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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ten years ago, I bought my first Forester and absolutely loved this car. It was a 2.5x and I made so many upgrades to this car. I posted many of those on this forum moons ago. So, now it is time to start a new thread for the 2019 Sport. I can hoestly say that this is the first new Forester I have been excited about in ten years. My 09 has 171k and still in fantastic shape, but it is time to sell and move on to the 2019 Sport.

I also decided to create a bunch of seperate posts featuring one modification/discussion at a time.

So, here are the new car photos the day I bought it. 2019 Subaru Sport in Dark Blue Pearl with Option 24 - 8" LCD Harmon Kardon stereo with Power Lift Gate, Auto-simming rear view missro with Homelink.

If anyone would like to add comments or your own modz related to the work I have done, feel free to post. I am really hoping we can expand some of the stereo related sections like wiring and how to remove panels, LCD screen, etc.

Cheers
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I absolutely love ripping into everything to see how it is put together and to see how I can iprove it. Overall, the performance of the Sport is much better than my 09 Forester.

However, I prefer the dual exhaust so the first thing I did was take the car into the muffle shop. After inspecting the pipes, there is no room on the rear left of the car to install a split tailpipe system and run some Magnaflow mufflers. Therefore, I had the shop install a nice rolled edge chrome muffler tip and moved on. I also moved my 3 week old Duracell AGM battery into this car from the 09 Forester.

I also bought a few items at the dealership and the first week of the car purchase:

1. STI Shock Tower Support Brace - I had Front/Rear support braces in my 09. If you want better handling with little effort. Grab one of these babies for $200 from the dealer. At speed, when you rock the wheel the Forester will feel a little boating and rocks from side to side. Adding this bar prevents the rocking to some degree. The car will shimmy side to side instead of rock. That keep the wheels engaged longer on the pavement and improved traction. Huge performance gain for little money. And it looks cool. The engine cover slides off without have to remove the brace.

2. Auto-dimming Side mirrors with the foot path illumination. These were a little tricky to install, but once the first one was done, the other mirror was done in 5 minutes.

3. Aluminum skid plate. This was a fun install. The plastic skid plate was removed and you have to reuse the oil drain plug cover. I also ended up popping off more fasteners than required. But, easy to put back in place.

4. Thule Aero cross bars. - I mounted these up and then attempted to see if my Yakima Ski rack for Yakima aero bars would fit. It's not perfect, but it fits tight and should have no issue hauling my skis. No pics of the bars or ski rack.

5. Sunroof Deflector - Straight forward install. I could not figure out why there were small holes in the fornt section of the deflector. I figured these were for running wires or something. Kinda stupid, but whatever. Then I washed the car. Duh, the holes let rain and water rush trough to prevent trapping in the deflector area. Photo shows deflector and vortex generator.

6. Wilson 4g Cell phone booster antenna - You may notice another antenna mast in these photos of the Vortex generator. This is for a Wilson Mobile 4g antenna extender. Works great. I moved this over from my 09 Forester. I wanted to run the wire into the stock shark antenna, but there was no easy way to do this. I had everything apart, but it would require a lot of dremmelling to make this work. So, I ran the wire into the rear gate wire grommet and tucked the wire into the headliner. The booster box is under the driver seat. The inside antenna is right next to the sunglasses compartment. Same photo as the vortex generator.

7. The WRX/STI vortex generator - So, this thing just looks cool. It is designed for the WRX/STI cars, but I thought I would chance it and see if I could cut it down to fit the Forester. My concern was the raised section on the roof near the rack mounts. Luckily, the vortex generator fit mostly forward and I only had a slight bend to deal with. I was going to pull out my heat gun to mold the plastic, but this was not necessary. The only mod I made to this was trimming off the ends so it fit within the rails. I think it looks great and I did not have to cut off any fins. This photo is the same as the sunroof deflector.

