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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2012 Forester 2.5X Premium, 4EAT, Metallic Ice Silver


I bought this car used with only about 20,000 miles on it back in October 2012. It's not a XT, so I can't be like all you cool kids and make it go super fast. But I do like camping and backpacking and occasional off-roading, so I'm building it to let me get most anywhere.

Thanks to everyone here for all the help and inspiration and cool pictures and videos and all the input. I appreciate all the work you guys have done.

If anyone has questions, let me know. Or if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. Not literally, but figuratively. Thanks for looking!

-Mike

Factory installed/from previous owner:
  • All-weather package
  • All-weather floor mats
  • Auto-Dimming Mirror with Homelink
  • “Privacy Windows” (Factory tint)
  • OEM Fog lights
  • Side Molding
  • Cargo net/Cargo Cover
  • OEM Roof Rack Crossbars
Completed:
Exterior/Protection:
  • Debadging (Post 2)
  • Plasti-Dipped 17" Wheels Black (Post 3)
  • Plasti-Dipped 16" Wheels Charcoal (Post 113)
  • Fumoto oil drain valve (Post 12)
  • Primitive 1/8" Skidplate (Post 16)
  • Gorilla Mudflaps (Post 20)
  • Plasti-Dipped Grill (Post 26)
  • Blackout Headlights (Post 29)
  • Hella Supertones (Post 38)
  • Smoked Tail Lights (Post 41)
  • OEM Tow Hooks and Smittybilt D-Rings (Post 61)
  • Modified lateral splash guards to fit with skidplate (Post 64)
  • Nameless Axleback with 4" Mufflers (Post 78)
  • Rear Differential Skidplate (Post 155)
Interior/Audio:
  • Front windows tinted to match factory back window tint (Post 5)
  • OEM Tweeters
  • Polk Audio db651s speakers
  • Sound Deadening doors and hatch (Post 5 and Post 36)
  • JVC KW-R900BT Stereo (Post 13)
  • Kenwood KSC-SW11 Underseta Subwoofer (Post 14)
  • Diode Dynamics LED Interior Conversion + License plate LEDs (Post 15)
  • Weathertech Digital Floor Liners (Post 67)
Suspension:
  • King Standard Height Springs KSFS-55, KSRS-56 (Post 50)
  • 19mm STi Rear Sway Bar (Post 69)
  • General Grabber AT2 215/70/16 on OEM 16s (Post 111)
  • Full-size spare with Unique 83 16" steel wheel.
  • Grimmspeed Master Cylinder Brace (Post 133)
  • *NEW* 1-June-15 Kartboy Endlinks (Post 167)
Other

Future Plans/wishlist:
  • Clean up Sub wiring
  • Plasti-Dip Door handles or switch for base black handles
  • Paint Calipers Black using Duplicolor Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher and mount
  • Subtle 1" Lift with Subframe kit OR
  • Primitive PRSS Subframe Spacer Kit
Token water picture (Back in the good ol' days when California had water):

This is after I got the front windows tinted, but still pretty stock:

Current pictures:

 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Debadging

Debadging wasn't too hard, it just took a lot of time and patience. I watched a youtube video where he uses a 3M adhesive cleaner that doesn't damage the paint and I think that would be a smart thing to get. Here's how I did it:

Tools:
  • Fishing Line (I used 2 feet)
  • WD-40 (But Adhesive Remover would be nice. Just make sure it doesn't take off paint)
  • Rags
  • Credit card (Some people say not to use it to scrape off the adhesive, but I found it was necessary in my case)
  • Patience
Starting out:


1. Clean the area your working on. If there's any debris around, you don't want it to scratch your paint when you're rubbing or scraping the adhesive off.

2. It was a warm day (>70°F), so the adhesive was pretty workable. If it's not warm outside, use a heat gun or hair dryer to warm up the adhesive a bit. I slid some fishing line behind the letters and popped them off (easiest part of the whole thing):



3. I then took WD-40 (safe for paint. They recommend using it to get stubborn bugs off your car) and a rag and rubbed the adhesive. I then picked at it/used a flexible plastic scraper (think credit card type weight) to remove the adhesive (be careful the surface is clean otherwise you could scratch your paint). This method took me a long time. If I could do it again, I'd invest in a small bottle of that adhesive remover.

