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2013 Forester 2.5XT Auto
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Bought my 2013 Forester 2.5XT Touring DGM Sep. 2018 w/ 67k miles on it. Took me about a year to find what I was looking for, but since I plan on driving it until the wheels fall off, I figured the wait would be worth it.

Wasn't really sure about starting one of these journals simply because I am nowhere near an expert in wrenching on, modifying cars or even close to calling myself a DIY mechanic. But since everyone on here has been so helpful when answering my questions and patient to explain I figured I'd share what you all have helped me achieve and work on little by little.

Goals:
Let's set the expectations. This car is my daily driver for a 70 mi. round trip commute in the LA region, so let's be clear: fuel economy and comfort are key. I did a manual in LA for 10 yrs so it was time for an automatic. At the same time though I wanted something responsive, get me out on trails to camp in the spring in summers and up the mountain in the winters without struggling. Hence choosing the 2.5XT, in my humble opinion the swiss army knife of Subarus. Some power, some handling(definitely needs work) and the space inside the car to put the back seats down and make it home for the occasional nights.

I also grew up in a diy racing family, so while horsepower is fun and all, I definitely appreciate the thrill of a fine tuned suspension. And lastly, one of my overall goals is to keep the car looking as if all visible mods were done by the factory.

Okay, let's get into it and I'll do my best to update and provide part numbers as I go...

The Build:
Suspension

Done
*Cusco Front Lower Arm Bar Type I | Part # 692 475 A
*OEM STI 2015+ 20mm Rear Sway Bar | Part # 20451VA000
*Whiteline Rear Sway Bar Support Brace | Part # KBR15
*Whiteline Rear Sway Bar 20mm Bushings | Part # W0406-20G (Unistalled)
*OEM Rear Sway Bar WRX/STI Bushings | Part # 20464VA000
*Moog Replacement Rear Sway Bar Endlinks | Part # K750404 (Unistalled)
*Super Pro HD Rear Sway Bar Endlinks | Part # SPPSPF3915K
*OEM Rear Lower Control Arm Replacement | Part # 20250AJ040
*STI Front Lower Control Arm | Part # 20202VA000 (R) & 20202VA010 (L)
*OEM Front Sway Bar Endlink Replacements | Part # 20470SA001
*KYB Stut Plus Complete Assembly | Part # SR4484(R), SR4485(FR), SR4486(FL)

To Do
*Swift Lowering Springs
*Bilstein B6 4600 Heavy Duty Struts
*OEM STI 2015+ Strut Assembly Tophats
*OEM STI Steering U-Joint

Engine / Transmission
Done
*Whiteline Differential Mount in Cradle Bushings | Part # KDT903
*AEM Dryflow Air Filter | Part # 28-20304

Wheels / Tires / Brakes
Done
*Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 225/55 R17
To Do
*STI V7 wheels in Anthracite/Gunmetal finish
*Most likely stoptech slotted rotors and pads, but still researching options

Exterior
Done
*Color matched DGM exterior door handles off a 2008-2014 WRX
*Window Tint 35% on the rears and 45% / on the fronts (it's CA we can only do so much)
*3" Shorty Antenna by Perrin | Part # PSP-BDY-121
*De-badge of the rear lift gate chrome badges
*Black Subaru rear badge from the '18 Forester Black Edition | Part # 93079SG070
*Black Forester rear badge from the '18 Forester Black Edition | Part # 93079SG060
*Matte Black XT rear badge from the '20 Outback Onyx Edition | Part # J121SAN030
(I know, I know it's blasphemy to have badges that aren't perfectly color matched, but I want it OEM)
*Matte Black Slim License Place Frame Holder (Rear) | Part # SOA342L105

To Do
*No-Drill Front License Plate Adapter Bracket (thanks to the help of @pleiad7 this is in the near future)
*Fog Light Bezel Chrome Delete (not sure if I'll plastidip this or paint)
*Roof Rack Cross Bars (haven't decided between the OEM aero bars or the OEM Yakima round bars)
*Spyder Black Factory Style Headlights | Part # 1313018789


That's all for now. Pics to come...
 

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2013 Forester 2.5XT Auto
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Alright some photos....

