[MN-Subaru] In case anyone was wondering (fwd)

Someone tore the door handle off of my car last week. They got one speaker, a tire pressure
gauge, and a gift for one of my coworkers. That's what stings the most - the secret Santa gift.

Holy $#*^@#&$. I found the speaker in the alley a couple days later.

Anyway, to repair the door would be $1000. The genius or geniuses got away with $15 in goods, including the $5 gauge and $10 gift bag of COCOA!

COCOA! AAAAAAARGH!

Anyway, does anyone have a passenger-side coupe door that they want to get rid of? :)

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Re: [MN-Subaru] new member (fwd)

Garrett Sturzl wrote:

I've got a new toy now. I just bought Mike Jerry's (from Boulder, CO) 99 RS-T with an original Minnam kit and LOTS of fun stuff to play with. As Jesse can tell you it's plenty fast right now, but I want a little more from it.

Fast? Fast? It's nowhere near as fast as my next-door neighbors's Fiero. Ugh.
So Garrett came over to sell me some steel wheels (for winter tires…) and let me take his turbo RS (with 4″ exhaust) out for a spin. Wow. It was just plain crazy. If I had a turbo car, I would want it to behave just like that - torquey with firm pulling to the top. I would want a quieter car, though. Wow that thing was freakin' loud.
When we got back to my house, some neighbor kids were pointing with looks of awe and wonder on their faces, and this little kid who couldn't have been older than 10 ran his bike into a curb and fell over.
Then, one of my creepy neighbors came over and asked if the wing was stock or aftermarket. I'm sitting there thinking “look at the intercooler - it's a turbo RS!”, but my partially shirted neighbor wouldn't shut up about his Fiero, and how great the RS wing would look on it. I kept finding myself laughing nervously, perhaps fearing that if we weren't nice to the guy that he would break into my home and kill me and my roommates.
Still, nothing could break the joy and shock of finally driving a nice turbo RS. Wow.

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[STi-Mlist] Full body armor? Oh yeah! (fwd) (fwd)

I just got back from armoring the underside of my 1996 Impreza LX with 23 pounds of aluminum goodness. Paul Eklund was kind enough to send me the front skid plate and rear differential protector (for a modest fee) just in time for today's rallycross. Norm “Stumpy” Johnson and I did the install, borrowing from Paul's instructions, but making a few changes for our own whims.

Really, I got them earlier this week, but I was too sick to install them, and besides, I had to put together the 1.533 GHz PC that I'm typing on. Heh heh heh. Okay, back to Subaru…

When I got the stuff, it seemed a lot bigger than I had expected. The skid plate shipped as 15 pounds (including cardboard packaging) and is much thicker than I expected. 1/8″ thick just didn't register for me under I held it in my hands. Under the car it stretches from tow hook to tow hook and back almost to where the exhaust meets up. Nice. The skid plate came with four bolts and two 2″ Primitive Racing stickers.

The rear diff protector is big enough to hold two medium-sized loaves of bread. It feels some piece of military surplus equipment, and since it was painted(?) grey it kinda looked like it, too. It shipped as 8 pounds, which included ten pounds of newspaper, gauze, and cardboard, because something that attaches to the underside of the car MUST NOT GET SCRATCHED! The rear diff protector came with two long bolts, two short bolts, two long spacers, two short spacers, four washers, and two 2″ Primitive Racing stickers.

We did the front skid plate first.

The car was jacked up by the front cross-member and then lowered onto jackstands which were placed under the frame in useful spots. We test-fit the skid plate and discovered that my car does not allow the skid plate to be tucked behind the bumper cover. We also located the front bolt holes and cleaned them out.

The engine and suspension cross members are tied together with a little hunk of metal. The little hunk has three sets of holes. I cleaned out two years of baked-in rally dirt with my fingers and various metal implements. We put long bolts with lock washers into the two front holes and put two nuts on the bolts to ensure that the skid plate would clear the exhaust headers.

