Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 was fun!

Taking a quick minute to look back on 2013 as far as the Subaru-side of my world is concerned.  Whether it was something new for Subaru as a company or something I personally did, the Pleiades Star Cluster was certainly a big part of this year for me.

Subaru started off the year showing off the 2014 Subaru Forester and I got to take a close peek at it at the Midlands International Auto Show.  Never imagined that a couple months later it would be in my own family.  My dad purchased a Forester 2.5i Touring with EyeSight and has been singing it's praises to friends and coworkers ever since.  It's been fun seeing my loved ones catch the Subaru fever!  Later on, the Forester got MotorTrend's SUV of the year, so it felt good to know we had made the right call even before the award was given to it.

During the summer, my fiance got a 2004 Subaru Outback Sedan H6 that will become part of our family when we get married in May of '14.  She's been having fun with that car and I'm so proud to have found this little monster sedan for her!  We've named it "Agnes" and it's been a great reliable car for us.  I've been helping with maintenance on it as I continue to learn my way around Subarus, so it's been an enjoyable experience for both of us.  Her dad (my future father-in-law) got a '14 Legacy, too... so both of our families have these great vehicles.  It's really beginning to look like "All We'll Drive".  When our families get together, it's like a big Subaru Meet every time and it makes me incredibly proud.

Had some fun with my own cars over the summer, too.  With some help (well, a lot of help) from my good friend James, I was able to get Side Skirts installed on my base-model Hatchback.  Didn't think it was doable until he planted that seed in my brain and we got to it.  Installed the Rally Armors on there, too... so we had a good ol' time.  James was also a coworker of mine for a few months at my dealership, so it was fun bouncing ideas off him about Subarus.  He's since become a Service Advisor, but that doesn't change much other than that I don't get to see him every day.  It's just a continuing trend of the great people I've met as a result of owning these cars.

Speaking of great people, we had some REALLY fun events this year with the Nebraska Subaru Owners Club.  From the Gravel Express route to the Fall Meet, there were lots of great opportunities to get out and drive with friends.  I always look forward to the weekly meets here at my dealership and continue planning bigger events for folks to enjoy.

2013 also marked the start of a fun project: a 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS Coupe.  It was in need of some serious TLC and I was happy to help.  We've been getting friends together to work on it from it's initial cleanup and into it's suspension work, interior replacement, and addressing the many issues caused by neglect, it's been a fun project to be a part of.  It's been adopted by my driveway, filling in the empty bay next to my garage at home and I've been learning a lot about driving this Rally Car on gravel and dirt, too.

We also got some exciting news in the Subaru World for next year.  At the LA Auto Show in November, Subaru unveiled the 2015 Subaru WRX that will be getting a '14 release.  Many spy photos, renderings, and concept car images had been teasing fans about the future of this icon for Subaru Enthusiasts, so it was great getting confirmation of this car.  While some may still have their doubts, I'm personally stoked for this car, especially after seeing the Driving Sports TV review of this and hearing the praises he had about the car's handling and responsiveness.

All in all, it's been a great year for me... and Subaru has certainly been a big part of it.  Subaru has had a great year for sales, continuing to meet and exceed the needs of their customers and turning heads with their award-winning designs.  Whether I was meeting new friends or drooling over the next generation of the WRX, Subaru made this year a lot of fun for me.  I'm happy to work for them, proud to have my family drive them, and enjoying every mile!  And 2014 looks to continue that trend!!  Happy New Year, everyone!  See you next year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Better with Friends

Been having some more fun on Gravel and Dirt, but recently I've been having more fun with friends along for the ride!  Yesterday, a good friend of mine tagged along for some fun at The Playground.  Despite the spotty snowy/icy conditions and his coolant leak at the end of our 4th run, we had a great time!

Took some video that I might upload later, but having a mile-and-a-half of pure dirt to run on has been quite fun.  It's also very close to where I live, so I've found myself going up there about every weekend.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Welcome Back, Winter!

December 21st!  It's officially winter, and I can't wait for the white stuff to fly!  Our area has had two little volleys of snow in late fall, but now there's no excuse for Mother Nature to hold back now!

