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John Hall's 2007 specB - Daily turned Restoration (Respray, Engine Build, Air Ride, More!)


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Hello Subaru Friends!

 

CURRENT(ish) STATUS OF THIS CAR (UPDATED 10/18/2022). SPOILER ALERT THIS THREAD GETS ESCALATED REAL QUICK

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72LZZChh.jpg

 

After owning my specB for a little over a year I decided it was time to start up a build thread, so here I am! As the title states, my specB is my daily driver/winter mobile when my super duper overly modified WRX is in the garage (EDIT: no longer a winter rig, I bought and rebuilt a 2005 Outback Limited and did a whole lot of work to it and even started a build thread for it). If you're interested in checking out the WRX build of mine, check out my build thread over on StanceWorks. BUT this thread is about my Legacy, so lets go!

 

Ok fine one picture of my wagon before we get going :p (sedan wide body, shaved bay, built longblock, sti 6spd, the list goes on and on and on)

http://i.imgur.com/eeXhEIB.png

 

The story actually begins with my girlfriend Ashley wanting to get into a different vehicle as she was upside-down on her (POS) Ford Focus. I found her a 2006 2.5i Limited that had just had the big 100k maintenance done and we scooped it for $4500 which IMO was a steal! She instantly fell in love with it and so did I... except for the fact that it was automatic and NA! That got me itching for a Legacy of my own, and after some searching I stumbled on a specB in my home state of Maine, just under an hour from my parents house. We headed up that weekend to check it out and sure enough I bought it! It was unmodified except for a catback and some OZ wheels which were in pretty rough shape, but overall the car felt solid and the price was right, so I was happy. Here is my DGM specB next to Ashley's 2.5i on my first day of ownership.

 

http://i.imgur.com/F4ZD2Dk.jpg

 

I had one other secret objective with our little weekend getaway... Ashley has visited Old Orchard Beach every year since she was little, so it's a very special place to her. I convinced her that we should make a pit stop on our way out of Maine and I popped the big question, and she said yes! I left Maine with a new car AND a fiancee :)

 

http://i.imgur.com/HRIdjOA.jpg

 

Upon returning home I whipped out the claybar and DA and went to town on the weathered DGM paint and was pretty happy with the results. It ain't perfect, but she cleans up pretty good!

 

http://i.imgur.com/bbQd31j.jpg

 

Next up was the interior... it was pretty rough. The steering wheel, shift knob, and shifter/hand brake boots were very worn and cracked with leather peeling off the steering wheel and shift knob. Yuck. This definitely reflects the 160k on the odometer.

 

http://i.imgur.com/CTfQKA5.jpg

 

The solution? A brand new OEM steering wheel (pricey, but worth it) and a delrin shift knob from KillerB (very cheap, I love it)

 

http://i.imgur.com/Ghz2RII.jpg

 

Now for those boots... My WRX has a metric boatload of custom trimmed stuff, so I reached out to my friend Jason at Overland Designs and he agreed to make me a set of shifter and hand brake boots despite never having done a Legacy before. I love the OEM+ look, so I went with genuine Nappa leather and the same grey stitching found on the seats. Check out these beauties!

 

http://i.imgur.com/wfayJUJ.jpg

 

They installed easily as you could imagine and had a nice impact on the overall impression of the interior. Now everything within hands reach from the driver was brand new-- horrah! I also installed all white LEDs but no pictures of that.

 

http://i.imgur.com/h8luXTs.jpg

 

If you've seen my WRX, you might guess that I have a thing for lowered cars and you wouldn't be wrong. However my specB is my daily and I like having a vehicle that I don't have to worry about road conditions so much. Regardless, the heightened drive height of the specB was not my jam so I picked up a set of Tein S.Tech springs and slapped those on the OEM Bilsteins and some 1/2" rear butt spacers. At the same time I replaced all front LCA bushings and both rear UCA bushings using a whiteline camber adjustable one for the outers. No pics of that process but it went as you'd expect, not too exciting. Anyhow here's the strut with S.techs installed.

