Sunday, January 31, 2010


As I await more parts to finish assembling the suspension - by the suggestion of Jack from EFI I decided to dive into the 5 speed. The transmission had a 4th gear whine which sounded like a bearing issue. They aren't too bad to get to, but I do have to disassemble a good portion of the gear stack.

I'll have to come across a few new tools (is that ever a bad thing?!). Gear stack requires a 27mm, 35mm, and a 50mm deep well socket. There are some specialty tools I may have to purchase from Subaru, but I think I can get by for now with a bearing separator. Everything looks good though, transmission doesn't appear to have much wear except for a bit on the spider gears on the front diff. Nothing to be alarmed about I don't think.

So tomorrow, it's to a wake (ugg) then to Subaru to price out some tools/parts.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sorry Rob!

Despite the snow and crazy drivers on the road - I managed to get to Northeast Auto and Machine to ask about my block and see if my spindles were done (I had them pull the ball joints out because they were seized - and really - I didn't want to fight with them, haha).

I walked in and asked for Rob - He emerged covered in grease as usual. I asked if the ball joints gave him any trouble... he responded, "I'm going to drop my pants and let you know exactly what happened." At this point I think it's just a figure of speech - Nope - He drops trow and I see a HUGE (8-9" diameter) bruise on his left leg.

Of course, I start laughing hysterically and ask what happened - he proceeds to tell me the story:

"I was trying to remove the ball joints and was using the torches to heat it up. After a few heat cycles and attempts to remove the bolt that holds the ball joint in, I decided to turn up the juice. I placed the torches on the table and let the spindle get CHERRY RED. Well - It got hot enough that the ball joint exploded, sending it (seemingly physically impossible) past the bolt that holds it in the spindle, out, across the room, and hit me in the leg! It was like someone set off a M80 right next to you face!" - Rob

I felt so bad I suggested he doesn't try the other one - but he wanted to. I'll call him at 4 and see if he's still alive.

Needless to say - I didn't pick up my spindles, haha.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Out with the old - In with the new

The past few days have been hampered by brake booster going bad on the girlfriends car - however, progress has been made. My order from Subaru is ready for pickup and I found a local friend who will give me a hand with some sandblasting to remove the surface rust off my cross member and other structural pieces. I also got some of my parts from Subimods (whiteline bushings and such) and started to press them in. I finished last night off with pressing in the forward a-arm bushing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Physics rule. So tonight I pressed in the steel sleeve into the aluminum bushing. Worked very well with the measured tolerances we figured out... I did make it a little easier by placing the sleeve in the freeze and the bushing in the oven. (by the way, 350 degrees seems like the optimum temperature, haha.) I didn't go too crazy as I had to replace a brake booster (WRX in the background...)

After the bushings were together, I put them back in the freezer to cool, then pressed them into the differential support. I had to center the bushing a bit as they aren't stepped like the stock rubber ones, but that wasn't bad.

Once everything was pressed in, I placed it in the rear cross member and it fit perfectly. I mean no prying, no bending, just slid in perfectly. There is a little slop in the stock hardware and stock cross member, but as for the support the bolt holes are exactly the correct width. Once it's torqued down I'm sure that will be removed.

Monday, January 25, 2010


So I went down to my parents house over the weekend and turned up some custom rear diff and sub frame solid bushings. Even though my dad pretty much missed two football games he helped me finish these bad boys before I left. (Thanks Dad). I had 3 Subaru OE sub frame bushings (from god knows where, lol) so I decided to press them in backwards. This would allow for an additional 1/4 inch of rise in the rear sub frame and allow the lateral links to sit more flat when I drop the car. We had to mill down the lip on one, as well as create a 4th.

For the rear diff, we used a aluminum bushing with a steel sleeve. Aluminum is just way too soft to stick a steel fastener through it. It would for sure destroy itself within a few track days. We engineered the pieces to be press fit so I'll have to press the steel sleeve into the aluminum bushing, then press the unit into the diff support. (note, I'm using a different style cross member because the other one was bent to hell...)

Anyway, here's how they "turned" out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


So today I parted ways with a good amount more cash by heading over to good ol Subaru. Bought a bunch of new parts (rings and such) for the motor as well as some new bearings which I'll get coated with a fancy anti-friction coating (recommended by Jack at EFI). I'd rather not replace wheel bearings every other race weekend, lol.

Also had some time - in between helping a friend with his suspension bushings - to press out my old wheel studs and press in my new ARPs!

