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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! I'm pretty new to the forum, not new to cars. As a quick preface I am a mechanical engineer, 21 sport, came from a 02 forester, and spend a lot of time doing CAD and in my garage. Probably too much time.

Anyways, I wanted to open up a discussion (mostly for my selfish self) about alternative methods of lifting and merging aftermarket suspension onto our cars. Gorilla Offroad, ADF, Kartboy, (the list goes on) are all fantastic companies (well the ones that produce quality parts. Rough Country, I'm looking at your welds) however I have always been interested in why no one has created a mount adapter for Fox/Bilstein/King style suspension.

It's a long read with a lot of detail so I do apologize, but I would love feedback.

Rear:

Arguable, this is pretty straightforward. My thoughts below;

  • The rear is a multilink setup, so there is a very small amount of lateral loading put on the shock body and shaft.
  • This allows any aftermarket coilover to be installed, in theory.
  • By having the ability to install the components inverted, weight can be shaved off the unsprung mass (wheel side)
  • Having adapters such as these will allow easy re-valving, and easy replacement parts.
--Setups like Ironman4x4 are great, but they aren't quite as big as Fox or King, or any of the others.
- Relatively not that expensive. A set of coilovers that will lift the rear 1" are only around $300 each, plus springs. You're probably looking at a 10-20% premium on top of aftermarket, and double the cost of OEM replacement.


Front:

This is where things get... Fun. Because the front is strut based, the shock body is taking up vertical loading and lateral loading. Some of this is compensated by the spring being angled relative to the body/shaft, but there are still bushings inside that secure the shaft in place. Many older model Subaru's have struts that bend pretty easily, unless you are running STI style inverted tubes. And those style lead me to the design for these;

A while back, some mad-man built custom long travel struts for his outback. These are great, however I believe they use Delrin to interface between the sleeve and the shock body. Delrin is nice, and is great for bushing material, but it also creates a point of friction.

This could be solved if there was a better running bushing on the strut, assuming you are pushing the vehicle to its limits. PTFE is great, but again needs to be kept pretty cool. Linear ball bearings are also fantastic and are low friction, but again, heat is an enemy (180 F max for anything COTS).

I wanted to post this because I have measured out my geometry and I do actually have a set of Fox parts I might put on. I need to buy a new set of coilovers from Fox, because the ones I have are a tad too long, but I think I'm gonna go for it. I toyed with it on my Forester but decided to scrap it and go a different route.

Thanks!

-Tanner
 

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why no one has created a mount adapter for Fox/Bilstein/King style suspension.
I think the answer to that - love it or hate it - is a simple cost benefit analysis. The Ironman4x4 parts look interesting, but I'm not confident that they will make enough ROI to encourage more participation in the Subaru market. I'm also not personally interested in purchasing them at this time, because I'm happy with my stock springs and dampers.

This is an interesting discussion though. Simple adapters for four corners might be reasonably low cost, and then you could match up the combination of springs and dampers of your choice. What do you think the price range for a full setup would be - adapters and suspension for all four corners?

I do know that on my fronts, the lower rear control arm bushing looks like it is already very stressed with my 2" strut spacer lift. (the pancake bushing) The same part failed on my 2010 Legacy years ago. There isn't really a good aftermarket upgrade for that AFAIK. I also don't think you could get much more useful travel without replacing stock control arms and/or control arm mounts.

The rears would need an adjustable trailing arm, maybe even with a different bend in it if you want more travel. Mine is already pretty maxed out when I jack up the rear and the wheels sag the full amount. There are already adjustable tow arms and lower control arms on the market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think the answer to that - love it or hate it - is a simple cost benefit analysis. The Ironman4x4 parts look interesting, but I'm not confident that they will make enough ROI to encourage more participation in the Subaru market. I'm also not personally interested in purchasing them at this time, because I'm happy with my stock springs and dampers.

This is an interesting discussion though. Simple adapters for four corners might be reasonably low cost, and then you could match up the combination of springs and dampers of your choice. What do you think the price range for a full setup would be - adapters and suspension for all four corners?

I do know that on my fronts, the lower rear control arm bushing looks like it is already very stressed with my 2" strut spacer lift. (the pancake bushing) The same part failed on my 2010 Legacy years ago. There isn't really a good aftermarket upgrade for that AFAIK. I also don't think you could get much more useful travel without replacing stock control arms and/or control arm mounts.

The rears would need an adjustable trailing arm, maybe even with a different bend in it if you want more travel. Mine is already pretty maxed out when I jack up the rear and the wheels sag the full amount. There are already adjustable tow arms and lower control arms on the market.
Thanks for the response!

I totally agree- I think it all comes down to cost/benefit. I too am very happy with my current setup (minus a defective spring from factory, different issue).

Rear adapters would be no more than $100, waterjet-cut and welded with a rubber damping interface. All it really needs to do is adapt to the heim on the coilover body for the top, and clear the lower control arm in the rear. Nothing exciting.

Fronts are a different beast. I just ordered 2" Diameter linear bearings that were around $180 each. Not ideal, but I figure it will give me something to mess around with. PTFE lined bronze bushings are around $25 each, but you must factory in the friction and wear.

Yes, thanks for bringing that up by the way. The control arms are a completely different beast. TSS Fabrication has two and one piece sets, but are also pretty high in cost (again, not high, but more than the average person is willing to pay.)

A heim can be swapped into the pancake/tennis ball bushing pretty easily, but then you have pretty intense road feel and would definitely put more wear on your car. Not to mention if you hit a curb. You'd almost have a better time making a new mount, same location just different angle.

Again, thanks for your response. This is exactly what I am looking for, something to stimulate the brain.

-Tanner
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reply! I’m well aware of flat out suspension, and what I think they are doing is absolutely amazing and fantastic.

I guess where I am coming from, is the desire to make something using completely off the shelf, commercial parts. There are so many professionals who are super familiar with Fox/King suspension that getting it re-valved is second nature. I’m sure Flatout will be there eventually, but using Hot Bits suspension as an example (built rally Subaru suspension years ago), if you take it to the wrong person for a rebuild, a lot can go wrong.

Or, say, I’d I need a rebuild kit. Easy, I’ll know the part numbers and can order them and have them sent in a day/two. I haven’t looked far enough into Flatout to know how easy it is for a rebuild/revalve, so that’s on me.

-Tanner
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As a small update to this, I am looking into the option of making adapters for Fox coilovers in the rear. Should just be a new top hat with a dense rubber damper. The 980-02-006 or the 980-02-003 models have roughly similar compressed/extended numbers with a 1" lift. travel is the same but that is not the goal, goal is a more versatile, nearly off the shelf replacement.

As for the front, I have other plans. Staying Strut style, but with Smooth body shocks. More models/photos to follow.

-Tanner
 

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It's been over a year. Where is the follow up!!! Currently saving for flat out but I am desperately searching for a more off the shelf approach while still being able to get the 3in of lift I was looking to get from the flat out stuff.
 
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