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StripesSA1 Reader
10/10/22 4:57 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

Sara will be codriving at LSPR this coming weekend, and I'll be at home with the dogs- time to take the whole car apart and stay busy!

First step was to drain fluids- the transmission predictably pooped out a bunch of metal sludge and another detent ball:

Then a bit of a surprise on the rear shocks- they were really, really hard to get out of the top mounts!  After some prying and hammering, both sides came out with the misalignment spacer breaking free of the inside surface of the tower (previously tack welded on).  It looks like the spacers have actually been wearing slightly, and now have a bit of a cup to them where they touch the spherical bearing.  I'm hoping I can drill a couple holes and plug weld these back on, after a little clearancing with a grinder to get rid of the lip that made them grab the upper bearing in the first place:

In the future I may have to consider different misalignment spacers, since apparently these Speedway ones that I designed the towers around are made of cheese.  I think I may have just overtightened the top bolts, though, since I definitely cranked down on them a lot about 4 rallies ago when I was chasing a rear suspension clunk.

Most parts came right off the car without a fight, and apart from the expected underbody rock damage there weren't really any surprises:

Then it was time for lots of scooting stuff around and pressure washing:

Followed by near-endless time under the car with a bucket and a brush to get all that stubborn built up and caked on clay that I can never seem to remove:

The floor is a bit of a mess but at least the components are clean-ish... a rally car is never really clean but it's nice to get close:

With the engine out, a swap seems like the next "power-up" step, but I assume the next event is to close for all the R&D that needs to go in to make the swap reliable and working? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/10/22 4:59 p.m.

In reply to StripesSA1 :

The only swap I could do in my current class would be a newer BRZ FA24, which would be really expensive.  At some point I will build a whole new car for Open 2wd but right now it's only silly flat Subaru engines for me.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/10/22 7:38 p.m.

That's kind of like my plan for taking everything apart and inspecting/cleaning it on my rally car this winter.

lol who am I kidding. I'll be lucky if I get motivated just to change the oil!


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/13/22 3:11 p.m.

As mentioned earlier, Sara is out at LSPR codriving- coverage will be streaming on the ARA youtube channel starting 4pm Eastern time on Saturday, I'm guessing it'll be a recap to catch up to that point and then live coverage of the final stages and podium.  Look for car 409!

May be an image of 3 people and road

kodachrome New Reader
10/16/22 6:36 p.m.

LSPR 2022 was emotionally charged and my fastest event ever. Dylan and I finished 10th overall in car #409 just behind these fancy folks, but took a nasty 10 minute penalty in the name of finishing for a legend so dear to us - Al Dantes, Jr.  

Al was tragically killed the night before Day 1 start by a drunk driver in a horrific accident. His legacy, pride and joy are his 6 beautiful girls. 

If you can, please donate to his family. Otherwise, please send strong, loving vibes to his incredible and resilient family in the U.P. of Michigan. 

Al Dantes, Jr. Memorial Go Fund Me

engiekev HalfDork
10/17/22 10:13 a.m.

It was good to see you there, even in tough times.  I wish I got to see Al send it on the stage one last time and get him a beer, he was truly an ambassador to the sport and brought a smile to everyone's faces all the time.

Well done for finishing it out for Al!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/17/22 11:24 a.m.

Al's memorial GoFundMe again, to keep it at the forefront.

I'm going to copy what I wrote for social media so I don't tear up sitting at my desk at work:

As far as LSPR is concerned, take a look at who was recreating Al's traditional last stage selfie in Sara's post- that's the top 10, and they're in it.  Super impressive in a mostly stock GC Impreza, even if Sara did somehow manage to break yet another rally strut in the process.

I kept busy all weekend, starting with checking the diff over- the breakaway torque hasn't moved a bit, and there was nothing alarming in the oil, so I checked the backlash, which was on the loose side of the spec but not wearing the ring gear teeth in any noticeable way, and called it good to reseal:

I shipped the rear shocks back to BHE for a rebuild, I can install my spares if they take a long time.

Then time to address the dreaded leaking timing cover, which had been kept at bay by this massive RTV mess for STPR:

Endless brake cleaner and plastic scraper blade time for the replacement cover:

Then again on the engine itself:

If this thing clogs the pickup I'm going to say we need to stop blaming the techs- I followed the instructions as thoroughly as possible, getting the exact sealant from the dealer and measuring the bead size, following the bolt tightening sequence, etc.  I moved all the sensors over rather than risking using the ones from the questionable replacement cover:

Also changed the spark plugs while I was in there, since they're really hard to change in the car:

And then transmission time:

Luckily the clutch looks just fine, even though the inside of a rally car bellhousing ends up looking like this:

I stuck a new throwout bearing on the $200 replacement trans and mounted it up... only to realize that the tailshaft bushing had been gouged up by whoever crammed a random plug in there to seal it for storage.  So with the live LSPR coverage playing, I swapped the tailshaft housing from the old transmission on- it's really just a cover and a bushing and a seal anyway, so I'm not really worried about it impacting the way things work:

I somehow failed to get any pictures while I had the welder out, but moving over to the chassis side of things I filed the lip off those spacers for the rear shocks and tacked them back into the towers- it turned out I could reach up there just fine to zap them back in without plug welding them.  Then I did a bunch of painting:

It's worth noting that this sort of painting is more of a serviceability thing than anything else- if the critical components have a relatively fresh coat of rustoleum, it's WAY easier to tell whether they've taken a hit or not.  Cosmetics are secondary.

