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Thread: 2018 Subaru Outback "Otto

  1. #1

    2018 Subaru Outback "Otto

    A work in progress to be sure but this weekend will mark the beginning of the significant mods I'm doing to the Subaru. Figured I might as well write about it here as I go. So far my experience with the Outback has been stellar for what I need it for and I'm looking forward to tweaking it a bit to make it even better. My wife thinks he looks like a big Otter and so has named him Otto.

    Goals for the build include keeping everything on a tight budget without too much twine and duct tape, and no mods can be permanent. I don't want to be drilling a bunch of holes in a brand new car. I've already installed a set of mud flaps and swapped the rubber for better all terrain tires.

    Short term mods will be a radio install, a mild lift, and a multi functional roof rack where I'm going to mount off road lights and stow emergency gear. Longer term, I'm going to get the lift up to 3 inches, build some HDPE skid plates, and put some rally style driving lights on the front.



    Original Bone Stock Outback 2.5i


    Yokohama Geolandar A/T Tires


    Rally Armor Urethane Mud flaps


    Testing temporary radio mounting techniques

    Tomorrow I'm going to try and get the lift in and the radio mounting finalized. I discovered a major issue with my CB antenna yesterday so I have to get another one in the morning. With luck I'll have a mockup of the cargo basket done too.
    2018 Subaru Outback
    2007 Jeep Compass
    VA6DWT

  2. #2
    Nice pictures! How did you get them embedded in the forum entry? We have been struggling with that of late. If you have the answer, it may make you rich beyond your wildest dreams!
    I can see your reluctance to take it off road. Trees detest shiny stuff and go out of their way to add pine stripes to unsuspecting body panels as they pass by. You have to stay on
    your toes at all times or some swamp pine will getcha! How do I know these things you ask? My Jeep is nicknamed Scraper for good reason. Darn trees!
    Take care.

    Gord
    Having a Jeep and no road is better than having a road and no Jeep!

    2013 Sahara 2 Dr "Scraper" (The Fenderless Wonder!), R/E 2-1/2" lift, BFG MT TA's for Off Road, Rampage "Stubby" Recovery Front Bumper, Rampage Recovery Rear Bumper, Rampage driving lights in front bumper, PIIA fog lights on front bumper and Rampage fog lights in rear bumper, DayStar switch panel, IPF H4 Headlamps,
    WARN M8000 winch, Rampage Retractable RockerGuard Steps, Ten Factory chrome-moly front axles, RockHard oil pan skid plate, Teraflex diff covers, Teraflex Quick Disconnect sway bar links, Teraflex Dana 30 outer axle seals, Dana 30 Eaton TrueTrac LSD, Dana 44 Eaton TrueTrac LSD.
    It's a fun little machine!

  3. #3

    New Fog light bulbs for Otto

    Thanks Gord. Having run a photography business for the past 5 years has it's benefits. That said forums don't always play nice. I have a pretty robust hosting plan with Zenfolio. Unfortunately it's not free but starts at $7 US a month. I've tried everything over the years and my business would be nothing without their services. Their app lets me shoot photos online directly from my phone as well. Not so helpful for pro work but for the forums it's great.

    Today I swapped my fog lamps out for amber ones. A minor mod which likely makes next to no difference on the road but it's one of those things that makes mine just a little bit more different from the rest on the road:


    Original

    Sylvania Fog Bulb. Not much difference in the day time.
    2018 Subaru Outback
    2007 Jeep Compass
    VA6DWT

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JKGK View Post
    I can see your reluctance to take it off road. Trees detest shiny stuff and go out of their way to add pine stripes to unsuspecting body panels as they pass by. You have to stay on
    your toes at all times or some swamp pine will getcha!
    Take care.

    Gord
    After 160,000km on my Jeep we've been all over the west side of North America from Vancouver to San Francisco. Every dent, ding, scratch, and crack came from a parking lot and nothing on road or off.
    2018 Subaru Outback
    2007 Jeep Compass
    VA6DWT

  5. #5
    I installed my cheap and cheerful lift in the rear this afternoon...basically your $10 set of rubber spring spacers in the rear coil overs. Along the way I got very confused about how much of a lift I'd actually accomplished...or not accomplished. I measured the top of the wheel well before and then after. After repositioning the spacers several times and test driving, the height at the top of the wheel well had barely moved. I suspect my before measurements were impacted by the slope of my driveway. I went underneath to measure at what I presume is the lowest point under the car...where the exhaust pipe wraps around the rear diff...and the clearance is around 10 inches. Given the factory clearance of 8.7 inches and the bigger tires, I'm calling that a 1 inch lift.

    This technique makes the rear springs stiffer which should be good to prevent sag when the back is loaded with gear or I'm pulling a trailer. The ride isn't compromised much. I think I feel the bumps more but it's so subtle, it could easily be all in my head.

    The pictures don't really show the proper story so I'll have to do better when I lift the front. Here's a road pic from the first test drive. I added a bit more lift after I got home from this trip. It doesn't look like much yet but we're getting there.

    2018 Subaru Outback
    2007 Jeep Compass
    VA6DWT

  6. #6
    I hear you on the parking lots and on road hazards. With my Jeep, I haven't received too much in the way of dings and scratches in parking lots but all of my windshield carnage, with one exception, have
    occurred on pavement. My wife's Equinox however has it's fair share of parking lot blemishes.
    I do take pride in all the pine striping on my Jeep though. There is no deep damage to the body panels but the clear coat is probably compromised in a few spots. They all offer an opportunity to
    do some BS'ing at the end of the day about a particular trail section or hazard.
    Take care.