Planning winter events with my local Subaru owners group is always tricky, but thanks to things like Facebook, we stay pretty connected on snow days for those last-minute "OMG it's SNOWING!  Let's Go PLAY" ideas.  Unfortunately, those ideas will probably go on hold for the next few days.  Forecast just looks cold with no signs of major precipitation for the rest of the month.  There's supposed to be some flurries flying tonight, but I don't expect any significant accumulation.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Driving Sports: 2015 WRX Review

Driving Sports TV had a live feed earlier today that included their review of a 2015 Subaru WRX Limited with the CVT option in Ice Silver Metallic.  Ryan Douthit hosts an in-depth review direct from the cabin as he twists the new WRX around every turn he can find.  There's a lot that it covers, including the 5 x 114 wheel size, which means you can put those STi BBS wheels that everyone has been photoshopping onto the new WRX pictures anyways, so that's fun.

Anyways, the link to Ryan's review is after the jump!  Many enthusiasts were still either on the fence or flat-out against the new design.  Gotta wonder if this will change anything?  Honestly, for those naysayers, I think it's gonna take a drive for themselves to see the car in person and to feel it out.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gorilla Top-Mount Cold Air Intake

Earlier in the fall, I had been testing out a homebrew top mount cold air intake on the RS with help from RS25.com.  Things were good and there was a noticeable performance increase with this setup... but it just wasn't quite solid enough for me.  I had done some weather testing with it that it held up against, but after some not-so-smooth roads I barreled through, I realized that this design wasn't going to hold up to Rally, which is likely the direction this car will go.  Luckily, Derek at Gorilla Off-Road Company makes equipment for Subarus that do hold up quite well to this demanding motorsport.  After talking with him about the system and how his worked, I moved forward and picked one up for the RS.

Performance wise, there aren't any real changes between the homebrew setup and the Gorilla intake, as they both draw cold air directly from the hood scoop.  Both systems use a K&N Filter (I just purchased a new one to replace the beat-up one that the RS came with) and they're both hooked up directly to the intake manifold on this MAP-based system.  Really, the only thing that was wrong with the homebrew setup was that I wanted something a little more solid that could take the same abuse the rest of the car has managed to endure so far.

Derek's intake is actually crash tested, as he recently had one out of a wrecked RS for sale that only had scratches on it. It's built with a durable 6061 aluminum box that uses factory mounting brackets and is finished with a heat insulating black powder coat application.  As with the weather applications, I can say that I have put the homebrew system through it's paces.  The Gorilla Intake was mounted just before Winter Storm Dion and I drove the car all day through it with no issues.  Even after I had the car parked for several hours and snow had accumulated onto the hood.  I just started it up and drove away with snow flying off the car.  I'd imagine snow ahead of the hood scoop made it's way in, but after inspecting the intake once I was home, there still were no signs of any water that might have melted through.  

I'd say that, for normal driving conditions, the homebrew system does just fine.  It wobbles a little and I'd just worry about the intake getting tossed around.  It also took me a couple tries to get the fitment right and I was never 100% happy with how it sat under the hood scoop.  With the Gorilla intake, fitment was spot-on.  It's rugged, sturdy, and I just feel more confident with a solid setup like this whereas with the homebrew system, I was checking under the hood every time I hit a bump to see if it had wiggled itself loose or something.  I can focus less on worry about the car and more on bettering myself as a driver.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Let it Snow

Got the first snowfall of the year, as I don't count the crummy ice/sleet mix we got a few weeks ago.  Figured it was more than appropriate to go have some fun in the RS.

Last winter I had fun in my '12 Impreza Hatchback, but that's an automatic.  Things are a little different on snow in the RS with a Manual Transmission, not to mention a car that's a little more rally-inspired.  I made sure to take a more scenic route while running errands.
After a full morning of blasting through snow, I realized you couldn't tell what kinda car it was from behind.  To let my fellow motorists know how a little coupe was having a ball in this weather, I wrote in an explanation on the trunk.  Should clear up the confusion.

Winter Storm Dion dropped snow on more than just this area.  Snowfall stretched from the midwest into the northeast, so it's been fun seeing other friend's adventures in snow.  Below are photos of some of my fellow Subaru owners who got out in this weather for some fun!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

RS Revival: Puzzle Pieces

As the '00 Impreza 2.5 RS takes shape, a growing allotment of parts are lining up to make it even better. There's still things ahead of this car for maintenance and repairs, but it's exciting to see and feel the changes.   However, there are a couple of inbound items in line for the RS that will help give it some direction as to which route this car could possibly pursue.  For now, the car will still be fun to drive and enjoy, nothing serious.  As more parts come in for the car, the picture of what it could be becomes more clear.