When I bought the Forester:
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Today: (Needs a wash and there’s much more to do)
535804


A lot of the upgrades I’ve made I didn’t take photos of at the time but I’ll upload photos of the finished work with any hints or things I learned along the way in the following posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
First upgrade I did was install the Whiteline Differential Mount in Cradle Bushings | Part # KDT903.
535806

Absolutely loved how much more responsive the car felt after installing these bushings. Was able to install these while the car was up on the lift at my local mechanic’s shop for something else that was out of my skill set. The bushing inserts took all of 10 min to install and are definitely worth the $55 I paid for them.

Probably the most inexpensive throttle response upgrade I can think of and definitely worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Next up was the swapping out the exterior chrome door handles for a set of color matched door handles.
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I did learn that, contrary to most the post here and videos online, you do no need to take the interior door card to access the torx bolt to remove/install these.

For the front use a trim tool to pop off this cap to access the torx bolt.
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For the rears if you unscrew the assembly and slightly push it down (but not far enough that you can’t raise it back up) you can access the torx bolt. I recommend using at least a 3” extension to reach it.
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Also pop off the rubber around the child lock so the assembly will slide down easier and since that is the hole that you access the torx bolt through. It is directly behind the child lock assembly.

Pretty happy with the look of the car with all four installed. Now what to do about those roof rails...
535816
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
One of my goals with the build was to always have it looking like the modifications were possible upgrades that came right out of the factory. So for the wheels I definitely will be going with OEM wheels. still saving up to purchase and Covid Quarantine left me with some time to push out some ideas.
OEM Touring Wheel:
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BRZ PP Gunmetal wheel:
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06-07 WRX wheel:
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06-07 WRX wheel, flat gunmetal finish:
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WRX STI V7 wheel, anthracite finish:
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I'm leaning toward the V7’s. Like sticking with the 5 spoke, especially the split spoke, and it doesn’t hurt they can clear 4pots and supposedly Brembos as well.

Any thoughts? What do you all like the look of?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Found out Subaru did a DGM OEM colorway if the STI V7 wheels. Missed out on these but if anyone sees some available in good condition I’d appreciate a share.
535836
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Had some presents show up in the snail mail :geek:
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*Cusco Front Lower Arm Bar Type I | Part # 692 475 A
*OEM STI 2015+ 20mm Rear Sway Bar | Part # 20451VA000
*Whiteline Rear Sway Bar Support Brace | Part # KBR15
*Whiteline Rear Sway Bar 20mm Bushings | Part # W0406-20G
*Perrin Steering Dampner Lockdown
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Mi - 106,300
105K and 120K Tune Up: Replaced Timing belt, Water pump, Serpentine belt and Spark Plugs

Mi - 106,762
Wrapped the wheels in a set of Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 tires. So far I'd say they are well worth the money. The road feel is impeccable in my opinion.

Mi - 107,015
Installed the suspension parts I got in the mail the other day. Couldn’t wait to see how the Cusco Bars, Rear 20mm STI sway bar and the Whiteline Sway bar braces would perform. Had to go to the local mechanic shop since I didn’t have a torque wrench that could achieve the torque needed on the front and rear Lower Control Arm bushing bolts.
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535839

Gotta say that the Cusco Bars are a night and day effect on the Forester. Really appreciate how the car handles in the turns now. Way less of a roll into them which is very much appreciated. Really glad I stumbled across @Galager 's and @TSR85 's chat about them in this discussion.

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Installing the 2015+ STI 20mm Rear sway bar is another one of those night and day modifications. The back end is way more composed on the road and you can even notice a difference when changing lanes on the freeway. And its way more balance up through Angeles Crest Highway too. :LOL:

Curious to see how stiff the ride will be on the usual trails I go through in the fall. @GTEASER 's post got me thinking of this bar and so glad I ordered one and put it on. To my door from Subaru parts warehouse it was $95. Well worth it.

