Cross-Nation Crosstrek Construct: Minimal Modifications, Large-Journey Functionality


The Crosstrek is already a succesful cross-country tourer, however with some fundamental bolt-on mods it may possibly higher deal with tough terrain and inclement climate. The hot button is to maintain the Subaru Crosstrek mods targeted on operate and maintain the added weight down, which helps retain gas financial system and manufacturing facility reliability.

The Subaru Crosstrek is a veritable Swiss Military knife of a automotive (or compact SUV or crossover, and many others.). It’s obtained hatchback practicality, an ample 8.7 inches of floor clearance from the manufacturing facility, and even some rally automotive DNA.

Whether or not used as a each day driver, a weekend shuttle bus to the mountains, or a soft-roader for exploring the backcountry, the Crosstrek has lots to supply those that need all-wheel-drive proficiency in a maneuverable dimension.

Fortunately, there are some fundamental bolt-ons that may improve the Crosstrek’s go-anywhere functionality with out going loopy with modifications or including large quantities of weight.

For this Crosstrek construct, I skipped including a carry, larger-diameter tires, steel bumpers, and a roof rack. In any case, I’m not attempting to take advantage of succesful Crosstrek. As a substitute, I aimed to create a Crosstrek with a stage or two greater than the manufacturing facility prowess. One thing that’ll assist in inclement cross-country jaunts, grime highway excursions, and snowy back-40 travels.

The addition of higher tires, added armor, auxiliary lights, and possibly even a pleasant exhaust system can rework this smallest of Subarus into one thing half rally automotive, half all-weather marvel. It’s principally a cross-country Crosstrek.

Succesful Cross-Nation Crosstrek: Construct Plan

Cross-country Subaru Crosstrek build
We didn’t got down to construct essentially the most succesful Crosstrek. As a substitute, we elevated its go-anywhere nature and did so with out including a variety of further weight; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

My spouse and I purchased a 2022 Subaru Crosstrek Premium (with a six-speed guide transmission) a number of months in the past. We needed a dependable, comfy car we might tackle lengthy journeys in any climate, in addition to haul our gear and get respectable mpg doing so.

With getting older members of the family again within the Midwest, we needed the power to hop in a car and go every time we’d want.

Whereas the Crosstrek is a good platform out of the field, I aimed to make this Subaru extra competent when roads get tough — with out sacrificing the reliability woes that may include a closely modified car.

When planning which Crosstrek modifications to make, I took functionality, sturdiness, and added weight into consideration.

Subaru Crosstrek Mods

All-Terrain, All of the Time

Crosstrek wheels
Whereas the BFGoodrich KO2 tires are heavier than the manufacturing facility tires, the REIKA Seeker wheels are light-weight and assist maintain weight near inventory; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

Upgrading the tires and wheels on any car can immediately change its efficiency and elegance. The Crosstrek got here with Yokohama Geolandar G91 tires, that are primarily a freeway tire. Whereas providing a clean, quiet trip, if grime and snow traction are your purpose, there are higher choices.

From a sensible standpoint, I needed so as to add tires that supplied higher traction on unhealthy roads, grime tracks, and snow-covered streets. Stylistically, I needed a rugged look.

The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire is sturdy, gives nice grime traction, and is 3PMS (three-peak mountain snowflake) rated for extreme snow service. The unique Yokohama Geolandar G91Fs solely carry an M+S score. The KO2s even have an incredible aggressive fashion.

The Crosstrek’s manufacturing facility tire dimension is 225/60R17, and the KO2s aren’t out there in that dimension. They’re, nonetheless, out there in a 215/75R15 — almost the identical diameter as what got here with the automotive (a scant 0.4% bigger). However the wheel diameter shrinks from 17 inches to fifteen inches, whereas the sidewall profile goes from a 60 collection to a taller 75 collection.

The footprint can also be 10 mm narrower than inventory (215 mm versus 225 mm). Going to the 215/75R15 dimension means the narrower footprint will carry out higher in snow. The taller sidewall would shield the wheel extra when on unhealthy roads or mild path use.

And the smaller diameter wheel might permit for diminished weight. Nevertheless, it additionally means we’d want new 15-inch wheels.

Aggressive, Light-weight Wheels

cross-country crosstrek build
Whereas the all-terrain tires are noisier than inventory, they’re significantly higher on unhealthy, snowy, and grime roads; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

It must be famous the KO2 isn’t a light-weight tire. The truth is, every 215/75R15 KO2 weighs 9 kilos greater than the 225/60R17 manufacturing facility Yokohama G91. To offset this heft, I regarded for a light-weight 15-inch wheel.

I found REIKA Automobile Options at Overland Expo West in 2022, in addition to their 15×7 REIKA Seeker R15 wheels. At only a contact over 15 kilos every, these cleanly designed five-spoke rollers assist stability out the KO2’s heft.

When all is mounted and balanced, the BFG/REIKA Seeker wheel combo is 3 kilos extra per nook than the manufacturing facility 17-inch wheel and tire pair. General whole added wheel and tire weight is simply 12 kilos.

