My Subaru Build: A Series of Compromises | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

My Subaru Build: A Series of Compromises

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dennisblass

Rank III
Member
Adventure

Member III

771
Trussville, AL, USA
First Name
Dennis
Last Name
Blass
Member #

26928

Ham Callsign
KK4GHR
I bought my 2015 Subaru Crosstrek as a Certified Pre-Owned in May of 2016. I upgraded from a Toyota Highlander that I inherited from a family member that had just barfed up its transmission. The Highlander is by no means big but it was still too much car for mostly city driving for me, my wife, and at the time one small dog.
View attachment 138216

I was not a “car guy.” I could change a tire, jump a battery, drive manual, etc. but had no interest in anything beyond that besides the fact that I thought my new car looked pretty neat and was pleasant to drive. I have always enjoyed hiking, camping, travel, and accumulating related skills.

One day I saw a coworker who drives a Hyundai Veloster looking at tuned-up cars on Instagram and thought, “ I wonder what kinds of things people do to MY car.” A quick search and I was quickly Saving money for my first rooftop tent. All of my early experiences have led me to this Overland Community and I’m really excited to keep learning.

View attachment 138217


The plan is to update this thread little by little for those who are interested. I drive this car to work every day so each item I add or modification I make is balanced against fuel economy, weight, and driver/passenger comfort (unless it’s something that I think is just too much fun to resist). Anything that I can make modular or easily removable is a huge plus. The plan is to have a small rig that can get me comfortably 25 miles to and from work every day and be kitted up for a 3-day weekend trip in less than 90 minutes with a grocery stop on the way out of town. In terms of capability it needs to safely and reliably tackle anything from a long highway drive to rutted or muddy dirt roads. The ability to get out of Dodge and self-sustain for a little while in the event of an emergency is encouraging as well. I already love this little car for what it can do and am going to keep tweaking and learning, as we all do.
I have an an Outback and am similarly situated. I love the car but I want to make it a little more trail worthy without compromising its dependability or longevity.
 

mep1811

Rank IV

Pathfinder I

1,212
El Paso, Texas
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Perez
Wow, forgot about this thread!

Since my last post I’ve spent a lot of time/money on our gear and, to be honest, it feels like things have gotten a bit overcomplicated. Too much time in the garage and not enough on the road, but I’d guess I’m not the only one in that boat these days.That said, I like everything we’ve added to the car and the $ was saved for this specific purpose so at the end of the day it’ll all be okay.

Let’s talk about lights, I guess?

Ditch lights are from now-defunct Element LED and the under-hood mounts are from Anderson Design Fabrication.

View attachment 184482

I like these lights quite a bit, they’ve been reliable for about a year and a half and put out a nice driving combo pattern that doesn’t reflect on the hood too much. The style is low profile and, IMO, matches the size of the car well. These get the most use on dark roads watching for deer and other obstacles.

I also switched the factory fog lights for the Baja Designs SAE fogs, wired to the factory fog light switch. Better visibility than stock but not so bright that I feel bad using them on the freeway on my commute.

View attachment 184484

Aux lights are controlled by a Trigger Controller 4+ which I thoroughly enjoy. It’s a very fun toy. The idea behind using that was to make it so that as much as possible on this rig can eventually be removed and drop directly into my next car when the time comes. I plan to add a few LED pods mounted inside the lower bumper next. The lights are mostly for fun/emergencies since we ideally prefer to be in a campsite and set up before it gets dark.

Is that the Rally Innovations fog light conversion? If so, how was the installation ?
 

Gone_xtrkn

Rank III
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Member III

759
Houston, TX, USA
First Name
Brendon
Last Name
P
Member #

21726

Is that the Rally Innovations fog light conversion? If so, how was the installation ?
I’m not sure, it’s been so long since I bought the fog light kit. It came with the BD lights and a thin metal bracket to attach them in the factory fog light hole. I seem to remember the bracket being made by Paranoid Fabrication (?) or something like that. The order came directly from BD.

Install was fairly easy, though with the 13-15 Crosstreks you have to take the bumper cover off to get to the fog light mounting points. I think with the newer ones you can install from the front.
 
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Gone_xtrkn

Rank III
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Member III

759
Houston, TX, USA
First Name
Brendon
Last Name
P
Member #

21726

58173E11-A6FD-42D2-B35D-91465338C305.jpeg
Just a quickie cell phone shot from a state park trip a few weeks ago.

My Maxtrax are attached to the spare with a steel bar drilled to take 3/8 bolts for the thumbscrews, then the whole thing is U-bolted to the arm of the tire carrier with some furniture grip on the contact areas to keep everything tight. Two 3/8” thumbscrews to that contraption in the bottom mounting holes of the ‘trax and then a Nite-Ize cam strap through the wheel gets them nice and snug but easy to remove with the added bonus that nothing is permanently attached so if I decide I hate the setup I can just start over.

