Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/24/18 1:57 a.m.

Hello GRM, I'm Slammo.  I live in Houston and am relatively new to the forum, having been introduced to it when the Unicorn of my Destruction thread went viral.  I figured I should finally get around to documenting my project cars.  I have several right now - too many - and maybe this public accountability will help motivate me to make progress on them.  I could make an individual thread for each one, but work gets done at a slow enough pace that it would get too spread out.  This way the whole fleet can get documented in one place I guess.  Speaking of the fleet, here is a brief introduction to the current constituents:

 

1996 Subaru Impreza wagon.  Nicknamed "Busty LaRue", purchased and built for the Gambler 500.  Has participated in several (check out Mazdeuce's write-up of the inaugural Texas event here) and been an all-around high fun-per-dollar car.  Currently driveable but has an extremely noisy rear wheel bearing and also no dashboard currently installed.  I have a separate thread for this car's history here.

1984 Subaru Brat.  1.8 turbo, 4 speed, and 4wd.  Yes, it has the bucket seats in the bed.  It's a little rough around the edges but there's no rust.  Purchased because I've always wanted one.  It's not a car I'll keep forever, but it's one to cross off the bucket list.  Currently I'm driving this to work since a friend is borrowing my main daily (next).

2002 Subaru Outback VDC.  Purchased because it was the cheapest six cylinder Subaru on the market and I wanted to try the H6 life.  Hasn't turned out to be a bad car per se; it gets me to work and back (usually).  Currently on loan to a friend since his daily was wrecked a few weeks ago and the car his dad loaned him is waiting on parts to arrive from RockAuto to be drivable again.

2003 Subaru Impreza WRX wagon.  Nickname "Fred."  This was my daily for around a year but is currently in storage.  Leaks oil badly, AC doesn't work, and needs an fuel evap leak fixed so it can pass emissions.  Super fun car though, and I miss driving it.  This is probably the first rehab that I will do once I have a garage bay open.

1997 Ford Mustang V6 coupe 5-speed.  Mazdeuce is kindly storing this one for me and occasionally working on it, his thread is here.  It was bought for $300 with the intention to drive in a Gambler 500 and maybe rallycross a bit before selling.  Haven't gotten around to either of those things yet.  Would be easy to flip except it doesn't have a title.

1998 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon.  Nickname Koopa.  Very clean body/chassis with no rust or damage.  Currently sitting in my garage with no engine and a bad 4EAT automatic transmission.  I had planned to do an auto WRX swap, but that turned out to be too ambitious and right now I just want to make it whole again and sell it.

2005 Saab 9-2x Aero.  Aka "Saabaru" since it's a 2005 WRX wagon with a different badge and fascia.  Was purchased as a wrecked car with the intention of using as a donor to WRX swap Koopa, but none of that has happened yet.  Currently taking up a bay in my garage, probably going to just part it out.  If you want a really nice leather interior for an 02-07 Impreza or WRX wagon, let me know.

1999 Subaru Legacy GT wagon.  Named the Event Horizon, or Eve for short.  This car is a "forever car" for me; I don't ever intend to sell it.  My plan is to give it a complete 05-07 STi swap, but for now it's sitting in a field outside San Marcos with rod knock on the original engine.  This is probably the project that's most important to me since it's a project I've wanted to do for nearly 10 years now, but I haven't even had the time to bring it home much less get started on it.

2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650.  This was my main transportation when I lived in California; I put ~18k miles on it in a year and a half.  Currently it's just sitting on my back patio, since riding a motorcycle in Houston is a terrible, terrifying, and dissatisfying experience.  I'd like to clean it up and take weekend trips but all my time is occupied by the other projects.

2009 Kawasaki Versys 650.  This was purchased for the sole purpose of competing in the 2018 Alcan 5000 rally, which is a 10 day TSD starting in Seattle, WA and ending in Fairbanks, AK and includes a side trip up to the Arctic Circle.  The Versys performed beautifully during the trip and afterwards was shipped back to Washington, where some friends are rehabing and storing it for me.  I may have them sell it for me, or I may fly up there and road trip it back home.

