Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

General talk about the Subaru Baja.

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bajaguy
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by bajaguy »

Aren't those WRX wheels a different bolt pattern? If I'm correct, they're 115 or 112 or something other than the 5x100 we've got.
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Nitro350Z
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

WRX is still 5x100 for all years. STI is 5x114 for most years except 05 which was 5x100.
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

And the old and busted 5 speed is liberated!

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Now to be replaced with the much nicer, newer, shinier, sturdier, better, etc etc, STI 6 speed. Next week I'll be picking up the clutch and oh boy, it's going to be a fun one. Going to keep it a surprise for now.
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Now I've got another perfectly good clutch kit that I have to find a buyer for.

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In the mean time I've been fighting with the back end on this beast, and 11 years of ice/snow/salt have done their magic and holy hell has this been one hell of a teardown. Liberal applications of liquid wrench have been used between times of cursing and threatening to burn it to the ground. Still have a bunch more to take apart and most of the other side, but there's progress and this is probably what I'll be focusing on in the next week.

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Oh, and bad news bears about the WRX wheels, one turns out to be bent, guess they didn't all survive the rollover. Haven't decided if I want to find a replacement and paint it to match or just look for a different cool looking set of wheels for winter.
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

First up, dissection time:

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Didn't take long to see carnage

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Apparently transfer gears can make a variety of noises when they break since with the Baja 5spd it sounded completely different from what this sounded like.

And I think this piece of metal is a major contributor to this failure

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I want to say it's from the center diff, but that appears to be fully intact, not entirely sure where this piece of metal came from.

Everything else appears to be fine though

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So, woopsie, turns out I was wrong and it was just the transfer gears. Oh well, was enough of a motivation to get the 6spd swap going so there's the silver lining.

Back at the front of the engine, we have success. Been working on it on and off for quite a while and I finally decided on a combo of drilling it out and cutting off the head. Pain in the ass but it's off and ready for new seals.

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My best guess is that one of these two, specifically the intake cam seal, is the one that's leaking. Most of the oil is on this side and it starts high up so I'm thinking it's a fair guess.

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While I was up front I took some artsy shots of random parts

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For the rear subframe, I went all out with the 2ft breaker bar and a nice long cheater bar. The rear two subframe bolts came out without too much of a fight, but the front two, damn. Drivers rear I went straight to cutting it off after being unable to turn it at all, took a while but I got the head off. For the rear it just started turning and holy crap, it felt like trying to undo a cross-threaded bolt. Sat beside the car and was rowing with the breaker bar getting it off.

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And well, my rowing ended up snapping the bolt after it came out this far

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The other part of the bolt is sitting flush in the hole in the body. Yay, time to get some left handed drill bits and start drilling.

And it is out!

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Now to take it apart the rest of the way, give it some good R&R and decide whether I'm going the powder coat route or the POR15 paint route, refresh all the bushings (some are hilariously shot), and then put it all back together again.

While all this junk was happening, I put up a tire rack so I can throw my spare sets somewhere over winter/summer. Yeah I know best case would be to store tires in a climate controlled environment, but you know no effort for toting them up and down stares to the back of the basement twice a year for both Veloster and Baja, so garage it is. I'll actually throw them in bags when they're being stored for longer than a few weeks.

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As you can see from the picture above, the clear coat on the wheels is failing in spots, particularly on the machine finished face which makes them look like crap. So, in the vein of saving money / doing **** myself, I thought I could sand them down and reclear. Haven't finished this wheel yet, but it's a start. Starting with 80grit and working my way up until I get a finish I like, haven't decided if I'm going to like a rougher finish or go for the mirror smooth 2500grit polished look.

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Speaking of the Veloster, went out to enjoy the weather and snapped another glamour shot of it. It's going for another dealer visit tomorrow to finally address the wacky GPS issues.

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And finishing off this post with some cats, since I hear that the internet loves cats.