I think I may need to use a WRX/STI rear cross member - This RS one is really bent up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Backing Plates

More bent and rotten stuff - Arrgg... Just add it to the list of OE Subaru parts I'll have to pick up. I was pressing out the wheel bearings and realized how messed up these plates really were. I put the minor amount of force needed to remove the hub from the bearing and the crumbled from rust. Also, after I got them off I realized they were pretty bent... must have been related to the bent lateral link and tweaked sub frame...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bearings and Bushings

Last night I started pressing out the bushings and bearings on all the components. So far so good - with one minor issue which was that damn axle... The axle seized itself into the hub and I've been letting it soak in penetrating oil for awhile now. Finally decided to heat the heck out of it and press it out... I ended up putting a 4 foot bar on the press pump lever and putting (probably too much) a lot of force on the axle. It finally popped, but I mushroomed the end of it a bit. Hub still looks good. So now I sit back and wait for Joe from to get me my parts. Quite the bushing/suspension kit, haha.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Off to the Machine Shop

I took the block and stuff down to the machine shop yesterday. Hopefully it all turns out well. Northeast Auto and Machine is a really nice group of people. They've done a ton of Subaru stuff for me and my friend in the past and seem to really know their stuff. It's pretty local (East Hartford) so that's a bonus. They mentioned that the cylinders get out of round over time - let's hope my little beast will still be in good shape.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bent and Broken

Last night I was joined by Mr. Doug who helped me disassemble the rear end. It was a lot easier with two people trying to remove the damn stuck and stubborn bolts. An hour or so later we had the rear assembly in pieces and closely inspected the parts. We found the lateral links as well as the sub frame to be bent. My assumption is it may have slid into a curb or something enough to tweak the sub frame. All is well though as I have about 4 more rear subframes in my shed and a set of new lateral links. Hopefully I can get my bushings by the end of the week and start stiffening this bad boy up.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rear Down

So, decided to remove the rear yesterday as well. Would have been out within a half hour if not for breaking a tacked nut on the back side of the rear uni-body loose... There was a grade 8 bolt that holds the sub frame in that started to bind - and of course the only thing I could do was put a nice breaker bar/pipe extension on and turn. Ended up having to hole-saw though the side of the frame rail to get access. I don't think the hole will hurt the structure's integrity of the car, but I'll weld it up down the line.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Front Removed

Today was pretty quick - removed the front suspension in preparation to swap bushings and parts. I ended up pulling the whole thing down as a unit so I could disassemble it out from under the car.It's always easier to get the proper leverage on rusty and stuck bolts without trying to turn a wrench in the 6 inches of space between the cement floor and the bottom of the car, haha.

I'm going to need to replace all the bushings, steering rack, a-arms, and even the cross member. I'd prefer to use the "GD" (2004 STI) A-Arms to widen the track. With that I'll use the GD cross member to support the wider A-Arm mounts. Since I've collected a ton of extra STI parts, I figure I might as well use them.

Only bad part about today was the damn axle stuck in the hub... It's totally seized. I went as far as throwing it in my 2 ton press with no luck. I guess I'll bring it to the machine shop along with the motor stuff, haha.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Motor Breakdown

Since we decided to stay with the 2.5 N/A block we settled on rebuilding it so keep it reliable. Last thing we want is to pop a motor on the first race of the season!

Most of the motor removal was routine - Removing the fuel lines, drain the radiator and oil, move the power steering aside and pop off the motor mounts.

After we removed the clutch and flywheel (why I might add was in very good condition... totally reusable) we put it on a motor stand and started to disassemble. The intake manifold came off easily by removing the 8 bolts and disconnecting the various sensors. Next we took off the timing belt and other "front of the motor" pieces including water and oil pumps. After that - off came the heads and we dove into the block.

I had to make a quick trip to Sears to pick up a 12-point 3/8 socket to get the block bolts out. Once they popped loose, we tapped out the wrist pins and pulled the block apart. Everything looked pretty good... crank wasn't scorn too bad, pistons look reusable... rods fine... I do feel a lot better about the decision to rebuild it though because the rod bearings looked very discolored which could be a sign of poor oiling.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Back To Work!

So back to work. It's been awhile since I last posted mainly due to trying to keep the finances coming in. Economy kinda put a hold on extracurricular activities for awhile. So we're back in the swing of things now and need to get this baby done by March. We decided based on cash availability to stay with the N/A motor and 5mt for now... But we will rebuild it. Stay tuned for some "inside" shots.