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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In the past few months i've gone from owning 2 VW to 2 Subarus. My garage currently has a 2017 Forester XT Touring w/eyesight and a 2005 Forester XT Premium. This project log is for the 2005 as the 2017 will remain mostly stock. I've found this forum to be very helpful in finding information, but very lacking (sounds like due to old server problems) in photos. My goal here is to recreate tutorials on my journey as best I can and provide high resolution screenshots on an offsite server (imgur) to allow others to better learn and build off of what i've done if they so choose. The purpose of this project is to have a fun and generally reliable daily driver. I don't drive much or very far, so when I do, I want to make it worth it!






I purchased the car in December of 2016. Its a Crystal Gray Metallic 4EAT with 64,000 miles on the odometer and only 1 previous owner. When purchased, the car was 100% stock with the exception of the following:

  • Brand New Eneiki RFP1's wrapped with Contenential DWS's
  • Rhino Roof Basket
  • Swift Springs
I had given the car a test drive myself and was very happy with it and its condition. I also have a shop (AWD in Kirkland, WA) inspect the car and they found only minor issues.

Since purchase, the following work has been performed either due to necessity, prevention, or because I didn't know the history and wanted to have a clean slate going forward. All work was performed either by myself or Pacific Import Auto (PIA) in Tacoma, WA.

  • All fuilds (Brakes, Steering, Coolant, Oil, Diff Oil, and Transmission oil) replaced
  • All filters replaced (Oil, Air, and Cabin)
  • Oil Cooler O-Ring Replaced
  • All Belts Replaced along with Waterpump, thermostat, and Pulleys/Idlers
  • PIAA Silicone Wiper Blades (Front and Rear)
  • Mishimoto Silicon Coolant Hoses and HPS 44-51mm T-bolt clamps
  • KOYO Radiator Cap (SK-C13)
  • KOYO All Aluminum Radiator (VH13026)
  • B&M Super Cooler Automatic Transmission Cooler (70268)
  • Interior Lights and Rear License Plate Lights replaced with Yorkim LED bulbs
  • Front and Read Brake Rotors (Centric Brand 120.47018 and 120.47011)
  • Hawk HPS Pads (HB4322F.661 and HB452F3545)
  • Stop Tech Stainless Steel Brake Lines (950.47501 and 950.47001)
The car is in really good condition considering its age, but a member of the previous owners family was a smoker and left a few tell tale signs of their existence. An ever so slight smoke smell and 2 small burns on the shifter trim and shifter shroud. I've replaced both parts with new from the dealer. To re-mediate the smoke smell, I wiped the entire car down with cleaning products, let it dry, and then ran an ozone machine in the car for about an hour. After letting the car air out to remove the ozone, the car has been basically scentless since.

Current Outstanding maintenance:
  • Valve Cover Gaskets
Other Modifications note related to maintenance:
  • Weather Tech Floor Mats
  • Cobb Access Port V3 (Currently Running Stage 1)
  • Double Din Dash Pod
  • Sony XAV-AX100
  • Backup Camera
  • USB in Center Console Arm Rest Cubby
I have a few upcoming projects I am working on and will post more information once I can. These include:
  • Double Din Drink Cooler
  • Up-Pipe, Downpipe, and Exhaust
  • Intake
  • Intercooler Upgrade
  • Turbo Upgrade
  • Head Liner Replacement
  • Sound Deadening
  • Homelink Autodimming Mirror
  • Metal Rear Whiper
I'll post some photos of the car soon in addition to updates as I know more.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
This afternoon I installed by Double Din Dash Pod along with a Sony XAV-AX100. I usually buy Pioneer decks, but the sony was cheaper, had a much simpler GUI and prettier gui, and supported both Android Auto and Carplay. Only thing its really missing is HD Radio, but with I Heart Radio and Spotify, that's no big deal. Also, this radio still has a physical volume knob. I cannot stand the volume buttons!




Since fitment is something no one ever posts about or the just casually mention, I will say that it fits like a glove with the double din pod. No trimming or anything of that nature required.
Bluetooth works great. Still debating on where to run the USB to. Either glove box or center console, but leaning towards glove box at this point in time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
As you may have noticed, I finally got photos added to my previous posts and I have a few additions, which I will be writing about now.

This past weekend, I took apart the center console to install a backup camera and USB in the center console armrest.

For the USB in the center console, I used the this part from amazon. I simply used a drill to drill out a 1in hole in the side of the center console cubby and then tightened the plastic retaining nut. It came out quite nicely and works great for both charging my phone and using Android Auto/CarPlay (which is awesome btw, highly recommend).



I then installed a backup camera. The specific one I used can be found here. The main reasons I picked this were price, performance and the extremely small wire that needed to go through the hatch as I didn't want to drill any holes.




