Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback

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#1: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: Grunt-0341 , Location: Massillon, Ohio Post Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 02:21 AM
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Hi Fellas,

I posted in Triller's "Baja Squareback Project" some questions about an vehicle for an avid outdoorsman. I love hiking, camping, canoing, ect. Most sites I look at speak highly of the Suburu Outback, and some speak of the Jeep Patriot as a great choice. I then thought, "What about a Squareback?" It would be cool and a cheaper investment up front then dropping the money down for an Outback.

My questions are, What kind of gas mileage can I get out of one? What kind of ground clearance do they have? And do I have to mod it much to make it trail worthy? Any input would be helpful. Thank you.

#2: Re: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: perrib , Location: Chandler Post Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 03:02 PM
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Welcome to AzBaja. Check out 73 squares T-3. As long as your staying on maintained forestry roads either of those would work. Niether has real offroad ground clearance or protection. For going deeper off road I'd pick up a 90's Cherokee lift it up a few inches and add cheap lock rite lockers with 31" tires. Total cost should be around $4000-$5000. Out here in the desert 73 squares T-3 would out perform either the outback or jeep but we don't have mud and snow. All of them should have a winch.

#3: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: billyjoejimbob33 , Location: chico cal. Post Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 07:01 PM
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i have a baja....my wife drives the outback ('03 sedan, 3.0 H.O.)

#4: Re: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: Grunt-0341 , Location: Massillon, Ohio Post Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 01:59 AM
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perrib wrote:
Welcome to AzBaja. Check out 73 squares T-3. As long as your staying on maintained forestry roads either of those would work. Niether has real offroad ground clearance or protection. For going deeper off road I'd pick up a 90's Cherokee lift it up a few inches and add cheap lock rite lockers with 31" tires. Total cost should be around $4000-$5000. Out here in the desert 73 squares T-3 would out perform either the outback or jeep but we don't have mud and snow. All of them should have a winch.

Thanks Perrib,
I am not really new here. I just haven't been around for a long time.

I am not looking for a serious off roader, just something along the capabilities of an Outback. It has only 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and would be serve me well for where I intend to drive. Although something good and snow friendly would be an asset. The Outback also has an all wheel drive system. www.subaru.com/vehicles/outback/index.html How good is a Square-back in the snow? What kind of gas mileage do they get?

#5: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: 73square , Location: Fountain Hills, AZ Post Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 03:14 PM
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I just measured the underside of my Type-3 Baja Squareback. It's about 12" @ the mounting points for the front beam and 13" at the center. The rest of the body pan, engine transaxle, exhaust is about 14"... I'll post some pics later today.

#6: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: 73square , Location: Fountain Hills, AZ Post Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 09:13 PM
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here are a couple shots -


next to a full size Chevy 2500 4x4



From behind...

As you probably know -it not always about ground clearance with VW's but wheel travel. This is still stock suspension indexed up. You could probably build some wicked stuff like Bugzyilla did to his T3 Fastback. I have zero experience with this in the snow, but the PO (in the Seattle area) said it did great in the light snow with just the right tire pressure.

I was toying with exactly the same options you are tossing around a couple years ago; Subaru, Jeep Cherokee, Baja. I found a couple of guys in Washington State that made Subie lift kits and they had a club with different models cut and lifted. Google Subaru lift kit and you should be able to find them. The Subie all-wheel drive was attractive, but it seemed like kinda a one-off type projects where the Jeep and Bajas have been around longer. The Squareback is not exactly like the Type-1's but enough is similar I felt OK with many parts interchangeable. There is one advantage the Jeep and Subie have though: AC which is nice here in Phoenix! I was looking for a trail rig to sight see and go fishing with the wife and kids. Not a desert racer, or monster rock crawler. I have a 4x4 for the nasties in snow and such so this is where I ended up. Hope this helps.

Oh and 57 baja built one from the ground up a while back and did a great job. He still posts here once in a while and may chime in... here is a link to that build thread: socalbajas.yuku.com/topic/174

edit - i'm getting low 20's (22/23) MPG - odometer is out so that's a guess on miles driven...

#7: Re: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: perrib , Location: Chandler Post Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 09:50 PM
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The Outback pluses all wheel drive, AC, heat deceent ground clearance for maintained forestry roads sounds like the way to go. Patriot all the ones I have seen could not find any pluses.

#8: Re: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: 73square , Location: Fountain Hills, AZ Post Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 02:15 AM
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I've seen a few Patriots lifted. But have no idea if that's just for show or they actually did real suspension work for good off road use, or if traction control (lockers) are available. I still like those Cherokees- and they can be built for serious off roading. But out of the box, I agree with Perri the Subie over the Patriot.

#9: Re: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: Grunt-0341 , Location: Massillon, Ohio Post Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 05:48 AM
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Thanks for the answers 73 and Perri,

12" is much better than 8.7" Very Happy Your square looks like it sits at the same hight as the 2500. Cool Gas milage is much better then what I currently drive; a 2003 Ext. cab Chevy 1500 4X4 with Z71 off road package and 5.3L V8. 13-14 city, 17 Hwy.

I have driven 2wd trucks for years and had no real problem with the snow. This is the first 4wd truck I've owned (almost 10 years now) and very rearly use it in 4wd. I grew up in CT and have been living in OH for 18yrs now. Snow can be a pain, but I know how to drive in it. I will add a winch to the square back if that is what I decide upon. One of the main reasons I'm considering one is because of the better gas milage.

What size tires are you running 73? What size engine and what Trans are you running? Where is your build post lisyed? Did you add a lift kit?

Also thanks for the pics (It looks great) and the link.

#10: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: 73square , Location: Fountain Hills, AZ Post Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 08:57 PM
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Sorry I don't have a lot of details I bought it more or less as-is. Done some electical cleanup, other minor things. This is my first VW, I'm an old 4x4 guy. What the PO told me was a pro shop in Washington built it. It has a 1776 cc engine, and bus transmission -don't know the gearing. It's been converted to rear disc brake (had disc brake front stock). It does not have a body lift. Thought about getting one. Look at 57 Baja build string on SoCal Bajas it came out great and has a lot of details. Also check out Bugzyllias fastback here. Best of luck, keep us updated on which way you decide to go.

#11: Re: Outdoorsman Questions/Outback vs Squareback Author: Grunt-0341 , Location: Massillon, Ohio Post Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 07:07 AM
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Thanks 73,

If I ever get a square back I am thining of running a small stroker. 1745 most likely, but I may run a 1699. I will refer to 57s and Darylls rides when I go to build.



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