 

So that's currently the vehicles under the umbrella of my responsibility.  You'll notice I have a thing for Subarus - whether that's good or bad is up for debate.  Either way, it's time I get my E36 M3 together and quit hoarding beaters.  Goals are to get the HOA off my back, free up time to pursue other interests, reduce stress,  and get some satisfaction of project completion.

I'm Slammo, and this is my story.

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/24/18 3:03 a.m.

Strategy.

Currently, every vehicle in my fleet needs some sort of attention.  Prioritization will be key to making progress, and prioritization is not one of my strong suits.  My plan goes as follows:

  1. Replace the wheel bearing on Busty LaRue.  The easiest way to do that is to do the brake upgrade that I've been putting off, because that includes swapping the rear knuckles for ones from an Outback to replace the stock drum brakes for discs.  I have all the parts needed to do this, and it should only take one day.  Completion will be a triple whammy:  It gets Busty drivable, it opens a garage bay, and it uses some of the parts that have been laying around my garage for the better part of a year.
  2. Rehab Fred the WRX.  While Fred isn't physically in the way of anything, it's too nice a car to be sitting unused and I miss driving it.  Fixing Fred will make me a reliable daily and let me move on to other things without worrying how I'm going to get to work.  Fred only needs the evap leak fixed to pass inspection and get registered, but it leaks oil badly enough to be worrying and I have no idea when the timing belt was last replaced.  Doing all these things at the same time should be straightforward, and I'm planning to pull the engine to facilitate replacement of all the oil seals.  Realistically this will take 2-3 days at my pace of work, but it'll be well worth it.
  3. Reevaluate at this point.  Possible next steps are:
    1. Put a drivetrain in Koopa.  I have engine, transmission, and rear differential to make it run, they just need to be installed.  Not a difficult task but will take a little time and space.  Once Koopa is a running and driving car it can be sold or loaned out to whatever acquaintance needs a car at the moment.
    2. Rehab the Ninja.  It needs an oil change, spark plugs/wires, and a thorough cleaning.  The weather in Houston is nice this time of year, and this would let me get in a few months of riding before the awful summer heat hits.  Having the Ninja in good running shape also means it can be sold if need be.
    3. Part out the Saabaru.  This will take some time and space, but it needs to be done so the shell can get out of the garage and out of my life.

 

That will keep me busy for a few weeks at least, assuming I actually get it done.  Will report in with progress.

Run_Away
Run_Away Dork
12/24/18 3:34 a.m.

Hi Slammo! Do you like Subarus?

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/24/18 4:46 a.m.
Run_Away said:

Hi Slammo! Do you like Subarus?

It was diagnosed at an early age but they haven't prescribed a cure yet.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/24/18 5:46 a.m.

Slammo is 100% responsible for me owning and daily driving a $500 Forester. I've driven plenty of Subarus in rallycross and autocross and liked exactly zero of them until spending the weekend cruising around Texas in Busty LaRue. It was only then that I realized Subarus could be adorable little road tractors if you don't try to make them fast.

We should probably put a new battery in the Mustang, drive it to San Marcos, and rallycross it until it dies.  

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/24/18 6:39 a.m.

Dude, you have a few cars. I get overwhelmed when I get past one active project. I have six cars but would only consider one of them a project right now. The rest are drivable typical old maintenance hungry vehicles. Good luck working your way through the pile!

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/24/18 7:16 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

I'm responsible for your Subaru and you're responsible for me being on this forum. I'm not sure which is worse. 

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/24/18 8:50 a.m.

Yeah, I couldn't deal with that many project cars, I have 4 right now.  But really only 1 is a project,  the Flyin M Miata.  Luckily the 996 only needs plugs/coil packs and then its done.  Which is good cause the Miata will need some attention....

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Reader
12/24/18 10:03 a.m.

Slammo

are you single?