We lifted up the plate, slipped it onto the bolts, and put on small washers and nuts, being sure not to tighten yet so we could insert the front bolts. Once the front bolts (with washers) were inserted, we finished by tightening everything up. We used the jack to lift the car off of the jack stands and then started it to check for rattling.

Next, we rolled the car forward and jacked up the rear. About halfway up I started hearing a hissing noise from the front of the car. All I could imagine was that the car had rolled onto a screw or something. I ran to the front of the car and discovered the can of liquid wrench jammed under the front of the car. We needed it, so I figured we shouldn't waste it on cleaning the underside of the skid plate.

With the car securely on jackstands we loosened the two bolts holding the rear differential to the rear crossmember and removed the front four bolts. (The instructions and the diff protector itself should illustrate which) This process involved a breaker bar, rachets, wrenches, and amazingly, very little swearing.

Theoretically, one is then supposed to use a 2x4 to push on the two rear bolts (which were only loosened) so that enough space is created between the differential and the crossmember to slide in the diff cover. Our regulation 2x4 didn't fit, and the 3/8″ hunk of plywood we had didn't fit either. I looked the other way as I used a real live prybar to massage the diff into place. Norm slapped the cover into place and we were done.

Oh, wait, no. Then we had to bolt the thing into place. Being high from liquid wrench fumes at that point, we tried to assemble the spacers, bolts, cover, and diff altogether, using all eight of our hands. As the air conditioning cleared the garage and our heads of fumes, we realised that we did not have eight hands between the two of us, and that the lip was on the bracket that the cover bolted to for a reason.

Simply get the diff cover into place, then slide the spacers into place and get the bolts into them through the cover. The spacers will rest on the lip. That was a head slapper. Easy, unless your fingers are still numb from breathing liquid wrench. After a certain amount of cussing we got the correct assemblage of bolts, spacers and sheet metal together and tightened everything down.

I used one of the stickers on my monitor at work and two more on my side windows. My car now has four Primitive stickers on it and one in it, assuming that the sticker on the pressure plate is still there. I wonder if I am on the Primitive team yet. I know my car feels faster for every sticker I put on it.

Someday we will go in an either trim away the front of the plate so it can mate with my bumper or drill new holes. I'm sure that the LX just has a weird front bumper.

I drove away a happy man, and somehow, my car seems to be handling more tightly. We'll see if I really needed it after today, since the rallycross is in six and a half hours. Uff da!

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[MN-Subaru] another WRX sighting

I saw a white WRX last week - SUBARU debadged (WRX badging still there). He was youngish, wearing a tie. He had spiky hair.

He happened to be going the same way as me, and tried to leave me behind at a stop light. I stayed on his tail for the first 50 feet or so, and then his boost came on and my boost didn't.

Hmm.

Also, I let off at 35, since that was the speed limit.

Then, he turned onto Prior avenue in Saint Paul, which happened to be the way I was going. For once, the light was green and the intersection was clear as I made it to the intersection, so I pitched it into the corner and somehow managed to squeal my tires loudly as I layed down the “power” and got the back end out. (this was before the suspension
replacement).

Anyway, I couldn't tell if he was waving or flicking me off as he turned into the Knox lumberyard. Maybe I was a little crazy going around that corner, but then again, I've made that same turn hundreds of times and he started the whole thing by trying to leave me behind at the stoplight. I waved back and continued home.

Matthew Shaffer said:

That was me! I was just egging you on! I kind of had to when you launch it at the light. when we turned the corner and I saw you got sideways I was waving my fist in the air in Applause!!!

I have no choice but to launch it - it's that whole stiff clutch thing. It's a hard launch or a shuddery, chattery mess, especially when I'm
right behind the first WRX I've seen on the road.

I was sideways? Hee hee. I knew that right rear shock was going out. It's a good thing that I know that corner so very well…

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Re: [MN-Subaru] Suspension Install Update

Let's just imagine that a friend of mine picked up my car (1996 Impreza LX) with a recently installed RS suspension for me and came to Mendota Heights to pick me up from work.

