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


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Daaaaaammmmmnnnnn….. not only to that WRX turbo set up (which looks killer BTW) but congrats on the new developments! That’s exciting stuff! I’ve been trying to do the same thing but on a much smaller scale and different platform. Lol. There’s a new kid who started at my work who’s got a bag riders hoodie…I asked him about it and hes like “oh…I won this. My gf is into air ride.” I was kinda bummed was hoping he’d have some interaction with you guys, or know something about your subies, lol. He’s got a G37 on coil overs, so no dice…
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  • 4 weeks later...
It’s pretty awesome to come back into the Legacy/OB community and see that more people have been building them. Back in 2012, you didn’t see cool Legacies too often. I have seen yours a bit on Instagram and it’s definitely one of my favorites.
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It’s pretty awesome to come back into the Legacy/OB community and see that more people have been building them. Back in 2012, you didn’t see cool Legacies too often. I have seen yours a bit on Instagram and it’s definitely one of my favorites.

 

Hey thanks a lot! I agree, the BL/BP chassis hasn't got much love over the years, but it seems to be getting more popular and there is a tight-knit community for sure! Personally, I feel that the BL specB is one of the best examples from Subaru we've received in the USDM. It really hits on all points for me, I just love it. It's a damn shame to me that the newer Legacy XT's aren't offered with a 6MT otherwise I'd definitely consider one! Subaru's CVT just doesn't do it for me.

 

---

 

Good news! Last week I finished up the repairs on my friend's Legacy and dove back into my own! It's still frosty in the mornings here in northern VT but we've got a lot of rain and spring is in the air - I'm eager to get at least one of my cars back on the road!

 

Before I could get started on my own stuff, I had to do some tidying up around the shop. Anyone who has experience with body work knows, that sh*t is MESSY! But, some time with the power washer and mop bucket do wonders! The epoxy I applied to my shop floor definitely makes clean up go faster. I'll give the floors a really serious washing with a commercial floor scrubber once my cars are mobile.

 

A clean working space is important for engine work, and just helps me feel motivated in general. I adopt the mindset "feel good, do good"

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To deter myself from tinkering too much on my WRX, I tucked the engine and components away in the corner of my shop

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With the shop cleaned up, I started tearing into the EJ255 out of my specB. Boy, this thing is GRIMY!! Fortunately, I get a lot of satisfaction out of cleaning and restoring stuff, which is exactly what I'll be doing with this ol' girl. Many hoses, particularly those in the engine breathing system, were rock solid and cracked upon removal, so I'll be replacing those as part of this refresher.

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With the longblock mostly stripped down, the next step is to remove the cam gears while the engine is still on the stand. You don't wanna wrestle these things off the cylinder heads on a table! Despite a relatively low torque spec, these hex-drive bolts are notoriously terrible to remove. Specialty tools from the likes of Company23 are available to hold the cam gears in place, but in lieu of that you can sometimes get by with the more "MacGyver" approach of using the timing belt and vice grips to lock the cam gears in place, as I've done here. Note: don't do this if you need to reuse the timing belt as it WILL be damaged in the process:

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Next, assemble the longest cheater bar you can, perhaps consider a sacrifice to the Subaru deities, perform a ritual dance, and giv'r the dinner.

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Hopefully, everything goes good for you and you can take a nice happy picture, like this one! This is my "horray, all 4 cam bolts came out without damage!" face:

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With the biggest hurdle behind you, the rest of the teardown is straightforward. I removed the cylinder heads one at a time, first removing the cams, then removing the head bolts, then reinstalling the cams to ensure the buckets didn't fall out when rotating the engine. After removing the cylinder heads, I cracked loose all the case half bolts in the reverse order of installation then moved the shortblock over to the workbench for splitting. After zapping all the case half bolts out, rest the shortblock on the RH deck, get out your biggest deadblow mallet and get to smackin'. Of course, you want to be mindful of where you're smackin', but if you're doing this job then you're well aware of this.

 

Here's the outcome:

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For having nearly 200k miles on the clock, I think this amount of wear is pretty well to be expected. This being my first foray into the bottom end of a turbocharged EJ, I sent some pics to a Subaru master tech friend of mine for confirmation and he agreed. Definitely seen some miles, but nothing extraordinary.

 

As you can see, the cylinder crosshatching is still visible, however you can also see drag marks from the piston skirt which suggests ring wear and surely was contributing to the oil consumption I was experiencing, as well as the results I logged during the cylinder leakage test I performed just after pulling the engine some months ago where cylinder #3 was leaking over 30%

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Similar findings in cylinder #4 which was just behind #3 in leakage test. Here is the piston that came out of cylinder #4, as you can see, there is considerable wear on the piston skirt. I won't be reusing these pistons.

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So, what's next? This is one of many important questions to ask yourself when you're in my position.

 

There is something I wish to make abundantly clear because it plays a significant role in this decision making process: I am NOT trying to get through this in the fastest, or least expensive way possible. Instead, I am excited to learn, and am willing to pay (in both time and money) for the opportunity to learn, which is exactly how I am approaching this: a learning opportunity. I have other cars I can drive, I'm in no rush to get this engine back together and in the car, and I'm accepting of the fact that if I screw up I'll be buying (at the very least) a new block. I strongly encourage you, if you're considering doing this yourself, to ask yourself the same questions I am here.

 

Now that you understand my priorities (namely, spending money to educate myself), the next steps hopefully will make sense. Basically, it's a bunch of measuring. I'll measure the cylinder bores and pistons to better understand how much wear occurred over the last ~200K miles. I assume I'll find myself needing to run slightly oversized pistons. I'm assuming the journals on the crankshaft will measure out just fine, but I'm debating swapping in a nitrite treated STI crank for the peace of mind. I don't know enough about what other wear a crankshaft experiences, beside what can be measured on the journals. I plan to reuse the con rods with new cap fasteners (and bearings of course) so long as everything measures out within spec and I don't find any signs of overheating once I remove them from the crankshaft. ARP head studs are a no-brainer for me. The cylinder heads will definitely get a refresh too. Once all is said and done, I expect to have an engine I'll be comfortable sending a few hundred ponies through at some point, if I care to.

 

I'll keep this thread updated with my progress in this exciting, new to me process!

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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  • 1 month later...

Well guys and gals, you wouldn't believe it, but I've decided to do some other stuff "while I'm at it" :lol:

 

The other day I received my cylinder heads and case halves back from the machine shop who decked the mating surfaces flat and cut new valve seats. The cylinder bores were healthy enough to stay at 99.5 which made me happy and saved a few bucks too!

 

Look at how nice these cylinder heads came out!

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I decided on a full valvetrain refresh using GSC valves and OEM everything else. While the original valve springs may continue to do their job, for the marginal cost of new springs I decided I might as well replace for that "all new" outcome.

 

The case halves are a different story. While they look a LOT better than they did prior to the machine shop (see "before" in my last post), they're not nearly as clean as the cylinder heads.

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So, because of my obsessive tendencies, I gave my friends down the street a call and dropped off a pile of parts for them to clean up in their vapor blasting cabinet. Vapor blasting is a non abrasive type of blasting which is well suited for aluminum parts like this.

 

Here is the pile of stuff I dropped off with them. It's pretty well every aluminum member of the longblock assembly, save the heads. Accessory pump brackets, water pipe, timing tensioner bracket, stuff like that. I am super excited to get this stuff back and start reassembly.

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To maintain my high standard for this work, I opted to buy new OEM case half fasteners, galley plugs, service plugs, and some other miscellaneous specialty fasteners for the engine assembly (e.g., shouldered bolts) that were beyond what I felt was reasonable to restore. Other non-specialty fasteners are to be replaced with stainless equivalents when the correct head size is available (no replacing 12mm with 13mm!!) and otherwise are replaced with JIS equivalents from an industrial hardware supplier.

 

I mentioned that I opted for a few "while I'm at it" type things. Basically, I realized that after doing all this work, I'll very much want to turn the boost up just a little bit. So for the sake of doing so safely, I opted for a couple of small improvements:

  • Wiseco 99.5mm pistons
  • King Main/Rod Bearings
  • ARP Head Studs
  • STI Nitride Crank

 

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This formula should make for a stout bottom end that is capable of moderate power should I, or the next owner, decide to go that route. The refreshed cylinder heads are more out of principal than anything, and stock heads flow just fine for the power levels that this bottom end will support.

 

I expect to get the parts back from vapor blasting sometime this week, at which point I will be able to move forward with reassembly! I'm very excited. This rebuild will be what I consider "OEM Plus" with a whole bunch of restoration-type stuff. The only OEM system that is NOT going back in, is the secondary air injection system. Big shouts to @m_sprank and their Air Pump Delete thread here (link: https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/2007-2009-air-pump-delete-cel-codes-and-ecu-fix-140259.html) that highlights the Atmospheric Pressure Sensor workaround. When I did this mod long ago on my 06 WRX (also air pump equipped) this was a non-issue, so I'm glad I deicded to look this up for the Legacy and didn't assume it would be the same!

 

In conclusion, last night I started the tedious cleaning work on the intake manifold. I removed the TGV housings (I do intend on keeping the TGVs) and will be soaking those and the throttle body in my ultrasonic cleaner, then painting them black which I feel better compliments the plastic intake manifold. The injectors will be cleaned and rebuilt before going back in the car. I'll be cleaning and reusing hoses that are in good condition, and replacing the ones that have hardened to plastic-like brittleness with OEM or an EPDM aftermarket hose if appropriate.

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As always, thanks for reading. Cheers!

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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I got my pile of parts back from vapor blasting and man oh man, they look great!

 

I had both case halves, valve covers, cam caps, water x-pipe and accessory brackets cleaned up. Now I just have to decide what parts to cerakote, and what color!! Perhaps a nice silver for the long block... or black? Big decisions :lol:

 

Check out this case half! I get some photos of the other parts this weekend when I'm in my shop

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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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Looks great, that's what I need to do to finish my coffee table out of case halves.

 

Cherry blossom something. Water cross pipe and brackets for sure.

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Alright, as promised, photos of the vapor blasted parts! I forgot to snap one of the water pipe :(

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Lookin' good!!!

 

I picked up an ultrasonic cleaner to aid in my ability to clean and restore parts. I put the TGVs (removed electronics) and throttle body in the tank first.

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After an hour or two, the parts came out free of gunk and grime! Next I'll bead or walnut blast these parts before hitting them with some cerakote or powder coat.

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I'll be running whatever hardware I end up reusing through this thing, along with a pass through the vibratory tumbler to give them a nicer finish. All in all, I think this restoration is going to come out really nice!

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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The amount of work is incredible. Cant wait to see it.

 

Thanks a lot! I'm eager and excited, but trying to stay disciplined and learn as much as I can. For example, it's tempting to just slap the new crankshaft in as I have no reason to believe clearances will be anything but within spec, but I still intend to torque the case halves together and cylinder heads in place to check the main line and calculate those clearances. This is a learning experience for me just as much as it is a peace of mind thing :)

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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Can't see pictures while on company VPN so will circle back.

To be honest only scanned your posts. Yikes man lots of typing.

 

Not seeing the #4 cylinder cooling mod on your list.

Get that one too. ;)

 

100mm Wiseco for me on this current build. Last stab for the block.

 

Curious about the air suspension works out.

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Thanks a lot! I'm eager and excited, but trying to stay disciplined and learn as much as I can. For example, it's tempting to just slap the new crankshaft in as I have no reason to believe clearances will be anything but within spec, but I still intend to torque the case halves together and cylinder heads in place to check the main line and calculate those clearances. This is a learning experience for me just as much as it is a peace of mind thing :)

 

This approach to wrenching is super relaxing especially when it's not your ride to work.

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Great job as always. We lost our like button so now we comment on everything......

 

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk

 

Thanks a lot!

 

Can't see pictures while on company VPN so will circle back.

To be honest only scanned your posts. Yikes man lots of typing.

 

Not seeing the #4 cylinder cooling mod on your list.

Get that one too. ;)

 

100mm Wiseco for me on this current build. Last stab for the block.

 

Curious about the air suspension works out.

 

What can I say, I like to share :lol: I do have cyl #4 cooling mod in my pile of stuff, along with some other random "peace of mind" and detail type stuff (mostly plumbing!)

 

I'm a big advocate for air suspension which may not come as a surprise as my business (Bag Riders) specializes in it. In case you have any questions about air suspension, I'm always happy to chat! My WRX has been on air ride for around 8 years now, on a number of different suspensions I've tested for our business. I had my Legacy on a conversion kit that was OK, but does not compare to our bespoke product. Developing our own air suspension line was a huge decision that required a ton of capital to do it the way I felt was right. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished and am eager to continue growing this new branch of our business, and progressing the air suspension industry. I'm currently prototyping Gen 1 R8 suspension. Logging miles is not a chore in the least :lol:

 

This approach to wrenching is super relaxing especially when it's not your ride to work.

 

I agree! I've always prioritized having a second vehicle as to avoid timeline-induced stress as much as reasonably possible. I've had my fair share of sub-$1000 beaters over the years that's for sure :lol: My current "ol' reliable" is an '05 Outback that I did WAY too much work on :lol: So much so in fact, that I made a build thread for it: https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/operation-outback-amalgamation-another-project-john-284155.html

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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I had a few minutes in my shop last night and got started on checking clearances... namely just getting the workspace ready and micing the journals on the crank. I put the bearings in the case halves and unbagged the new fasteners. I'll be gone this weekend for WBM but next week I should be able to wrap up clearance checking and start assembling this thing.

 

I won't lie, I got a bit distracted with hot-tanking everything in sight :lol:

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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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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 6/20/2022 at 7:47 AM, Bigpaw said:

Car looks great! Keep up the good work.

Hey thanks!

On 6/3/2022 at 12:26 PM, kzr750r1 said:

If I have 6K burning a hole in my pocket we may need to talk. ;)

I'm always happy to talk, but especially when there is $6K involved :lol:

----

Alright sorry everyone for the lack of replies. Its summer time and other things have taken priority, but I do have some updates for ya today!

Long story made short, I've got the shortblock all assembled and it rotates nice and smooth. Tolerances all checked out and I gapped the rings according to what the machine shop recommended, which was generally following the piston manufacturers guidelines mixed with their own experienced. I gapped around .026 and .028 which based on my understanding was a little loosey goosey but the machine shop assured me that'll be fine, so I took their word on it. 

I didn't take many photos during the assembly process, but here's one with some nice new main bearings. Ooo, ahhh.

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Annnnnd <insert trendy finger snap transition>

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Voila! 

I decided against painting the block as the beautifully clean aluminum grew on me whilst it sat on my workbench. The brand new case half fasteners and white torque stripe are a nice blend of pop without being too extravagent. 

The bellhousing side cleaned up nicely too, and looks brand spankin' new back there. Same story: cleaned parts and torque striped fasteners. After many years of tediiously hammering rear main seals with fingers crossed, I finally bought the Company 23 rear main seal installer and oh man, what a difference. Not only does it make the seal installation easier, more importantly, I'm more confident that it will actually seal. Obviously, leaky seals are never a good thing but the RMS is probably the worst to replace! Oh ya, and I replaced all the galley plugs with brand new ones too cause that's how I roll 😎

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With the shortblock reassembled and ready to go back on the engine stand, I realized I had yet to order a new flywheel to replace the ~200K original part that is showing its age. I opted for a new OEM flywheel instead of one of the lightweight aftermarket offerings, just my personal preference. I'm hoping the flywheel shows up this week so I can make some good progress this weekend!

With nothing else to do on the shortblock, I moved onto the cylinder heads. This may not come as a surprise to you if you've been reading along, but I opted for new OEM hardware in here as well. Springs, retainers, yadda yadda yadda. Instead of OEM valves I picked up a set of GSCs. Here is a photo I took before starting to build the heads. I like to work clean and organized!

 

I'm realizing this image has some sorta filter on it. Sorry about that.
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Now just insert another trendy finger snap transition and we get...

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Neato! As you can see, no buckets in there yet. I did clean them all and wrote their measurement on the face of the bucket. Since I had new seats cut and replaced the entire valvetrain, the original position of the buckets is not important to me. If you were just doing a regular lash adjustment or some other regular service on the other hand.... don't mix up those buckets!!

Because these buckets have seen some action, I picked a few random ones from the batch and mic'd them to ensure the thickness matched what was printed on the bucket. Good news for me, they all checked out so I'm assuming the same is true for all 16 of them. None of them had scoring on their sidewalls or faces which would be a reason to replace.

Once the heads are torqued in place on the block, I'll be able to measure and set lash. My approach for this is to use my smallest bucket as my constant and simply measure all lash using that bucket, then do the math to determine the appropriate bucket size per valve. It helps to have at least 2 of the same bucket just to save time removing and reinstalling the cam caps. Once I'm at this point (hopefully this weekend if the flywheel shows up!) I'll reuse whatever buckets I can and have to order the rest. At about $25 buckaroonies a pop, this adds up real fast so I appreciate all the T's and P's you have to offer :lol:

Oh ya, I mentioned I had been having fun with the ultrasonic cleaner. That hasn't stopped! I cleaned up the windage tray, oil cooler, AVCS gears and some other random stuff. The ultrasonic cleaner does an amazing job of getting old caked on oil off, and getting to internal passaes you can never get to with a rag and solvent. 

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Glorious!!! So much gunk came out of those AVCS gears. I love that cleaner!!

In that last pic you can see the dirty injectors and rebuild kit. I hot tanked the injectors too after removing all the o-rings. Once they're reassmbled I'll give them a quick blast with brake cleaner whilst supplying 12v to ensure the fuel spray pattern is ideal before they go back on the engine.

Alright, that does it for now. If that flywheel arrives before the weekend I should have a real solid update next week. I'm hoping I can have the car back on the road by August 5th which starts a big local car show called Wolfsgart. I don't care to enter my car in the show (my WRX did win "best engine" a few years ago, though!) but its my favorite weekend of the year to cruise around town as there are so many other modified cars in the area for the event. 

Until next time!

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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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I've made some good headway on the long block - I'm hoping to have this back in the car THIS WEEKEND so long as the valve buckets I need arrive on Friday!

First up was installing a new OEM flywheel, the last thing that needed to be done on the workbench before putting the shortblock back on an engine stand. The Company23 flywheel holder is just perfect for this and gives you confidence torquing those super important flywheel bolts.

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Once the engine was back on the stand, it was time to get movin on reassembly.

ARP Head Studs specify hand-tight for initial install. The studs should bottom out in the block. Rather than send a tap through these threads, I just run a regular head bolt in and out a few times then blow out the ports with compressed air. The installation instructions have you put the head on before the studs, but I prefer to put the studs on first and ensure they all have consistent height from the deck. A machinist straightedge is ideal for this.

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After torquing down both cylinder heads, I went to work on the underside of the engine. It was very satisfying to install the new OEM hardware, beautifully clean baffle, Killer B pickup and new OEM oil pan.

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I also opted for new Group N engine mounts to replace the very tired original mounts that were sloppy, oozy and rusty. Nasty! The pan is fastened with all new OEM hardware just like the baffle inside!

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I've been making heavy use of my ultrasonic cleaner and vibratory tumblers to clean parts inbetween wrench time. Here's a few random pipes being cleaned up in preparation of reinstalltion. I find that a mix of green pyramids and crushed walnut shells do a good job on these small parts. Not pictured, but I've sent every constant tension clamp through this thing as well and they look like new again, I love it.

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I think I mentioned last post, I'm rebuilding the injectors with new seals and filter buckets. This inexpensive and simple tool makes removing the filter buckets very easy. Before installing new filter buckets, I'll provide 12v while spraying some brake or carp cleaner through these to ensure they flow well and atomize properly.

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I love how clean and tidy the engine is coming together. It is really satisfying after so many hours of cleaning! I'd say it's looking pretty darn good considering it's seen 200k miles and about 15 years of Northeast winters!!

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I'm waiting on a pile of OEM parts to come in, which SHOULD happen Friday. So long as that happens, I think its reasonable that I'll have the engine back in the car this weekend or Monday night. In the meantime, I'll be cleaning up the intake manifold, hoses and engine loom, and anything else I come across that I've not already cleaned. I picked up some high temp "aluminum color" paint that I intend to spray on the exposed metal bits like the injector covers and miscellaneous bracketry so they look nicer and don't oxidize right away. 

Thanks for reading!

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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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  • 2 weeks later...

Great progress! Dumb question. What do you check bearing clearances with? Coming from old school muscle/chevys I used to use small green bearing clearance strips from Jegs. Torque down the main caps, remove, then check. Been a while (years) since I’ve built a motor…think you made the right call leaving the motor unpainted. That natural aluminum is a clean look.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/4/2022 at 10:56 PM, SoobyDoobyDoo said:

Great progress! Dumb question. What do you check bearing clearances with? Coming from old school muscle/chevys I used to use small green bearing clearance strips from Jegs. Torque down the main caps, remove, then check. Been a while (years) since I’ve built a motor…think you made the right call leaving the motor unpainted. That natural aluminum is a clean look.

