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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)


I've been wanting a second car to enjoy and wrench on for awhile. Saved up the cash and went to look at a few miatas but there was a cheap running and inspected 130k mile auto 05XT locally that kept catching my eye, After some shenanigans with a Miata seller, I decided to go look at this 05XT and my lusts and desires during years of 03X ownership took over. The car had a swapped JDM EJ20x engine with lower mileage. The car needed work, but i figured i could handle it, especially with my subaru mechanic becoming a good friend over the years. We struck a deal well under 3K and I drove the car home....this pic was right around that time, early Jan '19...

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The car was smoking like spy hunter on the way home (of course never showed up on test drive). I believe this may have been revealed due to me "testing" the car during the test drive. Anyway i was worried. Drive over to show my buddy and the cruise starts flashing and CEL shows up. Here we go! Did i mention i wanted a car to wrench on?

So my mechanic buddy told me he would help out with a compression test, which if good we'd replace the turbo. I checked out the ECU and it was stock, which makes our life easier. One weeknight my mechanic came over and supervised the compression test, which was acceptable - one cylinder a bit low but not down in double digits. That weekend i went to work...pulled out the old crap turbo which turned out to be a $250 new ebay special.

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Couldn't see any oil at first but when I separated the turbine and compressor it was pooled up, giving me hope replacing the turbo would fix the smoking. Got a rebuilt OEM TD04. I'm going for close to stock and just running well

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So i get the turbo all bolted up, new water and oil lines and fittings, go to start the car and it is smoking like a big dog from the engine bay and new turbo and sounds AWFUL!!! (EDITORS NOTE: This is when i started to think I had made a grave mistake, started questioning my decision making skills in general, and recalling all the early lessons my dad taught me as a young boy...oh boy).

Turns out i forgot to install one of the new spark plugs after the compression test lol! Did i mention i'm not a mechanic? I work in I.T.!

The amount of smoke was unsettling - i expected some, but this had me checking for fire. I removed the turbo to make sure i didn't leave some packing item in it or something dumb (i didn't). I replaced this oil return hose as well - the other was just giving me a bad feeling, especially since it had the limpest clamps i've ever seen...
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So fixed the spark plug issue, car starts and runs and does not sound like it's about to blow anymore, but is missing. Code P0403 if i recall correctly. Smoke is no longer a problem. The miss turned out to be a coil pack, probably damaged during my trials and tribulations with the spark plugs.

I get a new coil pack at the local Oreilly, fire up the car and the misfire is gone! And now the tailpipe smoke is gone! We are getting somewhere now folks!

But we have a P1153 (flashing cruise and CEL). The front o2 sensor looks new, but i replace it anyway with a Denso OEM model, having taken care of other issues that might be fouling it. Code does not clear when i start the car. I take a drive and it clears. Excellent.

Given this was a JDM engine, to have no CELs on the dash is a good feeling!


Meanwhile, a ton of other items needed doing and have been done. The center diff was binding - I replaced both front and rear diff fluid and the transmission fluid twice. Both looked like they were the original factory fluids - nasty!
Diffoil.jpg

After the 2nd ATF change (about 4 quarts each time) the diff binding has cleared up. Oh yeah! <img src="https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/images/SubaruForester_2014/icons/post_thumbsup.png" border="0" alt="" title="Thumbs Up" class="inlineimg" />

There was also an oil leak in the engine somewhere. The seller could not locate it and neither could I until i started removing parts - namely a little black tray under the passenger front valve cover area. Saw the AVCS sensor leaking under there. unscrewed the one bolt, pulled it out, and found an oring to help it seal better. Leak fixed!

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So now we have no dash lights, no smoke, and no funky oil smells in the cabin - the car is now ready for my wife to have a go in it, true sign of progress.
The family goes out for mexican and "Ralph breaks the internet" with no issues.


More stuff since I took over this car - I'm forgetting some things i'm sure...

  • Recharged AC and the compressor and AC work - let's see how long it holds a charge edit: not long...on to do list. Edit: replaced oring, it's fixed. AC works
  • The shifter selector light was out - replaced that.
  • The good old rear cupholder was falling apart (never seen one that isnt), fixed that up
  • Car was missing some interior trim bits, found and installed
  • Installed Cobb downpipe and new downstream 02 sensor
  • generic stainless steel catless uppipe installed.
  • Replaced drivers side roof rail which was cracked.
  • Replaced window gussets - as usual, these were way too loud and even whistling at 70mph.
  • Replaced jacked up passenger mirror mount. The old one had screwholes from redneck fix and the actual set in nuts that hold it to the gusset were destroyed.
  • Driver side seat warmer button light was out grabbed a button for $14 shipped and installed.
  • Replaced passenger window motor which is weak and wouldnt roll up window the last 1/4" or so.
  • Remounted front grill with proper clips so it sits in the correct spot and no longer makes hood look like it might be open
  • Installed backup camera
  • Installed pioneer stereo w/dvd, and video parking brake bypass secret switch.
  • Worn drivers seat repaired with old seat cover pleather. "good enough" type repair until I decide to replace the seat.
  • New tires all around "Sentury" budget tires for discount auto..they are pretty decent so far
  • Both front calipers replaced (1 by prev owner)
  • Tuned at All Aspects in Chesapeake. 187whp. Approx 250 bhp per tuner
  • Replaced radiator and all 4 hoses
  • front and rear struts/springs replaced with OEM style new ones
  • New brake pads and rotors all around
  • front and rear sway bar bushings and endlinks replaced (oem style)
  • front outer tierods replaced, alignment, and steering wheel centered
  • driver side front wheel bearing and spindle replaced at dealer.
  • Windows tinted, legal VA levels.
  • OEM style generic mudflaps painted body color and installed
  • reinstalled roof racks and installed 2 bike racks.

