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Thread: 1996Battlewagon's 2005 Outback H6 (Potential Expo Rig)

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    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    1996Battlewagon's 2005 Outback H6 (Potential Expo Rig)

    Sup fellas! After wrenching on my 05 Outsack for the past week replacing the power steering pump, accessory belt, and power steering feed hose/o-ring, I've decided this car is easy enough to work on and tough enough to be modded.

    This is my DD and will remain that way for as long as I can't afford an '10-'14 3.6R sedan. As of 9/11/16 it has 171k miles and is stock with the exception of an aftermarket Bluetooth hookup installed by the previous owner.

    The car has been well taken care of. Rear wheel bearings have been replaced as well as rear struts, and steering rack. It's been fed synthetic oil for a majority of its life and will continue to. The engine rocks! No leaks but does burn a bit of oil when trashed on (read wide open throttle).





    Gratuitous flex shots:





    Mods as of 9/11/16:

    Engine:
    Stock
    Transmission:
    Stock
    Suspension:
    Stock
    Tires:
    225/55/17 Firestone
    Brakes:
    Stock
    Interior:
    Kinko Bluetooth receiver
    Exterior:
    Stock

    My plan here is to build a light-duty expo rig that my GF can still drive in the winter.

    I've raided RalliTEK and Primitive Racing's catalog's and have a somewhat decent plan (albeit expensive):

    Front and rear skid plates
    King Springs/KYB Struts (had this set up on my BG and loved it!)
    225/60/17 Yokohama Geolander AT/S
    Cloth front seats (the leather is getting too old and hard to be comfortable on long trips)
    A pillar lights (I really want these but will have to fab up some sort of mount)

    A big maybe put all possible:
    Rooftop tent
    Magnaflow mufflers

    Maintenance wise, the car needs new brake rotors pretty bad. One if not multiple are warped right now.
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  2. #2
    SLi O.G. Muse's Avatar
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    This should be totally awesome.
    2002 Outback H6 VDC "Blitzen 6"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lancaster6
    A sherpa could rip ass somewhere high up in the Himalayas and my Prius will be blown almost off of the road.

  3. #3
    SLi O.G. 98legwag's Avatar
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    Another 3.0R! We are slowly taking over!

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    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    For good reason: this engine is fantastic! Don't get me wrong, I have a soft spot in my heart for the EJ25D, but a timing chain, torque, power, and smoothness kind of trump the four bangers as a DD in my mind. Even with 171k miles, this thing still hauls!

    I will say the 5EAT sometimes downshifts at slow speed a bit harshly. The fluid has been flushed within the past year, so maybe it's just old age. Perhaps an aftermarket trans cooler would help.

    This weekend, I'd like to try and permanently mount a GPS. Stay tuned.
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  5. #5
    SLi O.G. 98legwag's Avatar
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    From what I have heard, its also the way the TCU is programmed. Some people have said there is an update for that, but I am not sure. As for the GPS mount, I bought this one:

    http://www.cubbymounts.com/2005-2009.html

    I really like it.

  6. #6
    ROTM Master peugoby's Avatar
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    Congrats! Looks like a great daily driver. It looks like its in great shape too. If I ever end up buying another Legacy, it'll be an '09 3.0R Outback Limited.
    '95 Subaru Legacy L AWD Wagon - Original Owner lBBS l CUSCO l WHITELINE l SPT
    '98 BMW E36 M3
    '18 VW Alltrack SE DSG
    '01.5 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro/Manual/APR Stage 2

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    SLi Lurker foohfooh's Avatar
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    Ah. That car is a holy grail. Remember that guy mshiv? From australia? I think that's what he had.

  8. #8
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 98legwag View Post
    As for the GPS mount, I bought this one:

    http://www.cubbymounts.com/2005-2009.html

    I really like it.
    Interesting. Pretty reasonable price wise. I do kind of like that cubby though - I might try and mount it by the shifter.
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  9. #9
    "FNG"
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    Looking forward to the build!

  10. #10
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Well fellas, after dealing with the nonsense of life, I'm finally starting to hunt for parts for this thing. Car is still stock and has been driven by my girlfriend for the past three weeks while her e90 sat. That car finally went to a real mechanic (newer BMWs baffle me) and I'm getting my car back soon! I went back and forth on the direction for this car (overlander or supercharged sleeper) and decided to continue on with my expo-style build. I'm putting together a parts list to refresh the suspension and make the car a bit tougher. Here's what I have planned. Open to comments and suggestions:

    Suspension:
    All new KYB GR2s for 05-09 Outbacks
    Strut "rebuild" kit from Primitive Racing
    H6 Specific King Raised Springs
    Moog Problem Solver end links front and rear
    Energy Suspension front sway bar bushings

    Brakes:
    Hawk front rotors with HPS 5.0 pads
    Stoptech rear rotor and pad kit

    Armor:
    Primitive Racing front skid plate
    Primitive Racing rear diff skid plate

    I think in total that's around $2k worth of parts, shipping included.