Plus, the five-spoke design appears traditional, has an aggressive concave design, sturdy flow-form casting, and is simple to scrub.

These wheels poke out from the fenders greater than the manufacturing facility 17×7 wheel. They’ve a +15 offset versus the manufacturing facility +55, pushing them 1.37 inches farther out from the physique. However this additionally yields a meaner-looking stance and doesn’t rub in any respect. Whereas not noticeable, the broader stance can solely assist in car stability.

The top outcome gives improved grime and snow traction and a rugged fashion. Sure, the KO2s are louder than the manufacturing facility rubber, however the mixture of off-road/bad-weather efficiency and attractiveness is a win for me.

I additionally tacked on a set of aftermarket rally-style mudflaps to assist maintain grime/gravel rash to a minimal and shield the pearl-white paint. The mudflap weighs 3.9 kilos.

Crosstrek Skid Plate Safety

Cross-country crosstrek build
Primitive Racing’s entrance and transmission skid plates add further safety to the Crosstrek’s undercarriage; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

The Crosstrek has spectacular floor clearance proper out of the field. However with higher all-terrain tires comes the power to go additional down unhealthy roads and trails. And extra functionality, which I plan to make the most of, means extra potential hits to the undercarriage.

To guard components just like the oil pan, transmission, and rear differential, I put in a set of Primitive Racing’s skid plates.

Tigard, Ore.-based Primitive Racing is a family title amongst rally automotive house owners and Subaru adventurers alike. I put in its thick, American-made entrance, mid, and rear aluminum skid plates. All are constructed from 3/16-inch 5052 polished aluminum.

The entrance skid plate replaces the unique flimsy plastic splash defend with a sturdy bash plate. This plate contains {hardware} and helps shield the oil pan and different front-end parts from hazards. It’s out there with or with out holes to entry the oil pan’s drain plug.

Whereas ours doesn’t have the service gap, it does provide most safety. Primitive additionally claims it aids in aerodynamics and doesn’t have an effect on cooling efficiency.

Serving to to guard the areas behind the oil ache is the transmission skid plate. Straightforward to put in, it helps shield the gearbox from impacts. It bolts on in a matter of minutes and gives invaluable safety.

Cross-country crosstrek build
The Primitive Racing rear skid plate added armor to the rear differential and makes for an incredible jack level; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

Lastly, for this cross-country Crosstrek construct, I bolted on the small rear skid plate, which protects the rear differential. With recessed {hardware} and a well-engineered mounting bracket, this plate is small however gives massive safety. Plus, you should utilize it as a rear jack level.

In whole, these skid plates weigh 30 kilos. Take note I eliminated the manufacturing facility splash defend (roughly 4 kilos), in addition to two steel plates within the midsection to put in the Primitive transmission skid plate (5 kilos whole). So the online weight added is 21 kilos, however the peace of thoughts of realizing we’ve obtained added safety is value each ounce.

Let There Be Gentle (Bar)

cross-country crosstrek build
The Rally Gentle Bar from Rally Improvements is a sturdy place to mount auxiliary lights and makes use of present holes for a safe match; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

Aftermarket auxiliary lighting is a improbable addition to any journey car. Having run a number of long-distance rally occasions in the course of nowhere, the power to mild up the night time and illuminate the best way is essential to me. So, the place would we mount lights on this Crosstrek construct?

Rally Improvements makes a bunch of sunshine bars creating the right perch for auxiliary lights. The corporate’s U.S.-made Rally Gentle Bar attaches to the Crosstrek’s radiator helps after which to the license plate holes within the entrance bumper to create a remarkably sturdy construction.

Powder-coated for sturdiness and with predrilled holes, the Rally Improvements bar is handmade from 1.25 x 0.06-inch metal tubing and accommodates as much as 4 auxiliary lights — so long as they’re slim.

This bar weighs just below 7 kilos.

Professional tip: Should you’re going to make use of this bar with the above-mentioned Primitive entrance skid plate, let Primitive know. They’ll modify the plate to be appropriate with this half.

A Lightforce to Be Reckoned With

cross-country crosstrek build
Auxiliary lights, similar to these from Lightforce, add further lumens when out within the again 40; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

I put in two Lightforce Venom Skilled Version LED driving lights to the sunshine bar. I additionally put in the corporate’s appropriate wiring harness.

I’ve run Lightforce on a number of automobiles, together with two Alcan 5000 entries, and know they make nice stuff. These 6-inch lights provide 5,764 lumens and may throw mild a distance of 1,027 yards at 1 lux. They embrace clear lenses, however it’s also possible to equip them with amber or blue lenses, relying on what most accurately fits the situations.

With IP69K waterproofing, corrosion-resistant stainless-steel fasteners, and a sturdy design, these lights will undoubtedly stand as much as no matter situations we topic them to.

The whole weight of each lights is 5.2 kilos. The wiring harness provides a few pound or so. So the lights, all in, add simply over 6 kilos.

