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enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
4/20/17 9:19 a.m.

I feel like I've been spamming you guys with Subaru content, and I'm anxious to get this thread up to current so I'm going to fast forward a little. (Also, at this point in the engine build I got excited and forgot to take some pictures.) Sorry if you guys feel robbed of hours of cleaning various engine parts.

At this point, I was almost ready to reinstall the long block. I elected to purchase a used, but non-rusty complete exhaust manifold and uppipe from a local shop to replace the pile of oxidation that was the old exhaust. I ended up with a few boxes of assorted garbage like this:

I installed the new turbo, new oil feed line, and all new pcv and other vacuum hoses. I bolted on the flywheel and clutch (both of which looked great as they had been replaced <10k miles ago) and installed a new pilot and throwout bearing. I had a friend come over to help and within a half hour we had the engine happily seated in the engine bay. I was getting very excited to start the car, so I gave all the accessories a quick clean and installed them along with the large intake manifold assembly. I reinstalled the radiator, starter, intercooler, fuel lines, and hooked up the exhaust and all electrical. Having gone through my checklist of torque specs (and making sure I didn't forget anything critical I decided to turn the engine over without firing to build oil pressure.

I filled the engine with some conventional 5W-30 oil that I thought would be good for break in, disabled the ignition, and turned it over. It sounded like the starter was stuck and wasn't engaging the engine. I gave it a few whacks with a hammer but still no change. Frustrated and tired, I pulled it and ran down to Autozone, the only store still open that late in the night.

I asked the guy behind the counter to test the starter. He came back and told me it was most definitely bad and pulled a new one off the shelf. $100 and soon I was back in the garage.

I installed the starter and turned the key again. Same exact thing! At this point, I decided to film the engine while I tried the ignition. Turns out I'm an idiot and the engine was turning over just fine, I just couldn't see it from the driver's seat. I had pulled the plugs to make it easier, but it turned over much easier than I expected. Guess that's what I get for pushing through and working when I was exhausted and tired. I went back to Autozone first thing next morning but my old starter had 'already been sent off'. Ugh.

mshort
mshort
4/20/17 9:47 a.m.
enginenerd wrote: I feel like I've been spamming you guys with Subaru content....

This is one of my favorite threads on GRM, please spam more! Keep up the great work.

enginenerd wrote: I went back to Autozone first thing next morning but my old starter had 'already been sent off'. Ugh.

Sure it was... shame you can't pin it on them for misdiagnosing the starter.

mshort
mshort New Reader
4/21/17 9:10 a.m.

Congrats on the first drive! A lot of people over on NASIOC follow a 10 minute, 10 mile, 100 mile, 1000 mile oil change interval for a rebuild. Are you doing anything special since its a new short-block?

doctorscholls
doctorscholls New Reader
4/21/17 9:42 a.m.

The center diff noise is apparently a common issue with these cars that are driven hard. My '04 has a light whine under load or when the center diff is locked 50/50. Replacement bearings for the rear section can be bought inexpensively and there is a NASIOC thread that outlines which one to buy:

https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1170285

My buddy's '06 had these replaced and new fluid was added. Made it nice and quiet again.

I chose to put a loud exhaust and a stereo in to make the problem go away until I am motivated to do mine.

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
4/21/17 10:05 a.m.
mshort wrote: Congrats on the first drive! A lot of people over on NASIOC follow a 10 minute, 10 mile, 100 mile, 1000 mile oil change interval for a rebuild. Are you doing anything special since its a new short-block?

Yes! I changed the oil at 50 miles, 100 miles, and then switched to full synthetic at 1000. Didn't see even a hint of glitter in the oil during any change...that was encouraging.

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
4/21/17 10:11 a.m.

Spoiler Alert!

In reply to doctorscholls:

Do you mean in here?

That would bring us to current time. I decided to have a go at replacing said bearings...should be putting it back together this weekend and see if it worked!

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
5/2/17 2:42 p.m.

Well, I'm guessing you guys are sick of this car. So am I! Anyway, here's a frustrating update. The new terrible noise inside the center differential has been diagnosed, and my wallet has suffered.

This ring gear belongs to the electronically controlled center differential unit, known in the Subaru world as the DCCD. Apparently, when I was reinstalling the extension case that houses everything, the differential unseated a bit and this gear misaligned with the oil pump gear it drives. When I bolted things down it damaged a few teeth before seating, and when I started it up things got a lot worse, really fast. Doh!

