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Thread: Paul Magyar's 1995 Subaru Impreza L - Street Mod/Track build

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    Paul Magyar's 1995 Subaru Impreza L - Street Mod/Track build

    Project Introduction, June 2009: Paul is an autocrosser and NASA Time Trial racer from Dallas, and he's an AWD Subaru fanatic. He has owned and raced both a 2005 STi and a 2008 STI, both in SCCA's STU class. He's also tracked his '08 in NASA TTB:

    This '08 is well setup on AST 4200s, Vorshlag camber plates, custom swaybars, 18x9.5" wheels and sticky ST rubber (and R88s for track use). There's also a racing seat, COBB bits and pieces, even a custom after-cat exhaust I built. Anyway, Paul has decided to build a more serious autocross and track effort using an inexpensive Subaru chassis that is "disposable" cheap, so he's not running a $35K daily driven street car on track. It only takes one incident to really ruin your day.

    The "gem" of a Subaru he bought, with the parts piling up

    So after hours of looking at other Subaru track car projects and autocross build-ups he decided on a class to build around: SCCA Street Modified. This allows him to do all of the update/backdate swapping necessary to run the latest/greatest Subaru drivetrain (2.5L turbo and 6-spd) in the cheapest/lightest Impreza chassis. He picked up a 1995 Impreza L "stripper" with manual windows, teal green paint, FWD and automatic drivetrain from local hot shoe autocrosser/drag racer/Bonneville top speed addict Brianne Corn. This car is a real "diamond in the rough", and here's what it looked like starting this weekend:

    Starting weight of 2440 pounds is pretty good! The STI starts closer to 3200 in stock form

    He had also picked up the transaxle, rear subframe/axle, fuel tank, brake/fuel lines, dash, interior and pretty much everything from a 2007 STI from another local racer who had totaled their car. He still needs to source the motor but he has a hot lead on a 2004 STI motor and turbo. The entire STI drivetrain is going into the old FWD Impreza chassis with a custom harness that allows for full DCCD diff control, like the late model cars have. Its going to have the late model dash as well, which should look pretty slick.

    The 6-spd transaxle and various other drivetrain parts are from a donor 2007 STI; 2.5L motor is from an '04

    Anyway, the car has sat for a few weeks (with parts piling up on the roof)! so I dragged the Vorshlag scales by Paul's to force him to remove the 100+ pounds of trash from the interior, get a "starting weight" on the car, and hopefully kick-off his build project.

    Somehow I got drafted into re-wiring his garage!? More lights, plus 220V and 110V outlets were added

    While I was there I noticed that his giant air compressor he bought almost a year ago is still sitting unpowered, since he had no 220V outlet in his garage, and he also had almost no lighting or 110V outlets... he can't get any work done in there like that. One thing leads to another and we ended up spending the entire weekend adding outlets and lights to his 3 car garage, moving all sorts of junk out of there, re-arranging the car, and more. It was hotter than hell outside (101°F) and even hotter in his attic, but at least now he can run his compressor, plug in some power tools, and have enough light to work (3 x 8' fluorescent lights).

    Paul's Project Pictures from this buildup are located here:

    Terry Fair @ Vorshlag

    Last edited by Fair; 11-22-2010 at 10:42 AM.

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    Really looking forward to the outcome here. I don't think I have ever met Paul or seen him race, does he usually run in another region? I'm in tx region.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul.c View Post
    Really looking forward to the outcome here. I don't think I have ever met Paul or seen him race, does he usually run in another region? I'm in tx region.
    Paul is in the Texas region, but has not raced much in 2010 after his '08 STi had some... warranty trouble. heh. He's dying to get back out again.

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    Awesome! .......or rather, it's going to be an awesome build!


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    Man can't wait to see that build! I'm on board or should I say subscribed!

    Without you, we cease to exist. Without your support, we stop growing. Without your involvement, we remain at a standstill.
    Thank you for your faithfulness to our organization and your creative ideas and support.

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    Update for August 21, 2009: Went by Paul's this weekend to get some furniture and saw the Impreza L. Paul's been busy and has all of the old interior, drivetrain, suspension and crossmembers out. The added garage lighting and compressed air did indeed kick off this project as I had expected. The "L" is now stripped down almost to the bare shell - which is how all real race cars should be started. He has acquired a 2.5L STi motor (thanks, Henry Lin!) and all sorts of other bits and pieces for that. Still looking for a stock STI turbo and intercooler...

    We've been both pouring over the rules for SCCA Solo Street Prepared and Street Modified, looking for changes and areas to maximize. Paul noticed that SP (and SM by default) now allows for full weld-in 8-point roll cages, which is a big change from before (it all had to be bolt-in style, before) and now he and I are both planning cages for our project auto-x/track cars. This will let us both run the cars in NASA Time Trials safely and still maintain SCCA Solo class legality (we've since decided to delay this for both f our cars).

    While I was there Paul mocked up a wheel and tire on the L (no rear subframe or suspension in the way):

    This is a TR Racing 18x9.5" wheel with 245/40/18 tire. Its almost touching the inner fender sheet metal and is pretty much touching the outer section as well. So it would likely need some baseball bat rolling to fit this tire initially, which I think is the route he's going to want to go with. I keep telling him - get it together with the major parts initially, and worry about the tires/wheels last. This way he can get it running and driving and sorted using his HUGE selection of used ST tires and wheels, before blowing $3500+ on any custom wheels & tires (CCW?) needed for SMod. When its time for 18x10's its going to need flares, too.

    As for the other upcoming body mods, he's going with some sort of GC8 2.5 RS or STI front end:

    Personally I think the stock, 2 door GC8 STi look is pretty damn sharp. I think we can custom make flares that look good, maybe even similar to the profile in that picture, but just make them wider to clear the 285/30/18 tires.

