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Old 02-17-2001, 05:23 PM   #1
runnerj
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Post Off-Road Limits of Subies (Especially the '02 OBS)

Hi everyone. As my subject line says, I am very curious to know what the Off-Road limits of the Subarus are (No, not with a lift kit!).

Does anyone have pics (or vids) of NEAR stock Subarus going through, like, lots and lots of mud (mud holes), snow (lots of it), and water (the deep stuff) or something of that sort. (And if it is modified, could ya please tell me what the mods are that make it any better off-road...you know..different tires or something)

Oh, by the way, I am asking because I am hoping to purchase a '02 OBS here real soon...or the 2.5RS Sedan!

Thanks for any pics or videos,
Justin
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Old 02-17-2001, 05:47 PM   #2
PunksRS
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Justin,

I don't have any pics but after owning several Subarus since 85 maybe I can enlighten you a bit. The biggest problem with off road is the ground clearance of the chassis. Unfortunately, sometime in the late 80's or early 90's Subaru did away with the dual-range manual transmission and a lot of the skid plate protection. This was probably done to go to a full time all-wheel drive system but I doubt it as my 87 RX turbo was full time AWD with dual range. I really liked the dual range because the low ratio really allowed the cars to pull thru deep mud and muck and very steep grades. I also had an 85 GL hatchback that was only limited to where it would go by it's ground clearance. It could do steeps with the best of them. I also learned the hard way that following the bigboys (real 4X4s) can lead to some real good lower body damage. On thing I always liked about the older cars is that they had full skid plate protection for the engine oil pan.

As far as snow, mud, and sand all of my Scoobys were great. I once buried my 85 RX turbo to the axles in beach sand at Lake McCoughney in Nebraska. Again, limited by ground clearance but it was very loose sand.

My only recommendation is to watch closely for hidden obstacles such as rocks and logs under the water or mud you are traversing. As much as those Outback commercials like to show the invincibility of Subarus, remember that you are still driving a unibody car with limited ground clearance and a lot of unprotected mechanicals underneath.

have fun!

Punk
 
Old 02-17-2001, 05:51 PM   #3
Paully
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Thumbs up

Well I have a 96, 1.8. I have been in door jab deep mud, ten inch deep snow, and about 4 inch deep water. My car has 17" with street tires and is lowed 3" with stuts and springs from cobb tuning. And all I can say about the off road handling.... DAM!!!! The car has neve been stuck and even when I bottemed out dead center on a mund, in deep mud, a down shift got me out no problem. The snow was nothing to the cars AWD system, and with a after market intake the water didnt hurt at all. If this was not my dally driver, I would turn it into the rally car that I have been looking for. I dont think you would be disapointed with the Imprezas off road qualitys. Have fun
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Old 02-17-2001, 06:11 PM   #4
Overtime
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If you're interested, there are springs which will help your off roading... available from ISR...along with some pics of lifted Foresters and an OBS.

Rally places like Primitive Motorsports will have skid plates and diff protectors, and mud flap measurements can be gleamed from North Ursalia's website.
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Old 02-17-2001, 07:31 PM   #5
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Subaru does offer skid plate and diff. protectors as optional. Legacy Outback offers pretty high ground clearance but its low departure and approach angles and the lack of low range gear box limit its off road capability. By any means, Subarus are capable of light off-road duties.

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Old 02-17-2001, 07:44 PM   #6
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Somewhere I've got photos of a bone stock '92 legacy L up to the doors in mud. Only thing getting it out was that long wire with a big hook connected to a tow truck. That said I was surprised by how far into the muck I made it before sinking.
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Old 02-18-2001, 12:08 AM   #7
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Ive seen tons of vids posted up here of RS's driving around in a foot of snow like it wasnt even there... Depends on what kind of "off-roading" you mean.
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Old 02-18-2001, 06:27 AM   #8
Youngun
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the problem with the L and RS is that if you take it offroad (like through streams forests and stuff like that) you void the warranty. But not true with the OBS. Check the owners manual.
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Old 02-18-2001, 07:16 AM   #9
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For what its worth I saw a 99 Legacey Outback on top of Cinnamon pass 12200ft in CO. No it's not a mud bog up there but it sure is a challenge to get up there. I was very impressed.

Chuck
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Old 02-18-2001, 07:39 AM   #10
Pipercub
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For what it is worth you might want to look into a lift kit. You can fit a good set of actual MUD tires or all terain tires with the clearance you would gain. And really, with slightly larger tires it would look appropriate.
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Old 02-18-2001, 09:29 AM   #11
akuhner
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Cool

Not exactly an '02 Subaru, but hey..
Check out an '84 GL in the mud...
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Old 02-18-2001, 09:39 AM   #12
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O.K. you will most likely not be able to take it rock climbing. But you can do the fast stuff kinda like rallying. Like a few feet of snow or on your local backroad thats all dirt. The only reason I would not take it in deep mud is because of ground clearence.
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Old 02-18-2001, 10:15 AM   #13
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If you really want to off road a Subaru a olderone might be better to keep around, as they are cheaper, and you can do ALOT to them. Also the rear semi-trailing arm suspention is much better and durable. You can also get the part time 4wd in a dual range which makes for much better going than the single range with a center LSD.

