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Operation Outback Amalgamation - Another project by John


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You might be asking yourself "doesn't this guy already have a Daily Driver build thread?" and you'd be right. But like many enthusiasts, my "daily driver" project turned into much more and as-so, a new daily is procured and the promise to oneself begins again.

 

To say that the story I'm about to tell was my original intention would be an outright lie. No, this project was the result of a rushed purchase and an oversight by yours truly.

 

This all began in Fall 2019 as I began my search for a winter mobile to carry me through another VT winter, as I had mentally committed to putting my specB under the knife. I followed through on that one BIG TIME and ended up doing a whole lotta stuff that I hadn't intended on doing, or at least to the extent I ended up doing them. That car has it's own thread but to give you an idea if you haven't seen it, as 9/07/2020 it looked like this:

v7a3xQR.jpg

 

And not to be forgotten, my specB was originally a daily driver as my other primary vehicle (currently my daily) is my 450 whp widebody, shaved bay WRX wagon.

CTuA2YU.jpg

 

So now you probably get the picture here. I quite like these aging Subarus and they're plentiful here in VT, albeit most are in pretty rough condition. And this is exactly the starting point for my story.

 

Here's the car I picked up in Fall 2019, what was intended to be my winter vehicle that year.

wzlI1WZ.jpg

 

Why is it all dismantled? Well, remember how I mentioned it was a "rushed purchase"? Indeed it was. These cars, especially in a desirable trim, tend to sell SUPER DUPER fast here in VT, especially as winter approaches. This one was being sold by an older gentleman and the black leather interior was in immaculate condition. The engine surely needed a rebuild, but I eagerly picked it up for < $1000 after a quick (quick!!) look-over and a test drive around the block, then proceeded to drive it a half hour home to my shop. I thought I was well on my way to a "normal person" daily driver, that is until I went to put the car up on jack stands.

 

As I lowered the floor jack and the chassis came down onto the jack stands, my stomach dropped as the LH side of the vehicle continued to come down towards the ground. The jack stand had gone clear through the rocker panel which had rusted beyond the point of reasonable repair for a vehicle of this age. I proceeded to rip off the rocker trim panel and quarter panel trim and well, the picture speaks for itself:

vt3utfJ.jpg

 

So that left me feeling very frustrated and notably, without a car that would pass state inspection to carry me through the winter months. At the time I was working from home a few days a week (software engineer) and fortunately the snow held off for the most part, enough for me to continue driving my lowered specB well into December. Soon thereafter, coronavirus shutdowns started here in VT so I was full-time remote and the need for a dedicated winter car became nonexistent. I focused on my specB and maintaining my wife's cars throughout the quarantine, and postponed my winter car project until recently.

 

Throughout the summer I pondered what to do with "blue car" as it became known between my wife and I, and also keeping an eye out for another Outback. I ultimately decided that I'd seek an Outback with a clean chassis, manual transmission, and dual HVAC climate controls. So long as it had those things, I could make it work. Sometime in late August, I found the one I'd end up buying. Here it is on the day I brought it home.

OMqiziQ.jpg

 

Worth mentioning, the passenger side (pictured) is "the good side" :lol: From what I gathered, the LH side had side-swiped one of those yellow ballards you see in parking garages and what not. The QP trim piece was damaged, along with both doors and the LF fender. There was some REAL shoddy body work on the doors to boot. Having just done a whole lot of body work on my specB I wasn't exactly eager to jump back into it, but the rest of the car ticked the boxes and I knew I could address the aesthetics at some point later. The interior was also super gnarly and of the beige/tan persuasion that I personally am not a big fan of... but I had another, super clean, black interior ready to go!

 

This marked the beginning of OPERATION OUTBACK AMALGAMATION wherein I decided to take my two 05 Outbacks and turn them into one.

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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So now I've got these two '05 Outback Limited sitting in my yard... one has been there for about a year. My incredibly understanding and patient wife tells me that its time to make one of them go away, so it was time to dismantle the blue car. I knew I wanted the interior, but I also pillaged various other parts that were in not-so-good condition on my Gold car. The whole mantra is to take the best of both cars and make them into one!

 

I set aside the black leather interior for a thorough cleaning after sitting all winter

PJiPLy3.jpg

 

The carpet had some moisture underneath it, which (fortunately) did not have any strong odor to it. So I soaked up what I could with shop rags, sprinkled some cat litter on the hard to reach areas and set up a fan to do the rest. This has been going on for about a week now and its bone dry

YH1aeRx.jpg

 

When dismantling the Blue Car then the Gold Car, I organized all the small bits into these cheap plastic organizers. This makes reassembly go much smoother, and between the two cars I have plenty of extra fasteners

Ehu7Jiw.jpg

 

Its the little things, like these clips for the grille, that make me smile. Both cars had a couple that were broken, but between the two cars there were a total of (4) that were solid!

m28iKJZ.jpg

 

I first dismantled the Blue Car then proceeded to start stripping out the Gold Car. As I removed parts from the Gold Car that would not end up being used, I jammed them into the shell of the Blue Car sitting outside my shop. It got pretty jam packed in there. You can kinda see the gnarlyness of the Gold Car original interior in these photos

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It wasn't long after that that I had the Gold Car fully stripped out and ready for the reassembly process!

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Here you can see the damage to the left hand side of the car. I had already pulled the rear door, and you'll see why in a second!

3FTtGAA.jpg

 

Just my luck! A Champagne Gold Outback popped up at my local salvage yard! As you can see, the LH side of this one is in good shape, so I swung by to grab the LF fender, FL door, LR door and LR quarter panel trim piece

BJTCzf1.png

 

Here's some of the parts from the salvage yard (and some parts I picked off Blue Car) ready to go

mttFAE8.jpg

 

Ok, just a little bit more apart now and ready for the replacement panels!

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Look at those clean rockers, yeah baby!

Edited by BagRidersJohn

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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So that brings me up to where I'm at today. The Blue Car is stripped of any part I even considered keeping and is sitting outside my shop ready for the wrecker to come take it away. In return, I get a super happy wife so that's a big W for this guy :lol:

 

So what's next? What's the plan?!

 

I'm currently in "stage 1" of this car i.e., getting it up to par aesthetically.

  • Touch up a few small areas on Gold Car chassis
  • Install replacement doors, fender & QP trim
  • Spray misc. interior plastic parts black :cool:
  • Reupholster pillars / headliner in microsuede :cool:
  • Reinstall & super clean interior

 

The last few bits are what I'm most excited for! While I'm not going for any sort of a real head-turner here, I do love me a nice black interior. I reupholstered my specB with great success so I figured why not do the same to this car? The outcome will be a car that has a super clean and blacked-out interior, an exterior that is in "pretty good shape" and most importantly to me, a clean chassis (considering its a 15 year old New England car!!) I love doing these things that make the car "feel" nicer and newer as I sit in it about an hour every day for commuting.

 

STAGE 2 - ENGINE

Once I've got the interior/exterior of the car back together, the engine comes out for a rebuild as its definitely time for one. This particular vehicle has the oddball EJ259 motor which is pretty common around these parts (both my Outbacks have this motor). As of now the plan is to just do head gaskets, timing components, reseal the oil pan, and whatever else jumps out at me. Namely, I do NOT plan on splitting the case unless the cylinder walls look really bad. Its got about 120K on it so it shouldn't need new rings but only time will tell.

 

I haven't found an abundance of information on EJ259 rebuilds insofar as aftermarket rebuild kits go (I use Aisin kits for EJ253 rebuilds) so I'll try to shine some light on this as I go.

 

STAGE 3 - THE FUTURE

With the engine rebuilt, the interior brought up to my preferences, and the exterior free of any major dents/dings, I have some ideas for things I'd like to do down the road (maybe next summer) such as:

  • Moderate lift
  • Larger tires
  • Exhaust (I think I can make an OBX H6 exhaust work)
  • Perhaps a "scuff and spray" color change to some nice non-metallic Grey

 

For the last one specifically, I wouldn't do a full color change (i.e., no major repairs, no jambs, no under hood/trunk, etc.) just scuff it down, mask it off and shoot a new base/clear to the color of my choice. I am a big fan of Nardo Grey albeit I'd choose any sort of "similar-ish" grey based on the price at the paint shop if the price of a few quarts of Nardo makes me cringe. I'd go for "the best, lowest effort job I can do". Keeping in mind this is solely for fun, and to make my car more enjoyable for me to look at :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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Cool project! If I had the room, I would be doing something similar to refresh the interior of my 05.