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Hope you enjoyed the latest installment of my progressing into insanity.
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bajaguy
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by bajaguy »

Haha love it! Sorry to hear about the corrosion in the rear...
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

Update! Actually have some progress done!

For an 11 year old subframe, it's not that bad. But still, some flaking rust here and there and I've got the 05 bits sitting right there so those are the ones getting the refresh.

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Another Organized mess, not all pictured but an all out assault with hammers, breaker bar, cheater bar, electric impact, penetrating fluids and a torch to get things nice and hot.

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Also, it's time to unveil the clutch:

Competition Clutch Stage 3 Segmented Ceramic Clutch - rated for 500wtq. Should leave a little room for future upgrades, and hopefully isn't a terrible chore to drive around town.

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Dirty as hell rear of the motor, gave it a "I don't care" spray down with some no residue cleaner and called it a day.

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Fancy brand new ACT Streetlight flywheel

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First time going with something other than a full face organic disk, lets see how I like it.

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And finally the snazzy pressure plate, just look how thick that thing is.

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And we hit a snag. The WRX/non-turbo both use 6 bolts to hold the PP on, the STI uses 9 bolts. I have another set of bolts but there currently MIA as well as the ACT Flywheel, PP, and Clutch from before I went the turbo swap route, my guess is there somewhere cozy together. Either way, I'm waiting until Monday to get these bolts in, so playing with the rear subframe/suspension it is for the rest of the week. Decide to order the full set of bolts for the flywheel and pressure plate, since I'm already in there it's cheap enough insurance to avoid a flywheel or PP coming apart and venturing into the outside world while at redline or something. Better safe then sorry and I'd kick myself (if I still had legs after) if it would catastrophically fail because of some stupid relatively inexpensive bolts.

Loaded up the subframe and whatnot, borrowed a sandblaster from a friend, and wen't to another friends garage because he's got a nice big 80/100 gallon compressor.

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First time ever sandblasting and holy shit, this is nowhere as easy as it looks. Had to do on the hottest day of the week too, temps were up around 32*C and felt like 38*C with the humidity, which is only 100*F for you guys in the US but we're not used to that heat in the frozen north.

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After getting part of the subframe done and one or two suspension parts I ran out of blasting medium and with how exhausted I was from the heat and how hard it was trying to keep hydrated, I decided I'd call it a day and just get them professionally sandblasted. Off I went to Winnipeg Sandlbasting (Very creative name, but there's something to say about being nice and direct) and two days later, I pick up my parts

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Don't remember this dent in the subframe, but oh well, no idea when it happened or if it was like that when I pulled it off of the 05.
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SOOO NICE AND CLEAN!

In the mean time, I started installing some of the little parts that aren't difficult to do but take up time like the ALK, master cylinder brace, sway links, etc.

There is a lot of crap in the way for this installation, it looks like there is, but really there isn't.

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And the timing belt is back on, with the fancy new FU bolts in place, and damn this is a pain in the ass to do when you don't have the subaru cam holder tool. Definitely a two person job if you value your sanity and don't have the tool.

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Also, the list of things wrong with the Altima is growing longer. Both sway links have let go and were making a terrible knocking noise, so after an attempt to unbolt the sway bar which just resulted in the welded on mounting bolts just spinning in their bracket, I took a sawzall and cut it off at the brackets. One step closer to being a rally car.

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And now back to the Baja, more shiny new parts!

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I messed up the balljoint boots when I was removing the front control arms to do the Whiteline ALK and changing the front bushing for a polyurethane one. So instead of going with a sensible Moog or other replacement, Whiteline Roll Center adjustment kit it is. Yeah, I know, I'm a bit of a Whiteline Whore. Also figured since I've got the '13 STI trans in there, might as well get a '13 STI Badge, still haven't figured out where I want to put it though.

To remove the old and busted I borrowed this awesome tool from a local subaru enthusiast. Brand new, never used in the original box. Seriously turned a couple potential hours of swearing and cocking about with hammers and chisels into a quick and easy 5 min job. The right tool for the right job owns.

