Loaded 4X4 is strictly a 4WD only zone but we’re going to break our own rule and let this amazing Forester through. It might not have a locking centre diff, but it’s got low range and owner Tim reckons he’s taken it nearly as far as his Patrol GQ shorty and it’s running a 4 inch lift and 35s!
You’ve got to respect what Tim has achieved here.
As you’ve already read, Tim is no stranger to off-roading and serious 4X4s, he’s also, as it turns out, not the type to turn up his nose at the smaller machines. In fact, reading between the lines of his Loaded 4X4 submission, you get the feeling the little Suby is his favourite.
Tim likes his fishing and he initially bought the Forester to get him to his favourite Victorian High Country fishing spots. The Forester, being narrower and more nimble was able to get into some of these places more easily than the Patrol, in fact the stock Forester was a lot more capable than Tim was expecting. It sucked a lot less fuel as well. In Tim’s ‘wet finger to the wind’ estimation, the Forester costs a crap load less to run than the Patrol.
One thing led to another, as it often does, and Tim soon found he was punting the little Forester up and along many of the same tracks that he used to hit with the GQ, and while it was surprisingly capable, the Forester was being held back by its lack of ground clearance.
Facebook, as you’d expect, had the solution, or at least the folks over at the Foztrek page did (you can check ’em out over at www.foztrek.com). They’d been wheeling Foresters for some time and were able to give Tim some solid info on the best way to improve the Forester’s chances on the harder tracks. On their advice, Tim was soon talking to Anderson Design & Fabrication in the States and a 2.5” lift kit was promptly despatched with his name on it.
With the lift sorted, it was time for wheels and tyres and Tim chose to run with 16X8 steel wheels and 31” Federal Couragia muddies.
The Forester has a reasonable amount of poke, although Tim points out that he has modified it with reliability and driveability in mind – massive power wasn’t the focus. Nonetheless, there’s been a bit of work done to the 2.5-litre petrol turbo, including an upgraded TD04 turbo, a set of WRX STI manifolds, an FG Falcon turbo intercooler and a 2.5” exhaust.
The drivetrain remains mostly stock, retaining its high and low range gearing, with the addition of a heavy duty clutch and some gearbox and diff breathers.
The front bar is – get this – a much modified alloy winch bar, pinched from a 105 series Landcruiser! It houses a fairly serious Warn 1200 winch, that Tim admits is overkill for the Suby, but it was left over from his Patrol build, so in it went.
The rear barwork is an ARB steel tube arrangement, that has been modified to work with a drop-down and slide-off spare tyre carrier. In case you were wondering, the old spare tyre well now houses a sub-woofer.
If that isn’t enough, Tim has plans to do a full solid axle conversion on the Forester in the not too distant future, which’ll give him a go anywhere Forester and a Patrol with abandonment issues.
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