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Old 03-31-2013, 05:47 PM   #1
Spec R
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Member#: 187752
Join Date: Aug 2008
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Hollywood, CA
Vehicle:
99 RS/X5/Volt

Default Spec R's 99 Impreza Coupe Build Journal - NASIOC edition

Hey Guys,

I've had a couple of build threads on other forums but finally decided to share it with NASIOC. Please bare with any discrepancies or broken links.
Here is a short history of the cars I've owned.

My first car in one of its many stages. i had this car for 5 years (the longest stretch I've had a car). This car eventually got a Greddy 18G turbo, shown here.

taken a month before I sold it

My 2nd car, I bought from my sister who was going to donate it. It needed some love, and I enjoyed having my first daily driver. I got used to having two cars because of this car. Since then, I haven't had one car by itself.

taken 2 months before I sold it.

The teg and 240sx together - see the black FMIC on the integra?


It was always a dream of mine to own an Evo. Luckily my friend was selling his, and after I quick test drive, I immediately started making for sale threads for my silver integra. Eventually the teg was sold and the evo was in my possession. I modded it, tracked it, and then got sick of it. Awesome godly performance, but I was never able to fully take advantage of it, except on the track. Going to the track gets expensive, and I just wasnt will to drop the cash on it anymore. With no intentions of street racing, I sold it.

Taken 2 months before sale.

Driving only the 240sx for a couple of months, I sorely wanted to have 2 cars again. A close family friend to my GF was selling his 97 teg. I spent a little over a year and half restoring it. No big plans like the first integra, just an OEM restore, and a car to drive around in to get good mileage. driving an integra feels uber natural to me.


2nd teg and 240sx together


Having two 12-14 year old theft magnets/boy racer/compacts was kind of difficult. I tend to do a lot of driving, and more often than not, I have passengers. One at a time was fine, but two or one by themselves I couldnt do anymore. So I went looking for a more practical car. The requirements were OEM HID's, RWD, and sedan. I was looking at IS350's and BMWs. I overlooked the G35 thinking it would be too expensive. I eventually stumbled upon this car. I got exactly all the options/packages I wanted, plus a killer deal.


Here's all three together.

The 240sx was up for sale before I got the G35, but I wasnt able to sell it until after.

I had the maroon teg and the g35 for a little over a year when I found out the previous owner of the 99 RS was replacing his car for a more practical one due to the start of a new family (wife was pregnant at the time). So the Teg was up for sale.

Here they are together.


I bought the RS from a family friend 3 year's ago.






Special thanks - Zealous Interiors, I-Wire, JDM Gary aka Gary's Garage, 7L Autosport


Special thanks to the Subaru friends 181stleader, HighRevImpreza, OUScooby and everyone else that I might have forgotten

Current Mod List - items in Italic are items inherited with the purchase of the car

Engine:
-2002 USDM EJ205 Longblock - stock internals, stock heads, TGVs still functional
-CA BAR legal - at the time of inspection, the swap had all cats and associated hardware in place - 100% stock dyno'd at Yimi at 205whp/205wtq in stock form
-I-Wire Harness merge (I-Wire #43 - thanks Brian)
-Blouch TD04-19T Turbo
-Cobb Accessport v2 - road tuned by Steve @ 7L Autosport
-Cobb catted downpipe
-Unknown brand Catless Up-pipe
-Apex-i Intake
-stock WRX B-pipe / Prodrive Oval axle back
-Go Fast Bits adjustable BOV
-Samco Intercooler hoses/couplers
-Sun Auto grounding kit
-NRG EPAC3 voltage conditioner
-Interstate Megatron Size 51 Battery (Honda Civic size)
-Grimmspeed BCS
-Grimmspeed AOS
-NGK Iridium Spark plugs
-Autometer Phantom Boost Gauge (Mechanical)
-Autometer Phantom Oil Pressure Gauge (Electrical)
-Innovate Wideband O2 sensor/Gauge
-Shell Rotella T6 5w40 / Royal Purple filter