Totally Licensed

cross-country crosstrek build
The CravenSpeed Platypus makes use of the manufacturing facility tow level to relocate the entrance license plate. The stout hex stud securely threads into this; (photograph/Mercedes Lilienthal)

The Rally Improvements bar makes it tough to make use of a entrance license plate within the manufacturing facility location. Since Oregon requires a entrance plate, we would have liked to discover a relocation answer. Fortunately, one other Oregon-based firm, CravenSpeed, had that answer.

cross-country crosstrek build
The Platypus has an adjustable body and included stainless {hardware} to mount a entrance plate; (photograph/ Mercedes Lilienthal)

The CravenSpeed Platypus license plate bracket makes use of the Crosstrek’s threaded entrance tow-point location on the bumper’s proper aspect. The stout hex stud screws into the automotive’s tow-point location. CravenSpeed even features a software to get it tight.

The plate body bolts to the stud with a single 15mm bolt. The body is adjustable to the bumper’s contour and contains stainless-steel {hardware} to mount the plate. The entire thing can also be simply detachable do you have to want that tow level.

The whole weight is 1.9 kilos.

A Sound Choice

Nameless Performance Executive Axleback
Whereas the Anonymous Efficiency Government Axleback doesn’t add functionality, it does present a depraved sound and a slight weight discount; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

No, I’m not speaking a few stereo improve. I’m speaking a few premium aftermarket muffler setup. This doesn’t add proficiency, however it positive sounds superior. Washington state’s Anonymous Efficiency is likely one of the high producers of Subaru exhaust methods. They’ve a bunch of choices for including an incredible tone to the Crosstrek.

I put in the corporate’s Government Axleback. The stainless system installs in minutes and suits completely due to nice TIG welding, laser-cut flanges, and exact development with a 2.25-inch pipe diameter for improved circulate.

Ours has the tip on the top, however it may be had with out one for a stealth look. Moreover, the compact unit is appropriate with most trailer hitches.

This technique isn’t too loud, however the firm gives quite a lot of noise ranges from ultra-hushed dual-muffler setups, to a muffler delete that’ll seemingly get up the neighbors. Ours is smack-dab within the center and sounds nice.

The exhaust equipment contains {hardware}, a brand new hanger, and a gasket.

Your entire exhaust equipment weighs 14 kilos. A Subaru components website lists the manufacturing facility muffler at 27 kilos. This implies a weight financial savings of 13 kilos by swapping out the exhaust.

Brace Your self

Nameless crossbar
A strut tower brace aids in cornering and structural rigidity; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

Anonymous additionally gives a strut tower brace for the Crosstrek. This half is put in between the strut towers within the engine bay. It decreases chassis flex, thus aiding in higher dealing with. The purple powder-coated end appears nice within the bay too.

The bar is made utilizing a twin-tune design and CNC-machined conical ups using what are primarily lug nuts that connect to the strut’s high bolts. Set up is a cinch, taking about quarter-hour.

crosstrek engine
The Anonymous strut tower brace installs simply, is efficient, and appears nice with its purple powder-coated end; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

The whole weight of the strut tower brace is simply 4.5 kilos.

The place’s the Roof Rack?

cross-country crosstrek build
No roof rack means no loss in gas financial system. We maintain ours off the automotive except we have to carry extra gear, then we’ll set up one; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

I can hear it now … “The place’s the roof rack?”

Whereas Subarus and roof racks go collectively like natural peanut butter and vegan jelly. I opted to not run a roof rack on a regular basis. With manufacturing facility roof rails, customers can set up a big selection of crossbars and racks from scads of producers after they wish to haul bikes, kayaks, skis, or cargo.

All racks will suck down a little bit of gas financial system, and albeit, I don’t want that. Once I desire a rack, I’ll take my Packasport Day Tripper and throw it on the roof. Till then, we’ll maintain the gas financial system up and the wind resistance down.

Plus, there’s no added weight. Holding your Subaru Crosstrek equipment to a minimal will make it easier to maintain the load down.

Modified Crosstrek

Cross-country Subaru Crosstrek build
Whether or not on gravel, snow, and even pavement, we’ve upped our Crosstrek’s functionality with out including a ton of weight; (photograph/Andy Lilienthal)

Architect Mies van der Rohe coined the phrase, “much less is extra.” I stored that ethos in thoughts throughout our cross-country Crosstrek construct. You are able to do as you please, however you may discover including simply what you want helps maintain spending down, gas financial system up, and reliability predictable.

The whole further weight added to our Crosstrek with these modifications is roughly 42.5 kilos.

In whole, all these Subaru Crosstrek mods totaled $4,438.70 — not together with the price of mounting and balancing the wheels and tires. Be aware: The wheels, tires, and lug nuts account for over a 3rd of that whole value.

All of those components are fairly straightforward to put in with fundamental hand instruments. There was no chopping, drilling, or welding wanted. I put in all of the components myself, which saved appreciable money — versus paying a mechanic to do the work.

The sum of those components helps make our Crosstrek extra of a go-anywhere car, and that’s well worth the value of admission. Money and time properly spent. The straightforward but practical — and principally light-weight — bits I’ve added will assist us get wherever we wish to go along with extra ease, confidence, and elegance.

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