Tuesday, October 28, 2014

RS Revival: Rear Quarter Repairs

imageImage 006Earlier in the fall, my RS met up with a deer and messed up the front end a bit.  I managed to fix that, but I didn't expect that busted front fender to help with repairs to the rusted-out rear quarter panels.  By cutting pieces out of that fender that follow the wheel arch, it's been making work a little easier as we rebuild the rear end of this 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS Coupe.  The hope is to have it repaired and sealed up by November 2nd for the Rallycross event, but time is quickly slipping by!

The drivers side repairs are nearly complete, but the passenger side (which was in much worse shape to begin with) still has a ways to go.  The rust managed to eat part of the wheel well as it's destructive cancer spread.  We'll need more than leftover metal from the wheel arch to patch that portion!

Once things are patched, we'll refinish the surface and seal the snot out of everything.  It may not look pretty for the event, but at least it will be buttoned up!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Prep for RallyX!

The nights are getting longer, the crisp air and crunchy leaves paint the season, and there's one more chance to whip your car around the dirt!  The Nebraska Region SCCA is holding another Rallycross at I-80 Speedway.  This was the same location used for the National Championships for RallyX this year!  Registration was only recently opened, so get on MotorsportReg and gear up for another fun event!

I've only managed to bring the RS to two events this year due to my busy schedule and repairs to the car.  A lot has happened since this car's last run through the mud back in June, so I'm hoping for a positive result of all the hard work that has gone into it.  I'm less concerned with beating others in my class and more just looking forward to the car working right.  

Sign up for this event with the links below!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The "Forester Turbo" from RCR

"For a male, driving a Forester is a way of forever throwing yourself at the feet of every NPR reporter begging for forgiveness on behalf of your gender."  For those that know the owner of this swapped '98 Forester... this opening line for the "Regular Car Review" featuring one of Nebraska's own was quite the gut-buster.  If you haven't seen these videos before (there's a whole bucket-load of them on YouTube), it's probably more of an acquired taste.  Somewhere between the drone of technical aspects about the car, high-five handouts to the 90s, and gruffly-spoken crude humor remarks, there's not really anything else like a Regular Car Review out there on the internet.  They're certainly worth a watch if you're a car enthusiast, especially if you own one of the cars he happens to review.  In this case, the 1998 Subaru Forester featured in this review belongs to a good friend of mine!

Amidst everything said in the review, they hit the nail on the head at 4:25 about this swapped Forester.  Everything works!  This '98 Forester started off as a project car and devoured a 2002 WRX wagon driveline in the best possible way.  You've got all the space and utility that made the Forester a great family car with the beating heart of a rally car hurling you in and out of every turn.  This car feels like it came from the factory like this the way everything went together, which is either a compliment to the "Subaru Legos" at work or the guy who put it together... or both!

The transformation of this car started last winter and was buttoned up before the first NRSCCA Rallycross Points events in the spring.  Outside of the initial swap, the rest of the work is just JDM dress-up to further suit the look of this "Rex Box" to the owners liking.  I've really enjoyed seeing what he's done aesthetically with this car, but the initial charm of this car has always been how solid it is.  When someone see's this car for the first time, it's almost always one of the first things the owner mentions to them: how it drives... and I think that's something that gets lost when the majority of people are working on a project car like this.  I'm guilty of it, too... being too eager to get it looking good but still accepting the fact that it drives like crap is a tricky bug to get over sometimes.  That's certainly not to say that EVERY swap or project car falls into this rut, but this is one that came out on top from the get-go.  This Forester's owner did the homework in the garage first to get it buttoned up RIGHT and then proceeded to make it pretty.