The first piece is really just replacing a beat-up K&N Filter.  In the adjustments to the homebrew design of the Top Mount Cold Air Intake trick learned from RS25, there's now damage to an already poor-condition K&N filter that the car came with.  Initial fitment of the intake had the filter sitting too high and screws from the hood scoop were poking at the filter.  The silicone coupler had not been cut down enough like other designs had, so it sat too high over the engine.  Eventually, with enough jostling and jerking around as a result of my spirited rally-car-wannabe driving, the filter had worn grooves into it and had also worked the entire Homebrew TMCAI setup loose.  That's when we took advantage of a Cyber Monday deal last weekend and nabbed a new K&N Filter for cheap.  Also, the intake was repositioned down a little further, trying for that perfect fit.  However, it has become clear that a DIY setup like this just isn't structurally sound enough for the driver to be confident with when driving on unstable surfaces like dirt and gravel.

Luckily, when I was researching the TMCAI, there was a company that makes a solution to my problem: Gorilla Off-Road Company.  I was able to talk with the owner through DirtyImpreza.com's forums about pursuing their design, which is built with a durable 6061 aluminum box that uses factory mounting brackets.  It's coated in a heat-insulating black powder coat application and can use standard-size filters, paper or otherwise.  The K&N Filter will work just fine in this sturdy and secure setup.  This is the second piece of this weekend's puzzle.  Gorilla Off-Road Company has made quite the name for themselves in Rally with Subaru, so I'm excited to have a design that's been put through it's paces by experienced drivers.

The third piece of the puzzle came into play just after watching a video from SubieSport that featured the XV Crosstrek.  The driver of that XV was none other than autocross and rally champion Paul Eklund.  Paul owns Primitive Racing, which specializes in Evo, Suzuki, and Subaru Rally Performance Parts.  Probably the most common product I've seen come from Primitive is their skid plates.  It seemed only fair to the RS that, if it were to undergo the continued beating planned out for it, that it would need some form of protection before a boulder snaps the frame in half or rips the differential out from underneath.  With that, a skid plate and rear diff plate for the RS are making their way onto this car.

So there's more in store for this car.  Progress pictures will be up once they start making their way onto the car!

Exceeding Expectations

In March of 2013, Subaru released the 4th Generation of their Subaru Forester as a 2014 model.  With a redesigned interior, exterior and a CVT getting it great fuel efficiency, it quickly started racking up awards.  From receiving the highest safety ratings to it's MotorTrend SUV of the Year award, the Forester has been in high demand since arriving at dealerships.  Subaru of America predicted to sell 8,000 Foresters per month but recent numbers have been far higher, selling 12,000 units instead.  As the production facilities struggle to keep up with demand and orders continuing to come in, Subaru's hand was forced.
Subaru of America - Tomorrow (December 5th, 2013) will be the last day that the sold order system will be open to accept orders for 2014 Subaru Forester and Forester XT. It will be open until 11 PM eastern time. We plan to begin accepting sold orders for MY 2015 orders in March.
Essentailly, if you wanted to order a Forester, you've got two days to do it!  Otherwise you'll be at the mercy of what local dealerships have in their inventory... which is pretty bleak in most cases.  In the Central Region, over half of the allocation of inbound Foresters are either sold or reserved before they even reach their respective dealerships.  It's a unique problem to have.  On the one hand, Subarus are flying off the lot.  On the other, there's not enough supply to meet demand.  Most automotive companies would kill to have this "problem", but then again, Subaru makes about as many vehicles total as a company as Toyota makes of the Corolla each year.

Either way, I'm glad my dad got one when he did!  He's always sending me links of rave reviews about his car.  Makes me proud to know he's happy with what he's got!

Monday, December 2, 2013

'15 WRX STi Speculation

In the recent wake of the 2015 WRX release at the LA Auto Show, a lot of fans were left wondering "Well what about the WRX STI?"  We only know that, from the build sheet that was revealed earlier, the STi version will have a 2.5 liter Boxer engine... and I even manage to question THAT fact, since Subaru does not currently have a turbocharged FA motor that large.  This question up in the air has many fans who are fixated on the possible power gains to be made from the current 305hp setup to the next generation a little fidgety.

However, according to MRT Performance, there's some nifty bits that aren't so much concerned with power as they are handling.  Apparently, the biggest and most critical new development for the next-generation WRX and STI is the new ‘Axle Forward Layout’ chassis configuration.  This was seen on the Exiga Concept car at the 1997 Tokyo Auto Show.  The AFL is designed to give the new WRX and STI even better handling, balance and stability thanks to the positioning of the clutch and front differential.
With the clutch and diff effectively switching places, the front axle is now located further forward than before, meaning the engine can be positioned lower and further back in the chassis, thus optimising front-rear weight distribution. This modification also permits the wheelbase to be lengthened, which also serves to enhance interior space and allows for a revision of the suspension components.
The only problem I find with this news is that, later in the article, they say the WRX "will be powered by a revised version of the current model’s EJ25 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine" which conflicts with the FA20 engine we saw at the auto show.  Granted, it's an Australian-based blog, so they may be getting different configurations than the US.  The AFL makes sense, especially considering the information supplied in the Walkaround Video mentioned that the engine placement is lower than before.  This AFL design would permit that.

WRX Spotted!

There's a 2015 WRX in Crystal White Pearl wandering around California that KelvinBRZ of the FT86Club forums happened to stumble upon.  Manufacturer plates on the back, likely the Premium trim one we saw in the Walkaround Video during the launch on the 20th.

It's neat seeing someone spot one out in the wild.  When asked if it "looked better in person", KelvinBRZ said this:
"It definitely caught my eye when I glanced in the general direction. The front definitely looks very aggressive, but the back doesn't stand out as much IMO. It definitely looks better in person (well the front does at least)"
 Good to hear photos aren't quite doing it justice.  I actually thought the BRZ looked better in person than in photos when it was initially released, so I'm not surprised to hear a similar diagnosis with the new WRX.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Funday

There's an area near where I live that I affectionately refer to as "The Playground", which is essentially the future site of some kind of suburban development.  There's a slowly-growing man-made pond in the middle surrounded by curvy roads cut into the side of the hill that I love to explore.  However, the site is only vacant on Sundays, so if I have time, I bring the RS out there to have a look around.  It's a constantly-changing landscape makes for new challenges each time I've visited since I initially discovered it two months ago.  However, there are portions that are starting to be paved with concrete, so this Playground is nearing the end of it's lifespan.  Figured I'd go visit it again before it's gone.


There's also an empty gravel lot just south of the Playground that I've been practicing in.  My experience as a driver in a Manual Transmission with no Traction Control or Brake Assist Nannies to save me is quite limited, so I've been trying to practice controlling the car.  Fueling this morning's adventure was the "Easier Said Than Done" film by Matt Johnston, which I had purchased and watched last night.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretending to be a rally car driver after watching that movie!  Nothing serious, just me having fun in the Project Car.  Made a quick video that, for some reason, glitched out at the very end... but I don't mind it.  Enjoy!

video

Friday, November 29, 2013

'15 WRX Details

In the wake of the unveiling on November 20th at the LA Auto Show, Subaru has been releasing more details on the new 2015 Subaru WRX.  Below is the latest of that information, including a digital brochure with statistics, options for the trim packages, and comparisons to other vehicles it competes with.  Many of the options remain the same as what was offered on the previous model, but there are some noticeable additions to this 4th Generation WRX that should get some attention.

WRX
  • 268-hp turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter SUBARU BOXER® engine
  • Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • High-performance suspension
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) with Active Torque Vectoring
  • 15-spoke 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Cloth upholstery
  • 6-speaker single-CD audio system with HD Radio®, SiriusXM® Satellite
    Radio, USB port/iPod® control, Bluetooth® connectivity and 3.5-mm
    auxiliary jack
  • Automatic climate control
WRX PREMIUM includes WRX key features and adds:
  • Available Sport Lineartronic™ Transmission with 6- or 8-speed manual mode and paddle shifters
  • Power-tilt/sliding moonroof
  • Fog lights
  • Trunk spoiler
  • All-Weather Package
  • Optional Equipment
  • Navigation System Package with Aha™ Infotainment and Harman Kardon Speaker System
WRX LIMITED includes WRX Premium key features and adds:
  • L.E.D. headlights with auto-on/off
  • Leather-trimmed upholstery
  • 8-way power driver's seat
  • Welcome lighting
  • Optional Equipment
  • Navigation System Package with Aha™ Infotainment and Harman Kardon Speaker System
  • Keyless Access & Start

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday Flaps!

