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2006 Forester 2.5x 2006AT
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Discussion Starter #1
I generally do light offroading, and some "rally" type driving. My friend owns a large farm and that has a number of gravel and dirt trails that we can go on. While he has a nice jeep, I tend to bum around in my subie, which does surprisingly well considering (easily gets through 6-8 inches of mud with crappy bridgestone tires). Anyway, over the winter in snow and now with the gravel trails, we've been "rally" driving around them, aka drifitng around corners and drifting in the snow. I'm just wondering if I could damage or overheat something, like my MPT or 4eat. I rarely go over 40 over a marginally bumpy field, only once did I feel i bottomed out my suspension. I usually put the car in 1st or 2nd so I have locked awd to drift/offroad. I never use the handbrake and I perfer to use the throttle to throw out the back end. Im going to summarize my questions and thoughts:
I was considering making/buying skidplates just in case, I dont do much crawling but would be smart.
Do i need a transmission cooler, am I overheating it?

Am I possibly damaging my mpt by shoving it into 1st or 2nd and drifting?

I was also thinking of strong anti-sway bars for less body roll, would that help?
I already have rally armour mud flaps so I dont ruin my (really really really damn thin) paint.

Since I have a 2.5x premium I think I should have the LSD, which I know next to nothing about, when it kicks in etc, any links or posts helping me here would be fantastic.

Anything else I should know?

Thank you!

My car:
2006 silver forester 2.5 premium 4eat.
 

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2003 XS MT
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5,484 Posts
Froggie is right. Skidplate is cheap insurance, I'd get one. Trans cooler ABSOLUTELY. I ripped the sways off of mine when I was offroading, so can't say anything there. Couldn't rally drive my Foz back then, you'd roll yourself right out the window with all the body roll. :lol:
 

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2006 Forester 2.5x 2006AT
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48 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Froggie is right. Skidplate is cheap insurance, I'd get one. Trans cooler ABSOLUTELY. I ripped the sways off of mine when I was offroading, so can't say anything there. Couldn't rally drive my Foz back then, you'd roll yourself right out the window with all the body roll. :lol:
With the plans above I should be able to make one pretty easily. I'v seen a few tranniecoolers on the forum for around 40 bucks, will those do fine?
Also will better sway bars help with the body roll?
Sorry for all the questions, thanks for the help.
 

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2001 Forester Slushbox
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1,777 Posts
Can get trans cooler cheap,25-30 bucks if you look around.
And the skidplate above works well,I can vouch for that.
 

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Trans cooler might help. In the snow sliding around at very high rates of speed and generally being an idiot, I've never overheated the trans even when the turbo was glowing red. However my MPT has taken quite a beating and doesn't quite lock up in the higher gears under power like it used to. This is mostly due to higher speed donuts and having 1/2 wheels spinning faster than the others. Basically if you have the MPT locked up in 1 or 2 and the wheels are spinning at different rates, you're causing wear to the MPT.

You will however be putting a lot of stress on the suspension components. All the bushings, balljoints, struts, mounts, etc will wear out much quicker with this type of abuse. Also watch out for wheel bearing noise, the wheel bearings WILL fail eventually, much quicker with offroad abuse (mine failed by around 80-100,000 miles), the rears fail on most foresters, the fronts fail due to abuse usually.

Also when leaving it in 1 and 2 keep an eye on your revs. You do NOT want to be holding it at high RPM's for too long or bouncing off the rev limiter.

Finally make sure you have enough oil, in higher G's the stock oil pan is not wonderful and can starve the engine of oil, also the stock pickup tube in the oil pan has been known to snap in some cases. Finally, make sure you have enough fuel, Under 1/4 tank of gas you can starve the fuel pump and kill it (did it to mine, replaced it with a walbro and no issues since).

I've beaten on my 04 XT for about 130,000 miles now. If I could go back, I would tell myself to take it a little easier on it as its starting to have tons of small issues now with things wearing out. However its taken the abuse better than any car out there!
 

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2007 FXT Limited 5MT
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How much would it cost to just buy a skidplate, I wouldn't really be good at making one myself, does anyone know where I could buy one?
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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I'm sure the aluminum plates are much better than plastic but honestly they don't look that strong. It also seems if you came down on something too hard you cold still hit your headers b/c there is really not much clearance between the skidplate and the headers. (One picture someone put on here recently showed the plate having to be cutout for exhaust clearance, kinda defeating the purpose!) I once had someone tell me they were doing crazy stuff in theirs and hit the header so hard they lost their headgasket in short order afterwards.

