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Old 05-27-2021, 03:19 PM   #1
Millhouse_5
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09 STI
95 Forester S/tb

Default 09 STi Restoration project

Good afternoon everyone.

Been a while since I've been on these forums and I hate to admit it, but I've forgotten most of what I ever knew about the GR platform since I had my old 08 2.5i about 5 years ago.

With that on the table this will be a documentation of my (highly amateur) restoration of my 09 STi.

Mechanically the car is pretty solid actually. Basically all the hard work is done, the engine is freshly built with fully forged internals and a brand new block.

However, the body is pretty rough for a car of this age. It was parked practically in the ocean for most of its life and just recently sat for two years in a mechanics back yard while its engine was slowly rebuilt as a hobby/passion project. There's a reasonable levels of modifications on it but nothing too extreme. Coils, intake, exhaust and supporting mods of the like.

I'm looking forward to learning/re-learning a lot about body work and general cosmetic repair. Especially with the interior looking more like a 16 year olds fantasy paint job than a 34 year olds daily driver.

Advice is welcome in my adventures, I'm sure I'll need a lot of it here.

I've already replaced two ruined wheel studs and I'm working on getting a catted downpipe to pass inspection and repair my horn. The relay activates and the horns work on a test bench, but there's no honk when plugged into the car.



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Old 05-30-2021, 06:37 PM   #2
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

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So... here's whats been done so far. First thing was I had to get this thing legal for an inspection so out came the window tint. It's not only illegal in my province to have the front windows tinted, but not my taste either, so that was painstakingly peeled off and then hit with some "goo gone" to take care of the remaining film on the windows.

Next inspection was the horn. Turns out that it straight out didn't work.
So I took off the very rusty Hellas and tested them out with a 12v battery. the 500hz worked fine, and the 300hz sounded very sad and was rattling hard. These are too far gone to restore. Every bolt is rusted together and there are holes in the body of the horn itself, so I won't be restoring these, just getting new ones when the budget allows. For now, its passable.
I did however sandblast and paint the grimspeed mount for them. It was mostly surface rust and flaking paint so that had to go. I like matte black, there will be a lot of it in this build for parts like this.
I also had to remake the backyard wiring harness for the horns. It was terribly made and no longer functioned so it got a nice new 18 gauge harness. Plenty for a horn.

Not an inspection fault, but it didn't give me a nice fuzzy feeling to have my seat mount all rusty. Took them out, gave them a good once, twice, and three times over in the sand blaster, then a few coats of matte black.
Warm fuzzy feeling is back knowing that my seat mounts are no longer slowly eating themselves.

Found some more zip ties too, this time holding the left side of the bumper on, turns out that there was no clip at all for the bumper to attach to. Found an OEM replacement on ebay and submitted the order. my bumper should be back on the car in about a week or so now.
This time with fog lights! Did I fail to mention that the wiring harness for the fog lights was cut? Thats a project for another day. I'll probably just crimp in a few connectors so I don't have to disassemble it every time I take the bumper off in the future. Just pop a few connections.

After that I made friends with the polish and got a little refresh on the door handles. they are very discoloured and faded so a few minutes each with a buffing pad and they're good as new.

The more I look at this car, the more I find that needs fixing. But I got this thing for a smoking good deal with a brand new fully built engine, I kind of expected there to be some little things that need fiddling with.













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Old 05-30-2021, 08:30 PM   #3
Vancouver98STi
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V4 GF8 White

Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Millhouse_5 View Post

...the body is pretty rough for a car of this age. It was parked practically in the ocean for most of its life and just recently sat for two years in a mechanics back yard while its engine was slowly rebuilt as a hobby/passion project.
I see a lot of corrosion in some of the photos you've uploaded, and they're all of the topside. What's the underside of this car look like? Not trying to be a downer, but there's not much point prettying up the topside if the frame and suspension are rotting away.
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Old 05-31-2021, 07:09 AM   #4
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

Default

I'll be honest, its pretty rough. Every single part has a bunch of surface rust and a couple pieces are rusted through. The frame is pretty solid though but it needs attention to prevent it from eating itself completely through over the next few years.



I and a shop have given it a good looking over and we both agree that its still structurally sound but needs attention. It's not past the point of no return, but it needs to be stopped now or else it will reach it in a few years.



Cleaning up the underside is on the list of things I'll be doing with this car, and its not going to be quick or fun
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Old 06-04-2021, 08:17 PM   #5
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

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Welcome to amateur hour everyone, and by hour, I mean entire project. I don't pretend to be a professional body work guy, or even hobby level. I get the job done though and hopefully it looks better than when I started.



Paint will also be mostly an afterthought at this level. I'm ok with red or red adjacent. Maybe I'll get a proper paint gun and make this nice at a later point.



First project was repairing the cracked front bumper to get myself used to bondo again, been a few years for me so I started in a place that's not right in a major sight line.

found some spare fiber in the basement, cleaned out the crack with a rotary tool and stuck it all together again. After that I took the next step with the bondo and three rounds later, here are the results.





