Subaru Forester - '18 XT | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Subaru Forester - '18 XT

Discussion in 'Overland Vehicle Build Threads' started by Baipin, Jan 20, 2019.

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  1. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
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    _________________________________________________________________________________
    Hello fellow overlanders, off-roaders, and car-campers!

    This will be my thread for listing and explaining my current and future mods to my Subaru Forester '18 XT. Stock, it runs with a 2.0L FA20F Boxer engine with 250 hp, 258 ftlbs of torque. Weight comes in at 3,296 lbs, with a 104" wheelbase and 9 inches of ground clearance. With Subaru's excellent AWD system, I've never really had much trouble except in mud deeper than 1 ft.
    _________________________________________________________________________________
    Mod List

    Exterior
    • Gorilla Offroad mudflaps
    • Falken AT3W Wildpeak tires (215 65R 17)
    • 17" steel wheels
    • D-shackle
    • DIY extruded aluminum roofrack (using 80/20 products).
    • 7" 51w flood lights
    • X-BULL traction boards
    • DIY axe carrier
    Interior
    • DIY cabinet/desk (spalted maple and pine).
    • DIY storage compartments with tie-down points (spalted maple doors).
    • DIY aluminum nested slide-out tables (large with 70 lb capacity, small 50 lb).
    • Isobutane stove
    • Spray nozzle/shower
    • Sink
    • 20L water tank
    • 110v UV water filter
    • 1.2 GPM 35 PSI diaphragm pump
    • 110V 750W inverter
    • Dual battery system (with dual 80A breakers).
    • DIY ammo can AGM battery (12v, 35Ah).
    • 110v outlets (2)
    • 12v outlets (5)
    • 5v USB outlets (2)
    • Fire extinguisher
    • First-aid kit
    Future Mods
    • Skid plate
    • 2" lift
    • Brush bar
    • Winch mount
    • Hitch receiver

    _________________________________________________________________________________
    Current Photos


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    Thanks for looking!




     
  2. Wolf427

    Wolf427 Rank 0

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Map
    Loving all these Subie builds. I've always loved Foresters, and yours is awesome!
     
    Baipin likes this.
  3. Overland_Mitsu

    Overland_Mitsu Rank II

    Location:
    Bellingham
    Map
    Nice build!!
     
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  4. HappyOurOverlanding

    Member

    Location:
    Verdi Nevada
    Member #:

    9206

    Ham Callsign:
    KI7RAM
    Map
    Great slideout stove/table setup. Hope you show us some progression pics on that build out.
     
    Baipin likes this.
  5. ryanjohnsonhunt

    Member

    Location:
    Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand
    Member #:

    14958

    Map
    Very nice setup!
     
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  6. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
    #6 Baipin, Jan 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
    Thank you! I love having the slideout table; it's great for organizing photography gear, cooking on, eating off of... you name it. Very versatile. Speaking of progress pics:
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    The Initial Buildout

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    The table started out as two 24x24 sheets of .063" aluminum. The same stuff roadsigns and skid plates are often made out of; great strength to weight ratio, as well as ease of fabrication using hand tools, manual brakes, etc.

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    The highschool which I was both a student and photography/darkroom technician at, before moving to university, was gracious enough to allow me use of their shop facilities!

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    Fabricating the stove mount...

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    ...and the countersunk bolt holes.

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    I had also fabricated some brackets that will hold the interior nested drawer to the exterior one. These were made with some A36 I had lying around, although stainless 304 would've been preferrable. Because they're carbon steel, I had them soaking in zinc-rich cold galvanizing solution in the meantime.

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    Test fitting of slides, brackets, bolts. Stainless hardware was used wherever possible.

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    After fitting everything, the table surface was polished to give it a nice brushed texture to match the Subaru's rear bumper plate.

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    Calling this tedious would be an understatement... :-P I'm just a university student working in my dad's garage, so I make the most of what few tools he has/what few tools I've managed to buy for myself.

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    All in all, very pleased with the result!

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    The (nearly) finished product!

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    Some minor adjustments to the table.

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    Fabricating the smaller, nested table followed the same procedure. Here I'm fitting it to the wood frame that'll form the basis of my cabinet.

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    Once the nested tables were fit to the wooden frame, the frame itself was fit to the vehicle with some minor adjustments.

