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Everything posted by pontoontodd

  1. Quick links: to see all of our videos, just check out my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/pontoontodd The start of the long travel build starts on post 81: http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-4?do=findComment&comment=1266961 Fairly current pictures of the long travel struts on page 25: https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1355228 Tips for building an EJ Subaru for off road: Build protection for the radiator and oil pan. (see below for something basic) (post 32 for something more elaborate) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-2?do=findComment&comment=1221826 Front skidplate if you want to be thorough. (post 480) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-20?do=findComment&comment=1341248 Build protection for the gas tank. (post 5) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1217857 Lift the suspension with strut spacers. (post 7) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1217859 Better solution is to build or buy better struts and springs. With a lift, and especially with long travel suspension, a higher lift jack is required. (post 265) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-11?do=findComment&comment=1319081 Get off road tires. Mud is the most likely place to get stuck or have traction problems, so mud tires are best. They're also more resistant to puncture. Make sure you have a flywheel dust shield. (post 248) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-10?do=findComment&comment=1316910 Reinforce the front control arms. (post 44) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-2?do=findComment&comment=1231150 Or build heavier duty, wider arms. (post 85) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-4?do=findComment&comment=1270481 Use alloy wheels, definitely not Forester steel wheels. Torque lug nuts to 100 ft-lbs. Dielectric grease in the spark plug pockets on DOHC EJ25. If you spend a lot of time in the woods you should build fabricated bumpers. Almost worth building to have something solid to tie your radiator protection to. (post 4) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1217856 Rear bumper / gas tank protection. (post 161) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-7?do=findComment&comment=1290470 Get folding side mirrors if the car didn't come with them. (post 47) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-2?do=findComment&comment=1245301 Reinforce/skid the rear subframe mounts. (post 50) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-2?do=findComment&comment=1246237 Replace the brake lines if you live in the rust belt with flex stainless braided and add a buggy style steering brake. (post 143) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-6?do=findComment&comment=1284093 Check wheel bearings, ball joints, and tie rods for slop. Check knuckles (spindles) for cracks at the base of the strut mounts. (post 237) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-10?do=findComment&comment=1313874 Upgrade to bolt on wheel bearings if you have press in wheel bearings. (post 266) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-11?do=findComment&comment=1319135 Sleeve front control arm mounts in crossmember. (post 159) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-7?do=findComment&comment=1286994 (post 314) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-13?do=findComment&comment=1325958 Install group N engine mounts to keep the engine from moving around so much. (post 107) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-5?do=findComment&comment=1277770 Additional HID lights wired to fog light switch only with headlights on high. (post 189) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-8?do=findComment&comment=1299016 Larger / centrifugal air filter for dust. (post 271) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-11?do=findComment&comment=1319259 Cooling system testing. (post 339) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-14?do=findComment&comment=1328108 Radiator upgrade. (post 363) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-15?do=findComment&comment=1329904 B pillar electric jacks. (post 541) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-22?do=findComment&comment=1345331 Quick release fasteners for spare tire. (post 542) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-22?do=findComment&comment=1345473 CBs for communication. Tablet for GPS. (post 52) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-3?do=findComment&comment=1249804 Speed strap is the best thing we've found for recovery. Pretty quick and easy to loop them around almost anything, 2" model seems indestructible for Subaru use. Much faster than winching. Trail fixes: If your clutch starts slipping because you don't have a flywheel dust shield, spray water in the top of the bellhousing through the throwout fork hole with a garden hose and pump the clutch. from Uberoo If your engine is running rough, unplug MAF, TPS, and O2 sensors one at a time and see if one of those makes it run more smoothly. from Uberoo Racing safety modifications: Fuel cell. (post 160) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-7?do=findComment&comment=1287392 Roll cage. (post 211) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-9?do=findComment&comment=1306131 Race seats and five point harnesses. (post 213) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-9?do=findComment&comment=1306611 Window nets, extinguisher, and padding. (post 214) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-9?do=findComment&comment=1306778 Rear lights, first aid, driveshaft strap. (post 215) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-9?do=findComment&comment=1307189 Transmission scattershield. (post 248) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-10?do=findComment&comment=1316910 Trip reports: September 2014 Upper Peninsula of Michigan (post 54) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-3?do=findComment&comment=1251178 April 2015 Black Mountain Kentucky (post 140) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-6?do=findComment&comment=1283318 July 2015 Badlands Indiana (post 176) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-8?do=findComment&comment=1295716 November 2015 Interlake Indiana (post 226) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-10?do=findComment&comment=1308438 January 2016 Notrees Texas (post 238) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-10?do=findComment&comment=1315301 April 2016 Notrees Texas (post 275) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-11?do=findComment&comment=1323898 May 2016 Smoky Mountains (post 343) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-14?do=findComment&comment=1328449 July 2016 Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan (post 372) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-15?do=findComment&comment=1332038 August 2016 Vegas to Reno Nevada (post 403) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-17?do=findComment&comment=1335235 November 2016 California to Illinois (post 503) http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/page-21?do=findComment&comment=1342977 April 2017 Notrees Texas https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1356707 May 2017 Badlands https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1358036 July 2017 UP https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1362143 August 2017 Vegas to Reno Nevada https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1364935 November 2017 Illinois to California and back https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1371258 November 2017 Badlands https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1372399 February 2018 southern Illinois https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1378234 February 2018 Arkansas https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1379018 March 2018 Mine Made off road park in Kentucky https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1380686 April 2018 Arkansas https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1382616 May 2018 Arkansas https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1384499 May 2018 Illinois to Tennessee https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1385484 June 2018 UP https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1385849 July 2018 UP https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1387742 October 2018 New Mexico and Arizona https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1392330 November 2018 Badlands https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?do=findComment&comment=1393425 Original first post: I got this 99 Outback about six months ago for a three day off road trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We did about 480 miles off pavement over three days. Pix of it next to my 96 Impreza with city boy tires: 215 75 15 Hankook Dynapro MTs and Forester steel wheels ($20 each on ebay) on the Outback and slightly oversized BFG winter slaloms on the Impreza: This was the only mod on both cars before the trip: Video from the trip:
  2. We drove back to the ranch Sunday morning and I tried to put a bolt in place of the one that had fallen out but couldn't find the threaded insert, it probably fell back into the body. I did safety wire it to the body a little better. I had also heard/noticed something funny in the rear end while driving. The stamped “frame rail” the RR trailing arm mounts to had mostly torn loose from the body. I had intended to beef up this side like I did the LR after the failure in AR but hadn't gotten around to it, although this one failed in a different fashion. Saw this garter snake eat a small frog. We took the lights, door bars, numbers, and harnesses off the Outback and drove it over to the driver's meeting at 10AM. JCR finished second in the air cooled class. The F100 won the heavy metal truck class and we finished second. We hooked up the Forester and started towing home. Outback ran fine until we got to the highway and when I went to pull onto the highway the engine stalled and I could not get it restarted. It cranked fine and would fire a little but but wouldn't run. We rolled back out of the way a bit and switched cars so we were towing the Outback with the Forester. The low range really helps get started. We were driving by the temp gauge. We couldn't run the AC and could only average about 60mph to keep the temp gauge at the two thirds mark. We were planning on checking out a first gen Outback with a second gen Outback EZ30 and 4EAT in Des Moines on the way home so we headed north from OKC and went up through KS. We camped near a big man made lake in KS next to a little river. The next morning we could average 65 with the cooler temps for a while. As it got back up in the 80s we had to keep going slower. There were some long climbs in MO and as I was going up one of them all of a sudden I saw a big cloud of dark gray smoke out the back of the Forester. It dissipated quickly but I said something to B and started to pull over and he says “don't worry, it's just the CV boot exploding grease on the cat.” He's driven across the country on an axle without a CV boot so he thought we should just continue. About fifty miles later I noticed if you gave it over about half throttle the RPM and speed would increase (not quite like a slipping clutch) accompanied by a ratcheting noise. I pulled off at the next ramp and had just barely enough torque capacity to get in the gas station. I parked the cars in the shade of a semi trailer and we replaced the CV axle. It was the most melted/smashed CV we've ever seen come out of a Subaru. While we had things disassembled B wanted to replace the control arm bushing on that corner so we did that too. B drove the next leg and a few hours later the same thing happened to the new axle we'd just installed. He pulled off to the side of a gas station parking lot and we discussed our options. I fired up the Outback and it seemed to be running fine but there was a rattling noise that seemed to be coming from the driver's side cat. I drove it around the parking lot and it ran fine so we hooked it up to the Forester and got on the interstate. Before we even got up to speed it started dying so I pulled over. We switched back and towed the Outback to the nearest exit and then went to a local Autozone and swapped out the CV axle in their parking lot. Just another day in the life B said. We took state highways the rest of the way back, got to my house without any further issues. After we disconnected I was able to drive the Outback 100' into the garage and it died. B drove the Forester home. Saw this caterpillar on the back of my house the next morning. Probably one you shouldn't eat.