8. Rear Cargo Net - I much prefer the design of the cargo nets in the 09 Forester. I am still getting used to this one, but not loving it yet.


Cheers,
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay, so now on to some other non-dealer upgrades. I totally love carbon fiber, so I add accent pieces when I can.

1. Footwell Illumination: So, for $125 from the dealer this is an option that I prefer to do from after market parts. I bought a color changing LED setup from Autozone for $45. This included 2 12" strips and an extension set with two button LEDs that I mounted in the USB console. The original blue LED is too soft and it is hard to see the USB ports at night. I spliced the wiring here for a hard-wire LED setup. Two wires +/-. Super easy. I also did not want to drill into the dash, so I removed the climate control cluster and had plenty of room to pop out the blue LED and run the two button LEDs through that hole. All the wires are hidden and I did not have to drill any holes! The wiring and controller are all in this area and again, no physical cutting or drilling required.

2. Carbon/Orange Steering Wheel badge - From ebay for $11. I thought this was going to be a badge to replace the existing one, but it is only a decal to fit over the existing badge. Still looks nice.

3. Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame - I can't resist the CF!

4. Door Sill Plates - I bought these from ebay from a Chinese vendor. This stuff is kinda hit or miss. The dealer wants $70 for the front only sill plates. These looked nice and included 4 sill plates with CF inserts. Cost was $65. They arrived fast and WOW!!! I am really impressed with these. They are made from steel and have a dark gray brushed finish with real CF inserts. The backing is 3M red double sided tape. The fit is perfect! There are some tricky bends and flares in the front door plates and these fit perfect. I would buy these again and recommend. I bought it from a seller called "auto-trims."

5. DRAG 17" Wheels - These are black alloy wheels that I bought from Discount Tire for my 09 Forester. The 09 has a bolt hole sizing of 5x100. The 19 Sport uses 18" wheels with 5x114.3. The DRAG wheel has holes for both bolt patterns, so I really lucked out. I mounted these 17" wheels with taller winter tires, Bridgestone Bliztak, and the online calcs show this configuration coming in within 1/2" in diameter. The difference in speed is less than 1mph difference. I usually do not mount TPMS sensors on my winter wheels, but the 19 Sport has more annoying lights and warning indicators compared to the 09 Forester. So, I bought some TPMS sensors from DT. Wow, was this a PITA. DT had to try several different sensors and programming before they finally got it dialed in. The final product was a Shrader TPMS sensor with rubber valve and they had to use the programming codes for a 2019 Crosstek. The local dealer verified that this would work and it did. I love the look of black wheels on this car and now I can run summer/winter wheels and tires in style. I also bought a few different kinds of decals and wheel badges to try out. I am hoping I can change out the DRAG badges for some Subaru logos. I will post the results when I get these items in the mail.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There are a lot of photos for this build project so I am going to break these up into separate posts and I am going to list a series of comments that will correspond with each photo. I have had the sub for two days now and wow, am I ever impressed. The car now pounds my heart instead of just my legs.
This post will cover the subwoofer installation - 18 photos and comments.
1. Here is a look at the panel in the cargo space. The panel will stay intact. No cutting at all. There will be a small build out to allow for proper air space in a sealed enclosure design.
2. Laying the fiberglass in the car. Took one day to do it and the car smelled for a week. The shop then worked on the rest of the fiberglass and bondo resin to form the box. Lots of steps, extra layers and curing time was required.
3. Here is the completed box, side view. Everything is made from fiberglass and bondo with the exception of a 10" wood mounting rings to accommodate the Alpine 10" S series woofer.
4. A look at the back piece which will fit into the storage well space.
5. A look at the front of the box. You can see the nice curves and the finished bedliner product. It has a very nice texture, similar to the cargo panel.
6. When I came to the shop to check out the work on the install day I was shocked to see this. Even the owner was a bit surprised and we were both expecting the enclosure to just sit into this area. But, the installer had a different idea. He wanted the enclosure to be anchored better to the box to prevent rattling. So, he removed the panel, laid the enclosure into the paneling and then used some dampeners and a few screws to anchor the panel to the enclosure. Pretty smart and there is not much rattle at all.
7. Another look at this. We may go back and add some sound deadening material. Undecided right now.
8. Panel is back in place. So the enclosure extends out from teh wheel sell buldge. I do lose some cargo space in order to get the sub, but worth it to me. Another feature I wanted to retain is all the hooks and 12v socket. If you look closely you can see that the rear bottom U-loop was relocated to the bottom of the enclosure. I can still connect the cargo net to this hook. I had to shorten the bungie cord to keep the slack out of the net so it fit properly and did not sag.
9. A good look at the texture and color. Pretty nice shape too. THe speaker wire runs in through the bottom. No junctions. Just straight wiring.
10. Alpine sub. Grill is on order and comes next week.
11. DVC 4ohm speaker. It is powered by a JL Audio XD600/1 mono subwoofer amp. The sub will be run in 2 ohms and will draw 600 watts.
12. Close up of the enclosure internal shape and wiring.
13. Another angle of the sub.
14. Another angle.
15. So, a cool thing the shop did was raising the bottom edge by 1/2" off the floor. This allows the spare tire cover to lift up and be slid out of the back cargo door without having to remove the enclosure.
16. In order to get the cargo mat to fit, I had to trim a portion of the left side off. It came out good.
17. You can see the gap to permit the mat and tire cover to raise up and slide out.
18. The finished look of the cargo space. Grill cover is on order. I need it soon!!!
 

