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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well I figured I've been here long enough, that I could throw a journal of sorts together:rock:

I'm a 20 y/o Uni student who has to leave his Foz at home most of the year :icon_frown:

Thankfully, I'm home for the summers and mid-years, and I try cram as much in as I can then. I've had the car about 5 years, and it still makes me smile, every time I see it. I've had traitorous thoughts about the newer model Foresters from time to time, but I keep coming back to the SF5.

How she sits at the moment:




OEM options added

-Ex-Singapore Spec full leather seats and door linings
-OEM Forester foglights
-Side running boards
-Tow bar
-Running boards
-Mudflaps (Woo!)
-Dashtop din pocket
-Forester STi Suspension

Aftermarket mod's list

-NARVA LED interior lighting
-FUSION BT Headunit, full 8 speaker system
-30% Tints, rear and passenger windows
-Nolathane performance bushings
-HELLA LED DRLs
-WRX 20mm Rear Swaybar
-Alloy Rear Swaybar endlinks
-Front bumper respray
-BBS/CH 17" with Pirelli P7s (locking wheel-nuts)
-COBB Performance springs
-Mongoose M80G 5 star security system
-Main body complete wrap in 3M Vinyl to Gunmetal grey.

Standard safety/ recovery equipment carried

-CHUBB Dry powder fire extinguisher
-2500kg tow rope
-Subaru wheel brace x2
-Spare Wheel (Full 17")
-Car Screw-jack
-NZ-FirstAid Highway medical kit
-PowerBuilt socket-set (Metric)
-SCA Jump-leads (only ever used to jump someone else's car... :p )



Anyway! That'll do me for now, I'll try keep this updated best I can, and if anyone wants more info on any of the stuff I've done, just leave a comment!

Cheers guys
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Cheers bud!

So, I know people like photos, so here's a few to give you an idea of what I've been up to, in a catch-up to now kinda post... (Please bear in mind a student's budget in NZ doesn't give much room for fancy euro/ JDM/ American mods or aftermarket parts, as they all cost a premium here...)

When I picked it up. (Actually 5 days after, I'd added the foglights then)



Going black with the stock steelies and the grill surround. Sanded, primed and undercoated grill, then 4 topcoats of Plasti-dip. Wheels sanded, primed, base coated, top coated in flat black w/ a clear coat on top.



Getting tints!



New wheels: Pirelli Ice/Wet Weather 16"



And then, when at Uni, it gets tucked up in its car cover :icon_cry:



Making the best of a busted rear cup-holder... Going to tidy it all up with some matting soon. Drove 850km to Wellington and back with 3 passengers, those in the back loved the iPod charging capability and extra cigarette lighter plug for their gadgets. I ended up running a 10A fused line to the battery with a relay to the ACC position on the key barrel w/ master switch, for any future interior electrical mods.




Earlier this week... Surprise!

At a local Auckland dismantler/ importer, I found a very rare set of full black leather seats from a late 1999 ex-Singapore spec import. Snapped them up for $350, plus a 17mm WRX rear swaybar and some plastic trims I've been meaning to replace forever.

Getting the back loaded up!



Due to the yard not giving all the mounting brackets for the rear seats, and because my JDM seats were different to the Singapore spec ones :icon_rolleyes: it took a week, with courier packages in between, to get just the rear seats mounted in. Turns out that my car used an adapter brace, mounted through the seatbelt bolts, to line the rear seat back's middle bracket up. For the Singapore seats, I no longer needed that bracket, because it place the bolts in the wrong place. I'm not proud of how long it took me to work that out :icon_redface:

ANYWAY, photos...

The adapter brace of confusion:



Getting on with the swap, rear seats DONE (finally...)



Bits and pieces of door trims everywhere... On the left, the old cloth door card, on the right, the new leather one.



And finally, the most recent (quick) photo shoot. (JJ-Abrams style lens flare was not intended or added as photoshop, but the result of a spotlight)

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cheers mate!

Yes, its certainly helped on the long distance trips... Originally, I installed a similar module in place of the ash tray (Ain't no one smoking in my car!) and people had to run their cables from there to the back. Car is a manual transmission and it was just a PITA.

And strangely enough, no one has missed the rear cupholders yet :icon_wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Managed to score these this weekend, from a parts dealer in Auckland.


Aluminium swaybar end links, front and rear, for $30+GST per side.

Planning on getting em all mounted up with my WRX 17mm rear bar, will post pics of outcome :D

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Little bit of an upate...

Spent the summer so far earning money, which means time to spend money!

So here we go...

GTB Aftermarket Alloy endlinks and WRX 17mm Swaybar, all repainted and mounted up.