What I did was very similar to others. The primary difference was I reused the hole for the license plate lights for the backup camera wire. I simply pushed out the existing grommet and made a new one from a rubber PCV gasket but down and sealed with silicone. Its extremely clean and looks oem. I then ran the wires up the hatch and fished them through the OEM boots (on the right-hand side). This was a bit of a challenge, but was accomplished by using a metal fish Tape to get a pull string through the Z-shaped boot and then a liberal amount of silicone lube to pull the wiring through. All the wires are now hidden and protected. I tapped into the rear accessory outlet for power for the camera, so its always on, as my stereo supports calling the camera at any time, which I sometimes Like to do when not backing up.




When all is said in done, I am very happy with the camera. The only part some may say is a negative is that the camera does not have an IR filter (since it has IR backup lights). This causes greens to appear pink or white (mostly plants). I am indifferent to this as the day and nighttime performance is quite amazing compared to other camera's I've seen.

You may have noticed the hole in my dash where the OEM radio once lived. This will be receiving the JDM drink cooler. I have the cooler, but forgot to order the brackets. I don't want to bother with cutting, so I am awaiting those parts to arrive.




I also ordered the metal rear wiper blade as I hate rubber blades with a passion. Living in the Pacific Northwest really makes you enjoy good wiper blades with all the misty rain we receive. I only run PIAA silicon blades now and get YEARS of life out of these things. Love them regardless of the premium. I am already running them on the front and will be replace the rear arm with one once it and the cover arrive later this week.



I also have a new center console radio surround on the way as mine has some defects from the previous owner. I will also be replacing the flash button with the red JDM button as it looks much better. I also have a Homlink mirror arriving later this week which I will be replacing my stock mirror with. Already confirmed the interior wiring is there, so why this wasn't stock on a premium model, I don't know, but taking care of that soon.

Next on my list is likely going to be going Stage 2 with an uppipe and intake. The car is great with Stage 1, but a bit more oompf is needed. I'll post more updates on things as I have that. Thanks for reading!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I received my new rear-wiper arm and trim piece today.

Part Numbers 86532SA060 and 86538TA010 respectively.



Process to install was remove old arm cover, fold back wiper arm back, use a 10mm ratchet to remove the nut, use a trim tool to pull the wiper off the spline. Reverse to install the new wiper arm.



So far, the wipe is much better. The spring in the metal blade provides much more tension in addition to the silicone blade which is a welcome change. I wet the window and gave it a few test wipes. Much improved.

Comparison of the old and new arms.



Looks like my Homelink Mirror and Radio Surround will be in tomorrow and the JDM cooler brackets Friday or Saturday. More updates to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So I ran into some issues in the shipment of my homelink mirror, the missing parts will be arriving in the next few days, so I hope to get that installed soon. In the mean time, I have a few items i've been working on.

No photos on these items yet, we got nearly 1.5ft of snow so the car is a mess and the yard is not the best place to be right now. I'll update soon.

I installed stainless hardware from the front and rear license plate They came with Black caps to cover up the stainless color and blend in with everything. I used the kit here found here. Had plenty of screws and really cleaned up the stock screws that were starting to rust.



I also installed a my reddit subaru alien, Cobb, and rally pig vinyl on the rear window :D.





I finally received my parts for the double din drink cooler. Great news! they don't work... I ordered the C/D variants for Japan parts as I heard the E/F with NAV don't work. Basically, I tried to modify them, but they don't match up to the dash screw holes in addition to most of the screws on the sides of the unit. I can safely say it took maybe 10 minutes to modify the stock radio mounts and they fit nearly perfect. The main hint I can provide, is a few of the stock holes will line up when the bottom tab of the bracket flush with the box. The problem is this pushes the box too far forward. Once you identify where you think the holes should be they likely need to be moved back about 1/4in to allow the radio trim to fit properly. The cuts and adjustments required a lot of tweaking, so please excuse the messy looking brackets.









Also, The stock Radio trim does not have screw holes for the trim that goes above the cooler cubby. I had to glue mine in place. Please note it needs to be shimmed or your risk it rubbing with the door (mine is currently as I didn't shim it, planning on fixing it this weekend).



I'll post some photos and notes soon, but overall a very nice mod, even if just for the extra lit storage space :D
 

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sweet build... interested in wheel size and tire size since your on swift springs.. also any reason for going with koyo rad over facotry or something cheaper ?
 

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Looks great! I am interested in that drink cooler, I don't know if I knew about that as an option/thing. I am really liking that double din up top.. every time I see one I think more and more about doing it..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
sweet build... interested in wheel size and tire size since your on swift springs.. also any reason for going with koyo rad over facotry or something cheaper ?
I believe the rims are 17x8, but let me double check so I don't quote you wrong on that. No rubbing or anything though and quite a bit of grip :D

As for the radiator, the factor units are quite cheap, but they all have the plastic end tanks. The original rad had a slow leak from the top end tank and from my research, its a very common issue on most subarus. Instead of going down that path, I decided to pay a bit more for a better built, all aluminum radiator. I original purchased the Mishimoto, but after receiving it and speaking to my local subaru shop, they mentioned multiple issues with them, and after some research, I was able to verify those issues. So I returned the Mishimoto Radiator and Transmission cooler and replaced with the parts listed above. The Koyo Rad unit is very very nice looking and just wreaks of quality. Is it overkill for me? Probably, but its one less item I need to worry about going forward as it should outlast the car.