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In the mean time, while the parts were all sandblasted and getting ready for paint, I had a friend help who has a home made 50 ton press to press out all the old bushings. There was a lot of mucking about with the old bushings, and pressing the new ones in wasn't that simple either for some of them. The 4 big subframe bushings in the rear for example were fused/rusted into the brackets that hold them and required cutting off the collar on the bushings and a lot of persuasion to come out. The rear outrigger bushings for the diff also put up a fight, from being awkward to push out in the first place, and with pressing in since apparently the spaces where the bushings go turn oval once you press the old ones out, best guess is the heat from the welding at the factory distorted the metal so it goes oval once there's no bushing forcing it to be circular.

To not tie up room at his personal shop, I had them pressed out and in at the same time, so come paint I had to work around the new bushings. Oh well, a little paint won't hurt them. Did the full anal-retentive Por15 prepwork with their cleaner/degreaser and the metal prep spray even though the parts are freshly sandblasted, figured I don't want to do it again so might as well go all out and drink the cool-aid on this one and do it the way they recommend. Once it was all painted, did a few coats of Eastwoods internal frame coat on all the cavity sections of the frame and suspension bits, and went to the garage to empty out the can on the various cavities for the built-in frame rails on the car itself. Crossing my fingers that all this shit works on stopping/delaying rust.

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And since the control arms were off anyway (actually put them back on but I'm already painting everything so what's another few mins of work to take them back off again.

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Now, since all this crap is getting a nice few coats of paint and I have to wait for it to cure, I have to address the two stuck bolts in the back before this can all go back in. I hate those two bolts. The one that snapped off flush with the body was fun to deal with. Bought a set of left hand drills and while they're great at drilling, they didn't do the nice catch and back out the bolt, honestly with how stuck they were I'm not surprised. Ended up drilling it out to just under the width of bolt that used to be there and grabbed a tap and re-threaded the hole. This whole process is summed up in a nice little sentence, but damn is it ever an annoying tedious process that's nerve racking since trying to hold a drill level and going in straight while laying under the car is not a simple task. Still amazed that it worked out as well as it did. Was really thinking I'd have to get a timesert/helicoil/permacoil or whatever.

Well, one down, one to go, and it's good n' stuck. Tried threading the rod and using two nuts to spin it out like you would with an exhaust stud, and nope. First the wrench opens up instead of turning, so I undo both nuts and put them on with the box end of the wrench already on the bolt, and that just results in the threads on the nut stripping out completely, on a 19mm nut. Once that failed, I grab a pipe wrench and try to turn the bolt, nope. It just pulls off a layer of metal from the bolt as it spins around it. Next, I grab the dremel with a cutting wheel and cut 4 flat faces on the bolt to help the wrench grab something. Nope, doesn't work. Tried using the bolt out sockets before but they just spun out on the bolt. Well, now since the bolt was threaded at the end, it actually grabbed hold, and with a liberal application of penetrating fluid over the course of a few days, and as much heat as I could put into it with a propane torch, and a 6ft+ cheater bar, the bolt turns! Got it turn a few times, each time it clicks and snaps, going 1/8th of a turn at a time. And then this:

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So I pull out the stud from the bolt-out socket and keep going, applying more and more penetrating fluid each time. 1/8th of a turn at a time the bolt cracks at each try. On the last few threads, it comes out smoothly, although with much resistance.

AND. IT. CAME. OUT.

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Holy ****, what a PITA.

So then, back to more enjoyable parts of working on this Subaru. Picked up some shfancy gloves

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As it sat in eager wait of the new trans

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My superfancy high precision high tech tool for keeping the motor tilted back a bit to make it easier to slip the trans on.

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The New Hotness almost in it's rightful place

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Bonus shot of the Whiteline Roll Center adjustment kit and a hint of the Racecomp Engineering Coilovers.

