I carry some tools in this car, and changed the rear shocks, myself, with monroe shocks. And now, three months later, the shocks are no good, are leaking, and the vehicle does not drive well.
Look for KYB monomax. Most shocks come compressed in the box to save space but these are so unbelievably stiff they come uncompressed. We put them on the front of my friends ranger and it holds a six foot plow like its just a bumper extension.
http://www.tirerack.com/ suspension/suspension.jsp? make=KYB&model=Monomax+Shoc k ---- delete the spaces in the link when you copy and paste and look at the reviews. They talk about the shocks breaking in and the ride becoming more comfortable but its not the shock breaking in its the driver getting used to them. Trust me when I say you won't be disappointed with their ability to carry a load.
I sat in on a KYB reprosentative that had Bilstein, Monroe, and a few other name brand heavy duty shocks cut apart to show the flaws in their build that KYB eliminated. The main one being the other brands use a hunk of flat steel and riloll then weld it to make the shock. KYB uses a steel block and drill the center then clean up the outside to make a solid chamber.
Hi John and thanks. I went to that link and that shock/strut does not fit the 02 outback, as a matter of fact, not much does fit that car
If you have coil springs then you could possibly look into spring helpers. They are hard rubber or a type of polyurethane inserts that reduce the springs travel. I have only heard of them and never seen or used them. From what I've heard they go in between the springs coil to prevent that coil from moving effectively reducing the amount of travel in that spring.
The springs are what hold the vehicles load. The only thing the shock does is assist in reducing bounce. You can actually remove the shocks from a vehicle and it will still carry the same weight. When you said some tools I assumed you meant within reason but if you're surpassing the vehicles gvwr then you will need to upgrade the springs.
The vehicle does not ride low, so I would say its handling the load. The weight is prematurely failing the shock/strut. I think its the weight and driving on mountain highways with dips, that causes the back end to rise and fall. I see that KGB does make one shock for my vehicle, which is really my only choice.
They have a heavy duty and then the step up from that is the monomax. If its not labeled as a heavy duty then its may fail prematurely like the last one.
Looking for a Used Outback in your area?
CarGurus has 30,624 nationwide Outback listings starting at $1,200.
Search Subaru Outback Questions
Subaru Outback Experts