  3. For the race we parked the Forester in the main pit for refueling and driver/navigator changes. At the start of the race I rode with JCR in the baja bug, B drove the Outback with slammo navigating, and J rode with in the F100. The F100 was a well built prerunner with full glass and interior. They started flagging off cars one a minute at 5PM which meant the Subaru started around 5:15. JCR kept telling us all weekend he was going to take it easy but it didn't seem like it while I was riding with him. I felt safe but he seemed to be pushing the car hard. It seemed to have stiffer suspension than the Subaru despite having more travel and better shocks but that allowed him to hit things harder without bottoming. The seats were comfortable and the open air was actually much cooler than the Subaru with AC on since we had about 100x as much airflow. Within two miles of the start we started hearing a banging noise in the rear and he pointed at the mirror and I saw the RR fender flapping in the breeze. By mile 3 it was gone. He continued to run the car hard and passed a buggy and a truck but did not catch up to the Subaru despite starting about five cars back. He was familiar with the ranch but I did help him navigate a little and slowed him down for a few hazards I don't think he saw coming. Both of our fresh air hoses kept coming off our helmets so every couple miles I had to shove them back on. At about mile 25 the lightbar above the windshield started flapping around (just one bolt holding it on) so I held that in place with my arm through the windshield opening for the last five miles. I had told him multiple times before the race I just wanted to ride for one lap but when we got to the fork for the main pit he just kept going straight on the race course despite me pointing to the pit exit. Fortunately I got him to pull off into the pits just before the start/finish line. We got out and I unbolted the light bar. A woman from the pit we were near came up to him with a water bottle and a quart Gatorade and he took the Gatorade and chugged the whole thing. He got back in the car and I zip tied his fresh air hose on his helmet. In the meantime B was driving the Subaru hard and had finished the first lap in under an hour. J was supposed to just ride in the F100 for the first lap but had stayed in for the second lap so I spent some time trying to find him. I got some water and tried to get video of the Outback going through the secondary pit (~mile 23) but never saw them come by. I went back to the Forester and waited and got a gas can ready. Eventually J showed up in the F100. He said he'd had a blast and he went to the bathroom and got some water. He kept going on about how he couldn't believe the Outback was making it around that course. About ten minutes later B and slammo showed up in the Outback. They had gotten a flat tire and the hatch wouldn't open so it took them a while to change it on course. Another wheel had a couple dents in it and was starting to slowly leak air so we replaced that and put a good spare in the car. We added five gallons of fuel and J got in to navigate. I told B at that point we had almost no chance of finishing all six laps so just take it easy. I hammered the dents out of the wheel which mostly stopped the leak but did create some tiny cracks. In another hour they came back with no issues so I got in to drive and J stayed in to navigate. Five gallons of fuel was added and the tank was full so we had used ten gallons in 93 miles for about 9mpg, still worse than expected but better than 6mpg we thought we had in the prerun. By this time it was still possible with a good run to do two more laps by the 10:45 cutoff for starting the last lap but it was getting dark, I turned the lights on maybe five miles into the lap. Almost immediately we had an occasional tire rub in the RF, mainly when on the gas. I thought (hoped) it was just because we put on some different tires that were maybe not as worn. We discussed stopping to check it out but there weren't many good places to stop and it's a big hassle to get in and out of the car with all the safety gear so I kept going and it didn't seem too bad. After maybe fifteen miles it was starting to get a little squirrelly so I found a good place on a gravel road to pull off course. It looked like one of the bolts holding the RF control arm bushing had fallen out and then the other bolt/insert ripped out of the body. I jacked/strapped it mostly back into position and used a bunch of hose clamps and heavy safety wire to hold it in place. While I was doing that J was pointing people by and letting them know we were OK. By the time we got back in the car and underway it was 11PM and we heard over the radio that the Subaru was the only car still on the course. I told them we were back on the move but had suspension damage so I was going slow the five miles to the secondary pit. We made it back and the repair seemed to be holding fine. JCR had finished five laps in time to start his sixth but decided he was done as he'd already vomited in the car. The F100 had finished all six laps by 10:30. The fastest lap time in a trophy truck was 38 minutes for an average speed of 49mph, which is slow for a desert race. For example in the Vegas to Reno the winning truck usually averages about 75mph. J told me he was bouncing around a similar amount in the F100 and the Outback but the F100 was going faster. Fortunately I had put my headlamp on when I went to pick up my street shoes I saw a black widow spider that had built a web in the left shoe. I smashed it with a big stick. We semi posterior packed things into our cars and said goodbye to J and slammo and rode with JCR back to his cabin. This is the first off road race we've ever done that I felt was almost too rough to be fun. Many of the rough sections of the course could be driven in a stock Honda Civic but it would be a very rough ride. It's sort of like harsh washboard, it's not really challenging just annoying and shakes the car to death. One more experience that makes me want to just trail ride or race point to point. Also contemplating making the windshield and/or rear glass easily removable for desert racing.
