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Old 01-31-2015, 05:30 PM   #188
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 86394
Join Date: May 2005
Chapter/Region: VIC
Location: West Vancouver
2000 RS Coupe
2005 Forester X SE


So my new year's been off to a bit of rough start. Had to replace a dead hard drive in my computer earlier in the month, but then this past week has been a bit of an adventure.

Last Sunday I'm leaving Ikea with my g/f when before she has a chance to put her car in gear, a bum on a bicycle decided to try and shave the license plate off her bumper with his pedal. Man, was she pissed! I call around and find a parts store that has to suppose-to-match mini cans of Plastikote spray paint for her paint code. It's a Sunday and they close soon, so she drops me off at my car and told her I'll meet her there.

My car doesn't start the 1st attempt. Doesn't start the 2nd. 3rd attempt and I hear a snap and a horrible grinding sound. I decided against attempting a push start and 2 tow trucks later I get her home. Under a street light in the above-ground parking lot with my g/f holding a flashlight, I pull out my starter to find this!

I pull out the starter and find a chunk missing. I thought, great, at least I found the problem... wait, where's the rest of it! The missing chunk was sitting in the starter hole. It would've fallen in if it was smaller and/or if I didn't have my fat clutch. It was a clean break too, no other pieces anywhere.

I got this starter online in 2011 with a 1 year warranty as it was significantly cheaper then a new one locally. I didn't have that luxury this time and prices have thankfully gone down since. New/rebuilt ones are about half of what they used to be and not much more then my now old, online one.

Didn't look like there was any damage to the clutch & flywheel from what I could see. The guy at NAPA who's been there for 20 years said it was only the 2nd or 3rd time he's even seen this happen!

I put the new starter in, but needed a jump from my g/f's car. Thought the battery must've gotten low from the ordeal and decided to go for a boot on the highway to run some errands and charge the battery back up.

Stopped at the grocery store, came back out, and my car wouldn't start again? Cranking over fine, but not firing. After a total of 5 or 10 minutes it finally eventually fired up on the 4th or 5th attempt. Thought it was weird, maybe the battery hasn't topped up yet. Stopped at the hardware store and again wouldn't fire up, though cranking fine. Again after about 10 minutes she finally fires up on the 6th try or so.

I decided to head home before I'm left stranded. Came home and before I shut the car off I popped the hood to check things out. She was running fine and everything, though I happen to notice I lost about 5psi of fuel pressure. I shut the car off to attempt more troubleshooting but she wouldn't fire up the rest of the night.

I thought I had a hot retart issue, so I plug in the laptop and get my engineering cousin who tuned my car the first time and welded my up & down pipes. After about 45 minutes of troubleshooting, we can to the consensus it's most likely my fuel pump. Great. I wonder though if I fell victim to a knock-off Walbro back in 06, or if this is a real Walbro that simply ran its lifespan...

I didn't have the luxury again of sourcing and/or waiting for another Walbro and for my setup (and seeing a real one would show up), and for my setup it's not *quite* needed. I sourced and found a new fuel pump intended for an 04 STI. Plug-n-play with the enough flow.

I managed to get my car mobile and running under its own power in time for the scheduled steering rack replacement I booked a month ago and spent the last 2 months slowly piecing together.

Newly rebuilt OEM steering rack with Whiteline bushings and tie rods. Even got new tie rod locking nuts from the dealer just in case. The tie rods are part of a kit that comes with ball joints too. I picked up a 20mm 04 STI front sway bar from a fellow member and got the Whiteline bushings and endlinks for it too. I decided to go with an OEM steering rack as there were too many variables involving attempting to get an 04 STI to work that I wasn't comfortable with...

The steering rack went in without a hitch but turns out that sway bar I picked up is slightly too long and doesn't line up with the mounts on the control arm. I asked if all the new Whiteline bits could then be used with the OEM sway bar and the bolts that come with the endlinks are too big for the control arm mounts, so that wasn't put in.

Turns out there's not a lot of pressure on my front sway bar in my case, so I'd like to take a weekend in the future to see what I can rig to make it work in the front.

Car starts like a new car, and seems to even run a bit smoother with the new pump and almost even slightly easier to drive. Steering feels brand new and solid. A perfect combination of response and comfort IMO.

Big thanks to the guys at New Way Auto for helping me with what I couldn't do at home! It was a good thing I took this project to them instead of attempting it by myself at home cause it turns out my OEM ball joints were seized and the locking bolt even broke off one side. It took a 8 foot pry-pipe to work the ball joints out and one came out in 2 pieces. I would've been screwed with my car stuck at home and no real way to even get it safely towed to the shop just to have them replace them anyway. Probably good I replaced them now before one would snap in half on the road or something stupid like that...
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Last edited by clsmooth; 01-31-2015 at 06:02 PM.
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