So, here's the really crappy part. The damaged ring gear easily comes apart from the differential, but nobody sells it. Subaru certainly will not, and I tried calling around to shops looking for a bad unit that I could use for parts. No luck whatsoever. Only course of action is to replace the entire assembly, which is listed at $2778.35 from Subaru.

After a couple of days of moping about, I caved and ordered a used DCCD unit with 61k miles from Ebay. It should be arriving soon and I can try again, hopefully with better results.

Just for kicks, I pulled apart the old differential unit. Looking at the friction surfaces, this one may have not had a ton of life in it anyway. Sure wish I could figure out a use for this rather than adding it to my pile of destroyed parts.

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
5/2/17 2:49 p.m.

You are going to be the world's most knowledgeable Subie STi mechanic...and have the equivalent to Wyotech tuition in parts receipts when you are done with this thing.

06HHR
06HHR HalfDork
5/2/17 2:55 p.m.
FlightService wrote: You are going to be the world's most knowledgeable Subie STi mechanic...and have the equivalent to Wyotech tuition in parts receipts when you are done with this thing.

I think he's got a long way to go before he gets there, Wyotech tuition is almost the price of a new STI ($29,250.00 tuition and fees, not counting books or living expenses for the automotive technology program) He's almost making me happy I settled for a ratty old Nissan as my project car

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
5/2/17 7:01 p.m.

In reply to FlightService:

Haha not quite there financially speaking and I'm sure some out there could teach me a few things. It is a bit entertaining/frightening chatting with a few of the bigger Subaru shops and asking them questions about things I'm working on that are out of their comfort zone.

TGMF
TGMF Reader
5/3/17 12:40 p.m.

Hate hearing about your misfortune, but I do get a certain level of satisfaction by justifying not owning one of these cars. As I mentioned I had always wanted one of these, and came damn close to buying but never pulled the trigger for one. I now feel like I dodged multiple bullets.

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
5/17/17 8:18 a.m.

And we're back. I'd stepped away from the Subaru, bought some other bad ideas, and have been working a lot. Anyway, I decided I wanted my jackstands back so I'm going to try and get the Subaru finished off this week. I wasn't quite ready to have another go at the center differential last night, so I tackled another problem that was annoying me.

The rear struts are an inverted strut design which while interesting, is prone to making a lot of noise at low speed over uneven surfaces. Here in the Detroit Metro, saying that we have uneven surfaces is a massive understatement. The first step was to remove the back seats (after searching for strut towers in the trunk) and unbolt the top hats from their mounts just under the rear window.

Once I had the strut assemblies out, I could disassemble them completely. The springs have a pretty low spring rate so I didn't need a spring compressor to safely remove the top hats. I pulled the actual strut out of the housing, and was greeted with loads of diarrhea, for lack of a better description. After lots of cleaning and painting, they were ready to be reassembled.

I heavily greased the bore of the housing and put a light coat on the strut itself. Supposedly it is friction between the two that causes the noise after all the grease from the factory has seeped out.

I reinstalled them. Now I need to stop stalling and have another go at installing the center differential. I think this time I have a plan to avoid any issues.

ssswitch
ssswitch Dork
5/17/17 8:47 a.m.

Getting the old nasty grease out of inverteds and putting new grease in is kind of a pain.

I ended up drilling and tapping mine for zerk fittings for later top-ups, though the "cad plated" fittings seized solid from salt the winter after, so I junked the inverteds in favour of suspension that wasn't over a decade old.

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
5/17/17 8:57 a.m.
ssswitch wrote: so I junked the inverteds in favour of suspension that wasn't over a decade old.

Probably a more reasonable approach!

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
5/30/17 11:31 a.m.

Interesting read! Sorry about the backwards progress chapter. I coincidentally ran into a Randy Probst vid last night where he test drove an STI and the did a couple doughnuts for the hell of it and the Subaru people there let him know never never never! because that blows them up due to (Duh) oil starvation issues. I had a 1.8 or 1.6 Impreza FWD eons ago it seems now and I loved the chassis and overall perkiness of the car but the interior was really really truly crappy and I was on the third 3rd trasaxle when I sold it. I love seeing the engineering guts in threads like this.

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
6/19/17 10:19 a.m.