New 17" BBS Alloys w/ Pirelli P7s

Brand new Hella Daytime Driving lamps and LED sidelights!



No picture sorry, but Narva LED strip lighting for the footwells installed (finally) and powered off either the door sensor or a switch in the console.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks!

I'll do my best to deliver :Banane35:

Going for a 500km round trip in the next 5 days to see people back home and pick up some parts!

Unfortunately, said parts are the necessary ones, rather than the fun ones. The exhaust header heat shields are rusted solid and vibrating something awful, so I'm getting a new set of them.

In addition to trying to make the car quieter (an ongoing saga :icon_confused:), I'm hopefully going to find some newer rubbers and seals for around the bottom right of the windshield and its passenger side window.


Nonetheless, I shall endeavour to document a bit more about what I've done with the LED lighting, and the circuit necessary to make it all happen!



Till then chaps and chapettes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Update time!

What with work and the impending return of the University Semester, I've had much less time to spend on my car that I'd like; but I've managed to get a few things done, namely cleaning and servicing plus a little electrical trouble-shooting.

To the pictures!

Spent 3 hours on the weekend cleaning it and polishing it. Had a crack at the engine bay too, the cast block has pits with grease embedded deeply, so took a lot of elbow grease to get some shine back.




Following on from the cleaning theme, I had a go with some Mothers: Naturally Black to try and get some black back into the plastics of the C/ B pillars and the door handles...

And it came up brilliantly! Its a rub on compound that requires stiff buffing after liberal application, but its really restored the grey-blueish plastics to a nice smooth, consistent black that looks much better! Matches the meticulously polished paintwork too now!

Door handle before (Sorry, light didn't give a good show the of level of fading)



And after just 5 mins with a microfibre and some Mothers:



Here is a progress pic of the C pillar, you can see the part treated up the top, and the faded patch below that I was getting to:




I've heard differing tales about how long this sort of treatment lasts, but I like to try new things and the bottle was only $16NZD from Repco, so it was worth a try ahead of sanding and re-spraying.


Next thing; repainting inside the wheel guards with black body deadener. While the body deadener didn't really reduce road noise that much more than normal (its pretty quiet already), it did smooth the original spray-gunned on stuff and smoothed the whole guard out and tidied it up no end.

There was concrete splatters from city roadworks and puddles with road mix etc in that was all caked inside the guard, so after chipping and sanding and cleaning that out, I went for a basic roughen up and slapped on the new deadener. And I think it looks great, nice shiny wheels and tires are often let down by dusty, light coloured dirt in the wheel guards, especially as my car has a bit of wheel gap, (a necessary evil for steep city on ramps and access ways), so it was nice to have that cleaned up.

One tin of 1 L was enough for generous application to both front guards, the rears needed a new tin.

Before painting: (sorry again for the light, it was a very bright evening)



And after!



(Really do need to get some bigger calipers and rotors... :p )


Went for a photo shoot! A photographically inclined friend helped me out with some photos on a D.O.C access road while it was dusty and dry, leading to some fun with a bit of a dust cloud.

Here are my favourites from the shoot:













And lastly, because I'm forgetful, some of the stuff I didn't take photos of:


- New Fusion headunit installed (Mechless!), much better connectivity and signal than the Xplod :bananapowerslide:


- LED reversing lamp installed opposite to muffler, under rear bumper ( I can now see out the back at night! )

-New L Passenger side wing mirror gusset (No more wind rustle at high speeds!!)

-And a new rain guard below the windshield on the L as well, one that seals against the glass for smooth air and water flow; much much quieter. And of course, new pins and rubber seal moulds for it as well.


Thats it for this one, I'm out of time and money =(


Till then folks, drive safely :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Time for another update on things, as the University inter-semester break has just about finished, and I'm on the bus back to Auckland tomorrow.

But firstly... a story that I forgot to tell, which I reminded myself of when compiling the list of safety gear I carry. I always take a set list of gear with me, which is sometimes supplemented with the likes of jerry cans, water containers, ratchet tie-downs, oil and so on.

However, in the entire time of my years on the road, I've only ever needed to use my safety gear to help others, and it makes me glad I could.


Case in point: the 2013-2014 summer holiday season. The roads are packed with people heading to the typical holiday destinations, just 3 days after Christmas. I'm on my way to Auckland with my brother to see some friends, get some parts and so on when outside of Cambridge (a small town on the way), my brother spots an incredible sight: A car attached to a trailer that is billowing fire and smoke at the side of the road.

It was unreal. We stopped at the side of the road across from the car, where a single bloke was attempting to put out a piece of flaming cardboard by smacking it against the hard shoulder, whilst behind him, in the 30+ degree heat, his trailer was becoming a bonfire.