Drivetrain:
-stock 99 RS 5-speed, Redline gear oils
-Exedy stage 1 clutch/pressure plate
-Kartboy short shifter


Exterior:
-JDM v5/6 Grill
-JDM v5/6 Replica Front lip (GSMotortrends)
-JDM rear spats (thanks MadRa88it)
-JDM taillights
-JDM corner signals (thanks JDMgary)
-Kakumei OEM clear bumper signals
-Ebay OEM clear sidemarkers
-Scoobyparts UK foglight covers/brackets
-Scoobyparts UK blue Subaru emblem
-Polarg H4 headlight bulbs
-LaminX yellow foglight film - Mtec ion yellow H3 bulbs
-front lip, fog light covers, sideskirts, rear spats, hood vents re-painted STM by Baker Auto Body in Pasadena

Suspension:
-Feal Suspension 441 Coilovers 7k/4k Swift springs - installed/corner weighted by Odi Bakchis
-Tanabe front and rear upper strut bars
-WRX 20mm rear sway bar
-Goodridge SS brakelines

-stock 2.5 RS brakes, unknown pads

Wheels/Tires:
-Volk LE37 18x7.5 +48 (repainted silver)
-Michelin Pilot Super Sport 225/40/18
-Muteki Lugnuts

Interior:
-JDM Ver1/2 STi Front seats
-JDM rear seat fabric (professionally installed on USDM rear seats) (thanks Longitude)
-JDM Ver7 Steering Wheel (thanks Longitude)
-JDM Ver7 Shift knob (thanks Longitude)
-uninstalled extended armrest for regular height armrest (thanks skyline4me)
-Impreza floormats
-CG-Lock seatbelt anchor
-Zealous Interiors JDM Gray door inserts (thanks Andrew)
-Zealous Interiors Shift boot (thanks Andrew)
-Zealous Interiors EBrake boot (thanks Andrew)
-Zealous Interiors trunk carpet (thanks Andrew)
-Bakemono Triple gauge pod
-relocated compass pack
-Euro 7k redline 160mph gauge cluster (thanks JDMgary)
-Rallisport Direct accessport holder
-custom A/C lines
-Subaru OEM cabin filter option (3/13)
-Subaru OEM trunk light (3/13)
-Subaru OEM floormats (3/13)

Audio:
-Kenwood Excelon Head unit X790
-MTX 1500dx amplifier
-JL 12w3 Subwoofer/Box

-stock 2008 6.5" STi speakers front and rear
-Streetwires RCA/4GA wires
-Dynamat in doors, rear shelf

Items in storage but could be for sale/loan if anyone specifically needs them:
-OEM P1 springs/strut/tophats
-HKS Super Sequential blow-off
-Blitz SUS air filter
-Unknown brand catless 3" bellmouth downpipe
-stock TD04 turbo with blown seals
-Depo clear corners
-Crystal clear bumper signals (given to 181stleader)
-Extended armrest
-Kartboy shiftknob
-stock RS steering wheel
-stock RS gauge cluster
-stock WRX intake box
-stock WRX intercooler
-stock 02-04 WRX split 5spoke wheels with stock RE92 tires
-stock WRX up-pipe with cat
-stock WRX downpipes with cats
-stock WRX dual tip axle back
-stock WRX 04 BCS
-stock WRX 02 BCS
-stock WRX BPV
-stock RS windshield washer pump
-stock 2.5 RS intake box
-stock 2.5 RS axle back

Sorry for the long list, but its nice to actually see an inventory of all the stuff I've acquired over the years.

