Write up! Please feel free to comment and add your ideas as you may have other methods that may save time or is easier!
2002 Legacy GT Wagon Rear Multi-link shock removal and replacement:
KYB GR2 struts 334273, 334274, 341275, 341275
HR Springs 29443
STI front top hats Subaru part number 20323FA000
Jack, jack stands, huge breaker bar, spring compressor (the one with safety lock/pins), torque wrenches, 17mm box-end offset wrench, 6mm allen wrench (preferably the kind with a T handle), 12mm, 14mm 17mm and 19mm (or 3/4in) sockets.
Inside, remove rear cargo tray, and carpeted piece between wheel wells. Pulling up on the carpeted piece will allow the clips to shoot all over the inside...so try not to loose any. Once you’ve removed the rear carpet thing, you will see in plain view the top mounts of the rear shocks slightly offset from the wheel well. Spray the snot out of the 3 nuts with P’Blaster or your favorite penetrating fluid. Loosen, but DO NOT REMOVE, the center nut using your 17mm offset wrench and your 6mm allen, unless you have a death wish. Loosening it now will save you from a lot of cuss words later. Loosen the 2 top mount nuts. Loosen the lug nuts, & jack up the rear. Securely put it on jack stands. Remove wheels. Underneath, spray the control arm shock bolt down with P’Blaster. Remove the lower shock bolt. I had to remove it with a breaker bar the size of Texas. Please be careful. I put a 19 box end wrench on one side of the bolt, wedged against the ground, and pull like crazy on the nut. It will come off. With the bolt out, remove the 2 top mount nuts and lower the shock assembly out. Note the relationship of the top hat to shock and spring seating. A digital camera can be really handy now. Evenly compress the spring with the spring compressor until there is no more pressure on the lower spring seat and top hat. Remove the center shock rod bolt and disassemble the spring and shock unit. Evenly uncompress the old spring and compress your new HR’s. Assemble the top hat, the spring and new KYBs. Tighten the shock rod bolt supplied with your new KYBs as much as you can (41 ft/lbs). Uncompress the new assembly. Make sure your spring seats properly at base and top and are just like the pics you just took. You can have a situation where you’re off a 180 degrees...so pics come in handy. The spring seats: I had one go in perfectly, and the other took 20 minutes of monkeying to get it right. Supporting the shock unit with your jack, reinstall the top mount nuts but don’t tighten all the way. Using your jack compress the unit from the bottom until the lower bolt lines up in the control arm hole and install the bolt and nut and torque it to 118 ft/lbs. Now go back into your cargo area and torque the top mount nuts to 15-20 ft/lbs. Put the cargo area of your interior back together. Put the wheels on and lower the car off the jack stands.
Loosen lug nuts, jack up front, securely put on jack stands, try to place jack stands where they will not interfere with the suspension movement, remove wheels. Spray all suspect bolts down with P’Blaster. Under the hood, loosen the 3 top mount nuts that secure the strut to the body. Remove the center dust cap. Loosen, but DO NOT REMOVE, the center strut rod 17mm nut. The box end offset 17mm and t-handle 6mm allen comes in handy here again. Underneath, remove the brake line bolt. The design is neat, no need to break the line to bleed it later. Older models you had to disconnect the line requiring bleeding later, the BH there is one bolt that holds the line to the strut. Remove the ABS sensor bolt and hang it out of the way. Now for the hard part. Get out your mother of all break bars, and remove the strut to hub 19mm bolts. The top one is not round and has a washer...there to adjust camber later. Remove the 3 top mount nuts (don’t touch the center bolt!) And remove the strut assembly from the car. Take pics to mark relation. Put the spring compressor on the spring, and crank down evenly on the compressor until there is no more pressure on the seat and top hat. Once you do that, you can remove the center strut rod bolt without ending up with a lobotomy. Remove the top hat, washer, bumper, dust cover and mount. Uncompress old spring, compress the HR. Place compressed spring on the shiny new GR2s. Assemble install the new top hat, bumper, dust cover and mount. Tighten the center strut rod locknut as much as you can now (37 ft/lbs). Uncompress making sure everything lines up right and seats properly. Place the strut assembly on the car and install but to not tighten the upper mounting nuts. Insert the hub/steering knuckle into the strut. Place the two big bolts in (oval bolt with washer on top). Tighten to 130 ft/lbs. Install the brake line and ABS sensor and tighten to 25 ft/lbs. Tighten the upper mounting nuts to 15 ft/lbs. Put the wheels back on and lower the car.
Finally, get it aligned by a place that knows what they're doing. (IE, not Firestone or Sears).
Rear carpet panel:
Rear carpet panel removed with top mounts wedged against wells:
Rear top mount in the corner:
Rear bottom shock bolt:
Front top mount with dust cap:
Front bottom strut-to-knuckle attachment bolts: