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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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785 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was starting to clutter up the "what did you do today" thread with all manner of minor updates - "Hey guys - I topped off my washer fluid!!"
....so i figured it was time for a journal.

My car has always been my daily since i've had it, but I go through periods of trying to spruce it up. I've had it from the 120K mile mark to the current 185K+.

Most recent w/ roof rack and tinted fog lights...
IMAG0597.jpg
IMAG0596.jpg

Current Mods...

  • UEL Headers (ebay)
    K&N Air filter
    Yonaka high flow cats (rear 2 cats)
    1" trailer hitch receiver
    Boss Touch screen DVD Stereo
    Kenwood Front speakers
    Walker Quiet flow muffler
    WRX 02-04 16" wheels
    5mm wheel spacers all around
    generic mud flaps all around w/ subaru decals
    Faux leather front seat covers
    Various shift knobs depending on my mood
    Front grill painted black (plain old krylon)
    Lower previously grey trim painted flat black
    Mid pipe heat shield "delete"
    Roof Rack
    Yellow tinted fog lights
    Semi-permanent 7" tablet mount with permanent micro usb power install, mainly for Torque.
    2nd Permanent micro usb power install on left side of dash.
    WRX oil filter conversion so headers would fit. The headers make removing the filter a pain in the [email protected]@, especially the first time after my mechanic had tightened it as if the fate of the world depended on it staying on.
    Chinese dash cam that works well for intended purpose (crash evidence). The biggest challenge of install was figuring out how to change the menu language to english!
Next planned work...

  • none currently


A few old engine out shots (from mechanic) from when i had a bunch of seals replaced and a new clutch installed.....
_IGP0945.jpg
And here's a
of the header engine note (pre-new muffler, hence the turbo-like sound)

Ebay Headers.... (oil pan is newer - it was rusted out when i got the car). required WRX oil filter conversion (smaller diameter)
header1.jpg
header2.jpg
Repairs since owned:

  • New clutch and Flywheel (mechanic)
    timing belt, water pump and all idlers (mechanic)
    Valve cover gaskets, rear main seal, cam seals (mechanic)
    Oil pan replaced (mechanic)
    New sunbelt radiator (OEM style)
    Rear wiper motor replace
    Various interior trim pieces
    Middle a/c vent replaced
    Top dash cubby replaced
    A/C tensioner, full assembly
    Driver side sunshade replaced
    Rear seat cup holder replaced (none included)
    Downstream O2 sensor replaced
    Window gussets replaced
    Rear bumper hole repaired
    Rear shocks replaced OEM style
    PCV valve replaced
    Front rotors replaced
    Drivers side front window motor replaced
    Front ball joint (1)
    Rewired front passenger wiring harness
    New Fuel Filter
    New clock
    New driver's seat adjuster wheel
    Professional A/C recharge service - couple o rings replaced
    All new rear brake pads and hardware @188K miles
    Normal maintenance items, plugs, fluids, lights, pads, etc.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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785 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks fellas! Yes it was about time i think. Just fixed the a/c yet again. I had replaced the tensioner with a new metal one to fix the noisy stock one last week. 2 days later the a/c stopped working again - the tensioner was fine but the clutch had stopped engaging. I decided to try putting more refrigerant in it at lunch today and the clutch engaged! Now to see if there's a leak or just 12 years later it needed recharging - the latter seems reasonable to me.

Such a clean ride! Reminds me SO much of my build. Where did you find that shift knob? I love it.
Thanks. If i'm honest, the pictures help in the "clean" department. Close inspection reveals many issues in the body work, including some of my amateur repairs - some decent (rear bumper hole), some not so decent - (fender and door ) - along with alot of small dents and scratches. But it does look pretty good from 20 feet away :smile2:

I believe that metal shift knob was an ebay purchase - $10 type deal. (edit: cannot find same one on ebay any more - tons of similar ones though) It scratched rather easily and I have since tried out a couple more.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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785 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
current shift knob, USB input (yup, that's velcro tape surrounding it on the switch cover - plan to cut up an old leather seat cover to redo that soon), and stereo


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NOTE: This car would not be anywhere near as functional and decent looking without the help of this forum. Much appreciated. I've learned a ton on here and gotten much braver with DIY since joining this forum. As a result, owning this car has been a pleasure.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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785 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Obligatory "before" cabin filter pic...this sucker is no more than 2 years old! The first one I put in was an upgrade, as the stock 03X did not come with a cabin filter unless you ticked the box at the dealer :icon_eek:
IMAG0320.jpg
...and the new one - TYC 800075P Subaru Forester Replacement Cabin Air Filter purchased
IMAG0319.jpg
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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785 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
5mm spacers added on all wheels, 215/60 tires mounted. Tire shop used the spacers i supplied no problem which surprised me, said it will still pass VA inspection. I really like the way the WRX rims look once they are spaced correctly with the right tires. Very nice when a plan comes together as you imagined it.

