Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just so excited that my car is finally coming together and no one else seems to get just how awesome it is. They don't understand how attached I was/am to MY Forester. So I'm sharing here, where people will get it.

In case you missed it, here's the very short version of why it's all happening....teenage son totaled my car beyond repair, 03 Forester XS, Platinum Silver Metallic, gray on inside. Bought another 03 Forester, just an X, ugly maroonish, even uglier tan on inside, low miles, super cheap ($500). Needed new right fender, headlight, lots of dents and dings knocked out and the latch for the hatch didn't work. But my husband said he would do all the mechanical and body work to make it my car if I was willing to do most of the interior and help him out with the other stuff. I didn't see how it could be possible, but if he says he can do it, he can.

So....spent the last 2 weeks making the X into my XS.

We gutted down to the metal, I actually enjoy working on cars and am pretty mechanically inclined, so it was mostly fun. We swapped wiring harnesses, front and back since the wiring for the heated seats is on the back harness, blower motor, motors for acc controls, had to bore out a hole in heater box to accommodate switching to acc. Going from manual controls to auto is not easy and required quite a bit of work, I wouldn't recommend doing it. But I have my heated seats, mirrors, automatic climate controls, and soon, the windshield back. My husband had the hatch open and working smooth again in the time it took me to go out to his car, find my soda that rolled under the seat and get some stuff out of the trunk. He's seriously the car whisperer, even after 20 years of watching him do his thing, it still shocks me sometimes how fast he can fix a car.

We swapped all 4 doors since other than scrapes and one minor ding, they were still amazingly fine, carpet, seats, basically as much as we could salvage from the wrecked one. Still not complete on the inside since I'm having to use some of the tan trim pieces, and resurfacing the plastics so they all match is taking more time than I thought, but I want it done right. I'm what you might consider, particular, possibly even a perfectionist, especially when it comes to my own stuff.

While all the interior was out I cleaned everything, seats, plastics, headliner, door panels, everything down to taking apart all the window/lock controls on all the doors and scrubbing with a toothbrush, even the bulbs for the interior lights got a quick wiping. I figured if I'm going to do it, might as well go all the way.

It seemed like it was never going to really be my car, but now, I'm feeling it. I'm not sure if it's because all the jams and such got painted Friday and most of the interior is back in or because my dog finally accepted the car. I wish I had video of that, he was so damn hilarious, when all the doors were off, but seats and carpet were in, he went over and sniffed the driver’s seat, backed up a bit, looked at the exterior of the car, went over and sniffed the tires, seemed puzzled, sniffed the seat again, back to tire, sniffed a fender, checked color again. Must have done that 10 times before he finally decided it was ok to hop into the driver’s seat(he considers it his seat if no one else is in the car) and settled down to nap while we worked. It's finally starting to feel like my car, I even called it my car instead of "the red one", like I've been doing.

It still needs the fender and headlight on, but it was easier to do the harness without those anyways, needs the exterior painted, and a few odds and ends here and there. We have all the parts and since we own a body shop and my husband has been a body man since forever, the rest should get done pretty quickly.

I was going to do a different color, just to shake it up a bit and prove that I can handle change(I can't, I hate change), but after trying to find a color I really liked for over a week, it turns out I really like platinum silver metallic and gray steel metallic, so I'm sticking with them. My husband was happy to hear it too, apparently mixing those particular colors isn't cheap(anything metallic bumps up the price) and since the doors will already be the right colors, he'll only have to use one coat of each, besides the clear, to freshen them up after fixing.

I wish I had taken more pictures to show the transformation, but I hate touching my phone if my hands aren't clean. So here's what I have, a couple of the wrecked one, a couple of the new one gutted, and one of it going back together.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2009 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
Joined
·
1,113 Posts
Keep us posted on the step by step! For someone like me who isn't very mechanically inclined, I find it fascinating to see a vehicle stripped down and then built back up.

You might also consider asking a mod to move this to the journal forum so you can put everything there in one place.
 

·
Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
Joined
·
29,432 Posts
I've moved this to the Members Journals section - better spot for it if you want to chronicle your progress over time. Let me know if you want the thread title changed to something different.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A quick update....

I had to use more interior tan pieces than I originally thought I would so I decided to go black with all the upper interior pieces. I'm really liking how it looks and am considering going black with all the interior trim.

