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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious just what you can get into offroad with the Forester. It does not seam to have the greatest clearance, or approach/departure angles. Nor does it have low range. Yeah, I know it's not meant to be a rock crawler. But I was just curious what people have taken them through. I want to know the car's limits offroad when I go on my next trip (I'm thinking Death Valley).

If anyone has an experiences or can point me somewhere, thanks!!
-mike
 

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98 Forester...what else
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:applause icon here:
 

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Its not a huge rock hopper, but even in stock form it can handle sand, mud, creeks, rocky roads and the odd ditch or bump.

If you want to get more serious you can start to mod the car...
sump guard/bash plate, lift kit, offroad bumpers (for angles and protection), bigger offroad tyres (215/65R16 are about the closest size) and keep going from there!!

Id suggest you pop on over to OffroadSubarus.com
While its mostly aussies, there are some people from other places and there is a good range of knowledge and people who have done trips in stock and modded Foresters. Kevin (July pic above) is seen there at times.
You need to register but its certainly worth the effort if you are considering anything more than a dirt road.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
jeez

These pictures (posted here, and in the links) are very impressive. I really had no idea. I can't wait to try it out now. Guess I'll get my deductable lowered though!
 

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Re: jeez

McZero said:
These pictures (posted here, and in the links) are very impressive. I really had no idea. I can't wait to try it out now. Guess I'll get my deductable lowered though!
ducktapeguy and Mountainbiker took some really cool pics during their previous offroad exploits in the SoCal desert; you may want to see if you can get them to post them up again.

Kevin just started a thread you may want to subscribe to:
http://subaruforester.org/viewtopic.php?t=291
 

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One thing - be careful doing stuff on your own.
A lot of photos might only show 1 car but most of them are when there are several cars. If something goes wrong you might need another car to help get you out or at worst to give you and your passengers a ride!
 

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Re: jeez

McZero said:
These pictures (posted here, and in the links) are very impressive. I really had no idea. I can't wait to try it out now. Guess I'll get my deductable lowered though!
I think those cars on the pictures were a bit prepared for this rough terrain though ... at least protect the bottom of your car with plates.
 

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I've got pictures on the way from my Death Valley trip from the last week of '05, as well those from the April '05 trip with Ducktapeguy. Just gotta find time to get them posted up here.

I hadn't forded any streams as deep as the one in the link above, until the NorCal flood of 12/30/05 when a police officer directed me to proceed through the lake that was on top of the 101 freeway at the Sonoma/Marin County line! :eek: My headlights dissappeared underwater! That made it kinda hard to see where to go, since it was raining, and it was midnight.

I agree, if tackling stuff like the pictures above, have some buddies with you! And yes, I wear protection. :wink: In the form of a sumpguard from SubaXtreme, and oversized quasi-All Terrain tires: Pirelli Scorpion ST 215/65-16
 

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MountainBiker said:
I hadn't forded any streams as deep as the one in the link above, until the NorCal flood of 12/30/05 when a police officer directed me to proceed through the lake that was on top of the 101 freeway at the Sonoma/Marin County line! :eek: My headlights dissappeared underwater! That made it kinda hard to see where to go, since it was raining, and it was midnight.
Wow :shock: that would've hydrolocked my engine, with the short ram I have! We rescued a few people who stalled their cars crossing the floodwaters on Todd Rd. by the sod farm, including a Porsche Carrera. I still have no idea how he even made it through...
 

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Yes, it was amazing to have a cop direct me into the water (right at San Antonio road). It was probably about as deep as the middle of the bumper, but the bow wave made it block the headlights.

I took my stock intake off a couple days later, to see how far the water got, and there were small traces of mud splashes right up to the filter! I'm glad I have an oiled foam filter, which has the ability to help prevent water droplets from getting through, at least better than paper. The diff oil looked okay. But I think it is time to put in some diff breather extensions to make it through rainy winters in Sonoma County!
 
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Discussion Starter #14
As long as you do not try terrain that you cannot handle given your ground clearance and approach and departure angles, the Forester is excellent off-road. However, you also need to take your tires into account. All-terrain tires may be needed, or, at a minimum, a good set of all-season tires that have an aggressive tread. And as pointed out, you should be with at least one other vehicle and you should have proper recovery equipment, such as tow straps. The lack of a low range gearing selection is not that crucial in my opinion, particularly since with the Forester you really can't tackle terrain that you can with a high-riding SUV or pickup and that may require the use of 4WD lo. In addition, I've had a number of 4WD pickups, all of which had a manual transmission and 4-hi and 4-lo. I can't remember ever having to use 4WD lo. First gear in 4WD hi was always enough in the toughest situations, tho I never got into the really horrendous off-roading that some people do. Also, remember that an AWD's traction is better than that of a 4WD, so you have that advantage off-road.
 