Items sold on RS25/Nasioc from when I purchased the car
-stock 2.5 RS front seats
-stock 99 SOHC 2.5 RS longblock
-5zigen fighters
-stock 2.5 RS MAF


Future Plans - in order of priority and likelihood of happening in 2013

-some sort of brake upgrade, but most likely WRX/H6 with Ferodo DS2500pads
-bigger injectors, fuel pump, re-tune
-STi 6-speed of some sort
-full re-spray
-aluminum hood
-re-built EJ205 longblock
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:47 PM   #2
Spec R
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Background info on the car:

The previous owner (a "family" friend if you will, we'll name him Cranston haha) had the swap done in early 2004. A friend of a friend of a friend said "Hey I can swap a WRX motor into your car."

Cranston said "Go for it" despite it being a backyard job. Needless to say the backyard job turned into a 6 month project. Basically all that got done was the physical motor swap to the stock 99 RS 5speed. None of the wiring was done.

Cranston was left with no option but to rescue/tow his car to his local Subaru shop and basically told them "Get the car running". By now it was 09/2004. Not many people were doing RS swaps and little info was to be had on the internet. The wiring merge had to be done the old fashioned way without the internet, and with FSMs only. There's basically two whole harnesses in the car.

Eventually the popular shop (who I'm leaving nameless on purpose) had a successfully running engine swap. The swap has survived 6 plus years and 60-70k miles and is now in my possession since the beginning of this year. To this day the shop specifically does not do any harness merges. It was done as a favor to Cranston as there was no option (no Garage Tuning, no I-Wire, no ECS, no one) for him at the time. The engine is healthy and takes well to mods. Since Cranston never got it done, it was a goal of mine to get the swap BAR approved. I passed in April.

When I first got the car in January it was like this. There was a MAF related CEL. I knew it had something to do with the Blitz SUS filter. The engine bay needed some parts and some TLC.

Before


After cleaning


After parts


I got the initial bugs out of the way, and wanted the car to be tuned ASAP. I went to Yimisport to get it tuned but they immediately got "angry" at my wiring harness job. They couldn't get the car into test mode. Uh oh....

Luckily HighRevImpreza was there and referred me to I-Wire. A quick trip to I-Wire and he found the problem! The orange test mode wire was left open during the merge. After that I was able to get tuned.
Cranston told me that the car had some random CEL's in its time, in which he told me a replacement ECU solved the problem. I started to get random CEL's myself, and knew that just replacing of the ECU isnt going to suffice. It came to a head when the car left me stranded with a BCS and MAP sensor CEL. I knew what had to be done...replace the entire harness.

Why you ask? here you go...

Open speed sensor plugs - i spy butt connectors.


Cruise control


Piece de resistance - everything from the SMJ is butt connected


I had never taken on a job like this on any of my cars, so it was kind of nerve racking. But thanks to all the support and info out there.

Last edited by Spec R; 03-31-2013 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
Spec R
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jump a couple weeks of waiting to hunt down harness and such (i let the car sit for a bit)
and I finally start to really take apart the dash.
after struggling with tamper resistant SRS plugs, I finally got the dash bar out.

oh the humanity.

a reason why I gutted the car completely was to look for the wrx fuel pump controller. apparently when the harness was made, the recepient plug wasnt available. so what did they do? they cut the plastic, and soldered directly to contacts.


Blower motor out. Time to disconnect the AC line core and the associated coolant lines for the heater core.
Intercooler out - older pic for reference



heater core out...revealing more butt connectors

a whole section of unused wire, just hanging out

a closeup of where the bulkhead harness meets the body harness. this was supposed to be a plug and play affair with the new merged harness, but that would have been too easy.


Thats pretty much where I'm at now. I didnt want to dig further without the new harness in place, which I now have.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
Spec R
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ets get that harness cleaned up. so they used butt connectors on the chassis side of the harness, and left very little usable wire where they cut the wires from the plugs.





6 wires


1 wire


3 wires


the 6 wires from this plug had to be lengthened by about 10 inches, so thats 12 soldered connections



this brown wire had to be lengthened also.


these three wires had to be de-pinned to be soldered. even then, they gave me a hard time. I put tape over the shrink wrap just to be safe.

