.

I will say I have 07 STi struts with Pink springs and 04 tophats on my 04 XT. It lowered the car a good 3-4"..... I am running a home made 3/8 spacer on top of the rear struts. Also did STi sway bars. It rides really well, corners quite a bit better than stock, but the drop kinda kills your ground clearance.
 

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@ S2xtreme4u- How is the project going?

The reason I ask is that I just bought an 2005 FXT and noticed the suspension is pretty ruff. It has 190,000 miles on it so no wonder.

I have decided to replace the struts with new WRX and some WRX springs I found on this forum.

My question is should I go ahead and replace the rest? My gut felling is I should because of the milage.



Hobs
 

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2004 Forester XT 5MT
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106 Posts
I too live in the snowy NE, but I have no regrets after bolting on a full set of '04 STI struts/springs (ground clearance be damned). There's no real need to upgrade the front sway bar or end links; unless I'm mistaken the diameter of the front '04 sti sway bar is the same as the FXTs. I noticed a small handling improvement after installing a rear sway bar (with links and mounts) from an '06 STI. Other things that I've done related to handling:

  • Rear lateral links from '04 STI (not much change in handling)
  • Whiteline front and rear strut tower braces. With only the front installed by itself handling improved a small amount. After the rear brace was added, the ride was completely transformed. The ride felt/feels much more "locked in" while cornering.

For me, if I were to do the upgrades again in order of how they helped the performance, I would order them like this:
I would still install the STI struts first, but I would go for the rear strut tower brace 2nd instead of last. Then lat links, followed by the front strut tower brace. Good luck!
 
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