Thanks! That's not a dumb question at all! :) It sounds like you've used plastigauge which is a good, inexpensive and quick tool for checking and/or confirming bearing clearances on engines where the main line is secured via caps. It is a bit trickier on horizontal engines as there are no bearing caps for the crank. Instead, you drop the crank into two bores and then carefully drop the other case half down onto the other and proceed to torque the fasteners. This makes it difficult and time consuming to use plastigauge on these engines. The time consuming part is hard to avoid regardless of the method, though :)

Instead, what I do is install the bearings on the case halves and torque the case halves together without the crankshaft installed. I put the crankshaft on a vice and measure the main journals with a micrometer. I then zero-out a bore gauge to the micrometer. With that, the bore gauge can be used to determine the difference between the crank journal diameter and the corresponding bore on the main line. The same process is used to measure piston-to-wall clearances.

It is time consuming, but critical! I hope that helps.

====

I'm back with another update! Mostly good news!

I'll start with a nice glory photo of the assembled long block. I'm really proud of this one!

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And a couple "detail" photos:

New water pipes and clamps:

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I painted the AVCS lines a matte black to match the other hard pipes on the engine, and painted the injector cover plates "aluminum silver" which I think is a nice, clean look:

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I painted the AVCS solenoid bodies the same "aluminum silver"

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In pursuit of OEM quality and fine details, I marked hoses with a paint pen after crimping the ears on the oetiker clamps on hoses that call for them:

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I'm a big fan of Company23 and their tools, which is why I chose to run their timing belt guide (a part that is made by many companies):

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I replaced the OEM radiator with a Koyo unit and added some foam tape to provide a better seal for the fans.

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It was about 12:30 on a Tuesday night (technically Wednesday morning I guess) when I decided to install the engine. After getting it connected to the transmission and lowering it into the car, the engine sat high on the RH side. Puzzled, I checked the engine mounts and sure enough they were lined up correctly, but not dropping into the holes.

It turns out, back in December when I rebuilt the front end, I was shipped the wrong front crossmember. If you go back through the photos, you'll notice that it is missing the provision for the up-pipe. 

This was quite the frustrating surprise in the wee morning hours. I won't lie: the angle grinder looked mighty tempting at the moment, but I kept my cool. I pulled the engine back out, put it back on the stand, and went to bed. I had vacation the next week so it was time to take a break. I ordered a new to me crossmember and went on my way.

When I came back from vacation, the crossmember had arrived. It was an equally clean example which made me happy. I put the car back on the lift for the crossmember swap. This time around, the fasteners were much more cooperative!

A transmission jack and overhead lift make this swap a breeze:

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The following day was spent putting the engine in *again* and buttoning things up. I treated myself to a new OEM engine cover, and splurged on the JDM accessory cover panels as well that will show up eventually.

Not bad for nearly 200k, eh?

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The moment of truth had finally arrived. It was time to start the engine! I left the fuel pump disconnected and gave it some time cranking to build oil pressure. I connected the fuel pump, crossed all my fingers and toes, and turned the key. The car roared to life!

In my excitement I managed to snap this one picture. Totally unexciting to most, but for me, a big deal!

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No CEL which is a bit odd considering the secondary air pump delete... I'm assuming it will take some time to "figure out" that its missing and throw a whole bunch of codes when it does.

With the car moving under its own power for the first time in 2022 (technically since November 2021) I pulled it out and gave it a wash. It cleans up nice!

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Next, I put the car back up on the lift to do an oil change (I always do an immediate change after doing any amount of resealing on the block or heads) as well as check for oil leaks, and found none. Yay! However after bringing the car up to temp, a few of the coolant hoses are weeping, so I'm working through those now.

In other "not so good news", my attempt at rebuilding my steering rack was not successful. It is leaking out of both ends of the rack. So, I have a reman rack on the way, which should arrive sometime this week. Oh well! I'm glad I tried, and knew going into it that I may not succeed. That's ok! I took the opportunity to teach my 8 y/o niece (who was visiting the day I found the leaky rack) that even as an adult, I try new things and sometimes I don't succeed the first time, and that is how you learn and grow. I will try again one day, but this time around I want to get the car back on the road. On the bright side, the steering system seems to be otherwise working well.

So, that's the update! Engine is in. Engine started up and runs really well. I've got a couple small coolant leaks to fix and a new (reman) rack en-route. While I wait for these things to arrive, I am applying a "hybrid ceramic" coating from Meguiars (which seems more like a synthetic liquid wax...) in hopes it will help keep the dust from clinging to the car. I live only about 1/4 mile down a dirt road but man, it gets dirty quick!!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll have an "all done!" update in a week or two. Cheers!

