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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I've had my forester for a couple months and now that I'm off school for the summer I have the time to improve on what subaru gave it last decade. Officially, it is:

2004 Subaru Forester 2.5XT 5MT

Found it on craigslist in Loveland, Colorado and figured we just had to check it out, and it was not pretty but it was something I knew I could get my hands on and make into my own. Ill try and find some pictures of that posted, but it needed a windshield, back hatch, and fresh tint job to look legal, AND that timing belt:grin2:. But hell, it's worked out so far and the next timing belt job will likely be on a new motor anyway. I digress.

Ill try and link each post once I have a couple in.
Post 2 - The Original Forester
Post 3 - The Door
Post 4 - Timing Belt = Adventure Time
Post 5 - At The Car Wash 1.0
Post 6 - Poking Disaster with a Stick
Post 7 - 2000 Miles to New Parts
Post 8 - Fixing Attitude with Altitude
Post 9 - Moar Paaaaarts
Post 10 - WBM 2019 - Just Pictures
Post 11 - Wheel Bearings - Finally
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
The Original Forester

Day one with the forester. Yes it ran but couldn't find a second driver to drive an hour to pick it up. So thanks AAA for having free tows.


The back glass was shattered and held in by tint on one side and tape on the other. AKA that had to go ASAP.


Things changed quick but I'll toss that in the next post.
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter #3
The Door

Compelled to get this done so I could go drive the foz in a less cautious way, swapped it myself in about an hour. Ask me about the balancing act to get the door up and bolts in...


Final Product


Not too shabby
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter #4
Timing Belt = Adventure Time

Basic glass out of the way, I got the timing belt changed at Racing Trenz in Denver CO. If you're in the area and need a place to go, I had good luck there. Writing this after the fact, I have gone back a few times and they have great customer service.

That done, time to explore CO in something that was not a sedan and had space for all the gear too.




If anyone knows how to link pictures in better I'm all ears too.
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter #6
Poking Disaster with a Stick

Took a weekend off and went to Moab to see what my little sub in store. Great job getting there and after a day of biking took it offloading in canyon lands and a few too many donuts later snapped passenger front CV axle. Made for some great pictures though.
This was a split second before it happened.



All was well and managed to limp it home and have it fixed Monday morning for a small 'fun' fee.
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter #7
2000 Miles to New Parts

Time to drive the forester home from Vermont to Colorado. All maintenance then care of and packed to the brim, made for a fairly uneventful haul. No new land speed records here with two bikes attached to the roof.


Made for good pictures going down the road...

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fixing Attitude with Altitude

Didn't think this would be the first thing to change when i got home but it took precedence somehow. After having spent all my time of ownership researching I decided on buying a set of ISC N1 Racing coil overs to meet all my needs. Mostly that of a 160k mile suspension.
Drove out and had the suspension in my hands within a day of ordering and install happened even sooner.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=512473&thumb=1
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=512475&thumb=1

Install was fairly easy, but things I forgot to do included:
-marking alignment bolts
-using an impact wrench from the start

If you're doing an install like this, don't be afraid to take everything apart just to put it back together. An extra minute of unbolting now will save you 15 minutes of jimmying later, I PROMISE.

Heres where it all sits now. Hard to find a picture where the wheels contrast, guess it just needs a dirty foz.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=512481&thumb=1
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter #9
Moar Paaaaarts

Only downside of upgraded suspension is that the next weakest link becomes that much more apparent.
That being said, ball joints and sway bar end links are coming out and getting better upgrades.
Sway bar end links- Those were a [email protected]#h for some reason trying to get them out and ended up grinding them off.
Ball Joints- Not too bad once they're out of the car, Given you have the right tools.

Lesson learned, the right tools are everything.
Mechanical aspects done, Wicked Big Meet was approaching and i wanted to make the car look a littler better so I made my own horn adapter plate so I could mount them within view of the grille. an $8 piece of metal from Home Deopt and some black paint later, we came out with something that looked like this.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=512485&thumb=1
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=512483&thumb=1
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter #11
Wheel Bearings - Finally

These things have been driving me crazy since the day that the forester became mine but one reason or another I had been putting this off. With the parts in hand and the tools I needed, I set out on taking the foz apart again for the umpteenth time. Really starting to get good at this.

All other accessories removed (brake caliper off, strut bolts loose, axle out, tie rod end loose) it was easy enough to remove the wheel hub with a slide hammer and a nut and bolt combination on the back. As usual for hubs this old, the driver side came out in pieces and I had to cut the inner race off the wheel hub.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=512501&thumb=1

New bearing in greased and ready for wheel hub.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=512503&thumb=1

That done, went onto pulling the outer race from the knuckle. Impact Wrench was the only means the race was going to come out, no problems to report there, and the frozen bearing went in even smoother with the addition of some grease on both surfaces. reinsert axle, attach caliper, button everything up and youre good to go.

Now for my favorite part of the day ... test drive time. Cant believe it doesn't sound like a freight train at highway ( or more than highway :grin2: speeds anymore)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Improving Drivability

A couple of things were still left on the docket that needed to be addressed before an upcoming road trip (another 2k miles are soon to be on the odometer). That being said, I had been pushing off getting an alignment done so that was on the top of the list. Three corners are perfect, with driver rear adjustment being seized..

- - - Anyone know of a good aftermarket option for rear alignment adjustment or should this just be replaced with OE parts? Recommendations gladly accepted (what have you guys and gals tried? - - -

The next thing on the list was to get the rear diff fluid changed since as far as I knew it was the original fluids from 2004 and much to my delight, BOTH plugs came out with relative ease and nothing but good looking fluid and normal small particulate matter. First attempted to get off by hand and with a ratchet and after bending an adapter crossed my fingers and used an impact wrench. A lot of people have said not to use an impact in this area since you're removing/ inserting a steel plug into an aluminum cover so I was VERY CAREFUL and used the lowest settings possible. While I wouldn't recommend doing this as the first method, it definitely comes in handy. If you're in the same boat , it can be done safely.
TLDR rear diff fluid change = 0.8 quarts of 75w90 gear oil and 1/2 inch impact wrench and you're done in the same time as an engine oil change.

Since this is my project I now use the words "done" and "last thing" quite loosely. Next up is trans fluid and with only one plug im expecting it to be equally simple.
 
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