The Gorilla Off-Road Company is having their first-ever Black Friday Deal on their Mud Flaps/Gravel Guards will be available all day (midnight to midnight - Mountain Time) on Friday, November 29, 2013.  Quality mud flaps usually run $125-$145, so getting a set for under $100 is pretty nice.  Check out the prices and models they're available for!
  • United States = $89.95 shipped
  • Canada = $99.95 shipped
  • International = $114.95 shipped
They're available in the following models
  • 1993-2014 Subaru Impreza (all - US)
  • 1998-2014 Subaru Forester (all - US)
  • 1995-2009 Subaru Outback/Legacy (all - US)
  • 2013-2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • 2003-2006 Subaru Baja (all - US)
For more details or to order yours (gotta wait until Friday, though!) visit their website.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

WRX in Action (Updated)

Saw this video at the Unveil on Wednesday and couldn't seem to find it until now.  Excited to see the WRX still handles dirt just as well as it handles asphalt.

Mixed reactions on the bodystyle are expected, but I'm more excited to see how it drives.  If it's anything like what we've seen in the unveil, it's gonna be a blast! That Torque-Vectoring system, and limits under steer and wheel slippage, should make things pretty fun!  Video link is after the jump.

EDIT:  Click here for Digital Brochure Link

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Radio Swappin

A good friend of mine has a 2011 WRX that he's always tinkering with.  Well, today I was surprised to hear he needed my help... only to realize that I probably need the help of the community to get him the right answers.  This is where you come in.

It's no trade secret, the stock radio in the WRX is pretty weak.  However, Subaru has recently been making some nicer radios that have frequently been swapped into other vehicles.  In this case, my friend has tracked down an HD Radio w/Satellite option from a 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited.

The radio will hook up directly to his existing hardware BUT it only has a Satellite button, no receiver.  Part of the reason he sought out this radio was to take advantage of the ability to have that feature integrated into his radio instead of using an external device, like he has now.  The trick is: to add the Sirius Radio Kit from Subaru to his WRX, does he need the part for the HD/SAT Radio for the 2013 Forester?  Or does he need it for a Standard/SAT Radio for the WRX?  Part numbers for both are below.

H621SSC300 - Forester HD/SAT Kit
H621SSC001 - WRX HD/SAT Kit

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wednesday Wheelin


Had some GREAT turnout for this last week's meet on Wednesday.  Every week at 6pm a buncha Subarus pull up to the dealership and this week... "a buncha" meant 15, which is quite the feat for a weekly meet.  Usually we have between 3 and 5 cars, so I was pretty excited to see triple the usual turnout.

There was an interesting mix of cars there, too.  Mostly 3rd Generation Imprezas and WRXs... and mostly hatchbacks for that matter.  There were some older models mixed in, a '98 Legacy, '00 RS, and an '02 Forester as well as a newer '13 Legacy (ironically, all Silver) that made it out, too.  Once we left the dealership, we decided to get food at a local Chinese Buffet and lined 'em up in the lot there.  We choose a different location to go get food every week, so it's nice to change things up.  

Usually we don't enjoy turnout of this size unless it's the warmer summer months, so I was pleasantly surprised to see such a strong showing despite the colder weather.  I already look forward to Wednesday Evenings thanks to this meet, but it's nice to get a surprise with turnout like this.  Met some new folks and reconnected with long-time friends.  Just an all-around good time... and just the reminder this group needed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unveil Time!

I''ll update this post as more information becomes available.  Live feed starting at 12:30 CST link is >>HERE<<

10:30am CST - We're 2 hours away from it, but we've got a sneak peek at whats under those veils.  Crystal White Pearl and either a Dark Gray or Black one in the background.  Both are WRXs, no STi at this point.  Looking mean!

11:30am CST - Pictures have been flying around earlier today.  Just thought I'd update with links to those.  Photos are of a WRX Limited in Lightning Red.  Interior photos with a decent shot at what the seat design will be.  Also a video walkaround of that white one pictured above.

