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Old 07-06-2019, 12:00 PM   #1
UncleFester
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Default IAG shortblock swap - Pro shop or DIY?

Hello all,
I have a FBO 2018 base WRX, 6k gentle miles, Brentuned for e60. It is stupid fun already and I have no idea why I'm even thinking about this but here goes...

Goal:
Remove the looming dark cloud that is the stock internals.
Max HP/TQ on stock turbo.
Reliability (I know..)
Daily driver, occasional spirited pulls, mountain runs.


Can a meticulous and technical person with a garage, a tool budget, and no motor building experience swap in an IAG stage 2 short block using just the WRX service manual or other guides?
What documentation do most people use?

What are the bare minimum supporting parts, accessories, and materials? I'm guessing beefier clutch while I'm in there.

What minimum head work is required vs. the "while were in there" tweaks? Where is best to source head work?

I know I'm asking a lot and this probably could be about 7 threads, but I dont need a deep dive yet, just the basics. Thanks in advance!

2018 base wrx
6k miles
Cobb AP, Verticooler, GS EBCS, iag AOS, Cobb ff kit, GS catted J, invidia Q300, TGV deletes, stock intake
Exterior - bone stock.
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Last edited by UncleFester; 07-06-2019 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 07-06-2019, 04:19 PM   #2
Ikibanchowda
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Following this thread

I am in a similar spot and thinking about doing the same thing in the future
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:08 PM   #3
viper_crazy
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To answer (probably) the biggest question, "can you do it yourself?" Yes. Yes you can but it's a lot involved process with many, many steps that require planning.

Considering you're thinking about getting a ready made shortblock, theres really two main things (that I can think of off the top of my head) that you will have to pay close attention to. 1) the most crutial part of the job would be following proper procedure for torquing down the heads. 2) Setting the timing belt in the correct spots. The timing belt is more or less as "simple" as connecting the dots, but can easily be screwed up. If you're replacing the timing belt, it's imperative you actually read any and all paper work that comes with the kit. Often timing belt kits will come with cautionary information about installation procedures and anecdotes that should not be immediately set aside.

Once you have the heads on and the timing belt on, it's just a matter of slowly working your way through all the parts.

Go to the liquor store and grab yourself a crap ton of boxes. Like 10 or 15 of them. As you remove parts, categorize them (example, AC compressor and all of its bolts and brackets is box 1, alternator and bolts etc is box 2, and so) and place them in order you took them off. When you're ready to reassemble, you put the parts on in reverse order. Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Transfer said pictures to a laptop (so they don't get lost with your screenshots of funny memes on your phone) where you can organize them into folders corresponding to your parts boxes. If you get stuck at a spot and suddenly figure out how it comes apart, take a picture or video to help remind you how it goes back together.

briansmobile1 on YouTube has a video on proper head torque procedure.

There's various other videos about timing belt installation.

This isn't exactly rocket science but if this isn't something you've done before, take your time. I'd recommend wrapping your head around the idea that this may likely NOT be a one weekend deal.

Last edited by viper_crazy; 07-06-2019 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:16 PM   #4
viper_crazy
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As for head work, get a straight edge so you can check for warped heads. I wouldn't think there would be any problems there, but it's wise to check. You may just opt to have a machine shop check it for you. You may have to lightly rough up the head deck surface for when you reinstall new headgaskets. You may consider upgrading the head bolts, maybe even a stud conversion for the street cred...

You may also consider installing ERG and TGV deletes while you have the intake off. I didn't see those listed, unless I glossed over that bit. Having everything apart will make these easier to install.
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:24 PM   #5
veritasaequitas
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Can you swap it. Yes. As long as you have a engine stand and hoist. One thing to also consider is iag warranty. They have certified shops that if said engine is installed at will have warranty (don't remember extend or what not can be found on their site). I do believe you do not get a warranty if you install yourself as they may consider fault of install. Like stated tgv deletes, air pump delete maybe new turbo inlet if not done, clutch, maybe injectors depending on how deep you want to go.
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Old 07-06-2019, 08:44 PM   #6
UncleFester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper_crazy View Post
To answer (probably) the biggest question, "can you do it yourself?" Yes. Yes you can but it's a lot involved process with many, many steps that require planning.