Let's just say that as that friend crossed the Mendota Heights bridge southbound, an A4 1.8T decided to chase him. Continuing this line of hypothesis, let's say that as he exited the bridge and came up the sweeping turns on the hill, he hit 115MPH and left the A4 lurching and weezing behind.

You'd assume that this hypothetical person would then very quickly arrive at my place of work to pick me up. Instead, said person might just get LOST and make me wait, and then forget to tell me this story until seemingly hours later. But, ahem, none of this REALLY happened, *to the best of my knowledge*.

So when I did end up taking the wheel of my 2.2 litre (NA) Impreza LX, I found the difference from the old, stock, blown suspension to be quite enjoyable. Only a little bit stiffer, but certainly more more consistent. No more bouncing over bumps (and then bouncing and bouncing)…

Unfortunately, the rallycross scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled, so I don't get to really put the car through its paces until June. May is the Headwaters ClubRally in Park Rapids, Minnesota, where I'll be working, but not competing. :(

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[MN-Subaru] How to do the single piston caliper rear disc brakes on a Subaru

First, my apologies to those who were expecting the factory manual pages to be scanned - I left them at my buddy Norm's house with the old pads. (d'oh!) Anyway, reports that my right rear caliper was hung were greatly exaggerated. True, the pads on that side were worn down to a millimeter or so of material, but the caliper was fine.

A couple of references:
http://www.autotruck.net/ms/archives/1997/0197/197brake.html
http://www.autoweb.lycos.com/garage/encyclop/ency14d.htm

I'm just writing this in the hope that those people who might need the info would get it - I'm not a mechanic, and hopefully I'll have the right view of it for neophytes to understand.

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels you need to work on so that you can remove them easily when the car is in the air. Jack up the car and place appropriate jackstands under appropriate places. You shouldn't work with the car on the jack. Jackstands are much more stable. I did it with jackstands under the rear of the car (I don't remember where) but, the weight was really on the jack. My bad.

With the rear end safely supported, take the rear wheels off. The caliper is held on by 1 bolt. A big pin helps to position the caliper. The pin is in the top/front of the caliper, on the inside (towards the wheelwell). The bolt is in the bottom/rear of the caliper, on the inside (toward the wheelwell).

Undo the single bolt. Pull it out and set it aside. Pull up on the bottom/rear of the caliper so that it swings up and clear of the pads and rotor. It should pivot on the pin at the front. You may need a pry tool to move the caliper.

With the caliper clear of the pads and rotor, you should be able to slide it off of the big pin and rest it on top of the rotor to one side of the pads. Some people recommend using a piece of wire to hang the caliper from the suspension. Your mileage may vary.

The pads will now be visible. They are held in by clips on either end of the pad. The clips are clipped onto the saddle-like piece that sits over the rotor. I had to pry my pads off of these clips. They had pretty much welded themselves into place. Be careful not to gouge your rotor when you are prying.

Since I had purchased the Subaru pad kit, I had new clips. I took off the old clips and put the new ones on where the old ones came from. Easy enough. There were also plates on the backs of the pads. I put dollops of thick, smelly anti-seize onto the back of the pads, and put the little plates on the new pads where the old ones had been. I put the pads onto the clips.

Next, I used a pad spreader (from NAPA) to force the caliper back into its little home. I made sure to center the spreader plunger on the caliper piston. I used moderate pressure and looked for any sign of binding or seizing. It went back in just fine. Some people say that you should clamp the brake line and open the bleed screw before you do this, so that you don't force back any crap that may have collected in the brake line. There is some danger of forcing crap back to the ABS pump - remember that the lowest point in the brake system is probably your caliper. Your mileage may (again) vary.

