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My Turn: '05 OBXT on Koni/Swift/Whiteline


fenominal
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Hi. I'm Jason. I'm an automotive journalist and photographer, and I own two Subaru station wagons. If you want to see more recent photos, which I post often, check out my Instagram.

 

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdg7diT8gy1qi5pu9o1_1280.jpg

 

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdg7diT8gy1qi5pu9o2_1280.jpg

 

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8427/7613410804_65a97b512b_o.jpg

 

This is my wife's '05 OBXT Limited w/5EAT. Everything we have done to it so far is the result of research I have done primarily on this website, among others. So, thank you. As a result of seeing and talking to the owners of several beautifully modified OB's on this site, I decided on the following:

 

- Custom Muellerized Coilover Suspension w/Koni Yellow Inserts

- Whiteline F+R sway bars w/Bushings

- AVO Sway Bar Brace

- Kartboy Endlinks

 

- LGT Calipers

- LGT-spec Stoptech Rotors

- Stoptech OEM Replacement Pads

- SS Brake Lines w/Motul Fluid

- Grimmspeed Master Cylinder Brace

- STI Master Cylinder and Brake Booster Mod

 

Of necessity, I've also replaced the rear bushings on the left and right, front LCA.

 

The OB is sitting on 18x8 +48 Rota Tarmac III's (wife picked 'em out).

 

Future plans are very basic stage 2, not tuned for max power, but for drivability and MPG.

 

- Cobb SRI w/Airbox

- Post-MAF Tube

- Turbo Inlet

- Up-Pipe

- Catted DP w/custom CBE

- Cobb AP

- Walbro 255 FP

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So, I'm a photographer for the Motor Trend Auto Group. That link takes you to a personal blog of some of my work. I want to apologize in advance that the following photos are iPhone quality. It's not my best work, but as of this writing, I've only had the suspension on for one week. Unfortunately, the car is filthy and we haven't washed it yet. Once it's clean, I'll take it out for a proper shoot.

 

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7114/7613411966_ff1ae02178_o.jpg

Edited by fenominal
Delete placemat; upload photos with text
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For the first week, I felt almost no difference with the new brake components. This is surprising to me, as I really felt the SS lines and GS MC Brace would have done something positive for the pedal feel and brake performance. As I've mentioned in the brake thread, I am an automotive journalist. I drive 2-3 different brand new cars every week. That said, the OBXT has the worst brake FEEL of any car I have ever driven. Statistically, I don't know if it is the worst PERFORMING brake system I've driven, but reports from 2005 indicate a stopping distance of about 160-165 feet from 60 mph.

 

That is unacceptable under every circumstance.

 

This is my wife's car and it is driven city mileage almost exclusively. It will not see a track, despite the hardcore suspension. That is simply how my wife wanted her car to look and drive around town. Yes, she's awesome. The OB is also our family car, since it has a lot more space than my WRX wagon. So, that means it is our road trip vehicle when I'm not driving a new car from work. As much as I'd like to have more power, the tires, brakes, and suspension are more important and practical safety considerations than big time power, hence why we went this route first.

 

Now that the OB has 500+ miles since the brake install, allow me to reconsider some of my earlier thoughts:

There is a slight difference compared to the first few miles. Although I am an auto journo, I don't know a lot about brakes to accurately reflect what it is I feel. Also, I only drive the OBXT on the weekends, coming from my own WRX.

 

I feel more friction in clamping power when I step on the brakes. With a casual slowing down to stop at a light, the brake pedal is still mushy and it doesn't begin to clamp until halfway down on the pedal. AFTER the mush is where I feel the increased "friction" in the clamp.

 

When stopping quickly, or suddenly, with hurried but not emergency and medium effort, there is less mush. The bite is more instantaneous, but there is still mush. With this amount of effort, it does get through the mush spot quicker.

 

My own WRX has Autozone OEM replacement rotors, OEM pads, rear H6 rotor upgrade, and Goodridge SS lines. There is no initial mush and they are much more sensitive to tapping. But when I stand on them in greater than medium effort, it doesn't have that friction-kinda feeling. I suspect that is due to the pads since I recently went from Axxis Ultimate to OEM and didn't experience this before. I'm hoping the STI MC/BB gets the OBXT closer to this WRX-like feeling.

 

It's now been one week since I did the STI MC/BB mod:

Don't do it.

 

If, like me, you're expecting the STI MC/BB mod to improve performance, then look into racier brake pads instead.

 

If, like others, you simply want to firm up and reduce brake pedal travel, then go ahead. Understand though that this mod basically removes all feel. Yes, there won't be hardly any feel remaining. The pedal will travel down about what feels like .5", then it will just stop. I don't mean the car will stop, I mean that the pedal won't move any farther, no matter how hard you stomp the pedal.

 

So, it's basically costly swag, and another thing to say you did to your OB/LGT.

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10-11-12

 

Holy fock, you guys, my suspension is focked.

 

1) It was a very bad install.

2) I don't know if the parts I ordered are the parts I ordered.

 

I took the OB to Mueller for an alignment. They were the first shop in focking AMERICA to get okayed by Whiteline. They're legit. Suspension GODS. Just four dudes in a shop. No advertising, only word of mouth.