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And it went in, no pics yet though. The trans was sitting too high (used the 5spd GroupN mount and the STI trans crossmember which causes the trans to sit a full inch higher in the trans tunnel than the Baja one does. I did not know this at the time and as such had a huge hassle to get the shifter assembly bolted up properly and ran into an issue where the shifter linkage would interfere with the trans tunnel and thus was jammed. Resolved this problem with a small spacer on the trans crossmember bolts and modifying the rear shifter stay so that the shifter would sit a touch lower. Found out what my real problem was when I was putting in the driveshaft, it interfered with the shifter and at that point I checked the two mounts side by side. Now I've got the Baja trans crossmember with no spacers in there (rebuilt it using the bushings and bolts from the STI one) and now there's enough clearance for everything. Would have saved some effort if I had double checked jut how big of a difference there was between the two trans crossmembers.

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And we run into another issue. The driveshaft is too short.

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Options are either a custom driveshaft which is $$$$, an auto driveshaft from an Outback/Baja but it might still be wrong and it's weaker and the flange is for an R160 instead of the R180 that's sitting in the back, or building a custom spacer since the STI shaft is a two piece design and inserting it lengthen the current driveshaft. I'm going with option 3 and the same friend with the backyard machine shop will be helping to fabricate this spacer. Looks like we're going with 4140 high strength steel.

And finally, to end of a good note, the back end is all back together and ready to rock. Forcing stiff bushings into the proper brackets and then getting the bolts to go through was a fun fight, liberal use of hammers and used punches (the tool, not my fists) to line up the holes in brackets to the bushings before forcing a bolt through. So many times I'd have most of it together and then take it apart again to fit an axle or fit a bolt that has to go through first because it's too long to snake in once the part bracket is in the proper place. Thankfully the other side went much quicker once I remembered what the proper order of bolting everything back up was. Also, drum brakes are FUN to work on. Damn little springs love flying across the room when they slip out of the pliers you're using to stretch them.

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Really should have Por15'd the swaybar while I was at it, the rust on the bolts and that bar really stand out against the shiny black bits. On the plus side, everything works back here and should be better than new now.

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And that's all for now.
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

GUESS WHAT'S BACK!

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In other/better news, more progress!

First up, since the driveshaft spacer was out being fabricated, I put together the front a little bit more. Installed the radiator (unfortunately the new gates premolded upper rad hose for the WRX is too short for where the radiator sits, I'll have to pick up one for the Baja and throw it in), threw on the intake finally, put in 4 washers I missed when putting in the rear diff, and sprayed the diff skid plate with a fresh coat of rubberized undercoat. No pics of all that since I forgot and they'll show up in later pics as progress is made.

Now, for pictures. I might have mentioned earlier, I snapped the clockspring last summer while mucking about with the steering wheel having it on and off and forgetting to center the clockspring before putting the wheel back on. Well, I finally got around to taking it all apart and throwing the new one in.

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Fun times trying to snake out the cables from the column.

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Cut apart my 5spd shift boot, and did some sewing to get the boot to sit properly on the 6spd shift linkage. I think it turned out pretty well for the first attempt. Kartboy SS and all assorted bushings and linkage upgrades complete as well, going all out everywhere else with this build so might as well go the full 9 yards while I have/had it apart.

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Oh, while I was waiting for the spacer, I also wired in the DCCDPro controller and threw the control button and knob on the center stack, couldn't really think where to put it but this seemed like a decent spot, so there it is. Wiring in the controller was pretty simple, had to extend a few wires and it always feels weird cutting into the ECM harness. Excited to see the controller in action.
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Full shot of the interior as it stands. I think I'll put the GTSpec D-shaped wheel on my Christmas list, I really liked the steering wheel on the Fiat 500 Abarth when I took one for a spin and I want to have that nice thick D shaped wheel. I guess we'll see how good I've been this year in a few months.
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And the Spacer is complete! 4140 high strength steel, It'll be going in tomorrow evening so there should be some more progress soon. It's getting close to driving on the road again!