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    The frame, awaiting it's trunkliner upholstery.

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    Getting closer to a finished cabinet!

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    Adding some 110v and 5v USB service.

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    Now it's really starting to look like a cabinet!

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    ...And soon it'll begin to look like a desk!

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    Most of the wood sued here is spalted maple; the black lines are the stains left by a certain fungus that grows in these trees. Sometimes you'll also come across blue or teal lines too!

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    The plank that'll form another set of storage compartments.

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    Took a moment to finish up the electrical...

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    Looking a bit more refined.

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    Since beginning work on that other section, the desktop was completed and fit to the cabinet.

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    All of the spalted maple was taken from my friend's homestead/miniature forest, where he mills his planks, boards, etc. - straight from mother nature's source!

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    Can't forget the water pump!

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    Almost forgot to throw in the kitchen sink... ;-) I used a stainless steel IKEA flower pot as a sink.

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    Bonus shot of the time I framed an entire photo exhibition in the back of my Subaru...

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    Thanks for looking!
     
  7. HappyOurOverlanding

    Member

    Location:
    Verdi Nevada
    Member #:

    9206

    Ham Callsign:
    KI7RAM
    Map
    Great Job. Love the spalted maple. It's right up there with maple burl. Thanks for sharing.
     
    Baipin likes this.
  8. Wawa Skittletits

    Wawa Skittletits US East Region Representative
    Staff Member Member

    Location:
    Wilkes-Barre, Pa
    Member #:

    1537

    Map
    Very nice build! Feel free to check out the Subaru Registry and introduce yourself!

    A word of caution when it comes to putting steel shackles in the OE recovery hooks. We know that the hook can fail during a recovery and in the case of a dynamic recovery that can present a dangerous situation. It’s unfortunately turned into a trendy thing but consider removing the potential (energy) danger and replace it with soft shackles. Used in conjunction with a line damper they’re safer, stronger, and much much lighter which is an important thing when it comes to those of us with Subaru’s.
     
    JCWages, Wolf427 and Baipin like this.
  9. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
    Thanks for the tips; I'll head over to the Subie Registry!

    Regarding towing; are you thinking of these straps?

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    or more like this?

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    I'm also considering replacing the "5mph" bumper with a winch mount that includes recovery points, sort of like this:

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    Thoughts?
     
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  10. Wawa Skittletits

    Wawa Skittletits US East Region Representative
    Staff Member Member

    Location:
    Wilkes-Barre, Pa
    Member #:

    1537

    Map
    Glad to help! Just this past summer a group of Subaru’s in the northeast dodged a bullet during a dynamic recovery with WAY too heavy of a snatch strap. No line damper but thankfully no one was in the line of fire when the stuck vehicles recovery hook failed. The steel shackle slammed into the back of the Forester attempting to yank it out. Steel shackle, too heavy of a strap, and no line damper. Bad situation but I digress.

    This is what I was referring to. They’re so light they float on water yet somehow freakishly strong.

    If you’re content with your approach angle hidden mounts are a great way to add a winch. The only downside to them is that in a lot of cases they don’t allow access to the clutch which means you would need to power out the line if you needed it. It may simply sound like a slow process but it also eats up duty cycle time.
     
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  11. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
    I am actually not that content with my approach angle. This is a pretty new Subie (I saved up money as a kid and a teen for a nice car some day) so this is my pride and joy... but I've already pulled the plastic bumper cover off more times than I can count, and done my fair share of body work on that massive piece of plastic :wink: I've thought about ripping it off and replacing it with a lightweight plate steel bumper (because if I don't, mother nature will soon enough).

    However, I like the look of the current bumper, so I was thinking of mounting a brush bar (e.g. LP Adventure) and skid plates. This option is preferred for many reasons including cost, warranty, weight, etc. To give the brush bar a bit more purpose, I was thinking of bolting recovery points to the same spots as that winch mount (pictured in my last post) is located. These recovery points would then extend through the plastic bumper cover and attach to the brush bar:

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    I believe these are the best places to attach recovery points, since they bolt directly to the body and replace the internal "5mph bumper"? My concern is with crash safety/airbags though. I've considered adding shear pins somewhere in the middle; between the recovery point and where it bolts onto the body, so if I hit something, the recovery points will absorb the impact and deform before the body does. I know ARB does something similar with crumple zones on their bumper mounts. Another option would be to build the recovery points out of a material that deforms before the body does, but is still strong enough for recovery. Am I overthinking this? Thoughts?

    re: straps; what should they be rated at? 2x GVWR, 3x? Would 7,500 ultimate break strength be acceptable?
     
