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Old 04-17-2008, 02:25 PM   #1
Bullwinkle
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Default OK to Swap Rear Suspension from 98 Forester to 96 Legacy AWD Wagon?

I'm wanting to pull a more or less full rear suspension swap from a 98 Forrester in a local junkyard that has 72k on it into my 96 Legacy Brighton Wagon AWD w/147k.

Both vehicles have rear drum brakes, but the Forester has the ABS wheel on the hub and the 96 doesn't. If I switch the rear strut towers, the rear half shafts, bearing housings,brake lines, etc from the 98, and transplant all that to the 96, will it all interchange?

The 98 is an automatic and the 96 is a 5 speed, but the Subie Dealer says the half shafts are the same part number. Maybe the rear diff ratio is different between the two, but I guess my big concern is the additional inch or so that the hub sticks out laterally due to the inboard ABS reader wheel thingy. I have no plans to set the Brighton up with with ABS, but I don't see a problem using the ABS backing plates and all and just not wiring them up. I'm also assuming that the three studs on the top of the rear strut towers will line up okay. If there's a height issue, I'll live with it. Maybe I'll go back and get the fronts to make it match!! Any

Am I overlooking something here or is this pretty much a plug and play operation? Any rear wheel alignment issues or will the alignment shop be able to deal with it when I'm all done?



Thanks

The dimwitted moose
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Old 04-18-2008, 07:28 AM   #2
Wiscon_Mark
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1995 Legacy OB 5MT
2003 Forester X 5MT

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You might have rear camber issues, camber adjustment plates can fix that issue, more or less. Considering the Forester is based heavily on the Impreza, I'd imagine the swap will work, but again, like the Impreza, the Forester suspension is built for a slightly lighter vehicle, and might cause problems with sag (especially in the rear) on your Brighton wagon.
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
Bullwinkle
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FWIW, the swap went really well. I'll take the camber issues to the alignment shop when we get new tires later this spring. Just eyeballing the back from the rear it looks pretty much stock. The big win is the extra ground clearance the Forrester struts lend to the car. Should be good for the next winter AFA ground clearance etc. The rear drive shafts and wheel bearings are quiet as a mouse, and the brakes have a lot more life to them than what I took off of back there. I used some rubber well nuts from the local hardware store to plug up the ABS sensor holes since the Brighton doesn't have that option.

I was so happy with the swap, I went back to the junkyard and picked up the front strut assemblies for an additional $50. As time allows, I'll get them on too. Then the lower front won't remind me so much of the 70's.

Even if I only get another 50k out of this assembly, it will have been worth all the hassle.

thanks

DM&FS
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:10 AM   #4
95USsubaru
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1995 Legacy L and LS
GWB* Red*

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hey how did you go about doing this swap because i was thinking about doing it to mine. any pointers/ problems you came across?? im not trying to do it to a wagon, its going on a BD. im looking to raise my car if anything because half the roads around me...well... arent roads and get rutted out often.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:48 PM   #5
Jonathan
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Quick Silver Metallic

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95USsubaru View Post
Hey, how did you go about doing this swap because i was thinking about doing it to mine. Are there any pointers/ problems you came across?? I'm not trying to do it to a wagon, its going on to a BD sedan. I am looking to raise my car if anything because half the roads around me...well... aren't really roads and get rutted out often.
Seeing as the first generation Foresters were built off of the same floor pan and suspension as the first generation Impreza, and the first generation Impreza was created from a shortened Legacy floor pan and suspension it should be no real surprise that everything physically fits correctly. All you really need just to gain the additional ride height are the strut & spring assemblies and preferably the spacers that fit between the lower control arms and the body. However as Wiscon_Mark pointed out, the Forester & Impreza are both significantly lighter therefore springs from these vehicles are likely to be way too soft.

While you could use an Impreza Outback "Sport", a Forrester, or a Legacy Outback station wagon as a donar vehicle and still manage to gain some ride height, in a perfect world to do a safe and proper "lift" on your BD sedan the best possible available "donar" vehicle to use would be the 1997 - 1999 "SUS" BD Legacy Outback sedan. You would want the springs, struts, and lower control arm spacers.

I would also recommend that you pull the larger front and rear anti-sway bars and bushing assemblies from the donar vehicle as the increased ride height will make your sedan more likely to sway when taking corners.

While you are at it you might enjoy grabbing the larger 205/70R15 wheels and tyre assemblies from the donar vehicle. Yes, the slightly larger tyres and wheels will make your speedometer read slightly lower than your true road speed, but it is a much more robust wheel and it should help give you some additional right height. In order to properly compensate for the additional rolling circumference Subaru used a slightly shorter top gear, you would need to swap trannys and rear-ends which is too much of a nuisance IMOH.

Oh and to see that nothing is left out, you could also snag the sun visors that contain "warnings" about your increased rollover risks.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:03 PM   #6
95USsubaru
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GWB* Red*

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haha thanks i have the snowflakes and i see a lot of Sport Utility Sedans around me. (my name for SUS unless thats the ACTUAL meaning behind it) but from what you say i just need the strut n spring. i have the RSB but good idea on the FSB and i need the lower control arm spacers. assuming is a blundry s*** so i gotta ask about braking. do you know of any significant differences like feel or a suggestion if i should get larger brakes? im not trying to do an all out underneath swap (would be F****** awesome but i digress) but ya know what im gettin at. more ground clearance.so if i get the afore mentioned parts i should be jet set?
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:22 PM   #7
Jonathan
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1999 Legacy GT Ltd
Quick Silver Metallic

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Technically you don't *NEED* the spacers. All the spacers do is help the lower control arms sit lower so you have the correct suspension geometry. Nice to have, but not required.

Yeah, I guess if you are a man on a mission, you could go all out and swap over the larger brakes.. or if you are really determined you might choose to do a so-called "H6" rear brake swap and install some WRX front brakes.... The important part is you want to keep the front/rear brake bias consistant. The SUS has the 2-piston front calipers, but keeps the miniature rear setup that is likely identical to what you already have.

From what you are describing, I don't think you really need to worry all that much about stopping.

Yes, SUS stands for Sport Utility Sedan.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:04 AM   #8
dimwittedmoose
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An update for all of you interested in this thread.

Our 96 Legacy Brighton is doing really well with the Forrester suspension from the junkyard. Didn't do the sway bar swap and have noticed no issues with cornerning, but then my other vehicle is a VW Vanagon, so anything corners better than that rolling barn.

Put General Altima tires on it keeping the 14" wheels and the car has dealt with the snow here in NE IA this winter better than I could have ever expected. The alignment shop had no problems dialing everything in once I had the swap completed.

2010 projects will include a second try and rust removal and getting the clutch replaced. Have a cruise control unit to install as well and it smells like the heater core may be going. Thanks again folks for the help.

DM&FS
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:55 AM   #9
needcarinmass
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Pictures please!
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