Also, if you are running an auto like me, the transmission cooler from Mishimoto is literally a pipe with fins on it. I was worried it would overcool the transmission during the winter. The B&M is built in a way that has a sort of regulator built in, so the fluid volume increases as the heat rises and again, but looks and feels much more quality than what was found elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Looks great! I am interested in that drink cooler, I don't know if I knew about that as an option/thing. I am really liking that double din up top.. every time I see one I think more and more about doing it..
Yeah, the double din up top is worth it. It adds utility and safety IMO. The drink cooler makes sense even if you just want extra storage, but I think I am going to hook up the cooler like, I just need to tap the HVAC box/lines. There is no nipple built in so i'll post what I come up with.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Photos added for the drink cooler. Not sure when i'll do the actual cooling part, but its really just tapping into the HVAC, not the big of a deal. Looking forward to installing my homelink mirror tomorrow and configuring my NFC tags for my Android phone.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Today I received some NFC tags from Whiztags. These are pretty cool little chips that you can use with Android phones with NFC capabilities. I've set one up to automatically enable my Bluetooth and mobile hotspot when I tap my phone against it. I place this tag underneath the center console cubby lid, so I can tap my phone to it as I am docking it to the USB cable for Android Auto. Tapping the phone against it when leaving the car disables both of those features. This is quite handy since I hate leaving that stuff running all the time and turning it on manually is a bit cumbersome at best.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Got the homelink mirror installed today now that the dealer I was working with was able to get me the window adapter needed. Install took about 15 minutes including time to program and calibrate the compass. I used the instructions posted here, as the mirror came with none for the install.



I also found an old green bulb from my center console that had died and stole the bulb condom off of it so now the drink cooler light matches the rest of the interior.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Couple of new things today.

Added some Lamin X fog light covers to make them yellow. Love the look! If you are considering doing this or really any mod that involved the fog lights, I highly suggest you just remove them, I pulled them both, cleaned, applied cover, and reinstalled in about 30 minutes and it was just so hassle free.




Also, the weather has been warmer (but not warm) so I had to opportunity to open the sun roof the other day to test it out while driving to see what kinda of wind it caused. BUT, when I did this while moving, a super loud chatter/clicking noise was heard coming from the roof rack. Apparently, the plastic on the front was chattering in the wind against the rack. I fixed this by using clear plastic feet like you would usually use under items in your house to keep them from sliding around. Works perfectly!




Lastly, I am looking for new center caps for my rims. Not a huge fan of the current ones. I think i'll probably end up getting the honda ones like many others have and paint matching them. I'll post more info once I decide which route to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sorry, didn't see your response until now. Gotta fix my subscriptions apparently.

If you hook it up, which most people don't , it works well at keeping cold drinks cold. If they are hot, I don't think you could reasonably (e.g. quickly) expect it to cool them off.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, so long needed updates. Been busy with a ton of home improvements, so my car has been sidelined for a bit, but things are finally moving again!

I installed a Cobb intake with Heat Shield, after maf hose, and removed the intake resonator. intake is much louder than before and provides (IMO) some nice new pleasant noises. My intake temps while driving have dropped by several degrees from previously, but obviously go up a bit higher when sitting still in traffic. Its a minor trade off in both directions but overall much improved.



I also installed the Grimmspeed Hood Lift Struts. My feedback on them? Totally worth it. Makes working int he engine bay significantly easier. The hood can be lifted to its normal height or extended into an almost vertical position.




As mentioned previously, I have some weeping half-moons and/or valve cover gaskets. Getting those fixed next week, but replacing the half-moons with these nifty aluminum pieces. These shouldn't fall apart like the existing plastic ones so i'm hoping I can prevent large amounts of oil from spilling out onto my uppipe in the future :D



Also having spark plugs swapped as I have no idea when they were last done on this car. Piece of mind at the very least, but its super convenient to do during a valve cover gasket change.

Lastly, going stage 2 next week. I've got a GrimSpeed Limited Ceramic Coated Catted Downpipe, Invidia G200 Catback, Grimmspeed Ceramic Coated Uppipe, Grimmspeed Ceramic Coated Heat Shield.





Going to intially run the Cobb OTS Stage 2 tune, but will likely get an eTune from PDX Tuning as their stage 2 is a bit more aggressive and fixes many common issues with the Cobb. Once I decide on my intercooler and turbo upgrades, I will sort out a protune. I'll post back more once this work has all been completed. Looking forward to it very much.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great looking ride!! How do you like the rhino basket?


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Its been great actually. I've been making regular runs to home depot for wood and pipe (usually 10-14' lengths) and I can strap them on that thing with very little movement while driving home. also, its not as noisy as I expected when I have the monster sun roof open. Not sure how it effects mileage though as I haven't taken it off as of yet.
 
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