  4. In the morning we stopped at a gas station so JCR could fill his baja bug and his gas cans and went to the ranch. There had been a Raptor run with 100 Ford Raptors at the ranch a few months before the race and it had rained a lot so the course was much rougher than in previous years. The bikes and stock UTVs raced four laps on the 31 mile course in the morning and immediately after that prerunning started and we were one of the first cars out. I took it easy on the rough rocky sections of the course, in general I went about 20mph but there were many times I was going 15 or 10 or even slower. B and I estimated that about two thirds of the time and at least half the mileage of the course was rough and rocky. A lot of that was 2-4” square embedded rocks. You can drive it at 30-50mph and it probably feels smoother but will just tear up the car. There were a few pretty steep and rough hill climbs, a few with rock steps/ledges near the top. The average lifted Subaru with good skidplates could make it around the course just not at the speeds we were doing it. The smoother sections were fun, there was a nice whoop section near the start of the course that was great and far more jumps than any desert course we've ever seen (they don't really occur naturally). We decided it was the roughest off road course we've ever driven. It took me an hour and eight minutes for an average speed of 27mph. The race was six laps (186 miles) with a seven hour time limit (5PM-midnight), so with pit stops included it would be difficult to finish in the time limit even with no issues. We filled the Outback before and after the prerun and it took five gallons, which was more than we expected so we decided we'd just add five gallons at each of our three planned stops. The only damage to the car we could find was that one of the lights on the roof was turned and another was missing its cover. We had JCR's phone with us so he had a gps track of the course in case he got lost in the dark. He has raced there before but the course was changed (shortened) from previous years because some sections were badly washed out. B took a couple of J's five gallon gas cans and our two and filled them all up with premium. On the way back to the ranch he stopped to get a picture of their white buffalo. Then he noticed the Forester was running hot. He shut off the AC and it started coming back down. We replaced the water pump and timing belt when we had the engine and trans out a while back, I'm wondering if the new water pump isn't pumping like it should. It was in the 90s F all weekend. One of the trophy truck teams we talked to just had four Baja Designs LP9 lights on the front of their truck and said they're more light than you need, better than the pile of lights and light bars they used to have. Said the LP6 is pretty good too.
  5. B came over last Thursday morning and we did some last minute packing up and hooked up the cars to tow down to Texas. Our friend JCR had left South Bend a little earlier towing his baja bug so he was a few hours behind us. I had driven about 250 miles but the gas gauge was still above half. I was going to stop soon and the car started cutting out and the fuel pump was making a lot of noise, you could hear it occasionally get some fuel and quiet down, just enough to get to the end of an off ramp. We dumped in the 2.5 gallons of fuel from B's gas can but it still wouldn't start. I pulled the pressure hose off at the engine and a lot of compressed air with some fuel sprayed out of the engine side. B cycled the key a few times and we seemed to have a reasonably solid fuel flow. I put the hose back on it and fired back up and ran fine. Took 20 gallons to fill including the 2.5 we'd put in. We got past Tulsa and camped at a city park at Stroud lake. Friday was fairly uneventful. There were giant grasshoppers on the road leading into the ranch. Their body was almost the size of two adult human fingers. They could barely jump. We made it to the ranch around 2PM, slammo and J were already there and we picked out a place to park in the shade of some trees that we ended up camping in all weekend. We put the door bars, harnesses, numbers, and lights on the Outback and went through tech and registration. While we waited around we saw some other critters: I cooked some dogs and then we watched the handful of unlimited class vehicles (trophy trucks and ultra 4s) qualify. JCR had rented a small cabin on a lake near the ranch so we stayed with him Friday and Saturday nights. There were about ten long piers out into the lake, most of which had some kind of covered square pier at the end so you could fish in the middle ice fishing style.
  6. Interesting. Is your 2004 an H4? With the H6 the downshift is violent, I like your manual shifting idea. A leaking/flattened o-ring or cracked piston would make sense. Unrelated snapping turtle pictures from the weekend. Smallest one I've ever seen: On a playing card for scale: Adult, probably average size:
  7. My 2001 with the same engine and trans downshifts normally. The white 2002 feels like it's going to rip the trans or rear diff out of the car, revs to almost 6000 and then grabs and pulls it down to 4000 at full load. The battery has been disconnected numerous times, it always does it. Sounds like slammo might have a line on a cheap EZ30 and 4EAT for me though.