    Gord
    Having a Jeep and no road is better than having a road and no Jeep!

    2013 Sahara 2 Dr "Scraper" (The Fenderless Wonder!), R/E 2-1/2" lift, BFG MT TA's for Off Road, Rampage "Stubby" Recovery Front Bumper, Rampage Recovery Rear Bumper, Rampage driving lights in front bumper, PIIA fog lights on front bumper and Rampage fog lights in rear bumper, DayStar switch panel, IPF H4 Headlamps,
    WARN M8000 winch, Rampage Retractable RockerGuard Steps, Ten Factory chrome-moly front axles, RockHard oil pan skid plate, Teraflex diff covers, Teraflex Quick Disconnect sway bar links, Teraflex Dana 30 outer axle seals, Dana 30 Eaton TrueTrac LSD, Dana 44 Eaton TrueTrac LSD.
    It's a fun little machine!

  7. #7
    N.A.S.A. Jeep Launch Commander Toy Jeep's Avatar
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    Good luck with finding a good preferment location for your ham radio and CB. I install 2-way radios for a living and that is one of the challenges I face every day is finding a place to put radios in customer radios in there vehicles. I have being having good success in pick-up's with full length center consoles ofinstalling the radios in the console. cell boosters and cradles add there own chalanges.

    The Subaru looks good. I think the amber fog lights will look good.
    Not all who wander are lost
    VE6DKS

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Toy Jeep View Post
    Good luck with finding a good preferment location for your ham radio and CB. I install 2-way radios for a living and that is one of the challenges I face every day is finding a place to put radios in customer radios in there vehicles. I have being having good success in pick-up's with full length center consoles ofinstalling the radios in the console. cell boosters and cradles add there own chalanges.

    The Subaru looks good. I think the amber fog lights will look good.
    The biggest challenge is doing it without making any permanent changes to the car...including not pulling wires through the firewall. That means, for me, mag mounts and tapping the fuse panel under the dash. Fortunately the power sunroof circuit is powered even when the ignition is off.

    I'm working on a few mounting locations using some interesting techniques. The photo above with the radios stacked on the dash uses 3M command strip velcro meant for hanging photos on the wall. After a bit more testing, I'll take pics and add them here.
    2018 Subaru Outback
    2007 Jeep Compass
    VA6DWT

  9. #9

    More Minor Mods

    A few more things taken care of over the weekend:

    Installed the front tow point and put a shackle in it. The shackle pin is too small for the big hole in the factory tow point so I spaced it with washers...they are way too big but until I can find something more like a bushing to go there instead, these will keep it from rattling down the road. The rear one is from Princess Auto and I think it looks great back there. Given how much highway driving I do in a week, I don't mind leaving them in there all the time.


    I also finished mounting my 2M radio for daily driving. It's not in a very ideal spot but it works. I can read it, work all the controls, and thanks to a magnetic cell mount, put the mic either down by the radio or up on the dash. I'm using a remote speaker to make sure I can hear it when it's mounted down there but it's pretty good without it as long as you crank up the volume a little.


    I'm also experimenting with the magnetic mount for my HT radio. The metal belt clip sticks to them like glue! Could pre pretty handy. All that's left to do is finish covering the wire in loom and do a better job of tucking it out of sight under my floor mats. So far I really like being able to mix and match what I run and where I put it. Being able to strip everything out in 5 minutes if I want is nice.


    So the magnets and the velcro are great temporary solutions but here's the disclaimer. When the day comes that I'm in any sort of crash, the radios are going to become projectiles. For that reason I'm only ever going to mount them on top of the dash when i'm off road...down by my feet feels pretty safe now that I have 8 strips of it (by 3M specs, 8 pair is enough to hold 32 lbs.). In testing it only ever came off mounted vertically when there were 2 pair of strips holding it up and that required a pot hole to dislodge it.

    I have a new K30 mag-base CB antenna going in soon...I just have to tune it.

    I also have a lead on black HDPE sourced locally for making skid plates. Just can't decide on the thickness. 1/4" seems like not enough and 1/2" seems like overkill...and 3/8" doesn't come in black! Might go with the 1/4" to start and double it up later if I need more...or just double it up where it's critical.
    2018 Subaru Outback
    2007 Jeep Compass
    VA6DWT

  10. #10
    I just discovered something amazing. I company called Subaxtreme makes a full steel front bumper that bolts into the frame where the OE bumper sits (normally behind the plastic). http://www.subaxtreme.com/shop/outba...froad-bullbar/ It would cost over $3000 before shipping to get one and requires cutting the plastics so that's out right there...it did however give me an idea watching the install video.

    The whole front plastic from headlights down, come off with just plastic push rivets. Everything else but the fog lights stay including the washer and coolant tanks. Removing that plastic alone should partially solve the issue of approach angle. All it needs is a bottom skid plate to protect the exposed bits and fog lights with H11 bulbs that can plug into the OE harness. The winch would be optional but of course I'd put one in.

    It may be a mod which comes further down the line but it's one which could be 'undone' and put back to stock in 10 minutes...no lie. 8 bolts and about a dozen plastic rivets later. Would it look completely ghetto if I built it? Absolutely! As long as it's functional and can be put back to stock afterwards, those are my only solid requirements. I'll have to start calling wreckers to see what I can find. The steel bumper looks like an extremely basic part...just stamped metal across two steel stanchions which bolt to the frame.
    2018 Subaru Outback
    2007 Jeep Compass
    VA6DWT

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