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The "Daily Routine" build and more - cars, house, and sundry funs

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The last 1.5 years or more have been intense for my family and has kaiboshed nearly all Datsun fun.


Sold my old house, built a new house in a small mountain town, lived with relatives for a while, stores all my cars at various peoples houses, started driving an hour each way to work, then covid started me working from home, bought new dailys for my wife and I etc.


But there has been some car fun mixed in a bit.


This is a catchall thread including house building, other cars and sundry fun.


Edited by Lockleaf
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/15/2020 at 9:52 PM, Lockleaf said:

and then had to focus on other things again.  Just gotta get some pics arranged and some details down.


Ive had the same recently.  Other priorities and a distractions have had my wagon on jack stands all summer.  I hope to get it back together in a month or so..



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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, it only took me a month to get back here...  We will see how far along i get this time.


Here is a bit of the car fun.  I've been daily driving a 2005 Saab 92x (Subaru Impreza) for a few years.


Shes gotten pretty tired.  I was commuting 105 miles a day before Covid hit and I started working from home.  255K miles.  Heads done twice, lots of other work to keep her alive.


These are my favorite impreza and I've long wanted a 2006 turbo (only like 330 made total)  The right opportunity finally came along.


This here is the abused beauty I've been rocking for years.  I was driving it lowered with 18s though.  I need to find a pic of that.


Edited by Lockleaf
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I found a front deer impact 2006 turbo car with only 113K miles on it locally.  I picked it (actually he delivered it) for a really good price.  Interior fabric on these saabs is known for staining if you look at it crossways, so it had that problem.


According to previous owner, it would need headlights, 1 fender, hood with scoop, radiator and hoses (included with car), condenser, power steering pump, bumper, fog lights w/ covers and grills.










Also included this SWEET stereo install.

Ground for subwoofer



Brick amp on passenger floor.



Excellent sub install.



Edited by Lockleaf
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Hmmmm, these pics are showing up when I look at the post on my phone, but not when I look on the computer...?


More to come, but first let me know if you guys can see the pics in the previous post.

Edited by Lockleaf
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Huh, further inspection shows that my computer browser does not display images from Datsun510.com at all.  Suggestions?  I'm using Chrome.  I don't think I even have an adblocker active.


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Continuing on.


I figured i could assemble the new car for lots cheaper than other people since i had one already I could sweep swipe parts from.  I figured worst case scenario, i would buy a complete impreza front clip to put on the old car so it could be sold.


Step one - fix radiator support.







I've done this before to one of my 720s, so i figured why not do it again.  I pulled measuremenrs off of the other wagon to know how far to pull.  Moved the strap often and banged on the metal with a hammer to release tension.  I thought it pulled out pretty well.


While there i also noticed the condenser looked clean and undamaged, just bent into a U shape.  So I pulled on that by hand, got it pretty straight, and hoped i would get lucky.


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  • 2 months later...

And another 2 months have passed.  Good night I've lost the ability to post reliably in my approx. 2 years without a real project to talk about.  For pics sake, here is the older car lowered on the 18's.  These are stock tribeca rims and I'm rolling on Raceland coilovers here.



After getting the radiator support pulled out, I was able to install the new radiator and hoses that came with the car when I bought it.  Form there I drove it around to the driveway and parked it next to my other Saabaru to begin parts swapping.  The AC worked good, so the condenser wasn't punctured.  That was a win.  Bumper was damaged, missing one fog light bezel, both fog lights were broken, one headlight was cracked, the other quite broken, hood fully jacked, windshield busted, and one fender was dinged pretty good.  Engine ran great, spooled normal, though there was a tick i discovered coming from timing cover.  Power steering outlet had busted in the accident and the pump was totally shot.

The old Saabaru had heated seats and the new one didn't.  Also, I had put a full interior in to the old Saabaru, which I still wanted, so I had a lot of swapping to do.  While I was interior swapping I did a whole bunch more.  The factory interior for the 92-x is mostly a cream color that stains badly when you look at it sideways.  It will leave a permanent mark just by spilling water on it.  And I hate cream interiors anyway.