Considering you're thinking about getting a ready made shortblock, theres really two main things (that I can think of off the top of my head) that you will have to pay close attention to. 1) the most crutial part of the job would be following proper procedure for torquing down the heads. 2) Setting the timing belt in the correct spots. The timing belt is more or less as "simple" as connecting the dots, but can easily be screwed up. If you're replacing the timing belt, it's imperative you actually read any and all paper work that comes with the kit. Often timing belt kits will come with cautionary information about installation procedures and anecdotes that should not be immediately set aside.

Once you have the heads on and the timing belt on, it's just a matter of slowly working your way through all the parts.

Go to the liquor store and grab yourself a crap ton of boxes. Like 10 or 15 of them. As you remove parts, categorize them (example, AC compressor and all of its bolts and brackets is box 1, alternator and bolts etc is box 2, and so) and place them in order you took them off. When you're ready to reassemble, you put the parts on in reverse order. Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Transfer said pictures to a laptop (so they don't get lost with your screenshots of funny memes on your phone) where you can organize them into folders corresponding to your parts boxes. If you get stuck at a spot and suddenly figure out how it comes apart, take a picture or video to help remind you how it goes back together.

briansmobile1 on YouTube has a video on proper head torque procedure.

There's various other videos about timing belt installation.

This isn't exactly rocket science but if this isn't something you've done before, take your time. I'd recommend wrapping your head around the idea that this may likely NOT be a one weekend deal.
This is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for, much appreciated.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:07 PM   #7
UncleFester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veritasaequitas View Post
Can you swap it. Yes. As long as you have a engine stand and hoist. One thing to also consider is iag warranty. They have certified shops that if said engine is installed at will have warranty (don't remember extend or what not can be found on their site). I do believe you do not get a warranty if you install yourself as they may consider fault of install. Like stated tgv deletes, air pump delete maybe new turbo inlet if not done, clutch, maybe injectors depending on how deep you want to go.
Good point about IAG warranty, that is a factor.
I've done all the work on my car so far and honestly I'm not ready to turn it over to a shop quite yet. I know it sounds crazy.
I'm sure there are good shops around, but theres something to be said for knowing exactly everything that has ever been touched on the car.

Also the labor cost is no small thing.

I forgot to mention I do have TGV deletes. My tuner steered me away from egr delete.
Not familiar with the air pump delete, I'll look into that, thanks.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:55 AM   #8
veritasaequitas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFester View Post
Good point about IAG warranty, that is a factor.
I've done all the work on my car so far and honestly I'm not ready to turn it over to a shop quite yet. I know it sounds crazy.
I'm sure there are good shops around, but theres something to be said for knowing exactly everything that has ever been touched on the car.

Also the labor cost is no small thing.

I forgot to mention I do have TGV deletes. My tuner steered me away from egr delete.
Not familiar with the air pump delete, I'll look into that, thanks.
I'm not sure if your car does have the air pump. I know some did. I'm coming from a 05 sti so don't know much about the newer ones just know that some newer ones had air pumps that was common to delete. I too like to do all my own work as I am in the field so I know where your coming from.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:04 AM   #9
UncleFester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper_crazy View Post
As for head work, get a straight edge so you can check for warped heads. I wouldn't think there would be any problems there, but it's wise to check. You may just opt to have a machine shop check it for you. You may have to lightly rough up the head deck surface for when you reinstall new headgaskets. You may consider upgrading the head bolts, maybe even a stud conversion for the street cred...

