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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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).
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.
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!