 

Anyway, my rear suspension is completely bottomed out. You could remove the rear springs and nothing would change. The OB is sitting on the bumpstops. There is literally no suspension travel. At all. Which means the Koni's are way too focking long.

 

In the front, the springs are very compressed with just body weight, almost bottomed out. The swaybar bushings are loose, unlocked. And the LCA bushing that I had replaced is completely ruptured. These are some big issues, but most of all, the work is really sloppy.

 

John Mueller, the suspension god himself, basically said that my OB is like a 3000-pound go kart. That's not as cool as it sounds. It basically means I don't have a suspension.

 

For the time being, I have photocopied all my receipts to check part numbers. Mueller staff is comparing on-vehicle parts to receipts, and will devise a plan from there...

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Sweet looking OBXT! Unfortunately, the VF34 doesn't bolt right up and the Pink injectors flow as much as your stock ones. I just saved some extra research for you. ;)

 

Welcome by the way! Awesome pictures everywhere!

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  • 1 month later...

1. I still haven't got around to taking photos. Part of this is due to the fact that the Mrs. hasn't gotten the car washed in weeks, and that she's gone all day every Saturday.

 

2. Got an OEM roof rack up top. Looks sweet. Kills mileage.

 

3. The rear tires went bald in less than 3000 miles. I bought them used; Michellin's in 245/40/18. I bought new Pirelli P Zero Nero's in the correct wheel diamater size of 26.7" at 245/45/18. Have tried to get an alignment with Mueller, and after some email back and forth with "Orlando," they seem to have dropped me. Part of this is due to the fact that my wife is not available to take car in on M-F before noon.

 

4. For two different reasons, the Mrs.' driving has gone from 95% city driving to 85% highway driving. We still have the roof rack on, but 20-21 mpg just isn't going to cut it, especially when it should be getting 23 mpg highway, according to the EPA. Wife is excellent on the throttle, so really, she should be in the 24+ mpg range. WHICH LEADS TO: Project Efficient Outback XT!!

 

Part of this is inspired by my Stage II 5MT WRX Wagon. With a recent tune, I went up +27 hp and +26 tq AND +3 MPG (260/247; 28 hwy). I want to do something similar to the wife's 5EAT OBXT. The plan:

 

a) Cobb AccessPORT w/ Stage I Pro Tune (California smog reasons)

b) Cobb SF Intake w/Intake Box

c) Cobb Post-MAF Hose

d) Grimmspeed Up-Pipe

e) Magnaflow CBE

 

Considering:

 

f) 3-Port BCS

g) Walbro 255 lph FP

 

Dreaming:

 

h) Perrin TMIC

 

For the most part, this setup would look stock (important to me). It would boost power into the 250 whp range (I am guessing, correct me if wrong), pass smog, and presumably bump mpg into the 26+ highway range.

 

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?!

 

I want to know what you have done FIRSTHAND. What is your EXPERIENCE? Are there items I should cross off this list? Are there items I should look into, like under driving pulley's or urethane hosings that would aid in efficiency? After all, a completely stock engine, such as I have, is not necessarily an efficient engine. Rather, it is a clean engine by virtue of passing emissions, and clean does not necessarily equal efficient. Clean, in most circumstances, equals restricted. I believe, though am not certain, that I can add power-adding features that, when driven very conservatively, ie. staying out of boost, should make the car run more efficiently.

 

Thoughts and ideas for discussion are welcome.

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1. Any thought to some extra pocket $ and take a few pics of my car? My photog skills still need some work :D

 

3. There is a fantastic alignment shop that is open Saturdays but I'll have to ping my nephew for details. I've heard they are as good as Darrin at Westend (which says a lot). BTW, you can go as high as -2 to -2.2* up front with no adverse tire wear (match that with -1* difference in the rear).

 

4. A proper tune can make this happen for you but closer to 23-24 on the hwy. I get about 25-26 in my Spec-B.

 

Nothing really wrong with any of this;

 

a) Cobb AccessPORT w/ Stage I Pro Tune (California smog reasons)

b) Cobb SF Intake w/Intake Box

c) Cobb Post-MAF Hose

d) Grimmspeed Up-Pipe

e) Magnaflow CBE

 

Considering:

 

f) 3-Port BCS

Mainly assists the tuner

g) Walbro 255 lph FP

If not going for power I fail to see how this may help

h) Grimmspeed AOS

Not needed, but may keep some oil out of your intake but not much at near stock power levels.

 

Dreaming:

 

j) 2.0-Liter De-Stroker from EJ207

k) Perrin TMIC

 

For the most part, this setup would look stock (important to me). It would boost power into the 250 whp range (I am guessing, correct me if wrong), pass smog, and presumably bump mpg into the 26+ highway range.

 

It's hard for me to imagine that +2 mph is important to some.

Car looks great btw.

[URL="http://legacygt.com/forums/vbpicgallery.php?do=view&g=1586"VbGallery/URL]
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Yeah dude, I'd love to make some cash on the side. PM me and let's chat.

