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Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/8/16 5:33 p.m.

So i started a new job at the beginning of January. I'm now community based mental health crisis intervention and housing specialist. Over a 5 county area, with occasional travel requirements to all corners of the state.

I was driving my 2002 Mazda protege5, that had stiffer struts, bigger brakes, poly bushings, upgraded stereo, long tube, exhaust, etc done. Fantastic and pretty quick little hot hatch. The first week on the job made me realize just how hard on the car it was going to be, and how quickly the Mazda would meet its end. Altogether too nice of a car to beat to death.

My wife had been wanting a new car to replace her aging Subaru (that i had bought for me when our daughter was born. She just turned 7. The wife stole it 3 months in when her Camry started giving her E36 M3, and i never got it back). She decided that a new car for her could be my Mazda, so a no cost solution there. Which means i got the Subaru back.

The thought i had was that the Subaru was too nice to beat to death too. So i was going to clean it up and sell it, buying myself a $500 s10 4x4 for work. Something i could beat to death and not feel bad about. I figured the Subaru. With 172k on it, would be worth about 3500, and i could turn a profit.

So i started driving it a couple of weeks ago for work while i cleaned it up and looked for an s10.

I realized a few things pretty quickly. 1.There are no longer $500 s10 4x4’s worth buying. 2.My wife had pretty much beaten this thing to within an inch of its life. 3.I felt bad for my Mazda now that my wife and daughter are using it. 4.There was no way in hell this car is worth 3500. 5.Id rather dance with the devil i know than the devil i don't.

So i decided that id just use the Subaru for work. No guilt in beating a dead horse. And it fits the bill (for the most part) that my work car needs to fill.

I know most guys like pictures, so ill start with some. This is AFTER cleaning up its as delivered to me state. I swear, ive seen meth labs in better shape and cleaner. Absofrigginlutely TRASHED.

2002 legacy 2.5gt wagon with an auto, stone stock except for the head unit. 172k on the odometer.




[URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160201_161421_zpsge8rdcee.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160201_161531_zps8octr3ts.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160201_161547_zpsigc5a08p.jpg.html][/URL]



So what i received was a car that was tagged on ever panel in some fashion, with a trashed interior, and some neglect from my wife never telling me it needed anything. Found that the headlights were useless, one speaker worked, head gaskets leaking externally, needs ALL fluids flushed, tires on wear bars, was not inspected, interior mangled beyond repair, rear sway bar end like broken, needs brakes, driver side CV boots split, steering rack boots torn, and in need of a tune up.

That's still a hell of a lot better than any $500 s10 i could buy. And probably less work and money.

The first week i drove the car about 600 miles. I didn't hate it. Except for the seat. I hate that.

I was also on the forums and craigslist to start addressing issues. Biggest for me to start with is safety. That's brakes, folks. And tires.

Fresh falkens on all 4 corners. $405 mounted and balanced.

Fresh rotors and performance friction pads on the front. Right at $100.


The tires are fantastic. Love them. The brakes arent that great yet, but i believe they are just taking forever to bed in. I've used these same pads and rotors on other cars (the p5 for example) and have always loved them. Still need to do a full brake fluid flush, and check the flex lines for signs of swelling under pressure. Just to be certain.

While at a training in Winston Salem, i got an alert that pull-a-part had just gotten a baja in. I jumped in the car and booked it down there with a quickness, as i wanted to pillage everything from it i could.

Someone beat me there.

All i managed to get were the aluminum colored window switches. The rest of the interior was junk, and the seats were already gone. But down the way was a 2000 Brighton sedan. So i grabbed the non-wood grain dash pieces and grille. Also scored some kenwood 6.5 from an acura. Grand total for the trip was 71.

In the parking lot of the junkyard, i surfed craigslist on the smart phone. Found a guy parting an outback sedan up towards asheville. Called him, told him i wanted the whole interior. Everything from the paint job in. He informed me that a guy was getting the seated power leather seats as he was talking to me, but the rest of it could be mine for 100. Sold!! Minty leather door panels, usable carpet, mint leather steering wheel, and everything else, including some pretty fubar headlights.







Also in these pictures are new rear sway bar bushings and endlinks, as well as a turbo baja 17mm rear sway bar. And a power seat switch (seat wont move forward anymore with the switch) that was 171 at the dealer.

First order of business upon getting home was to swap the mangled wheel for the new one. Not hard. I did change over the cruise switch and horn stuff, as the parts car had the airbag blown. But, huge improvement.

[URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160129_133907_zpspnvgi0yw.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160201_150522_zpsh6pu8emq.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160201_150518_zps8iyzoqy9.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160201_150525_zpsc3jczjjj.jpg.html][/URL]

Best money ive spent on the car yet.