It seems that some ribs or channel might make the skidplate a lot stronger too?

My first forester I made a plastic guard out of an old fullsize tailgate liner from a full-size pickup. You can buy bed repair panels from places like JC Whitney, so they might be good raw material to start from since they are steel instead of aluminum and have constant ribs stamped in. Or maybe you could get a wrecked bed off a small pickup and use some of the floor of that.
 

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2006 Forester 2.5x 2006AT
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Discussion Starter #13
Trans cooler might help. In the snow sliding around at very high rates of speed and generally being an idiot, I've never overheated the trans even when the turbo was glowing red. However my MPT has taken quite a beating and doesn't quite lock up in the higher gears under power like it used to. This is mostly due to higher speed donuts and having 1/2 wheels spinning faster than the others. Basically if you have the MPT locked up in 1 or 2 and the wheels are spinning at different rates, you're causing wear to the MPT.

You will however be putting a lot of stress on the suspension components. All the bushings, balljoints, struts, mounts, etc will wear out much quicker with this type of abuse. Also watch out for wheel bearing noise, the wheel bearings WILL fail eventually, much quicker with offroad abuse (mine failed by around 80-100,000 miles), the rears fail on most foresters, the fronts fail due to abuse usually.

Also when leaving it in 1 and 2 keep an eye on your revs. You do NOT want to be holding it at high RPM's for too long or bouncing off the rev limiter.

Finally make sure you have enough oil, in higher G's the stock oil pan is not wonderful and can starve the engine of oil, also the stock pickup tube in the oil pan has been known to snap in some cases. Finally, make sure you have enough fuel, Under 1/4 tank of gas you can starve the fuel pump and kill it (did it to mine, replaced it with a walbro and no issues since).

I've beaten on my 04 XT for about 130,000 miles now. If I could go back, I would tell myself to take it a little easier on it as its starting to have tons of small issues now with things wearing out. However its taken the abuse better than any car out there!
Ill start another thread asking about what all I should replace with sway bars and mounts and links.

Do you know how much having an LSD effects the MPT while hooning?
I do usually keep an eye on the rpm, I switch to 2nd around 30 mph.
 

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2003 XS MT
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I'm sure the aluminum plates are much better than plastic but honestly they don't look that strong. It also seems if you came down on something too hard you cold still hit your headers b/c there is really not much clearance between the skidplate and the headers. (One picture someone put on here recently showed the plate having to be cutout for exhaust clearance, kinda defeating the purpose!) I once had someone tell me they were doing crazy stuff in theirs and hit the header so hard they lost their headgasket in short order afterwards.

It seems that some ribs or channel might make the skidplate a lot stronger too?

My first forester I made a plastic guard out of an old fullsize tailgate liner from a full-size pickup. You can buy bed repair panels from places like JC Whitney, so they might be good raw material to start from since they are steel instead of aluminum and have constant ribs stamped in. Or maybe you could get a wrecked bed off a small pickup and use some of the floor of that.

I have the heavy duty skid plate from Primitive, it's taken almost the full weight of the Foz on a rock (don't ask, lets say I had to change my undies) without nary a dent.

So, I endorse, and always will, Primitive skid plates.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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I have the heavy duty skid plate from Primitive, it's taken almost the full weight of the Foz on a rock (don't ask, lets say I had to change my undies) without nary a dent.

So, I endorse, and always will, Primitive skid plates.
That's good to know. Do you have stock exhaust or something aftermarket? I might eventually get or make a skidplate if I decide to do some serious non-maintained fire roads or something.
 

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2003 XS MT
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Stock exhaust except for an STi catback. The only reason I have that is cause I busted my OEM muffler and used STi catbacks are pretty cheap and easy to find. That one is busted up pretty good too, but not bad enough to replace (yet). So, I still have that annoying kink that drops the exhaust pipe down lower than everything else. Just know where it is when you're driving and you'll be fine.
 

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2001 Forester Slushbox
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1,777 Posts
I can tell you that my "homemade aluminum" skidplate has held up the front of my Forester.
(I didn't think it would either)
Got the scars on it to prove it too.
 
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