Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunsets and Stargazing

My Fiance and I had some fun with our Subarus under the painted sky and starlit night.  The sunset photos were taken south of Gretna, NE.  I stumbled across another sun-chasing Subaru along the way.  The nice lady in the Forester gave me a wave upon discovering we were both enjoying the same view.  I thought the sunset was over, but as I continued to run around on some gravel roads, I couldn't help but notice Mother Nature had one last hurrah for the view.

I returned home and made some dinner for my fiance once she got back from work.  We decided to go stargazing and took her Outback sedan away from the city to escape the light pollution.  With the camera in tow, we took some long-exposure photos of the skies above.  While we did stage this photo, it kind of captured a bit of a unique moment.  Although it passed too high for the camera to catch, we both managed to see a shooting star as we stood up on the ridge waiting for the shutter on my camera to close.  T'was a nice evening!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Playground

I'm always looking for some new road with some fun turns to lean into with my Subaru, but I didn't expect to find a road quite this... "new".  No concrete, asphalt, or even gravel to speak of.  Just a paved line of earth in the middle of nowhere.  Judging from the random pieces of  equipment I passed as I explored the area, it's likely a new development getting dug into the hillside.  I probably shouldn't have been there, but on a quiet Sunday morning, it seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up.

I happened to be in the project car, which made it that much more interesting.  The RS was made for this kind of stuff, although the lack of any sort of good suspension made things a little interesting.  I suppose it'll make me appreciate the new suspension going on later this week even more.

Eventually the road will get paved and this little slice of rally heaven will be but a thing of the past.  It was still nice to enjoy it while it was still a blank canvas waiting for some adventurous wheels to paint a few strokes on it.

I took a few photos of the landscape so, in a couple years, I can come back and see what it turned out to be.  Maybe, by then, this project car will be different too.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Last Chance for the Hatchback

Enthusiasts have been waiting to sink their teeth into news about the new MY2015 Subaru WRX for awhile.  The spy photos have been debated left, right, and sideways and speculation has been all over the place with few clear details to base them off of.  No more 5-Door, new engine, new body.  Today, Subaru of America listed the following information.
Sold orders for Subaru Dealerships for the 2014 WRX and 2014 STI will close at the end of the day on Monday 9/30. Sold orders for the all-new 2015 WRX and 2015 STI are scheduled to re-open during the 1st quarter of 2014.
 This means two things: the first being that this is the last chance for fans of the 5-Door model to order one.  After the ordering closes, consumers will only be able to purchase what little stock of WRX models local dealerships will have.  Keep in mind that WRX sales have skyrocketed in recent months, so it may be tricky for folks to find the exact car they want without ordering.

The second piece of news this gives us is, obviously, an idea of when the new WRX will be coming.  It's unlikely that Subaru would not start ordering for the MY2015 WRX without customers knowing about it's details, so info on that car should be coming soon.

A Rare Sight

When you own a car, you tend to notice it on the road more often.  When I had my '97 4Runner, all I'd see were 4Runners out and about.  With my '00 Celica, all I'd see were 4Runners and Celicas.  However, with the RS I've been working on, I still don't see too many of them.  In the past 2 weeks, I've been kind of lucky.  My good friend EmJay at RG has a red one that I adore, but the other day I discovered that one of their helping hands has a white one.  Then the other night I met someone in the NSOC with a silver STi-swapped coupe, too!

So while this car is still a tough find, they have a tendency to find ME now!  At least in recent days, that is!  Still seems like "RS" stands for "rare sight" more than "rally sport".

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Little Car, Big Space! - '12 Impreza Hatcback

One of the driving forces that led me to pursue the Impreza back in March of 2012 was the option for a Hatchback model.  The ability to still have a small nimble car with the ease of loading stuff in and out of the back made the 5-Door version of Subaru's smallest car quite the contender.  Throw in Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive that still gets me 36 mpg highway and the Impreza pretty much sold itself.

This week, I'm reminded why I love the Hatchback model.  My fiance is headed to Lincoln tomorrow and, among her plans, we're picking up a lawn mower for our new home.  Not only will she have no problems getting to-and-from Lincoln thanks to the great gas mileage and ride, but she'll be able to fold down the seats and load up the mower without an issue.  It's the combination of form and function that always make me appreciate this car. It looks great, it doesn't burn a hole in my wallet for gas, and it can haul quite a bit of whatever you need.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

RS Revival - Update #2

You wouldn't think a simple windshield replacement would be a hassle, but throw in a bad seal that has let water into the frame for the past couple years or so, and you've got yourself a potentially expensive problem.  Especially on a Unibody design, like the 1st Generation Impreza, there's a lot of structural integrity that goes into the windshield and the surrounding frame on it.  When the old cracked windshield was removed, there was quite a bit of work to be done, but nothing that would give a death sentence to the car.
This is where the community surrounding this vehicle comes in handy.  Like every other need this car has, there's an answer somewhere in the vast sea of knowledge waiting to be tapped into.  Mix in a Wire Wheel, some Safety Goggles, POR15 sealant, and a dry place to work while it rains, and you've got a solid solution to continue saving this RS.  Most of the rust was only a little ways in, but there were some portions, likely where it had started, that were pitted a bit from the rust eating its way through.  After the meticulous grinding to the windshield frame and the coat of POR 15 to starve any existing rust of the oxygen it needs, it was ready for a new piece of glass.