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The things that have made me abort and turn around are:
-lack of wheel articulaltion => loss of traction
-poor approach/departure angle > bumpers hit the ground
-poor ground clearance => exhaust pipes or more important parts hit the ground!

Lack of low range isn't really a consideration, since the above things usually stop me way before I need a lower gear to control my speed on downhills. However, I have an AT, so with the infinite low, it is easy to crawl slowly over obstacles. A maual will be a bit more difficult to use when the conditions require a slow speed.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
I have not offroaded in my FXT but I have done quite a bit in a variety of Jeeps. Except for rock crawling I never used low range. It was just too low.

I would imagine with minor prep the Forester would be an excellent vehicle for casual 4 wheeling.

I can still remember the 1st time I took a vehicle off roading. It was an 89 Jeep YJ that was so new I still had the temp tags in the window. I put it in a stream that was deep enough the when we traversed it sideways water came in the drivers side window!!! :shock: :shock: Drain plugs come in real handy.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
I took my 05 up in the mountains in search of the elusive wild huckleberry and had to negotiate some pretty rough roads and boulders. Scared my passenger who wanted to go back and get a 4 wheel drive pickup. I didn't have a lick of problems and didn't even scrape the bottom at any point thankfully as I had only about 1500 miles on her at that point.
 

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dicknose said:
One thing - be careful doing stuff on your own.
A lot of photos might only show 1 car but most of them are when there are several cars. If something goes wrong you might need another car to help get you out or at worst to give you and your passengers a ride!
Can't agree more!!! That's me in the April shot above but the pic was taken by my mate who had already crossed (in his VW Toureg). There were also two other vehicles waiting to see if I would make it (Both Mitsubishi Colt Rodeo double cabs if I remember right). We followed them on the trail and they were really impressed with the Forester.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Forester "off-road"

It kinda cracks me up to see that most of the time, people really mean "off-pavement". I just got my 06 Forester, and what I expect it to do beyond the abilities of the 92 Mazda B-2200 (2 WD) that came before it are not many. Ground clearance and approach angles are about the same. Traction is far superior, even with the stock Yokos.
The Forester is a poor choice for real off-roading, where there are no roads at all, but if there are places where you want to go that are sandy, slick, narrow, or just delicate, the Forester will get you there, without getting banged up. My final choice in a new car was between the Mazda 3 hatchback, or the Forester. For all intents and purposes, they are the same car, until you leave the pavement, or encounter snow.
I've done a whole bunch of driving in the hinterlands of the American West over the last 45 years, and I am confident that my Forester will take me to anything I want to see, in any terrain that I am likely to encounter. Beyond this, more 4WD will only get you more stuck.
 

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Re: Forester "off-road"

procabbie said:
It kinda cracks me up to see that most of the time, people really mean "off-pavement". I just got my 06 Forester, and what I expect it to do beyond the abilities of the 92 Mazda B-2200 (2 WD) that came before it are not many. Ground clearance and approach angles are about the same. Traction is far superior, even with the stock Yokos.
The Forester is a poor choice for real off-roading, where there are no roads at all, but if there are places where you want to go that are sandy, slick, narrow, or just delicate, the Forester will get you there, without getting banged up. My final choice in a new car was between the Mazda 3 hatchback, or the Forester. For all intents and purposes, they are the same car, until you leave the pavement, or encounter snow.
I've done a whole bunch of driving in the hinterlands of the American West over the last 45 years, and I am confident that my Forester will take me to anything I want to see, in any terrain that I am likely to encounter. Beyond this, more 4WD will only get you more stuck.
You are kidding, right? You need to look at this thread.

BTW, there are very few places where it is legal in the US to drive "where there are no roads at all". So I agree that the term "Off-Road" is a bit of a misnomer. The famed Rubicon 4x4 road near Lake Tahoe is a County Road! But I'll never take the Forester on it.

I agree that the Forester is not the best off road machine, not even close. But if you want a car that is fun to drive on pavement and on dirt, gravel, rocky moderate 4x4 roads, then the Forester is it. And on washboarded dirt or gravel roads, it's capability and comfort far exceeds most truck based 4x4s.
 
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