Fortunately for him, I wasn't the only one to stop as my 1KG dry power would have barely made a dent by itself, but with the help of 5 other unknown road warriors armed with everything from a commercia, 10KG fire extinguisher to one man with 3 big 2 litre bottles of water, we fought the fire both in the trailer and (as a result of the cardboard smacking on the hard shoulder) the grass at the side of the road down to a smoulder.

Fortunately, just as we managed to put the fire out, a Highway patrol cop pulled up with lights on and about 5 minutes later a fire appliance turned up too. I received a grateful handshake and thanks from the guy who's trailer had caught fire, and went on my way.

Now I could make comment about the literally hundreds of other cars and people that went by and failed to stop and help the 5 of us who did, but that's not my message here.

Fire extinguishers and indeed most basic safety equipment can be purchased relatively cheaply from automotive warehouses and the like. In my mind, EVERY car should have at least a fire extinguisher in it, because as I've experienced, you may never need one for yourself, but for someone else. The look on the guys face when he saw that 5 random strangers had stopped in the middle of their holiday travel to help him when he needed it most was priceless, and something I'll never forget. Having safety gear for yourself or for others, its definitely worth investing a little cash in.


P.S Never knew what caused the fire, as it was a load of flatpacked furniture and flattened cardboard boxes, but we speculated it was probably a cigarette butt flicked from a passing car that started it off.


Now, onto the mod stuff!

This break has seen some (in my mind) long distance travel, in less than 2 weeks the forester covered 1850+ km in 3 cross country trips. The longest was an 870km round journey to the snow and then on to the capital city of Wellington at the bottom of the North Island.

Long distance driving being a fair bit of what I do both for work and personal reasons, I seek to make the interior as comfortable as possible for both driver and passenger. This time round, it was the addition of a universal Logitech Bluetooth receiver module, mated to the Fusion headunit.

Why not a Bluetooth incorporated headunit? Well firstly, the model that had BT was an additional $250NZD. Secondly, the Logitech receiver is truly universal, no matter what brand or type of device: if its audio, it'll be played. I've seen some fancy double-din, $500+ headunits not pair to phones and tablets, to the eternal frustration of the owner.

So here it is, how to do it for cheap!

-Logitech BT module: $65NZD
-Hacked 12V cigarette lighter-to-USB transformer module: $8NZD
-Audio extension to RCA lead: $11NZD

Time taken, roughly 5 hours over two days.


All the bits you need (forgot to include the USB transformer here)



The BT module needs 5V at 150mA, which is the output of the USB transformer. The 12V supply is from a custom distribution board I built into the firewall above the pedals.

Solder up the supply and feed from the USB traces (Outer 2 pins are the supply + and -, inner 2 are the data + and -, which we won't be using. The ground is common and the LED indicator is left soldered in, as a proof-of-operation light




Bench testing that it all works, ALWAYS DO THIS... :raspberry:




Selecting a place to mount. Because the pair button on top of the BT module needs to be accessible, and I'd rather not run power and audio a long distance, the module is being fitted in the change holder (which I'm too poor to need to use anyway). Drilling the mounting slots for the module in the change cup.




Really fun part of the job... Pulling apart the dash and running cables, and testing! PROTIP: Always try to keep power and audio as far away from each other as possible.



Fitted and operating! Just needs a small capacitor/ filter to flatten a slight square-wave interference @ roughly 18k Hz






This system worked great since its installation, and saved audio cables being run around inside the cabin whenever someone wanted to play their music. Being a manual transmission, the running of wires past the shifter to the rear seats is a safety hazard, and one I've always wanted to avoid.

The Auckland trip is part one of the next, more major mod... BIG BRAKE TIME!

The calipers seen below are 05 Legacy GT take-offs, suitable for the 316mm rotors I'll be running. They were $310NZD inc GST, and are way beefier in person that in image. The size of the pistons alone blew me away!
For the 4-pot fanboys, I really wanted some, but a pair was $650NZD, waaaaaay out of my budget =(




At the moment, its looking about $110 per rotor (new), vented, not slotted or drilled and $80 for a set of decent brake pads. However, as its back to Uni for now, and out of cash, this mod will have to wait till the next break.

Till next time chaps and chapettes, drive safely!
 

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The calipers seen below are 05 Legacy GT take-offs, suitable for the 316mm rotors I'll be running. They were $310NZD inc GST, and are way beefier in person that in image. The size of the pistons alone blew me away!
For the 4-pot fanboys, I really wanted some, but a pair was $650NZD, waaaaaay out of my budget =(




At the moment, its looking about $110 per rotor (new), vented, not slotted or drilled and $80 for a set of decent brake pads. However, as its back to Uni for now, and out of cash, this mod will have to wait till the next break.