12:30 CST - WRX unveiled!  Fooled me, thought it'd be the white one pictured above.  The unveiled WRX is the Lightning Red format, which was also right next to the Legacy Concept.  The new 2015 Legacy will come out summer of 2014, so we'll probably see the unveil of that redesign in the Spring, much like when we saw the WRX Concept this past year.

Styling notes aside, there's a lot more under the hood on this.  While HP has only increased to 268, torque takes a bump to 258.  There are also carbon mesh synchros on 1st and 2nd gear that are a welcome improvement in this new 6-speed Manual Transmission.  Oddly enough, the SI-Drive in the WRX is only available in the High-Torque CVT option (automatic), but from the demonstration video, there looks to be plenty of fun to be had in this car.  Exhaust note sounds nice, too!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One Day

There they are!  Two 2015 Subaru WRXs waiting for their unveiling at the LA Auto Show tomorrow!

Dealerships will be participating in the launch for this car from the Touchscreens on their showrooms for a live feed of the unveil.
"At 10:30 am PST (1:30 pm EST/12:30 pm CST) on the day of the reveal (tomorrow), the Subaru Digital Showroom touch screen will be completely taken over by the live reveal of the 2015 Subaru WRX from the show floor. The presentation will last approximately 30 minutes, after which the touch screen will return to normal functionality. Directly following the live feed, the 2015 Subaru WRX walk-around video will be available in the Video Library and a promotional spot will run. In addition, a preview section for the new vehicle will be introduced in December. "
Also, this chart from Jalopnik outlining all the details of the MY2015 WRX unearths a few more details.  CVT will be an option for the WRX, the STi is getting a 2.5 instead of a 2.0, and some nice options to choose from.  Everything from harmon kardon audio to Gold BBS wheels with a special blue-bolstered "Launch Edition" interior.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunset Hunting

It's always fun when you have a car that can go where you want to without having to worry what the road conditions will be like.  In most cases, when you're on the hunt for a killer shot of a Sunset, there's clouds in the area that are often the aftermath of rain that had fallen shortly before.  So if you're trying to find that perfect angle before the sun dips below the horizon and the colors have faded from the canvas clouds above it, a mud-ridden dirt road or a washed out gravel avenue can't get in your way.

This All-Wheel Drive that grants me the worry-free confidence to make it to the top of that slippery ridge in time to catch those colors at their peak is at the core of this car.  Last week, the star of the photo was the sunset I managed to find in northern Iowa... but the co-star was the Impreza 2.5 RS that got me there.

When I want to visit my fiance in the middle of a blizzard, when I need to get back into town on time when the wind is whipping other cars around on a rainsoaked highway, that Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive isn't invincible... but it's pretty close.  Sure it's fun to go hooning around in an unplowed parking lot full of snow or to tear through mud like David Higgins, but the practical application is always what you appreciate the most, even if you don't realize it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

NSOC Fall Meet

Had a great time at the Nebraska Subaru Owners Club Fall Meet on Sunday!  Great turnout, wonderful weather, fun cruise route, and a good time grilling up some food at my place afterwards with the few folks who stuck around.

Things started off at Stan Olsen Subaru at 2pm on a Sunday.  The dealership was closed, so we weren't in anyone's way to meet up with all the other cars that showed up.  Some folks could only stay for a little bit, so we walked around and caught up with friends while we waited for others to show up.

I think the final count of folks who showed up to the dealership was 28, which isn't bad at all!  Last year's event saw just shy of 40 cars, but there was a car show, prizes, and free food to help lure in interest.  This year, we didn't quite have the resources to plan something as coordinated as last year's event, but I was still very happy with the results.  New owners and long-time veterans got together in the unseasonably nice weather for a little while, surrounded by shiny new Subarus.  It was quite the sight.

We disembarked for our cruise route with 23 cars, which rolled north through some twisty turns and scenic overlooks.  Wind and colder temperatures earlier in the week had stripped some of the colors off the trees, but it was still a pretty run.  It's one of my favorite routes anyways, so I wasn't complaining.