IMAG0327.jpg


these OEM steelies are for sale now....SOLD
IMAG0326.jpg
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Had a loud plastic sounding pop/rattling coming from rear hatch. After eliminating any possibility of loose objects in the cargo bay, took the rear hatch trim off (3 plastic clips and 2 screws on handle, then just pull to free the internal clips). Turned out one of the plastic clips was rattling around free in there - the one that connects to the rear wiper motor - my fault from when i replaced the wiper motor last year. Just connected that back up, reassembled and went for a ride. No more rattles!!

Also, fixed the shifter vibration noise with some foam insulation and tightening up the mounting bolt. It's either fixed or hidden, but the sound is gone.

I dare say my Foz may actually be "annoying noises" free! Actually no - the headers still rattle against something under heavy acceleration. Does not bother me too much because A. i know what it is and B. i can avoid the noise if don't drive like Mario Andretti and C. it almost sounds like part of the engine note.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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785 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I've got a mysterious coolant type smell, not strong, may even be the A/C leak, reminds me a bit of what i smelled while recharging it a week or two ago. Can't find any leaking, coolant looks normal, so.....

I ordered an oil analysis kit to see where this car stands. I'm expecting something along the lines of "how are you still driving this heap?". Will post back once I get the results in a month or so.
 

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2005 Foresters Both manual 5-speeds
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Check the top tank seal on your radiator for weeping...

The plastic tanks have a limited life, I had to replace one last year (the reason for my present engine change) and the damaged car I bought also has a replacement fitted.

Light green stains will be your giveaway.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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Discussion Starter #15
I was able to get the car to the shop today for a professional A/C charge. My recent DIY recharge confirmed the compressor clutch was still working, but there was in fact a leak so it needed a pro involved now. They basically laughed at my can of a/c seal (not surprisingly) and i bit the bullet for a service and leak dye. Turns out a couple orings blew out as soon as they pressurized the system. They fixed those and then recharged it.

The good news is so far that smell in the cabin that i thought may be coolant is completely gone - same drive to and from work as before - i'm very happy about that as I was fearing the HG finally went to internal leakage. The a/c works great for now, but we'll see if it leaks in a few weeks/months. Should be easy to spot if it does with the dye in there.

So for now at least, i'm back to an "Everything works" bill of health - which is satisfying. I'm emotionally invested to the point with this car that I start losing sleep if something is not working as it should - even the a/c in December! (hey it helps a ton for defrost).

Check the top tank seal on your radiator for weeping...

The plastic tanks have a limited life, I had to replace one last year (the reason for my present engine change) and the damaged car I bought also has a replacement fitted.

Light green stains will be your giveaway.
Leeson thanks for the tips. I checked out the plastic overflow canister and it seems solid (i had it off recently to service A/c tensioner so that was the first thing i checked). No signs of any moisture at top of radiator, even after a long drive. No visible hose issues and nothing leaking to the ground. I'm hoping this was not in fact coolant - seem promising at the moment that it wasn't - time will tell.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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Discussion Starter #17
Cats installed by a local exhaust shop just shady enough to replace the functioning old ones. Engine note barely changed (which is a good thing in my case), perhaps a tad deeper on acceleration. Car feels more willing when i put the pedal down. Not even willing to speculate on power gains, but it certainly is not significant.

Overall, decent mod to replace some old rusty cats - satisfied.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Went to get some rain x fog prevention stuff yesterday (desperately needed it) and saw the headlight restorer kit with the drill attachment. I've done the hand sand kit before with decent results, but wanted to get them brand new looking....so, this morning I went to work....

BEFORE - not bad but not looking new
IMAG0363.jpg

AFTER
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IMAG0368.jpg


Didn't realize how much better they could look. Worth the $20 3M kit as that drill attachment and tons of leftover sanding discs will come in handy aside from this job.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Put in a new Sunbelt radiator this morning, in hope of curing a faint coolant smell. So far not even a sniff of coolant, but we'll see over the next few days. Could not find any obvious leak previously but they are cheap so i figured what the hey.

