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¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 5:50 a.m.

I've been looking for the next rally car for a while- the Merkur is actually behaving itself pretty well these days, but I wanted something a little more "future proof" in terms of parts availability and general construction.  And no turbo.  And better steering.

It turns out there's basically only one rear wheel drive platform with a fixed roof, steel suspension links, and less than 1.5 tons of weight to lug around built in the last decade or so.  So now I have one:

At 50k miles, it's the lowest mileage car I've ever bought.  $7k, so the most expensive too.  2013, also the newest.  And my plan is to blast it with gravel and throw it at trees and stuff- oh well!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 5:56 a.m.

What's the plan?  Well, roughly as follows:

  1. Measure/plan/design around what wheels will fit (15s are a must, because rally tires), how much suspension travel we can get (move mounting points?), and things like underbody protection
  2. Fix whatever is going on with the engine
  3. Execute suspension/wheel/brake changes
  4. Rallycross it a lot
  5. Chip away at remaining little things like more underbody protection, lights, any other engine/drivetrain/suspension mods
  6. Rallycross it some more
  7. Cage, safety gear, logbook, stage rally

Depending on how long we're in quarantine, and how long or difficult the repairs and modifications are, certain steps could be skipped.  It might take years to get to #7.  We'll see!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 6:04 a.m.

The first thing we did upon returning home was put it on the lift, of course:

The biggest reason?  I want to know if the 15" Subaru wheels we already have could be made to fit, they're a Legacy 6 spoke that fits over the brakes on the GR Impreza even though GRs theoretically can't fit a 15" wheel that isn't a special rally wheel.  Turns out we're pretty close in the back, it hits the caliper but could work with some tweaking:

Up front, however, is not so good.  Caliper interferes of course, but the bigger issue is the tie rod will probably only clear if we put a 1.5" wheel spacer on these.  Might be good enough for rallycross, probably a less than awesome idea for stage rally.

So for wheels we'll probably have to run real rally wheels eventually- not the end of the world, but it's a significant cost.  I might buy some cheap spacers just to see where that puts things.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 6:07 a.m.

And finally, the reason the car was so cheap- the engine.  It makes pretty loud tappy noises from the cylinder 3 region and has 10 DTCs that are mostly things like "cam position too far this way" or "cam timing adjustment not responding" so something is going on in there.  More digging is needed, I've only owned the car for 11 hours at this point.

I'm going to try and resist the urge to buy fun parts for it until the engine is sorted out.  I will probably fail.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/6/20 6:14 a.m.

These cars intrigue me. And i like your threads. So ill be lurking!

bluej (Forum Supporter)
bluej (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/6/20 6:17 a.m.

Perfect. I know you'll find all the unexpectedly weak points for the rest of us!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 6:27 a.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

These cars intrigue me.

Me too- they're an interesting example of parts bin engineering.  The general construction looks like Subaru gave Toyota a disassembled Impreza and a drawing of a Miata and said "build this with these parts."  Toyota added a leftover Lexus part here and there to make it work but got as close as they could.

In reply to bluej (Forum Supporter) :

Yes, I'm not going out and breaking things, I'm locating weak points! cheeky

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/6/20 6:31 a.m.

Very cool.

shagles
shagles Reader
5/6/20 7:08 a.m.

Sweet! I get to follow another Nonack rally build. You're a tall guy like me right? How well do you fit in the BRZ with a helmet on?

Also, if you ever decide to repaint/wrap it, i vote for the group a celica livery. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 7:18 a.m.

In reply to shagles :

5'11", relatively tall torso counteracted by a permanent slouch (I swear my spine is just shaped like this)- with the factory seat base as low as it will go I'll be fine, and proper seat will get me another 2" or so when it's cage time.  It's surprisingly roomy inside as long as you're not trying to use the back seat.  I can get measurements for you if you want.

shagles
shagles Reader
5/6/20 7:27 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Got it. That sounds like I'd be fine. I'm 6'4" but have a fairly normal torso. That's helpful for when i eventually get rid of my 128, thanks. Don't worry about measurements, I can figure that out if/when i get to the point of actually looking for one. 

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
5/6/20 7:42 a.m.

