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