Part Numbers for those interested:
*Cusco Front Lower Arm Bar Type I | Part # 692 475 A
*OEM STI 2015+ 20mm Rear Sway Bar | Part # 20451VA000
*Whiteline Rear Sway Bar Support Brace | Part # KBR15
*Whiteline Rear Sway Bar 20mm Bushings | Part # W0406-20G
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Finally got around to debadging the rear lift gate chrome emblem and rebadged it with black OEM badges. It's not that noticeable from afar but that was the point.
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Okay so I know that it's somewhat blasphemy that the XT is matte and the rest of the badges are semi-gloss but I wanted them to be OEM and black. I actually kinda dig the differentiation between the Subaru + Forester badges and the XT. After all the 2.5XT was my affordable dream car so why not celebrate that fact.

Part Numbers:
*Black Subaru rear badge from the '18 Forester Black Edition | Part # 93079SG070
*Black Forester rear badge from the '18 Forester Black Edition | Part # 93079SG060
*Matte Black XT rear badge from the '20 Outback Onyx Edition | Part # J121SAN030
(yes it's from and Outback, but who cares, looks rad in my opinion)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
After installing the STI rear sway the OEM endlinks took a dive. Ordered a set of Moog replacement ones and installed them this weekend. Gotta give credit where credit is due and say thanks again to @GTEASER @CLe4R and @trajik78 with the assistance on these.
535846


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Also if you detach the headlight level sensor rear assembly for better access be sure to no over torque it like I did. SMDH. It only needs around 5 ft lbs of torque (if I remember right, double check the service manual). Thanks to Spencer at 541 motorsports I was able to get a replacement part for the integral stud and flange in a couple of days and be back on the road.
535848
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So with the new Moogs installed I took the 2.5xt up through Angeles Crest a couple weekends ago to clear my head and get out of the city. Pretty rad how you can be up at 8000 ft only a little over an hour outside of LA. Came backdown the mountain some hours later feeling pretty good only to hear a squeaky rear suspension again as I pulled in the driveway. :mad:

Did some more research and spoke with Gary @ Mann Engineering. He mentioned they either stick with OEM endlinks or install Super Pro HD Endlinks. Since I can’t stand the squeaking I decided to go ahead and order a set of them.

Installed them today, also greased the Whiteline sway bar bushings and double checked the torque of all the bolts for the sway bar and braces just in case they are the cause of the squeaking as well. I will say the Super Pros slide into place in the LCA way easier than the Moogs. And I forgot to take a photo of them side by side but the Super Pros are definitely beefier than the Moogs. Also the Super Pros are a little shorter than the Moogs which also may have made the alignment with the STI connection points a more seamless fit.

Took the Forester around town a little and so far so good!! Hope this fixes it and the squeaking is done for good. If not only thing else I can think to do is replace the Lower Control Arm bushings. A couple photos of the links installed:
536338


536339
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The saga of the rear clunk/squeak at low speed over uneven road continues....

After about 200 miles with the Super Pro Endlinks installed the clunk squeak returned. Did some digging and came across this thread by @jmackoul Sway Bar "Clunk" PSA which I found to be pretty helpful. I installed the STI 20mm sway bar I with a set of Whiteline bushings(the greaseless kind). Got under the car and re-torqued everything for the sway bar but could still slide the bar around quite a bit. I decided to order a set of the OEM bushings and installed them a few weeks ago. So far so good with those.

But the clunking/squeaking continued...

Figured I was out of my depth and took it to my local mechanic to get his opinion. He looked at the rubber on the lower control arms and both the rears and the fronts were looking really rough. So I ordered OEM replacements for the Rear LCA's and those were installed earlier this week.

Mi - 108,511

Clunk/squeak at low speed over unevenish roads continues:confused:, but I will say that it was way better than before.

For the replacements on the Front LCA's I wanted something that improved on / had a better bushing set up for the rear bushing as I had read many posts about the OEM ones being prone to failing and mine were pretty rough. Came across @TSR85 's post about STI Control arms and after some research I decided to got with a set of the 2015+ Front STI LCA's. Check out @trajik78 's post for the STI LCA Part Numbers or my first post of my build thread. Will be installing them next weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Mi - 108,609
2015+ STI Front Lower Control Arms went on today:
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538676


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Part #s:
Long Bolt (x2): 901000377
Lower Left Arm: 20202VA010
Right Lower Arm: 20202VA000

Don't have all the tools for doing this work so I took it to my local mechanic. He did confirm that the are set in perfectly with no fit issues at all. I've only driven it home from the shop so can't really give an opinion on the performance yet, but they look good lol. In all honesty there was some increased steering sensitivity but didn't notice anymore difference.