  8. Drove up to the UP in the white Outback with the in laws over the weekend. I did hit a couple of snowmobile trails/dirt roads, including one that was rough enough to be fun, but it was mainly boat rides and some hiking. At some point after we got up there I added a quart of water to the radiator but we did drive around some while we were up there and I didn't check the coolant again before we left for home. Brought the kayaks home on the roof, had 700-800# of passengers and a couple hundred pounds of cargo in the back, ambient temps about 88F. About halfway home I saw some smoke coming out of the back of our car, temp gauge read normal. Stopped at the next gas station and checked over the car. There appeared to be some oil on the trans skid but it wasn't actively dripping on the ground. Seemed like engine oil. Engine, auto trans, front diff, and PS were all still full. Let it cool off a bit and added about a gallon of water. Stopped shortly afterwards and bubbles were coming up in the full overflow bottle with the engine off. After a while the AC stopped working and the temp gauge started creeping up. I drove it by the temp gauge for a half hour or so, up a grade or at 70+ it would get up to the mark above the middle, if we were going downhill or about 60 it would start to drop towards the middle. Eventually it was staying at the mark above the middle so I pulled off the interstate and took back roads to the next town. Stopped at another gas station, overflow bottle was boiling over again, and bought a gallon of pre mixed coolant. Was able to add the whole thing and a little water. Ran about 60mph with good AC and normal temps for 30-40 minutes, then the AC stopped working and temps started creeping up but got home without them getting much above the middle. So I think the head gaskets are finally starting to really go. I've had to add about a quart of coolant every 300 miles or so in hot temps since I bought it a few years ago but now it's closer to a gallon per 100 miles. Out of the last 10-20 times I've started the car (before this overheating issue) it will take a while to crank or start and then die and have to restart maybe 1/4 of the times, usually when it's still warm. Had some kind of evaporative trouble code too. Also the trans has downshifted hard (4th to 3rd?) since I bought it. So hard it will occasionally chirp a tire. Need to decide whether to replace the whole engine and trans, replace head gaskets, try to fix the trans, buy a different car, or what. I can get a JDM engine for $1200 and relatively low mileage (<150k) trans for about $800. Would like to keep it as an automatic for now so my wife has a backup car and can take the family to the offroad park sometime this year. Also convenient having three EZ30 Subarus. Somewhat tempted to swap in an EZ36 and standalone and/or a different trans. Could buy another car and swap the suspension, axles, brakes, and bumper from this one onto that. Don't have room to keep this one as a parts car. In the short run I will probably see if I can fix the hard downshifting issue in the trans without removing it and see how bad the coolant loss is in normal city driving and check the trouble codes again.
  9. pontoontodd

    03 outback rear suspension on EA81 - T-bone 2.0

    That's what I thought but the teeth on mine started twisting/bending and then you can't hold it in reverse under load. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did.
  10. pontoontodd

    03 outback rear suspension on EA81 - T-bone 2.0

    His doesn't, my dual range doesn't, I haven't had many other 5MTs apart.
  11. pontoontodd

    03 outback rear suspension on EA81 - T-bone 2.0

    I would make sure when you assemble it that the reverse idler gear still slides a little past the other reverse gears. Not as far as stock but if not it will want to push out of reverse under load. If you keep having that problem with the ring gear bolts you should either safety wire them or make some two hole tabs out of thin sheet metal. Torque the bolts down and then bend the ends of the tabs around the bolt flats to keep them from coming loose.
  12. Thanks on the spline info. Did you get a new 05-09 rear hub assembly? If so did it come with the hub pressed into the bearing? The one I got for a 2002 is just the bearing, can't buy that hub except from the dealer for $160. Yes, the alternators were both from six cylinders (EZ30/EZ36). Looks like it would fit on 2000+ Forester EJ25, pulley might be wider on the six but might still work.
  13. Thought about making an adapter, I think it would be easier to just use a different hub, maybe turn up a sleeve if needed.
  14. I'm not sure about the 05-09 Leg/OB rear hub spline, hard to believe it's a different spline than all the others. The 02 Leg/OB bolt on rear wheel bearings are only about 1/2" wider than the 05-14 Leg/OB bolt on front wheel bearings. That's the width of the spacer we've been using on our front CV axles/bearings with the longer front control arms, so it should work out fine. At this time it would be a lot of money and time for the benefit so I don't plan on doing it yet. You're welcome. The rock crawling/bouncing you did recently was some of the most extreme I've seen a Subaru do.
