Renewed Vigor

For a few weeks, I really investigated getting another motorcycle, but ended up dropping the whole idea. Instead, I figured that I’d invest more into something that I can use every day of the year: my car.

First I was able to find a rear Cusco strut tower brace, which I’ve yet to install, but will get to soon. Next was a test fit of a shift and ebrake boot for the BE/BH Legacy model. I’ve installed the shift boot, but the ebrake is going to take some more advanced disassembly to get at, so it’ll wait a day or two.

I have a set of 12.3″ Legacy GT brakes from an 05 model coming as I type, and I’m looking forward to putting these big beasts on. My current brakes are good, but these should be even better.

IA Performance┬ámakes some cool 6.5″ adapters for Subaru models which allow us to mount aftermarket speakers while using the stock location and nylon screw threads. This allows for better spacing from the window for deep speakers. I’ve installed the driver side already, with great results, given the mess it was before. The passenger side will come during the next week or two when I install a few more items.

Finally, I’m looking at getting another set of Rota wheels, this time in an 18″ diameter. I haven’t decided on which style or finish yet, but that’ll probably be something tackled in August.

Look for some new reviews of these products in the next month or two.

Heat of the Moment

I sold my Honda Shadow Aero 1100 earlier this year, and I figured it’d be next year before I picked up something else. This was reinforced by my brother and a friend also selling their motorcycles. That lasted a few months, because my brother went and picked up a Yamaha Roadliner Midnight, which is an awesome bike. I chased around the thought of getting another motorcycle for a few weeks, but decided that it’s a bit late in the season to be picking up anything that costs that much. Besides, the Legacy is still getting 25MPG or better, so why change things up?

I scored a Cusco rear strut tower brace today, and also found an item that I’d seen a few months ago, but never got around to purchasing. IA Performance makes a speaker adapter kit for the newer Legacy, Impreza and Saab 9-2X that makes the task of replacing the factory speakers much easier:

This little kit should make my hacked-up doors hold the speakers much better, and keep the wires and magnet away from the window. They’re made from injection-molded plastic, and stack up, for those really deep speakers.

I will also be picking up some of Cobb’s endlinks, maybe some of their cryogenically-treated rotors and some pads too.

Cars like this work all year round, so I guess it’s a good idea to pay attention to what you rely on most.

Springtime

After some decidedly strange swings in weather, it appears that springtime is finally here in Utah.

A few weeks ago I finally got back down to A&C Automotive and had Charlie adjust my lifters. A year before, when I’d had the headgasket/cooling issues, I had him install some Cobb Street Cams in the car, along with some other stuff. I was supposed to have them adjusted after 1500 miles, but it ended up being more like 8000. Thankfully they were only .001″ out of spec, and there was no need to worry about camshaft damage. The engine is quieter, but still louder than before the cams, which is normal.

I also finally switched back to Mobil 1, which the car had been run on since it was new. Chalk it up to laziness, I suppose, but I don’t drive as much as I used to with my wagon, and it didn’t seem to be a big priority.

Hopefully I can get a respectable stereo system into the car this spring or summer. I’ve been using a small JBL amp to drive the 6 speakers in the car, but the lack of a sub leaves me wanting for a more complete experience. At least I can roll down the windows and hear the pleasant, if not aggressive, intake and exhaust this time of year.

A New Look, Some New Content

You may have noticed that the site navigation is a bit different. I went through and cleaned up a lot of the bulky code I was using and replaced it with some far more elegant stuff. Simpler is better, IMO.

I’ve added a bunch of new people to Reader’s Rides, so make sure and have a look over there. Ahmad’s BE, Chase’s twin turbo, Fred’s turbo, Heather’s GT, Jeremiah’s GT-B, Krzysztof’s Turbo, Matt’s wagon, Nico’s Hybrid Impreza, Thomas’ BD, Tim’s turbo and Tony’s B4 RSK are all new additions.