Thanks again for the help @TSR85
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@HeyChris hahaha there definitely is. Putting the quarantine "lock down" savings from not having to do my usual 70mi per day commute the savings to good use. 😁
 

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SeasonedStalker
2017 XT Touring in CBS HT CVT
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Mi - 108,609
2015+ STI Front Lower Control Arms went on today:
View attachment 538675

View attachment 538676

View attachment 538677

View attachment 538678

Part #s:
Long Bolt (x2): 901000377
Lower Left Arm: 20202VA010
Right Lower Arm: 20202VA000

Don't have all the tools for doing this work so I took it to my local mechanic. He did confirm that the are set in perfectly with no fit issues at all. I've only driven it home from the shop so can't really give an opinion on the performance yet, but they look good lol. In all honesty there was some increased steering sensitivity but didn't notice anymore difference.

Thanks again for the help @TSR85
Hey it looks great down there! I would love to add some more Stephanie and components like you have but need to get the STI LCAs installed first. you said there was no fitment issues or nothing new to be modified to fit the larger arms? Others have complained about vertical metal guards interfering with install. I didn't see those present on your FOZ. Were they removed or was I just not able to see them in the picture trying to get an idea for how to modify them to make sure the arms fit on a 17XT
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@Da More-ster Thanks! From what I've read, I believe the metal panels are only present on the SJ platform. I have a 2013 SH and I can't ever recall seeing them nor have I had anything removed. I wasn't able to install them myself but the mechanic who did the work said there was no fitment issues and nothing had to be altered for them to be installed.

You may have already found it but, when I was looking into this mod for my foz I found this thread really helpful. There was also this post in that thread that discusses the 08-10 STI arms would be a direct replacement on the SJ but don't know if that will help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Mi - 109,343

Radiator decided to take a dive on Friday. The heat in LA this weekend has been rough.;) Was leisurely accelerating up a hill and all of a sudden acceleration felt a bit off and then the CEL along with the traction and cruise lights went off. Had to get to a safe spot to pull over and then it started smoking. Picture below.

Got lucky though with a quick tow truck pick up and my local mechanic was able to have the car on the lift right when it got to the shop. All in all I was off the road for just under 4 hours so I pretty thankful for that.

540492
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Attempted to figure out the rear squeaking/clunking again today. Went to two local shops, my usual mechanic and a Subaru specialist, both told me they didn't know what was causing the squeak/clunk after both performing thorough inspections. Was feeling like I'd never figure it out and then came across this post by @dpm. Similar to their comment "could also force it by grabbing the roofrail and rocking the car" I can get the squeak to happen by doing the same thing. Albeit it sounds a little more like a click from the outside but opening the rear door and having my head inside the car while rocking the car I do hear the original sound.

When the rear lower control arms were replaced I don't believe that the bushing where the LCA connects to the hub was replaced on either side so this could definitely be the culprit as the car's rear weight rest on these bushings. It could also be the trailing arm bushings, part # 20250AJ070(L) & part # 20250AJ000 (R) but mechanic said there was no play there with the bushings.

Part numbers for the Rear Control Arm Bushing(Pillow-Ball Style) at the hub: 20257XA000
If I decide to just replace the hub assembly which comes with the bushings installed, though I can't confirm that the included bushing is a pillow-ball style bushing:
Right Hub assembly part # 28411SC001
Left Hub assembly part # 28411SC011

Can anyone confirm that they have installed the 20257XA000 bushing on a SH forester? Subaru website list application list MY 09-10 & 14-20 but skips 11-13. But other sites list MY09-20 as the application years. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Mi - 112,450

Replaced the struts and springs. Went with the KYB Strut Plus assembly due to budget and that they come as a complete assembly. Was hoping to do the Bilsteins with the oem spring set up but just don't have it in the budget and time do so right now. Liking the KYBs so far though as I am now sure that my old struts we're blown way out. Forester feels way more composed on the road now. And way less rebound than before on freeway dips. Let's see how it is in 5000mi

Might have solved the rear clunk/squeak issue as well, but we will see. I'll report back on if this fixed the issue.
 
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