Monday, May 30, 2022


 Wheels have finally been chosen and installed.

Black Rotiform KPS 18", 9.5" width and a 35mm offset wrapped in Michelin Pilot 4S 265ZR35-18 tires.

These are a bit wider and lower in offset than I was originally looking for, but I like them. But they almost put the car in wide-body territory. Almost. For now, I just had to roll the fender lip and pull a tiny amount. No rubbing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Spec-D Headlights

 The car came with aftermarket headlights still in the box. After the existing headlights were polished, I'd noticed plenty of crazing and cracking on the lenses themselves. I put these Spec-D lights in, and mostly don't like their look. They have the "halo" effect, which I would have loved 20 years ago. But clear optics and ok projector low beams are an upgrade for safety I'll leave alone for now. In researching what these lights were, I found Spec-D has a newer design that follows the style of modern Subarus. At some point, I'll try those, or look for some new OEM lights. I guess the front kind of has a R34 GTR look. If you squint. Or close your eyes completely.

This picture reminds me that I really need to repaint the STI scoop, or get a tamer WRX one. It is silly large. And looks goofy with the stock WRX 16" wheels. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and suggestions.

Upper Radiator Hose

As the break-in miles concluded, I was nearly home when the temp gauge climbed quickly. I pulled over, let the engine cool down, then started off again until it climbed. This process was repeated until I was safely in my driveway. Thankfully I caught this in time to not destroy the motor with a catastrophic overheat. But I didn't know this for sure until I investigated further.

This massive puddle (covered with cat litter) was coolant that leaked out while it sat. I couldn't see any obvious problems with the cooling system. And the exhaust didn't smell like antifreeze. I let the engine heat up after my first post-break-in oil change, and still saw lots of steam coming off the engine. More than you'd expect.

After looking everything over, and not finding much, I gave the upper radiator hose a squeeze and a nice spray hit the alternator. Closer inspection revealed that the alternator pulley had worn a hole in the hose. Which was annoying but a massive relief. I was aware that the upper hose hitting the cooling fan was a problem, and the hose I had included a sleeve for that area, but not the alternator.

My guess is that the aftermarket radiator, being much thicker, put the OEM-style hose too close. It didn't touch when sitting, but must have enough movement when driving to eat through. It took 1000 miles almost on the nose.

At any rate, replacing the hose and refilling the coolant made the car much happier.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Shifter Assembly Rebuild


The shifter assembly was pulled out and all the bushings, linkage, and the lever were replaced.

Turn-in Concepts was the source for needed parts. Turns out I needed the NARROW lever, not the WIDE one. This was rectified with a grinder. The part I should have gotten is 1002-01-kb-001-1997. That may mean I have the STI shift kit.

Kartboy 5MT short throw lever (WIDE)

Kartboy 5-Speed Shifter Bushing Combo

TiC 5MT Linkage Update

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Power Steering Pump

The leaky pump was thickly coated with oil, and it was tough to find all the bolts buried underneath. But got it out without having to remove much more than the belt shroud. The banjo bolt on the end of the line that snakes over to topside of the engine leaked quite a bit, even though there wasn't very much fluid left in the system.


To remove the pulley, I put a socket wrench on one of the bolts holding the pump to the bracket through one of the holes, and another socket on the pulley bolt itself. That gave enough leverage to get it loose. Below is all the hardware removed and ready for cleanup.

The bracket holding the pump has 2 bolts in front, and a long one on the bottom. The long slot on the right locates the alternator to tension the belt. I'm not sure if the photo does justice to how much grimy buildup was on this bracket. I put everything in solvent, so hopefully everything is ready for reassembly at this point.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Back with a happy engine!

The engine builder contacted me yesterday and said everything was ready to go. We arranged a time for me to pick it up, and 40 minutes later, I was having the first proper drive of this car ever.

The one engine-related task I was left with was rebuilding or replacing the power steering pump. While the engine was idling, he showed me that the shaft seal was turning and fluid was slowly running out of it. This, coupled with the exhaust manifolds being still coated with oil from the engine failure made for a stinky smoky experience.

The clutch pedal is pretty stiff, and being new, grabs on in a non-linear fashion. This is just part of breaking new things in, and getting used to the nuances of a different vehicle.

Being the first WRX I've driven of any generation, but my suspicion is this isn't much like a stock experience. What's been modified by previous owners isn't clear at this point, and figuring that stuff out should be challenging. My goal for now is to make a livable, fun, stock-ish GD-gen WRX.

The interior still needs a lot of cleaning, especially in the trunk area. But the seats and carpet should be ready for installation. No, I'm not completely happy with the condition of the carpet or the upholstery, but at this point in the build, working with what's there makes sense.

The engine looks identical to before, but the long block is a nice clean aluminum. You'll just have to trust me on t hat one.
Power steering pump. It might be fun to make a video showing that seal turning around at a slightly lower RPM than the shaft itself.

Carpet seaming tape. I used this to melt onto the carpet where it was worn through or torn. I'm not 100% happy with the result by the dead pedal (below), but it will work for now.

The carpet near the dead pedal was worn through and not completely there.It won't be noticeable with everything installed and floor mats in place. But yeah, I'll know its like that.
The insulation that was glued to the bottom of the carpet is dried and ready to either be a template for something else, or reused. Possibly both...
This is a roll of insulation I grabbed from Amazon. I'm not sure if it is any good, or how I'll get installed, but it is very lightweight.

Hear it start up and see it back out of the garage under it's own power!

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Don't start a bad engine.

 The Subaru has been delivered to a local Subaru engine builder for a stock rebuilt EJ205. He's thinking about 2 weeks depending on where I end up in the queue. Since this is a project, I'm happy to be flexible on getting the car back.

To understand exactly how bad the motor was, take a look at this short video of a startup:



 Wheels have finally been chosen and installed. Black Rotiform KPS 18", 9.5" width and a 35mm offset wrapped in Michelin Pilot 4S ...