 

Thanks! Yeah it is definitely a "space hog" at least for a little while!

 

--

 

I wanted to make something clear -- my intention with this project isn't to save a bunch of dough or to come out with something wildly different or exciting. As odd as it may be to some, I enjoy this sort of tinkering and, as I tried to highlight in my first post, the idea to "combine" these two cars was really the result of having one car (blue car) that was rotted beyond reasonable repair. I knew I had to scrap it, so when the opportunity to at least utilize it in some way it just felt like a silver lining in an otherwise "not so great" scenario. Yeah its a decent amount of work but like I said, I find it enjoyable :)

 

Anyhow! Yesterday was a big day- the salvage yard wrecker came by and towed away my blue car. I got a few bucks for it but the most value came from my wife being super happy it was finally gone :lol:

 

Some little progress on the gold car...

 

I replaced the "window rain guard" whatever its called... the big long one that runs from the front to the back of the car. It was dented real bad so I pulled the part off blue car before it went away. It's the little things, ya know?

SCgo9Gv.jpg

 

While tearing apart gold car, I found a spray can of "color match" paint that the p/o left in there. I decided to do some quick repairs on a couple small areas that could use it.

 

The LF door sill had some surface rust that I ground down and treated and proceeded to finish. Most of this area gets covered up by the trim piece and the hard tape edge falls on a metal seam. Perfect? Definitely not! But not bad for a quick repair to get rid of some ugly rust!

Nel6T9G.jpg

 

Similarly, the LF door I got from the salvage yard had a nasty rust bubble that looked like it had formed over many years from some deep scratch that was never repaired. Just like the door sill, I ground it down to bare metal and repaired the area so it was nice and smooth. Not wanting to respray the entire door I figured I'd do the best blend I could muster with spray cans.

 

This looks like it was before I sprayed clear but you get the idea. Rolling paper backwards like this is a good way of getting a soft edge which can be easily sanded out with 1500-2000 into the existing panel and then buffed so the surface is nice and smooth.

9R1dsBF.jpg

 

Unfortunately for me, it turns out that the spray can color was not even in the same ballpark as the factory paint. Oh well :lol: Lets be honest, this area is going to be covered in road grime all winter so I'm just happy to have repaired the rust compromised area. That's one less thing for me to do if I do decide to go ahead and respray the body in the future :) For what its worth, the actual repair came out pretty good, just the color is no where close :lol:

totxDWd.jpg

 

Not pictured but I also started prepping all of the plastic pieces in the upper trim that I'll need to spray black to match the ultrasuede. Like any kind of spraying, prep is the most important so I'm cleaning and scuffing these very thoroughly and will hit them with some adhesion promoter to give the color coat a fighting chance against normal wear & tear on parts like the seatbelt anchors and grab handles.

 

More updates will come as I continue to make progress :)

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 checked out the spec b thread and holy $&!@...that thing is sweet can’t wait to see what you do with this one! I’d love to have a slightly jacked up outback with some all terrains or something similar (moderately knobby) for some light off roading/trail driving/just getting out there. I think either way jacked up or lowered you can’t go wrong with a fourth gen outback.
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I checked out the spec b thread and holy $&!@...that thing is sweet can’t wait to see what you do with this one! I’d love to have a slightly jacked up outback with some all terrains or something similar (moderately knobby) for some light off roading/trail driving/just getting out there. I think either way jacked up or lowered you can’t go wrong with a fourth gen outback.

 

I appreciate the kind words my friend but don't get too excited, this one is solely a daily/commuter :lol: This Outback is "replacing" the daily driver duties of my specB since I went and decided to respray that one, put it on air suspension, and refresh the entire rear end "while I was at it" :lol:

 

Anyhow, I've been busy with family stuff over the last few days but did get a bit of garage time to make some headway.