  15. Been wondering for a while now if we can fit the larger front axles we've been using on the rear somehow. Got a couple later model Subaru wheel bearing/hubs and took a bunch of measurements. Left to right - bolt on rear wheel bearing 2000-2009 Legacy/Outback, bolt on front wheel bearing 2005-2015 Legacy/Outback, bolt on rear wheel bearing 2015 Outback (2015+ Legacy/Outback/Ascent), bolt on rear wheel bearing 2009 Impreza (2009+ Impreza/Forester/BRZ, according to Timken/Rockauto this also fits 2010-2014 Outback). On the left is the press in wheel bearing style hub for the rear of a 99 Outback. On the right is the front press in style hub for 99 Outback. Here are the measurements we came up with: Bearing ID is in mm, the ones that were pressed together I just guessed at, can't get an exact measurement. Other dimensions are in inches. Don't have a rear hub for a 2002 handy, the only place I could find to buy one new was the dealer at $160, haven't gotten one out of the spare suspension we have lying around. Should get one for 2007 Leg/OB, didn't realize that one was different until I started typing all this up, specs on that are from Timken, not sure about the 25 tooth spline. 15 Legacy/Outback rear hub has a much larger wheel bolt pattern than the rest. The later model bolt on rear wheel bearings do have the same 27 tooth CV spline as the front hubs. All of the rear bolt on wheel bearings seem to have the same knuckle diameter but they all have different bolt patterns at the knuckle. Also the late model rear hubs are much longer than the earlier hubs. For the multilink rear suspension I think the easiest solution would be to press a hub out of a 2005 front bolt on wheel bearing and sleeve it to fit the 2002 bolt on rear wheel bearing. That might even fit the rear press in wheel bearings on the older cars but the outer seal would be a problem. Then we could make up some splined stubs to go in the rear diff to use the female style axles. Not going to happen any time soon, just thinking about our options in the future.
  16. Pictures of the cotter pins on the front suspension of the black Outback. Radiator on the black Outback was also muddy, not as bad as Impreza but we're going to a desert race so I want the best cooling possible. Removed the radiator and blasted it out with a garden hose. While that was out it made replacing the alternator easier. The 2015-2017 Outback alternator (on left) bolts and plugs right in but puts out 130 amps vs the 2002 Outback 100A alternator (according to Rock Auto). We can now run all the lights and the AC at idle and maintain 14V. With the old alternator it would drop below 12V with the AC and all lights on even at 3000 engine RPM. Nice upgrade for $80 and we now have a good spare alternator again. I checked the lights we used on our buggy to make sure they were working. They're 6" KC daylighters with HID conversions. We have two pencil beams and two floods, I'm just planning on using the two pencil beams. They didn't seem to be working consistently at first. One problem I found was the spade terminals from the HID conversion harnesses were not crimped on well so I crimped on some good terminals and that helped. Eventually I realized that with just one plugged in they each worked but with two plugged in usually one or neither would work. With the engine running they both worked. Tested out the blue and yellow LED rear running lights, those are still good. My friend put in the race radio and race seat on the passenger side and test fit the door bars to make sure they still go in. We test fit the rear bumper.
  17. pontoontodd

    Mid mount Brat racer

  18. pontoontodd

    FJ1600 Question

    Fantastic to see it in action!
  19. Impreza radiator was quite muddy front and back even after blasting it some at the coin op car wash. Had just put in a new one too, this is basically all from the UP trip. Outback radiators seem to stay pretty clean with the guards on them but I should take a closer look to be sure. Came clean pretty quickly with the garden hose. Rear bushings in the fabricated brackets I made for the black Outback's front control arms kept walking out during the UP trip. Took the arms off, bushings originally pressed in but now just slide out. Pushed them back in and tack welded them in. We drilled those studs and the front strut eccentric bolts for cotter pins. We replaced the clutch disc and LF CV axle. New clutch disc measures .34”, old one measured .23” and was worn down to the rivets. Pressure plate had a bunch of dust and fibers in it, cleaned that out. Pressure plate measures about .21” relaxed (fully clamped) so there wasn't much pressure on the clutch disc. Should probably replace pressure plate but figure the 6MT will go in over the winter. Exhaust on the white Outback is badly dented where it goes under the rear subframe, probably down to about half the stock cross section. It was rubbing on the driveshaft again so I bent it down as much as I could, has a little clearance now. Fixed some tire leaks.
  20. Video from our trip to the UP a couple weeks ago: https://youtu.be/XQRYbQBwogY
  21. We worked on my Subaru fleet over the weekend. B adjusted the parking brake on the black Outback and tightened the trailing arm bolt that was spinning. He messed with the HVAC and eventually just put 12V to the pins at the control harness plug that move the actuator and it moved, got it to full vent position, will probably just leave it there all summer. Might wire in a rocker switch to just run the actuator manually. We pulled in the Impreza and A swapped out the RF knuckle for one with a bolt on wheel bearing. I pulled off the exhaust, made the end of one section roundish again and made some flanges to bolt it all back together. B fit some pieces of tube so they would slide into the next section for reduced stress and leakage. Bent one bracket back forward so the rubber hanger would fit. Got it all on the car in place and tacked the last few flanges. Took it back out and welded everything completely, then put it back in the car. Tons of mud packed around radiator and condenser, have to clean that out. I adjusted the parking brake on the white Outback and plugged a couple holes in the sidewall of the RF tire. M superglued the passenger mirror cover back together. Still makes some kind of rubbing/scraping heat shield noise when slowing down but quieter than when we got home. Has many brown stripes on the white paint now, not sure if I just didn't get it fully clean or if they're some kind of wood stain. Waiting on some parts to come in this week, main thing left to address is the clutch in the black Outback and whatever's causing it to leak.
