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.

This is what the rear link looks like after the lift, while in the air.

This is what the rear link looks like after the lift, while in the air.

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.

My first attempt at fixing the factory link issue, adjustable heim joint links.

My first attempt at fixing the factory link issue, adjustable heim joint links.

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.

Factory length links and measurements.

Factory length links and measurements.

These are they! Glorious  Kartboy rear end links!

These are they! Glorious Kartboy rear end links!

Time Frame

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

Tools necessary to this task will be:

A 3/8ths electric ratchet or standard ratchet. If you don’t have any power tools these can be of great assistance. Gearwrench 3/8ths ratchet Milwaukee 3/8ths electric ratchet

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.

The usual suspects…. my favorite Milwaukee’s 3/8th impact, ratchet and a special guest of my Snap-on 1/2” impact. Gorilla gloves and a couple  17mm wrenches  round out the group.   Gearwrench metric ratcheting swivel head wrench set   Gorilla grip large gloves    Gearwrench 3/8ths ratchet   Milwaukee 3/8ths impact gun    Milwaukee 3/8ths electric ratchet

The usual suspects…. my favorite Milwaukee’s 3/8th impact, ratchet and a special guest of my Snap-on 1/2” impact. Gorilla gloves and a couple 17mm wrenches round out the group.

Gearwrench metric ratcheting swivel head wrench set Gorilla grip large gloves

Gearwrench 3/8ths ratchet Milwaukee 3/8ths impact gun

Milwaukee 3/8ths electric ratchet

My favorite sockets always near by. Grey pneumatic wobble set and standard 3/8th set  Grey penumatic 3/8ths socket set  &  3/8th wobble socket set .

My favorite sockets always near by. Grey pneumatic wobble set and standard 3/8th set Grey penumatic 3/8ths socket set & 3/8th wobble socket set.

Parts

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.

The supplied parts and stickers when you Tom ships these out from his warehouse!  Kartboy rear end links

The supplied parts and stickers when you Tom ships these out from his warehouse! Kartboy rear end links

The supplied hardware and links out of the packaging and onto the driveway.  Kartboy rear end links

The supplied hardware and links out of the packaging and onto the driveway. Kartboy rear end links

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.

These guys are squeaking and knocking, it is time to go.

These guys are squeaking and knocking, it is time to go.

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.

With one nut out you can slide the bolt out on this style.

With one nut out you can slide the bolt out on this style.

This shows a front link, but this design is often used in the front and rear by Subaru. A small allen opening resides inside there and you will need to use a good technique to remove these. Apply a good amount of rust penetrant before starting.

This shows a front link, but this design is often used in the front and rear by Subaru. A small allen opening resides inside there and you will need to use a good technique to remove these. Apply a good amount of rust penetrant before starting.

Here is the technique, with a 6mm allen in the bolt you will spin the nut off with an open ended wrench, it is not very fun or easy. I find that the end links are often rusty and allen sockets/wrenches need a tap from a hammer to situate them.

Here is the technique, with a 6mm allen in the bolt you will spin the nut off with an open ended wrench, it is not very fun or easy. I find that the end links are often rusty and allen sockets/wrenches need a tap from a hammer to situate them.

Try to keep your allen key straight, if it gets twisted it can often round out the allen key hole. Ruining your plan for removing it in this manner.

Try to keep your allen key straight, if it gets twisted it can often round out the allen key hole. Ruining your plan for removing it in this manner.

If you find yourself in this predicament, your cutoff wheel or hacksaw will be your best friend.

If you find yourself in this predicament, your cutoff wheel or hacksaw will be your best friend.

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.

After whatever it take to remove the link you should be left with this image! With the link gone I placed the bar back in it’s home location.

After whatever it take to remove the link you should be left with this image! With the link gone I placed the bar back in it’s home location.

With the old link off we can see the visually differences between the two.

New and old. The weather this winter wasn’t too kind to the old links.

New and old. The weather this winter wasn’t too kind to the old links.

Another angle for the new link and old link. New comer from Kartboy is 3.6” from bolt hole to bolt hole with the outgoing units are a 4” distance.

Another angle for the new link and old link. New comer from Kartboy is 3.6” from bolt hole to bolt hole with the outgoing units are a 4” distance.

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.

One bolt through, leave it loose to easily move the link to the swaybar hole.

One bolt through, leave it loose to easily move the link to the swaybar hole.

Both bolts installed loosely, we an begin to run them down and then apply the final torque.

Both bolts installed loosely, we an begin to run them down and then apply the final torque.

Passenger side ready for torquing!

Passenger side ready for torquing!

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.

Completion! Now time for a short test drive.  Kartboy rear end links

Completion! Now time for a short test drive. Kartboy rear end links

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

17mm Gearwrench ratcheting wrench swivel head

Gearwrench metric ratcheting swivel head wrench set

Gorilla grip large gloves

Gearwrench 3/8ths ratchet

Grey penumatic 3/8ths socket set

Milwaukee 3/8ths impact gun

Milwaukee 3/8ths electric ratchet

Amazon product links

Kartboy rear end links

Also stop by Kartboy.com for any additonal products or info!































Dan EngstromComment