I also added an invisible 12v power port to the front, just used one of the spares I ended up with and soldered the leads to the back of the port already there, then just tucked it to the side. This way I can hide the wiring from my Sirius radio, which I have in the dash compartment, and not have to cut the power cord to splice.

And while stripping the wrecked car for minor parts we saw that all the lower exterior moulding and the rear bumper were in decent shape so we're going to use those. The red car came with all of those in the unpainted resin, dark gray. I prefer the painted look so we sent back the front bumper cover we had ordered and got the paintable version instead.

Also swapping the cross bars on the roof rack since the ones that came on the red car are all beat. They're somewhere in the shop, not going on until after it's all painted, less to mask off that way.

A couple pictures of the black on gray interior. I left some of the smaller pieces gray, not sure if I'm going to leave them that way or not. I want to give it some time before I decide.

Also found a good pic of the front wiring harness out. And a wider shot of the wreck in the parking lot.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions of what else I can do to it while it's still being reassembled, I'm all ears.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sound upgrade and sound deadening while you have the panels off.
I know most people really care about the stereo in their car, I'm not that into it, not enough to spend money on it anyways. I usually only listen to Stern, unless kid/kids are in the car, then I leave the radio off so we can talk.

On a totally different note, I was putting the glove compartment back in yesterday and saw it had a spot for a light, but I don't remember there ever being one and can't see where one would plug in anywhere on the harness.

Am I missing something?
 

·
Registered
2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
Joined
·
863 Posts
Great story, thanks for sharing. Glad your son is OK.

Hilarious about the dog, loved reading that! :biggrin:

So you got the other car for $500 - amazing!! How is the engine in it?
 

·
Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
Joined
·
29,432 Posts
On a totally different note, I was putting the glove compartment back in yesterday and saw it had a spot for a light, but I don't remember there ever being one and can't see where one would plug in anywhere on the harness.

Am I missing something?
It didn't come with a light from the factory, but you can retrofit one pretty easily. Peaty has a great DIY write-up on scoobymods - you may have to register to see the pics but it's free and a fantastic resource anyway: Glove Box Light retrofit
 

·
Registered
2004 Forester XT 4EAT SportShift
Joined
·
1,231 Posts
I know most people really care about the stereo in their car, I'm not that into it, not enough to spend money on it anyways. I usually only listen to Stern, unless kid/kids are in the car, then I leave the radio off so we can talk.
The sound deadening will make the drive more enjoyable even when you are not upgrading your sound system. Subarus are pretty noisy in stock trim.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update....
It's been crazy busy at the shop the last few weeks so finishing my car fell way down the list of importance. It seems everyone who's collected little dings throughout the winter has decided now is the perfect time to get them all fixed. Good for business, bad for getting my car done.

This week started slowing down a bit so we got the rest of the body work done. My husband decided that if he was going to fix the big issues, he might as well fix all the little dings and scrapes too. I didn't realize how many there were, to be honest, I didn't even see some of them.

We ended up getting another new headlight since one new and one old just made my car look like it had glaucoma in one eye. I also wanted to be able to hook my phone up to the stereo but, as I'm sure everyone knows, adding an aux in to the stock radio is just a PITA, so my daughters boyfriend gave me one of his stereos he had laying around that had one. This freed up some space since I had the double din stock radio. So I decided to figure out a way to put my Sirius in there.

First, so I didn't have to cut any wires in my car or spend any money and because I just wanted to, I opened up the stock single din that came with the car and desoldered the plug and wired the new radio to it. Found a great site with the pin-outs that made it pretty simple. After soldering the new connections and testing it out to make sure it worked, I used the brackets from the old radio and had the new radio in.

Then I used some of the left over trim to make a bezel for my Sirius radio. An air saw to cut the basic shape and get the big chunks out. Then an xacto knife and some sand paper to finish it up. Also used a heat gun to put a bend in the plastic to it would follow the shape of the dash better. I need to remember where I put the bezel for the actual radio and put that on, but other than that it's done.

I also decided to redo the vinyl on the door panels since all 4 on both cars were pretty beat. While I was at it I used the same material and covered the radio part of the dash and shifter trim.

Here's what it looks like now, a little dusty from all the sanding. Waiting for the booth to be free. The bumpers and trim are already painted and sitting...somewhere. The lights are all in the back of the car. Everything will go back on after it's painted. This is parked out back at the shop, so don't mind all the misc parts and what not in the background. Like I said it's been a busy couple of weeks. Oh yeah, he already painted the roof.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I realized I forgot to thank Pleiad7, I checked out that thread, ordered a harness off ebay and now have a light in the glovebox!

