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Lifted Subaru Forester on All Terrain Tires and Lift kit

Our Top Picks For Best Forester Lift Kit Brands

By Ben Boxer

The Subaru Forester has been around since the 1998 model year and has not slowed down in popularity since. In fact, the Forester still sells over 10k units a month in the USA. With its widespread success, a huge demand for lift kit options has developed among people who prefer the Forester’s roomy design and aggressive looks for off-road adventures.

The Forester has been available for over over two decades and has evolved. So not all lift kits are interchangeable between the years. Fortunately for us, there are lift kit options available for each chassis.

Table of Contents

The Biggest Lift Kit You Can Install On A Subaru Forester

While there are some custom options available to lift a Forester up to 4 and maybe even 6 inches, we find that 2 inch lift kits provide the necessary clearance for bigger tires. Installing a lift bigger than 2 inches on a Subaru typically involves spacing the entire subframe down to protect the CV axles from exploding. After all this work, it ultimately gives you the same ground clearance that the 2 inch lift would have. 2 inch lift kits are easier to find, easier to install, and allow fitment of bigger tires without creating drive-train or suspension geometry issues.

One of the main functions of a lift kit is to allow for the largest tire possible. That’s where true clearance and capability comes from. In most 4×4’s, you have the option to shift into “4LO” which gives you the ability to use the engine’s torque at lower speeds to spin large tires. In most AWD vehicles, we don’t have a low gear and installing a tire that’s too big will actually be counterproductive.

In most cases, we’ve found that installing a tire that’s no more than about two inches larger in overall diameter is the maximum before the car feels too sluggish to perform properly. Some of the most popular aftermarket tire sizes for Subaru Foresters are 215/75R15 and 235/75R15 on older non-turbo models. Many newer Forester owners use 235/65R17 and 245/65R17 for their off-road builds. These aren’t the only sizes used, but we see these most often.

You might be thinking “well I put my jeep on 37’s and had it re-geared. I’ll just do that with my Subaru.” As cool as this would be, there’s not really any good options for performing a differential re-gear on a Forester. The gears in most 4 wheel drive vehicles are much more accessible to work on and there are a lot of aftermarket options. For those of us trying to explore in a Subaru, we have to work with the stock gears.

Most Common Lift Kit Types For Subaru Foresters

While shopping for your Forester’s lift kit, you’ll find four main types of lift kits: strut spacers, spring lifts, aftermarket extended strut/springs, and coilovers. All of these are great options. For most Subaru owners, strut spacers and springs are usually more than enough. They’re easy to install, not terribly expensive, and very reliable. If your Forester already needs new struts, an aftermarket strut/spring combo or coilover kit may be a great option. However, they’re usually a bit more expensive and you’ll have to wait longer for a replacement if you break something.

In the traditional 4×4 community, the generally accepted way of properly lifting is to use a suspension lift. Longer shocks, springs, and/or leafs is how much truck owners choose to lift their vehicle. Most 4 wheel drive owners look down on any lift that isn’t a suspension lift. Technically, a suspension lift is a great way to lift your car. But if you own a Subaru, it is perfectly acceptable to use strut spacers in our opinion. Since a two inch lift is usually the maximum before having to do a significant amount of work, it’s usually just fine to stick with spacers or lift springs in your existing struts and most owners prefer the simplicity.

Remember, we drive Subarus – not straight axle Toyotas. We probably won’t be doing any rock crawling and therefore don’t need an extra 8 inches of suspension travel over stock. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t think it’s awesome when someone puts in the time, effort, and money to build a Subaru into something awesome! We just want to explain the logic behind why we lift ours the way we do.

Our Top 6 Forester Lift Kit Picks

Primitive Racing

Most Comprehensive Lift Kit (No Butt Sag)

lifted subaru foresters parked under cloudy skies off-road

Primitive Racing is an awesome small business located in Oregon state. They’ve been making quality aftermarket Subaru parts for decades and have built a reputation for offering durable parts and great customer service. Primitive initially gained popularity with most Subaru owners for bringing some of the best skid plates to the market but are now the go-to for solid lift kits.