I'm pleased enough at how the bumper turned out and decided to tackle the portion of drivers side door that was completely rusted through. It's the only part of the car that was soft enough to put my fingers through, and its right where I want to put my fingers. So it was only a matter of time before I ended up slashing myself all up with a rusty door.

This is where I feel like I've done a somewhat sketchy but serviceable repair. The rust was carved away and then sanded as best as I could while keeping as much metal as I could. I wanted to keep as much strength as possible. So I threw on some rust inhibiter to take care of what I missed and made with the gorilla glue to fill the gaps. Is it max sketch, yes, but is it strong, hard as a brick, and sandable? also yes. So it's going to work until I find a red replacement door.

I placed some painters tape over the glue and let it dry/expand in the hole for two days until it reached a suitable hardness. Then sand, bondo, sand bondo, sand....... Then on to the vinyl.

This part of the door isn't black, or painted, its a strange vinyl that was put there. No idea why, but its convenient for me as I have both spare vinyl, and matte black paint. This also means my sanding doesn't have to be as perfect to be able to look good.







That's it for the past few days. It's not much, but that's come minor rust and a small crack repaired. It's better than leaving it there, even if it's not professional work.



As I'm sure I'm doing plenty wrong, please feel free to share some techniques to help me improve in my future adventures in bad body work.
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:35 AM   #6
SONICwagon03
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This is good. I too am doctoring a rusted out wrx. although mine is a yellow wagon. still.. a lot of the undercarrage parts, bushings, braces, etc were already replaced.

Keep it going! Your amature body work is better than mine. i wont even attempt it! hahah
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Old 06-10-2021, 12:41 PM   #7
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SONICwagon03 View Post
This is good. I too am doctoring a rusted out wrx. although mine is a yellow wagon. still.. a lot of the undercarrage parts, bushings, braces, etc were already replaced.

Keep it going! Your amature body work is better than mine. i wont even attempt it! hahah

Thanks. I used to do a lot of prop making back in the day with fiberglass and bondo, so thats where a lot of my practice came from. I'm still no pro, and I still cant fold my bondo together and get a good mix, but it's fine.

While I wait on my new bumper mounting clips to arrive from ebay (no dealer near me) I'm making a new plate delete to replace the old heavily worn COBB one. It's got about 500 rock dents and chips in it. I also think its not a real COBB part as the material is very soft.

I've got some pink filament so the actual STi logo is next to be printed out. Hopefully it will sand up nicely and look the part.



I also started working on the paint today. I don't have a power polisher so I'm stuck with nothing but my arms and some foam pads.

This paint though. I've never felt something so rough and covered in stuck on road grime, and even after a thorough wash and scrub it was still looking tired and dirty. Next step was to clay and see how much grime was built up after two years of sitting outside in a mechanics driveway.

I've got to say it wasn't pretty. I had to clay each panel two times over to get the grit off and my arms were tired after just doing a couple panels. I switched to hand polishing and hand waxing because I knew I didn't have enough daylight or arm endurance to do the entire car. Only got the drivers door, front quarters and hood done before I couldn't move my arm anymore.

In my honest opinion, it doesn't look much better. Sure, its smooth and shiny, but there are still far too many rock chips to have a good looking panel. But at least what paint is left has been taken care of.

More pictures to come as work will very likely happen over the coming weekend. Perhaps I'll restore the front lip. It's also very pitted and faded.

Edit: I'll have to figure out how to get NASIOC images working properly, please excuse my links

Last edited by Millhouse_5; 06-12-2021 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 06-10-2021, 01:38 PM   #8
Jack
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Just a suggestion: A glued and bondo'd over bumper cover isn't going to last. It needs a much better mechanical bond. When I had a racecar, stuff like this commonly needed to be fixed and of course, vibrations and hard use meant that any repair was going to be put to the test. I found that putting a sheet of aluminum behind the plastic piece, then drilling many holes and riveting got the required mechanical fix. With a racecar, that's all that was needed. You could certainly do the bondo and paint route beyond that.
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:58 PM   #9
Vancouver98STi
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1998 JDM Impreza STi
V4 GF8 White

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Millhouse_5 View Post

https://img.nasioc.com/image/20210610-114712.twiK2

Edit: I'll have to figure out how to get NASIOC images working properly, please excuse my links
If you've selected a URL from the NASIOC image hosting site that doesn't have a JPG extension on the end (as with the example quoted above), then the image will not be embedded.

You need to instead... select BBCode from Full image under Embed codes, then copy and paste that URL directly into your post.
.

Last edited by Vancouver98STi; 06-12-2021 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 06-11-2021, 03:07 PM   #10
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
Just a suggestion: A glued and bondo'd over bumper cover isn't going to last. It needs a much better mechanical bond. When I had a racecar, stuff like this commonly needed to be fixed and of course, vibrations and hard use meant that any repair was going to be put to the test. I found that putting a sheet of aluminum behind the plastic piece, then drilling many holes and riveting got the required mechanical fix. With a racecar, that's all that was needed. You could certainly do the bondo and paint route beyond that.
As of now its just fiberglass and resin on the back of the area and feels rather sturdy, but I do have some spare aluminum, so maybe when I end up repainting the bumper properly I'll re address the repair for a more permanent bond.
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Old 06-12-2021, 07:43 PM   #11
Millhouse_5
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Location: Newfoundland
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09 STI
95 Forester S/tb

Default

First things first, thanks Vancouver for the tips, got my pictures working.

