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2011 Forester X
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209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I decided to start this journal to document all the modifications I've made to my Subaru over the last 5 years. I picked it up in 2016 with about 50k on the odometer. Today she is still going strong with around 120,000 miles on the clock.

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Over the years I've done quite a few modifications and general upgrades. Including:

Full Black Interior Swap
Steering Wheel Radio Controls
Heated and Power Front Seats.
Android Head Unit
Rear View Camera
Auto Dimming Rear Mirror
OEM Rain Guards
Gorilla Mud Flaps
Blacked Out Grille
Blacked Out Headlights
Rally Innovations Light Bar
Curt 2" Trailer Hitch
Outback Fog Lights w/ Amber Vinyl Tint
SG Forester Steel Wheels Painted Black
Falken Wildpeak AT Trail 215/70R16

Yesterday I started the process of adding fog lights to the Forester. Specifically fog lights from a 2005 Outback. I was never a fan of the stock Forester fog lights. I always thought they looked a bit too small. I knew the early Outback fogs would fit in the holes in the bumper but mounting them on the inside was the biggest challenge to overcome.

Fitting Outback fog lights in a Forester:

I'll be using the factory fog switch on the stalk to work the fog lights. My Forester did not come with fogs standard so I did source the switch off another parts car and installed that the relay and tested the lights prior to this mod to be sure the wiring was still good after sitting unused for 9 years.


Here's the final product with blacked out grille. As of this post it's still in my back room (I ran out of daylight!). I'll post pictures tomorrow of it mounted on the car.
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First thing I had to do was take off the bumper and cut off the stock bracket mount. I left about 3/8 inch of the original bracket to mount the Outback bracket too. This was my working area for the project.
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Then I had to trim the Outback mounting bracket. Left is trimmed and right is marked for cutting. Essentially I had to make the front of the bracket flat instead of tapered.
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Test fitting the bracket.
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Final Test fitting of the fog light.
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2011 Forester X
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I used JB Weld Plastic Bond and aluminum pop-rivets to join the bumper and bracket.
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Pop Rivets in place and ready to go.
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Inside the new bracket mount. here you can see the rivets and were I sanded the edges of the original mount smooth. The Outback fogs are a tight fit and every millimetre counts.
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I also put weather sealing around the edge of the Outback fogs to ensure a tight fit.
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And after two days of work they are mounted!!! The fitment is super tight. The fogs are essentially permanently fixed. To get them out would probably require cutting the tab on the fog light itself. But the only reason I would take them out is if they were already broken so that really isn't an issue. They still retain some adjustability up and down, but not as much as they would stock on an Outback.
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Here's a close up of the Outback fog light all mounted.
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Since the bumper was off I took the opportunity to separate the grille and give it a coat of black Plasti-dip. I was never a fan of the chrome and silver look. I really like the textured black look of the Plasti-dip. Seems like it'll last awhile.
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I took advantage of the great weather today to install the front bumper back on the Subaru. I think it looks fantastic with the larger fog lights and blacked out grille. I'm really happy with the result.
I took a drive to makes sure there weren't any problems and took some quick photos. In need of a good wash soon.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Certainly not a great product!
Definitely not.

Today I replaced all the hangers with Subaru hangers. They were $5 a piece which is only a few dollars more than the autoparts store generic ones. Every one of the Bosal hangers were dry rotted and crumbled apart. It was a bear trying to get the new OEM hangers on. There must be a trick to doing it. Hopefully OEM quality means I won't have to do it again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Did a gear oil change yesterday on the front and rear diffs. As well as an ATF drain and fill.

Today I drained and filled the coolant. Unfortunately it look like there's a bit of oil in the old coolant. What types of problems could I be facing? Also, I didn't add the Subaru coolant conditioner as I've heard its basically just stop leak but now I'm thinking it may be beneficial.
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Not sure how well you can see the oil. Also the old coolant was Subaru Super Blue. It just looks green in the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can get the coolant tested if you're worried about it.
Well, I guess my question is should I be worried about it?
What do they test for? And does any auto shop do the testing?
Does anyone recommend adding the conditioner? I decided against is given most stop leak products aren't known to be very successful.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Finally had the Falken WildPeak AT Trails installed at the end of August. I cleaned up and painted some 2006 SG Forester Steels and had them mounted. They're a size bigger than stock at 215/70R16. Its a perfect size. Fills the wheel well and no rubbing. The tires are great no road noise. I can tell the wheel and tire combo is a bit heavier while accelerating from a stop but it is only slightly and my mpg has not changed noticeably. I totally love this look.

Quick shot while on vacation. *center caps are on now.
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A before shot for reference. What a change!
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I like that grille I was thinking about blacking out the middle of mine and leaving the outside chrome but I like this better. I'll have to test it out with plastidip before paint and see if it looks good on red lol.