4. After that, a nice wash and a little bit of clay bar. I'm sure a wax wouldn't hurt it as well.



Debadged.
 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Plasti-Dip Wheels

Plasti-Dipping the wheels wasn't too bad. I think the most important thing for this is patience. If you're good with spray paint (which I'm not), this shouldn't be a problem. The tutorials from dipyourcar.com are super helpful. I watched those and pretty much just followed their instructions. Here's my attempt.

Tools
  • 3 Cans of Plasti-Dip
  • Masking Tape
  • Plastic trash bags for covering rotors
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Tire shine (Optional, but makes the Plasti-Dip slide off the tires quite easily)
1. Clean the tires with a conditioner or whatever your preferred choice of tire shine is (this will help the plasti-dip just peel right off when you're done). Clean the wheels with rubbing alcohol. I never realized how good rubbing alcohol was at getting junk off tires. Built up grime, road debris, brake dust, all come off super easily.



2. Mask off your lugs and make sure to cover your calipers and rotors to protect from overspray.



3. I sprayed about 4 coats (I used 2.5 cans for all 4 wheels). Don't worry about getting it completely covered on the first coat. You don't want it to run or clump up. The other thing I learned was to do this in a ventilated garage if possible. Mine was outside in the sun on a few of the wheels and it didn't come out perfect. But it's good from far!



I think this look will be enough to hold me over until I can get some 16s and General Grabber AT2s.

Updated Plasti-Dip Post with 16" wheels (Post 113)
 

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Registered
2011 Forester X Premium AT
Joined
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808 Posts
Looks great! I will look into the plastidip paint for my wheels...I have a darker color SH and I like the look of the dark wheels on it.

How did you go about tinting your front windows?

Was adding the sound deadener hard? I have swapped the front speakers already, and panel removal is a breeze.
 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Looks great! I will look into the plastidip paint for my wheels...I have a darker color SH and I like the look of the dark wheels on it.

How did you go about tinting your front windows?

Was adding the sound deadener hard? I have swapped the front speakers already, and panel removal is a breeze.
I've always been a fan of dark wheels. I was a little unsure about the dark wheels on a silver car, but I'm happy with how it turned out. And as for Plasti-Dip, it was only $15 and you can always peel it off if you don't like it.

For the tinting, I have a shop that I've been to a few times before and they do a really good job (carstereoguys.com). I really don't trust myself with something like that. I don't have a problem paying a little bit extra for a good job with a warranty. They use SunTek film and I'm really happy with it.

For sound deadening I think the hardest part was figuring out how to remove the door panels for the first time. But once you have that down it's pretty easy. A bit time consuming, but I think it is absolutely worth the investment in time and money.

Here's how I did it. I used RAAMAT Package #1 from RAAMaudio - Automotive sound deadening products. I wasn't sure if it would be enough, but I used about 3 sheets of BXT II per door + 4 on the hatch. So I have 4 sheets of RAAMAT leftover and a decent amount of Ensolite left over too. Read through their How-To and you'll be set.

Tools I used:
  • Sharpie Pen
  • Panel Removal tools (Optional, but definitely helpful)
  • Razor Blade knife (Replacement blades would be good. Or a way to clean the adhesive off the razor)
  • RAAMat Package #1
  • Polyfill fiber (Optional, but available at arts and craft stores. I used it for filling some holes in the hatch area)
  • Cardboard or a surface for cutting the material
If you have a garage, it would be nice because you can easily start and stop if you can only do one door at a time. But I'd leave a full day if you want to do the whole car in one fell swoop. Here are some pictures for fun.

Door panel removed:

Remember which connectors are used (I forgot the courtesy light on the first door) and how the lock/door handle cables connect.

