Subaru Shock Absorbers and Struts
Subaru have always been ahead in the driver satisfaction stakes because their whole philosophy turns on the driving experience. Subaru has built an unequalled reputation across a range of motoring applications, from track racing and road rallies, to family transport. But whatever the application, the Subaru is built around the driver, and provides a deeply satisfying driving experience. Part of this experience is dynamic engine and driveline performance of course, but the rest is ride and roadholding.
Everything about the Subaru is designed to provide balance, from the symmetrical AWD system that delivers just the right amount of power to each wheel, to the engine placement and center of gravity, that gives poise and balance in the bends. These cars are made to please drivers.
Of course, to produce such an immersive driving experience all the systems must work together, and wear or defects in any one area will affect the whole. At ADS we appreciate the role played by your Subaru's suspension, and we understand well how all the systems work together. All our technicians have been specialist trained in different Subaru systems and can quickly and accurately diagnose any problems you may be having with your Subaru.
Warning: Avoid second hand or low quality after market!
Second hand components of any kind are always to some degree an unknown quantity. Flaws often are not evident until the parts are in service. With vital safety systems like suspension and brakes, you don't want to discover defects in operation. Used shocks and springs may harbour stress fractures in the metal that are not detectable, and the level of wear is difficult to judge accurately.
There are also a number of Chinese brands appearing on the market offering shock absorbers for bargain prices. These are false economy. They use inferior materials, and do not perform as well or last as long as genuine or quality Bilstein replacements. Never compromise with safety.
Different suspension components for different purposes
Because of the wide range of applications for Subaru cars, from motorsport to family transport, there is a correspondingly wide range of suspension components used, from the self-levelling struts used on family cars like the premium range Liberty and Forester, to the firm Bilstein dampers fitted to high-end WRX and STi models. These are all colour coded with the stock Subaru finished in black, the STi in pink, and Bilsteins in yellow.
Front suspension--variations on a theme All current Subaru models use the same type of strut based suspension on the front, but with differences in the grade, brand or operational capacity between normal and high performance models. For example, the ram diameter changes in some models, with the WRX and STi having heavy duty thicker rams. Some Liberty STi and WRX models use Bilstein struts for their unequalled high performance qualities. All the Subaru front suspension setups have been highly reliable with no reported issues and a very high level of owner satisfaction.
Several options in rear suspension
The rear suspension across the Subaru range varies from model to model, as with the front. All models employ the double wishbone independent suspension type, but there are variations in the kinds of shock absorbers. The non-turbo family transport models use stock Subaru shocks, while high-performance models like the WRX or STi, use heavy duty Subaru shocks or Bilsteins. There have been some reported problems with the 03-06 WRX heavy duty shocks, and the wide body Impreza non-turbo 08-10 has produced problems with leaking shocks. Subaru have produced revised parts so these problems should not re-occur after replacement. Note:
We recommend always changing the "Top Hats" when replacing shock absorbers. These components undergo a lot of stress in use, and the bearing surfaces and rubber bushes often wear out before the main body of the shock absorber.
Subaru Self-levelling suspension Outback Forest Liberty Self-levelling suspension is an option in the Liberty and Outback premium packs. This option uses a reservoir attached to the strut which serves to adjust the extension of the strut under load. When your Subaru is heavily loaded at the rear the rear suspension will sag, affecting the vehicle's ride and road holding ability. With self-levelling suspension, as the loaded strut travels up and down, fluid is pumped into the ram from the reservoir until the strut is back to its factory set height. This effectively keeps the body at the same height from the road no matter how the vehicle is loaded. The result is more stable handling under load, and greater ride comfort. Once the load is removed, the excess fluid bleeds back into the reservoir, maintaining the correct ride height. Of course the self-levelling struts are more expensive than the stock units, but owners have been very pleased with their performance.
Subaru Strut Mounts (Top Hats)
The strut mount, or "Top Hat" (so called because it sits atop the strut like a hat), is an often overlooked part of the suspension. It connects the strut to the vehicle body, via a flexible joint and a rubber bushing and is a frequent source of knocks and other problems. Owners, faced with noises, will often replace the strut, re-use the Top Hat, and find the original problem has not been fixed. Sometimes it is only the Top Hat that needs to be replaced. All Drive Subaroo are Subaru suspension experts. We will correctly diagnose and efficiently repair all your suspension problems.
Diagnosis and repair—tell-tale signs of suspension issues
Worn suspension parts will affect your Subaru's ride and stability, and there may be a number of possible symptoms, ranging from noises to unusual handling characteristics. It is vital not to ignore any of these signs as your suspension is a vital safety system. Symptoms of worn or defective suspension include:
- "Floating" over bumps and dips in the road; your Subaru feels like a boat on the open sea.
- "Skipping" sideways when cornering on bumpy road surfaces.
- Excessive body roll while cornering.
- Excessive under- or over-steer
- Knocking, clunking, or creaking noises
- Fluid drips under the car or on the suspension
If you hear any strange noises or notice any of these signs, bring your Subaru in to ADS and we will quickly isolate the noise and find the cause.
"Our Friendly staff at All Drive Subaru are happy to talk to you over the phone, face to face in our facility in Peakhurst or via email or live chat at your convenience"