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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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15 hours ago, seanyb505 said:

Starting an engine you built yourself is something I'd wish even for my worst enemy to experience, it's that great. 

Thanks!! It sure is a great feeling!! I'm eager to take it for a test drive now, once I button up a few small things :)

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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Sorry to hear about the rack leaking. When I am moved and settled in my new house I plan to do a post op on my rack to figure out where I went wrong and the re-rebuild it to try again. It seams so simple in parts and construction that there must be something tiny I am missing in technique

Wagon is LIFE! - 250,000 miles and climbing

Unofficial Build (Restoration) Thread

Steering Rack Rebuild

 

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16 hours ago, jaylew said:

Sorry to hear about the rack leaking. When I am moved and settled in my new house I plan to do a post op on my rack to figure out where I went wrong and the re-rebuild it to try again. It seams so simple in parts and construction that there must be something tiny I am missing in technique

No worries man! I knew going into it that it was new territory and with that, comes plenty of risk. I'm glad I got the experience! Similarly I plan on inspecting the rack to see if I can identify the failure point.

  • Thanks 1

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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  • 2 weeks later...

Howdy howdy friends, I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend.

I made some good headway on my Legacy, namely finished up that ceramic coating, replaced a few coolant hoses, buttoned up my headlight + foglight wiring, reinstalled fender liners + a couple other fenderwell things, and flashed on a break-in tune!

We had a few cooler days here in northern VT and I enjoyed having the garage doors open. While I had the car on the lift, I added a nutsert to the metal bumper bracket on each side of the bumper closest to the fender. Since trimming for the body kit mandates cutting away the original fastener location, this leaves the bumper and fenders with no positive retention. Adding a stainless nutsert and M6 fastener keeps the panels nice and tight, whilst ensuring good body panel fitment after removing/reinstalling the panels.

Check out the nice tight body line on the RH fender pieces. That's what we like to see!

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Fender liners... not that exciting, right? WRONG. Often overlooked, these puppies are important. They provide more attachment points for your bumpers, and serve as the sacrificial barrier for whatever the road has to offer. Because of my wide body kit and wheel fitment, I had to trim mine up a bit. Once I was happy with them, I finished the job some good ol' fashioned elbow grease. Photobombing behind the rotor you can see our prototype Legacy BL/BP air suspension which we will be releasing soon 😉

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Onto the headlight wiring! Big shouts to Legacy Odds n Ends for the quality adapter harness. My JDM headlights didn't function properly all last year... it seems that the wiring harness I bought for them last time was done incorrectly as the blinkers and running lights were backwards or something. Anyways, this wiring harness solved my problems AND now I have that neato JDM leveling motor controller. COOL!

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LET THERE BE (functional) LIGHT!

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Next up on the agenda was flashing the break-in tune onto the car's ECU. I decided to go the open source route as I didn't want to live with a constant CEL in the car, and ever since Cobb's GreenSpeed update, certain DTCs (such as those associated with the secondary air pump) cannot be disabled. That's gonna be a no from me dog. I whipped out the laptop and tactrix cable and got to work. Look at me car, I'm da tuner now. Not really though, the car is going to be tuned by VEMS here in Vermont, though I'm sure I'll end up tinkering with it at some point.

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To my delight, the car fired right up and without any CEL or other trouble codes. Nice!

All that was left to do was pull the car out and do some 'mirin of my hard work. Test drive wasn't an option on this day as I was waiting on two more heater hoses to come from Subaru. Those arrived today, so I'll swap them on tonight and will be ready for some test driving and data logging this week!

Until then, here are some photos of my car in my driveway outside my house. This is the furthest this car has traveled in about 10 months, so congratulations are in order :lol:

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Oooooooo, ahhhh

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Annnnnd a close-up of the front fitment to cap it off! To the inexperienced, this may look like the outcome of "slap on the bags and wheels" but truthfully, it is so much more involved. I have tediously adjusted my suspension length so that I can fully deflate the air springs without putting weight on the fiberglass body kit or its fasteners. Of course, then there is the process of calculating wheel specs and adjusting camber until it sits juuuuuust right. Not every person on air suspension takes the time to do this, as it is quite involved... but IMO the outcome is totally worth the effort!

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Thanks for reading! Hope to have some photos from somewhere other than my driveway or shop in the near future :lol:

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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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