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Here is the discussion for the subwooofer amp installation. This is a JL Audio XD600/1 amp. It runs 600watts at 2 ohms. There are 8 photos and comments in this post. The shop was not able to bypass the factory subwoofer. The cool unexpected advantage of this is that I can turn the bass control knob all the way down so just the factory sound system is playing. Then I can crank up the Alpine sub and you can really appreciate the difference.

1. The amp is located under the passenger seat and stacked on top of the factory HK 540 watt amp. There are two harnesses on the HK amp. The left harness has the output speaker wires. The right harness has all of the input wiring. The RCAjacks were spliced into the subwoofer input lines. I have not pulled out the head unit yet, but I imagine everythign is hard-wired with no RCA jacks.
2. Another view.
3. Another view.
4/5. Close up view of the wiring. The shop was expecting to bypass the factory HK 8" subwoofer to avoid cancellation signals. However, upon trying this, the entire sound system shut down. The shop owner commented that this is becoming more common in modern cars. If any signal is out, the entire system shuts down. There is no sound from any speaker.
6. Close up of the output speaker wiring.
7. Close up of the input speaker wiring coming from the head unit.
8. Here is a look at the stacked rack from beneath the seat from the back looking towards the front of the car.
 

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This next post will discuss the speaker upgrade and reveal the dash and door skins and speakers. Like usual, once I installed the subwoofer I could not resist going all out. Hell, I should have bought the standard stereo, but then I would have missed out on the power gate lift and the 8" LCD display. Can anyone tell me if the Forester with a standard stereo has the dash speakers???

So, while at the shop they were telling me about a speaker line that emerged in 2006. It is called Hybrid Audio Technologies (HAT). This company hailed from the old school days of hi-fidelity car audio. They started with the Lagatia competition series and later added other speaker lines. This stuff is all high end. They have some entry level series as well, now. I used to run Dynaudio speakers in my 91 Isuzu show truck. While still made, Dynaudio is limited to particular sizes. HAT Unity series is a midlevel HAT series that uses drivers intended to be factory replacements. This is attractive. While I want to upgrade the sound system, I do want to use the factory speaker locations which includes two front door 6x9s, 3" dash speakers and 6.5 inch rear door speakers.

