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IS there any safe/reliable way to get any extra clearance With a 2001 Subaru Forester? Just asking becuase even though I DON'T do a lot of off roading I DO go to a few hunting and fishing spots that are back out of the way. The Forester gets there no problem as far as the traction part goes BUT it does run into some clearance problems in some of the spots....im always afraid that im gonna catch on something and rip off the exhaust or something like dent/puncture the gastank or something bad....

I DON'T want to make it into a mud bogger :) im just looking for clearance enough to get into/out of ruts in mud where its bottoming out now and over rocks(small) and that kind of stuff...ive taken it back into the ice fishing spot and it made it no problem on a snow/ice/mud rutted road but could hear it scrapping bottom several times during the trip....so is anything out there that actually works and is SAFE and does not cause parts breakage?
 

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Sydney Dinner Organiser
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First - do you have a sump guard?
That will give you some protection where you most need it.

There are some lift kits around.
http://www.users.bigpond.com/subaxtreme/

They do kits for the SF series Forester (a 2001 will be SF)
They are australian but should be able to ship.
 

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Get a good sumpguard, like DN suggested.

The cheapest lift method is taller springs, which I recommend against! The taller springs reduce downtravel, which removes traction. It does this by making a tire get light (or even lifted off the ground) while going on uneven surfaces. Then that tire spins, as does the opposing diagonal tire, then you usually stop moving. The springs are usually a 2" lift, and the front struts only have 2.375" of downtravel. So after installing 2" taller springs, you'd only have .375" of downtravel, which will give a very poor ride on the pavement, and traction loss on the dirt. BTW, the rear has 3.8" of downtravel.

The best, most proven way to gain ground clearance under the running gear is a 40mm strut lift from SubaXtreme. But this does increase the driveline angles, possibly leading to early wear out. I've yet to hear of someone complain of that with their lifts though.

There are also body lifts, one of which is made by Scorpion. These are much more work to install, and the don't raise the engine, transmission, exhaust, suspension further from the ground. It only provides more clearance from the body to the ground, which does help.
 

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Sydney Dinner Organiser
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Of cause if you only want say 10-15mm (1/2 inch) then just fit some slightly oversized tyres. Go too big and they wont fit under the suspension, but a bit oversized will do the job.
I run 215/65R16 and the advantage of that size is that you can get some "proper" offroad tyres (well claim to be proper - everyone has their own ideas on what is proper)

The downside to larger tyres is that you lose gearing ie you are turning less revs at low speed and less revs is less power+torque.

The upside is you can pick some tyres that suit the offroad conditions that you drive in. Especially if you have a spare set of rims you can then run an offroad set and road set.
 

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Thanks DN! I meant to add that to my post, but forgot. The larger 215/65-16 tires are really close to the spring base on the rear struts though. Especially the right rear. Different brands of tires may get even closer to the strut, so check it out right after you get tires installed.

I noticed zero change to acceleration or low end grunt, but that is probably because of the Automatic Trans providing lots of torque by slipping the torque converter.
 

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And in case you are wondering, the 215/65-16 tire made a big difference! There is so little ground clearance to begin with, so that extra 11mm helps a lot, and is very noticeable.
 

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jmacmaster said:
You want a suspension lift kit, not a body lift kit. Only the former will give you more ground clearance.
For the stated purpose I agree. However, a body lift will improve the break-over angle considerably - but (there's always a "but") no one makes it for the X series. :( The combination of both on the older models works very well indeed.
 
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