  22. Monday morning we checked over the cars. Both front control arm nuts on the black Outback had backed off a lot, the one almost to the end of the stud. We headed to the pond where C swamped his Impreza, had about as much water in it as it did then. We went back and hit the best dips/jumps on the road just before the pond where B blew out the strut tower on his green Forester. The last big one made the black Outback wheelie a couple times. The other runs it just jumped level, not sure what made the difference. While taking runs at these dips/jumps I noticed the clutch was starting to slip. Figured we'd just take major snowmobile trails down to the big spring. Wound up taking a ~15 mile dead end to a couple big water holes. The first one was about a quarter mile long, couldn't even see the end of it. Took a different route and that one went to a water hole that was shorter but probably quite deep so we turned around and drove all the way back to the highway. Much of that snowmobile trail has little jumps/whoops that sneak up on you, just cruising along at 50mph and all of a sudden you hit a dip and you're in the air. At this point we didn't have time for the big spring and the super whoops. The big spring was farther out of the way and most of the group preferred seeing the super whoops so we headed there, had to drive on pavement for a couple hours. Clutch in the black Outback was definitely starting to slip over about half throttle. Sometimes with the cruise on going up a grade you could see it slip 50-100RPM and then come back down. We hit some little whooped out sandy trails on the way there. Along the paved road to the super whoop parking lot was a narrow sandy trail with small whoops so we hit a portion of that. The guys pointed out it would make for great video driving along the car filming from the side watching the suspension thrashing up and down. At this point I'd noticed a pinhole leak in one of the fuel hoses in the black Outback so I fixed that. They took everything out of the back seat of the white Outback and took that and the Forester through the super whoops. Apparently the rear end of the white Outback kicked up badly with four people in it. They came back just as I was finishing washing the fuel off my hands and arms and M and A and I took the white and black Outbacks up the first half of the super whoops, switched cars, and came back down. The black Outback was definitely better but the white Outback didn't kick up too bad with just one person in it. On the way out we drove part of the mini whoops with the black Outback and Forester and filmed with the other two cars. We dropped off J on the way home and all the cars drove home OK. Clutch in black Outback still slips some, seems to be fine when you first drive it and then will slip after maybe five minutes of driving. Thinking that might indicate an oil leak so I ordered a rear main seal and rear cover o-ring for the engine and input shaft seal for the trans. Windshield isn't any more cracked than when we started the trip, still just has the cracks down in the passenger side lower corner. Never had to bend the wiper arms/cowl either. Needs a driver's side front CV axle, it was making a little noise at the start of the trip and a little more by the end, the outer boot is badly torn. B and I both drove it with the parking brake on so that needs to be adjusted. White Outback also needs the parking brake adjusted. Has a high pitched intermittent grinding noise I think coming from the rear. We noticed the Impreza has a sloppy RF wheel bearing early in the trip. Never got worse but it would be good to put one of the bolt on wheel bearing knuckles on, already did that on the LF. Needs the post cat portion of the exhaust reinstalled. Overall it was one of our best trips so far. Weather was about perfect, no major breakdowns, good variety of trails.
  23. Sunday morning M and Z were navigating in the black Outback trying to find the ELF transmitter. B and I had driven by it on a previous trip without realizing what it was, Z kinda wanted to see it and it was sort of on the way. Early on we heard over the radio the battery light was on in the white Outback so we all stopped and swapped out the alternator. I had brought a spare since it fits both Outbacks and the Forester. Took some other multi mile dead ends with various gates, trees, and questionable bridges that made us decide to turn around. Eventually we just removed the middle part of the Impreza exhaust that kept hanging down and strapped it to the roof with a plastic rocker cover off the 2002 Outback and later one from the Forester. We also found a very overgrown canyon (by UP standards) that seemed to come out to a major logging road. We were skeptical any of the cars could even go down the trail, let alone back up if we had to, so we went back out. Some random pictures from Sunday: Got gas and went to a cool little jump we'd done last year but the approach was standing water this year so we looped around town on the whooped out trail and came out in the used car dealer with a few Subarus. For maybe fifteen miles we were on various whooped out snowmobile trails. I was driving the Impreza at the beginning at about 20mph, occasionally 30 on the smoother portions. Meanwhile the long travel cars could run 50mph comfortably. Eventually we switched around and at one point I had the cruise set at 50mph running through whoops for a mile or two. Trail ended at a gate again so we decided to just drive on the roads to the bar so we'd get there at a reasonable time. By this point the Forester had started running rough after driving through water. The Forester wasn't getting any better so we did a little diagnosis. One CV axle was definitely bad and seemed to be causing the car to shake rather violently at times so we swapped that out in a parking lot. Still wasn't running great but the reduced drivetrain shaking was an improvement. We hit a small side loop of trails on the way to the bar. This is one of the beers that had been in the car for a day: R started cooking tacos, J, M, B, and I started working on the Forester. We pumped some gas out of the tank after it had sat for a bit and after that bottle sat it definitely had a little water in it but seemed minor to me. We pumped about a half gallon out into a larger bottle. Tried unplugging the TPS and front O2 (separately) without any change. M and B replaced the spark plugs, then it ran fine.