    I also want new tires but want to keep the 17s. Shooting for 225/60 Geolander A/T-S's.

    Thoughts on other suspension bits while I'm under there? I thought about a thicker rear sway bar, but then thought against it due to the Kings. Maybe I should just try new bushings or the AVO reinforcement bracket?

    Also, what about lower control arm bushings? I'm sure mine are shot - should I just stick with OEM or try and go aftermarket?

    Oh, and I need to get a heavier duty hitch to tow trailers - any thoughts there?

    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  11. #11
    SLi O.G. 98legwag's Avatar
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    For the control arms you can get Mevotech aluminium control arms loaded with solid rubber bushings and new ball joints from Rock Auto. I did that on my Legacy 3.0R and it was a very nice improvement. The cost was roughly the same as getting new bushings and having them pressed in. I also did not realize I needed the ball joints until my friend and I took off my old LCAs. It was a nice bonus that they come with the Mevotech LCAs.

  12. #12
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Oh man, thank you for that! Just so I'm sure, you're talking these, right?

    http://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo....430736&jsn=356

    http://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo....430736&jsn=355

    I'll have to add them to the list. The ball joints were replaced recently, but these look like a nice upgrade. I wonder if they're lighter than the OEM control arms? They seem like they would have to be.

    Did you "feel" a difference when you installed them, other than perhaps having new ball joints haha!
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  13. #13
    SLi O.G. 98legwag's Avatar
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    Those are the ones I got. The ball joints are a little beefier than the normal Legacy parts. My friend said they look more like STI ball joints. Someone else said they are about 2 lbs lighter than the steel LCAs. I notice less bump steer and my car feels a little more composed after the change. My bushings in the stock LCAs were pretty trashed. I am very pleased with the results.

  14. #14
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Long time no update, mostly because the car hasn't changed much. Winter happened in Rochester, so I "lost" the car for eight months while my GF drove it during the winter (I lost it again shortly after, but I'll get to that). I did buy a new set of snowshoes for it though - 215/65R16 General Altimax Artic 12s using Summit Racing steel wheels. While I would have preferred some OEM Subaru 16" alloys, I coudn't find any used that I liked in enough time for the various snow storms we were having. Plus, I did managed to take the car out in some snow with the 17" Bridgestones and man was it slick. The car could barely stop and steer at the same time. The GF was in danger!

    Subaru Snow Tires by Logan Utsman, on Flickr

    With the Generals though, it's a point and shoot affair. These tires on this car make for the ultimate snowmobile!

    I didn't drive the car much during winter, but did get to bond with it in March. Took it on a quick "overland" trip in Southern Ohio while my GF went dress shopping in Cleveland with her sister. Went through a bunch of dirt roads in national forests and camped for a night. Kept the snow tires on for better off-road traction and honestly, a softer ride. Check out a blog post I wrote about it here: https://emptyroadchronicles.com/2018...at-six-subaru/

    Southern Ohio Roads by Logan Utsman, on Flickr

    2005 Subaru Outback by Logan Utsman, on Flickr

    Subaru Camping by Logan Utsman, on Flickr

    That brings us to today... er two days ago when the car failed its first ever New York State inspection. The tech was kind enough to let me go without a failed sticker, so I still have a temporary tag on it (expired) but I honestly think if I took it somewhere else, it would pass. They wouldn't pass me for rear lateral link/trailing arm bushings (these are legitimately blown, I will say), a torn CV boot (which the guy said he would need to replace the entire axle because "they don't sell the boots anymore" which is simply incorrect - I bought a new boot yesterday), and, while he said he wouldn't have marked me for it, the disks have a lip in them and that could be a fail point too (they're rusted and LOUD).

    This irritated me because of all the crappy rust buckets I see rolling around town with inspection stickers. Having grown up in a state where you can register anything as long as it has a VIN, this whole inspection process seems like a racket to get the state money, and the various shops around town the opportunity to get more money from people who don't understand cars. When I told the guy "thanks, but I'll replace all this on my own" I think it clicked that he wasn't getting any money from me and he let me go. Good on him, but man, this is annoying.

    While disapointing, the inspection fail did give me the motivation to buy new parts for this car again! It's been about 10 months since I did anything major to it (last big repair was front control arm bushings) other than brake pads, a new caliper (the old one was leaking) and a couple of oil changes and I really don't want to sell the car because it's been so good to the GF and me. So, I'm spoiling it!