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/24/18 10:14 a.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Slammo

are you single?

In which GRM becomes a dating site. I like that. 

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/24/18 6:00 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

How could you tell?

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/27/18 1:18 a.m.

Started the rear brake conversion on Busty tonight. Only ran into a few hiccups so far: the drivers rear axle stub is seized in the hub, and the E brake cables are different. The drum brake cables originally on Busty won't fit the Legacy knuckles, and the Legacy cables are about 4" longer than the Impreza ones but identical otherwise. I'm not in the mood for relocating my E brake lever right now so I'm going to pull the cables from the Saabaru and hope they fit. 

Legacy vs Impreza cable:

Disc brakes on the passenger rear! I feel so fancy. 

Knuckle seized like they all tend to.  I use way more anti seize than necessary when assembly but I'll take the mess over frozen metal. 

Worst case I'll replace the axle. I'll probably try to press it out first though. 

 

It's progress at least! 

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/27/18 3:02 a.m.

Pulled ebrake cables from the Saabaru. They are the correct length and style. Difference in sheath end between drum brake and disc:

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/29/18 7:20 p.m.

All right, update time.  I picked up new brake shoes since the friction material on one of the donors had separated from the backing plate.  I also rented a 7 ton 3 jaw puller to do axle stub separation duties.

 

Step 1: apply force.  Step 2: apply more force.  Repeat steps 1-2 as necessary until problem is solved.

 

Apply excessive amounts of  M A G I C   S P A R K L Y   C H O C O L A T E

 

And we have a disc brake hub installed!  Ready to reassemble the rest.

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
12/29/18 9:53 p.m.

Can't get the video to embed, but here's the ping:

https://youtu.be/vTw5-OBNP6Y

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Reader
12/30/18 8:06 p.m.
Slammo said:

Apply excessive amounts of  M A G I C   S P A R K L Y   C H O C O L A T E

I love GRM

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
1/3/19 2:15 a.m.

I know I said I'd be working on Busty before anything else, but when a Brat shows up at your local self-serve salvage yard, you drop everything and try to nab the unobtanium bits before anyone else.

On Sunday the 30th went straight to LKQ after a night shift, meeting a friend there with tools.  Half of the parts I wanted were already gone, even though it had only been there two days - the T-tops, grille badge, and I forget what else.  The tailgate was too rusty to take, but I did get three good wheels for spares and both side mirrors since the ones on my Brat have the wrong glass so you can't see E36 M3.  I also pulled the wiper motor and mechanism and tried to get the HVAC controls but gave up when I couldn't figure out how to get them out of the dash.

On Tuesday the 1st, we braved the morning fog back to LKQ in pursuit of an EJ253 for one of my friend's projects.  There were four in the yard but two were locked up, one had low compression in cylinder 1, and one was already missing its timing belt, so we came up empty.  Not wanting to miss out on LKQ's 40% off sale and already having our full set of tools with us, we set about pulling the Brat's 4 speed manual transmission.  I wanted a spare since the 4th gear synchro in mine is worn out and these weren't known for being great transmissions in the first place.  A couple hours of sweat and blood later and we had our prize.  No progress on Busty that day but it was worth it for the peace of mind on the Brat.  Have to take those opportunities when they come.

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
1/3/19 2:30 a.m.

Yesterday I finally got some free time to work on Busty's brakes.  Current mood:

With fresh brake shoes in hand, I got to work reassembling the parking brakes.  Work went about as well as it ever does with drum brakes, which is to say the second one takes about 1/3 of the time and scraped knuckles since everything is fresh in mind.  All said though everything fit as expected and the rear brakes are ready to bleed.  If this wasn't a gambler, I would have also replaced the wheel bearings and brake pads, but if it wasn't a gambler I'd be doing a WRX 4-pot brake swap.  Gotta limit scope creep sometimes.