 

With the interior out, I vacuumed, scrubbed, vacuumed and cleaned the chassis with diluted Simple Green (a generic all purpose cleaner). I don't understand how vehicles get so damn dirty UNDER the carpet, but it is always the case somehow, and I just have to clean it.

T07Kp7J.jpg

 

I painted a bunch of interior parts black to match the black ultrasuede material I'm doing my pillars/headliner with. As with any painting project, the key to long term success is surface preparation. So I clean with soapy water first, then W&G remover, then scuff with a maroon pad, then W&G remover until it wipes clean. I spray the parts with a clear adhesion promoter before the color coat. I prefer using SEM Trim Black but have also used Duplicolor Vinyl & Fabric paint with good results too. It really just comes down to the surface prep being done adequately. Anyow, here are some black parts, neato

XwGcnUe.jpg

 

I also gave the carpet a relatively thorough vacuuming which is only "stage one" of the carpet cleaning process. Next up is scrubbing with a bristle brush to loosen up the stubborn debris, vacuuming again, then shampoo & more scrubbing (either with a brush on a drill or a DA depending on the severity of the grime) and finally sucking up all the dirty shampoo with the hot water carpet extractor. The result from all of this is a really clean, good smelling carpet. I've got a set of Weathertech floor mats to put in which will protect my time investment over the winter.

 

Before (I already did one side, obviously)

4rErOvf.jpg

 

After

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I'll follow up with the "finished" photo once I complete the aforementioned scrubbing/shampoo/extraction process. It is very satisfying, but a lot of work!!

 

Lastly, I did a "bad body work delete" mod :lol: Like I mentioned in my first post, the p/o did some REAL questionable (I'll be honest.... it was just downright bad) body work in attempts to repair what I guess was sideswiping a parking lot bollard. Part of that process was using the rattlecan "matched" (not even close) spraypaint on the QP trim piece. Well, it came out terrible, so I removed the trim piece and got one from the scrapyard, but there was a ton and I mean a TON of nasty overspray on the QP and bumper. You can kinda see it in the photos on the first post. Fortunately for me, there was clearly no surface prep (read: scuffing) done, so I was able to remove all the overspray with some lacquer thinner on a rag and some good old fashioned elbow grease.

wY6YTDh.jpg

 

I also hung (but not bolted) the replacement LF fender on the chassis, mostly to get it out of the way, but also to trick myself into thinking I got more work done than I really did :lol:

G16nVgO.jpg

 

Tonight, my favorite person in the whole wide world, my super awesome wife, is going to be the extra set of hands that is really helpful when upholstering a headliner. While the glue is setting on that, I'm going to knock out the shampooing on the carpet so it can dry for a couple days with the aid of a fan. Getting those things out of the way will set me up for being able to reinstall the carpet and headliner this week and the rest of the interior will go in shortly thereafter, or whenever I find the time to upholster the pillars.

 

I'm very excited to see the outcome i.e., a very clean, all black interior. I'll get the car out of my shop for a couple days so I can knock out some maintenance on our other vehicles, then the EJ259 comes out of this guy for a rebuild. I'm leaning towards doing valve stem seals as well as the typical HG job but we'll see how I'm feeling when the time comes. The most important thing for me is having this vehicle ready before the snow hits, so I do have a deadline rapidly approaching here in northern VT :)

 

Thanks for reading!

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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Subbed for when this inevitably turns into another epic build after the restoration. Awesome work so far!

 

I promise this car will not get that far :lol: I do appreciate the kind words though :)

 

I didn't get quite as much done last night as I wanted to -- as always there is stuff to do around the house and I'm always working late, but I did manage to get the headliner material glued down with the help of my wife. I still (obviously) have plenty of trimming and gluing to do but that is all easy to do by myself.

 

Before

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After

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As you can see in the background, I haven't done anything with my specB since the photo I posted from early September. It is constant motivation for me to keep working away on other projects so I can get back to work on it and see it all completed!!

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 spec b build is awesome so can't wait to see what you do with this when you decide it's another project to play with. Since we all know your going to get there....... eventually, lol.