RAAMat Applied:

Don't forget to mark the door panel mounting points, otherwise you'll have some trouble re-installing the panels.

Ensolite Applied:


All in all, I had fun doing this project, but it did take a lot of time and my hands ended up a bit raw with a few cuts on them. But I was so satisfied with the difference it made, so it was all worth it. I would 100% recommend this for any car with a lot of road noise.

Sound deadening the hatch (Post 36)
 

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Registered
2006 WRX wagon 5MT
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77 Posts
The wheels blacked out look great! Plastidip is an awesome product. I did my grill and badges to rid it of the chrome.
 

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Registered
2011 Forester X Premium AT
Joined
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808 Posts
Awesome! Why did you choose to do the inner door "skins" instead of the outer door skins[the door skin where the outside paint is applied]?

I have seen most build threads do it the other way....

Well, I may just be inspired to do that as well.

We are in a bit of a holding pattern as my wife is 37 weeks pregnant tomorrow...so we will need to keep the family hauler in one piece and funds intact also :) Thanks for the post up, advice, and pics!!

Cheers!
 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
The wheels blacked out look great! Plastidip is an awesome product. I did my grill and badges to rid it of the chrome.
Thanks! I saw your journal and it looks like they came out really well. I've been going back and forth on doing the grill. Since the car is silver, it kinda matches. I guess I need to look around for my car color with a painted grill. Or spend 3 minutes in Photoshop.

Awesome! Why did you choose to do the inner door "skins" instead of the outer door skins[the door skin where the outside paint is applied]?

I have seen most build threads do it the other way....
I did what I could with RAAMat on the outer skins (maybe about 30-50% coverage), then I did the inner skins with RAAMat and Ensolite. You just can't see it from the pictures.

And congrats on the baby! I say if there is some sort of miracle where you have a full day free and you don't spend it sleeping, sound deaden it. You won't be disappointed.
 

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2011 Forester X Premium AT
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808 Posts
Ha, Schmee! That is exactly my plan if I get free time after the baby is here lol Thanks, BTW!

I will only get a week off b/c my work is soooo busy and I am a contractor...I do not work, I do not get paid. Also, the work does not go away, it just stacks up.

Happy Monday to y'all!
 

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Registered
2011 Forester X Premium AT
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808 Posts
No way...1 week, eh? Congratulations, man! You having a boy or girl? Any complications with getting to a hospital for you guys up in AK?

We are lucky, our hospital we are delivering at is pretty much 1 mile away or less.
 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Alright well after about a year of inactivity on the car, I have some updates. First off, I installed a Fumoto valve quite some time ago. I've been doing my own oil changes since I started driving, but I hadn't heard of these valves until I joined these forums. I absolutely love it. There's not nearly the same clearance on the Forester that I had on my Tacoma, so having the Fumoto on there makes oil changes much easier. It weeps just a bit, as you can see, but nothing too troubling.

 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Next on my list was a new stereo. It was a Christmas miracle as my wife bought me the JVC KW-R900bt and gave me the green light on getting the Axxess ASWC-1, and the Subaru trim panel (66065SC130), I had the harnesses and adapters from ae64.com that had just been waiting patiently.

So at my first free weekend, I was off to the races.
All the parts laid out. Wire harness soldered and heat shrinked (heat shrunk?):


One tricky part that I found was when I needed to get under the center console. If anyone reads this and needs help, here's what everyone means by "there's a screw under the parking brake boot":


You can use a trim tool to pry up the front part of the parking brake cover to reveal that screw.

Pull out the old stereo, connect all the harnesses, put everything back in place:


New stereo. This was the single greatest change I've done so far in terms of audio. The sound deadening helps a LOT, the tweeters helped a lot, the new speakers didn't do very much (under powered), and the headunit made all of that sound very good.

The only thing I was lacking was just a little bit of low-end frequency...
 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
And before I get too lazy to write about it, today I installed a Kenwood KSC-SW11 powered underseat sub. It's just like the KSC-SW10, but their newer model (i.e. different covers on the same components).