TO DO
  • Next stage of tuning at some point. Boost controller, fuel pump, turbo inlet (old one just needs replacing).
  • Any random crap that strikes my fancy, since all is tip top currently
pics as of 2-4-19 with grill fix



Right now I LOVE this car! The car feels tighter than my 03X and I love the view out over that hood scoop. So i get my fun car, and the family gets a bit more utility in our fleet of 3 cars. Plus I happen to think this is the best looking gen of forester, save perhaps the 06-08 SPORT XT models decked out in WRB.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Picked this up today from All Aspects Tuning. Cobb catted downpipe. Unbox and install tonight if all goes well.

If i do anything else to the exhaust, it will be the uppipe. Seen too many horror stories about that cat. My cat down there looks good for now (could see during turbo install)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I got the Cobb catted downpipe installed. Not yet tuned, but this thing makes a much bigger difference than i was expecting - increased volume for sure, but not obnoxious. I can now hear the turbo spool up even at the lower RPMs i'm staying at until tune. Feels much more eager already, but i hate to speculate with stuff like this, especially untuned. The car will be on a Dyno soon enough.

Here's the fresh from the box downpipe - looks like a quality piece for sure. No hardware included, just a license plate frame!

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Here's the old one. The 02 sensor bung was spinning instead of the o2 sensor so it wasn't coming out without some clever method that i didn't have at the time. I went ahead and used a new sensor in the Cobb pipe. No CEL so far! Even if one shows up, since this is downstream i believe it can be tuned out.

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Installation was fairly straight forward except for the bottom stud of the turbo/DP flange. No way i can fit the nut i have on that since the Cobb pipe interferes with where the nut screws on the stud. Will have to do some research, probably a low profile nut can be had for this purpose but it's doing OK with 4 studs on there tight. (Edit turns out you need to put the nut on FIRST so you can pull back the flange and get clearance - should have figured that one out. Instead of taking the thing apart again, i found a flangeless nut that i'll use once it comes)

DownPipeInstalled.jpg


and a gratuitous picture of the car in current form...i'm working on some of the body and paint flaws - nothing amazing, just some amateur touch ups in the really bad spots.

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another item on my list is to get under the car with a wire brush and rust treatment and go to town. Nothing is falling apart yet, but it needs some love or it will get there down the road. Edit: been tackling this as I go. Pretty much all affected spots now at least have been brushed out and some rust neutralizer gel applied.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Last night replaced the window gussets. Only took maybe 1.5 hours for both and that's with a major issue with one of the mirrors. So much easier with better tools since the last forester i did it on. Would have been well below an hour if not for mirror repair.

The passenger mirror on this car had some redneck engineering, namely held on by 3 deck screws just screwed into the gusset from the outside. So i hoped to fix this along with the gusset. Turns out the mirror mount panel (plastic mirror mounting section between mirror and gusset) had the set-in nuts area all cracked so the set-in nuts were not stationary. I JB-welded the hell out of them into place (this is all internal) while i did the other side. Then i was able to mount the mirror properly from the interior screws in the gusset. Holding up well so far!

And no more whistling form the gussets - still need to maybe boost the door seals with some tubing but glad the last really piss poor "repair" on the car is gone (i categorize my JBweld mirror nut repair as only slightly piss poor)
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Got the cracked roof rail replaced. Seller sent a black one for free and ill sell the wrong side one they sent me. Painted the black one silver and installed...Now the car looks whole again!

Next up, passenger mirror mount getting replaced to remove the JBweld fix. Should help cut down even more on wind noise, which is still an issue from passenger side due to the broken mount. 20190126_100408_1548519037679.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice xt that’s a good score you are gonna like it.
Thank you! I'm definitely already digging it. Not sure if its the honeymoon but i find myself wanting to drive this more often than my '16 Mazda 3s manual.

If the engine makes it through the dyno tune i will breathe a sign of relief.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Polished the car today. Make no mistake this paint fails close inspection big time but from a distance shes quite attractive, especially compared to when i picked the car up. Ive enjoyed getting her this far.

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Still waiting for mirror mount and clips for the grill (currently zip tied by previous owner and too low).

And of course the tune on feb 27! Will post pics and video hopefully whatever the outcome.
 