#LGTSTi is still cheaper and nicer then an equal year wrxsti

Follow my 2007 Spec B. Build here

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did you put the black headliner over the tan? or dye it?

 

On this one I went over the existing fabric which is usually how I go about it when its bonded well and otherwise free of imperfections. It makes a good foundation for the new material! The material I used is thin and not backed unlike typical "headliner fabric" you'd find at the fabric store.

 

The spec b build is awesome so can't wait to see what you do with this when you decide it's another project to play with. Since we all know your going to get there....... eventually, lol.

 

Thank you! The craziest I'll go with this one after I finish doing all the interior work, engine rebuild and whatever maintenance stuff is just a mild lift, a more aggressive wheel/tire combo, maybe fab an exhaust and maybe (maybe!!!!) a low-effort respray to freshen up the exterior and get away from the champagne color that I'm not entirely in love with :lol: I am loosely planning my next bigger project that my wife wants to be involved with... she really loves C3 Corvettes so I've been tossing around the idea of a building what I'd dub a "2JC3"... we'll see :) I'm sure its been done before but that's no deterrent for me; I build stuff for fun and to say "I did it!" :)

 

---

 

Last night after another longer than usual day at work I tackled the carpet which is now drying. I'm hopeful i'll be able to finish upholstery work tonight and start reassembly tomorrow.

 

I'll walk through my steps for "super cleaning" a carpet. The first couple photos are the same as a couple posts ago but including them here for the completeness factor.

 

Firstly, it helps but is not necessary to have the carpet out of the car. I begin by removing any trash/debris by hand and then doing a thorough vacuum to get the top-most level of dirt. Here is the side-by-side of vacuumed and not vacuumed:

4rErOvf.jpg

 

Next, I use a combination of a bristle brushes to loosen up the stubborn ground in dirt. I have a handheld brush that I like a lot and a few drill attachments like the one pictured here that do wonders. Again, this is to agitate and free up the stubborn dirt that didn't get picked up with the initial vacuum. After loosening everything up, I vacuum the carpet again. This photo is after finishing this stage.

08KWhJV.jpg

 

Now you should have a carpet that is free of dirt and debris, leaving only stains or REALLY stubborn dirt that must be removed with liquid cleaner and more agitation, here are some examples:

qRPusfr.jpg

FclUEfl.jpg

 

The final and perhaps most rewarding stage is shampooing and vacuuming the carpet. I use carpet cleaning detergent in a mini carpet extractor along with the same carpet cleaning detergent in a spray bottle that I use to concentrate on trouble areas and hit them with the drill-mounted brush.

 

I fill the carpet extractor reservoir with the hot water and detergent as-per instructions then work the carpet in sections. I first spray the entire area with the hot water / detergent mixture, then hit the really troublesome spots with the spray bottle detergent and follow that up with the drill-mounted brush. From there, I just use the carpet extractor over and over again until the sudsy water that is sucks up is no longer brown and nasty. If you've never used a carpet extractor and have an odd passion for super cleaning like I do, I suggest you pick one up... total game changer. It is so satisfying to start with nasty brown stuff being soaked up and working it until its clean.

 

Like most things, you get out what you put in. This is after about 2 hours across all these steps and focusing a lot on trouble areas especially in the driver-side footwell. You can see my mini carpet extractor in the background taking a well-earned rest!!

djVZX8o.jpg

 

Another (terribly lit) angle, but you get the idea... this carpet is likely the cleanest its been since rolling off the lot back in 2005!

5aHWajW.jpg

 

That's how I go about "super cleaning" a carpet. It's a lot of work but the result is just so satisfying and really improves the feel of the interior in a way thats hard to measure by itself!

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! I'm longing for the day when the mechanical issues are at bay and I have the time/energy to do this level of cleaning/restoration.

 

 

 

Thanks! Just keep working away and you’ll get there [emoji4] In this case I chose to do this stuff prior to mechanicals ie engine rebuild. I have a never ending list of car stuff, but always having another car to drive makes it way more reasonable and less stressful to knock out projects a couple hours at a time! Between work and family my shop hours are limited and often just cut into sleep haha 🤣

 

 

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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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Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. I spent the better part of Sunday working on my Outback and made some good progress!