    Next up Paul is going to finish prepping then painting the front fender wells and engine bay. After that he is installing the stock '07 STI fuel tank, subframes and suspension, then plumbing new brake lines for the ABS. Hopefully the built motor is going together in the next 30 days....

    More soon!

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    Project Update for Oct 26, 2009: Not much to report yet. Paul has been piddling around with the car and after borrowing some tools to get some stubborn seat belt bolts (pinhead torx) removed last week. All he has left in the interior is the old dash to remove, then the new '04 STi chassis harness can go in, and the '08 STi dash can be trimmed and installed over that. Once that happens the rest of the interior starts to fall into place. Should?

    I just noticed a few flared Impreza pics and thought I'd post:

    OK, this is a little bit much, but you get the idea...

    Being a 2 door the flares on the rear will be easier to do on Paul's '95 Impreza. Which is a plus since I'll probably be doing those...

    More soon,

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    Project Update for Nov 23, 2009: We've been tearing into our GRM $2010 E30 project for the past 2 months, but Paul's project has been a bit slower going. As I said in my September update, Paul was busy for a while there and got the stock drivetrain, front suspension/brakes/subframe, and the entire rear suspension out. I just finally got a chance to snap some pics. Here's how the car looked Nov. 22 when I went by to help him on the car for about 4 hours...

    The stock '93 Impreza drivetrain and suspension were all removed in September

    Unfortunately the project has been totally stalled out for the past 6 weeks, so he needed a "jump start" (literally!) to get going again. His old truck hadn't been started in 2 months and it was dead as a doornail. I dropped by with the jump box, we got it fired up, then headed to Henry's house to pick up the 2004 STI longblock (used for a core) that he had sold Paul. This will be dropped off soon at COBB Plano (actually it went to The WattShop), along with the new pistons, cams, ARP bolts and other assorted bits for reassembly.

    Motor parts ready to go to the engine builder

    Paul's garage was a bit cluttered and hard to work in, so we started out by doing some cleanup. We also hung a new, ginormous "white board" and I made some "to do lists" for this project as well as 2 other vehicles he needs to sell. The old '95 front seats went in the truck to take to the dump, then we disassembled the rear subframe and suspension and it all went into the recycle bin (the steel).

    Next we pulled the stock fuel tank, which was a 2 man job since it still had 8+ gallons of old, nasty fuel inside. We managed to get it out and only cut one line, and didn't spill a drop. Once it was out we pulled the fuel pump/pickup/sender assembly and drained the contents into a 5 gallon bucket, then poured that into two 5 gallon fuel jugs using a cardboard funnel (reminder - go buy some damn funnels, Paul!). Then the tank was allowed to air out; later it will get recycled, too.

    Left: the used 07 STI rear subframe was totally bent. Right: New replacement subframe from Subaru will bolt-in

    The other big step planned for today that needed 2 people was the stock dash and main harness removal. The stock '95 Impreza dash was coming out and a '07 STI dash is going back in its place. A wiring harness from an '04 STI is going to power the car and dash, or so the plan goes. We removed dozens and dozens of screws, bolts and removed the old dash in pieces. The main support beam came out next, then the HVAC components came out in 3 separate sections - blower motor, evep coil and heater core.

    Next we discombobulated both the main dash/HVAC/circuit breaker harness and the engine harness, which ran from the dash area to the engine compartment in two separate runs. The '07 STI dash was then mocked up and its a really good fit. After some minor trimming it should "look factory" and will improve the layout and interior considerably, not to mention it will house all of the diff control switches and other differences between the '95 Impreza and an '07 STI.

    Left: both wiring harnesses removed. Right: '07 dash mocked up

    Lastly I showed Paul how to clean up a section of the underhood bud disaster area, using my top secret cleaning techniques. "We made a clean spot" so now he has to finish the rest. By day's end, a good chunk of work was knocked out and Paul is back on track, with plenty of sub-projects planned for the 2009 Winter Holiday break.

    More soon,

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    Update for Jan 20, 2010: Paul and I did some engine bay painting last night, using a POR-15 brand product. It was recommended to use a specific multi-step cleaning process (that sucked) and foam brush to apply the product on in 2 coats (the brushes REALLY sucked). This was a huge frakking mess, and the cleaning supplies they sold Paul really didn't cut it. Brake Parts Cleaner to the rescue!

    After a partial first coat was showing massive fish-eyes from oil still on the surface, this still tacky coat was removed via brake cleaner. Next, all of the engine bay sheet metal was really de-greased with brake cleaner. Then we applied a fresh coat of white, waited 2 hours, and applied the other. Looks pretty good, for a brushed on finish (some drips & runs), but its not as nice as it should have been for all the work that went into prepping this engine bay. There are still a few areas I would have cleaned and prepped better, but you don't really see those once the parts are back in. Paul was happy with it; I was indifferent. If you go to a POR-15 coating, PREP THE METAL PROPERLY. All surfaces should be thoroughly degreased with the proper solvents.

    In hindsight... probably should have gone the extra effort and sprayed the engine bay with a proper 2-part urethane automotive paint finish. I won't be recommending this brush-on POR-15 crap to anyone, personally. Short cutting the proper preparation process always ends up with compromises.

    Next up: painting the front inner fender structures. Paul has spent some quality time with "The Crudbuster", a whirling dervish of a power tool with nasty metal brushes, and removed "20 years of crud" from the underside of the front fender sheetmetal. Let's vote for "spraying" on some product this time, please? And the AST shocks are finally about to be ordered.

    I cannot wait to see this thing back on 4 wheels...

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