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GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
11/10/21 7:57 a.m.

I've been inspired to start my first build thread. A little more than a week ago I picked up a 2005 Legacy GT with "bad head gaskets" It's a rust free New Mexico car and the body and interior are in really good shape for its 260k. My intentions and expectations are basically to rebuild everything mechanical so I know exactly what I'm dealing with. Subarus are very popular here in Colorado so I should have pretty good availability of second hand parts and performance upgrades. I'm also looking at this build as an opportunity to really dive into open source ECU tuning and play around with performance maps. 

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
11/10/21 8:12 a.m.

Oh man, for a second I thought it was the car from this recent thread:
https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/too-good-to-be-true-2006-legacy-gt-2000/187792/page1/

Just a heads up (esp. if you're putting in money for an engine rebuild) I've not seen many Subaru performance cals (either open source, OTS, or "pro") that end well. If you're willing to keep it in the project realm it sounds like it will be fun to mess with. 

I like the AISIAN timing belt kit (good value and OE parts) and OE engine gasket set w/ the updated head gaskets. Short blocks, when it comes to that, are reasonably priced directly from Subaru if you shop around and can be shipped in the mail. 

GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
11/10/21 8:29 a.m.

I messed around with it for a few days trying to get it running so I could assess the situation a little better. I got it to run enough to determine that there is no rod knock.

The guy I got it from had gotten it in a trade and it wasn't running while he had it either. He thought the head gaskets were bad because it was steaming out the tailpipe. My experience was a little different. It seems to me the "steam" coming out of the tailpipe had a heavy fuel smell. I'm not sure what that might mean but when I drained the oil it was super thin and smelled like gas too. Weird. 

I got tired of messing with it and decided to see what was really going on in there so I pulled the engine and took the heads off over the weekend. The heads didn't look bad, no obvious damage and the valves seem to be seating properly. I didn't spend much time diagnosing the heads, I just dropped them off at the machine shop Monday morning.

The pistons and cylinders seem pretty good. I don't see any unusual scoring and the cylinders still have a cross hatch pattern.

My plan was to put it back together after I get the heads back and get the car running so i can assess where to go from here. I have another block that I was planning on building a shortblock out of for the car but I'd like to get it running fairly quickly so I can prioritize what to do next. I figure with known good head gaskets and known good heads it will be interesting to see how it runs. If it's still no good, I'll build my shortblock sooner rather than later.

 

GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
11/10/21 9:08 a.m.

In reply to enginenerd :

That thread is what convinced me to start a build thread. It seemed like a sign from the GRM gods.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
11/10/21 9:19 a.m.

It is a good looking car!  That body style is spot on.

I hope the engine doesn't give you too much grief.  You said you went thru the injectors, right?  A super leaky one would definitely cause poor running issues, and gassy smell out the tail-pipe.

Let me know if you want a hand with anything.

GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
11/10/21 9:58 a.m.

In reply to TVR Scott :

Yeah, I checked out the injectors pretty thoroughly and they seem fine. I don't know if the tune has been set up for different ones or what, so I ordered the Tactrix cable that should allow me to look at the map and replace it with the stock one if necessary.

It did have the stock turbo so I think it's fairly unlikely it was running bigger injectors but you never know. 

Don't worry. I'm sure we'll be talking about this one for  a while.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
11/10/21 10:01 a.m.

Not sure why, but I had in my head this was an N/A car, not turbo.   Cool!

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
11/10/21 11:37 a.m.

What color are the injectors? Yellow side feed injectors are factory. 

I've spent waaaayyy too much time and money building Subaru engines. I'll be sure to follow along

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
11/10/21 11:45 a.m.

What is your plan for tuning? Do you have one?

GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
11/10/21 11:58 a.m.

In reply to birdmayne :

Yeah they are the yellow side feed injectors. I think they are the factory injectors but when I picked up the car the guy had the injectors out, he said he took them out to clean them but they sure weren't very clean and the O-Rings were terrible. 

What I was getting at is that it is possible the tune on the car is not for those factory injectors. The car could have had different injectors when he got ahold of it and he decided to keep them and stick factory ones in it to sell. Just pure speculation...

As far as my plan for tuning I don't really have more than a vague idea what I'm shooting for with this car. Nothing too radical. I'm in Colorado though, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Subaru tuner, and a few of them might even actually be good.

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
11/10/21 12:36 p.m.

Reach out to Dave at Cryotune, he's a good dude to know. 

Check out Legacygt.com for their forums. A TON of information there. Forum is pretty well dead at this point, but still a ton of good content. 

Also look up NASIOC for tuning searches. Full of jerks and know it alls, but still a good place to learn.

 

I used a Tactrix 2.0 cable, my laptop, ECUflash and RomRaider to tune my car. Mike Kinsman at Tuning Alliance did my base tune and I made the rest of the tweaks myself.

I have a BTSsm module in one of my drawers somewhere. It is a bluetooth OBD-II dongle that will pull data logs and display data as real time graphs and gauges. It is Android ONLY, will not work on iProducts. 

I'm happy to share my experience / pictures of carnage / etc. 

 

My LGT was a 2006 Limited. Five speed manual, leather interior, etc. Lowered on Swift springs with Koni struts, massive sway bars. I built a big turbo EJ255 with a Forced Performance Green, and a front mount IC.   Easily one of the most fun cars I've ever driven.  Pic below of my snow plow.

tb
tb Dork
11/10/21 12:51 p.m.

These are great cars. Nowhere near as temperamental as lesser models and the interiors still hold up to nicely. My wife loves hers and it has done almost everything you can do on four wheels without hesitation; from sandy beaches to snowy mountain passes to racetracks around the country and even solo nationals in the middle of nowhere...