  24. Saturday morning I checked over the cars. The main issue I found was the right rear CV axle on the white Outback had popped out of the diff. I think it was still driving and wasn't difficult to get back in. Oil level was still good and it never popped out again. For a few weeks now after I'd worked on the rear suspension there was a whining noise coming from the rear of the car. It went away after I put the CV back in and never came back. It has been making a slight whirring noise from the auto trans, one of the guys said it was a torque converter noise. We had camped within a few miles of the Baraga pipeline grade so we hit that. We found a couple of good jumps along it and took some time giving everyone a turn in each long travel car and getting lots of video and pictures. Then we started trail riding, there are a lot of good trails in that area, wound up on another part of the pipeline grade we hadn't been on before. B got a pinch flat in a Forester sidewall so he plugged it. Later on managed to weave plugs through both holes but it never fully sealed. While he did that we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. We followed a powerline grade we'd been on a different portion of on other trips. Eventually we got to a deeply rutted downhill with an even taller steeper uphill climb on the other side. We didn't think any of the cars (except maybe the Forester w/ low range) could make it up the climb on the other side and we didn't think the Impreza could get back up the downhill so we took a side trail but marked it on the GPS to come back to. Took an ~8 mile long side trail to eventually come to a section we decided was too swampy for us to proceed and had to go all the way back. We had almost reached a major road on the GPS too. For a while one day we had A lead the way in the white Outback with just the digital compass on the rearview mirror and told him to head east. One of the muddy trails we were on: By this time it was starting to get late so we decided to try to get to the next campsite before dark. We found a couple pipeline and powerline grades we didn't have time for but should explore in the future. We got to Republic which supposedly allows free camping on the beach along the river but we camped in the fancy campground on the bluff over the river. Running water, electricity, cable TV hookup. travelvw would not have been happy. Scenic and not too noisy or crowded though. We removed the rear muffler from the Impreza and since it had a fair amount of water in it we put it over the campfire after we finished cooking.
  25. Last Thursday afternoon we went grocery shopping and did some last minute packing up. Five of us drove my black and white Outbacks and my Impreza to the UP. Z had to work a little late so he and B got to the cabin late in the Forester. Friday morning we messed with my boat so we didn't leave the cabin until about 2PM. Started out taking the snowmobile trail into Watersmeet. Hit the mini whoop section along the snowmobile trail. J was amazed how fast we ran through it, he's been to Badlands off road park with us a few times but hasn't been to the UP with the Subarus. Continued on the snowmobile trail to the trout hatchery. Stopped on a bridge for a picture over the river. Took a little tour of the hatchery before fishing. We caught about 10 fish. While the employee was cleaning the fish we had a good old timer sit on the bench by the lunker pond. We then headed north on back roads to Bond falls. Hiked down the west side and back up the east side. Later on we wound up on the old rail bridge over Agate falls, I'd never been up there. We revisited the spot C's blue Outback last jumped teeth on the timing belt last year to see if the trail went farther. I also had it in my head that there were a lot of side trails in that area but that was definitely not the case. The exhaust on the Impreza was dragging so we zip tied it up, figured we'd repair it more properly when we got to camp. We continued past where his car had died and got to a spot where there was about a 3 foot diameter tree fallen across the trail. It was old and rotten and ended at one side of the trail so we pulled it out of the way. The next section of the trail didn't look too bad, B made it through in the Forester but then the white Outback got stuck. Then B got stuck temporarily trying to get him out. Various snatch straps, digging, and recovery ramps were put to use to get the first three cars through the swampy section. I was able to make it through in one run in the black Outback since I'd been able to see the good and bad lines and had the most tire tread depth. Then we realized the trail just got swampy and there were trees fallen across it and it was so overgrown we couldn't see five feet in. Would have taken a long time to make it all the way through so we went back through the swampy section. I think the Forester and black Outback were the only two to get back through in one shot. Forester was in low range and full throttle most of the way. By this time it was dark. I think we had to fix the Impreza exhaust again, this time with a hose clamp and some bailing wire. We eventually got to a campground. M and A breaded and fried the fish.