Diy: Rear end links install! Lifted Subaru edition featuring Kartboy end links!
When installing my rear lift plates I noticed that the rear end links actually were attempting to hold up the rear suspension. This causes two problems, the first being that the suspension droop travel is being halted, the second is the swaybar is under tension causing it to react when the wheels are on uneven ground. These aren’t how we like our suspenion to act or react.
With many answers out there like adjustable end links, extension brackets and removing the sway bar altogether and adding stiffer springs, but which is right for your vehicle? Being my daily driver I was trying to stay with the softer factory springs, leaving me to choose between ADF’s extension brackets and adjustable end links, but then a third option was brought to me. By none other than Tom of Kartboy. He responded to my query on Instagram and said let’s try and find an answer to this problem with his extended aluminum Polaris endlinks or a few other sizes.
The factory endlinks for your 03-08 Forester are 2 and half inches from ball socket to ball socket. Lifting with lift springs pushes the lower control arms further down extending this distance. I used Loyale Fab’s custom heim joint adjustable endlinks for the last few eyars and tested them at 4 inches long but I had issues with the bar flipping and no longer being in the factory location. (images below) I decided on Kartboy’s Sti links at a length of 3.6” inches which seemed like a good happy medium.
For this DIY you are looking around 15-20 mins for easy going endlinks that can be ran off with hand tools and possibly an electric impact gun. If you are using only hand tools and are tackling older rusty links, this may take a hour or more. If worse comes to worse you can step to the cutoff wheel and take care of business. I wouldn’t make any plans if the underneath of your car is rusty and/or the end links have never been removed to your knowledge.
Tools necessary to this task will be:
A 3/8ths impact can be helpful, rust is a bear and this powerhouse can help you get through it. Milwaukee 3/8ths impact gun
A 6mm allen socket or key. If you have factory end links, this helps keep it from spinning loose.
A socket set, preferably deep sockets. A 17mm sufficed to remove my rear end links but 14mm is the typical Subaru end link nut size. Grey pneumatic is my go to sockets!
A set/couple of wrenches. Determined by your current set up, a 17mm was all I needed, once again if you have stock links a 14mm will be your friend. In conjunction with the allen socket/key these are necessary for the factory setup.
Extra tools just in case. A pair of Knipex pliers for those seized up endlinks. If they are really stuck and you have had enough, go to the cutoff wheel tool! Also a bit of your favorite rust penetrent can be very helpful.
I always like to wear a set of gloves for protection, I am really enjoying the Gorilla grip gloves. They are very breathable on the backside and tough and grippy on the front.
Whatever you have chosen for your car will work here! Factory, aftermarket factory style or aftermarket performance. These are all choices determined by your setup and goals. I will be using Kartboy’s aluminum endlinks.
On to the install
With a lifted vehicle we can begin with the car on the ground with the wheels on if you like. This was my take on this install. Otherwise you can jack the vehicle up, support it on jack stands and remove the rear wheels.
Now we can locate the end links which are hanging out over the rear brakes. You will select whatever tools are necessary for your setup. My tools are are a 17mm socket, impact and a 17mm wrench. Placing the 17mm wrench on the head of the bolt we can start ratcheting the nut off.
Once the nut is removed we can pull the bolt out and move the end link if necessary. If the nut is stuck we can spray it down with rust penetrant or take out the cut off wheel and go to town.
Removing the final nut and bolt will finish off one side of the end link. You can now remove it and place it off to the side.
With the old link off we can see the visually differences between the two.
With both links removed we can replace them with our chosen replacement part. Kartboy end links are the final puzzle piece for my setup. Start by installing one bolt loosely and then maneuver the link to the other hole.
With both bolts and nuts cinched down you can torque them to 45 foot pounds for the Kartboy units. Pro tip: Always do a final torque with the vehicle on the ground or the suspension at ride height. You can use a jack under the suspension to move the suspension to ride height and torque them to their proper value.
Congrats! You can now take a short ride around the block, listening for any new noises. You can also double check the bolt torque after a week or a few drives. Enjoy the new stiffened end links that allow for more droop of the suspension and keep the sway bar and lateral links working together!
Amazon tool links
Amazon product links
Also stop by Kartboy.com for any additonal products or info!