That said, you might also want to keep away from the wagons as thier overhangs are too long to be very good at it. The trails around here have lot of V cuts where the tow hooks on my wagon dragged in the sand.

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Old 02-18-2001, 10:17 AM   #14
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The Subaru has several disadvantages off-road, most of which have already been mentioned...
1. ground clearance
2. approach/departure angles
3. poor articulation
4. small sidewalls on the tires
5. no low range

A Subaru will do more than fine in light trailrunning or even in mud and snow. If you try and go on a real trail with lots of rock or depressions, you'll get stuck pretty fast. You'll end up with one (or more) tires stuck up in the air spinning futilely. If you're a little crazy, you can get an Outback places it shouldn't go through the use of momentum and too much speed (don't ask me how I know ).
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Old 02-19-2001, 12:28 AM   #15
LUME
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Check out my recent post in the Tri-State forum... I had an unfortunate incident with a large rock. Pictures included..... BTW, this was on crappy pavement... not even offroad...

--RD
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Old 02-18-2001, 03:10 PM   #16
Phy6
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When we had a flood on campus from a huge downpour, my coworker and I went to have some fun in the rain...

I drove through some pretty deep rapidly-flowing water, enough so that the water shot up onto my cabin glass from the screw holes in the transmission hump (I took my interior out). It was pretty fun, we only lost control once when the front of the car wouldn't touch the ground, making it hard to steer. Also, braking was greatly reduced
I'd say the water had come up to about half of my door height at some points, but not for a long time, since not much leaked through the doors.

Also during this trip, a manhole in a low part of campus became a 2' high bidet, which we drove over a few times to wash the undercarriage.

[This message has been edited by Phy6 (edited February 18, 2001).]
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Old 02-18-2001, 04:04 PM   #17
Pipercub
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Damn, that Bidet remark was funny! I just get this obscene visual of a 84GL getting a high colonic!
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Old 02-18-2001, 08:19 PM   #18
Hucker
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Remember, its a car. Just because it has AWD, doesn't make it a off-road monster in any sense. You want to go off-road? (I don't mean up to the ski lodge, or playing in the dirt the sander leaves behind) Buy a truck.
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Old 02-18-2001, 09:35 PM   #19
Andy_T
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"sometime in the late 80's or early 90's Subaru did away with the dual-range manual transmission and a lot of the skid plate protection"

This has already been discussed in other threads, but Subaru still manufactures Outback and Legacy manuals with dual-range gearboxes. If Subaru does not manufacture them in the US for the US market, this does not mean that they don't exist, or that there is something preventing their fitment. Armed with this info, the advice I an offer is that (a) you get hold of a dual-range tranny from a non-US spec car, or (b) press SOA to make it available as an option, just as they do with LSD.

It is not surprising that the dual-range transmission is not available in the USA, as American drivers famously do not tend to go near the dirt, even in the biggest and toughtest of vehicles. Yes, it's a generalisation, and it does disadvantage those who are keen to use their Subarus' potential. Keep pressing the manufacturer, is all I can say.
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Old 02-18-2001, 10:52 PM   #20
Paully
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I just wonted to know if they made the GL in a two door? I would like one just for a light off road beater. I love two doors, so I just wonted to know.
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Old 02-19-2001, 12:22 AM   #21
XT6Wagon
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Depends on WHICH GL you are talking about. The EA-82 powered cars came in 3dr, sedan, and Wagon. EA-81 cars came in The hatchback, sedan, wagon, and brat. Before that they came in a variety of items, but they are fairly rare now. (anyone want a 70 or 71 subaru FF1??)

The 3dr is a real sack of crap unless its a 88 or 89 RX. Get a XT if you want a 2dr car.
The Hatch is the best of the old 4X4 cars as it has NO overhangs compared to the others. With a little work a 5spd Dual range bolts in, and liftkits upto 10" have been made. 4" is the common lift. Many people run 27" tires under thier cars, but I have heard of upto 31"s going on after a bit of time with a air nibbler applied to the fender arches.
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Old 02-19-2001, 07:28 AM   #22
remarcable
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I have a 99 Outback and I've taken it through some nasty swamp mud and have also buried it up to the bumpers in beach sand.

I know my car's limitations, so I went AROUND this to get this.

The first time I went to that spot I cracked my front license plate and a rear mudflap in that swamp mud, so this second time back I went around it. My friend's jeep got stuck.

My Outback is great fun on backroads, sand, dirt, and even wet tarmac. The AWD will save your butt around turns and will recover from some very stupid maneuvers. The Outback is not a mud vehicle. The engine bay sits too low to the ground and you will coat every part of it with mud very easily. Engines do not like to bathe in mud. Also the mudflaps act as shovels and hold the car back in the mud, so even if you have forward momentum, the flaps will slow you down and sink you. My right rear flap is cracked, and I am about to intentionally crack the other ones so they will just break off under stress instead of trying to seperate the rear bumper.



[This message has been edited by remarcable (edited February 19, 2001).]
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