EMPLOYEE BUILD: ART’S 2004 SUBARU FORESTER XT (PART 5)

In today’s post I wanted touch on some of the less-than-awesome aspects of taking on a car build. I’m talking about unexpected fitment issues, the wrong parts arriving, the right parts being out-of-stock, and the planets aligning in just such a way to ruin your weekend of planned-progress. This is something that seems to be contagious during this time of year as the honeymoon feeling of committing to a build starts to give way to the reality of how quickly both time and money can disappear [see: Alex Docken’s G35 build (http://blog.grimmspeed.com/employee-build-alexs-2003-5-turbocharged-infiniti-g35-sedan-part-2/)].

The FXT has been coming together rather smoothly, but there hasn’t been a shortness of heading-inducing issues. The brakes are a good example of that. The original conversion brackets came to me with enough shipping damage that I had to exchange them out for a new pair, I’m on my second set of stainless lines and pads (admittedly because of my own oversight), and on my fourth order trying to get the right caliper pin kits. All of this is delaying getting the calipers off to powdercoating and only pushing me closer to the dreaded deadline.

The Voltex-style diffuser that arrived last week is a perfect example to fitment problems. Granted, I knew it was never designed to flawlessly mount to the SG5 Forester, but it did have me a bit worried upon my initial mock-up. A half day of finessing, cutting, drilling, and Dremel-ing later, I actually walked away very happy about how the piece came together. There’s a certain feeling of accomplishment to take a part that doesn’t belong on your car and find a way to integrate it in. I’ve never been much of a body-modification guy when it came to my past projects so it’s new, exciting territory for me.  You can notice in the photo that my blacked-out window trim (and grill) pieces are back from paint and blend in with my window tint nicely. I was so pleased with how they looked that I sent out the modified Gandor-style mirrors to get matched.

Art FXT Diffuser/Painted Trim

Then there’s  countless little things that don’t need to be mentioned…which I will; stripped nuts and bolts, cracked trim pieces, scratched body panels (thanks breaker bar), bloody hands, and hours of work with no immediate reward.

Yes, it’s all a bit of a vent for me, but what I’m really getting at is that everyone has a fair share of “one step forward, two steps back” moments with these sort of things. It’s important however to keep it all in perspective and not let it discourage you from finishing the project. At the end of the day (or week, or month) things WILL come together and you’ll have nothing else left to do but sit back and admire the work that you put into your car.

 

As evident from my cover photo, the bulk of my Whiteline parts came in right on schedule (excluding a set of rear endlinks and subframe bolts that are currently on back order). Ever since I bought my first Subaru during my Freshman year of college, I had always coveted Whiteline products and looked forward to a time when I could fill my shopping cart full of their lineup for my chassis and hit the “order submit” button. On this build I finally got the opportunity to do so. I ended up picking up sway and struts bars for the front and rear, along with both sets of endlinks. Adjustable rear arms, sway bar lockouts, heavy duty rear sway bar mounts, camber bolts, caster bushings, and the roll center adjustment kit rounded out the order. From start to finish in dealing with the guys over at Whiteline (shoutout to Jesse), I couldn’t be more happy with the customer service and parts quality; this definitely won’t be my last order with them.

Art FXT Whiteline Sway/Strut Bars

Art FXT Whiteline Arms/Misc. Parts

Art FXT Whiteline Correction Kit

Art FXT Whiteline Front Suspension Mock Up

Fender rolling [not pictured] was something I’ve been putting off both because of necessity, since I had to wait for the suspension parts to come in, and because of a lack of desire to potentially crack the paint on my otherwise immaculate fenders. I learned my lesson with an older car of mine in rushing through and not using a heatgun for the job, so this time I was prepared with one, along with a temperature gun and a helping hand. Taking my time and making sure the fenders were a consistent temp. resulted in a pretty good, albeit not professional, result. A few small paint cracks here and there, but nothing compared to the peanut-brittle I turned the paint on the last set of fenders into.

A few posts back I mentioned that I would give you a quick preview of some of the miscellaneous parts that will be coming out in the very near future. A select few may have already seen the soon-to-be introduced GrimmSpeed Exhaust Hangers which were included in the catback kits we recently dropped, for the rest of you, feast your eyes on the beauty (and also on the hangers):

@acdef
@acdef

This is however a piece not many have seen yet, but it should need no explanation…

Art FXT GrimmSpeed Radiator Hoses Koyo

A bonus preview for the Focus RS guys: the GrimmSpeed Lightweight Battery Tray (this is an uncoated prototype that I’ll be modding onto my OEM battery platform) and Sparkle-Blue Stainless Steel Shift Knob:

Art FXT GrimmSpeed Battery Tray

GrimmSpeed Focus RS Blue Shift Knob

A big thanks to all those that have been keeping up with the progress, it’s been excellent to hear feedback and encouragement for my project and to see what everyone else is working on. Feel free to keep messaging and tagging me in your personal builds, I always enjoy reading through them. While you’re at it, take a look at this Forester build from one of GrimmSpeed’s good customers:  http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f115/phoenix-phmancus-2006-fxt-681722/

-Art
IG @thenotorious_a_r_t

Employee Build: Alex’s 2003.5 Turbocharged Infiniti G35 Drift Sedan (Part 2)

Employee/Author: Alex Docken

Editor: Art Petrakov

When I last left off, I was discussing some of the changes that are taking place on my G35 for the upcoming drift season.  As we speak, Nathan Chin at Metal in Motion in finalizing the exterior bodywork and the car is just about ready to get picked up. I absolutely can’t wait to have it all put back together and see this phase of my vision for the car completed! These particular changes are something I had originally hoped to have done last year, but with the crazy amount of fabrication taking place and with how ever-changing car deadlines can be, the big debut was put off until 2017. There is still a laundry-list of things I hope to get done to the car, but that will just have to wait for later on this season, or next.

While the car has been over at Nathan’s, I haven’t had much opportunity to get my own hands dirty on it. Instead, I had a chance to start putting together Youtube content to chronicle the build and the upcoming drift season. I’ve also been busy with drift-event planning and working on design aspects for team apparel, stickers, etc. Recently, I was also lucky enough to be able to spend some time in California for Formula D Long Beach. The event was an unreal experience and gave me a chance to hang with some old friends and meet some new. While out there, I was able to make it to the Hardcore Japan X Super Street Meet, as well as the Hoonigan Donut Garage After-Party, which were both an absolute blast.

Alex California Trip

Alex California Trip 2

Alex California Trip 5

Alright, back to the car!

I’ve always LOVED this style of sideskirt extension, but it was proving very hard to source the ones I wanted, let alone find them in a length that was appropriate for my chassis. I tried several options, including ChargeSpeed Subaru Impreza Extensions, but in the end, I had to settle with the more appropriately-fitting Outcast Garage Skirt Extension. After some research and sourcing of parts, I was able to find some authentic URAS Side Skirt add-on’s (basically just the flare piece). I brought these over to Nathan and he modified them to be the exact fit and finish I was looking for!

G35 Skirts and Extensions

In addition to the skirts, I also dreamed of equipping the car with a set of front bumper canards. These are readily available for cars like the S13/S14 240SX, which have a longer front bumper and less curve than the G35, but the choices for me were few and far between. What I ended up doing was sourcing some ORIGIN Front Canards and had Nathan modify them to fit perfectly with the curvature of the bumper. We also created some custom metal upper canards based off different styles I liked on other cars, with a bit of our own flare…

@metal_in_motion_bw
@metal_in_motion_bw
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions

Two other big aesthetic changes had to do with the hood and mirrors. I’ve had aftermarket Ganador-style mirrors for years but hadn’t gotten around to modifying them to fit the chassis until last fall. I had Nathan smooth and mold a set of custom mounting plates that I created for a truly OEM look, as opposed to the roughly-fabricated way I dropped them off in. I’m very excited to have aggressive aero mirrors on the car, since I think mirrors can make a major difference to the look of a build. Aside from that, the look of the hood has always been something that’s bothered me. Last season was a mad dash to catch as many events as possible and with the build taking much longer than first anticipated, the hood was a last minute temporary solution. This year, I am looking to have the hood match more of the look I had originally intended, while functioning to properly flow air through the engine bay in conjunction with the v-mount setup. Expect to see the finalized design in my next post!

@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions

Another change I had mentioned to make in my last post was the brakes. At the time I was torn on what route I wanted to go, but after having some friends deal with bracket adapter issues on different brake conversions, I decided to keep things simple with the OEM-offered Brembo brakes. In addition, I picked up the Stoptech Sport Upgrade Kit which included stainless steel lines, slotted rotors with black painted centers, and sport pads to compliment the rebuilt Brembo calipers. My factory brakes have always functioned just fine for the car’s intended purpose, so in my mind anything crazier than upgrading to the OEM Brembos seemed a bit overkill.

So that’s where I am at! If all goes to plan I’ll be picking up the car today or tomorrow to start finishing up the final touches. I have some small updates/changes to make in the engine bay, as well as installing the aforementioned brakes, swapping all fluids, tires, and getting the car ready for Wekfest Chicago. I hope to see and meet some of you there! Otherwise, the week after, I will have the car at GrimmSpeed’s first-ever meet at our shop on May 5th and will be attending Cars and Coffee and potentially the MNCEC meet on May 6th/7th, respectively.