    Here's what I orded yesterday:
    • CV Boot
    • Centric "premium" brake rotors front and rear
    • Whiteline adjustable rear lateral links
    • KYB struts front and rear
    • RalliTEK 0" front coils and 0.4" rear coils


    I ordered the struts and springs fully assembled with new dust boots and bumpstops. RalliTEK was kind enough to let me know the rear springs were on backorder and wouldn't be available until mid August. I contemplated switching out for Kings, but like the fact that the RalliTEK springs are softer which will be nice for the GF (this is her primary car now - the E90 was totaled in a wreck a few weeks agon unfortunately). So, I'm waiting for those to come in. I might try to take it somewhere else in the meantime to get a "second opinion" on the inspection so I can at least get a colored tag.

    I really like going on extended road trips and I love camping, but the GF is more on the high brow side of adventure than I am (I'm totally cool with misery). My daily driver is a stock Jeep Cherokee two door that is more than capable of handling these trips, and while she digs it, the A/C doesn't work and she prefers riding in the Subaru on long trips (more creature comforts and quieter). So, my thought process for "modifying" this car is to make it even more enjoyable for me when we go on trips. I want to be able to bomb down dirt roads if I see them with more confidence, and I really want to be able to be more comfortable. The leather seats have become hard as a rock and my butt goes numb after about an hour. So, once my credit card cools down, I'm going to hopefully buy a set of tan, heated cloth seats for the front (if I can find them) and finally get the skid plates.

    That's it for now. Expect more when my suspention parts come in! I going to attempt to replace all these parts on my own.
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  15. #15
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    After a month of waiting on backorder springs from Rallitek, I got all my parts! I'm super excited but overwhelmed by all the work that's ahead of me. I fortunately have a well-skilled friend who has a solid Subaru wrenching past on hand because I want to get this all installed and aligned in three days. I'll be using hand tools mostly, but I am going to splurge and at least get a nice electric impact. That should help. I'm a slow worker by myself.

    PES Parts_9.14.18 by Logan Utsman, on Flickr
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  16. #16
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Welp, she's "done"... for now.

    Subaru Outback 3.0 by Logan Utsman, on Flickr

    Got the struts/springs, rear control arms, rotors and skid plates on. Plus, a brand-new driver-side axle and an inspection sticker. I "buffed" the headlights, but the driver-side one is pretty scored. They're at least not foggy anymore! Oh, and clearly it's on snows again.

    I did the front-end work myself with some help from my buddy. I encountered one stuck bolt - the driver-side upper strut/camber bolt was frozen in the hub/strut assembly. Penetrating oil and a big breaker bar finally got it loose enough to rotate, then I rubber hammered it out while turning it with a ratchet.

    I got connected with a dealer tech who specialty is Subarus (it's one of those joint brand dealers where the predominate make is Chevrolet) and he did the rear work for me. I'm so glad he did because he had to torch one of the rear lateral link bolts out by basically melting the bushing.

    The car rides and handles so much better than before. Steering is tight and sharp. Body sway is much more under control and limited. Braking even improved with the new rotors and having front and rear skid plates is confidence inspiring.

    As a born-and-raised southerner, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm really looking forward to Rochester's first real snow fall of the season!
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  17. #17
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Here are some recent pictures. This thing rocks.

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    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  18. #18
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Once again, this thing has earned its stripes. Rochester got a pretty decent amount of snow finally - about 2' of the stuff. I left the two Jeeps in the garage as this is honestly better suited for these conditions - especially as the streets are mostly plowed and often hard packed. When it was much deeper, it still just plowed through everything and stopped like it should. The skid plate, tires, rear limited slip and smooth H6 power really add up to capable snow machine. I've been having way too much fun!
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  19. #19
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Summer time! Got some new shoes for ole' Planet Express Ship. 225/60R17 Continental TerrainContact A/Ts. A little snug in the wheel wells, but nothing rubs so far. The front-most rear mud flap is awfully close though. I'm sure whatever interference there is (most likely under compression) will just rub away after time.

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    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

  20. #20
    SLi Resident 1996Battlewagon's Avatar
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    Long time, no update. I still have the car! It now has 218k miles and kicks it, but...



    It has, unfortunately, become increasingly beater-like. Upstate New York did a number on this car - especially in the engine bay. There's sporadic rust everywhere including the coolant pipes and the fuel lines, which are the most concerning for me. There are oil leaks throughout and within the past year, the car has tried to overheat a few times. I reckon if I want to keep it around, now’s the time for a lower-mileage and rust-free engine.




    I picked up this JDM EZ30R from a wholesaler in Virginia last month and have been very slowly prepping it for the swap. I've already removed the accessories, intake manifold, and harness so I could get a better look at it and clean up some of the grit and grime - it's in great shape!