The only real concern for me is that the sway bar endlinks are really close to the brake lines and banjo bolts on the calipers - maybe 1/4" of clearance, with the sway bar pulling the endlinks towards the center of the car.  I had flipped the rear lateral links over to reconnect the rear sway bar with the macpherson strut lift; this isn't a concern in the original application.  One one hand, if any of those bolts work their way loose or if any components break, the brake fluid hose will be in imminent danger.  On the other hand, I really like having functional sway bars and there will be more clearance at ride height with the suspension compressed a little.  I'll leave it for now and just periodically check it to make sure nothing changes.

So now the rear axle nuts need torqued as well as the lug nuts for the wheel spacers.  Then the front will go up on jackstands since I'm a glutton for punishment, and I'll install the front brake upgrade as well as knuckles from an 06 Outback that have bolt-in wheel bearings - much preferred for trail repairs.  After all that's said and done, I can bleed the brakes and put her back on the road.  Probably another day of work, assuming everything goes as planned.  Still though, progress.

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
1/10/19 6:12 a.m.

Got started on the front upgrade yesterday. Of course the first step was to put wheels on Koopa so I could rob its jackstands. 

The later style knuckles have a few design changes relative to the older models, most notably they use a bolt in wheel bearing and hub unit. Thankfully my junkyard set was from a southern car so everything came apart nicely. One of the new knuckles:

With wheel bearing and dust shield removed and a new ball joint installed:

The dust shield/backing plates are the wrong size for the brakes I'm using and get sandwiched between the bolt-in bearing unit and the knuckle:

I took them out and cut them down so they'd still be a spacer if that was important.  I cleaned up the rough edges and rattle canned them black before putting them together but didn't take a picture.

One of the two axles required modification to fit the new hub - I used the 3-jaw puller to remove a small dust cover. Before:

After:

The front disks I'm using are about 1" bigger than the stock ones that came with the car. Not a lot but every improvement is welcome. 

The ball joints from the donor knuckles are different from what fits on Busty's control arms, so I swapped the older style onto the new knuckles as well. On the drivers side, the ball joint was totally worn out with visible wiggle so I replaced it. The wheel bearing from the driver's side also had some play in it so I'm glad I'm replacing it. Here you can see the newer-style ball joint on top, and the trashed ball joint from the drivers side; thankfully I had a spare on hand.

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
1/30/19 2:15 a.m.

Long time no update.  Busty is now on the road; a few issues to sort out still but it's at least a drivable vehicle again.  The brakes are pretty spongy after bleeding and I suspect one of the "new" calipers is leaking.  More on that in another post.

I replaced the passenger side front axle in Grams the other day; looks like the exhaust heat shield was lost on that side when the cat was replaced at some point, and the additional heat killed the inner CV boot.  Eventually the exhaust will have to be addressed, but not today.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
1/30/19 7:24 a.m.

God, just when I convinced myself  I didn’t want to “get into” Subaru’s...

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Reader
1/30/19 9:24 a.m.
Slammo said:

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

How could you tell?

Sell me your brat when you are ready 

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap HalfDork
1/30/19 9:35 a.m.

Gosh I miss vintage subarus, I was into them at a weird time and miss them now. 

Slammo
Slammo New Reader
2/2/19 2:46 a.m.

In reply to ebonyandivory :

I can't tell if you're encouraged or discouraged.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

A few of my friends and acquaintances have expressed interest and I can't decide if I'm going to sell it to one of them for what I have in it or put it on the market for what it's worth.  I haven't gotten tired of owning it yet though.

In reply to Professor_Brap :

They are something else, for better or worse.  I was reflecting the other day, there is such a huge leap between the Subarus of the 80s and those from the 90s; arguably much bigger than the decades after.  Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 90s and I'm most comfortable with the things that were around when I was growing up, but cars from the 90s feel so much more modern to me than ones from any decade prior.  It seems like that's when most auto manufacturers really got a lot of things right, especially longevity/reliability.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
2/2/19 7:08 a.m.

I just realized that we haven't had a sit down to talk about the AlCan. We need to hang out. 

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