The team over at Primitive offers lift kits for early SF chassis Foresters all the way up to current years. Their lift kits range in size from one inch up to two inches depending on the year of your Subaru. Their kits utilize strut spacers and King springs to achieve a functional, reliable lift. They even offer KYB strut replacements if your suspension is worn out and needs to be refreshed.

We’ve always appreciated that Primitive never sells low quality gimmicky products just to make a buck. If you buy something from them, it’s going to be solid and not a cheap item that hasn’t been tested rigorously. These guys and girls are heavily involved in rally and have pushed their products to the absolute limit. They race on some of the same parts you can buy straight from them.

We recommend Primitive Racing kits for those who are looking for the following things:

  • A comprehensive lift kit that includes all necessary hardware for maintaining the best handling possible
  • Proper alignment after installation
  • Excellent handling
  • No rear suspension sag even with lots of camping gear loaded
  • Spacers made from high density polyethylene that absorbs stress and impact very well 
  • A lift kit that doesn’t reduce the factory safety of the vehicle

The Primitive Forester lift kit includes:

  • Includes heavy duty King springs to eliminate sag
  • Subframe spacer kit to correct rear wheel alignment
  • Longer brake line spacers to maintain safety
  • Hand brake spacers to avoid cable stretch
  • Longer exhaust hangers

The Primitive kits are the best option for anyone who wants something that is solid and will hold up to off-road driving. Their kit includes all of the components that you’ll need to keep your Forester handling right without prematurely wearing out your suspension.

As mentioned before, they produce lift kits for a wide range of Foresters from 1998 to current models. They will have something perfect for your Subie!

lift kit for subaru forester by primitive racing for offroad

Anderson Design & Fabrication

 Extreme Lift Options For All Years And Lift Needs:

2022 subaru forester lift kit ADF

Located in the beautiful state of Oregon, ADF has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to all things lifted and Subaru. While most companies focus only on new models and rarely offer much above 2″, they provide lift kits for all years of the Subaru Forester. They even have kits that give a 4.5″ of additional suspension lift. 

Here’s a quick rundown of why we recommend checking out Anderson Design for a lift kit:

  • Available for all years starting from 1998 to current
  • Built with quality and rugged performance in mind
  • They have a track record of producing amazing products
  • Most sizes available on the market of any company that we’re aware of.

 

Industry Authority With Years Of Research:
lp aventure 2 inch lift kit for subaru forester

Out of the beautiful country of Canada, with over 20 years of experience in the off-road and over-landing industry, LP Aventure is a great option for someone looking to lift their Forester. They pride themselves on NHTSA and FMVSS126 motor vehicle safety standards, meaning that their kits allow your Forester to retain full factory safety features while providing extra all terrain capabilities.

We recommend LP Aventure kits for those who are looking for:

  • A comprehensive lift kit that includes all necessary hardware for maintaining the best handling possible
  • Multi link spacers to keep rear wheels in the right spot – allows for biggest tires possible
  • A lift kit that doesn’t degrade the factory safety of the vehicle

The LP Aventure Forester lift kit includes:

  • Longer brake line spacers to maintain safety
  • Hand brake spacers to avoid cable stretch
  • Longer exhaust hangers

The LP Aventure kits may be a little more expensive for those on a strict budget. But their kits are fully equipped for the best possible performance. Keep in mind that they do not produce a kit for the Forester that is larger than 2″.

Check out Justin’s LP Aventure lifted Forester:

 
 
 
 
 
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ReadyLift

Affordable Lift Kit:

We’ve been seeing a HUGE increase in the number of Subaru’s using ReadyLift’s kits. A large number of our Instagram followers have been using them and love them. Their spacers are pretty beefy and have the proper camber angles built into their design. At their price point, it’s one of the more solid kits we’ve seen.

This is a very simple lift kit. It doesn’t come with a bunch of accessories or anything like many of the other kits in this article. The ReadyLift kit should be purchased alongside a subframe/multilink spacer kit to help correct the rear wheel alignment.