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That's all for now.
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

Just going to leave this here:

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It's running and driving! Need to rebleed the clutch as it disengagement point is really close to the floor, feels a little spongy too I think. Otherwise I'll update with actual nice DSLR photos within the next few days, did a bunch of work I haven't mentioned in the thread yet.
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

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I decided that the black-and-out headlight look was just too hipster for me and I went and threw the lights on (after completing the retro since I've been really lazy with side projects / actual projects :wink: ) Still can't get them aimed right so I think I'll just throw in the towel and get them properly aimed by one of the local pro's who's got a business that specializes in HID projector retrofits.

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So dusty and dirty from sitting in storage, but it's out and driving now! SOOO MUCH TORQUE!

Took it for an alignment first thing after it was turned back onto active registration (was on storage insurance while I had it up on stands) to a local dealer that got good reviews for having a new drive on alignment rack (great for lowered vehicles) and was supposed to be a decent price at just under $100 for the alignment. Well, a 1hr alignment turned into 3hrs and cost just under $300 :evil: I discussed with the tech before it went in and told him about what specs I wanted (~ 3 deg neg. camber up front, 2 deg neg camber out back, leave the castor, 0 toe all round) and what aftermarket parts affect alignment and which parts are adjustable. After waiting for 3 hours, and being very behind in my day, I get the car back and it turns out the tech spent so much time because he set the car to as close to stock alignment as he could get it. (-1.5 deg neg camber up front, -1.0 deg camber out back, caster moved down to 3 deg from 5, and 0 toe) He actually rotated the offset strut mounts (Whiteline Com-C) to counteract the castor and camber they are designed to add. :evil: On top of that, he still managed to not center the steering wheel, it's a few degrees off to the right when driving straight.

I was in a huge rush so I quickly paid and got out of there, going back tomorrow, this week has been busy and they close at 6pm W-F, to get this straightened out. Ugh, at least the wheels are straight and I won't scrub off the tires just driving around town. It's going to be fun straightening this s**tshow out.

Anyway, back onto pretty pretty pictures.

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Grille is still untouched since last year for the most part, needs a good sand down, some smoothing, and a decent coat of paint to get it from *proof-of-concept* stage to a nicely finished piece. Hopefully I'll have some time on the weekends to get it done among all the other little side projects.

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Needs a good wash too, I've just took it to the coin-op for a quick wash to get the dust off, but it needs a full on detail, hopefully there's still some nice weather before the snow starts coming down. I'm pretty happy with how it sits now on the new suspension, the front is pretty easy to lift and drop, the rear is a bit of a pain since there are suspension arms in the way of where you want to swing the hook for the coilovers, so you end up having to spin it an 1/8th of a turn at a time.

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Speaking of washing it, I must have not tightened down the upper rad hose enough on the block side since it blew off the night after I took the head(lamp)-less picture, soaked right into the exhaust wrap on the headers. Was smoking like the legislative building grounds on 4/20 while it was burning off. Finally cleared up the other day so it wasn't too bad, but it looked pretty hilarious (and smelled awful) driving around and having a big cloud of white smoke billowing from the hood at stoplights.

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Of course, I couldn't help but go take pictures in a nice field. Ground clearance is on par with your average sporty sedan so soft-roading is still an option without having to worry about being hung up on everything like the hellaflush crowd.

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I've still got to snap some pictures of the exhaust wrap and clean the engine bay since there's coolant spots over a lot of it. Projects never really end, do they?

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Also going to have to figure something out with the alternator, looking online it looks like I can buy the two bearings for the alternator and swap them myself, anybody got experience taking apart the alt? any tricks to it or is it as simple as it seems? Should probably mention, it's making a supercharger like whine when driving around, not too loud but enough to be annoying. Charges fine and no other issues, just sounds annoying.

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And that's where it stands now. Fun to be back.
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mikenmel08
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by mikenmel08 »

That's a great looking ride you got.......
Nitro350Z
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

Thanks!

Continuing the alignment story, hopefully I find some time over the winter and I'll learn how to do my own alignments. Went back and turns out they don't want to do custom alignments and the person working the front desk is new and shouldn't have taken in the job if I was wanting a custom alignment. Oh well, at least got refunded the extra labour. Steering wheel is still not straight but it's not off by much so I'll leave it until spring.