You may also consider installing ERG and TGV deletes while you have the intake off. I didn't see those listed, unless I glossed over that bit. Having everything apart will make these easier to install.
So as long as the heads are straight, they dont need to be sent off for any work?

I'd like to come away with at least 450hp/tq once tuned again. That's why I'm wondering if I may need some performance head work while they're off.
If the stock turbo can give me 450+ and the stock heads can handle it, that's the best case scenario for me.

*side note,
I also heard about two options for hpfp, one being tested now and one due this month from IBR. This could open the door for full e85 for the FA's.
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:35 AM   #10
viper_crazy
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When you take the motor out but before you start disassembly, you may consider doing a leak down test to check for any potential issues. This test would be easier to perform on an engine stand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFester View Post
So as long as the heads are straight, they dont need to be sent off for any work?
Basically, yes. You may opt to do some port polishing, or refresh seals, or upgrade springs. I don't know enough about the new 2.0L head design to confidently offer any more suggestions beyond that though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFester View Post

I'd like to come away with at least 450hp/tq once tuned again. That's why I'm wondering if I may need some performance head work while they're off.

If the stock turbo can give me 450+ and the stock heads can handle it, that's the best case scenario for me.
I'm not familiar enough with the new FA/FB engine platform, but from what I've read and by way of comparison, the stock heads on the old EJ25 started becoming the limiting factor around the 450 hp level. There's plenty of variables that would shift this number up or down. However, I have no personal experience with these power levels in a Subaru so I'm not sure how far you could push the envelope with either EJ25 heads or the newer 2.0L heads. I'm sure someone more experienced than I might come along and correct me. At these levels you might need to start looking at cams, but again, I just don't know. I'm just basing this of what I've read. Any work on the heads can also be done at home, but there's not many guides for the unfamiliar DIY'er so a shop may be in order.

As for the turbo, I imagine you may be out of it's efficiency range with your goals, considering the stock power levels. You'll probably want to consider upgrades in that area too.

All in all, while asking NASIOC may (arguably) be a good start, you'll definitely want to talk to an experienced tuner, preferably the one you'll be taking the car to after all these upgrades are completed. That way they will be mostly familiar with the build when you bring it in and they can help steer you in the right direction.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, I believe the 2015 WRX-only ditched the air pump in favor of the EGR system.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:45 PM   #11
UncleFester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper_crazy View Post
When you take the motor out but before you start disassembly, you may consider doing a leak down test to check for any potential issues. This test would be easier to perform on an engine stand.


Basically, yes. You may opt to do some port polishing, or refresh seals, or upgrade springs. I don't know enough about the new 2.0L head design to confidently offer any more suggestions beyond that though.



I'm not familiar enough with the new FA/FB engine platform, but from what I've read and by way of comparison, the stock heads on the old EJ25 started becoming the limiting factor around the 450 hp level. There's plenty of variables that would shift this number up or down. However, I have no personal experience with these power levels in a Subaru so I'm not sure how far you could push the envelope with either EJ25 heads or the newer 2.0L heads. I'm sure someone more experienced than I might come along and correct me. At these levels you might need to start looking at cams, but again, I just don't know. I'm just basing this of what I've read. Any work on the heads can also be done at home, but there's not many guides for the unfamiliar DIY'er so a shop may be in order.

As for the turbo, I imagine you may be out of it's efficiency range with your goals, considering the stock power levels. You'll probably want to consider upgrades in that area too.

All in all, while asking NASIOC may (arguably) be a good start, you'll definitely want to talk to an experienced tuner, preferably the one you'll be taking the car to after all these upgrades are completed. That way they will be mostly familiar with the build when you bring it in and they can help steer you in the right direction.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, I believe the 2015 WRX-only ditched the air pump in favor of the EGR system.
Thanks again for your feedback. It's really helpful.

In reality, I would be happy with even a little less than 450 if I could safely add some of that torque in the midrange (hence forged internals). I dont care as much about high end and top speed. As I understand it, a bigger turbo gets more high end at the cost of spool and midrange, but I'm still learning.