Till next time chaps and chapettes, drive safely!
good pick on the 05 lgt callipers. they are more powerful than the 4pots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Been a while since the last post, but a fair bit has happened!

Having just tipped over 160k, it was time for a new clutch and some suspension to get some of the stiffness and responsiveness back into the handling!

Clutch work took 1.5 days, $1100NZD to do. Flywheel and rear main seal inspected, no problems there.

Up on the workshop lift



Backtrack 2 weeks, and I'm perusing a local wrecker/ parts dealer's site and happen across a full set of 97-00 STi shocks with COBB Performance springs for $375NZD. Snapped those up, got them back home and in between working, pulled them apart and started the job of cleaning up.

Both rears needed new strut boots and bump-stops, and all four needed sanding back and repainting. Since the current colour scheme for added chassis stuff was yellow and black, thats what I went with.

Its a late Xmas!!



Getting started on the spraying



Spraying springs (Both struts and springs were hit with Rustoleum rust cure/ prevention, then British Paints metal paint colour and finally some clearcoat).



Installing!





Front wheel at stock height.



Front wheel at STi/ COBB height.



Finished!




The handling is awesome, I can't begin to describe what having that ride height and stiffness in corners feels like.

The upgrades are currently: Bigger rear Anti-Sway bar, new suspension and 7.5" wheels with P7's 215/50/17's on them, it feels amazing to have it all tied together with the new clutch! I keep looking back at it whenever I park somewhere, its just that much of a change.

There are loads of how-to's for suspension on this site, but if you'd like a write up or some tips, pm me :D

Thats all for now chaps, back to saving money for some more stuff...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Next update: Getting that paint sorted!

My car turns 16 this year, has 165,000km's on the clock and original main body paint. Both bumpers have been sprayed in the last 2 years, but the main colour has never been resprayed. After getting another hood panel that wasn't dinged to heck and the accumulation of a few years of sun lightening, there wasn't many panels that matched left. A total respray was going to cost nearly $10,000NZD, and thats the kind of money a Uni student simply doesn't have for a car.

I'm planning on moving up a few models in the year after I leave University anyway, and it just wouldn't make sense to respray a 16 year old car. Vinyl wrapping it however...

As finished Stage One, Stage Two is comparatively minor work, sealing edges etc



I've seen several wrap projects on the internet, and it looked just the thing to tidy the car up for the next few years without busting the budget. As it turned out, for all the wrap, the tools and some extra prep materials, the final cost was just a little over $1000NZD.

That's still a lot of money and a 13m x 1.5m roll of 3M Vinyl doesn't leave much space for accidents and mess ups, but over the space of 5 nights in a friend's workshop after hours, myself and four friends wrapped the entire main body (save the bumpers) as a first time project. The colour was chosen from an admittedly limited selection of colours. The gloss wraps show imperfections much more and cost more per metre. The specialty wraps had nice flecks and so on through them, but cost A LOT more per metre. That left us with the matte colours, and the only one (Out of white, black, military green and purple/orange/blue) that I liked was the gunmetal grey they had, which turned out to be more of a satin in daylight.



I'd never wrapped anything before but I figured, like most car work, a slow and steady approach and a decent job of the prep work would result in a tidy finish.

There was roughly 35 noticeable stone chips in the hood alone, all of which needed sanding out, spraying with a rust converter/ primer and then filling with high fill primer. None of the chips were larger than 5mm across after sanding but without sorting them out, the finish would be lumpy and uneven.

Some bog and more primer sorted the last few major dings in the body, and then it was onto cleaning and stripping everything off the car we thought would make wrapping difficult. A lot of pros can wrap a car without removing door handles and locks, but I am no pro and I didn't have the spare wrap to replace a written off panel. (Comparing the original colour to the new)



We mapped the panels out on the roll using a material dimension calculator meant for woodworking on the internet and had to make each and every panel count. If any of the cut panels had been damaged or ripped, there wouldn't be enough spare to replace it. (Getting the first door complete)



Trying to get a neat and secure finish. The toughest part of Vinyl is the edge, and keeping tension off of it. When the adhesive cures, if the edge is under strain, it will slowly pull back, and result in a messy finish. Hence, when wrapping the doors, we wrapped right into the handle recess to ensure the edge would be hidden and unstressed.



Still waiting on a few more photos from some friends, will update this when those arrive!
 

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Anymore pics of the wrap? I'm debating wrapping mine here soon.
 
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