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Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by oregoncoast, Dec 3, 2012.
This is the new Thread of Awesome.
The best of luck to the both of ya....................and I bet your better half is the better driver
I'm hoping so! I saw a couple of Subaru with lifts in Glamis back in 1993-94. One was a Brat and the other a wagon. They weren't fast going up the dunes, but they looked awesome. I've been a fan of Baja stuff since reading about it in my step-dad's old hot rod mags from the late 60s-early 70's 30 years ago. I always thought that the VW bugs (Class 9?) along with motorcycles were what Baja was all about and the way the 'new race' (not the 500/1000) is set up as a fun, retro, multi-day event is what I always imagined Baja was like back when guys were first going down there as written in those articles.
The stock VW class in Baja is class 11. I used to race that class in a different series. Ever want to flush a bunch of $$ down the terlit, just get a class 11 racer.
We called it the "great orange girlfriend killer", because we all started the season with relationships. Racing is fun, but it has some hidden costs.
I'm sure this effort will be totally different.
HAH! Yeah i never considered 'racing' one, but I would love a dune buggy as a toy. Not a sand rail, a real Manx.
But the utter badassness of running Class 11 (thanks!) or riding a motorcycle IS Baja to me. I spent 6 years tooling around various deserts of the US and Middle East driving a 26 ton armored vehicle and saw what can go wrong with those, I can't imagine the jams guys guys get into on bikes or in bugs.
Which is why I'll be watching this thread. Pure badassness.
Would you look at that!
With the temporary motor in, I set in to removing the interior of the Impreza. I also began some intense research at several Subaru specific internet forums, including:
I still didn't have my overall vision, but it was beginning to gel. For the M1K, endurance and reliability are paramount. I also knew that I wanted some increased ground clearance. The Impreza Outback Sport is the tallest stock Impreza there is. And the quickest way to increase ground clearance is with a strut swap. Forester struts will bolt right up with very slight modification, so I picked up some new Forester Struts.
This photo shows the higher spring perch of the new Forester strut, of course I can't find the photo with strut rod extended as it is much longer. Yes I said strut rod.
I also picked up front and rear skid plates from Primitive Racing. The Pacific Northwest is a Subaru Mecca, and with the salt-less roads, they just last longer out here. Because of this, there is a whole local cottage industry surrounding Subaru's. So, instead of just looking at the skid plates online, I went to their shop and got a first-hand look at them and a cash discount! I also got to pick their brains about some other stuff and gawk at their rally cars for more ideas.
This is one of their rally cars that I got some ideas from:
Just love this exploded Impreza on the wall:
Now, building your normal stage rally car is pretty straight forward, especially if it is a Subaru Impreza. Parts are plentiful, aftermarket is huge and its been done so many times, the information is widely available on the interwebs. Roll cage kits can be bought off the shelf, suspension components including sweet racing coilovers litter ebay. But this build was going to be different. It had to be.
First off, I am building a vehicle that will be driven from Oregon to Mexicali and then raced to San Jose Del Cabo. Then, if it stills runs, driven back to Oregon. That is a slight-bit longer than any Rally America stage. And because of this, I wanted to keep some of the creature comforts in the car, to make the traveling a little more, well, comfortable. I would also need to be carrying spares, tools, fuel, oil, etc. So, whereas in a Stage Rally car, you remove everything not essential in an effort to reduce weight, because comfort is not important, I was going to be leaving some things in, because weight was not my first concern.
Now some of the things that follow are going to make hard-core racers cringe, but bear with me; there is a method to my madness.
What I came up with is this: What we are building is more akin to a pre-runner or an actual expedition vehicle rather than an actual Baja racer. Something that is totally capable of traversing the terrain of the racecourse, just not necessarily at the speeds needed to be competitive against trophy trucks; if that makes sense. A good example of this is if you watched the footage of the officials of the Dakar rally laying out/pre running the course in South America. They were driving essentially stock 4x4 pick-up trucks, with the ac running and had few issues going anywhere, just not super fast. Now, I want to go much faster than that, so dont worry, this will be a proper racecar!