 

Arvada might be out of your way a bit, but I also would reccomend contacting Dave at Cryotune for your dyno needs. He is careful, thorough and actually listens to your plans and needs. As a bonus, his direct neighbor is Dave at Simply Subies and he is an excellent subie specialist. Has has done big and small jobs for me in the past and is honest and detail oriented. I don't trust just anyone with my cars, but with those two you can just drop it off for any repairs and upgrades without worry.

 

Good luck with it! These cars really hit a sweet spot in all areas that is hard to replicate.

GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
11/10/21 1:37 p.m.

Good stuff guys! I'll definitely look up Dave at Cryotune when it's time to get her on a dyno.

I've also already ordered my Tactrix cable, I've got RomRaider installed and working I'm just waiting for the cable. I've also got a 2003 WRX that I plan on doing some logging and possibly minor tweeking with RomRaider. I'm really excited to get into the open source tuning thing and really learn more about it.

 

tb
tb Dork
11/10/21 2:46 p.m.

One other tip I wish I knew ealier:

 

The JDM center console used a standard double din radio and the parts to find are easy to order online. Switching to a modern touchscreen with Bluetooth and backup camera inputs really makes a huge difference in convenience. If you want to upgrade the door speakers you will need little plastic adapter rings iirc, got em from Crutchfield when I did mine.

wawazat
wawazat Dork
11/10/21 2:53 p.m.

I have always loved this vintage of Legacy and owned a '07 GT specB with the Bilstein suspension and 6 speed STi trans.  Well loved until sold with 142k a few years back.   It served us very well until kids arrived and rear facing car seats made fitting all four of us a challenge.  I'll be following your build for the nostalgia factor and wishing you good luck!

P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
11/10/21 3:56 p.m.

Very best wishes to you with yours! They really are good looking, capable cars - and even fast sometimes!

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
11/10/21 7:04 p.m.
tb said:

One other tip I wish I knew ealier:

 

The JDM center console used a standard double din radio and the parts to find are easy to order online. Switching to a modern touchscreen with Bluetooth and backup camera inputs really makes a huge difference in convenience. If you want to upgrade the door speakers you will need little plastic adapter rings iirc, got em from Crutchfield when I did mine.

Also look up the Nexus 7 installation. That with a Btssm dongle gives you every digital gauge your ecu reads, which is a lot. Especially when you merge a wideband O2 in to the factory harness. 

 

I'll make a deal on my btssm module if interested, if any one is interested. I no longer own a Subaru

flat4_5spd
flat4_5spd New Reader
11/10/21 7:35 p.m.

Maybe it's just the perspective of the photo, but it looks like the car doesn't have a hood scoop. Did someone do a FMIC swap and install an NA hood?  

tb
tb Dork
11/10/21 8:03 p.m.
birdmayne said:
tb said:

One other tip I wish I knew ealier:

 

The JDM center console used a standard double din radio and the parts to find are easy to order online. Switching to a modern touchscreen with Bluetooth and backup camera inputs really makes a huge difference in convenience. If you want to upgrade the door speakers you will need little plastic adapter rings iirc, got em from Crutchfield when I did mine.

Also look up the Nexus 7 installation. That with a Btssm dongle gives you every digital gauge your ecu reads, which is a lot. Especially when you merge a wideband O2 in to the factory harness. 

 

I'll make you a deal on my btssm module if interested 

Thanks, but I don't think I'm interested right now. I keep my accessport on the dash for monitoring stuff and and it is good enough if not perfect. Honestly, I will prob get my wife to sell in within the next 6 months...

GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
11/11/21 10:51 a.m.

It does have the hood scoop but I kinda like the idea of a Sleeper Subaru NA hood.

Also birdmayne, I am interested in your btssm module. I really like the idea of running a Android tablet for wireless logging.  I'll pm you...

I got my Tactrix cable yesterday and I was able to do some logging with RomRaider in my WRX, so it does seem to be working. I'll probably have more time to mess with it tomorrow. I've definitely got a lot to learn but you've got to start somewhere.

 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
11/11/21 11:30 a.m.

In reply to GXP Kirk :

I'm fully expecting you to become a tuning-ninja.  Because I need a tuning-ninja in my immediate family.  I have faith.

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
11/11/21 11:54 a.m.

In reply to GXP Kirk :

I'm sorry was the Buick experience so bad you resorted to a Subaru?  I've always liked the idea of one but been afraid to pull the trigger. Looking forward to seeing how you do.

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
11/11/21 4:14 p.m.
GXP Kirk said:

Also birdmayne, I am interested in your btssm module. I really like the idea of running a Android tablet for wireless logging.  I'll pm you...

Email me directly, if you would. 

tevelde.brandon   at the g mail

GXP Kirk
GXP Kirk New Reader
12/8/21 6:21 p.m.

A lot has happened over the last couple weeks. I decided to go ahead and get a brand new short block from Subaru. Unfortunately there was a problem with the first one I got, the case halves didn't line up properly, so I returned it and reordered. I just got the replacement today and it looks great!

I've also gotten the heads back from the machine shop and they look awesome.

My next step is to order some forged pistons and a few other things I need to start putting it all together. I'm hoping to be assembling everything in a week or so and I hope to have it running by Christmas.

 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
12/10/21 7:59 a.m.

Nice progress.  For the new pistons, you can just flip the block over and disconnect the con-rods, right? 

Are the rod bolts TTY - ie, do those need replacement when you put them back in?  Being burned by stretch-bolts lately, that's on my mind...

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