I did not see any SG Forester radiator step by step instructions around here so here goes...

Note: I have a manual car. The auto radiator works fine, just don't use the transmission cooler lines. You could plug them up on the new radiator, i didn't bother.

Items needed: new radiator, bottle of coolant (or two, i cheated with a bit of water - not recommended), Subaru coolant conditioner, a funnel, 10 and 12 mm socket, Phillips head (for clamps), Flathead screwdriver (electrical connectors), Crescent wrench (for drain plug), 2 buckets, rags, maybe an extra large hose clamp or two if yours are old, wire cutters may be needed to remove old clamps. Car should be cool and turned off.

  1. Drain coolant - plug is on bottom of passenger side, if too tight for hands use a crescent wrench. Remove the radiator cap. Have a couple buckets handy, especially if you've removed the undertray like me, as the undertray helps divert the coolant to one drain area - without thetray, expect to be catching a few separate flows of coolant!
  2. Remove accessory belt covers for more space. 3x10mm bolts and a 12mm (only loosen! do not remove!) for the alternator bolt that holds on cover.
  3. Remove overflow tank - two 10mm bolts. pull off the hose and get both the tank and hose out of the way. Dump the overflowtank and rinse out to get rid of all the dirt in there while we have it out.
  4. Remove lower and upper radiator hoses by loosening clamps (or clipping in my case of rusted lower clamp) and working off hoses. Have bucket handy for lower hose. I needed a new hose clamp (2 inch??) for lower hose, luckily had a new one handy.
  5. Remove power steering hose from plastic mount on fan housing - just pull it out of the fan housing - you'll see it, it just pops off.
  6. Detach the 2 fan electrical connectors. Pry a flathead screwdriver UNDER the tabs, then pull, to separate connectors.
  7. Unscrew the two top mounts for radiator (2x10mm bolts i believe) and remove the mounts. The radiator is now free to pull out.
  8. Pull out the radiator. Unscrew the three 10mm bolts for fan housing, pull it off, and transfer the fan housing over to the new radiator. Do not tighten the bolts too much or they will crack the fan housing (ask me how i know this).
  9. Place new radiator with fan housing already attached back into engine bay, aligning the two mounts at the bottom.
  10. I connected the two main hoses at this point, but did not tighten clamps. For a manual car, these are the only hoses going to radiator.
  11. Now screw back in the top radiator mounts - make sure radiator sits in bottom mounts properly.
  12. Tighten lower and upper hose clamps. Also re-attach power steering hose mount and electrical connectors - the connectors mount back on the fan housing.
  13. Reinstall coolant overflow tank with 2 10mm screws, attach reservoir hose to tank and radiator cap. The "steps" part of the hose goes in the overflow tank.
  14. Attach belt covers back on - Alternator cover first, then A/c belt cover. tighten the 12mm Alternator bolt, then the 3x10mm cover bolts (actually one is a nut).
  15. Filling Radiator - NOTE: I am no expert here, this is what i did after some research, you would be wise to do your own research on this: remove radiator cap and pour in some coolant (i used premixed 50/50) into radiator (not overflow tank). Before radiator is full, add the Subaru coolant conditioner, then add coolant until pretty much over flowing from radiator. Now fill the overflow to the low mark. Do not replace radiator cap yet.
  16. With cap off, start the car and turn on the heat. You want to let it warm all the way up so the thermostat opens. While car is running, squeeze the top radiator hose along it's length, you will see air come out of the radiator cap opening, and the coolant level drop. Add more coolant (again to almost overflowing) and squeeze hose again - see more air come out of radiator cap opening, squeeze hose again, etc... I must have done this 20+ times, until when i squeezed the hose, no air came out. Giving the car a little gas here n there helped the process. Make sure car is fully warmed up before considering this "done".
  17. Replace radiator cap, check the over flow tank to make sure at proper level. Inspect engine bay for tools, drink, rags etc left behind, close the hood, clean up and go for a ride. Fist pump at your successful repair.
***Please let me know if i've missed anything here - i wrote this after the fact, but believe this is complete.

New radiator installed....
IMAG0374.jpg

IMAG0376.jpg

IMAG0375.jpg
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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Discussion Starter #20
Stacked a couple extra gaskets on the exhaust headers where they meet the block. This has given them the extra 1/8" clearance on the oil pan and other places so they no longer vibrate against anything upon heavy acceleration - nice! Was not sure if that would work, but it took care of the issue.

Now...about that squeaking driver side wheel.....
 
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