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2017 Forester XT CVT (High Torque)
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a ‘17 FXT Premium and I want to improve both handling and off-road capability. I am planning on having Mann Engineering install their 1” lift springs, and I’m wondering if there are any better options for shocks than the OEM units?

I was thinking of the Bilstein B6 strut/shocks all around. Are the Bilstein B6 a good upgrade? Are there other options?

If I can’t get longer shocks, I’ll probably install this 1” extension from RalliTEK that give a little extra reach for the OEM shocks. Has anyone used this?:
https://www.rallitek.com/struts/11038-rallitek-strut-extension-outback-2010-2019-forester-2009-2019-crosstrek-2013-2019-more.html

I did find the Tein Street Advance Z4 coilovers, which add 1” height and can be hooked up with motors and electronics for adjusting rates on the fly. However, they are sealed units that can’t be serviced, and at $800 for all four are suspiciously cheap. I don’t think these are what I’m looking for.
 

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Premium Member
2017 Forester XT CVT (High Torque)
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223 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I got the Mann Engineering 1” lift springs. I highly recommend them! If they are the only thing you are changing from stock, you don’t need to do anything else.

After a lot of research the only off-the-shelf options I’ve found are the Bilstein B6 (or B4 for rear). KYB doesn’t state the Excel-G (formerly GR-2) are compatible with the XT ‘17-18 model years, only ‘14-16.

Bilstein lists these parts as compatible with ‘14-18 all models:
Front left: 22-278500
Front right: 22-278494
Rear: 24-278515

I talked to Mann Engineering, and they feel the Bilsteins are too stiff for a lifted Forester, so I’m sticking with stock. Those Bilsteins would be a good choice for a stock or 1-2” dropped XT though.

You can get custom-length shocks from Fox, but those are 3-4 times the price of the Bilstein B6, and too much for a 1” lift.

I also found that several manufacturers make shock extensions for the rear shocks. This returns the rear shock to stock position when using longer springs, to preserve negative (downward) travel.

RalliTEK has a 1” shock extender:

Primitive has a 1.25” shock extender:

Any lift on the SH or SJ will push the rear wheels forward in the wheel well, limiting tire size. You can address that with subframe spacers that move the subframe down by the same amount you are lifting the body. This is optional with a 1” lift, but necessary when lifting 1.5”-2” or more.

Subtle Solutions has subframe spacers in 1”, 1.5”, and 2”, and have XT or 2.5i versions available:

Primitive 2” subframe spacers kit:

Anderson Design Fabrication has the best spacers, but they are only 1.5” or 2”. These use steel blocks with two bolts rather than one long bolt that can run a risk of shearing under extreme stress.

The other way to correct the position of the rear wheel is to get adjustable trailing arms like these ones from Cusco (2013+ Crosstrek and Forester use same trailing arm):


Personally, I’m skipping the subframe spacers and shock extensions for now. My reasoning for this is that the STI Flexible Draw Stiffeners and Flexible Support Subframe attach to the subframe. If I get a spacer lift too I’ll install both then.

Because a lift can put even more stress on the sway bar mounts and end links (due to a larger differential between left and right sides if one is fully extended and the other compressed), I also replaced the end links with SuperPro, and installed rear sway bar mount supports (again SuperPro). The other option is to remove the sway bars entirely and sacrifice on-road performance for better off-road performance, but I actually want to make a quick-disconnect for the new endlinks.

My Forester now feels more planted, the back is slightly higher than the front unloaded, and I have a tad more ground clearance. The Mann 1” lift springs are a good place to start.
 

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Banjor, this is great information. I have a 2016 FXT and want to do a 1" lift. I really want to avoid the rear tire moving forward when lifting using a lift spacer or Mann springs.
Question: When using the Mann springs, do the rear wheels still move forward ?
If using the RalliTEK "strut extension", does this help the forward movement any ?
What would be your advise for a 1" lift and no rear wheel forward movement ?

Thanks !!!
 

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2017 Forester XT CVT (High Torque)
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223 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited by Moderator)
I never answered this, but anything (springs, strut spacers) that moves the wheels further away from the subframe will also move them forward in the wheel well.

The only way to avoid the wheels moving forward is to lower the subframe by the same amount you raise the struts. There aren’t many kits that space the subframe by only 1”, because the fact is that the wheels only move forward by about 10mm (3/8”) with a 1” lift. That’s usually not enough to matter. If you are raising the suspension by 1.5” or more and/or installing taller tires then it makes sense.

I got away with a 1” lift kit and tires that are 1/2” taller, and didn’t need to reposition the subframe. You have to look closely to realize the wheels are closer to the front of the wheel well.

The shock extension just allows you more negative travel (extension), but doesn’t change the wheel position forward/backward. I got away with 1” longer springs without the shock extension. In fact Mann recommended against it to avoid bottoming out the shocks. If I did 1” longer springs plus a 1/2” or 1” strut spacer I definitely would have done both the shock extension and the subframe spacers.
 

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2018 forester
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The other way to correct the position of the rear wheel is to get adjustable trailing arms like these ones from Cusco (2013+ Crosstrek and Forester use same trailing arm):

Do these fit the n/a forester or both? I'm looking to place on the XT
 

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2017 Forester XT CVT (High Torque)
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223 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Do these fit the n/a forester or both? I'm looking to place on the XT
The trailing arms are the same on NA and turbo Foresters, as well as being shared with some other models.
 
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