And to answer the engine question, it only has a little over 100k miles on it, runs strong. On the way home after we bought it I tested it out a bit(it was late, the road was empty), it hit 100 on the highway a couple times with no qualms. The front end had a slight shimmy at about 90, but I'm pretty sure that was the tires. Putting a new set on once the rest of the car is done.

I'll take it on the highway again once it's all set, just to make sure it's all good.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My car is the right color again! The booth was free yesterday and there wasn't a ton of work backed up so my husband had his painter do it up instead of staying late and doing it himself. Got the cladding and mouldings mostly back on, new headlights are in place but not fully attached yet. Bumpers are going on tomorrow, they got their last coat of clear today.

We're still debating on what to do with the grille and eyebrow trim. I'm leaning towards painting it all the same as the bumpers (metallic gray), hubby wants to paint it all black so it looks like my car is wearing a mask. We'll see. He said he'd black out the Subaru emblem on the grille and customize it for me, but as usual, I have no idea what I want it to look like. Maybe tiny flames, maybe I'll name the car and use the emblem as its name tag, ohh, maybe have him paint Curious George on it! He's my favorite. Too many options, I'll never be able to decide now.

Drivers side mirror is still off as the glass was cracked in it. They are the heated mirrors, but they want way too much for the heated glass so I detached the heating element from the cracked one (which was really easy to do), ordered plain glass for $10 instead of the heated for $70, and I'll just slap the element onto the plain glass, put it back together and have my heated mirrors again. The side mirrors that came on the car are smaller than the heated ones so that glass wouldn't work.

Getting new tires put on my alloy rims so those ugly steel ones will be gone asap. Also popped the door lock out of the red doors and put it in my silver one so the car is all keyed the same. Roof rack bars will get bolted back on tomorrow too.

It's all coming together, finally. Took way longer than I wanted, but the paying jobs come first. Here's what it looks like as of 6pm today. It's dusty as hell, but if you've ever been in a body shop you know everything ends up with at least a couple layers of dust before it's done. It was really hard to get good pictures as there are cars everywhere and not much room to maneuver. To get the wider front shot I had to stand in the back of an old Skylark that's getting restored that was parked in front of me.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2005 Impreza RS 4EAT (sob)
Joined
·
431 Posts
Yaaay! :) You're finally getting "your" car back! :) Now, if only I could find another gold '01 Forester... oh, well. :shake:

So, as for your son - is he still driving, or are his insurance premiums so high now that you're no longer letting him drive, or...? A 17-year-old driver T-boned a car in the city where I live last night around 7 PM (it was raining), and the 45-year-old driver of the other car died. It's really scary, because I was literally in that EXACT area half an hour before, and since I'm 17, I feel like it could have been me. :icon_eek:
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My son is lucky I let him ride IN any car and not strapped to the roof. He has driven since, not that he even asked if he could, he knows better. He actually looked quite surprised when I tossed him the keys to the Jeep I've been driving and told him to drive himself to track practice the other day. He just said "Ok, thanks" and scurried away before I changed my mind. I'm pretty sure he learned a lesson, I just hope it sticks.

I should probably be satisfied he's smart enough to get a free ride at UMASS for the next 4 years, but I'm going to hold him to his promise to buy me ANY car I want once he lands a good job after college. It's for his own good, and mine!

Heading out to the shop soon, going to try to remember to take some good pics when we're done today. No promises though, as "take pictures of the car" was literally the first thing on my list yesterday and I still forgot until after we locked up! Hopefully it'll be nice out and I can get some good shots in the parking lot.
 

·
Registered
2009 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
Joined
·
1,113 Posts
Not just after you're done, but during! That's the most interesting stuff.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forester Automatic
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got everything back on today. Both bumpers, fender liners, headlights, tail lights, grille, rack bars bolted on, more I'm too tired to think of. But it's in the driveway!!! Still needs a few finishing touches, but those can be done anytime. So as of now, I officially have my car back. I actually cried while driving home I was so happy. The dog was pretty thrilled to have his comfy car back too.

I'm on my ipad and pics are on my laptop, which is way over there ---->. I'll post them tomorrow, or later today at this point, right now I'm going to bed.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top