New House

April 7, 2008 – 6:41 pm

After 6 months living with the in-laws we finally have a new place of our own.  It’s an old farmhouse which was gutted and completely renovated, on an acre of land.  Sadly it only has a small 2-car detached garage, but I have a few ideas of how to get around that!

This also means that I have to move the Legacy, so I spent this weekend getting the last of the group-n bushings installed, rear subframe and diff bolted up, and the suspension, axles & hubs installed.

All that’s left to do before it goes onto a trailer is to throw in the driveshaft and steering column and put the wheels on.  Oh yeah, I also have to finish cleaning out the new garage and epoxy the floor…haven’t done that before so it should be interesting.

Fun with a 20-ton press

March 24, 2008 – 9:21 pm


“If I buy a press, I can do the bushings myself…”

After a quick trip to those purveyors of highest quality chinese tools Harbor Freight I was the proud owner of a more-or-less serviceable 20-ton press:

Things I have learned:

  • Group-N bushings aren’t quite as terrible as people say
  • Use plenty of silicon grease
  • Preparation is key

After the old bushings are removed (burning them out is fun!), grind/sand away all of the rust from the surfaces where the bushing will contact so that they are smooth and shiny. Next is the important bit, make a smooth curve around the edge of the hole, so that the bushing can slide in smoothly without catching on the lip and tearing.

Pressing the new bushing in is a 3-step process. First, apply silicon grease (I used the Sil-glyde brand from NAPA) liberally to the bushing, then press it in until it bottoms out (about 3/4 of the way in). At this point concentrate on getting everything lined up properly and it should slide right in. Next, you’ll need to find something just big enough for the bushing to slide into, I used the big socket in the photo above.


Stack the link on top of the receiver, then put something with roughly the same diameter as the metal tube in the center of the bushing on top, like the smaller socket above. Now you can press the bushing all the way into the link and part-way out the other side to allow the lip to ‘pop’ out.

Flip the link over and press the bushing back through until it is centered and you’re done. Rinse and repeat 7 more times for the lateral links, and you’ll end up with something like this.


I also tackled the rear crossmember, which received a set of SuperPro SPF2664 polyurethane rear diff mount bushings and 4 Group-N crossmember mount bushings. Prep for these was roughly the same as above, but I was able to pull the SuperPros in with a c-clamp and a couple of small pieces of wood, and the Group-N crossmember bushings pulled through with a large bolt, yet another socket and a few big washers. Plenty of anti-seize on these should help to ward off rust.

Aside from that little adventure I’ve managed to get the fuel tank and WRX fuel filler neck installed along with the new charcoal canister. I may need to take the tank out again to adjust the fuel line setup though, as the WRX has a quick-disconnect fitting on the main fuel supply line which the Legacy doesn’t have.

Finally, I wanted to show off the latest addition to my toolkit, a gift from my wonderful wife:


They’re super-cool Facom 40R – Fast Action Combination Wrenches (click for a demo of how they work).

Transmission Installed

March 9, 2008 – 6:17 pm

This weekend I actually managed to find some time to work on the car, a welcome change!

First up, I picked up 20lbs of dry ice and removed all the sound deadening from the floor. The process was pretty cool and very easy, spread the ice around and wait while it flash freezes the old sound deadening and actually cracks it off the floor, then break it off with a big screwdriver. I pulled out about 12lbs of old tar-based sound deadening, which will be replaced with new RAAMmat.


Once that was done I turned my attention to the transmission. This was pretty much ready to go in, just bolted it up to the legacy subframe and raised it into place. I was able to re-use my kartboy shift lever and installed the new kartboy rear mount. It took a little messing around to get the bolts on the rear shift mount to line up but otherwise everything went smoothly.


In those pics you can also see that I got the WRX front harness into the car, I’m trying to decide the best way to handle merging over all the headlight, foglight, indicator, horn & radiator fan wiring. At this point I’m thinking it will be easiest and cleanest to merge the WRX and Legacy harness inside the fender, though I still have to figure out how I’m handling the ABS as the legacy harness has some wiring for that routed along the bottom of the radiator.

