Forget lifted ‘Cruisers or Rangers, we’ve followed the Yanks and modified a Subaru Forester Sport.
Wander around on Insta-Sham or BookFace and you’ll soon see hundreds and thousands of modified 4x4s. Most of them will have some sort of sticker with a ‘handle’ on it and someone standing near it staring off into the middle distance. And they’ll all say they’re ‘living the dream’. Bollocks. No, good on ‘em, but bollocks.
Turn your gaze to the US and even Europe and there’s a heap of stuff going on with fourbys and AWDs that’s a lot more interesting than anything here. For the sake of this article, though, I’m looking firmly at the modified soft-roader craze that’s exploding in the US.
But you know what, the craze is here too, it’s just the traditional media is too afraid to write about it. You only have to take a look at brands like Ironman 4×4 which is an Aussie brand that’s been knocking out bits and pieces for Subarus for ages in the US. And it’s just started selling suspension lift kits here too. Or brands like King Springs, another Aussie brand, that’s been building bigger springs for Subies for yonks too.
Don’t think this is about taking something that shouldn’t be modified and modifying it. Rather it’s about gently improving something that’s already designed for rough roading; making it a little more robust, or more comfortable, if you will.
And anyone who’s spent any time on MotoFomo will know we’ve got a soft spot for modified rough roaders like the Forester. That’s why we went out and bought a Forester Sport and modified it. Just lightly so far but I’m pretty chuffed with the result.
So, what have we done? Well, we’ll go into more detail on the bits and pieces across the next little while, but the main change has been to fit a suspension lift kit from Primitive Racing and that includes heavy-duty King springs front and rear, rear shock extensions, rear brake line extensions, rear sway bar spacer kit, and a rear subframe spacer alignment kit, for a lift of around 1.25 inches. The Australian made King Springs are a progressive rate spring and are stiffer than the factory jobbies to improve load carrying and towing; less rear end sag when loaded.
Some will be asking why we didn’t go with an Ironman kit. Simple. There were none in stock when we wanted them and we didn’t want to wait. The Primitive kit is popular in the US and those who’ve fitted them are nothing but positive about the results.
And I am too. I’ve been driving around on the setup for about 500km now, mainly road so far and I reckon the ride and handling is better than stock. There’s less roll, turn-in is nice and quick and there’s no thump-through across bumps. Even though the bigger springs are designed for a load, they’re properly comfortable travelling unladen – I feel like it’s going to be a great rough-road setup.
What else have we fitted to the thing? A set of STI-spec alloy wheels which look good. Yep, we know Method make some great wheels and are popular in the US for these builds, but we wanted to keep it in the Subie family. The wheels are wrapped in a set of Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tyres and we’re loving them so far. I did plenty of research before getting these ones, and everything I read suggested that despite the aggressive appearance they’d be as good on-road as off it. And so far, so good. They’re also nice and quiet.
The Thule roof basket will be coming off. I added it for the looks and, yes, it’s a practical feature but it creates a fair bit of wind noise, reduces the number of underground car parks I can access and is a bit silly to leave up there if I’m not using it. I’ll leave the awning on the side and I’ll need to relocate the LED light bar which I mounted up on the basket. Easy job.
One thing I’m not best pleased about is having to carry the spare in the boot, so I’ll be looking at some sort of spare wheel carrier as the thing’s too big to fit in the space for the spare under the boot floor. Anyone got any ideas?
That’ll do for now. Let me know what you think of the build so far. In the next update, I’ll hit the dirt and let you know how it goes. I’ll also be running a separate yarn/updates on the Pirelli rubber, so keep an eye out for that.
Hang on, you’re probably wondering why we went for the Sport? Simple, We like the cosmetic flourishes. Helps the thing stand out from the crowd and standing up nice and tall now, it gets plenty of attention wherever it goes.
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