How To Build a 3rd Gen Subaru Outback The Right Way

Juan built this car into the perfect trail machine

As much as I try to limit my time on social media these days, it has allowed me to meet some of the coolest Subaru enthusiasts in the country. I happened across a photo of Juan’s Outback on Instagram and really loved how he took a regular 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i and built it into something that can take him all over the mountains of Colorado.

I was extremely pleased to hear that he was willing to share his experience with the lifting process and exactly how he modified the car. I really hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

We’ll jump right in and share the parts list that Juan used to build his Outback before digging in to the details.

Lift Kit & Off-Road Parts List:

  • 2 inch Anderson Design Fabrication lift kit with multi-link spacers 
  • BFGoodrich KO2 215/75/15 tires
  • F44 CM101 Bronze wheels
  • Custom lighting by @branden_sti – LED Headlights(high & low beams),fogs, reverse, and cab
  • Amazon- Roof basket Leaders accessories 64x39x6
  • Amazon Lightbar Leadtops bar 20in wireless 
  • Grill amber lights imount Tek 3 piece eagle eye
  • NAOEVO 32 inch 224W Spot Flood LED Light Bar Amber & White Lighting
  • Nilight Led Light Bar 2PCS 6.5 Inch Amber 120W Spot Flood
  • Dark Defense (DDS4) Amber 
  • Custom front tube bumper by Nikki Jacob @Turbosquatch
  • Wing rack from Orbis Overlanding 
  • 6.5” Awning from Roam adventure Co.
  • Rotopax 2 gallons with locking handle

Specs On The Outback:

  • 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i
  • 4 Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Nearly 200k miles on the odometer
lifted 2008 subaru outback with bfg ko2 off road tires and rotopax

How Long Have You Had The Outback? Is This The First One You've Owned?

This July 15 2021 will be one year of owning Java Wagon and this is my second Subaru. Back in 2015 I owned a gold color 2008 Subaru Impreza hatchback. The only thing I did to that Subie was plasti dip the wheels and added a roof basket.

Why Did You Decide To Lift Your Subaru?

That’s a good question! I mean come on I’m living in Colorado lol. Honestly I think I lifted the Wagon because the wife and I love camping. And trust me, any stock Subaru can take you to some cool places. But I think it was just time to step up the game and go places where it’s a bit more challenging to get to for some beautiful scenery. It’s also fun driving a lifted Subaru on some Jeep trails and have them stare at you.

Can You Talk About The Lift Kit You Used?

I am running a 2” front and rear Anderson design fabrication Lift kit with multi link spacers on OEM struts. I have been meaning to get some stiffer springs because it needs it so it doesn’t sag so much on the rear when it’s packed with camping gear. I did have to get new special control arms for the camber to be adjusted.

How Hard Was It To Install The Lift Kit?

I did the install myself in my garage, well tried too lol. The front and rear was easy, also dropping the rear subframe for the spacers to go in. The hard part for me was to get everything aligned and putting it all back together. I needed a second hand and I ended up calling one of my friends. We got it done in one day but it definitely made me work for it.

lifted 2008 subaru outback with bfg ko2 off road tires and rotopax

I REALLY Like The Bumper You Have. Can You Talk About Where You Got It?

Yes the famous tube bumper! It’s fabricated by my friend Nikki Jacob also known as @Turbosquatch on Instagram. I wanted a custom bumper to give character to Java and obviously for clearance on the trails. I took the Subie to Nikki and we came up with ideas and pretty much explained what I wanted and he made it all happen. The bumper is still in progress, I have a few ideas that need to go on the bumper.

Finding The Right Off-Road Wheels & Tires On a Subaru Can Be Tough. Can You Explain Your Wheel Setup?

My wheels are from F44 Offroad which are designed for Subarus. This wheel is 15×7, 5×100 bolt pattern and has a 15mm offset and weighs in at only 20lbs with a 2100 lb load rating. 

How Hard Was It To Fit 215/75R15's On The Outback?

I did not need any wheel spacers to clear the calipers. I have these wheels wrapped on BFG ko2 (215/75/15). The rear fitment was good, there was no rubbing what so ever. Now the front is where it was rubbing pretty bad. Once the tires where on and taking it out from the tire shop. I could barely make a 1/4 of a turn, that’s how bad it was rubbing. Luckily it was and easy fix. It was rubbing inside of the front splash guard and just a tad bit on the front bumper where it meets the tire. I drove home super careful because I did not want to rip off my front bumper. I took some heavy duty scissors and chopped what needed to come off.

lifted 2008 subaru outback with bfg ko2 off road tires and rotopax

A Lot Of People Have Expressed Concerns About Lifting A Subaru As It Relates To The Reliability Of The Car. Have You Had Any Maintenance Issues Since Lifting? Worn CV's Etc?

Maintenance issues? The only problems I’ve had so far was my water pump and my radiator being cracked. Nothing major so far and I’m close to hitting 200K on it. I have replaced a CV joint but I think it was time but yeah I’m sure having the lift does wear them out quicker but it’s not as quick as people make it seem. If you’re running bigger than a 2” lift yeah you are putting more stress on suspension parts and causing the CV axles to get worn out quicker. I’ve spent more money on the Subie with mods than having to fix it lol. 

Obviously having heavier tires make the wagon slower but that’s okay because I don’t need a fast car to take me to the places I want to go. I’ve added a Pedal Commander. The (“Pedal Commander allows you to have more control over your vehicle. It makes your gas pedal response more sensitive for a sportier feel”).

Can you talk a little about Soft Road Nation Colorado?

Chris and I (@shadowroo) have a new page. Soft Road Nation Colorado and we just want to express how it’s getting bigger with its reach and now becoming a reality. Facts are that it reaches more than any Subaru community with diversity in off-roading the Colorado mountains. Plans are to have events, give back to local communities, and have a great time. We look forward to meeting all rigs here in Colorado

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off road subaru baja with a lift kit. Similar to outback.
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