While driving OSR rider Paul Jr.s Toyota Tacoma pick-up last year while chasing a day, It would have been fully capable out on the M1K race course and it would have made it fine.
It might have been slow going in the tuff technical areas and whoops, but it would have made it. That is the genisis of my idea for the Outta Sight Subaru. This of course also plays into the mantra I say to myself when I am racing; Go fast when you can, slow when you have to. Dont outride/outdrive your machine. That said, I do intend to finish and finish well. This is where the OSR strategy and planning come in.
So this is not a Subaru Stage Rally car; it is something else. Its more akin to a rally raid vehicle than a stage rally car. Actually, I recently defined it even more precisely...but we are not that point in this story.
With the interior nearly out, I picked up some very sweet 2008 WRX seats. They were beautiful. I was in love.
That is, until Luke pointed out that the NORRA rules specifically prohibited OEM produced seats and required race seats manufactured by a recognized company. Damn. Well, I found some barely used Cobra seats, which were FIA certified and would exceed the NORRA requirement. Of course, they will not be anywhere near as comfy as those beautiful WRX seats, but theyd be legal and could accommodate the required 5 point harness and ball-pinching submarine strap. Pictures to follow
Ray and I discussed the cage a bit. Because it is my wife in the passenger seat, it is important that the cage be the best it can be. I also wanted the car to be able to be rally road booked so having a certified cage is going to be important. This will give you an idea of what we are talking about: Roll Cage.
I started to take a good look inside the car. It started feeling smaller and smaller for what I was going to be putting inside it. I also started looking at increasing clearance and travel and was basically scouring CL and the COPART auctions looking for another wrecked Forester. Honestly, a Forester would have been the better choice for this type of race. More room than an Impreza, and the undercarriage is completely compatible with most aftermarket parts as the Forester is basically a taller Impreza. But if Im being honest, I think the Forester is one ugly car. Not the newer ones, but those original first few years...the ones I could afford....U-G-L-Y.
Finding wrecked Foresters is not an easy task. The Legacy Outbacks were plentiful though, and I decide that the suspension components and rear disc brakes I wanted could be found on the Outback too. I found one for $1000 bucks, but he said hed take $800 if we showed up today. It was 2 hours away, so I called David and he ran down to take a look. I told him if he thought it was good to buy it. He did.
She had a reconstructed title, some body blemishes and some rod knock. I didnt care about the title, or the blemishes, and David was going give me $300 for the motor to rebuild and sell, so $500 bucks later, the car was mine.
After Dave gave the Outback the once over he said to me, this looks like a pretty good car...maybe we should race this one. I thought about it and said, well, it already has the base suspension components I was wanting to mount on the Impreza...already installed...saving me weekends of work. It also had much more room for the cage and all of the other goodies. And let's face it, Impreza rally cars are a dime a dozen....Legacy Outback rally cars?? Not so much. Why? Because they don't make good rally cars. Much the same way that 1972 Honda SL350 dual sports didn't make good Baja racers.
I placed the Impreza in the classifieds on the aforementioned forums and within a few weeks, it sold, along with those beautiful WRX seats. I told my wife I felt silly having spent the money on the Impreza and the seats only to turn around and sell them and lose a few bucks. She laughed and said, how many bikes did we buy when you built up the motorcycle? I thought about it and realized I had done the exact same thing 2 years ago when I bought a CL350 to build the Baja bike. Then Sherry came along with the right bike. And the rest is history. I have learned to let these things work out the way they must. The right vehicle will find its way to the starting line. I also realized that I really love the process and it wasnt a waste of time because that Impreza helped me to find my motor guy as well as others along the way. It was meant to work out that way. No use in fighting it.
Next up: 1st installment of David's motor build log. You'll get the behind the scenes look at the building of our Subie's powerplant, and I'm sure it will be nerdy and technical enough for those that like that sort of thing
Great thread. Will the increased front and rear overhangs pose any clearance problems in the rough stuff? When I had an Outback, I used to scrape the air dam on fire road water breaks at moderate speeds.:eek1
Those issues will be addressed. It will have much improved approach and decent angles for sure. Stay tuned. We are much further along with this project...just starting from the beginning in the thread to tell the story
Awesome! I love it!