This past weekend, i got a few minutes to swap the front speakers to the “new” kenwooods. Well, it snowballed.

[URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160206_105805_zpsct9svwuw.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160206_105850_zpsj2j6hzu9.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160206_105858_zpsfjgesefd.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160206_111310_zpswkdzpztk.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160206_121449_zpsec5jwam2.jpg.html][/URL]

So much better than blown speakers and busted door panels. Should have dynamatted the doors and lubed all the guts while i had it apart, but apparently im not that bright. Ill have to yank the panels and do that another day. Probably when i do the rear speakers.

Up next was the miserable headlights (and where im at today). The problem is three-fold: 1.My night vision is worse than Steevie Wonders. 2.The headlight lenses are so far gone its not even funny. 3.The bulb wattage and beam pattern blow goats.

The easy solution is to go HID. Now, having done the HID conversions in normal halogen housings, i know the downsides to this for both myself and other drivers. They are bad news. So this time, i wanted to go full on bi-xenon hid retrofit. But im cheap.

$46 later, i had ordered the $20 h1 projectors from the retrofit source, $10 gatling shrouds, $10 5000k h1 xentec bulbs.

I have never done this before.

So i practiced on the junk housing with good lenses i got from the interior donor.

First step was to strip everything that wasnt housing or lens (including the screws that hold the two together) and toss them in my wifes oven. 250 for 12 minutes (she came home as i was on the second housing. That was an interesting explanation....)

[URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160207_122416_zpsiyjvprjg.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160207_122411_zpsgjufhs0h.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160207_122407_zpsxef5iszo.jpg.html][/URL]

I then proceeded to make it up as i went. Used a unibit to bore the halogen low beam hole out to where the stud for the projector would fit through, and milled the extra crap off the back with a dremel so the nut and washer could sit flat. [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160208_155225_zpsuhpzcc3a.jpg.html][/URL]

Tossed the shroud on, hooked it up to a spare ballast and my cordless drill battery and tried it out.

[URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160208_155221_zpsmbe6n6lj.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160208_155114_zps2vin6bs8.jpg.html][/URL] [URL=http://s54.photobucket.com/user/dusterbd13/media/subaru/20160208_155158_zpsocejefik.jpg.html][/URL]

Yeah, that should work. Now to get a free full day to do it to good housings. Not nearly as hard as i expected. Ill be using these parts i bought, the good lenses, and my good housings. Factory high beam coupled with the bi-xenon high beam once i figure out the wiring.

So, that's where were at on the project. Already done 2000 miles since taking this car on. I've got a long way to go to get it caught up on maintenance and repair though.

pres589 UberDork
2/8/16 10:11 p.m.

Your build threads are really great! Interested to see what all you end up doing to take this car back from the brink.

mazdeuce PowerDork
2/9/16 6:33 a.m.

You've researched the good head gaskets and timing belt parts, yes? Those two are the most common 'my Subaru is dead' items among my Subaru owning friends.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/9/16 6:44 a.m.

Not yet. It's on the list to research, but honestly, I don't have anything else to drive for work until school let's out for summer, so it's just going to have to wait.

I'm sure I could do the head gaskets in a two day weekend, but I'd rather not add the stress. It's only using a quarter of oil and a quarter of antifreeze between oil changes at this point. So it's not that bad yet.

Mad_Ratel HalfDork
2/9/16 7:45 a.m.

Links to what you used for HID's?

I think wifevan could use that. (she's already complained about the headlights once).

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/9/16 8:58 a.m.

I don't want to recommend anything in particular before I have a chance to spend some time driving through bum berkeley behind them, but will give links when I get to a computer.

VWguyBruce Dork
2/9/16 7:24 p.m.

Project of necessity, thanks for sharing. Looks like it will come back nicely.

t25torx Dork
2/9/16 8:08 p.m.

Nice work so far man! I miss being near pull-a-part yards. Good score on the leather door panels. Time to find some castoff WRX seats and throw them in there.

2002maniac Dork
2/9/16 9:28 p.m.