I’ve also added a bunch of new scans to the Car Reviews section. New stuff includes some reviews of the BD/BG and BE/BH models. I also found a lot of cool Subaru ads, Legacy and Impreza alike, that I scanned in and put up in The Library. They’re in the rightmost column under “scanned ads”.

Update


I decided to actually do some maintenance on the car yesterday and today. I started by purchasing a K&N recharger kit at AutoZone ($10), because my Cobb intake uses that style filter. While under the hood, I decided to disconnect the battery and leave it overnight. This was in the hopes that the code keeping the MIL/CEL light on would be resolved by a fresh ECU memory.

Cleaning the filter proved simple, but the whole process took half of the day, so I’d recommend at least 6-8 hours as a minimum if you plan on doing this. The filter in the Cobb is a cone, using the inside as the dirty side. The first part, after removing and separating the filter from its housing, was to spray the cleaner onto the dirty side of the filter and let it sit. After 20 minutes or so, I ran some warm water over the clean side and immediately had a LOT of dirty and stuff come out of the inside. Another few minutes under the faucet and I set it to the side to dry off.

A few hours later, after I was comfortable with how dry the filter was, I applied a first, light layer of the oil. Two more coats were applied every 45 minutes or so. The next morning I assembled it and reinstalled, also making sure to reconnect the battery. No problems starting, no MIL/CEL, and the car felt very good on the way to work.

While removing the air filter, I noticed that the power steering fluid was low, very low. Earlier last year, when trying to figure out what was going on with my headgasket, the power steering started acting weird at low speeds. I guess I may have found out why. Some Mobil 1 synthetic ATF filled it up between the lines. Hopefully this will fix the problem and the pump isn’t damaged too much. I’m unsure why the fluid was low, as I’ve not seen any leaks. It is my fault for not checking it earlier though, so lesson learned.

Finally, I purcahsed a set of Silverstar high-beam bulbs. I damaged one of the highbeams when trying to replace a lowbeam last year. I won’t go into detail, mostly because it’s embarassing, but suffice to say that the bulb was toast after I got done with it. I have heard goot things about these bulbs, and I hope they’re worth the premium cost over the other alternatives.

Well, that’s a few things done for the new year. Next is an oil change and that lifter adjustment.

It’s Another Year

My Check Engine light has been on for a while. I have some hesitation if I accelerate hard. I think I need to clean my air filter. My lifters need adjustment. I really need to change my oil.

Yeah, it’s another new year.

I’m still not sure if I want to replace the huuuuuge stock stereo with something that’ll play mp3 discs and mind-meld with my iPod. My first attempt at a stereo system in this car has ended, so this spring I’m going to have to start almost fron scratch. It’s another reason to consider a different deck, because I’m not sure how this one is wired up, as the previous owner had already installed a dual-line RCA cable to the trunk. All speaker wiring had also been replaced, and some of that Dynamat-type stuff was installed in the doors.

The KEF speakers are all gone, except for the tweeters in the A-pillar, but the door mounts are so ragged that I’m considering a more reliable solution involving bolts, custom wood mounts and the lot. Moving from a wagon to a sedan doesn’t help the sub situation any, but I don’t lust after throbbing LFOs like I did in the past anyways.

Cobb’s 2006 meet is taking place in May at the new Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. I’m planning on attending, but I don’t intend to drive my car on the track at this point. There will be plenty of other cars to ride in, and maybe even drive. Knowing the crowd (read: Impreza drivers), I don’t know if I’d want to be out there anyways. I think it’ll be a good time anyway. Keep an eye on Cobb Tuning for more details.

My only time on a “real” track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was very fun for the two laps I was able to do in the then-new 5MT Legacy GT Wagon, but I also had an experienced driver in the passenger seat. The same went for everyone else, so a voice of moderation was ever-present. Sure, middle-aged Subaru regional reps aren’t exactly hardcore and balls-out on the track, but a few of us were really there to drive fast.

