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1999 Forester S 4EAT
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418 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After having had the Ironman 4x4 35mm lift springs on for about 250 miles, it seemed like a good time to share my thoughts on them. I've got the SUB001B (front) and SUB002B (rear) springs on a '99 S with stock struts; they came from Camel 4x4 in New Jersey and ran around $260 shipped. Shipping was quick, and Camel 4x4 sent a followup email with a discount code against future full-price purchases from them about two weeks later.

So far these have been run for about 200 miles on pavement and 50 miles on the trail. Trail usage has been graded forest trails consisting mostly of gravel, washboarding, small ledges, ruts, and mud puddles, as well as two-track offshoots. Pavement has been a mix of town and Interstate driving. Tyres are still stock-sized at 205/60R16.

On-road, they're very civilised. Slightly firmer than the OEM springs that I had before (though whether that's down to spring construction, the OEM ones having been tired at 125,000 miles, or a combination of the two is up for debate), they eliminated a good amount of wallow without potholes or undulations shaking the fillings out of your teeth. Cornering is what I'd call unaffected; there's no real sensation of the centre of gravity being higher. Alignment was a non-issue; all four wheels tracked straight without needing camber bolts or similar. Clearance between the leading edge of the rear tyres and wheelarches is fine - no trailing arm drop spacers are necessary. Overall it's not really noticeable that the vehicle is sitting slightly higher unless it's parked next to a stock one.

Off-road, the ride improvements really help when you're trying to make time down a trail - but the lift is the real plus. It doesn't give a huge improvement to the approach, departure, or breakover angles, but it's enough that it is definitely useful. The real benefit is if you're heading down a deeply-crowned two-track: places where a stock Forester would be bottoming out are a non-issue. That's not to say that they're the answer to all possible situations, but definitely give a much-needed extra edge.

Probably the best way to look at these would be as a good starting point for someone considering a 2" lift: between these springs and some slightly larger tyres you can get to the 2" mark reasonably easily, but without the expense of suspension/trailing arm spacers and struts. The benefit is that you can go higher later on them if you want to, though at the almost 2.5" these springs plus spacers would put you at you may be getting close to (or even be slightly over) what the CV joints can handle.

Summary: for the price and what you get out of them, I'd say go for it. Can't really speak as to how their longevity will be, but that one will take more than a few days to get a feel for :icon_wink:
 

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SG9 Forester XT Stick Shift
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1,670 Posts
Do you have any picture of the spring? Is it constant or variable rate? The picture I seen at camel look like Land Rover spring instead of Subaru spring. Does the stock strut have enough travel with 35mm longer spring? I don't really like constant rate spring for light vehicle since the load percentage varies too much.
 

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1999 Forester S 4EAT
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418 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Do you have any picture of the spring?
Nope, sorry. Didn't think to take any as they're just coils, albeit painted a yellowy-orange colour :icon_wink:

Is it constant or variable rate?
They didn't say, so I'm assuming constant.

The picture I seen at camel look like Land Rover spring instead of Subaru spring.
From what I can tell, they're using generic photos for all of them. FWIW, there were no fitment issues, and the springs were tagged with part numbers matching what I'd ordered / what was on the box.

Does the stock strut have enough travel with 35mm longer spring?
It seems to - thus far, I've yet to run into any issues with the strut overextending itself.

I don't really like constant rate spring for light vehicle since the load percentage varies too much.
I tend to agree with you, but it doesn't seem to be a problem with these even in spirited driving - I've yet to get the typical mid-corner oversteer effect of sudden loading on them.

One thing I should reiterate is that I'm still running the stock struts, which, to the best of my knowledge, could well be factory-original with 125,600 miles on them. They work, but there have been a couple of times where it's felt like they're really getting on for needing attention at some point in the relatively near future. However, they're not likely to be replaced until the next inch of lift goes on, and I don't know when that will happen. As a result, my complete impressions of the setup may not be 100% accurate as it's not yet 100% optimal.
 

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1998 SF Forester L 5MT
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38 Posts
Glad to see this review on the Ironman springs, as I've had my eye on them as well (thinking of pairing them with new KYB struts). Also glad to hear they don't result in a really obviously lifted look once installed. I've spent a lot of time looking for photos of SF Foresters with coil spring lifts to try to make sure they don't look too goofy. Do you happen to have any pics of your rig with the springs installed? :icon_biggrin:
 

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1999 Forester S 4EAT
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418 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
By request :biggrin:



It's hard to tell that there's any lift on there at this height and tyre size, but if you look closely it's evident that there's more spring visible in the wheelarches than on a stock SF. Note that this photo was taken around last July and I've put over 10,000 miles on the springs since then; total settling has probably been somewhere in the 5mm range. Not bad for springs that only give a total of 35mm of lift.