    Wolf427 likes this.
  12. Wolf427

    Wolf427 Rank 0

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Map
    @Baipin if you have facebook join Ontario Overland.
    For straps, I recommend 3x GVWR. Although all my straps are rated for 30,000lbs.
     
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  13. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
    Thanks for the tip about Ontario Overland - just joined!

    I bought a 3" x 30' strap today. It has an ultimate break of 15,000 lbs, which I figure is adequate for my Forester, which comes in at 3550 lbs when fully loaded.
     
  14. Wawa Skittletits

    Wawa Skittletits US East Region Representative
    Staff Member Member

    Location:
    Wilkes-Barre, Pa
    Member #:

    1537

    Map
    Your GVWR is actually the same as mine @Baipin which is ~4500 pounds. That puts your new strap just a little on the heavy side of the 2-3x I typically recommend but that’s still fine. With a kinetic recovery (strap or rope) the key is stretch and the more of it the better. That’s why the weight rating is so important. Too heavy of a snatch strap/kinetic rope and it would act more harshly like a tow strap. No bueno.

    Subaru approach angle suffers at the hands of MPG. That said the most popular way to make it better is to lift the car. After that the best off the shelf option to protect the bumper cover is LP’s bumper guard. I can personally attest to its strength and durability since I routinely abuse mine.

    If you were to go custom I’d strongly encourage you not to overthink it. The amount of engineering that goes into even the simplest of things is disturbing haha. That said any recovery points you add would be best placed in line with the OE bash bar’s mounts. Just like the OE recovery hook.

    All this said I’d recommend moving the importance of skid plates up your list. Armor and tires are the first things I always recommend to fellow Subaru owners looking to spend time further from the pavement.
     
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  15. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
    Yeah, I'm pretty much sold on the LP bumper guard. I think I'll buy that, and fabricate my own skidplates for it out of .063 aluminum. I believe that's what Primitive uses?

    Also, the strap I got is a polyester tow strap. I figured it'd be a better option since I plan on using it as a come-along extender, rather than for snatching. Should I invest in a snatch strap too? I've heard of people who have messed up their Foresters when using snatch straps. I'd also consider this: https://www.cabelas.ca/product/59461/erickson-2-x-20-recovery-strap which is a nylon/polyester blend. Thoughts?
     
  16. Wawa Skittletits

    Wawa Skittletits US East Region Representative
    Staff Member Member

    Location:
    Wilkes-Barre, Pa
    Member #:

    1537

    Map
    #16 Wawa Skittletits, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
    With Primitive you have the option of either 0.125 (1/8”) or 0.188 (3/16”) @Baipin but I think it’s great that you want to make your own.

    For use as an extender you want zero stretch so yes a tow strap is better suited. Not to mention a tow strap is a good part of any recovery kit.

    As far as a dynamic recovery causing damage I’d say with confidence that inexperience and/or improper equipment played a roll. In the aforementioned incident both an improper strap and inexperience resulted in damage to both a Forester and an Outback Sport. When used properly a kinetic recovery increases extraction force while essentially eliminating the harsh shock load.

    A good recovery kit is only as good as it’s contents and the knowledge to use them. A dynamic recovery strap/rope is an amazing tool when properly sized and applied. Sizing is certainly the easy part. The proper size is based on the lighter vehicle involved in the recovery which 99.9% will be us. What isn’t as easy is finding the size we would want. I’d highly recommend a kinetic rope over a strap for two reasons. The first being that they stretch more. The second is that it gives us more options. This is the rope I use...