You should have grabbed the struts/springs from the Baja. They are a good inch taller than the regular outback. I love me some lifted Subaru. I picked up a $400 04 OB wagon I've been playing with.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/10/16 7:23 a.m.
Mad_Ratel wrote: Links to what you used for HID's? I think wifevan could use that. (she's already complained about the headlights once).

projectors (just add the $10 gatling shrouds to the order): https://www.theretrofitsource.com/closeouts/standard-mini-h1-bi-xenon-projectors.html

HID kit (had most of this, just orderd bulbs, so im linking the whole kit): http://www.ebay.com/itm/XENTEC-HID-XENON-55W-Conversion-Kit-H4-H7-H11-H13-9003-9005-9006-Hi-Lo-Bi-Xenon-/221534511657?var=&hash=item33947c6229:m:mqGqoz2lDvnhlxQ5hO0Y9xw&vxp=mtr

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/10/16 7:25 a.m.
t25torx wrote: Nice work so far man! I miss being near pull-a-part yards. Good score on the leather door panels. Time to find some castoff WRX seats and throw them in there.

if I could find a cheap set of decent 02-03 wrx seats, I would in a skinny minute. guys areound here want 300 for the pair.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/10/16 7:26 a.m.
2002maniac wrote: You should have grabbed the struts/springs from the Baja. They are a good inch taller than the regular outback. I love me some lifted Subaru. I picked up a $400 04 OB wagon I've been playing with.

the outback is lifted over the legacy gt by a couple of inches. with subframe spacers, if I remember right.

im a lowering guy. but the stock ride height on this one will probably stay, as it has enough ground clearance for what I need to do. I would love to lower it, though. bout 2 inches would be perfect....

brad131a4 New Reader
2/10/16 12:03 p.m.

If you haven't already check out NASIOC they will have just about anything you need answered about subby cars on there. They can get a little contentious at times but usually not to bad. The ones that just can't get along usually get banned fairly quick.

java230 HalfDork
2/10/16 2:06 p.m.

Great thread! Thanks for posting the closeout projectors too. Just ordered a set

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/10/16 2:42 p.m.

Hopefully they work well. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

java230 HalfDork
2/10/16 2:44 p.m.
Dusterbd13 wrote: Hopefully they work well. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Well since you have them, how well does the bulb seal to the back of the projector unit? On my headlights the bulbs are not enclosed in a housing, just sitting on the back, they seal the housing.... Not sure how well the retro fit is going to work on mine... We will see. (9006 bulb for reference)

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/10/16 2:47 p.m.

Umm... not sure what you are asking. These are just hard plastic bulb bases with a pair of locating pins. Held in with a spring clip.

The projectors are sealed with rubber washers.

java230 HalfDork
2/10/16 2:50 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13:

Ha kinda hard to describe.

But that was the info I was looking for, not sealed at all. My headlights use the bulb to seal them. IE no cover over the back of the bulb at all.

Bulbs have a little O ring

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/10/16 3:05 p.m.

Ah. Ok.

I'm fairly certain that you can use an o ring to seal the hid bilbs, but I have never tried.

java230 HalfDork
2/10/16 3:37 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13:

Ill find out! a little RTV and vaseline may work as well.

chiodos HalfDork
2/10/16 4:41 p.m.

Be careful with rtv and silicone sealing electronics, it has to be safe for electronics or it eats up the contacts. I forget the term, dammit let me look it up

Edit: Hmm maybe it's just called acidic and non acidic. Anyways, it's important for electronics to be non acidic.

java230 HalfDork
2/10/16 4:47 p.m.

In reply to chiodos:

good call, it would just be plastic to plastic, but I think any of the "sensor safe" stuff is ok

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/10/16 4:50 p.m.

I also think that we may be over thinking sealing it here. It's a very similar bulb/retention style to my protege5, which only had a rubber splash shield type thing from the factory. No real watertight seal.

ssswitch HalfDork
2/10/16 10:35 p.m.

I'm pretty sure my 03 Impreza only has a similar o-ring sealing its 9007s. There's a collar but it's just there to screw it down (no spring clips, oddly enough).

Pretty clean ride, I love those snowflake wheels. It sounds like your junkyards are pretty well stocked, but for new OEM parts Subaru Genuine Parts seems to be one of the best suppliers if ordering from Canada, not sure who's best for shipping/parts inside the USA. Their parts people are top notch - one of them, Jamie, is restoring a bunch of 360s as well as a very mint FF-1.

One of the guys on the local Subaru club just figured out where to get cheap H4 LED headlights which I'm sure is going to be the next obnoxious ricer fad. I'll let you know if I see it in person and it ends up not being blinding.

FWIW, I had a lot of problems with the previous owner's cheapo HID retrofit on my 06 WRX when I used to leave the headlight stalk turned on and just shut the ignition off to kill the bulbs. The bulbs seemed to last longer when I turned the headlight stalk off and then turned the car off, no idea why. I'm assuming when I turned the car on, it kept oscillating power to the bulbs as the starter cranked.

Does your fold-out back seat cupholder work? I see so many of those broken on the early 3rd gens.

Head gaskets for this fine ride would be 11044AA642.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/11/16 6:33 a.m.

In reply to ssswitch:


And the rear console cup holder is gone. Just flat missing. So I guess it broke and got thrown away by swmbo.

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