 

http://i.imgur.com/d1kvuzI.jpg

 

I also took the opportunity to install a beefier rear swaybar from Whiteline and some Kartboy end-links.

 

http://i.imgur.com/SWR60fq.jpg

 

The combination of new bushings, shorter/stiffer springs, and a stiffer rear swaybar made an absolutely enormous difference in handling, especially in corners! I was very happy with my decisions!

 

Around the same time I picked up some "clearance sale" Cosmis Racing 17" wheels and put on some old 225/45 Dunlops that had been in my garage FOREVER. This was only a temporary setup, just something to hold me over until this coming spring when I'll put on something a little wider and a much nicer tire. Either way, the car looked better lowered a bit on some aftermarket wheels. This was my first set of black wheels. I am not a fan, oh well!

 

http://i.imgur.com/qqazEb6.jpg

 

I was really busy all summer long with wedding planning, and on September 10th I married my best friend! My good friend Zak DePiero captured this lovely image of us leaving the ceremony site in the back of my wagon which was being driven by my brother and best man.

 

http://i.imgur.com/neu2K4G.jpg

 

After the wedding and honeymoon and a few weeks of catching up on stuff we got behind on, it was October and we already had seen snow here in Vermont. I picked up some TireRack wheels and winter tires that in my opinion look about 1000% better than the previous summer setup. The taller sidewall definitely helps fill out the wheel arch too.

 

http://i.imgur.com/hoVMm6G.jpg

 

With my WRX away for the winter and being pretty well capped on mods, I had to scratch the itch somehow so naturally the specB got some love. The headlights and chrome grill were first on the chopping block, so I cracked those puppies open to remove the amber reflectors and blacked out the front grille. I instantly loved the new look!

 

http://i.imgur.com/jR1xkLA.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/fSFf96T.jpg

 

Annnnd I'm at the picture limit. Next post!

My 2007 specB (full undercarriage & drivetrain refinish, every nut and bolt replaced, full engine rebuild/restore, glass-out respray, air ride, wide body, and more! All done by me, at home!)

Instagram: @bagriders_john for more Subarus (and also my wife and cat)

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Shortly thereafter, my wife was t-boned which unfortunately totaled her beloved 2.5i, just two weeks after I rebuilt the engine after a valve stuck and smacked a piston. So that was a bummer. The upside is that insurance paid us $6k for the car, which I bought back for $600 to part out, which I'm still in the process of doing. I gutted the interior and I'm slowly working on wrapping all the pillars and headliner with black ultrasuede. Having extra parts is great to avoid downtime and/or driving around with half an interior haha :lol: Here's a panorama of the damage... it doesn't look like much but the dogleg area is totally destroyed which was the main reason for it being totaled.

 

http://i.imgur.com/L720IUv.jpg

 

So after I got that all sorted out, the brakes in my specB started squeaking so I decided it was time for a complete overhaul. A few days later I had this pile of loot on my workbench ready to install.

 

http://i.imgur.com/wqdNxuN.jpg

 

Ultimately I want to do a 4/2pot swap or something but in the meantime I coated the calipers and carrier brackets with POR15 to help keep them looking fresh... anything is better than the awful rusty brown they were before.

 

http://i.imgur.com/cZIB8Ep.jpg

 

See? Much better!

 

http://i.imgur.com/MajOAtQ.jpg

 

Continuing on the trend of freshening up the exterior of the vehicle, I decided I had to do something about the taillights. Having done my WRX ones previously I decided to take the same approach and used Duplicolor Metalcast followed by a clear coat. I masked off the clear part of the lamps very carefully. Using some high quality tape like the yellow 3M stuff makes a huge difference in a job like this-- don't settle for that blue crap from the hardware store!

 

http://i.imgur.com/LTOmPAy.jpg

 

After letting the clear coat cure for a couple days I wet sanded from 1500 up to 5k and then hit it with the DA using a polishing compound on a light pad. The outcome is perfect in my opinion!