Didn't get much done yesterday/today though, but I managed to get the new plate delete mounted, and I think I'm going to leave the STi logo blank. I like how it looks with the red through the letters.

I also took the front lip and gave it a light scuffing and a coat of paint. It wasn't all that bad, but it was very tired and worn looking plastic. Now it looks just a little more fresh with a nice coat of black. Maybe it will last, maybe it won't, but for now it looks good and if it does chip, its black underneath so I probably won't even notice. The new front grill is also on, but it's been there for a while now. Rock auto had one left, and it looks a good margin better than the cracked and half home made one that was on the car before. It was in such bad shape it was basically just waiting to fall off the car.



Vinyl on the door B pillar got some paint too. The repair is still slightly visible from the right angle, but from more than 5 feet away it looks factory. Like I said before, this is temporary until I can find a cheap donor car to rob a bunch of rust free parts from so it's fine. I also made the best "squinting in the sun" face in this picture, very flattering indeed. My wifes crosstrek is also featured in the reflection with me.


Now I just need a downpipe to pass inspection. I don't suppose anyone reading is in Newfoundland and wants to trade my catless invidia for their catted downpipe. Just need something that will fit in its place.

Now that that sad plea is over the tasks on tomorrows list are menial. Shopping for new license plate bulbs, crimping on some new connectors, and doing some more clay bar work, as long as the weather holds out that is.

Last edited by Millhouse_5; 06-12-2021 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 06-12-2021, 07:54 PM   #12
Vancouver98STi
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V4 GF8 White

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Millhouse_5 View Post

First things first, thanks Vancouver for the tips, got my pictures working.
You're welcome. Glad to see you clued in quickly. It seems some posters here just aren't able to understand the concept!
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Old 06-13-2021, 02:43 PM   #13
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

Default

Easy work I said....
Menial I said.....

I underestimated my car it seems.

Changing a light bulb went about as well as I can expect with this car. One of the connectors was so corroded it had to fully remove it and give it a scrubbing before it would work and the other connector only removed half of itself from the car. It seems that I'm going to need to remove the trim from the hatch for access, disassemble the connector, and crimp on some new ends and order a new socket for the bulb. All just to change a light bulb.
It's not hard, but its just far more work than I was expecting for what I thought was a burnt out bulb.



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Old 06-14-2021, 12:46 AM   #14
ProjectWhiteWrx02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Millhouse_5 View Post
Easy work I said....
Menial I said.....

I underestimated my car it seems.

Changing a light bulb went about as well as I can expect with this car. One of the connectors was so corroded it had to fully remove it and give it a scrubbing before it would work and the other connector only removed half of itself from the car. It seems that I'm going to need to remove the trim from the hatch for access, disassemble the connector, and crimp on some new ends and order a new socket for the bulb. All just to change a light bulb.
It's not hard, but its just far more work than I was expecting for what I thought was a burnt out bulb.
That does seem like a lot of work lol

as a DIYer
You can just use a lemon/lime to scrub that stuff off and then hit it with something else that is abrasive, disconnect your battery etc.~
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Old 06-14-2021, 06:46 PM   #15
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

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Got lucky today, the local Toyota dealer was able to order me some replacement connectors. After some searching I found out that they were common to the BRZ/FRS.
So that just saved me either an 8 hour round trim to me closest dealer, or at least 30 dollars a piece from what I could find online.

My new downpipe also shipped too. It's nothing fancy. And by nothing fancy I mean literally the cheapest catted pipe I could find online, but it will get me on the road. I currently don't have the funds for a full turboback like I'd initially wanted, so this ebay special will hopefully hold out until I can save up enough for a full (and much quieter than my N1) exhaust.
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Old Today, 08:11 PM   #16
Millhouse_5
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95 Forester S/tb

Default

Still waiting for my downpipe to show up so I thought I'd practice my paint skills on some interior panels. As expected, as with this car, my skills are a bit more rusty than I thought.

I easily removed my interior panels as it seems that the clips are all well worn in from being removed likely more than once by the previous three owners. As long as this car remains in my possession, this is very likely the the last time they will be removed for any reason. Finally my interior won't look like it belongs to a 16 year old.

No offence to anyone who liked it red, but I'm the one who's living with it so I'm changing it.

Anyway, got some metallic grey paint from the local shop and threw that in the airbrush along with a little thinner. First squeeze of the airbrush was met with much disappointment of course. Completely clogged. Remember to clean your airbrushes or you'll end up wasting some time like I have.

Once I got some paint flowing it turned out to be flowing a little too well as I have more than a couple runs. I'll get the 400 grit wet sand back on it tomorrow to take care of the runs once the paint is dry and then throw another coat of grey on it to give it the final look. After that, it's a couple coats of clear and then were done.

These two are my first test pieces so if it all goes well I'll move on to the rest of the car and finally be rid of all that red.


Sorry for the bad lighting on the last pictures, it got dark so I had to move inside




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