    Bubba Rope (176653) Sidewinder Xtreme, 5/8" x 20' (Blue)

    Less easy is feeling comfortable properly using it. It’s a strange thing to have faith in but you can watch countless mind boggling rubber band videos on YouTube haha. In the case of the rope I use it has the ability to stretch from 20’ to 26’. There’s no substitute for training or experience but the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go all in the first time. You can always back up and try it again a little harder. You can also add a tow strap if you need a longer reach. Double up the strap you bought and you can now reach 35’. Don’t double it and it’s 50’. The important part is that the rope in the ‘chain’ to do its job. Last but definitely not least... use a line damper. You can buy them or you can make one. Hell you can throw a heavier jacket over the line but do something to help drag that line to the earth just in case things go south. Safety first.

    I apologize for clouding up your build thread. We can continue here if you like or please feel free to DM me with any questions you might have. I, like many others in this community, am always glad to help. Also feel free to check out my build thread. You may get some answers to questions you might have or perhaps generate some new ones haha.
     
  17. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
    No worries about cluttering my thread haha - your tips, questions, and answers are all generously appreciated!

    I've decided to keep the tow strap and will consider a recovery rope in the near future. That, along with a winch (Princess Auto has the often-recommended 4500 lbs Superwinch on sale) a fridge, a 1.5" to 2" lift, and most importantly; some armor. I'll see what prices for skid plate aluminum are around here. The local junkyards usually have a few big pieces lying around too...

    Anyways, something I've wanted to post for a while:
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    The Roofrack Build

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    The finished rack, minus my new LED floodlights.

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    The project began with taking a profile gauge to the OEM roof bars. I translated that profile to 2" x 1/8" A36 bar stock and made the bends in my janky "built it in an hour with some leftovers" manual brake.

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    If I did this again (and I have a feeling I will be after a few more winters) I'd of chosen stainless, or even aluminum. I gave these a generous coating of rattle can bedliner, and even then, they're starting to take some pretty nasty wear. Especially because we use salt on our roads here, I did at least make sure to electrically isolate the steel brackets from the aluminum roof rack to mitigate galvanic corrosion.

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    After the brackets were painted, I began putting the roofrack itself together. I whipped up a design in CAD and sent the measurements to 80/20. A few weeks later, I received some lovely extruded aluminum in the mail.

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    Putting this stuff together is super easy; it just bolts together. This makes it highly configurable for future modifications.

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    I used 15 series and 30 series 80/20 profiles. The stainless T-nuts from 80/20.net are relatively expensive, with limited options. However, it turns out that 5/16 carriage bolts will fit almost perfectly - just shave off a tiny bit of metal from either side of the head and they'll slide right in! Again, rubber gaskets were used wherever possible to help prevent galvanic corrosion and marring of the anodized surface.

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    These bolts will hold the traction pads to the roof. Also, test fitting my axe sheath/blade holder here.

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    Fabricating out of some 16 gauge mild steel I had lying around. I protected the interior with rubber padding; this hold the axe head snugly and prevent scratching of the paint. I also drilled some holes to let mud/water/snow out instead of pooling. So far, no rust on this piece during the winter!

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    Love those Quickfist clamps! I have since added rubber edging around the perimeter of the sheet metal axe holder.

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    Likewise, the LED floodlights are also a new addition.

    Thanks for looking!
     
  18. Baipin

    Baipin Rank 0

    Location:
    Komoka, ON, Canada
    Map
    I'm looking to get a new, beefier come-along winch. Some advice on what to buy would be appreciated. So far I have it narrowed down to the following:
    • http://www.maasdam.com/6000s.html (Nice, but HUGE. USA Made).
    • http://www.maasdam.com/144sb-6.html (I'm concerned if it's underpowered, although I believe it has a 4X safety rating as it adheres to ANSI/ASME B30.21-1996. USA Made).
    • A 3500 lb. hand-cranked boat winch (would be used in a double line pull).
    • A Hi-Lift jack. (Big, but relatively easy to store because of its shape. Difficult actually using it as a jack with what I'm driving, but it seems to be good as a short come-along).
     
  19. njedgexj

    njedgexj Rank I
    Member

    Location:
    Florida, NY, USA
    Member #:

    17144

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    I like the more power puller from Wyeth-scott the one with the synthetic rope.
     
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  20. Wawa Skittletits

    Wawa Skittletits US East Region Representative
    Staff Member Member

    Location:
    Wilkes-Barre, Pa
    Member #:

    1537

    Map
    That’s the one I like as well.
     

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