 

My carpet finished drying so I started by wrestling that thing into the car so I'd stop tripping over it as I run around my shop :lol:

8zIeLCS.jpg

 

I went to throw on my shop shirt that I leave hanging near the door and this fella came crawling out to say hello :eek: I'm not a fan of spiders so this was not a great start to my day.

Ou5QR3R.jpg

 

I figured it was a good idea to upholster the sunroof panel before I forgot about it like I did one time on another car. After some head scratching I managed to get the thing out of its rails, which was a different process than my specB. The "stops" that prevent the panel from sliding out in the back are fastened to the metal track/rails by small phillips head screws. I'd venture a guess that the "proper" removal process involves dropping the rails but I was able to remove the stops with a makeshift low profile right-angle screwdriver i.e., vice grips and a properly sized bit. With the stops out of the way, the panel slid right out. I chose to go over the existing material which, like the headliner, is foam backed. No "in progress" photos here but there's nothing to it... just apply ample spray adhesive and carefully apply and trim the fabric; simple as that! Behold the panel reinstalled in the vehicle!

JVHOEKL.jpg

 

Next, I finished up with the headliner. I'm using cabin and map lights from an 08-14 STI that are interchangeable with the Legacy GT and come in black from the factory. The rest of the parts are painted.

uCRwaNo.jpg

 

With a helping hand from my wife, we wrangled the headliner back into the vehicle through the hatch.... much easier than a sedan!!

KAfMwD4.jpg

 

I then moved onto trimming up the pillars. For the A-pillars, I remove the factory fabric and upholster over the plastic form. I use the removed fabric as a template for the new material.

5zFhutz.jpg

 

Ta-daaaa

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No pictures of the B-pillars :( Sorry!

 

I was growing tired of upholstery work so decided to put the rear "cabin / trunk area" back together. One of the side panels had a funky smell coming from the back side of it, presumably some rodents had been in there at some point, so I stripped all the factory insulation (some type of recylcled denim-like material in mat form) and scrubbed the panel down with a sponge and simple green. No more smell, yay! Instead of putting the panel back in without the insulation, I applied some thick adhesive-backed foam that I had kickin' around from a prior project (I think I used them on inner door skins??) which is a bit beefier than the factory stuff.

4Za74Up.jpg

 

It is really coming together!

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All that torn up material made me cringe so I treated myself to a brand spankin' new factory cargo mat!

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That does it for today! Next on the agenda is upholstering the C/D piillars and putting the rest of the interior back together. I have some backlogged work on other family vehicles to get done so once the interior stuff is finished, this car goes out of the shop so I can catch up on that work before it comes back in for the motor work. One day at a time!!

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 tackled the C-pillars last night which are two-piece design and therefore require a little disassembly before they can be recovered.

 

Here you can see the way these pieces are bonded together using plastic welding. The piece that I'm holding has not been modified yet, whereas the piece on the table is ready for trim work. The melted plastic with an orange line next to it is an example of the plastic weld bond.

A8JiZuU.jpg

 

Using some abrasive tool like a dremel, die grinder or like I have here just a regular drill with a grinding wheel attachment, remove just the melted material to expose the underlying boss of the tan plastic piece.

Aqpzoeu.jpg

 

After repeating this for each of the weld joints, the pieces will separate easily. They can be rejoined by a high strength adhesive over the remaining boss which is exactly what I did later on.

vhVmEVG.jpg

 

With the pieces separated, the upper part can be recovered and then rejoined to the lower piece using high strength plastic adhesive. The only thing to really make note of here is when wrapping the material over the bottom edge of the top portion of the panel (i.e., the one being trimmed), be sure to come back with a razor blade and cut out around the plastic bosses in order to appropriately locate the parts when reassembling as they will "clip" back together.

 

And there you have it, all back together!

xm6bLKd.jpg

 

Oh and I also snagged a quick photo of the B-pillar for the sake of completion :)

vsQExuS.jpg

 

Tonight I'm going to try to get the whole cabin back together. Wish me luck!

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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Gorgeous work, as per usual. Thanks for inspiring. I might even get around to vacuuming my carpet after seeing this😝

 

Thank you!! Haha it is very rewarding, especially when you go the extra mile and hit it with the shampoo and brush!!