..........btw "departure" angle....
Yeah, that too
stop putting ideas in my head, dammit. I just quit bike racing, and am trying to stay outta racing...
Racing is a life sentence!
Paul @ Primitive is a great source of info and parts. You also have All Wheels Driven down in Bend too.
The Subie shell is a good start but flexes a bit. If you already have your cage in you know what I am talking about. It's a night and day difference....Consider building a footbox for small storage in the passenger footwell. Helps the co-driver brace themselves for comfort better. We build ours for a firstaid/ fire extinguisher/ tow strap mounting and storage. A little grip tape and a hinged door. Simple and effective.
Lower control arms, stockpile a couple of extras in your spares mix. They are strong but in the terrain you'll be in a good hit and they will fold back and hit the fenders. Good news is they are $20 at the local yards and a 20min fix.
We raced an RS in PGT and the car has evolved into a Full Open car with an entire STi drivetrain in it. Much more fun and alot faster the old GC8 chassis shows its age against the new STi chassis though. We mostly run it in RallyCross not due to its age.
Good luck looks like a fun project. If there's any questions I can help with pm me.
Subsribing to the thread to watch it unfold.
U'r gunna put your eye out.......
Ok, so in this post, I will be including the OSR Subaru Techs (I love giving my crew high-falutin titles) first installment. David will be joining ADV and will probably be posting his own stuff very soon, and available to answer any questions about our motor. But maybe I should give a little background first.
I love doing these race builds for many reasons. They are extremely satisfying and they serve as a great way of bringing like-minded individuals together for a common goal. I learn a crap load and thats a big part of it for me. I love watching artists work. And we have our share of those guys on our team. David is one of those guys. As mentioned earlier, I met David by responding to his ad on Craigs List. I have a pretty good read on people and I got a good vibe from him immediately. Even if he does text me while driving with a large excited dog on his shoulder :huh
David made it clear that he wanted to be a part of this project because he was in the final stages of establishing himself and his business as a Subaru only joint. He spends every day doing the common head-gasket repairs and timing belt replacements that Subarus are known for. He probably rebuilds two motors a week, and has very few customers returning with problems. You cant do that unless you are serious about what you are doing.
While researching Subaru threads, I found lots of internet experts and gurus that know everything about everything because they have torn their motor apart and built a Frankenmotor by following instructions online, or they are poor students and have learned how to work on them out of necessity. They seem to be pretty good at fixing their old Subarus and this is probably fine for a daily grocery getter or a car you built to take wheeling. But this project is much different and the vehicle will be punished much differently.
This is where David stands apart from the usual suspects. Because although he is now focusing on Subarus, he is a skilled auto mechanic first, Subaru guy second. Nothing seems to faze him very much, because in 30 years he has seen it all. However, he is anything but arrogant about it. In fact, he actually still possesses a boyish curiosity in figuring out how to make something work better, or diagnose a problem that is not obvious, and share his knowledge even if most of it goes right over your head DAMHIK.
He wanted to be involved with this project because he wanted to do the research, plan the build and re-plan and re-build as necessary until he got the result he wanted. His instructions have always been for me to run the motor hard and try to break it so we can find the weaknesses and then eliminate them. I love this. Whereas without this sort of guidance, I might be too easy on something, not push it, just to make sure it was good to go in April. With David, we plan on beating the piss out of this bitch until it breaks, then tear it down, fix what needs fixin, improve what needs improvin and then do it all again until it is what we want it to be. Thats just cool.
David and I have become friends; another reason I love these projects. The only down side is we spend more time BSing when we should be working. But oh well, its all part of the process.
Bottom line; David is doing this because he wants to be able to offer his customers the best damn product he can. He warranties his motors and he doesnt want to have to see them again due to failure after they leave. So in this respect, the Outta Sight Racing car is a research lab for Davids Apple Automotive out of Vancouver, Washington. That is just fine with me.
So, here is the first tech installment from from David of our motor build:
Right on! I'm in. It wrong that I see my son in a cheap Franken-buru?