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Frequently Asked Questions

Lifting Subaru question

“I’m new to offroading, are there rules?”

Fortunately, there are rules, guidelines, and laws regarding offroading, and all of them apply to offroad Subarus. Multiple organizations have been formed over the years to help spread awareness of some of the common misconceptions and mistakes people make when offroading. 

In general, we as an offroading community need to do our best to preserve and protect the land we use.        

This includes sticking to designated and marked trails (or areas for OHV parks), abiding by seasonal trail closures, obtaining Off-Highway Vehicle Permits where necessary, camping only where allowed, among other things you can find at the resources below. Failure to follow these rules, guidelines, and laws gives more ammunition to the “anti-offroaders” to shut down your local trails, national forests, and OHV parks for offroad use. 

It is everyone’s responsibility to teach others as best we can about these guidelines, in order to help people understand why it is so important. 

Some of these resources include: 

“I want to offroad my Subaru, what mods should I do and how much does it cost?”

2-inch lift kits, better tires (including a full-size spare), skid plates, and a tow hitch are the “basics” for an offroad Subaru. Most of the time, all-in-all, a basic “typical” offroad-oriented Subaru would cost roughly $2300 in parts (if you install yourself). All of these items have many (or at least a few) options for brands, materials, design, etc; meaning this price can vary depending on your brand choices, DIYing ability, installation costs, etc. 

There are other modifications that can improve your capability and performance, including but not limited to; more lift, drivetrain changes (manual to automatic swap, high-stall torque converter, etc), power adders (turbo, supercharger, etc), extra cooling (oil cooler, ATF cooler, larger radiator, etc), rock sliders, aftermarket bumpers, winches, the list goes on. Most of this again depends on your DIYing abilities, resources, and/or money situation. 

Just because you DON’T have these other items, most of the time does not mean you can’t or won't go as far vs the “basic” setup listed above. 

“What should I carry in my car and bring for trail runs?”

 Please reference REI’s  "10 Essentials" list  for more ideas:

We recommend the following at a bare minimum for most trail runs, no matter the time of year:

  • A smile and a positive attitude
  • A basic first aid kit including any medication (Insulin, Inhalers, etc; whatever medications you may need away from home)
  • At least 1 ABC fire extinguisher somewhere easily accessible. 
  • Basic car kit (tire iron, jumper cables, etc)
  • Food and drink for lunch, and extra food and snacks for the day/night for yourself and any passengers (don’t forget your pets!)
  • Flashlight, lantern, headlamps, etc
  • Walkie-talkies with spare batteries and/or charger
  • A tool kit consisting of basic hand tools (sockets, screwdrivers, wrenches, zip ties, hose clamps, torque wrench, etc)
  • Jack with supporting base if necessary (for lifted Subarus, a couple of blocks of wood and the factory scissor jack should suffice in most cases)
  • Weather-appropriate clothing, including but not limited to; warm clothes, extra socks, warm and waterproof shoes, extra shoes/boots if possible, hats/beanies, gloves, raincoat, sweatshirt, winter coat (as needed), snow pants (as needed), sunscreen, bug spray, etc. 
  • A warm blanket for you and any passengers
  • A full-size spare tire (same brand, size, and tread wear if at all possible to reduce potential damage to AWD system)

Highly Recommended Gear To Add: 

  • 72 hr pack with basic survival supplies for yourself and any passengers
  • Offline maps downloaded to your phone using Avenza Maps or other offline GPS maps app. (Paper maps and a compass are always recommended as well)
  • Another communication device with charger and/or extra batteries (CB, Ham radio, etc)
  • Satellite Messenger/GPS (Garmin InReach, SpotX, etc)
  • Tire-Deflator and a means of airing up. (Compressor, CO2 bottle, etc)
  • Recovery gear suited to your vehicle. This includes at a minimum the following:
    • A solid recovery point (Receiver hitch is the easiest and cheapest for most of us, the stock screw-in tow eye if available can work in a pinch, although it is strongly not recommended for hard snatch recoveries)
    • MaxTrax or other traction boards
    • 20 to 30 ft long tow strap (no stretch)
    • 20 to 30 ft long recovery strap (2-3 times the GVWR of your vehicle or ~17k max -- These stretch to reduce the shock load on recovery points and your vehicle) 
    • 6 to 15 ft long “tree saver” strap (for bridling between points if necessary)
    • (4) or more 3/4 inch rated hard shackles and/or (4) or more rated soft shackles 
  • Spare fluids (oil, coolant, power steering fluid/ATF, brake fluid, etc)
  • Spare parts: At least (1) tie-rod end, at least (1) inner tie rod, (1) front CV axle, (1) rear CV axle, (4+) lug nuts, (4+) wheel studs
  • Tire-repair kit
  • Colby emergency valve stems
  • Shovel(s)

(One of our admins is working alongside some local off-road communities to come up with a “Basic Subaru Recovery Kit” that would suit most Subarus.) A current *draft* version of this list via Amazon.com can be found here: http://a.co/9iqjZOS

“What lift company should I buy from?”

 This question becomes quite controversial whenever it is asked, as every customer of almost every major Subaru lift kit manufacturer has had both good and bad experiences. This question is mainly based on personal opinions and preferences. 

We at O.S.CO recommend SubieLiftOz (SLO) kits from Australia, due to Matt Chaplin’s customer service, quality of parts, and very quick turnaround times. Paired with standard height springs, this combination provides a very comfortable ride with improved ground clearance and load handling for your gear. 

Other manufacturers include but are not limited to; LP Adventure, Anderson Design & Fabrication (ADF), Subtle Solutions, Rallitek, SubieFish, BoostFactory, and Subiworks

“What do you use to communicate when on the trail?”

The type of communications used will vary depending on your group and what they prefer. 

We like to use two-way walkie talkies to communicate. These are cheap, easy to find, as well as free and easy to use. (Don't worry, many of us carry many spare radios for those who may not have one).

Some of us have our Amateur Radio License through the FCC, so some local simplex frequencies and/or repeaters are sometimes used for longer-distance communications. Another option that is not as common with O.S.CO is CB’s.

“What are some trails I can take my Subaru on in Colorado?”

 **Please only go on trails AT YOUR OWN RISK and follow the designated trail. We DO NOT guarantee a trail is doable in your vehicle, and we are NOT responsible for damage to your vehicle or other property.**

We at O.S.CO currently have a small list of “easy” trails most “Naturally Taller” (Forester, Outback, Crosstrek) Subarus should be able to go on (
with lots of caution and at your own risk) stock most of the year with minimal issues. This list will grow with time, and will eventually be its own page. 

Some of these (Central to Denver/Boulder for time being, please ask in the group for your specific area, as we have members all over the state) include: 

  • Switzerland Trail near Nederland, CO. This trail should be easily doable at stock height 98% of the year, with the only exception after heavy snowfall in the area
  • Rollins Pass East near Rollinsville, CO. This is a fairly long easy trail that should be doable with minimal issues at stock height for the large majority of the trail, and all year except winter, as snow on the trail can be very deep and soft until mid-May at times. 
  • Corona Pass (Rollins Pass West) near Winter Park, CO. This is another fairly long, easy trail. Same explanation as Rollins Pass East. 
  • Argentine Pass near Georgetown, CO. Besides the “gatekeeper” entrance, this trail is fairly smooth, while a bit long, can be doable stock height until the mine during the summer months.