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...
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.
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
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...
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!
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!
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.
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.
- 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
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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