 

http://i.imgur.com/7mGBsos.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/A0TSU0D.jpg

 

Back to the interior of the car. Possibly an unpopular opinion here, but I'm no fan of the blue alcantara. Let me make myself clear-- I'm not a fan of the BLUE- I love alcantara! After hawking car-part.com for a few weeks, an 08 specB turned up in New York and I jumped right on it. Fortunately the entire interior was in tact and after discussing with the salvage yard we agreed on a price and just a couple days ago, my new black interior showed up!! Anyone who has purchased interior bits from a scrapyard will know that you need to expect to give these parts some love, and love they have received. After hours of cleaning and scrubbing with an assortment of tools and chemicals, I've got these parts looking damn near brand new! The front seats aren't pictured as I left them downstairs... those things are too heavy to lug up to my office at work!

http://i.imgur.com/gO9BFFb.jpg

 

That gets us to today! After work I'll be finishing cleaning up these parts, then performing the swap. While I've got the seats out of my specB I'm going to give the carpet a real good shampoo and vacuum. Once I'm done, the bottom half of the interior will be as good as new.

My 2007 specB (full undercarriage & drivetrain refinish, every nut and bolt replaced, full engine rebuild/restore, glass-out respray, air ride, wide body, and more! All done by me, at home!)

Instagram: @bagriders_john for more Subarus (and also my wife and cat)

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Reserved #4 (last one lol)

My 2007 specB (full undercarriage & drivetrain refinish, every nut and bolt replaced, full engine rebuild/restore, glass-out respray, air ride, wide body, and more! All done by me, at home!)

Instagram: @bagriders_john for more Subarus (and also my wife and cat)

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Welcome! Love the balance of photos, text and a personal touch that made that an excellent read. Great progress so far, and based on the build quality of your WRX and the more reasonable ride height I have a good feeling about whatever comes next!

 

You may already be aware, but the 4/2-pots (unless you're talking Brembo) aren't really an upgrade on these cars, unless you're targeting unsprung weight reduction, aesthetics, or the ability to run 16" wheels. The stockers have bigger rotors and pads, and stand up to more abuse than the smaller 4/2 pots.

Edited by legacybt
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Nice Spec! Look forward to seeing where you go with this build. That WRX is wild!

 

Thank you!

 

Welcome! Love the balance of photos, text and a personal touch that made that an excellent read. Great progress so far, and based on the build quality of your WRX and the more reasonable ride height I have a good feeling about whatever comes next!

 

You may already be aware, but the 4/2-pots (unless you're talking Brembo) aren't really an upgrade on these cars, unless you're targeting unsprung weight reduction, aesthetics, or the ability to run 16" wheels. The stockers have bigger rotors and pads, and stand up to more abuse than the smaller 4/2 pots.

 

 

Thanks! I enjoyed writing it. If I had unlimited time and money, I'd build a "Zero mile" (i.e., all new everything) Spec B, or an Outback XT-B since I do love me a nice wagon! Regarding the brakes, yeah I'm aware of the LGT sizes, the 4/2pot conversion would happen if I ever do a 5x4.5 conversion on my WRX as I'd like to rebuild the calipers and have something nicer looking behind the wheel spokes (hence the POR15'ing on my current setup). I understand that a lot of folks find brake aesthetics to be a dumb thing and I agree to a certain extent but honestly, seeing as the 4/2 pots are good enough to stop my 4xx whp WRX safely they'd be just fine on the LGT for daily use IMO :)

 

Those tail lights turned put perfectly. Always hated the pale red that looks kinda pink half the time.

 

Haha thank you and I agree 100%! Its a lot easier and less scary to do when a) you've got a second set of lights so you can take your time and b) you've done it before! I had to redo my WRX tails a couple of times before I got the process down. I've never been great at painting stuff but I'm really happy with this outcome.

My 2007 specB (full undercarriage & drivetrain refinish, every nut and bolt replaced, full engine rebuild/restore, glass-out respray, air ride, wide body, and more! All done by me, at home!)