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The Subaru paint is VERY thin & unless you park it in a garage, out of the elements, it's going to fail. Both our Foresters park outside & they both will need to be resprayed soon & that's expensive!

Also...
looks like you need to update your Public Profile.

Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Updates:

- Got the seat heater switch and installed, light and switch work. PSA: The connectors for left and right heated seat switches are not the same! You need the correct side if you are replacing these switches.

- Replaced passenger mirror mount. So now there is no evidence of previous hackjob but whistling remains at 70mph. I believe the window motor cant fully roll up the window (it's going out, slow) but will also try the tubing in the window seals trick. To replace the window mount i had to cut the wires for the power mirrors and resolder them, since the connector can't fit through the hole in the mount. Not sure if there is an easier way but not wanting to deal with trying to pull the wires from the connector and reassemble it, this worked out well - plus was a nice relaxing indoor job to sit and resolder them!

- Installed an Android Chinese radio last night. Working well so far, GPS works, screen is bright enough (barely), back up camera installed soon. Has to dremel out the center bezel since the stock radio is apparently smaller than double DIN? Anyway managed to enlarge the hole without butchering it too much.

- lubed the driver window mechanism - no more death squeal when you roll it down.

link to radio...
Amazon.com: Upgraded 7 Inch Touch Screen Android 7.1 QuadCore CPU Double Din Car Stereo in Dash GPS Navigation Surport Bluetooth WiFi Car Radio Audio Vehicle Headunit with Free Rear Camera and Car Tuning Tools: GPS & Navigation
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Got the backup camera installed and working. Since it's a chinese model with no useful instructions it was a bit of a pain to get working. If you get one of these $100 android stereos (*NOT Android Auto, just like a tablet in a stereo format) here's a tip. The backup camera signal wire is on the main harness (brown wire in my case), despite the stereo coming with a special backup camera specific RCA+12v dual wire harness that had it's own 12v signal wire and connector that went right into the back of stereo. Apparently that 12v signal wire is useless. Use the one back up signal wire off the main harness! The video uses the special cable on that 2 wire harness, but not the signal wire. Trial and error.

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Here's the one area with exposed (insulated) wire....
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GPS works great...
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So does the new seat warmer button light....
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2nd USB input for radio (1 on the face) cuirrently in glove box - may mount somewhere later
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There's a connection for a 3rd USB input on the back of radio but really i don't need it. My only real gripe about the stereo is once you start multi tasking at all it gets pretty darn slow. Was able to watch some Youtube at lunch today though, quite nice. Alexa works with it as well!

So the trimming of the bezel can really be seen here in this photo. It's not so noticeable sitting in the car but i'd still like to come up with a 2nd bezel for it. I'm sure i'll think of something.
20190130_231359.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Now the challenge is mirroring the cam video, which is flipped left to right. Turns out the camera settings don't take unless you reset the unit (not just turn off car, must hard reset) - so after some fiddling about and realizing this reset requirement, i believe given a good 10 minutes to try all the various broken english labeled options, i'll be able to find the right setting and get it mirrored. the picture is not that bad and it has plenty of light at night even - not bad for a "comes with your cheapo stereo" camera.

Edit: Found it. It was under a different set of settings. The main "Car Settings" and not "Car Kit" settings.(useless on this unit? Tons of cam settings in there that dont do squat) No restart required.

Next up, OBD2 app that ill likely use 3 times in first month and never again, but having it and getting it working smoothly is worth doing for the tweaking fun.
 

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Nice job so far, i hope you’ll get good results with the remap and you’ll get to really enjoying the whole car :)
I didn’t really get what your problem with the heated seat switch was, but do you have a code for the switches? I’m not sure if it is the switch or something else on mine, but on the drivers side it only works in the first setting and both switches have no lights.


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Discussion Starter #19
Nice job so far, i hope you’ll get good results with the remap and you’ll get to really enjoying the whole car :)
I didn’t really get what your problem with the heated seat switch was, but do you have a code for the switches? I’m not sure if it is the switch or something else on mine, but on the drivers side it only works in the first setting and both switches have no lights.


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Thanks - me too on the remap! My worst fear is this thing explodes on the dyno after all this work lol. If it does, at this point i'll have to carry on with it.

Sorry I don't have a code for the switches - here's the link to my ebay item i purchased if it works for you
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2003-Subaru-Forester-Console-Seat-Warmer-Switch-Set/303024471305?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

It was just the little orange light was out on the drivers side switch so you couldn't tell it was turned on. I pulled the switch apart first to maybe replace the bulb but could not find a bulb that matched - it's a very tiny bulb.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Window motor came today so I went to grab a mirror from the drug store to help install it. I decided to pick up some Lubeguard at AutoZone as my center "diff" was still binding occasionally when hot. Heard good things about it. Put it in at the store (it's only 10oz, might drain a bit of ATF to be sure) and it seems to have already made a difference. No problems with the transmission yet, normally after a decent drive pulling into my garage will reveal binding - not this time. Will monitor and report back.

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On to the window motor install - hopefully will kill passenger wind noise, at the very least will be proper speed again. I'm scared to roll the thing down now!
 
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