I took my time on this and tried to take pictures along the way and do things right. I started around 10am and finished around 1:30. It felt like a lot longer, but I guess not.

Anyway, I referenced Bobby's install quite a bit with this. So if you're Bobby,thank you very much.

Here is what comes in the box:


The Battery wire had a funky connector on it, so I cut it off and put on a different terminal. I also drilled a hole in the firewall grommet, fed the wire through, then soldered the wire back together. So in this picture, you see the new terminal, the inline fuse, the firewall grommet and the soldered connection:


The instructions say to connect the battery wire to something in the fuse box. Everyone on here says connect it to the battery. So that's what I did. Here's everything laid out in the engine bay. I bought some wire conduit and zip ties to make everything look clean.


Battery situation was done, so I moved on to the ground connection. The ground wire terminal that it comes with is not big enough to use on the seat bolsters, so I cut that terminal off and put a bigger one on that would work for the seat bolts. I also sanded the paint off the ground point and cleaned it with isopropyl alcohol.


Seat removed, running power down the door sill, RCAs and 12V ignition running up through center console (Not shown in this picture):


Velco on the bottom of the sub, using Bobby's paper bag trick to locate it without the Velcro latching onto the carpet:


The only two things that I wasn't super happy about with this install are
  1. The 12V ignition wire not routed under the carpet.
  2. The extra length of wiring.
Definitely not big deals and not really noticeable at all, but I know about it. I guess if anything goes wrong I'll fix it then. But until then, I'm very pleased with both the install and the sound so far. I haven't tuned it or messed around with it too much, but from the couple of minutes I listened to it, it sure sounded better. I like the little kick in the back.

If anyone has any questions or anything about the install or about removing panels, etc. I'm happy to help. This community has helped me out a bunch, so if I have the opportunity to give back, I'm more than happy to.
 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Interior and License Plate LEDs

A few weeks ago I changed out all my interior bulbs for Diode Dynamics LEDs, like a lot of people here have done. I'm not much of a photographer, so I don't have any good pictures of the before and after (everything is super blurry). So here's my opinion of the lights after about a month or so.

Stage 2 Map Lights (SMF6, 94 Lumens): These are much brighter than stock. Enough so that I had to take a few days to adjust to them. Now that I'm used to them, I think they're great.
Stage 2 Dome Light (SMF6, 94 Lumens): I think this is perfect. Bright, but not too bright and lights up the whole interior when you unlock the car.
Stage 2 Trunk Light (SMD5, 56 Lumens): I'm perfectly happy with this. Some people say it's too dim, but in my opinion it gets the job done and there's nothing wrong with it. Plus, there's no need to modify any housing or do anything tricky to make the bulb fit.
Stage 1 Door Lights (SMF1, 8 Lumens): These are pretty dim, possibly even more than stock, but it's not a big issue as the map lights light up the ground enough when you open the door.
Stage 2 License Plate Lights (SMD2, 24 lumens): I think this is the perfect brightness. The next level up sounds like it's way too bright and the next level down is pretty dim. But I never see it, so as long as cops aren't pulling you over, I guess you're good to go.
 

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Premium Member
2012 2.5X 4EAT
Joined
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908 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Today I received a set of brand new Gorilla mud flaps that I bought from amalgrover, here on the forums. So a big thanks to him for selling them and shipping those out so quick!

I was able to install these without removing the wheels and it took me about 20-30 minutes total. On the back wheels, I used a Philips head bit with an open end wrench to tighten the screws down as it's a tight squeeze and I couldn't even fit a 1/4" socket in there. Other than that, it was pretty straight forward and easy. Seemed like good quality hardware and the flaps themselves seem super durable.

Fronts:


Backs:


Before:


After:


Another angle. This picture makes me really want some new tires. These damn stock ones are lasting way longer than they should.


Unfortunately, I'm no Shansen or sway (or any of the other brilliant photographers we have here), so point-and-shoot pictures are all I've got.
 
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