Upgraded Suspension Assemblies
Lift springs are stiffer and taller than the stock springs that came on your vehicle. You’ll have to swap out the factory springs with the new kit. They are really good for anyone who plans to load extra gear into the car. They also help stabilize the car’s handling ability even with a higher center of gravity after lifting. The main complaint with a stiffer spring is that they can be a little more jarring on bumpy roads.
Strut spacer kits are usually less expensive and easier to install than a spring lift. You bolt them to the top of the strut towers and they push your entire shock absorber down to add lift. The main issue with using only a strut spacer is that they don’t create additional suspension travel or offer a performance spring rate. So you may experience “butt sag” when loaded up with camping gear or off-road recovery gear. Here are some of the most important things to look for when selecting a good strut spacer kit: camber correction, multi-link/subframe spacers, customer service (reputation) and quality workmanship.
Some kits actually offer both springs and spacers. For example, RalliTek incorporate both forms of lift to provide proper off-road capability.
Longer suspension assemblies (longer struts, or long travel coilovers) are the ideal way to lift a vehicle. However, they are extremely expensive. Long travel coilovers usually start at $1600 and will require special order if they ever need to be replaced. This will cause at least a week of downtime in most cases.
We typically only recommend this option to people who have a chunk of disposable income and truly plan to abuse the vehicle. Anyone who wants to participate in higher speed “rally style” driving will require a long travel coilover setup (it’s okay. Sometimes we pretend to be Ken Block too.) If you are planning to just casually drive your Subaru through the forest at lower speeds, this might be overkill.
We also suggest this option to anyone who already has worn out shocks and is planning to replace them anyway. In this case, you may actually save money. If your current struts are in good condition though, this might not be the best choice.