The Forester 2.5 XS L.L.Bean Edition is exclusively equipped with a self-leveling rear suspension

Asked by Nov 25, 2007 at 01:40 PM about the 2005 Subaru Forester XS L.L. Bean

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Our mechanic put new rear struts on our Subaru Forester 2005 LL Bean Edition. We drove it about 800 miles and then noticed it looked low in the back. (We aren't very observant!). It turns out that the mechanic  didn't know that the LL Bean Edition has self-leveling in the rear suspension and requires a different strut than the one they put on for a regular '05 Forester.

So, do you think driving it with the wrong struts has hurt the all-wheel-drive or anything else?

Thanks, Elisa

9 Answers

40,305

You should be fine. 800 miles is not enough to really mess anything up. Have them put the right struts on and you should be fine. I'd imagine they're still using an air-levelling shock and it was fairly common on older vehicles with similar systems to just replace the air levelling shocks with regular shocks/struts.

Thanks for the advise. I'd love to leave these struts on because the self-leveling struts are $260 more expensive. But I don't think I can leave them on because the car looks like it is riding very low in the back, it doesn't look right at all.

15

struts wont hurt a thing at all, no damage what so ever, the other option is to just put stiffer springs in your current struts, i have some in mine and they raised it by about 4 cm, they are a brand called king springs

I assume those are the King progressive springs for raising the vehicle. I am considering putting those on my 04 Forester XT, so I'm interested in your experience with them. Stiffness? Off-road improvements? Ride comfort on regular roads? Handling? My understanding is that the U.S. 2004 Forester XT does not have self-leveling rear struts, but I'm not positive.

30

I need those new self leveling struts too. will those progressive king springs help with rising the car up too?

2,775

Don't match aftermarket springs to self leveling struts. The struts will prematurely fail trying to adjust the ride height from what the spring forces the car to sit at, whether it be higher or lower than stock.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have an '04 Forester XT, and I put the raising King progressives on it and I love the result. I take it on some pretty hairy jeep trails, and it will go most places a Jeep will go. It is 1.4" higher than stock now, and you get some extra wheel travel which is good off road. I made a few other upgrades around the same time: -I upgraded the struts with new KYB (GR2 if I recall), which are supposedly a better match for the stiffer King springs (30% stiffer at first, progressing down to 20%). -Replaced the end links on the anti-sway bars with Perrin steel spherical end links to reduce play. -Replaced the steering rack bushings with stiffer AVO ones -Added 3/16" skid plates front and rear, because I tore up a couple of the stock plastic shields. -I also replaced the wheels soon after I bought the car (new) with SSR 16x7 which weigh about 7 lbs less and I like the look (anthracite color). These wheels are forged, not just cast, so they are super tough even though very light weight. Some people put 15" wheels on so they can get fatter tires for dirt/off road. I kept the stock sway bars because you don't want a stiffer one for off road as it reduces the independence of each wheel to travel as necessary for traction. The result of all the above is much crisper steering, less sway, and generally better handling on and off road. Of course, the ride is firmer and some might find it too harsh on rough roads. -My tires are stock dimensions. I have Nokian All-weather tires, that function both as all-season and snow rated.

30

are you guys saying that my new self leveling struts will break in - a bit stiff right now, not much difference from the old ones..... bumps are very hard. (06 LLbean forester)

I don't know about break-in on self leveling struts. My '04 XT does not have those struts. I replaced my original struts (not self leveling - those are only on the LLBean I think) with KYB GR2, which are more highly damped than the originals on my FXT and a better match for the stiffer King springs I put on. But I don't think your new self-leveling struts will get softer. The springs provide the stiffness, and the struts, which are a type of shock absorber, provide dampening, which keeps the vehicle from bouncing up and down after being stressed by bumps. Foresters, even stock, are built for some rough road conditions. Even without upgrades, you can take your Forester over some pretty rough jeep trails. Maybe that's not what you wanted. For me, it's a blast to have some confidence to gain access to some special wilderness areas (I never drive into those areas, just to them). Also, I should have said the King raising progressives are 20% stiffer at first, progressing to 30% stiffer when compressed towards the maximum. That won't affect you, because you can't use those springs on the LL Bean.

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