Instagram: @bagriders_john for more Subarus (and also my wife and cat)

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Wow that's quite the story.

 

Shameless plug, Let me know when you get around to doing the interior swap. I may be interested in the black and blue door cards if you're willing to ship them across the country. Seats are WAY too expensive to ship that far though!

2005 Vader Wagon

Material Tests on Ringland Failure Piston

I should have held off and purchased a wagon instead of the spec.B
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Wow that's quite the story.

 

Shameless plug, Let me know when you get around to doing the interior swap. I may be interested in the black and blue door cards if you're willing to ship them across the country. Seats are WAY too expensive to ship that far though!

 

It's not TOO bad to ship the seats, mine came from the east coast. It's doable.

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Are you the 3rd owner of this car? I remember a guy on here by the name of Aczwild who lived in Burlington he had an 07 Spec B that he bought brand new, sold it a few years back, not sure if it landed in Maine or not. If it's the same one he previously had stop Techs on it and modded just about every suspension piece on the car but parted it all out before he sold it. Also had a pretty sweet JDM front and rear bumper. Just curious because it looks just like his old one and can't imagine there being many 07 Spec B's in Vermont and Maine. If it's the same one, your OEM parts might not have as much wear as you think.

 

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y272/Aczwild/DSC02795.jpg

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And here I thought I was the only one OCD enough to replace my cracked steering wheel w OEM. Yes, pricey. But that upgrade alone makes it feel like a new car. It's like switching the toilet seat when you move to a new place- "zero mile" indeed. Great display of Subienthusiasm.
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Looks like a very clean car, nice starting point!

 

How are those 160k OEM Bils holding up with the S-techs?

 

Thanks! It wasn't super clean when I bought it, but it's getting there! The struts are doing fine. I was surprised to find the dampers functioning well when I removed them for the spring swap.... maybe they've been rebuilt? I don't know. If they do end up blowing I'll just replace them with a new set of Billys or some Konis perhaps. Working at a suspension shop I'm not too worried about it :lol:

 

Are you the 3rd owner of this car? I remember a guy on here by the name of Aczwild who lived in Burlington he had an 07 Spec B that he bought brand new, sold it a few years back, not sure if it landed in Maine or not.

 

Ehh I'm not sure it's the same one.... When I bought it, it was bone-stock except for the aging catback and there is no evidence of prior modding as far as I can see, and I've been in it pretty deep. The bushings I've replaced were verrry much the original ones, the brake components were all OEM and showing their age, the front bumper looks like its seen every mile read on the odometer, but maybe the JDM parts weren't on the car too long? Hard to say. It would be cool though! I think I might be the fourth owner... I have the entire vehicle history report at home I can dig through. It was originally purchased in St. Johnsbury though, not Burlington, and I want to say it was sold at auction at some point? I'll give it a look!

 

And here I thought I was the only one OCD enough to replace my cracked steering wheel w OEM. Yes, pricey. But that upgrade alone makes it feel like a new car. It's like switching the toilet seat when you move to a new place- "zero mile" indeed. Great display of Subienthusiasm.

 

Agreed 100%!! My first objective upon buying the car was make it feel a bit newer for me, the driver, and replacing the two things I'm constantly touching is the best way to do that IMO. For the record, I also always replace the toilet seat when I move into a new place :cool: Always gotta have the silent closing type :lol:

 

so this is the spec.b I see around town! excited to see what you'll do to this one

 

Heyoo fellow 802'er! There is actually another DGM specB that I've seen once or twice! I guess mine is a bit more distinguishable now with the modded front end and tail lights though :cool: I'm always in the miserable traffic on 15 between Lowes and St Mikes around 7:45 and 5:15 every day, going to and leaving from work. My wife and I are planning on moving out of the city in a year or two, and I'm actually excited to have more of a commute seeing as I've got two cars that are fun to drive!