The fog lights look like they belong I was thinking of adding them but wasn't a huge fan of the forester ones with the trim ring either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Finished Up the Wiring on the my Seicane Android Head Unit. I bought it almost a year ago and have been using it without all the features enabled. I've been tackling issues with it piece by piece. My first issue was getting the radio signal to come in strong. Turns out Seicane doesn't prewire the Antenna Booster Amplifier Power cable so I added a pin from an extra plug to the #9 pin in the Subaru side plug and soldered the "Auto Ant" wire from the Seicane head unit to the #9 pin wire. This connects the Seicane antenna to the 12v power it needs to boost the signal. First problem solved.
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Next I wired in the back up camera which was pretty simple. I removed all the paneling and tapped into the reverse light power wire to power the camera and send a signal to the head unit to switch to rear camera. I used T-Taps so it was removable if I want to change the rear camera some day.
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Then I connected a spade connector to the Rear Camera Wire on the head unit to signal to the head unit that its time to switch the screen to rear camera. I used a spade connector so the radio harness wasn't permanently attached to the reverse camera harness. Making it easier to pull the radio out if needed.
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The Biggest Issue I had and the one that's taken me the longest to figure out was getting the steering wheel buttons to work with the head unit. Originally I didn't have steering wheel buttons so I snagged some off a WRX. Its the 6 button type with Vol +/-, Seek Up/Down, Mode, and Mute. No Bluetooth steering wheel controls as my car was not wired for them from the factory.

Now that I have this figured out its actually pretty simple. There's no need for any control boxes or any of that. So take any of that off and take the harness inside the vehicle back to stock. All the soldering and connections I made here were done to the adaptor harness provided by Seicane. No OEM harnesses were harmed.

First step is to connect the Key 1 wire from the head unit to Pin 4 (SWC1) on the Subaru Side Plug.
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Next Connect Subaru Pin 11 and head unit Key 2 to Ground. Also make sure Subaru Pin 14 is connect to Ground. Mine was already connected.
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I used a military splice, solder, and heat shrink to ensure a good connection to the ground wire.

And with that your steering wheel is connected. Simple right. Took me 6 months to figure that out!!

FYI It doesn't matter if you switch Key 1 and Key 2 just make sure there is a closed loop. Your head unit is looking for changes in resistance made by pressing your steering wheel's buttons. It doesn't care which Key wire its coming from.
Another note. Now that this is connected you have to use the Steering Wheel Key program on the head unit to teach the HU which button does what. I found that the Seicane program can only learn one button at a time or it gets confused. So program a button and save, program a button and save, etc, etc... that was also annoying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
And with that my year long journey of getting this head unit wired in properly is done.

1. My Finished Harness. 2. Added some wrap to make it pretty. 3. The AV cable for the rear view camera and main harness ready to go.
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And a nice clean install. Done!
Well..... kinda done. I have some heat sinks coming in I'll add to the CPU in the coming weeks. Then I'm done.
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Just a recap of the work I did to the Forester this Summer. This included an entire front suspension rebuild. I started with the front and figured I'd do the rear suspension next year. I tried to use as many Subaru parts as I could but opted for some Moog parts since they were greaseable. I also changed out the wheel bearings since I had everything disassembled. That was a pain but worth it for piece of mind. I recommend getting a MAP gas torch, a sledge hammer, a chisel, and a slide hammer to get those off. I reused my springs and bellows since they were fine.

Subaru Parts:
Top Hats (aka. Strut mounts)
Lower balls joints
Wheel bearings
Sway bar bushings and brackets
Dust shields

Rock Auto:
Moog greaseable tie-rod ends
Moog greaseable sway-bar end links
Mevotech lower control arms (replaced the Mevotech ball joint with Subaru)
KYB Gr-2 Shocks

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What a mess. Took me two days to get everything disassembled. The wheel bearings and ball joints of course where the most difficult.
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All new nice and shiny parts. Still missing the lower control arms at this point.
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Added a Curt 2" Trailer Hitch.
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My Walker replacement exhaust was in need of some modification. The Walker resonator was pretty much a straight pipe and the cabin drone was unbearable. I was able to find a 06 legacy GT resonator. So I cut that to fit, gave it a coat of high heat paint, and clamped it on the Walker Y-pipe. Sounds so much better. So now its Stock heads to a Walker Cat > Legacy Resonator > Walker Y-pipe > Walker Quiet Flow mufflers. I think I'll eventually change out the mufflers for stock Forester mufflers with aftermarket tips. Also scored a bunch of Grimmspeed metal gaskets for free so that was a plus.
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I also put together an emergency tool bag. It includes a spare socket set, adjustable wrenches, pliers, multi-bit screw driver, ratchet straps, Subaru specific tools, and duct tape.
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
In August I finished prepping and painting my 06 SG Forester wheels. I got the set for $50 but they were in need of some work. First I stripped them down, then I wire wheeled any rust and paint off. This took about a week. Once they were prepped I hit them with Primer and Gloss Black Duplicolor engine enamel. Finally I hit them up with a 2K Clear Coat. Its pricey but I've never had an issue with chipping after using a 2K clear.

Stripped.
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Primed and curing under the dryer.
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Finished with the Falken WildPeaks.
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I wanted to thank you for the fairly detailed posts on the wiring changes needed for the steering wheel buttons to work with the Seicane unit. I installed mine last January, and never got around to revisiting it, but thanks to what you have posted and what I have found elsewhere I will take the plunge in the near future.
I actually like the unit for its performance as well as looks even if I haven't been using the steering wheel controls with it. Frankly it's just as easy or easier to use my right hand on the touch screen. It's mind-blowing to me that I was able to get it for $129 CAD. Back up camera is great with the large screen, and I like that it has a screensaver on it that really reduces fingerprints. The only thing I disliked a fair bit was the interface screen that was native to it, however, I learned that you could download a screen launcher to replace it. I installed the AGAMA one from the Google Apps store, and now I think it looks and works better.
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