Got things installed today: Front Bilstein HD's (for Legacy GT with required spec B tophats). I had lots of springs to choose from (more than the dealer
). For the front, chose my OBXT 5M springs (std for my car) except I've cut them down a bit (about 1/3 bottom coil).
I changed the front first and drove it around before changing up the rear. It was a definite improvement. I REALLY like these HD's. They really work like premium shocks/springs should. The JDM Bilsteins with OBXT springs in the rear were still a little funky, still skipping off speedbumps the fronts just ate for breakfast. But overall car was better. Front hub-to-fender is about 16.25". I haven't had 100% stock in awhile, but I think this is 0.75" lower than stock.
Then dove into swapping the rear springs. Flipped a coin and installed Legacy GT wagon springs. They are similar to OBXT springs, but shorter. I think the wire-size is identical, or maybe the LGT's are the slightest bit thicker. The JDM Bilstein rear shocks I've had for awhile are height adjustable. I left them at the height closest to the 02-04 rear OB KYB's. But these Bilsteins don't have as long a shaft as the KYB's, so the OBXT springs I've been running with them were a bit crammed. They already were better than the KYB's IMHO, but had their quirks with those springs. The LGT springs were an easier fit (less pre-load). This changed the car manners more than I thought it would. The rear now feels MUCH softer, though I'm pretty sure spring rate should be the same. I can now roll over speedbumps with a LOT LESS trepidation. Ride feels much more luxurious...I was thinking this is what attracted me to the Outback vs the Forester in the first place....but ride is better than brand new while handling is improved. All in all it feels much more sophisticated. Rear hub to fender is now ~ 16.5".
So for the moment, I think I have made a significant upgrade. I will keep an eye out for "settling" and if I feel like blowing another afternoon, I might raise the rear lower perch height by 1 notch (~ 10mm). ****EDIT: I ended up doing this, see http://legacygt.com/forums/showpost....9&postcount=24
below with pics ****
front: stock Swaybar, Bilstein HD's (35-118305 & -312), spec B tophats (20320AG01A) and stock OBXT 5sp springs cut by about 1/3 coil (bottom). STI / Legacy Spec B (rubber) LCA bushings.
rear: Cobb 22mm RSB with mount reinforcements, Legacy GT stock wagon springs, JDM 00-04 "Lancaster Special" custom Bilsteins. I'm sorry, but I have no idea how you can get these except from Japan....and frankly the BTS kit is probably the better way. But if you are lucky to find these, they're certainly more comfortable and sophisticated-feeling than the 02-04 rear KYB's.
PS, I've had the 05+ aftermarket KYB's in front, along with the 04- KYB's in back. I switched to the aforementioned JDM rear Bilsteins. That was an improvement. Then swapped in the matching front JDM Bilsteins. Ride improved 200%, but ride height was INCREASED over stock
. So bit the bullet to buy these front HD's. If you want to use the rear HD's, you WILL have to use spacers.
**** I really shouldn't recommend cutting springs, will not be responsible if they blow up on you, but I think it worked for me....so far.****
**** I don't know if you can use the front HD's with tires larger than stock. The lower perch is much closer to the tire than normal Outback strut perches****
**** this is not a race setup, but seems VERY satisfying as an aggressive DD solution. Anyone that has the money to tweak their engine or exhaust really ought to consider doing the Bilsteins first. IMHO
**** I never load the rear down with a lot of weight. So this is not necessarily a solution for you "cargo haulers." My normal load is either nothing or a sub-30lb mountain bike.****
Here is something EVERYONE can do:
Lower than mine, but utilizes the readily available Bilstein HD's in the rear as well.
*****Thank you Easton for all your inspiration and advice******