The key to the great sound of the HK system is that the door speakers do not run any tweeters (coaxial speakers). Most cars run coaxials. The problem with this is that it impacts audio staging. In other words, high pitched vocals and treble sounds that typically come from the front stage and up high will be aimed at your knees instead of firing out of the dash in an upward angle.

So, while I suspected the door speakers were not running coaxials, I confirmed this today when I pulled the doors skins off. The only coaxials in the car come from a 3 inch dash midrange with metal coaxial tweeter.

Yesterday when I picked up the car, I bought a set of HAT Unity 3" dash speakers for $200. These speakers have an amazing wide range from 150 Hz to 20k Hz and it does not have a coaxial tweeter. So, I popped one in on the drivers side and left the HK speaker in the dash on the left side. The HK amp is powering this speaker. To my surprise the volume of the U3 was about 1/2 of the HK speaker. At first, this seemed underpowered, but then after listening to some test songs, I realized that the HK speakers are really harsh and lack stereo separation. I could not decide if I liked the U3 speakers, then I finally took the plunge and popped out both HKs for the U3s so I had a matching set instead of the mismatch with a huge difference is volume.

This is when I realized how great the overall sound was. I typically listen to test music at a Volume of 30. The HK speakers were so harsh that on some songs I had to turn down the volume because it was too loud and now I realize that it was not just too loud but also some distortion. The U3 speakers do need more power, but they are really well matched for the non-coaxial door speakers. The vocals and trebel sounds are well separated from other sounds and the imaging is spot on.

So, I am sold! The HAT speakers are remarkable and I am going to upgrade the remaining door speakers with Unity U69 6x9 front speakers and the Image series I6v2 rear door speakers, which are 6.5 inches. Afterall, I did not want to leave the JL Audio XD 600.6 amp in my old car for sale. So, I am going to have the shop install that 6 channel amp into the Sport to run the 4 door speakers and 2 dash speakers. What amazes me the most is the range that these non-tweeter speakers have. This entire sound system will not have a dedicated set of tweeters. Kinda interesting for sure.

In this series, I will showcase 19 photos. I will start with the dash speaker upgrade, then I will reveal the speakers in the doors and the door skins.

1. Front grill cover. Start on the far left side closes to you and insert a small flat blade screwdriver. Pry upward to pop the first panel rivet. Then use your hand to pop up the grill and slide it towards you.
2. Here is the box for the HAT U3 speakers
3. Comparing the size and depth of the HK coaxial to the U3 speaker.
4. Side view
5. HAT U3 speaker loosely in place. Good fit, but the speaker mounting ring is not continuous, so the U3 speaker holes do not all line up. Therefore I was only able to use two screws to mount the speakers. It is still secure.
6. Magnet of the U3
7. Passenger side dash speaker.
8. Here is a look at the HK speaker in place.
9. HK dash speaker.
10. HK side view.
11. HK bottom view. This speaker has four wires running into two pins on the harness. The midrange is purple/yellow. The tweeter is green/black and has an inline filter.
12. Here is the interior of the front door skin. It has very nice sound deadening materials in use. There is a combination of white padding and the black foam padding.
13. 6x9s in the door? Really. Well, I am a fan! These are massive and this is why the front end bass is so good. Not to mention there is no coaxial tweeter, thereby making this a woofer/midrange speaker.
14. The 6x9HK speaker is integrated with the plastic molding that seats up to the door panel. You can see the indentation in the foam gasket.
15. Back side of the 6x9
16 Notice inside the door there is no deadening material on the door outer steel panel. This cound be improved for sure.
17. Rear door skin
18. Full shot of the rear door. This HK speaker is a 6.5 inch with a 1" raised section like the 6x9. This really helps to get clearance from the window as it is lowered.
19. Close up of the HK 6.5 inch speaker. No coaxial tweeter on this one either.
 

