Last post on Mar 30, 2011 at 6:34 AM
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Subaru Forester, Steering, Suspension
#1 of 55 Subaru Forester Suspension/Steering Questions
by PFFlyer@Edmunds HOST
Nov 14, 2006 (10:45 am)
Discuss Forester suspension and steering issues here.
#2 of 55 '07 XT suspension issues
Nov 14, 2006 (11:23 am)
Hi, I am a former '04 XT owner who has just traded in for a new '07 XT. My issue concerns the suspension/carrying capacity of the '07. I have noticed a spongier ride with the '07, as well as reduced handling characteristics, when compared to the '04. This applies even to the pounded-on, 63k mileage '04 I traded in this late October. It also seems like I have to turn the wheel more for the same turn response.
The biggest beef I have, however, is with the carrying capacity of the '07. This is a car for camp, and frequently I buy a big load of firewood and load up the back of the car. '04: no problem, barely a sag in the rear. '07: loss of at least 2 inches of ground/wheel clearance - this thing sags like a '77 Caddy which has never had its suspension replaced! This is a load that is not even close to 900 lbs.! Tire inflation was fine, too, although I noticed that there is no "range" for the rear tires given for the '07 vs. the 6 pound range that was given for the '04 depending on load size.
Two questions: 1.) Did the suspension change drastically between the '04 and the '07? (BTW, I just drove a friend's '04 yesterday, and noticed the same thing, so it does not appear to be car-specific.) 2.) This is an unacceptable situation: what can I do about it? Can I get the self-leveling struts from the LL Bean model put onto my car? How about the STI springs? It seems to me that Subaru recognizes that this is a problem given the "high beam leveler" offered on the Canadian model, as well as the "self-leveling strut" on the LL Bean model.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
#3 of 55 Re: '07 XT suspension issues [jimee]
Nov 14, 2006 (11:49 am)
They gave it a lift starting with the 06 models, and my guess is they used a longer spring with a softer spring rate.
So it starts out about half an inch taller than the old one. I'm not surprised that it'll sag more, then.
The LL Bean struts should fit, but they are pricey. Get a Chase card and save up Subaru Bucks for that.
#4 of 55 Re: '07 XT suspension issues [jimee]
Nov 14, 2006 (12:15 pm)
The mini redesign of 2006 made some slight changes. I, for one, have not noticed the drastic changes you "feel". I can carry loads of wood, or building supplies, and have never seen any "sag". Sometimes in posting, users choice of words make things sound more alarming than they mean.
Sometimes perceived changes, among those prone to being "picky" or big enthusiast's, make them more sensitive to those refinements. And they are more resistant to changes.
#5 of 55 Forester Ride Height
Nov 16, 2006 (9:54 pm)
Air-bags. Look into Air-lift for airbags that can be slipped into the coil springs to help keep it level when you have a load in it. I did this on my 2000 Isuzu Trooper for towing. Alternately you can look into springs from Australia that are stiffer, only downside will be a harsher ride when un-loaded. Or even get custom springs wound.
#6 of 55 Re: '07 XT suspension issues [jimee]
Nov 30, 2006 (3:33 am)
Aha, I'm not the only one to notice. I traded in my 04 for an 07 and am suffering from the same concern. I liked my log wagon ride. When they changed the looks, they obviously changed the ride so they could get more soccer moms to buy.
I have researched it and found some of the reasons. They may have added .1 as in from 3.0 to 3.1 wheel turns from lock to lock...and then added boost to the power steering.
Here is an article that describes it exactly...
"This is where we don't necessarily like Forester's 2006 "improvements," even if it largely comes down to taste. The new suspension settings seem to have moved Forester a bit closer to the SUV side of the crossover equation and further from the car side. The steering feels a hint more numb than before, and the Forester more reluctant to turn, with more lean in the body through a fast curve. None of it seriously detracts from the Forester's handling edge compared to a truck-based SUV, and many drivers will never notice. But if you're inclined to attack a winding road, even in your little SUV-car, you probably will notice."
Some others have told me they could have used softer bushings etc. and that in conjunction with the raise in height would add the roll.
If you go to Scoobymods or the Subaru Forester Owners Forum there are people that can tell you how to "retune" your suspension. I am probably going to engage in some of the changes in the spring. Not sure which ones yet. I think I'm stuck with the steering difference.
#7 of 55 I didnt experience this yet...
Nov 30, 2006 (3:51 am)
"The biggest beef I have, however, is with the carrying capacity of the '07. This is a car for camp, and frequently I buy a big load of firewood and load up the back of the car. '04: no problem, barely a sag in the rear. '07: loss of at least 2 inches of ground/wheel clearance"
Oh no... I tow a 1900 pop up and didn't extrapolate yet to this. Like you the 200 lb tongue weight barely lowered my back end on my 04. I am really going to be upset when I hook up and have the back end go down. I have explored the addition of the load leveling just for the heck of it before this and it sounds like it is very very expensive. The struts themselves...if you can get them are around 200 apiece. Then you have to change your springs etc.
I believe the basic "metal" set up is the same as the 04 (which by the way was how the vehicle was originally engineered in a wholistic fashion)and it is just the big mushy bushings and things at the top of the struts between the frame etc that have done most of this.
OH and many of the Australians who get load leveling struts on over half their models have issues with the load leveling struts and are asking about switching them out for regular ones...LOL. They go out surprisingly regularly but then again, they use them. There's even a poll on this on one forum. Oh the Aussies get dual range manual transmissions. Subaru tries to tell U.S. they don't exist.
You can retro in STI suspension elements and really tighten up things I am told and with the bushing etc. changes it should be OK...but not cheap. Even if I or a friend does the labor.
#8 of 55 HD Springs
Nov 30, 2006 (4:08 pm)
Why not put in some HD rear springs?
#9 of 55 Re: HD Springs [paisan]
Dec 01, 2006 (4:50 pm)
#10 of 55 Re: HD Springs [kavoom]
Dec 01, 2006 (5:37 pm)
HD as in Heavy Duty