We recommend them for the following reasons:

  • Easy install
  • Amazing price
  • Can be removed with very little work (Helpful for those leasing a Subaru and may need to go stock quickly.)
  • Kit is designed to compensate for correct camber
  • Creates 11″ of clearance at the rockers
Cons:
  • Not available for older Foresters
  • Doesn’t include all the additional components needed to restore perfect factory operation

Check out this 2017 Forester on the ReadyLIFT spacers:

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by FOREST FOZ – OFFROAD BUILD (@the.forest.foz) on

We recommend this kit for anyone who is:

  • Looking for an easy install with very few complications
  • Doesn’t want to do any permanent modifications the other parts of the Forester
  • Wants to spend under $400 for a good lift kit
  • Planning on doing recreational off-roading
  • Leasing a Subaru and might want to return it to stock quickly
  • Planning to do the lift install themselves

Iron Man 4x4 Suspension Lifts

Great Strut/Spring Combo Lift

ironman 4x4 lift kit subaru spring and strut

Located in Wilsonville, OR Ironman has quickly taken the off-road Subaru market by storm after releasing their ATS strut/spring combo lifts.

Most of the lifts we’ve mentioned have been spacer kits that add height with blocks on top of the struts without adding any additional length to the suspension itself. The Ironman kits actually include a strut that’s longer than the stock units. This allows for more suspension travel and a better ride on the trails.

They only offer suspension kits for Foresters that are 2019 and up. But they do have springs available for older model Foresters as well. We would actually love to try a set of their springs out on one of our cars. Their suspension lifts start at around $1399. So they are one of the more expensive options on this list. However, if you are planning to lift a Subaru that has more than 60-70k miles, you may need to do struts while you’re in there anyway. Installing these may actually save you money if that is your situation.

The Ironman kit comes with a wide range of accessories and options to dial in your ride. They offer a “spec-c” version of their springs that you can select during checkout. If you have more than 660 pounds of gear in your Forester at all times, this is a great option for combating “saggy butt.” If you carry a full size spare and extra equipment in your Forester, we’d suggest looking into the spec-c option. Ironman doesn’t charge extra for the overload spring option. In addition to The ATS lift kit also includes subframe spacers and sway bar extensions. Your Forester will still handle great and have proper rear wheel alignment once you install these with your lift.

We like these kits a lot but there’s a couple of things to keep in mind. First, we don’t have historical data on the longevity of these struts. We haven’t been able to find any good info on where Ironman sources them from and we don’t know how long they’re expected to last. So far, the people we’ve talked to haven’t had any issues and have been really happy with them. Hopefully we’ll still see people running these for years without problems. Second, any time you install a non OEM style strut in your Forester, you’re removing the ability to quickly replace one if you manage to break it. If you’re running stock height KYB struts, you can simply go down to the parts store and get a new one the same day. With something aftermarket, your Subie will be down while you wait for a replacement. Again, these are just things to keep in mind. For the price Ironman is asking, these are a really good value.

FDF Raceshop Lift Kits:

Great New Company From Canada

Subaru forester lift kit from FDF raceshop

FDF is a relatively new Canadian company that has heavy roots in racing and drifting. The owner of FDF started building parts for his cars back in 2015 but was quickly asked to begin offering his creations for sale. They recently began offering more than just racing parts and added Forester lift kits to the line up.

We’ve had our eye on the forums and Subaru groups to see what kind of experience people are having with these kits. So far, we’ve heard nothing but good things.

FDF currently offers kits for Foresters up to 2018. Their kits start at right around $399 and can be ordered in raw metal or in a finished steel option if you prefer to paint them yourself.

As with any modifications, we highly recommend lengthy research and consulting with a trusted professional prior to installing a lift kit. Never cut corners or install something that you aren’t comfortable with. Check out this article to find out some of the things to keep in mind before lifting your car: Things To Consider Before You Lift.

With that being said, lift the heck out of your Forester and have some fun!

Do you have a lifted Forester? We want to see! Send it to us through the contact form on the site.

  

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The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only. All modifications should be performed by a professional.

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