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By raquo
Anyone here driving a last generation Outback or Forester? I'm trying to find a good way to install a HG rack without compromising the already low approach angle.

These cars have only one tow hook, on the passenger side (https://images.hgmsites.net/lrg/2014-su ... 3551_l.jpg). Not sure if it's a good idea to put 50-60kg vertical load on it (half of 2-3 int. gliders weight plus the rack itself).

I'm also considering buying a base plate for front hitch (typically used for RV towing) to obtain external hardpoints, but that's much more involved and expensive (I'm no mechanic myself). https://www.etrailer.com/Base-Plates/Su ... =201719863

Another option is to get a nudge bar like this: http://www.subaxtreme.com/shop/outback-15-on-nudge-bar/ But those that don't compromise the approach angle attach in the same way as base plates, with all the same problems (+ more expensive)

Yes, I saw pictures of HG racks on older Outbacks and Foresters around here and in google images. They either compromise on the approach angle, or require A LOT of custom fabrication which is more expensive than other solutions I found so far.

So, any advice would be welcome. I'm interested in finding a good way to mount the rack onto the car, the rack itself I can find someone to weld.

User avatar
By KTMPilot
Before adding overhead weight and brush bars , etc. to your Suby OB,the first step is to equip your car for off highway/off road travel. The overall best bolt on solution for the Suby OB approach angle and ground clearance challenges are the Primitive Racing skid plates; and, spacer plate lifts (1/2 to 1 inch) for the front suspension and better (higher spring rate) springs for the rear suspension to 'lift' the car a bit BEFORE adding weight (4 pilots, gear, wings on racks etc etc) and off road travel to the car. A set of all terrain tires is also highly recommended as the typical oem style highway tires will be destroyed after a few miles in rocky off highway conditions and/or could leave you (or your driver!!) stranded someplace with a useless fake spare tire to use.
The best solution for a front HG rack is to remove the front bumper cover /shaping foam, then fabricate/weld on a 2" receiver hitch to the steel bumper. Reassemble the cover onto the modified steel bumper and cut a hole as appropriate into the cover for the receiver hitch. The 2" receiver hitch provides an attachment point for the front HG rack and the tow hook may be used for additional bracing to stop the rack from swaying.
The best bolt-on solution is to purchase a heavy duty brush guard/nudge bar and bolt the HG rack to the brush guard.
User avatar
By raquo
Wouldn't lifting the Outback with spacers screw up its suspension geometry? I thought that's the reason people tend to use more elaborate lift kits for it.

Regarding the front rack, I found another promising option. Check out the photos in the first review here: https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-an ... s=.reviews Seems very easy to adjust this technique for HG rack purposes.

Basically make a plate to distribute the load on the hood / bumper surface, put the webbing through a hole in that plate, use a clamp/ratchet on the webbing to press the plate tightly to the hood. Now you just need to mount a couple downtubes onto the plate like this: /\ and put a shelf on top on them.
User avatar
By raquo
Subaxtreme got back to me with good information.

They can sell a pair of brackets (orange parts you see on the photos) for their nudge bar for AUD $125, which is much cheaper than towing base plates. They said you should make the rack distribute the weight between both brackets with a cross bar if you want them to support 30-60 kg of weight. On Outbacks with 2.5i petrol engines this should work without further reinforcements. Diesel and H6 engines would need some extra work.

If I had to decide between the options that require taking off the bumper for installation, this would be the most compelling one. However, I want to explore the lighter approach from my previous message.
User avatar
By KTMPilot
The subaxtreme brackets with crossbar would work. I would check with subaxtreme to verify how those plates are installed as it appears from the photo image that they mount in between the bumper and the bumper mount frame plate flanges; most likely requiring the removal of the bumper cover in order to gain access for installation.

Q: Wouldn't lifting the Outback with spacers screw up its suspension geometry? I thought that's the reason people tend to use more elaborate lift kits for it.
A: In general, yes, lifts of more than about 30mm should have the suspension geometry corrected. Lifts of around 15mm using thin 7mm spacer plates will not be an issue. I have my OB lifted about 15mm in front with spacer plates and another 10mm as a result of the larger diameter tires. Front overhang/approach angle is an issue for off road travel with the OB. Highly recommend the front engine/radiator skid plates for the OB.
By cheesehead
I've used a Remora on my Xterra's hood for 10 years. I added "safety" lines from rack to spots under hood. REALLY strong gusts can cause the suction cups to fail, but I'm talking REALLY strong gusts, and then only one or two of the 4 suction cups loosen. I just pull over and reclamp them. Can easily handle the weight of the light ends of 4-5 gliders. Must tie gliders down in two spots over roof; then the Remora is sturdy and solid as can be. Very simple solution. Front racks don't need to be all beefy; they really just prevent bouncing & swaying. Don't need to support a lot of weight.
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