Next up is to install body lift blocks; I'll be using the same approach for trailing arm spacers. The box containing them is sitting on the desk next to me, but it's going to be a few weeks before they go in - also have to source camber bolts, extended strut mount studs, extended trailing arm bolts, and possibly new struts. Tyres will stay on there for now as they've got probably another 10,000-15,000 miles left in them, but I do plan to go up another size at some point, which should net another 0.5" under the diffs. Total lift at that point should be somewhere between 2.5" and 3".
 

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1999 Forester S 4EAT
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418 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Dont go to high on the blocks. I suggest about an inch to 1.5 max. I had 2.25 on my car and I removed it. Too much noise from the drivetrain (cv's and driveshafts)
I'm using the 1.25" blocks on the struts, which should set everything somewhere between 2.25" and 2.5" once the springs are accounted for. The trailing arm spacers are the 2" items, which is close enough to stock in this case as doesn't matter.

Here's a photo of the blocks as shipped:



The 12 smaller ones in the foreground are the 1.25"x2" units for the strut tops; the 6 taller ones at the rear are the 2"x2" ones for the trailing arm spacers.
 

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2005 Forester XT 4EAT
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2,185 Posts
Nice write up, this kinda upsets me though since just last year i spent over $400 on king springs, when i could've probably driven to camel and picked up a set of these for $240
 

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05 Forester XS Manual
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314 Posts
I've read other reviews of ironman springs for a grand vitara, where the reviewer said they were way too stiff (I believe he said concrete like) and ended up swapping back their original springs. Do you find this with your new springs? One of the things I'm super happy with my foz is how it really eats the corrugations in the road, I'd hate to loose that. On the other hand I'm extremely tempted by the higher ride height of these springs, and enhanced carrying capacity. I realize you can rarely have things both ways, hence my worry about these springs being too stiff.
 

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1999 Forester S 4EAT
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418 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I've read other reviews of ironman springs for a grand vitara, where the reviewer said they were way too stiff (I believe he said concrete like) and ended up swapping back their original springs. Do you find this with your new springs?
I don't - but there're two things to keep in mind here:

1) 'Too stiff' or 'too soft' are very subjective terms here. My preference is generally for a firmer ride, but there's no good way for me to know how that may relate to someone else's taste without having them drive the vehicle and give me their impressions. If it helps, these springs are not quite as stiff as I'd like in a vehicle like this, but are probably 80% of the way there.

2) Comparing against the Grand Vitara is getting into apples-and-oranges territory. Bear in mind that those have live rear axles, which will behave differently to something with fully-independent suspension in the rough. Not having read the commentary you're mentioning there's also no way of knowing whether that person received bad springs, the wrong springs, or had some other issue going on that made them uncomfortable. All I can really say is that in my specific instance, I'm happy.

One of the things I'm super happy with my foz is how it really eats the corrugations in the road, I'd hate to loose that.
The best vehicle I ever had for that was a 1985 Peugeot 505S. Out in the desert it could comfortably run unbelievably high speeds on sand and dirt, and the combination of long-travel suspension, flat underbody, and rear-wheel-drive with LSD meant that I could get it about anywhere that a compact 2WD pickup could go. Totally understood :biggrin:

On the other hand I'm extremely tempted by the higher ride height of these springs, and enhanced carrying capacity. I realize you can rarely have things both ways, hence my worry about these springs being too stiff.
I hate to say 'try them and see' for obvious reasons, but that is kind of what it comes down to. One thing I will mention is that with the rear unloaded there is noticeably more bounce from the back on speed bumps, but it's not anything terrible. If it helps to put the overall compromise into context, though, there's no way I'd go back to the stock springs.
 

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98 GM67 + 03 SG
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358 Posts
Excellent review and continued testing. I'm eager to give these springs a shot in replacement of King springs.
 

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1998 Forester El 4eat-me
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308 Posts
Looks like I just found my next mod!

Was going to pair with the subtle solutions strut lift but idk if i want to deal with the added stress on the drivetrain....what all does it require to do if you do the strut lift with springs... just camber bolts?

sorry for the thread jack, i'll also be buying and installing these in thew coming months
 
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