My 2007 specB (full undercarriage & drivetrain refinish, every nut and bolt replaced, full engine rebuild/restore, glass-out respray, air ride, wide body, and more! All done by me, at home!)

Instagram: @bagriders_john for more Subarus (and also my wife and cat)

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Alright alright alright! I spent a whole lot of time doing a super duper deep clean and installing the black 08/09 parts in my Legacy over the weekend! I'm fairly certain the seats had never been removed based on the treasure trove of goodies under the rear seat and the stubbornness displayed by the front seat bolts :spin: Fortunately everything came out without hassle, and I am absolutely loving the new look!

 

I've been asked by a few folks what I use when I do a big interior clean and these are the products that I've found work well and yield awesome, long standing results:

 

  • SONAX Alcantara Cleaner
  • SONAX Leather Cleaner/Conditioner
  • Diluted Simple Green
  • Chemical Guy's Interior Cleaner/Detailer
  • Blue Coral Carpet Shampoo
  • Lysol scented disinfectant spray :)
  • Horse hair brush for alcantara
  • Plastic bristle brush for carpet

 

I didn't take a "before" picture of the rear seats but they weren't looking anything like this before I had my way with them! The darker spots are were some cleaner hadn't fully dried when I took this photo, all good now.

http://i.imgur.com/KML5z0n.jpg

 

I did take a before picture of the front seats, you can see little bits of crap in the alcantara. Who knows what it was, but the SONAX stuff works absolute wonders- I highly recommend it! Their leather conditioner is good too but I'm not too picky about leather cleaners nor have I had a situation where a product had the opportunity to "wow" me with leather cleaning :lol:

http://i.imgur.com/ISMjYLs.jpg

 

The door panels got some lovin' too! I fully removed the handles so that I could brush and vacuum the fabric and also get into the little crevices of the plastic trim with a q-tip... yep I'm pretty anal when it comes to a thorough detailing job!

http://i.imgur.com/xDWJj9l.jpg

 

I stripped down the interior past this point but didn't take a photo till I was just about to put the seats back in. The carpet was pretty gnarly in some areas, but a few rounds of scrubbing, vacuuming, shampooing, and more scrubbing + vacuuming and its as close to brand new as it can get!

http://i.imgur.com/LNKcV7C.jpg

 

I mentioned that the front seat bolts were a little stubborn... yeah they were pretty rusty, and so were the threads in the chassis. I went ahead and chased all the threads with a tap and thanks to my nature of hoarding Subaru parts I had some non-rusty seat bolts that I replaced the rusty ones with. The bolts went in nice and easy by hand when I was reinstalling the seats- gotta love that!

http://i.imgur.com/FVbLRdl.jpg

 

Annnd voila everything is super clean and the interior is back together! Now I've really got to do the pillars and headliner to finish off the 'all black' interior. Maybe a JDM double din is in the future for me?

http://i.imgur.com/wXkZwBP.jpg

My 2007 specB (full undercarriage & drivetrain refinish, every nut and bolt replaced, full engine rebuild/restore, glass-out respray, air ride, wide body, and more! All done by me, at home!)

Instagram: @bagriders_john for more Subarus (and also my wife and cat)

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Unbelievably clean interior for 160k. Great job.

 

Just passed 170k ;) and thank you!! I only had to replace just about everything haha!! :lol::lol::lol: Honestly, I have a strange love for stripping out interiors and giving everything a reallllly deep clean- I do it with all of my cars (that I intend to keep) whenever the time presents itself! It definitely gives the car a "new"-ish feeling regardless of the mileage! I think recovering the pillars and headliner will really finish off the feeling, then it's on to the motor :cool:

My 2007 specB (full undercarriage & drivetrain refinish, every nut and bolt replaced, full engine rebuild/restore, glass-out respray, air ride, wide body, and more! All done by me, at home!)

Instagram: @bagriders_john for more Subarus (and also my wife and cat)

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  • BagRidersJohn changed the title to John Hall's 2007 specB - Daily turned Restoration (Respray, Engine Build, Air Ride, More!)

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