The review itself is actually kind of neat if you take a step back.  It essentially serves as a review for two things.  First being to 1st Generation Foresters.  "It's a staple of yard sale Dads who write the words 'Like New' in quotation marks on the cardboard cut out from a box of store-brand shredded wheat and tape it, with electricians tape, to a Hitachi chop saw that has been the star of many plays and seen better days."  Then there's obviously the more specific review at hand about this particular Forester concerning the swap, JDM, STI, EJ20, and all the other acronyms that Subaru loves.  The video still gets all the "Regular Car Review" jabs and quips that viewers expect, but this Forester still manages to receive the best compliment any swapped car can get: everything works.

This past weekend, the WRX Box joined fellow owners for the NSOC Fall Meet for an afternoon winding through scenic roads in Eastern Nebraska.  I've seen the car dozens of times before, as I know the owner and see him at lots of events that our group holds.  His wife purchased a '15 Legacy from me at the dealership I work at, too!  When I saw the car at this meet, it was kind of funny thinking "Hey, that's the Forester in that YouTube video!" like it was some sort of famous icon.  Internet cred or not, it's still a great car thanks to the work the owner put into it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

NSOC Fall Meet!

Usually the dealership is closed on Sundays and the only people on the lot are lurking about trying to figure out why on earth a car maker would offer every vehicle with All-Wheel Drive standard (except those crazy BRZs).  This time, the lot was filled to the brim with a colorful variety of new and old Subarus alongside their equally unique owners!  It's the Fall Meet for the Nebraska Subaru Owners Club!

Over 30 cars and their owners showed up to this great event held up at Stan Olsen Subaru in Omaha, NE.  WRXs, Legacies, Foresters, STIs, and everything else in-between made quite the showing as owners checked out other local Subies and caught up with old friends (and made some new ones!)  Once everyone had gathered, a familiar rumble filled the air as cars lined up to head out on a scenic cruise route through the hills.  After the twists and turns, the group landed at the Florence Mill just before the Iowa/Nebraska border to wrap things up.  A few more photos, a few more faces to learn, and talks of where the next event might take us, things couldn't have gone better!  It was a wonderful way to enjoy the perfect fall weather before things get chilly!

While some owners pack their pristine machines away for the winter, others (myself included) are making preparations to hoon on the inevitably snowy roads coming in the days ahead!  This cruise is always a sign of the changing season from the track-day weekends of Summer to the winter-beater months on this frozen Midwest tundra!  Whatever the plans, the Fall Meet is always a great way to transition and keep in touch with our fellow owners and friends!

Here's a link to all the photos I took at this event!
2014 NSOC Fall Meet

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hybrid Tail Lights on my '12 Impreza Hatchback!

I finally did it!  After almost a YEAR with this idea sitting on the drawing board, I finally took the plunge and fixed a set of 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid tail lights to my 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Hatchback.  I absolutely love the end result and it wasn't too terribly hard to do!

The hurdle to jump with this conversion is the plug for the wiring harness between the car and the tail light.  While the wiring layout is IDENTICAL between the Impreza and XV Crosstrek Hybrid, the plugs are shaped differently, preventing this from being a simple "Plug-n-Play" swap.  However, it is still quite easy to take care of by depinning the plugs and re-using the Impreza housing for the Hybrid tail light wiring.  Just keep track of the layout between the two so you don't mix it up, but other than that... it's a relatively simple conversion in application.

While it is quite easy to do, you probably won't see a lot of Impreza Hatchbacks toting these sharp tail lights.  Unless you manage to meet up with a Hybrid owner who isn't attached to their beautiful LED tail lights that would like to swap with you, these parts aren't cheap.  Mix in the fact that trying to find these tail lights in the used market will be quite difficult as the car (as of this post) hasn't even been available for purchase for a year in the US.  They don't make too many of these Hybrids either, which will make any shot at finding a used set even tougher.  Purchasing the necessary parts from a local Subaru dealership will cost you quite a hefty chunk of change.

My little Hatchback is more confusing than ever, what with WRX wheels, quad-tipped exhaust, and now sporty-looking tail lights, it doesn't look much like the base model economy car that it actually is.  I'm really happy with the results and will keep working to make my Impreza unique, but still somehow look like it was some sort of factory-option that never was.