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Old 03-31-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
Spec R
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the complete merged harness a la I-Wire


made some progress this morning - basically got most of the engine compartment out, except for the SMJ portion.


this part really shows the space that two harnesses are sharing


got some help from my trusted alarm installer/wiring/stereo guy. he got the alarm out in no time.


alarm out, just funny 99/02 harnesses coexisting


everything out, bare firewall, yay. old harness sitting in passenger footwelll


the SMJ wiring /butt connector nest out of the car


started to get the new harness in..


engine bay portion/plugs are in...
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:57 PM   #6
Spec R
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99 RS/X5/Volt

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The fuel pump controller ground wiring that I-wire sets aside for you. The one wire that is required to be soldered with his harness.

Passenger footwell


It meets with this wire, passenger rear.



Just behind the passenger seat






2.5 years later, everything is running perfectly.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:57 PM   #7
Mr. Lin
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jesus christ! i have that spotbot!
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:00 PM   #8
Spec R
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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99 RS/X5/Volt

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This is how the car looked when I bought it in February 2010


The parts that came with the car that I sold right away.
Stock front seats


The 5Zigen Fighters



The car had some glaring issues that needed immediate attention, namely a MAF CEL and a mean water leak in the trunk. I purchased an Apex-I Intake and stock BOV from Yimisport and had them change the spark plugs and peform a compression test (145psi across). The MAF CEL went away after uninstalling the Blitz filter.

That day at Yimi


The first time I saw underneath it - being a California car, no RUST!

Last edited by Spec R; 03-31-2013 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:00 PM   #9
Spec R
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The water in the trunk was caused by faulty seals of the taillights and a hack/fix that probably channeled the water directly into the trunk. Yes that is probably a 2 liters of water in the spare tire area and corner areas of the trunk.






Me and friend cleaned it all up and used proper rubber/foam seals and the trunk hasnt seen water since.

engine bay shot at that phase - added from first engine bay shot are the belt cover, stock BPV, WRX air splitter, Apex intake, red alternator wire boot
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:01 PM   #10
Spec R
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I had originally made an appointment with Paul at Yimi to tune the car as it was running on a stock tune with a stage 2 setup, but when I arrived he couldnt get the car into test mode, and was only able to take a baseline dyno. This was the first hurdle with wiring harness that I faced. Luckily, I met Ray (HighRevImpreza) that day and he referred me to I-Wire. I drove down to Brian's place the next day and he was able to sort out the test mode issues.

I was able to return to Yimi in march 2010, with the original TD04 - Paul at Yimi said it couldnt boost over 14.5 psi for some reason - either age or something else (6-7 months later it started smoking)


Decent numbers for the parts involved, but it didnt stay with this setup too long - maybe 6 weeks. exhaust was too loud and flashy (Invidia G200) and the catless downpipe smelled terrible and really made my eyes burn.


I decided I didnt want to drive around without the swap being certified, so in April 2010 I made it a mission to get the car CA BAR approved. I bought/bartered a bunch of parts so I could be 100% 2002 WRX stock. I passed so I was able to get this sticker!



I was enjoying driving the car around bone stock, but I started to get intermittent check engine lights for random issues - MAP sensor, BCS controller and some others I dont remember. Things really hit the fan the couple miles after I took these pictures. I went to get gas down the street a couple miles, and the car shut off leaving me stranded in the middle of the street. I knew it was time to do something about the wiring harness.



I knew this existed under the hood but was hoping it wasnt the culprit. Of course it was, thats the super mega junction of all the engine harness all T-tapped.


I made arrangements with I-Wire to see what my options were. He drove to my parents place and helped me start with the tear-down for the rewiring (see threadlink in the first post).

His beautiful car next to mine! July 26, 2010


That day we took the top part of the dash out, and the next 2 months the car sat in the garage as I tried to chip away at the large task at hand.