What year is this one? If it's 13 then engine issues are probably related to the valve spring recall not being done in time, or oil starvation from the technician using too much sealant. Either way a 15 and newer can be had with low miles for about $1500-2000 sometimes. They don't have the recall issues and have a better coil pack/location. Looking forward to your progress.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
5/6/20 7:42 a.m.

I love driving mine, but the Subaru engine is not something I will ever grow to like.

Buddy works in an automotive machine shop and tells me that Subaru owners accept head gasket replacement as routine maintenance.

Maybe you should take yours in for the recall!?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 7:44 a.m.

It's a 2013- apparently they also had a rocker arm failure issue sometimes, and the sound it makes seems a LOT like that's what is going on in there.  I should call the local dealer with the VIN and see if they want to do recalls on it, not a bad idea!

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
5/6/20 7:45 a.m.

Also, the only thing performance wise worth doing is a catless UEL header with a tune. The air intake and exhaust don't net any real gains worth the trouble, it's just more noise and more money spent.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/6/20 7:47 a.m.

I'm sitting here drinking my coffee thinking "how did I miss this?" and then I check the date and realize that it's brand new and I'm posting on the first page of what is sure to be a fairly epic build. I think you're going to like this. A lot. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 7:48 a.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

Honestly, I wasn't even planning on that- if it's really worth it I could, but I'd like to keep the drivetrain as stock as possible, and will probably even run the stock exhaust with a few carefully armored pieces and a different muffler to save on weight.

The tune thing may depend on whether I can get the car to behave with the ABS/TCS mechanically disabled or not.

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
5/6/20 7:48 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Can't hurt to try. I haven't heard of the of the rocker arm issue, but since my 13 got a newer 15 engine I've been smooth sailing. I think you will love this platform for rallycross other than ingress and egress.

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
5/6/20 7:52 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

There can be some weight savings with a cat back, but not worth the noise. They are all terribly loud, and for the few that are quieter they often weigh more the stock unit or cost $1500. The catback that came with my car weighed only a few pounds less than stock, so I gladly stuck the stock one back in.

 

Look up the "pedal dance". That shuts all nannies off. I bought and use a Beastronix box that automatically shuts it off when I start the car. They are no longer in production, but you can pick one up used from time to time.

 

Also, depending on how the car behaves in the dirt, the Torsen may be annoying. Once one wheel starts to spin the diff goes open. There are some mechanical LSDs out there though.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/6/20 7:58 a.m.
shagles said:

Sweet! I get to follow another Nonack rally build. You're a tall guy like me right? How well do you fit in the BRZ with a helmet on?

Also, if you ever decide to repaint/wrap it, i vote for the group a celica livery. 

He's actually only 5'6, but the hair makes him closer to 6 ft :)

 

And down the rabbit hole we go!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 8:07 a.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

I'm not talking anything fancy or aftermarket, this will literally be me cutting up the stock exhaust and messing with it for clearance/durability.  It currently has a horrible electronic cutout that leaks a lot which I need to remove.

The pedal dance is cool but I have no intentions of keeping the ABS valve body at all so there will be some trial and error there.

The Torsen is a total unknown for me, that will definitely take some experimentation to figure out what I want to do.  My guess is it'll be acceptable for rallycross but might start doing weird things on rougher stages with jumps and stuff.

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
5/6/20 8:12 a.m.

I still don't understand why nobody will bring larger diameter rally tires over.

Looking forward to seeing the build.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
5/6/20 8:14 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) :

Basically, nobody makes them- there is like one BFG offering in 16" and that's it.  I think the rules for WRC changed some time in the late 80s/early 90s restricting the wheel size to 15" and it has been this way ever since.

captainawesome
captainawesome HalfDork
5/6/20 8:22 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

There are Beastronix models that also disable all ABS. Once the car senses a wheel speed sensor is out of whack, or the steering angle sensor in the steering wheel isn't correct it will automatically shut ABS off as well as all traction controls. I imagine if the ABS unit is removed you will get the same result.

TVR Scott (Forum Supporter)
TVR Scott (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/6/20 8:25 a.m.

Looks pretty cool.  I'm a fan of these cars, though I've never had one.

I'll be following along and looking forward to seeing what it looks like lifted and on knobby tires.  Flying over a jump.

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