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Great photos and write ups! Question on the front strut tower brace - did you drive the car without it for a while, is there a noticeable difference similar to your Gen 4 vehicle beyond what is in your write up? With the new Global Platform increase in rigidity, I would assume it would have significantly less of an effect than on a Gen 4 vehicle. One "mod" I am interested in, is getting a gas strut for the front hood, similar to what I have on my 17 XT Touring. Have you considered doing that?

Again, really nice write up and photos. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the comments. I drove the car about a week before adding the tower brace. I hit a few of my favorite turns in town before and after. I agree that the new platform is much more stable, but the brace support still makes a difference. IMO, it lessened the boaty feeling. Last night I hit a two lane round about (going straight through other side) at 60mph. The car felt amzing and I could hear more than feel a small skid in the back end as I ripped through. Good thing the popo were not around. :)

I am happy with the hood. I am not a fan of gas struts in the extreme cold weather. They do not hold very well at sub 20 degrees when in the up position.
 

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Newbie here. Great pics and ideas.

Since you look to be the person who would know: Are all of the orange paneling / details easily removed/swapped? If I wanted to black them out or recolor? The interior, center console especially is just a bit too loud for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Newbie here. Great pics and ideas.

Since you look to be the person who would know: Are all of the orange paneling / details easily removed/swapped? If I wanted to black them out or recolor? The interior, center console especially is just a bit too loud for me.
I think it would be really hard to do this. You can replace some of the trim panelling and blacken the exterior, but I do not think it would look good up close if you blacken it. There is no way to replace all of the orange stictching in the seats.

I think it is best to live with it, or buy a Limited or Touring option with many of the same features as the Sport.

This vendor on ebay has some high quality stuff and lots of the trim panel replacements in boring silver.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=auto-trims&item=223258709624&_osacat=0&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR12.TRC2.A0.H0.Xforester.TRS0&_nkw=forester&_sacat=0
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
There are three key features that I really love about the Forester Sport: Paddle shifters, X Mode and Power Lift Gate.

This New Years weekend the wife and I drove up to Ouray, CO for some ice climbing and cross country skiing. A storm rolled in and this was the first chance I have had to really try out these two new features when I needed them.

Today has had a steady flow of snow and the roads are in poor condition. I drove to a cross country ski area called Top of the Pines (TOP) that was 5 miles back on a county road. The county road was about 3" snow pack and all firm with decent traffic. The road to the trailhead was about 1/2 mile on a 5" fairly fresh snow pack with some tracks, but not much.

Overall, I had zero slip on these roads. I always drive these conditions in manual mode and control the gearing in order to stay off the brakes and prevent skids by locking the brakes/wheels. I would drive the same way in the 09 Forester, but I had to shift up/down on the stick. Only one hand is on the wheel when shifting. The paddle shifters allowed me to keep both hands on the wheel.

The X-mode only works when driving less than 20mph, but wow! What a difference. There is way more torque and higher rpms. The motor does the work and allows you to slow down more quickly without using any brakes.

Here are a couple photos of the road conditions. The first two are leaving the trailhead with 5" fresh snowpack and the other is on the main road with 3" firm snowpack. I was using X Mode Snow for the 3" hard pack and X Mode Deep Snow for the 5" fresh snow pack.

The third feature I really love is the Power Lift Gate. It came in the Option 24 package wih the 8" LCD and HK system upgrade, which I really wanted. The power gate was not really somthing I needed. However, as an active person this feature is the bomb!!! When getting gear in/out of the vehicle, especially ski gear, I often have my keys tucked in pocket and when I leave the car for the lifts, I have to dig through my pockets to arm the car. No more. Now, I just press lock on the gate and walk away.

When I return to the car at the end of skiing, my hands are full of gear and it is difficult to get to the key buried in my pocket. But, when I approach the car I just touch the power gate and it opens the gate and unlocks all the doors. Gear goes in and waya I go without ever pulling keys out my my pocket. I truly am enjoying this feature.
 