@eletor_1point3
@eletor_1point3Come

Come find me at any of these events and feel free to say hello and ask questions. I’m always wanting to get to meet people and help anyone out with their own build. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings as well as to share it all with you!

-Alex

IG @DabSedan

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMPLOYEE BUILD: ART’S 2004 SUBARU FORESTER XT (PART 4)

As many of you have heard, GrimmSpeed will officially be hosting our first-ever shop meet on May 5th. Although exciting news, that time frame has put some sudden pressure on me to get the FXT at least driving and partially show-worthy in the next four weeks. Time, as it stands, is not in my corner.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1896128713935574/

The big news, without which potentially making it to the show would have been impossible, is that the ideal set of wheels fell into my lap just a few weeks ago. Originally I was weighing out a number of 1-piece wheel options from Enkei, Work Wheels, Rays, etc, but lead times for custom sizing were a bit too far out, especially since I would need to test-fit them with the new brake setup before both the rims and calipers went out for coating. I eventually set my sights on 3-piece wheels as I was more likely to find a lower offset in a 5×100 bolt pattern. Although my choices were far and few in-between, the perfect set popped up locally just in the nick of time:

Art FXT Work Wheels
For those that don’t know, these are a set of Work VSKFs, a style of wheel I fell in love with when I first started hanging around the drift scene a few years back. I’m undoubtedly not the only one with a certain explainable affection for these and I’ve seen them mounted on everything from R32 Skylines to GS300s to FC RX7s. Rarely however do these make their way onto Subarus, which was part of the deciding factor in buying them.
The positive aspect of these particular wheels was that they were pretty much the exact sizing and style I was after: square 18×9.5 +19 (with 6-8mm spacers for caliper clearance), 5×100 with gold hardware and red center caps. The unfortunate part was that they needed a good amount of TLC before they would be considered show-ready.
First thing’s first, the faces had to come off (hence the circa-late 90’s MS Painted profile picture) since the chrome on the backside was hanging on by a prayer. Although I was already way past my original wheel budget, I dug a bit deeper into my dog’s college fund and sent the faces off to get powdercoated by Clinton at Race Coatings in Forest Lake, MN. While the pieces are stripped and I decide on a final color, I’m focusing on chiseling off years of caked-on brake dust on the inner-barrel and re-polishing the outers and hardware. Once everything has been refreshed it’ll be a sprint to the finish to fit these with a bit of persuasion on the fenders.

IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef

Art FXT Work Wheels Dissembled

The old adage “time makes fools of us all” is no exception when it comes to cars and I was delighted to find out the exact extent of what my OEM suspension components had eroded into. After years of hard driving and overly-excessive camber here’s an example of the type of wear I found time and time again:

Art FXT Broken Suspension
Art FXT Broken Suspension 2

The wheel bearings were of course toast, but ended up being a nice learning lesson for me, as I had never redone them by myself. Having done so now, I would encourage anyone with access to a press and some common sense to tackle the job themselves. In my case the old bearings pressed out easily and the new ones fell into place with about the same amount of effort. All new seals were lubed up and thrown in, along with APR Extended Studs all around and a few coats of fresh paint. Here are some shots of the setup on the car before the calipers are dismantled and sent off to Clinton:

Art FXT Knuckle Assembly

Art FXT Brake Assembly 2

Art FXT Brake Assembly Mounted

Art FXT Brake Assembly Mounted 2

Since the front end of the Forester is virtually finished up, I’ve had a bit of time to take care of some aesthetic changes for the rest of the exterior. Last month I had ordered a JDM mid-spoiler that is now off in the capable hands of Nathan at Metal In Motion Bodyworks in Fridley, MN to get a crack fixed and the part molded into the existing trim-piece. Once the car is road-worthy I’ll be taking it over to his shop to have the spoiler and roof rails painted Aspen White to match the rest of the car. You may remember Nathan from one of the last few blog posts as he did a lot of the body work/paint on Alex Docken’s G35 drift sedan: http://blog.grimmspeed.com/employee-build-alexs-2003-5-turbocharged-infiniti-g35-sedan-part-1/. (Keep an eye for Alex’ follow-up post this upcoming Monday).

Art FXT Rear Spoiler In Progress

I took to fixing a few cracks in my side skirts and pulled the window trim pieces to get painted gloss black instead of the weathered-gray they have become. I also decided on ordering up a diffuser to carry the lines of the front lip and skirts to the rear bumper, although that likely won’t show up in time for the GrimmSpeed get-together.

Art FXT Body Work Skirts

So far so good, but the stress is starting to mount. The days are passing by quicker and quicker and small issues are starting to build up like a game of Tetris. In fact I should probably get off the keyboard and hit the wrenches, stay tuned for more in the upcoming weeks!

-Art
IG @thenotorious_a_r_t