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How should I fix my wallowing refrigerator?

  • Keep the old shocks, they're fine. Just add some lowering springs.

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • New factory shocks with lowering springs. That'll do ya.

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • Coilover! Go full rice! It's expensive, but worth the cost of admission.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Something something I'll rant at you in the comments.

    Votes: 1 25.0%
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2014 Forester XT High-torque CVT
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8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, babies, it's time for Dusty to dive into shocks! Specifically, I snagged a new-to-me '14 FXT Touring with ~86k miles on it about two months ago. I'm just about 3,500 miles into this beast, and learned a few things that make me question what I know.

Item the first: 20mm STI sway bar. That thing went on within a week. Helped enormously.

Item the second: It's still not enough. It handles like a refrigerator. Coming from a sports car background, this thing terrifies me. I need to get the body roll under control before I lose my ***** and craigslist this thing for not being what it was never going to be.

Item the third: I suspect my shocks might be a bit shot after about 90k miles.

CONCLUSION: I think I need stiffer springs. I'm already talking to a forum member about a set of lightly-used Mann Engineering lowering springs (mostly because they're more affordable than STI Pinks, and also because they have sliiiiiiiiightly more drop).

I ALSO think I might need new shocks. We loaded the Fridge up with camping gear on Friday and toodled up to Humboldt to see the redwoods. Realization: it's a bit horrifying in those long sweeping turns, and chicanes are grounds for puckering. It leans, it wobbles, it doesn't hold lines...

QUESTION: Does it make sense to throw in those Mann springs and see what happens? Does that sound like a recipe for wasted work and I should just get some new shocks, build those up with the Manns, and then swap them in? Or is that getting so close I might as well go coilover?

Help me, Subie Wan Kenobi! You're my only hope!
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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699 Posts
Jump up and down on the back bumper. Should tell you pretty quick the state of the shocks :)

I'd recommend STI springs that match up with your stock shocks. If you want to go full TS you can get the performance struts and springs that came on the TS Foresters overseas. Be aware that RSR springs or ones that drop you more than a few centimeters can cause faster wear to the original struts.
 

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2014 Forester XT High-torque CVT
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8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jump up and down on the back bumper. Should tell you pretty quick the state of the shocks :)

I'd recommend STI springs that match up with your stock shocks. If you want to go full TS you can get the performance struts and springs that came on the TS Foresters overseas. Be aware that RSR springs or ones that drop you more than a few centimeters can cause faster wear to the original struts.
So, I'm not super familiar with shocks in general, but most of what I've read says that the old push-down-and-bounce trick works great on older shocks, but doesn't tell you that much about new ones. What am I looking for when I push down?

I did look at STI springs, but with the shipping costs, etc, they're considerably pricier than the Mann ones, and the difference in drop is like a half inch. I'm not super worried about it.

Gotta source for the TS struts? I'd be tempted to go full TS suspension on this baby if I can find them without paying a nut for them. :surprise:
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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699 Posts
Honestly, no idea if jumping on the back will do anything other than make you look silly. The TS struts/springs can be sources from Japanparts. If they don't have them listed they can put together a SKU for you if you ask.
 

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13 Forester XT 4EAT
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4,187 Posts
Replace shocks. You're tearing it apart, replace the parts and don't kick yourself in a month. Plus the oem shocks are too soft to begin with.
 

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2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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1,632 Posts
At that mileage I would be shocked (ha!) if your control arm bushings aren't completely trashed. Get some hardrace control arm bushings. I haven't done the rear yet but I can also feel the rear control arms could benefit from an upgrade based on the wobble over imperfections you can feel in the rear end. I had SPC adjustable control arms and it was much more stable with those...so the stockers likely could benefit.

Bilstein B6 shocks, Mann Springs, hardrace control arm bushings, group N top hats. Give those a shot.
 

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13 Forester XT 4EAT
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4,187 Posts
At that mileage I would be shocked (ha!) if your control arm bushings aren't completely trashed. Get some hardrace control arm bushings. I haven't done the rear yet but I can also feel the rear control arms could benefit from an upgrade based on the wobble over imperfections you can feel in the rear end. I had SPC adjustable control arms and it was much more stable with those...so the stockers likely could benefit.

Bilstein B6 shocks, Mann Springs, hardrace control arm bushings, group N top hats. Give those a shot.
Don't waste time looking for group N shock mounts (top hats). They stopped that in '07. I believe the SJ already comes with the stiffest top hat which has same part number as 2013 STI. I just ordered a set for my SH.
 

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982 Posts
As @Galager mentioned: no sense going through all the effort of updating springs without updating the struts. Its a bit more money but will save you the trouble of having to dismantle them again in the future. I hate dealing with spring compressors so anytime I have to remove springs: everything gets replaced.

As others have alluded to: you can tell your struts are done by trying to bounce the rear end of the car. Push it down hard. If it returns to its normal height without bouncing: struts are good. If it bounces up and down: struts are not doing their job.
 
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