Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Workin' on the Family

August looks to be the month for working on my family of Subarus.  Specifically, my car and my fiance's lil beast.  The work isn't immediately needed on either car, but with my fiance out of the country for most of August on tour in England, I figured it was a prime time to get stuff taken care of.

First up, my Impreza!  I plan to install the long-awaited Side Skirts and Rally Armor UE flaps this coming weekend with the help of a fellow owner/coworker and good friend of mine.  He's been turning wrenches for over a decade and has a great place to work.

Stock Endlinks/Sway Bar are a little... tiny
Next, I'm finally diving in with some performance tweaks.  Up until now, my car's modifications have been mostly aesthetic.  I've loved how the car handled stock from the moment I drove it off the lot, but now that my driving chops are up to par and I'm breaking the tires loose on some turns, I thought it was time to start upgrading.  Base-model Imprezas did not come with a rear sway bar, so last summer I added those stock components thanks to help from fellow owners' leftover stock parts from their own upgrades.  The rear stock sway bar (16mm) will be replaced with an STi rear sway bar (19mm) and the stock endlinks will be replaced with KartBoy endlinks.  This should make handling on the car more neutral and help with handling on tight corners.

On my fiance's '04 Outback Sedan H6, I'm replacing the front bushings with Group N WRX bushings.  This was recommended by Russ over at RG when he kindly took a look at this car before we purchased it.  The stock bushings were liquid-filled and, over time, could leak.  While they haven't started to go bad, they look like they're close anyways.  Best to do it now while the weather is nice instead of waiting for them to go bad in the winter!  I'll also be doing a few cosmetic things with it.  Window tint, de-fog the headlights, repair the passenger-side fog light, minor paint touch-up, and some minor dent removal on the doors are all in line to fix up this great find.  She's been having a ball with it and, while she's happy with how it is now, she's going to be marrying me... so I have to spoil her and make it even better!

Either way, August looks to be a fun month for car work!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Because Rally Car Wannabe

What do you get when you have All Wheel Drive, a Subaru Rally Team USA t-shirt, and the latest episode of "Launch Control" on your iPod?  The urge to find some David Higgins-worthy roads!  Well, that's exactly what I did this weekend... and I have no regrets.  Sure the traction control and VDC was going nuts and I might have scraped the bottom a few times around some not-so-even roads, but man it's fun having such a capable little car!

I really should've spent this extra time that I had installing the RallyArmor UE flaps that I picked up months ago to help "protect" my car from my adventurous spirit, but truth be told, the dirt roads were much more forgiving than gravel normally is.  I never really had found roads quite like these before and, while I'm certain I wasn't supposed to be there and that they'll eventually turn into paved roads for some fancy-pants neighborhood, I seized the carpe and had me a little 100 Acre Wood Rally.

On the one hand, I'd love to find a way to completely disable all the VDC/traction control stuff to really take the reigns off, but it probably kept me from going overboard with it.  Either way, I got quite the rush maneuvering my AWD beast through those roads.  I'm happy to have a car that can handle the crazy courses I put it through!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Little Trip, Big Help

This past weekend my Fiance and I traveled to a friend's wedding out of town.  We both played in a brass quintet for the ceremony.  The music was written by the groom, a fantastic musician and longtime friend of ours.  From the rehearsal to the tear down at the reception and everything in-between, it was just an all-around good time.  I'm really glad we were able to be part of their special day!

Didn't know my Subaru would come in handy until it was time to pack up the sound system from the reception hall.  Luckily, we folded the seats down in my Impreza and were able to get the speakers and sound board loaded up and back to the church.  The Impreza got us 36.6 mpg total for the 280 mile round trip, so we barely made it past the half-tank mark.  A solid ride back and forth meant peace-of-mind so my fiance and I could talk about all the fun we had at their wedding and all the fun we hope to have at ours next year!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Launch Control!

I've been keeping up with the Subaru Rally Team and Global RallyCross Team this season by watching a great series called "Launch Control" on Subaru's YouTube Channel.  Formula Photographic has done a fantastic job producing this behind-the-scenes look at Rally and Rallycross motorsports as well as the people involved with it.  I'm no rally car driver, but it's exciting to watch and interesting to see how things play out in these heart-pumping episodes.  Below is a link to the most recent episode, as well as a link to ALL of the episodes in this series so far on my "Launch Control" page link.  You can also catch episodes on the SubieSport page!

Monday, July 8, 2013

New to the Family!

My fiance just got her first Subaru: a 2004 Outback Sedan H6 3.0!  It's an awesome car, in great shape, and it's only got 86k miles on it, so we're both happy to add this Subie to our family.  It's also the fanciest car she's had.  Leather, Sunroof, Heated Seats, it's fancier than MY car by a long shot!  It will also be a fun project car as there's bound to be more work in store for this car than my new Impreza, though it doesn't look like it needs much to begin with!  Either way, I'm fortunate to have a great Subaru community at my fingertips, even just a phone call away, being here in Nebraska.  The NSOC is a wonderful resource that I plan to utilize to it's fullest!

While I do have plenty of help available, I don't expect to need it very soon.  The car is solid, top to bottom.  No accidents, solid construction, interior is in fantastic condition, and it's got that H6 3.0 that Subaru did so well with.

I know she's excited to have this car, but the enthusiast in me is ecstatic about A: having this car in our family and B: having the opportunity to work on it!  It's a neat lil' beast with that H6 at it's core and I've always been partial to this generation's design in the first place.  Big beefy foglights, the black/chrome headlights (that I can probably clean up), the cladding on the side that makes it look a little tougher, it's a great looking car.  Although we're still not quite sure what color it is!

One of my favorite features of it is the WeatherBand Radio!  You don't see those anymore on cars and, especially for the storm-chaser in me, having 24/7 access to local weather reports is handy.  That, and those computerized voices are funny to listen to sometimes!  This is also kind of a rare feature, but there's the option for "OnStar", a GM-based service.  Between 1999 and 2005, General Motors owned 20% of the company, so having that system in there is kind of interesting.  Probably something we'll never use, but it's nifty to have it.

Regardless, it's a solid car as-is.  There's stuff I'll learn as I perform routine maintenance on it, but in general I'm just really proud that we'll start off being "Mr. & Mrs." with two great Subarus!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Help from a BRZ

In February of 2013, when I installed the SPT Catback Exhaust at Russ' Garage, there were two things that I really loved that kept me going: the Look and the Sound.  However, there were setbacks that I hadn't taken into account until the exhaust was on there and I had been driving it for a couple of weeks.  Interior Cabin Noise, loss in low-end torque, and (as a result of that loss) significantly worsened performance and gas mileage.  I had initially thought to solve at least the cabin noise with a resonator install, but the performance issue would still be nagging at my fuel gauge.  Thus, I started brainstorming for an alternative exhaust setup.  I figured I wouldn't be able to retain all that wonderful SPT growling, but I wanted to at least retain the look of the quad tips on the back of my Impreza.  That's where an unlikely hero stepped in to help me solve things... the Subaru BRZ.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The SPT Adventure

I don't get many questions about my Impreza... but when I do, it's usually about my exhaust.  The one that seemed to turn the most heads was my first attempt.  The whole goal was to get a Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT) Catback Exhaust installed on my '12 Impreza.  The SPT parts were designed to fit on a 5-Door WRX or STi, not my 4th Generation Impreza!  Thanks to the creative minds at Russ' Garage, we did some testing, assessed what would need to be done, and spent a day getting it all set up and installed!