Finally, I cleaned the rust off the rear crossmember and painted it with POR-15, along with the rear lateral links. I haven’t used this stuff before but hopefully it will hold up well. Getting into all the nooks & crannies in the crossmember wasn’t fun, not sure how keen I am on going through it all again to topcoat it…


Once the paint is dry I’m going to have a go at installing the new bushings in the crossmember. I’m not even going to try doing the lateral links, trailing arms or lower arms myself, they’ll be taking a trip to visit a 20-ton press.

Heading in the right direction

March 6, 2008 – 9:14 pm

Took the first step towards getting the car back together; putting the engine crossmember back into the car. Next up will most likely be the transmission. It’s not much but it feels good to finally be putting things back on the car.

I also made some progress on the cluster swap, actually got the WRX cluster mated up with the legacy faceplate and everything fitted into the dash.


In the last pic you can see where I had to cut away part of the dash to clear the top plug on the WRX cluster, you can see more pics of the mods to the cluster itself here.

It will look a lot better once the new face is done. This will be either carbon fiber or brushed aluminium (anodized black would be nice…), and will fill the gaps at the sides and cover the silver trim rings so that the gauges themselves will ‘fit’ better in the Legacy. Once that’s done I just need to secure everything together, make a couple of shims for the lower mounting tabs and screw it in.

On the mechanical side of things after dropping the rest of the rear end I’ve made some progress removing the old bushings and started to clean up the crossmember, ‘outrigger’ bar & suspension arms in preparation for a coat of POR-15 before they get the new bushings and get reinstalled. I tracked down an 05 WRX fuel tank and all the EVAP stuff I need to make that work, just have to pick it up from Connecticut next weekend along with a couple other goodies. Still need to find rear ABS sensors…

Also took the opportunity tonight to take pics of some more of the shiny new stuff awaiting installation (including some genuine STi engrish!):


STi Floor Mats, Whiteline Roll Center Adjustment Kit, STi Grp-N rear crossmember bushings, STi Grp-N lateral link bushings, STi Grp-N trailing link bushings, STi Grp-N front lower control arm bushings, SuperPro ALK-effect lower control arm bushings, SuperPro rear diff mount bushings & Whiteline outrigger bushings. Between this lot, the Grp-N trans & motor mounts and the Kartboy shift bushings, every bushing on the car will be replaced with upgraded pieces.

Finally, dropped the flywheel off for resurfacing this afternoon. Should be able to pick that up tomorrow, and hopefully also try my hand at removing the sound deadening tomorrow night if I can find time to pick up the dry ice.

Slow Going

March 4, 2008 – 7:50 am

Just a quick update, things are still progressing slowly as it’s really hard to find time to work on the car…more details on why that is to follow…

Currently I’m working on sourcing a WRX fuel tank and charcoal canister and assorted other small parts. Basically everything is out of the car at this point and I’ve started work on removing all the old bushings in preparation for the new group-n stuff.

Wiring is also progressing slowly, I’ve stripped out the HVAC wiring from the legacy harness and need to get the WRX harness into the car so I can start getting the dash assembled and see where everything needs to go.

I would like to use the ABS system from the WRX, but it looks like that will require bending up new hard lines to match the different pump. I’ll have to grab some ss tubing and a bender and give it a shot.

Also on the to-do list is getting the flywheel out to be resurfaced and picking up some dry ice to remove all the old asphalt sound deadening.

Another work weekend

January 28, 2008 – 6:37 pm

The car project has been quite neglected lately, as we’ve been spending every weekend working on the apartment in Albany. The good news is that it is finally getting close to being done and ready to rent out.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to take any photos this weekend, but I’m planning to take plenty next weekend once everything is finished off and the place is cleaned up. It’s been a long road but the end seems to be in sight.

That said, I have made a little progress on the swap. The WRX bulkhead harness was a bit of a mess so I’ve been working my way through identifying all the connectors and getting everything untangled and routed to the proper locations, this isn’t quite finished but is already looking a lot less scary than it did.


I also received my new ClutchMasters Stage1 clutch and DomTune BCS.