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hey there! great thread, I'm on the same boat as you, coming from stick now into a 2019 it feels like a spaceship with so many features lol

I haven't used the paddle shifters yet but I can see how I will be using it in certain situations as well as the Xmode. I reckon I'll be trying it in the snow soon as well.
 

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Strut towers do not flex on any vehicle. At least not enough to make a difference in handling. If they did you'd see paint missing where your hood and fenders rubbed together.

news.bimmerworld.com/is-a-strut-brace-worth-it/
 

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Discussion Starter #15
PearlWhite
Thanks for sharing, but that is not the conclusion of the test. First off, they performed the test in a BMW 330i, not a Subaru Forester or another comparable SUV. The conclusion they made was this: "That brings us back to the main question: Is a strut brace worth it? The scientific answer is, “It depends!” Based on the data from our specific Spec E46, this car didn’t need one on this particular test day.

But that isn’t the comprehensive answer, and from experience, we know there is a need in some cars. Why is that? BMW is iterative in their chassis design, and part of the added weight of each new chassis is the added stiffness. The older, lighter, and more flexible E30 definitely needs a strut brace, which we know from the high number of racers with collapsing strut towers that are actually pushing together with age; a strut tower brace solves this! And one hard concept to accept is that everything wears out over time, including the metal chassis of a car, so even newer models will likely head down this path eventually with enough mileage, age, and pounding on the street or track."


It's a $350 part, looks cool as hell and as I described you can feel the difference in vehicle performance. Not scientific, but worth the expense to me and I am quite happy with the purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
hey there! great thread, I'm on the same boat as you, coming from stick now into a 2019 it feels like a spaceship with so many features lol

I haven't used the paddle shifters yet but I can see how I will be using it in certain situations as well as the Xmode. I reckon I'll be trying it in the snow soon as well.
More driving today as I headed back home to Flagstaff. Lizard Head pass is notoriously icy. Car handled great, again. Please post back once you get a chance to try out the paddles and X mode.

Cheers,
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Okay, got home today and the pedals were here. These look great and are high quality. The pedals are made of 1/8" aluminum with embossed Subaru in each pedal, and black lettering. Each pedal has a rubber backing that seats nicely on the stock pedal area and the rubber is what your foot will meet, not the metal. I can't wait to try it out.

The stock gas pedal is a solid one piece plastic design and electronic. Just remove the wire harness and remove two nuts. The whole assembly comes out and I mounted the pedal on the bench and with a drill press to drill the holes. The curvature of the gas and brake pedals are dead on. The dead pedal is another story. This is much larger than the stock dead pedal and only two screws will hit the metal behind the carpet. The far two left screws do not meet metal.

So, if you are not adventurous and willing to make some mods, these pedals are not for you.

The gas pedal was a pretty good fit, but only 3 of the holes will hit metal. No big deal to me, I just ran the fourth bolt through to give a finished look. You do have to work hard to get proper alignment and I was expecting to do some dremel work, but I lucked out and used a sheet metal screw on one hole that was too close to the plastic trim to use a nut on the backside.

The brake pedal was easy to mount, but one hole went through the metal brake pedal in a curved out section. So, again, must use care when drilling and not an easy fit.

The dead pedal was the biggest challenge. The supplied screws did not work. I went with larger screws and only two met with the metal. The other two screws used were the ones supplied and these just go through the carpet to give a finished look. The pedal is nice and secure when stepping down on it, but we shall see how long it lasts. I used sheet metal screws to anchor this dead pedal and not bolts with nuts. So, I am most worried about the fit of this one. The other two pedals are solid and will stay in place forever. I will likely wear out the rubber before the pedals fail.

Check out the photos. Last photo is the one with the orange accent lighting on. I like the look, time will tell regarding performance. Price was $22 from China.

Cheers,
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So, apparently I met my quota for posting photos and I cannot add any more pictures. This is lame! What is the point of having a forum when you can't share the photos??? Is there anyway to increase the data limit to post more photos?
 

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