    I'll reuse my USDM AC pump (which still works) and most likely, the wiring harness as the JDM one is a bit beat up from shipping. It does need some sensors that were also damaged from shipping - mostly the oil flow solenoids and variable valve control ones. I'll buy those all in good time.



    I also replaced the original JDM valve cover and spark plug gaskets with some OEM ones I had bought a while back for my USDM engine. The valve train looks awesome!







    And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge my good friend in all of this, Mr. Factory Service Manual!



    Fortunately, the car still runs and drives fine so I can still use it. The overheating was isolated - only happening after driving the car pretty hard on mountain roads (I live in North Carolina now - much better blacktop driving around here). Each time, it would push too much coolant to the expansion tank and then try and overheat after getting back into town and stop-and-go traffic. Cruising and moving, it would run normally, and it never did "pop" or shut down. I saw the temp gauge get right below the redline once, so I reckon maybe 230-240 at the most. After letting the car cool, I would just refill the radiator with OEM Subaru blue coolant, and it was like nothing was wrong.



    Mind you, I had already replaced the radiator before this started. At 203k and completely without warning, a transmission cooler line fitting broke while I was pulling out of my driveway, pouring ATF everywhere. There was a massive stain on the road that showed where I stopped and reversed back to the property line haha!





    This was in August 2019 and was kind of the turning point for the car. Prior to this, I had just used and used and used it - gas and oil changes basically. I moved from NY to NC around this time and prepped and sold my house - using this car as a truck throughout. So, it didn't really owe me anything - turns out that I owed it.







    Since I had to replace the radiator to get the car running again, I decided it would be a good time to throw some extra money at it as well. In addition to the radiator and upper, lower, and transmission cooler hoses, I also replaced the spark plugs (my hands!), main battery cables (rust and corrosion), the battery itself (Optima Red Top), and topped up the trans fluid. It was nice to have the car back! For about a week...



    Shortly after all of this, the gas tank started leaking at the pump seal. I had a shop fix this - they first tried to reseal it but that didn't work so they ended up replacing the pump with an OEM one.

    I then put it on Craigslist and tried to sell it…



    I had one test drive and inquiry, and the moment the guy started the car, it misfired. The cylinder 3 coil pack connector became loose - a consequence of a broken clip. I don't think the car approved.

    So, I kept it! Then the misfires started happening again. Since coils are f'ing expensive, I decided to try the cheap route and replace the connectors. While de- and re-pinning the old and new connectors, I realized that I was, in fact, going to have to replace the coils.



    The rear-most coils were the worst so I replaced those first as I couldn't get a hold of 6 coils at once - I had to raid and track them down via dealerships and Amazon. But, eventually, all six coils were new, OEM pieces and the car was running misfire-free again!

    The engine bay hasn't been the only problem area either. Shortly after moving, the rear end got knocked out of alignment somehow. I let it go for so long that the rear tires wore out prematurely. I got it aligned and ditched the half-ruined Continental all terrains for some more road-friendly stock-sized (225/55R17) tires since I was commuting back and forth for work again. Went with TigerPaw GTZ all seasons, which are surprisingly good! A little choppy and loud at times, but they are decently grippy in multiple conditions and great in the rain. They’re even okay in gravel.




    Tires aside, the car’s rear suspension is in need of some work – which is probably why the alignment went out so quickly. The control arm bushings are shot as are the upper link bushings. The Whiteline lateral links show some corrosion but for the most part, and with poly bushings, these are likely okay. The surface rust is really concerning – especially around the subframe. My idea/plan is to buy a rust-free used subframe and JDM control arms (aluminum) and upper links. If I’m feeling even more spendy, I’ll throw some Whiteline sway bars front and rear with stronger mounts for the rear.

    And finally, I think I have a damaged wheel. I’m not driving the car a lot these days due to everything in the above – just keeping it to the side if and when my other commuter acts up (Jeep XJ) – so while it sits, the left-front tire will go flat. I lose about 15 lbs of pressure in a week but can’t find any physical damage to the tire. The valve stem is in rough shape so it could be that but really I’m just using this all to get another set of wheels and tires. I want to go back to a 16” wheel with some more all-terrain/snow focused tires. I’m really digging these load range C “all weather van tires” from Nokian – I’ll probably get those in a 225/65R16.

    Oh wait yeah, the exhaust has a leak and is generally rusty. Pretty sure the cats and O2 sensors are bad too as it has a chronic P0420 code.

    See – I told you. Beater-like.
    Current:
    2005 Legacy Outback H6 (Battlewagon 2.0)
    Former:
    1999 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp
    2002 Legacy Outback H6
    1997 Legacy Outback 2.5 5sp (Battlewagon 1.0)
    1996 Legacy L Wagon

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