As I get pulled into other projects, my posts about this car have become more and more sporadic. Long story short, without too much trouble I reassembled the center differential. This time I was careful to mark everything with paint pens so that I could see if anything slipped in reassembly. I wanted my jackstands (and floorspace) back so I reinstalled the diff, trans crossmember, driveshaft, exhaust, and rear suspension. Took it for a test drive and everything sounds great! No more rattling noise from the dampers, no more crashing noises from the diff. Whew. Not sure that was all worth it, but at least the car is driving well.

Somehow, I forgot to mention the cosmetic work I did on the car. The front bumper was, well, rough to say the least.

I ordered a new front unpainted bumper cover from Subaru, and set about repainting it and the rear bumper.

I also removed the plastidipped mess that were the wheels that came on the car, and replaced them with the OEM wheels and new tires. Not a good picture, but you get the idea:

docwyte
docwyte Dork
6/19/17 12:25 p.m.

Nice! So what's the plan, keep it for yourself?

ssswitch
ssswitch Dork
6/19/17 10:22 p.m.

Nice work with the bumper. Glad you're sticking with it after all it's thrown at you.

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds Dork
6/20/17 3:03 p.m.

When you have have a few, would love more info about prepping and painting the bumpers. You got nice results. Sorry about the center diff but glad you got the new one in without any problems.

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
6/20/17 4:24 p.m.
conesare2seconds wrote: When you have have a few, would love more info about prepping and painting the bumpers. You got nice results. Sorry about the center diff but glad you got the new one in without any problems.

I second this. I'm going to have to repair and repaint one of mine or just break down and order a new one. Interested to hear your thoughts on laying down a quality job like that.

camaroz1985
camaroz1985 Reader
6/21/17 10:00 a.m.
enginenerd wrote: Ugh...I am so done with this car. As has been mentioned a few times, the center diff was making a little noise. Really the only symptom was a high frequency whine and some loud noises on deceleration in gear. I could only hear it with the windows up and radio off. I should have left it alone.

Don't you wish you could be one of those people that just turn the radio up and ignore the sounds?

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
6/21/17 11:07 a.m.

In reply to ssswitch:

There's a lot I could say about this. It might be better to ask specific questions and I can do my best to answer. Most of what I have learned is through trial and error.

I think the main difficulty for us DIY'ers is trying to keep things simple and cheap. We can all do good prep work inexpensively given enough time. However, it's difficult to get a quality air supply, tools, appropriate painting environment, and material on a budget.

I would spend less on a fancy paint gun and more on a good compressor. No matter what, if your compressor is working too hard, the job isn't going to go well because of inadequate air supply and/or water in the lines. This doesn't mean you need a beefy industrial unit...I bought a simple 60 gallon from Lowes that will paint an entire car if I'm patient. CFM is more important than capacity, but a bigger tank helps. Stay away from oiless as they get hotter and tend to have more condensation issues. I rigged up a regulator/moisture trap and mad scientist looking copper line to try and catch most of the condensation.

It also helps if you get a gun that requires less air. You can lay down paint just fine with a Harbor Freight HVLP gun, but they use a massive amount of air and if you don't have it they will spray terrible. Research LVLP guns if you think your compressor's CFM is limited, like mine. I bought a very-fancy-for-me LVLP Iwata used on Craigslist for $200.

I just paint in my garage. I make sure to do a fairly thorough cleaning and sweep, but that's it. I rarely get a bug or contamination that's visible, but just sand it out if I do. The tricky part is waiting for the right temperature and a low humidity day.

Apart from that it's just buying decent materials and practice! Silver was hard to blend properly, and it's not perfect, but better than it was.

enginenerd
enginenerd New Reader
6/21/17 11:08 a.m.

In reply to camaroz1985:

My life would be so much easier/cheaper!

FlightService
FlightService MegaDork
6/21/17 12:47 p.m.

how close are you to that Wyotech tuition?

coexist
coexist New Reader
6/21/17 7:44 p.m.

You're right about all the considerations for paint spraying, especially the quality of the air from the compressor. I ran a water trap off of a variety of compressors, and included running the air through a heat exchanger in a bucket of ice water. However, I eventually bought a Fuji HVLP system (for my work as a builder mainly, but also for painting everything) which has a dedicated compressor, and now don't have to think about that. My main modification has been to add a 1.5 gallon pressure pot. Also plugged in a remote switch.

If someone is starting from zero, or just has a small compressor, I suggest something like this Fuji HVLP. There are a variety of similar brands.

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