I eventually finished the car by the end of September of 2010. A lot of things happened in my life between July 2010 an March 2011 - I got a new job, I moved out of my parents house, furnished a new place from scratch and a few more big life steps - so the subaru mainly sat idle under a car cover after I finished the harness install.

Once the move-out and new job started to settle, I brought out the Subaru from storage mid March 2011. I was greeted by a good amount of smoke coming out of the center hood vent. I immediately pull over and find the smoke coming from the turbo. I guess it was the car being mad at me for not driving it.

Yeah thats a bit too wet with oil for my liking.


Given my new living and work situation, I couldn't do the work myself, and had left it with my friend's shop who specialized in Evo's. Big power was never a priority for this car, so I opted to buy a used TD04 to get rebuilt by Blouch for their 19T compressor upgrade. At this time I had purchased the Grimmspeed AOS and BCS. Money at the time was pretty tight, so I opted to have the car re-tuned (via opensource) with the stock downpipe and catless up-pipe. 50-60 hr work weeks and a level of work stress I've never experienced before led me to trust my friend to do the install unsupervised since he's done heavy car work for me before. When I got the car back it felt "okay" and since I don't really drive the car hard, I really didn't notice anything out of the norm. More on that later. I drove the car in this state until March 2012.

At work with some alley cat on my hood (in that time period)
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:02 PM   #11
Spec R
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I bought some really clean WRX wheels and a really clean WRX intercooler at this time. Fog light covers, clear corners, corner lenses were also purchased in this time window.



Here's all 3 cars in one shot. I had bought the 330i from a friend to replace my G35. Instead the BMW replaced my girlfriend's CRV, hence why I have 3 cars.


Spring of 2012 was very busy at work, so lots of overtime. The upside of all that stress and work is extra pocket money. Sure, time to drop some coin on the Subaru.

I had re-visited some of the old Subaru friends I had made at the NASIOC Krispy Kreme Burbank meet, and spoke with Steve at 7L Autosport about taking a look at my current tune. I made it out to his shop and he did some datalogs and found that the tune was all sorts of wrong. Good thing I don't beat on the car. I'm not placing the blame on my friend's shop, I should have known better to supervise the tune better. He also doesnt necessarily specialize in Subarus, but I knew that going in. It didnt help that I was sticking with the stock downpipe and stock injectors which would give even the more experienced subaru tuners trouble.

We agreed for Steve at 7L to road tune the car, and I took the opportunity to do some upgrades. So I bought a Cobb catted downpipe, Cobb accessport, and some gauges...



No real pics of the install - the parts were brand new, so we all know what they look like from their manufacturer's site. Now I'm not made of money, but I wanted to reward myself for doing so much overtime.

Steve at 7L was very pleased with the new tune of the car after he was done, and was impressed with the car's new output. His dyno simulator aproximated 300ft lbs, but I won't know for sure what the numbers are until I hit another dyno. I will most likely go back to Yimi since I have baselines and tunes in their database from this Subaru and prior cars. Thumbs up for Steve!

So now that all the mechanical/engine stuff was handled, I wanted to focus on aesthetics. I had purchased some JDM rear spats from Mad Ra88it and they sat in storage for over a year. Ever since I got the car, I had wanted to paint the stock side skirts and basically have the OEM+ look. I wanted a quality prep and re-spray, and wanted the JDM rear spats to fit without the gaps on the USDM bumper. My hood vents were peeling badly and I wanted the fog light covers painted as well. I found a local body shop that specialized in OEM repairs for luxury marques and had them do the work.

in process



end product - I really wanted to throw the Volks back on, so I did right after getting the car back from the body shop. This was around early July 2012.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:03 PM   #12
Spec R
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I was pleased at this stage in the car's life, but then the interior really started to bother me. I'm sure this would be bother a lot of you too. The extended armrest latch was completely broken as well.