 

Man... you’re so thorough my rebuild is feeling bad about itself

 

Lmao :lol: I appreciate the kind words!

 

--

 

We had family visiting over the weekend which gave me the push I needed to get the car back on the ground and out of the shop so we could use the space for "donut on a string" game since there was rain on the forecast. So I did and now here I am to share another update!

 

Before I re-hung the doors (with the help of my wife of course, shouts to her) I snapped a quick photo of the (mostly) reassembled front and rear interior in all of its sparkly clean glory. The driver door sill trim is missing as it goes over the "kick panel" trim which covers up the wiring down there which I needed to access when installing the door.

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Not too shabby for 200k on the odo :cool: Truth be told I have another steering wheel (out of my WRX way back in the day, pristine condition!)

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Using a soft bristle brush with an interior cleaning product is a great way to lift dirt and debris out from tight trim panels. I also use a brush and swirling motion to suds up the cleaner on the dash and trim plastics. For edges or areas where panels meet (like around the shift boot) I first go around with a pick and vacuum, then follow up with the brush and suds approach.

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I decided to install the cleared headlamps I had my specB on this car, since I picked up a set of JDM lamps for my specB and therefore had no immediate use for these. I think they clean up the front end nicely!

d3rZ52x.jpg

 

And behold, the driver side! Remember when I got this car it had been sideswiped (or had sideswiped a yellow bollard) which severely dented/scraped/damaged both doors, the fender, and the QP trim piece. The previous owner had "attempted" some body repair which as far as I could tell was literally smearing body filler as if it was play-doh, hitting it with a heavy coat of spray paint and calling it a day. There is still some scuffing visible on the "flare" part of the front bumper and the replacement fender had a minor dent by the headlight, but we're gonna have to live with that stuff. The rest of the damage (and the poorly done repairs) no longer plague this side of the vehicle.

gsstGke.jpg

 

So! Now that the interior looks and smells like a new car, and the exterior looks like... well, less of a reflection of its 200k odometer reading :lol: (for real though, I'll give it cut and buff if I dont respray it) I'll be moving onto some other repairs to get this ol' girl ready for the VT winter. The EJ259 is tired and leaking like a sieve so it will be coming on out for gaskets and seals. For now, I'm going to leave the bottom end alone unless I find some super glaring issue upon disassembly... maybe next summer I'll do rings and bearings. With the engine out, I'll throw a new clutch in there and likely a few other odds and ends "while I'm at it" (famous last words)

 

Thanks for reading!

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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Definitely doesn’t look like it had 200k on it-thanks for sharing! A lot of good ideas and things to learn on car detailing in here. Need to go back through and read it all again. My wagons still pretty clean but no where near presentable in a show...lol. Also need to do this to the wife’s Tribeca...kids are in there majority of the time and it shows. Be nice to get it back up to snuff
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Definitely doesn’t look like it had 200k on it-thanks for sharing! A lot of good ideas and things to learn on car detailing in here. Need to go back through and read it all again. My wagons still pretty clean but no where near presentable in a show...lol. Also need to do this to the wife’s Tribeca...kids are in there majority of the time and it shows. Be nice to get it back up to snuff

 

Thanks for the kind words! Definitely a lot of time consuming work but I'm happy with the results :)

 

I had a nice leisurely Sunday fun day in the shop and yanked the tired EJ259 out of the Outback. I've pulled a lot of EJ's but never a 259 before. Overall the process is basically the same as the more common 253, just a few different electrical connectors for the additional O2 sensors and lack of VVTI sensors on the cylinder heads.

 

ts3Y4yp.jpg

 

The timing components were in "not terrible" decent condition albeit I have no idea how old they are... the bearings were definitely on the older side as they spun very freely with the typical "skateboard wheel" sound you get with older bearings. The hydraulic tensioner was also leaking pretty severely around the piston which is a telling sign of age. You can see the weeping around the cylinder heads

 

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Here you can see the RH cylinder head with the gasket still in place. Note it is a single layer gasket, presumably the revised version that Subaru insisted was a "fix" around the time of the head gasket lawsuit. The cylinder crosshatching is still visible on all four cylinders which I was happy to see. I'm not doing bearings or rings on this motor so no splitting of the short block. I took this picture so I could compare to the 642 MLS gasket that I use on 253's and sure enough that one will work.