Everything is still in about the same spot, but a lot got done here:

CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/17/22 12:24 p.m.

Ummm, 5 duplicate posts? I think that may be a record. 


I'm very sorry about your friend Al. That's an all around terrible situation. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/17/22 12:37 p.m.

In reply to CAinCA :

The forum is acting quite broken at the moment, I had trouble getting that post through and now can't delete the duplicates- sorry about that.

CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/17/22 12:59 p.m.

Sorry.  That wasn't a dig at you. I was commenting on how, uh, let's say, quirky the forum software is. LOL!

I've had duplicate posts in the past. I've seen triple duplicates. I've never seen five before. 

kodachrome New Reader
10/20/22 7:05 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
10/31/22 7:27 a.m.

Reassembly has commenced- which includes drilling out the holes in the new rotors because of the big wheel studs.  It doesn't take long but it is a little annoying:

Lots of bolting things on and filling fluids:

But wait, what's missing here?

I had second thoughts about the diff backlash- I'd rather get it right while I have time than just hope it doesn't keep loosening up, so I bought a solid pinion spacer and did the dance of putting that in and out to get the right shim setup:

Once I got the pinion bearing preload into range, reassembling yielded a return to the original .007" backlash this thing had 1000 stage miles ago.  Perfect!

So hopefully I don't have to mess with that again for a while.

I fired the car up and got an immediate check engine light- lots of seemingly random codes.  So I reseated the main engine harness connector and tried again, and the codes were gone and it was happy.  I did a quick oil change to hopefully get any junk that went in there during the timing cover change out, then fired it up again for a test drive.

Some more codes after driving it.  I'm really hoping I just have some corrosion on that main connector, since the codes are all over the place, and I did wash it and then let it sit for a few weeks unplugged- I ordered the fanciest contact cleaner/deoxidizer I could find and will try that before I panic about what else might be going on.

Also interesting: the roughly 1000 stage miles on this car correspond to almost exactly 4000 total miles including transits and stuff.  Rally cars drive a lot.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/22 9:04 a.m.

Having a solid spacer is a beautiful thing.  You can service the rearend with a lot less guess work now.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
11/1/22 8:47 p.m.

Hit the engine harness connector with some contact cleaner, started the car, got out and wiggled the connector... and the engine stumbled and threw 8 codes.  So we've confirmed some sort of issue in the connector itself or the wiring immediately adjacent. 

It's sort of amazing how rally can wear literally every component of a car.

engiekev HalfDork
11/2/22 8:20 a.m.

I wouldnt be surprised if from the vibration the terminals and contacts are fretted.  We see that all the time on test cell engine dynos since they are rigidly mounted; the vibrations cause the connector contacts to fret and it results in intermittent circuit faults.  There isnt an easy way to root cause this other than looking at the terminals/pins under a microscope, but you could try to diagnose by wiggling each individual wire to see if there is one trouble pin, or even throw a multimeter on each end of every wire with a pinch probe to find the intermittent continuity.

 Best option is to totally replace the wiring harness.  Could also try to source the OEM terminals/pins and replace them if you can find a crimp tool that works, though this may be hard to find.  Most robust solution would likely be to replace the OEM connectors w/ Deutsch, there are high pin count connectors available, but at that point you might as well just get a motorsports harness made up.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
11/2/22 8:30 a.m.

This is the problem connector- wiggling the top set of wires with the smaller sockets on this side specifically will cause the engine to stumble when it's all plugged in and running.  Given that it didn't have any problems until last time it was unplugged, I'm hoping that maybe I can make the springy bits more grabby by getting in there with a pick or something?  Complete connector and pin kits are available since it looks like people sometimes use these in swaps.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/2/22 8:48 a.m.

can you link the kits? may want to use these on my swap. 


and i have had mixed results trying to tighten the pins back up. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
11/2/22 8:53 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

iWire has various plugs and kits, and I saw BRZ specific engine connectors on some of the LS swap sites I can't recall right now.  That said, based on recent experience I'd probably avoid using Subaru connectors for your swap.

I think the "54 pin connector kit" iWire offers is what I'm looking at in my picture, although I'm hoping this is something I can fix with minor disassembly and tweaking.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/2/22 9:20 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
11/2/22 9:24 a.m.

In reply to EvanB :

I actually used Deoxit D5 to try and improve the connections just yesterday, no change.  I think stuff is physically not touching the way it should.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/2/22 11:42 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

That is what Stabilant is for.  It is a contact enhancer up to and including a slight gap, while being a dielectric over larger gaps.

Automotive connectors are generally good for four connect/disconnect cycles, after that all bets are off.  (Except for the ALDL, that is rated for something like 200 or 400) Stabilant is magic for worn terminals.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
11/2/22 11:52 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Is it possible to purchase this magic sauce in non-lifetime quantities?

ralleah GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/2/22 12:50 p.m.

https://www.bmotorsports.com/shop/static.php/post/FA20D <--looks like just about every frisbee connector/terminal you'd possibly need is here.


How do you feel about clipping the harness, and adding a different type of connector that's more robust slightly down stream (engine side) of that main connector?  The main connector never gets undone after that, you use the other one(s).

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
11/2/22 12:55 p.m.

In reply to ralleah :

I'd probably just replace the whole connector with something more robust at that point, and plan to move the engine harness to any replacement engine if needed.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/2/22 1:18 p.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :



I think I paid $120 for the same size bottle.  It's only expensive until you see what it can do.

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