I had some not-so-usual Enkei RPF-1 wheels with Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 tires hugging the road that were fun to ride on.  They're off of Aki's GC4, which got parted out when a Cadillac DeVille decided to end it's excellent Autocrossing career.  Figured I'd run on them "in memory" of that car... but mostly because I thought it'd be fun.  Regardless, it was a good excuse to feel the grippy goodness this AutoX setup was happy to provide.

Afterwards, a bunch of us headed over to my home to grill up some Burgers & Hot Dogs.  We also had Root Beer Floats and S'mores to round out a full-course meal of excellence.  It was great talking cars, relaxing, and sharing great food with friends in my basement.  The event worked out much better than I thought it would.  Plenty of people, a flawless run through our cruise route, and then just finished things off hanging out with everybody at my home.  Somewhere between the Dealership and the last s'more, I remembered why I love this group and the Subarus that have brought us together.

Double U.R. Ex

This morning, Subaru of America teased WRX fans with a 7 second front-end teaser shot of the new MY2015 WRX that will be coming to us in 2014.

The 4th Generation Subaru WRX will open ordering in the first quarter of 2014, so by the 20th of this month, fans will be able to see what they're getting themselves into.  

Information up until this point has been sketchy at best.  The WRX Concept that was unveiled last Spring gave us some clues, that it'll still share some bits with the 4th Generation Impreza and that there will only be a sedan version of this vehicle... at least for now.  Rumors of the Hatchback being released in Japan only have been surfacing, but in the next few days, Subaru will be stamping out much of the speculation with some long-anticipated facts about this car.

The new WRX will be unveiled at the LA Auto Show on November 20th.  Local Dealerships with the touch-screen displays will have a live feed of the release, as well as press on the SoA website and Facebook page for this exciting release!  




Thursday, November 7, 2013

RS Revival - Digging In



Took the RS into Russ' Garage today and did a compression test on the EJ25... with not so fun results. Evidence of trouble was already afoot when the spark plugs were removed (we were replacing them anyways). Spark Plugs #1 thru #3 were coated in white ash, a sign of the car running rich, which I already expected. It's #4 that has me worried, which is pictured to the left.

Essentially, the results showed almost no compression for our friend #4. There's also a gasoline smell in the oil. It's still burning it's way through that oil, too. Cyl #4 is expressing an extraordinary amount of leakage into what sounds to be the crank case. Could be piston rings. Could be intake or exhaust valves. Because the sound during the compression test was in the case, out of the oil filler neck, not out of the exhaust pipe, there's more evidence pointing towards ringlands.

We could check the valve "lash" or clearance and see if the valve train is hanging up on that side. However, the condition of the Spark Plug in Cyl 4 leads us back to ringlands.

When I decided to tackle this car, I was alright with the condition of the body and interior, the mismatched wheels, the missing exhaust, the shot suspension on the RS. All I was really banking on was the motor and transmission being alright. It's not a death certificate by any means, just a little frustrating at first. It's another speed bump, but it's also another great set of stuff I'm learning on this car. Still makes it fun and the results of the work put into it are enjoyable.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weather Testing the TMCAI

Probably the most frequent (and only) concern I hear and read about with a Top-Mounted Cold Air Intake is hydrolock.  Essentially, the worry is that this system will invite water to soak into the air filter and leak directly into the manifold, causing a whole slew of problems for the engine.  As such, this car will sort of be a Mythbuster, taking those concerns in mind as I drive it through different weather conditions.  The setup I have on the RS uses a 45° Pipe connecting the air filter box to the manifold with a K&N Air Filter on it.  I recently cleaned and recharged the filter shortly after switching to this setup.

The past week that this setup has been on the car, it has been rainy and windy, so conditions have been good to check and see if the worries folks had before would hold up.  In the rain, I took the RS up to 70 mph on the highway and then checked the system upon arriving home.  The filter was slightly wet, but the box and manifold were bone-dry.  There were no signs of any leaking through the filter after a 15 minute trip.  When it was windy (gusts up to 40 mph) I drove through lots of dust and leaves on some fun roads.  There was a wall of dirt getting blown around on a wide-open field that had been hit hard by a flood some time ago.  The silt still sat on it like a desert and wind was blowing the sand 30 feet up in the air.  Again, checked the filter, checked the intake, and things were still working well.

I'll keep checking things out as I drive the RS through more Subaru-worthy weather.  So far, looks like I'm busting this myth.