Look at that shift boot!




So I luckily came across some rare JDM items for sale by Longitude, and also picked up a non extended armrest from skyline4me around October 2012. I also placed an order with Zealous interiors - got my orders rush status even after dealing with Hurricane Sandy.

The JDM rear seat fabric I picked up was for a sedan - notice the bottom cushion has rounded corners.


I had a local auto upholstery shop handle the work for me. I had the shop re-use the squared off USDM bottom cushion with the JDM fabric.


Better pics later, but here's one for now. See Ver7 Steering Wheel and Shift Knob. Zealous shift and ebrake boots.


I did a test fit with Zealous door card fabric, but just didnt want to chance messing it up, so I had the same shop do the inserts for me.



While the door cards were out, I took the time to do this:



I did replace the plastic sound barriers as well. That black rubber is indeed a yoga mat material from WalMart. I got the idea from another RS25 member on here who's user name I forgot. I tried to keep the dynamat use at minimum not to add too much weight. The doors close a lot more quieter, but we're not talking luxury status here. Wind and road noise was improved a good amount though.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:04 PM   #13
Spec R
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Pre-Coilover-Install shots taken 12/21/12 - Sitting on Subaru P1 Springs/Struts






You can tell from the side profile shots that the rear sits lower than the front (saggy butt), but is worsened by my tools/subwoofer box I have in the trunk.

You can also see the almost positive camber on the front wheels.

I forgot I had this pic lying around after I got the car corner weighted. There's probably about 50-60 lbs of stereo equipment and tools in the trunk that could get taken out for more weight reduction, but I don't really track/autocross/etc this car, so they stay in the car.


got some new tires, and went all out...Michelin Pilot Super Sports!



Finally took some non-camera-phone-in-the-city pictures..









More to come later
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:05 PM   #14
Spec R
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3/28/13
Trunk light added






3/29/13
Cabin air filter added

Parts




Before:


During: - used my butane soldering iron and its flame attachment to heat my utility knife. Still took a bit of effort to cut through the thicker sections


Not as much debris as I was expecting, but considering the car hasnt been parked under a leafy tree over the last 2.5 years - this stuff must be old.




There was a bit of animal hair, so that probably caused the odors when using the A/C. I used compressed air to blow out the area, and sprayed some lysol in there before putting the filter in.

Done:


That rubber seal gave me a hard time but it finally went in.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:06 PM   #15
Spec R
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swapped in some new floormats. not exactly the same fit, but I dont mind.




and the cabin filter sticker


I havent posted a recent engine pic because I havent had a chance to do a decent cleaning of it, but oh well here's a shot as-is.


And some side profile shots in case you're wondering what the car looks like without the front wheels turned. The wheel gap does lessen with me in the car. I had Odi set the car up with more rake on purpose.



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Old 03-31-2013, 06:07 PM   #16
Spec R
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I think its pretty up to date from there! enjoy
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:29 PM   #17
SpicyPeaNut
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World Rally Blue Pearl

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Two words. Well done.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:44 PM   #18
sketcheroo
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I enjoyed reading your thread and seeing the progression, good job!
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:07 PM   #19
AnthonyWang
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Love it!
Hopefully i see you driving around town.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:53 PM   #20
Spec R
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 187752
Join Date: Aug 2008
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Hollywood, CA
Vehicle:
99 RS/X5/Volt

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Thanks for all the comments everyone! If you spot me dont be afraid to honk or wave me down!
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:06 PM   #21
alecb
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 335146
Join Date: Oct 2012
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: LaPlata, MD
Vehicle:
2004 STi
PSM

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Nice car man, very well done!
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:38 PM   #22
Longitude
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 2216
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: g0 g0 Dieg0
Vehicle:
2020 smh lame rs25
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Awesome dude
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:03 PM   #23
Chompski
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Member#: 352286
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Very nice! Clean. Well done.
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