Next, I checked the pin and the bolt to see if there was any dirt, damage, or other evidence of binding. There wasn't any, so I put a dollop of antiseize onto the end of the pin and the end of the bolt. I filled the holes on the caliper that the pin and the bolt go into with synthetic grease and slid the caliper onto the pin. I then rotated the caliper back into place and slid the bolt through. I torqued the bolt down to a firm setting. You can always look up the torque specs if you are concerned.

At that point, I was done, and moved on to the next corner. The first one took about 30 minutes, the second took about 15 minutes. I worked slowly and carefully, and had a buddy who had done brakes on many other cars help. Overall, it was really a simple process.

What to do if your caliper really is binding in some way:
Most likely, it's binding on the float pin (or maybe the bolt). When you pull it off, you should see various bits of dirt or other gunk on the pin and maybe in the hole where the pin was. This is what you would clean out. I had one friend who used a bench grinder (I didn't see what he did). I didn't have to deal with it, so I'd just be guessing, but I'm sure you can figure out a way…

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Re: [MN-Subaru] Backfiring in an RS?

When I went to pick up my car's Christmas present (which I bought from from Michael K. Martin), he let me test drive his RS. Now I really really want a new suspension. It was so tight and there were no spontaneous rear end dances from mid-corner bumps.
As to the dull popping noise, the one time that I thought I heard it, it sounded a bit like antilag, only very quiet. A subtle popping, which I only heard once, and might not even be what MKM was talking about.
What did I get my car for Christmas? A matte black Stromung midpipe and a factory stock RS muffler. The perfect Christmas present - something the car really wants, but would probably not buy for itself because it's too concerned with things that it needs, like winter tires and a new suspension.
I jacked my car up a bit to look at the cat-to-midpipe bolts today before deciding that it was too cold and cramped in my garage to even think about it. I'm putting it off for now, but that first warm day I'm under there with wrenches and a hammer so I can unleash those 2 or 3 hidden horsepower. :)
Unless I can find a heated garage before then…

Jesse Mullan
'96 Subaru Impreza LX AWD 2.2l F4
2000 SCCA LOL Region Rallycross Series Open Stock (2nd in Class)
1999 SCCA LOL Region Rallycross Series U4S Champion

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Swaybar, Front, Removal of (fwd)

I saw a discussion on the M-List about swaybars, and I couldn't find the thread again.

Hey, just for amusement's sake, I removed my front swaybar for today's rallycross (actually, I just unhooked one end - one bolt). WOW. Insano oversteer. Strangely enough, I barely noticed it driving around town (smooth driving?) but on gravel it made a huge difference. I've never had my Impreza so consistently sideways.

What do I think about the average person doing this? Probably not a good idea. Turning and lifting (or worse yet, turning and braking) causes the car to lurch like a VW, keeling over to the outside of the corner. Solution? Power power power. If the car isn't on the front end, it doesn't roll, no? And - I didn't get a chance to try emergency braking while turning at 55 mph or higher. Might not be so fun.

At the rallycross, in first and second gear, I could get sideways with the tap of the throttle. The front of the car just bit down and held, while the back went every which way. I did have a tank slapper situation when I missed shifting into second gear (I had to get my hand back on the wheel for the corner, and then I couldn't find the stick), but I'd run another rallycross like this.

I'd like stiffer front shocks to curb some body roll, and maybe a tiny front swaybar, but I'm so addicted to oversteer. Of course, the only place this really is useful is on gravel at low speeds. I don't think you want to get quite that sideways at higher speeds without a lot of practice, and probably adjustable shocks and stiffer springs for good measure. I'm probably going to look for a quick release pin and a smaller bar, so that I can disconnect it at rallycrosses, yet still have a nose happy car for daily driving.

Nah, I'm gonna put bald tires on the rear and go do doughnuts.


Jesse Mullan
'96 Subaru Impreza LX AWD 2.2l F4 (no front sway bar, stock rear bar)
1999 SCCA LOL Region U4S Rallycross Champion

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