 

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And the 642 gasket as a comparison (off by 180 degrees but you get the idea)

 

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And here's where I left it last night

 

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Cheese! :lol:

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I bagged up the cylinder heads and brought them with me to work today where at some point I'll take a trip down the road to the machine shop to have them decked flat.

 

Aside from the head gaskets, timing components, water pump/ t-stat and replacing the "assumed" gaskets (e.g., intake/exhaust), I'll be doing a few other seals on the engine to ensure this old goat keeps the fluids inside:

- Rear main seal

- Crank / front seal

- Front/rear cam seals

- Water x-pipe o-rings

- Oil filler neck o-ring

- Reseal oil pan + oil pan o-ring

- Reseal oil pump + oil pump o-ring

- Reseal rear oil separator plate

- Reseal camshaft retaining plates

- Valve cover gaskets / spark plug tube seals

 

Not engine related, but also picked up a low mileage OEM rack & pinion and power steering pump as the ones on this car were toast. I'm also replacing the TOB while I'm in there, and slapping a new clutch in as well... maybe a flywheel too but I didn't give it a close enough look last night to really make a decision on that.

 

I think that does it for now. Hopefully the timing belt kit I ordered is the right one, I'll update this thread when I figure that out so that other EJ259 rebuilders will have a solid source of information!

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 did a little tinkering over the weekend, but not a whole lot. I got the heads back from the machine shop the other day having decided against having them grind new seats. They quoted me about half what I paid for the entire car so I decided against it in favor of just replacing all the valve stem seals and cleaning up the seats at home.

 

I started by removing one of the intake valves from the cylinder head but wasn't able to clean it up enough to get my lapping tool to suction onto it, so I said to hell with it and ended up just ordering a set of aftermarket valves to start fresh. We'll see how they look when they get here, I'm not expecting much but reviews were favorable and they fit the bill. The seats on the heads look alright so I'm hopeful that I can just take the new valves and lap them in and be on my way.

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Once I decided I wasn't going to be lapping valves, I went ahead and pulled the accessory pumps, sump, pickup etc. off the short block so I could get it onto the workbench and get to the rear main seal / oil separator cover plate. Everything came off easy with the exception of the crank position sensor out of the oil pump, which was corroded in place. The electrical connector came off in one piece then I had to carefully press out the metal sensor housing (the part that protrudes from the oil pump casting). I got it out without damaging the oil pump and have a new crank position sensor on the way. I cleaned up the housing on the oil pump with a dremel so the new sensor will slide right in.

 

With the accessory pumps removed I he-manned the shortblock off the engine stand and onto the workbench for further disassembly. I didn't take any "before" pictures (classic) but the rear main seal was super shot (hey, after 200k its done its duty) and the oil baffle cover plate was also weeping a bit, so that came off for a reseal. In case you've ever tried to remove this thing and struggled with the Phillips head bolts, an impact screwdriver is a godsend for these things; always easy and successful for me.

2YUKxz9.jpg

 

I tend to jump around to different projects in the shop so with the seals removed and cleaned up, I decided to move onto the rack. As was evident in one of the previous photos, the rack is leaking like a sieve so I picked up a used one off eBay for a reasonable price to swap in. The old rack came out without too much of a fuss. Can you tell which one is new vs old? I have new high and low pressure hoses and o-rings to install onto the "new to me" rack as well.

1DPGwms.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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Love seeing the progress on this!

 

Maybe I missed it scanning through the build so far, but are you using a foam backed microsuede? I have a handful of spare interior pieces for my wagon that I've been itching to try this on.

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Love seeing the progress on this!

 

Maybe I missed it scanning through the build so far, but are you using a foam backed microsuede? I have a handful of spare interior pieces for my wagon that I've been itching to try this on.

 

Thanks! No I am not. I went over the factory headliner and sunroof panel which are foam backed but did not use foam backing on the pillars.

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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