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1998 Subaru Forester

The car that started the addiction...

This is my 1998 Subaru Forester SF Limited. It was my very first car and as with all my other cars, evolved over time. 

I purchased this car in 2014 already lifted with a full set of Pedders raised springs, which gave it about one inch of ground clearance, however I was into the street scene at the time and soon lowered it and added some other goodies. 

Later on I would convert this car back into an off road capable machine. 


In its lowered life


Performance wise I added a custom 2.25" axle back exhaust and left the engine untouched. These mods resulted in a forester that looked both tidy and handled great on the twisty roads which was a bonus as it would never be fast with its 2L naturally aspired engine. 

When I started out this build as a street build, the first thing I did was get rid of those raised springs and swapped them out of a set of King Springs lowering springs.

Complimenting the handling package I added a Whiteline adjustable rear swaybar with heavy duty mounts and swapped the wheels for some 17" Hokuto Racing wheels wrapped in Toyo  Neoenergy  tyres.   

To complete the look I changed a few cosmetics such as swapping the side indicators from the orange ones to clear ones, added a JDM spoiler and grill with the highly sought forester "F Badge" and some interior changes including a Momo woodgrain steering wheel. 


In it's lifted life


Eventually I hit a point the lowered lifestyle was no longer practical for me. My increasing interest in mountain biking, camping and exploration kept pushing the boundaries for where a lowered subaru could go, so eventually I bit the bullet and decided to lift my car. 

To lift my forester I decided to go with a combo of raised springs by King Springs and a 1" spacer kit by Subieliftoz. This resulted in about 2" of lift for my Subaru Forester. 

To compliment the lift I also added 2" trailing arm spacers by Subieliftoz and Whiteline Strut top hats that were camber and caster offset. I had to get these offset top hats as I was maxing out the camber in the front and needed additional camber to get the alignment right. 

With the suspension sorted, it was time to talk tyres. Since I was on sticky street tyres, I changed the setup back to the original steel wheels and added Maxxis Bravo all terrain tyres in the OEM size of 205/70r15. This would allow me to get better traction off-road and maintain the original wheel size so I wouldn't mess up the speedo or increase fuel consumption dramatically. 

Other mods for SF included adding the factory nudge bad for a better off-road look and the ability to add lights, and I removed the sway bars front and rear. This enabled the car to flex up better off road, but with the stiffness of the raised springs, it still handled great on the black stuff.

I also added some Hella Supatone horns for that twin turbo look!


All in all this was a great car that served me well for a number of years. In the time that I owned it, the milage had reached over 330,000km when I sold it in 2018. My SF was also easily the most reliable car I have owned to date. In the time I had it I only had to replace one drive shaft, an alternator, a speed sensor and a rear wheel bearing. It also developed a bit of an oil leak as any subaru does, but when it came time to change the timing belt at 300,000km, I resealed the engine at the same time and it was as good as new!  

After I had installed the lift, the car served me for a number of years as both a daily driver and weekend machine, exploring many back roads and taking me many places. while the little natural aspired 2L engine wasn't very powerful, it was combined with the dual range manual transmission (the best low range of the forester gearboxes), which made it  a very capable machine off-road. My only dislike of the build was the raised springs were very harsh and made loud "thuds" every time the car would go over a bump. If I were to do this build again I would definitely go a 2" strut top lift which was the camber and caster offset built in, and would have been cheaper than the raised spring and lift spacer combo I originally opted for. 


The Specs

  • Make: Subaru

  • Model: Forester GX Limited 

  • Year: 1998

  • Engine: 2L natural aspirated boxer

  • Power: 92kW

  • Torque: 184Nm

  • Gearbox: 5spd manual dual range

  • 2.25" axle back exhaust

  • Ebay unequal length headers

  • King Springs Raised Springs (Front/Rear)

  • Subieliftoz 1" strut top spacers

  • Subieliftoz 2" trailing arm spacers 

  • Whiteline Strut Top Hats (Front)

  • Sway bar delete (Front/rear) 

  • OEM steel wheels 15x6

  • Maxxis Bravo AT711 205/70r15

  • JDM rear spoiler

  • JDM "F Badge" grill

  • Momo woodgrain steering wheel (From outback)

  • Clear indicators (From next gen forester)

  • tailgate de-badge

  • Hella Supertone horns 

  • OEM SF nudge bar

  • Window tint (Unsure of %)

  • Cloth Shift boot

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