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Old 10-07-2008, 11:44 PM   #5
Mach V Dan
Member#: 12029
Join Date: Nov 2001
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Sterling, VA

Part V: The Difficult Middle Part

Here's where the memory gets kind of fuzzy. Exactly how long did it take to get the old engine bay clean enough so that we could actually take the chassis down to the paint place and have it sprayed white? And how long did it take to painstakingly fit all the GD brake lines in the GC chassis, which was a perfect fit except for that one part where they didn't fit at all and we had to custom-bend them?

STi ABS pump in its new home

And how many cans of Brake Kleen spray degreaser did we use up? And how long did it take to figure out which wires to splice together to get the door locks and window lifts all to work?

(I do remember one recent moment where we had the driver-side door window/lock panel all wired up, and it worked perfectly...except for that the window switch worked the locks, and the lock worked the window switch. Heh!)

There are a ton of details to be worked out during this stage. We decided we'd ditch the climate control and the audio system for our track car, but we kept goodies like the power windows, power door locks, the lights, the wipers, and the ABS system. All of these are different between the two cars, so all of them needed custom wiring. In the case of the windshield wipers, the motor is on the opposite side of the car, so we had to cut and lengthen the wiring harness to reach the wiper motor. The old car had a much simpler headlamp system than the STi, which came with HIDs, so we had to install relays to run the GC headlamps.

There were many operations here that involved heavy lifting and therefore could not be done without help, sometimes a LOT of help. Once you have the wheels off a car it can't be easily moved!

Would the owner of a White Subaru STi please report to the parking lot? Your car is in a loading zone.

Other heavy parts include the engine, the fuel tank, the transmission, and the front and rear subframes.

Readying the STi rear subframe for installation

Bolting the rear subframe in place, with rear suspension, brakes, and diff. All heavy. Note Kartboy Botox bolts at the ready.

All these parts were usually bolted up in place while a few of us moved the part into position. While it would have been possible to do it with just one or two people, it would have been a lot harder and more time-consuming.

Some of the more frustrating little details of the project were things we just hadn't anticipated. Take, for instance, the door locks. We were grafting in everything else from the GD car, including the ignition key cylinder. Why not all the exterior lock cylinders? Ah, because of course the GC and the GD cars use a different sort of lock cylinder. The GD one is more sophisticated, and has three little internal key thingies instead of only two. And that means the barrel diameter is much larger. And that means to put the cylinder into the GC sheet metal would mean carving a larger hole, and all of a sudden we're starting to talk about primer and paint and whether we can get the lock hole shaped precisely right -- and it's not really THAT hard to just have two keys on the ring, is it?

The dome lamp presented another problem. The GC dome lamp grounds to the chassis. A single power wire is the only thing connected to it. The GD dome lamp is more complicated, with a fancy dimming feature when it turns off. That means it no longer grounds directly the chassis, and it now has THREE wires going to it. So if you want your GD implant harness to run a dome lamp, you either have to re-wire your existing GC dome lamp, or you have to install the GD overhead fixture.

The interior comes together

Another thing we learned: You can try your best to prevent a problem, but sometimes things just happen. One example of this is that we were very careful to cover the windshield of our car with cardboard during the welding that went on under the hood. From experience, the hot metal spatter from a MIG welder can pit or even crack glass. So our windshield was not damaged from the direct splash the welding. On the other hand, the windshield ended up cracking anyway, whether from the repeated lifting and flexing of the chassis as we moved the engines and transmission in and out, or from other welding-related heat, we're not sure.

There are a lot of the parts from the GD car that just fit right up. A few things don't fit, like the little folded metal solenoid bracket the bolts to the passenger side of the inside fender, under the hood. It provides a home for the boost control solenoid, plus it has provision for attaching wiring harnesses to it. The GD bracket was what we wanted there, but it had a different layout than the GC one. So we cut them both up and just TIG-welded them together so we had a bracket that bolted in the way we wanted, but held the later-model solenoids and wiring harnesses. Piece of cake!
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