I'm about 6 months to a year out from the shortblock, here's where my head is at so far:

IAG stage 2 shortblock
Timing belt kit
Upgraded head bolt kit
Head work - machine for studs, resurface if needed. Talk to tuner or shop about any necessary work for my goals.
Gaskets, Oils, fluids and all other small accessories
Boxes, tape, ziploc bags, sharpie, laptop
Jack stand, hoist, tools, service manual, beer, and a week off..


Sending heads off for work does start feeling like a new motor and could be the deal breaker for me. I'll update as I find out more about what is recommended on these fa's.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:58 PM   #12
Ikibanchowda
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FWIW I think a week off is too optimistic. It took me way longer installing full bolt ons to my WRX than I expected

Realistically you should plan for a couple weeks off. My personal plan is to buy the IAG Stage 2 block, get some used heads and have them redone, assemble short block, then when the time comes swap out the long block and then you can sell your used heads/short block
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:32 PM   #13
JSR84
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I'm by no means a pro but I have loads of mechanical experience. I disassembled my stock block and assembled everything on to an IAG Stage 2.5. It's pretty straight forward if you follow the factory service manual. If you get stuck on something there are plenty of online resources, just make sure you check multiple sources. I had hoped to get everything swapped over in a week, but about 2 days in I said screw it and decided it was going to take as long as it was going to take to do it properly. I could probably do it in half the time now.

Checkout Subi Performance on YouTube, I wish I had watched his videos prior to assembling my engine. He does a lot of short block stuff, but has lots of complete build videos. Some of his stuff is in German, but he does most in English and he's pretty easy to understand.

As for the heads, I brought mine to a reputable machine shop and had them inspect and clean them. I figured while they're off, I might as well. I also had upgraded valve springs put in so I'm ready to install new cams when it's time.

Good Luck,
Cheers
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:21 PM   #14
UncleFester
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Originally Posted by Ikibanchowda View Post
FWIW I think a week off is too optimistic. It took me way longer installing full bolt ons to my WRX than I expected

Realistically you should plan for a couple weeks off. My personal plan is to buy the IAG Stage 2 block, get some used heads and have them redone, assemble short block, then when the time comes swap out the long block and then you can sell your used heads/short block
Having another set of heads for the new shortblock would save a lot of time when it comes time to swap if I decide to have a shop clean mine up.

How much are you budgeting for used heads and shop refresh?
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:34 PM   #15
UncleFester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSR84 View Post
I'm by no means a pro but I have loads of mechanical experience. I disassembled my stock block and assembled everything on to an IAG Stage 2.5. It's pretty straight forward if you follow the factory service manual. If you get stuck on something there are plenty of online resources, just make sure you check multiple sources. I had hoped to get everything swapped over in a week, but about 2 days in I said screw it and decided it was going to take as long as it was going to take to do it properly. I could probably do it in half the time now.

Checkout Subi Performance on YouTube, I wish I had watched his videos prior to assembling my engine. He does a lot of short block stuff, but has lots of complete build videos. Some of his stuff is in German, but he does most in English and he's pretty easy to understand.

As for the heads, I brought mine to a reputable machine shop and had them inspect and clean them. I figured while they're off, I might as well. I also had upgraded valve springs put in so I'm ready to install new cams when it's time.

Good Luck,
Cheers
I'm like you, if it takes longer, so be it.
Another week or two of a rental car is way cheaper than what happens from rushing this build.

How much was it to inspect and clean up the heads?
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFester View Post
I'm like you, if it takes longer, so be it.
Another week or two of a rental car is way cheaper than what happens from rushing this build.

How much was it to inspect and clean up the heads?
They charged 400.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:19 PM   #17
Ikibanchowda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFester View Post
Having another set of heads for the new shortblock would save a lot of time when it comes time to swap if I decide to have a shop clean mine up.