The windshield went in without a problem.  The upper trim piece was replaced as well, to further help protect the work that went into this and finish it off nicely.  With the new windshield in, the RS is driveable again!  In the short week-and-a-half this car has changed hands, the progress has been steady and positive as the major issues are tackled one by one.

Suspension is still toast on the RS Coupe, not to mention the front drivers seat is in about the same condition, so those are likely the next two pieces to be addressed with this project.  Body-wise, it still looks a lot like the same car from when it started out, but the changes made to the car are noticeable behind the wheel.  Hopefully everyone who's pitched in so far gets a chance to appreciate their contributions to this car, which has really become quite the group effort.  The motor and transmission may be fine, but it's the folks who work on this car that drive the project forward!

Friday, September 13, 2013

RS Revival - Update #1

In the first week of work on the 2.5 RS, major issues have been addressed that have made the Impreza much safer and more solid to drive.  It started with cleaning, the clutch slave, and general assessment of the priority fixes that needed to be made.  After scheduling an inspection with Russ' Garage, ordering some must-have parts, and getting advice and help from others in the NSOC, this car has come quite a long way in a short period of time.

  • Replaced Clutch Slave
  • Vaccummed, Washed, & Cleaned Interior
  • Removed Audio Cables
  • Adjusted Fuel Filter (was in backwards!)
  • Balanced & Mounted Alloy Wheels with 205/55R16s
  • Installed Kartboy Short Throw Shifter
  • Installed Duracon Shift Knob
  • Repaired Front Seat Upholstery
  • Repaired Drivers-side Fog Light
  • Replaced Rear Wheel Bearings

For only having the car for a week, I'd say that isn't half bad. There's a long road ahead of this car, but I've really been impressed with all the support, advice, parts, and install help that have surrounded this project so quickly. The list of "Thank Yous" is already about the same length as the list of stuff we've managed to do! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Another Run through the Hills

Had another great cruise with friends and fellow owners through the Loess Hills Byway in western Iowa last Sunday.  About a dozen Subarus showed up to weave through this unique land feature just on the other side of the river.  It was a bit of an extended route, since we took a lengthy detour around a portion that was closed (which I didn't know about until we got there) but I think it made it more fun!

The event started off as a "Choose-a-Cruise" idea, in which I couldn't decide which route to take.  I think it's funny that the route that was overwhelmingly chosen was the one we had most recently taken.  It's a fun route, so it's no surprise... I was just caught off guard at how unanimous the vote almost was.

Now then, this fall is when I promised myself I'd be doing a gravel cruise of sorts.  I suppose I should start making that idea a reality!  Funny how each cruise always ends with me thinking of what to do next?  It's just a testament to how much fun I have hanging out with these folks and how much we love driving these cars.

Monday, September 9, 2013

RS Revival

Some things deserve a second chance.  When it came to this 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS Coupe, there were a lot of things in need of attention, but a solid engine and transmission on this rare find was enough to warrant the long-term project it will undergo.  There's a list of immediate needs that are already being tackled by myself and several other local enthusiasts, so I'm excited to be a part of this.

We've already started digging in to this car.  A thorough cleaning on the interior and a new clutch slave were taken care of over the weekend with the help of 3 of my good friends / fellow owners.  The previous owner must've had a killer sound system in here, as we removed a good 20 pounds of audio cable hidden under door sills and underneath seats.  A plug in the firewall will need to be installed to fill in where the main power was running off the battery for this sound system.  We also removed one of the front steel wheels to inspect the suspension to confirm what we already knew: struts are toast on this car.  Speaking of steel wheels, the front two wheels are steel with winter tires mounted on them.  The back two are mismatched all-season tires with the factory alloy wheels on there.  The other two alloy wheels were in the back, which I removed when cleaning the trunk.

There's the usual rust spots along the rear quarter panels.  This is a hereditary problem with older Subarus, which will need to be addressed eventually.  Body work is a secondary goal to improving this vehicle's driving condition.  There's a rear wheel bearing that'll need to be replaced and struts/tires all around the vehicle.  Luckily, there's help from Aki's GC4, which will lend a hand with this project.  Plans to pull parts from his Impreza L are already underway.

I'm learning a ton from folks who are helping with this project.  What it'll end up as is still quite the question mark, but there's no doubt in my mind that this RS will be making anyone who's behind the wheel smile.  I'm glad to be a part of it!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Aki's GC4

This car belongs to a good friend of mine I met through the Nebraska Subaru Owners Club.  He goes by the handle "Aki" and is quite the Autocross/Rallycross driver.  Aki is the proud owner of two rally-bred Subarus, but his Impreza L always caught my eye just a tad more.  What can I say?  It's a double threat to me.  The 1st Gen designs are some of my favorite for the Impreza and, for some reason, I've always been partial to Silver.  I can't imagine why!

Earlier this summer, Aki was kind enough to scoot me around the track in his GC4.  He's done a lot of awesome work to it and this vehicle's slow and steady build progress pretty much capped off later in the season.  The car has been through it's paces through years of AutoX and Rally X with the SCCA since 2010.  Both the car and driver have clearly grown and improved through practice and adjustments to equipment and technique.

However, things turned for the worse thanks to a Cadillac that thought the red light was optional.  Unfortunately, this is likely the end of the road for the GC4.  On the up-side, Aki still has a BC7 Legacy that is also purpose-built for motorsports.  He also has some excellent parts he can salvage from the GC4 that should find good homes and continue the great career this car had before.