5183247E-6E3D-4BEE-B3A5-B8D23FFF4F3A.jpeg
 

SnookSniper

Rank III
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Adventure

Member III

703
Seminole, FL, USA
First Name
Zach
Last Name
Herman
Member #

29293

Nice rig! I love the rear shelf idea; I'm going to have some fun with that.

Maybe I missed it - what's going on above the fuel door? Is that a step?
 

Gone_xtrkn

Rank III
Member

Member III

759
Houston, TX, USA
First Name
Brendon
Last Name
P
Member #

21726

Nice rig! I love the rear shelf idea; I'm going to have some fun with that.

Maybe I missed it - what's going on above the fuel door? Is that a step?
thanks!

That’s just a tool tray with rubberized magnets on the back. Some company sells the exact same thing as an overland product for $70 or something but you can get them for $15 at Harbor Fright.
 
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Gone_xtrkn

Rank III
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Member III

759
Houston, TX, USA
First Name
Brendon
Last Name
P
Member #

21726

LP Aventure Canada
Here you go. Everything you need to make your O/B AWESOME.....ER.
Sorry, missed that initial post.

The LP stuff seems nice and, full disclosure, I haven’t owned anything by them. My only concern would be that those bumper protection bar things actually put your already chunky front end closer to the ground and reduces your approach angle. Again, having not seen the parts myself but being very nervous about breaking things, not sure if I would trust the “path of least resistance” of attachment. I’d rather have to reattach my plastic bumper cover after an oops than put too much weight/force on a metal front piece and bend frame sections, etc.

I think the aim when modifying our lil Subarus for those who still drive them every day and want to stay reliable is to keep it mild, find what you do like about the car and enhance it. I went for more durability, reliability, and comfort on unpaved roads and will avoid situations where I’m running into the limitations of the car. I don’t go out to “off-road” for its own sake. “Road manners” and MPG were also a major guideline for me since any trip we take in TX is naturally going to involve more freeway driving than not. I stuck with a 1”/1.25” lift to reduce strain on the transmission components and didn’t go “oversized” on wheels and tires to keep the weight down. My 215/65/16 is only .3” more diameter than stock but I got better tires and more sidewall for the same weight. My goal is also to be able to go back to mostly stock as easily as possible and eventually move most of my investments to my next vehicle, hence the relative lack of fabricated bumpers, full length roof rack, and other proprietary parts.

I will also admit that I am currently committing the cardinal sin of not having skid plates. Especially with the summer heat (less camping going on) the added weight isn’t worth it to me right now with this car being my commuter as well.

It’s not a Jeep, so if you want one of those I’d say the better bet for your $ would be to trade the Subie in for one rather than try to turn the car into something it isn’t but YMMV.
 

Sierrahotel83

Rank IV
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Member III

1,076
Lexington, Kentucky
First Name
Pete
Last Name
Shrock
Member #

8314

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What spare Carrier is that, one of the thing I dislike with my Jeep Compass is the internal spare carriage. and long term looking for ideas
 

Cascadia

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Adventure

Off-Road Ranger I

263
Beaverton, OR, USA
First Name
Betsy
Last Name
Blackie
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25508

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KI7VRZ
Very nice build with your Subie. Over the years, I have been working on my Outback. It has shown that it is capable. My small disadvantage, in comparison to the Crosstrek or Forester, is how long it is back there but it gets around.
 
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XC70_OVERLANDER

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Adventure

Pathfinder III

637
Hamburg, Germany
First Name
Thore
Last Name
Fahrenbach
Member #

40915

I bought my 2015 Subaru Crosstrek as a Certified Pre-Owned in May of 2016. I upgraded from a Toyota Highlander that I inherited from a family member that had just barfed up its transmission. The Highlander is by no means big but it was still too much car for mostly city driving for me, my wife, and at the time one small dog.
View attachment 138216

I was not a “car guy.” I could change a tire, jump a battery, drive manual, etc. but had no interest in anything beyond that besides the fact that I thought my new car looked pretty neat and was pleasant to drive. I have always enjoyed hiking, camping, travel, and accumulating related skills.

One day I saw a coworker who drives a Hyundai Veloster looking at tuned-up cars on Instagram and thought, “ I wonder what kinds of things people do to MY car.” A quick search and I was quickly Saving money for my first rooftop tent. All of my early experiences have led me to this Overland Community and I’m really excited to keep learning.

View attachment 138217


The plan is to update this thread little by little for those who are interested. I drive this car to work every day so each item I add or modification I make is balanced against fuel economy, weight, and driver/passenger comfort (unless it’s something that I think is just too much fun to resist). Anything that I can make modular or easily removable is a huge plus. The plan is to have a small rig that can get me comfortably 25 miles to and from work every day and be kitted up for a 3-day weekend trip in less than 90 minutes with a grocery stop on the way out of town. In terms of capability it needs to safely and reliably tackle anything from a long highway drive to rutted or muddy dirt roads. The ability to get out of Dodge and self-sustain for a little while in the event of an emergency is encouraging as well. I already love this little car for what it can do and am going to keep tweaking and learning, as we all do.
What a nice build.