How much are you budgeting for used heads and shop refresh?
I am probably over budgeting, but I am figuring 1k would be plenty for finding a used set of heads and to have them refreshed/cleaned up.

Total budget I was planning around 6k for a stage 2 block, heads, gaskets, etc, doing the long block assembly myself

That being said I am sure I will find an excuse to spend more money with the engine out....
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:40 AM   #18
veritasaequitas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFester View Post
Thanks again for your feedback. It's really helpful.

In reality, I would be happy with even a little less than 450 if I could safely add some of that torque in the midrange (hence forged internals). I dont care as much about high end and top speed. As I understand it, a bigger turbo gets more high end at the cost of spool and midrange, but I'm still learning.

I'm about 6 months to a year out from the shortblock, here's where my head is at so far:

IAG stage 2 shortblock
Timing belt kit
Upgraded head bolt kit
Head work - machine for studs, resurface if needed. Talk to tuner or shop about any necessary work for my goals.
Gaskets, Oils, fluids and all other small accessories
Boxes, tape, ziploc bags, sharpie, laptop
Jack stand, hoist, tools, service manual, beer, and a week off..


Sending heads off for work does start feeling like a new motor and could be the deal breaker for me. I'll update as I find out more about what is recommended on these fa's.
If you have the engine out what about the clutch? Upgrade for the power level. Like someone said before talk to the tuner you are going to use as they have seen what works well and what does not. Nothing worse then spending money on something and being told you'd be better off with the other thing. I have a 05 sti so can't really compare but I had sent my head to headgames for a pocket port while I had them off.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:19 AM   #19
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Yea like everyone else said! You are probably better off taking it to a shop
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFester View Post
Hello all,
I have a FBO 2018 base WRX, 6k gentle miles, Brentuned for e60. It is stupid fun already and I have no idea why I'm even thinking about this but here goes...

Goal:
Remove the looming dark cloud that is the stock internals.
Max HP/TQ on stock turbo.
Reliability (I know..)
Daily driver, occasional spirited pulls, mountain runs.


Can a meticulous and technical person with a garage, a tool budget, and no motor building experience swap in an IAG stage 2 short block using just the WRX service manual or other guides?
What documentation do most people use?

What are the bare minimum supporting parts, accessories, and materials? I'm guessing beefier clutch while I'm in there.

What minimum head work is required vs. the "while were in there" tweaks? Where is best to source head work?

I know I'm asking a lot and this probably could be about 7 threads, but I dont need a deep dive yet, just the basics. Thanks in advance!

2018 base wrx
6k miles
Cobb AP, Verticooler, GS EBCS, iag AOS, Cobb ff kit, GS catted J, invidia Q300, TGV deletes, stock intake
Exterior - bone stock.

the only way I would do it is if I had a friend that would help me that knew what they were doing during assembly... otherwise you might have to do it twice or three times
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:22 AM   #21
UncleFester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veritasaequitas View Post
If you have the engine out what about the clutch? Upgrade for the power level. Like someone said before talk to the tuner you are going to use as they have seen what works well and what does not. Nothing worse then spending money on something and being told you'd be better off with the other thing. I have a 05 sti so can't really compare but I had sent my head to headgames for a pocket port while I had them off.
Yep, forgot to list it there, but I plan to include a clutch.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by subaru_gc8 View Post
the only way I would do it is if I had a friend that would help me that knew what they were doing during assembly... otherwise you might have to do it twice or three times
I have that buddy for extra hands, but I'd be depending on the service manual. I'd flip through some of the trusted videos out there for reference too.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:49 PM   #23
Bray
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same man
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Ikibanchowda View Post
Following this thread

I am in a similar spot and thinking about doing the same thing in the future
Equal or unequal is the question
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:51 PM   #25
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I have that buddy for extra hands, but I'd be depending on the service manual. I'd flip through some of the trusted videos out there for reference too.
Agree
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