Is an 06 Legacy sedan or sedan gt strut suspension a direct fit with a 98 subaru legacy outback?

15

Asked by Nov 25, 2015 at 12:31 PM about the 1998 Subaru Legacy 4 Dr Outback AWD Wagon

Question type: Car Customization

Looking to lower the ride of my 1998 subaru legacy outback. I was curious if
the legacy platform on a 2006 model suspesion will fit directly in place of the
larger struts on the outback version of this earlier year. So far all I've found is
that the wrx struts from year 02 - 07 will fit along with the STI year 04. Thanks
so much for the help!

2 Answers

8,670

No! Been there, done that. The first iteration (1996-1999) OBs were soft handling predominantly because of small wheels and spongy over-tall Michelins (205/65-15). The very best way to improve handling is to stiffen the shoes and socks and leave the ankles and knees alone. First you have to ask yourself if ground clearance need stay the same (which to my mind is too tall)? If so, grab some nice cheap 17" alloys and put on the 225/55-17 setup used so successfully on the 2006-2009 OBs. You will be very impressed. If lowering ride height is preferred...and you have $$ for wheels...you can have ultimate handling with 215 or 225/50-17 and drop an inch or so. Compromises for potholes would suggest 225/60-16 (the 2000-2004 OB setup); this would still be on the soft side, however. If you're going to chase wheels I'd definitely jump to the 17" and then decide tire aspect ratio for ride height between 50 or 55. Note that the 205/50VR17 was used in sportier Legacy Wagons and Sedans in 2005-2009 to great effect. Essentially you're just dropping your first edition wallowy OB back down to where it should've been. As you blow struts you'll find the OE replacements are nice KYBs, so that's cheap. Leave the springs alone. I've improved body control significantly on 2006-2009 OBs with really nice aftermarket sway-bars made by Rallitek. I do NOT know if he makes thaen for the 1995-1999 Leg/OB chassis. It's worth a call, as fatter bars will plant your tall mass very nicely, adding much security to the now-surefooted shoes after the wheel/tire mod. Just throw those old 15" wheels away!!

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8,670

I should add that any reduction in tire/wheel total height will of course result in odo/speedo error. A one-size tire OR wheel change will only alter calibration about 3% (2mph@70mph), which actually offsets the +3-5% error in most Subies! But if you're dropping 2 increments you're speedo will read fast by 3-4% (another +2-3mph on the highway). Note also that all the wheel/tire improvement options I've listed work best with the taller gearing of the automatic. The very tight gearing of the 5sp manual leaves NO ROOM for height (circumference calculation for odo) reduction of the tire/wheel, so if you've a stick I'd just go 225/55VR17 for keeping engine revs down at speed in 5th gear. Autoboxes have more flexibility....

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