 

The reason the 2+ mpg is important to us is because we're spending $800 a month on gas between us. I drive to El Segundo everyday and she's racking up almost as many miles. 2+ mpg could save one tank a month, more if we can get to the 25 mpg range. I remain hopeful! :)

 

1. Any thought to some extra pocket $ and take a few pics of my car? My photog skills still need some work :D

 

3. There is a fantastic alignment shop that is open Saturdays but I'll have to ping my nephew for details. I've heard they are as good as Darrin at Westend (which says a lot). BTW, you can go as high as -2 to -2.2* up front with no adverse tire wear (match that with -1* difference in the rear).

 

4. A proper tune can make this happen for you but closer to 23-24 on the hwy. I get about 25-26 in my Spec-B.

 

Nothing really wrong with any of this;

 

a) Cobb AccessPORT w/ Stage I Pro Tune (California smog reasons)

b) Cobb SF Intake w/Intake Box

c) Cobb Post-MAF Hose

d) Grimmspeed Up-Pipe

e) Magnaflow CBE

 

Considering:

 

f) 3-Port BCS

Mainly assists the tuner

g) Walbro 255 lph FP

If not going for power I fail to see how this may help

h) Grimmspeed AOS

Not needed, but may keep some oil out of your intake but not much at near stock power levels.

 

Dreaming:

 

j) 2.0-Liter De-Stroker from EJ207

k) Perrin TMIC

 

For the most part, this setup would look stock (important to me). It would boost power into the 250 whp range (I am guessing, correct me if wrong), pass smog, and presumably bump mpg into the 26+ highway range.

 

It's hard for me to imagine that +2 mph is important to some.

Car looks great btw.

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  • 3 weeks later...
what's the update on the suspension?

 

They were supposed to have contacted me yesterday. Last week, they said Monday-Tuesday would be a good timeframe to tackle the issue.

 

Joe, I'm really curious about your own suspension now...

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I had my set up built by infamous who's built many set ups. When I took it out all my bushings were fine. I replaced both sways and those were ok as well. I have my stock set up with a subtle solutions lift kit in now and the car rides very well with the hotchkis sway bars cornering I'd pretty good for a raised car. On my epic/Koni set up I'm going to replace my epics with stock legacy wagon springs and see what happens. Keep us up to date with the details on your issues.
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Got a call from Mueller today. They've done some research and believe that while the Legacy GT-specific aftermarket suspension (Koni/Swift) can bolt up to the OB, that doesn't mean that it should. More specifically, that it may not actually be workable, or even good performing.

 

Re: the rear suspension: it appears that my bumpstops were not modified. Trimming these may help. Most likely, this still will not give the strut/spring adequate travel, or be enough to lift the car off the compressed spring.

 

Possible fix? Taller spring. At this point, I'm not opposed to running stock Legacy GT springs. More info tomorrow!

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I will not be using an OTS map. Whenever this happens, I will specifically getting a pro tune, and one not geared toward max power. From my experience with the Cobb SRI + air box + post MAF, I gained 26hp and 3mpg in my WRX Wagon. That may not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference in my daily drive.

 

You might want to look into the Cobb sr intake a little more. When I added mine at stage 2 I lost mpg, this was an ots map.
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I had my set up built by infamous who's built many set ups. When I took it out all my bushings were fine. I replaced both sways and those were ok as well. I have my stock set up with a subtle solutions lift kit in now and the car rides very well with the hotchkis sway bars cornering I'd pretty good for a raised car. On my epic/Koni set up I'm going to replace my epics with stock legacy wagon springs and see what happens. Keep us up to date with the details on your issues.

 

I'm a little confused here. You have two setups, a lift and a lower? I'm'a have to come down there and check out your ride this week or next. Really, I want to see how your Koni setup compares to my Koni setup.

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the compressed spring is exactly what happened to me. I trimmed my bump stops down to little numbs to try and get rear travel but the bummer was that the sedan springs are meant for just that, the sedan. Add 100+ pounds to the back in glass and such and then a stereo that's 50lbs and then my 65lb dog and we have issues. Go with Legacy wagon springs with the Koni inserts to keep the car off the ground. BTW, you did install those Koni inserts into legacy strut bodies right? They are not meant to go into Outback ones.
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yes I have two complete setups, Hell I had three! Megan coilovers but I just sold those to my neighbor. I currently have my "winter" setup with stock struts and springs, subtle solutions strut lifts and Hotchkis sways front and rear. Perrin links and AVO rear swaybar reinforcement. Also have AVO LCA and steering rack bushings. For being so high off the ground it handles pretty good! Darin at Westend aligned it. -.4 fronts and -.25 rear camber.
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Go with Legacy wagon springs with the Koni inserts to keep the car off the ground. BTW, you did install those Koni inserts into legacy strut bodies right? They are not meant to go into Outback ones.

 

THIS!!!!!!!!!!

 

This HAS to be it. Yes, I have Legacy GT wagon rear springs, and sedan fronts, since the fronts are supposed to be the same. BUT, everything I've read and I somehow missed to use the Legacy strut bodies! It's currently using the OB strut bodies!

 

But, this doesn't fix the bad front, which is only marginally better.

 

Also, I was hoping you still had your summer setup on...

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