In other news, took a break from school work and decided to cut up one of my old crazed headlamps to make a custom cold air intake duct in anticipation of autocross! A couple cuts with the knock-off dremel and cutting wheel, a quick spray of plastidip on the rear headlamp seal so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb (originally it's an off-white plastic), resealing the lens onto the headlamp, and re-purposing a 3" offset intake duct/hose and voila!

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Fiance has started calling my car The Terminator, haha.

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It's a cheap (low low price of $Free and a few minutes of work) and it'll duct some cooler air directly into the intake box. Nothing really fancy or thoroughly thought out, but if it works it might be a fun thing to throw on at autocross for a cheap laugh and infinitesimal performance gain. (Wiring is pushed out of the way since I was playing with the headlamp, doesn't usually have a 180* bend right there)

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Anybody can guess which intake piece I re-purposed?
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

Woop Woop! Time for an update.

First off, the crappy phone camera pictures since I've been lazy with bringing out my DSLR so lets work our way from crappy pics to nicer looking pics.

The Veloster is yet again having issues with it's GPS, and it's taking forever to fix. Last time they 'fixed' the issue, they broke the drivers center vent. A few weeks later they got the replacement vent in and in the process of swapping them out, they broke the passenger side vent. So we got to drive around for a few more weeks with our interior looking like this:

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Seriously? Brand new car my a**, this thing stopped feeling like a 'new' car a few weeks into ownership because of the amount issues we've had. Anyway, figured we'd sail on by to grab a few drinks at a local sports bar, finding a dock to land at was fairly easy.

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In other news I helped friend take apart and put together his Acura TSX, we swapped the dash for a new one. Fun times.

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We managed to pull it off fairly quickly, all in all took about 5 hours from start to finish with no prior experience with this particular dash nor any sort of service manuals to explain which way things came apart.

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Oh, I bought Acura TL Bi-Xenon projectors for the Baja. The S2000 projectors didn't leave enough room for the highbeam without risking the projector shroud melting after extended use so it was time to go with a Bi-Xenon setup.

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Unfortunately this meant that the LED halo's no longer fit because of the large size of the highbeam solenoid that is mounted under the projector. So I decided to just cut up the halo's and test them out to see if it would work.

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Ta-Da! it worked, proof of concept shown above, with the finished product shown here below. I had WinnipegHID put in the TL projectors (I love the output, looks amazing at night with everything aimed properly now) and I'll have him throw in the LED halo's for a DRL when he's got a little more free time.

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Snapped this quickly as well, gotta love boost. 150kpa is 21.75psi (I still have to get used to the SI unit, I keep wanting to think in PSI)

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And just because it's a nice car doesn't mean it turns into a garage queen or something. It still gets used for its intended purpose.

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OK, now with all the cellphone pics out of the way, enjoy some [s]over processed & terribly edited[/s] pictures of the Baja

The beating heart behind the Baja

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Nice closeup of the retro

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Love the fall colours and the leaves

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More Colour, more leaves

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Contrast set to 11

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Looks good from the back too

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Fall is probably one of the best times of year.

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Oh, and enjoy a video or two.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laPC7Ddm9zM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeLacaN85HE

That should be a big enough visual overload of an update.
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

Swapped on the winter wheels, was too dark to take pictures so instead I finally took some pictures of the headlight output and some more gauge pictures

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Awe yeah, look at that color flicker

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And highbeam output with the LED spotlights. The LED spots aren't really mindblowing compared to the other lights, maybe I'll eventually upgrade them with a higherquality unit or just go with Hella halogen spots or something, oh well, that's for a different year.

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And this update isn't complete without some cats

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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by Nitro350Z »

New wheel picture time!

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Gold was a good choice.
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mikenmel08
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Re: Baja WRX - Car? Truck? Turbo!

Post by mikenmel08 »

Very nice
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