The World Keeps Turning

Not a lot going on with regards to the site in the last few months, so I apologize for the lack of updates. The only thing I’ve done to the car is the addition of a Random high flow catalytic converter section. This has definitely helped the powerband out and made it easier to cruise in a taller gear. I ordered the 2.5RS part and it fit just fine with my Borla and Fujitsubo parts. More likely because of the tame nature of the Fujitsubo rear section, the sound has improved, but it’s not loud. My wagon was, I later learned, very loud on acceleration. This setup is much less so, but still has that familiar boxer rumble that most people can associate with.

AdSense seems to be working well. The site and BBS maintain a constant hit number, with the BBS giving a fair bit of dynamic content. It has helped with hosting, so I’m pleased about that.

I’ve heard that the new Spec-B 06 Legacy model is hitting showrooms. The BL/BP is getting an increasingly large owner base, and even American journalists seem to compare it favorably to the competition. I can only hope that they continue to pursue the performance models in North America in the same way they’ve done it in Japan: with class. It’ll be a long time before I’d be in a position to upgrade, but it’s nice to know that the aftermarket has been so supportive of it.

General Motors has sold its ~20% share of FHI recently. Toyota picked up a good portion of the shares, while the others were purchased by an investment group, if recall correctly. The GM connection helped Subaru greatly in the early years of this millenium, but the last few years have been unimpressive for the General, while Toyota continues on its roll. Crossover technology is even more commonplace in Japan than it is in North America, perhaps the hybrid technology Toyota is using will appear in future Subaru models.

Meet WRC Subaru Driver Petter Solberg

I have been informed that WRC Driver Petter Solberg will be present for a meet-and-greet and autograph session on Thursday, July 21 from 6-8pm. The event will take place at Miller Subaru, 1592 Route 38, Lumberton, New Jersey. For more information, call 609-261-7836.

I hope some readers can make it out to see one of the best modern WRC drivers in the world.

Holding It Down

Very little has happened with the car or the site in the past few months. My overheating problems appear to be a thing of the past. I do think my power steering pump has a bad bearing, but that issue only comes up at low speeds, so it’s not very annoying.

I’m still considering a Cobb Equal-Length header or a Random or Stromung high-flow cat section. I know the Cobb EL header would get me more power than the Borla/cat combo, but then there’s the cost.

The Cobb Meet 2005 will probably be held at the Miller Motorsports Park this year. It’ll happen later than it did last year, a date which has already passed, but the opportunity to drive on the new track and soak in that atmosphere is worth the wait.

Spring Is In the Air

The local weather has been a rollercoaster, going from high-60 and low-70 temps down into the 40s and 50s, with rain and even the occasional snowflake. At my altitude of 4500ft, this isn’t so unthinkable, but it does make the occasion of riding the motorcycle a bit more uncommon.

I had the water pump replaced yesterday. I’d like to thank Richard Buckner of Royal Moore Subaru in Hillsboro Oregon for getting me the parts. So far so good, and no temp spikes on the way home from Salt Lake City yesterday afternoon, but the next week’s driving will tell.

I need to get my wheels balanced, badly. At 55, the steering wheel begins its best imitation of a fish out of water, flopping back and forth. An alignment wouldn’t be a bad idea either. I’ve been told that Firestone shops have a lifetime alignment offer, which is pretty expensive to buy into, but pays for itself after a few visits.

The BBS is still going very strong. If you have any questions about literally anything on the site, the BBS is the best place to seek answers. I will continue to try and answer your emails, but i’m afraid the community at large is a much stronger source of facts than i am.

You may have noticed the Google ads on a few pages. This is a measure intended to help me fund the site and provide you, the reader, with useful links. The program is very well run, unobtrisive and flexible, along with being practical and effective.

I’m excited to report that Utah will be getting its first “real” roadcourse in late 2005, with the completion of the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele. It’s really incredible that local drivers and clubs will have the availability of a large, flexible course. Of course track driving is much more taxing on a vehicle, so any designs i may have on track driving must be tempered with the reality that a lot of parts on the car would need to be addressed in order to bring it up to a reliable level.

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