So right off the mark in addition to the needed repairs, I was looking at swapping front seats with heaters, seat heater wiring and switches, roof rack (Saabs came with deletes instead of rack rails, I happen to love roof racks), rear seats (so the fronts matched in the car I planned to sell), and all 4 door panels.


So I stripped nearly the whole interior.  I pulled both front seats, the rear seat, and the headliner (has to come out to do the roof rack).


large.20200702_195005.jpg.90df8b5c4252af  large.20200702_195011.jpg.9e101e9bf4ba00


I removed the lower panel from the dash on the drivers side and the glove box on the passenger side as well.  Completely rewired the brick amp and radio and velcro'd that to the heater box under the dash.  Also rewired and fully tucked the subwoofer wiring and gave it a real ground.

The seat swap and heater wiring proved more difficult.  In 06, Subaru completely changed their air bag sensor wiring along with a couple other features.  So....turns out I can't seat swap.  I have to strip, move seat heaters, and swap upholstery.  But in order to make that work nicely, I also had to remove the sensor brackets and swap those between seats as well.  While the seats were stripped, I threw all the upholstery in the washing machine for a good wash.

Subaru doesn't use sub-harnesses like one might hope.  A car without seat heaters is missing the wiring all the way back to the primary fuse box.  They build complete harnesses specific to their option packages, no easy addons.  So I cut out what I could reasonably get to in the old car for wiring, which was basically this.  Switches, and wiring from switches to both seats plus a little extra as a pig tail for the install.


I also discovered that my Nissan love continued in my Subaru.  Heater switch out of the Subaru says...



I got the seat heaters wired in with an aftermarket power harness (which actually came with the replacement fog lights I ordered, more on that later).  Under the dash I tapped in to the main power wire that would have provided the power for the seat heaters originally.  Then I attached the inline fuse and relay to side of the fuse box so they were basically right where they would have been in the stock scenario.







The car did have blanks for the switches in the stock location, so those swapped over fine.  Finally, after repeated hassle and hours of redoing wiring in this thing, I put my new interior in.  (I just took these pics today so its gotten dirty again...:D)  Black check on black.  Never offered in the wagons.  The rear seat is not actually upholstered yet.  Because the wagon was never offered in this upholstery (that I've ever seen) and the sedan and wagon seats differ, I can't just swap upholstery.  I have to build it.  So I have broken down the fabric from a couple sedan seats which I will use to rebuild in to correct wagon seat upholstery.





I absolutely love this interior.  While mine is a little tired now, I think it is the best looking interior offered on this generation of Impreza, much better than WRX options, and better even than Ricer Boy STI Blue.


Here's the stock interior from this car.  Its much more stained than this pic shows.


Edited by Lockleaf
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Body parts for these aeros are hard to come.  Not that many were made, NOS has gone up in price quite a bit and many parts are used only, NLA new.  Hood and bumper are both NLA.  One of the fog light covers  (the one I happen to be missing) is NLA. 


So off to car-parts.com.  When I looked up the turbo hood with the scoop, there were 6 options listed in the entire U.S.  After calling those, only one of them was willing to ship to Utah.  I'm cheap, so the $325 for hood and shipping hurt, but the next best option I could find would have been over $500, so such it is.


Here's the hood when it arrived.






A couple dents and dings, but nothing serious.  Paint has flaked off most of the hood scoop, and the hood badge is completely bleached out, and of course its dark blue, not black like my car.  Overall, pretty good.  A tiny bit of hammer and dolly work and it was ready to bolt to the car.  Since I wasn't ready to install it, I thought I would strap it down on the roof rack to protect it. 



Yup.  Great decision.  I put an 18 inch long scratch across the roof of my new car with the hood latch... idiot.


Moving on, this car came with two junk headlights and no bumper grilles.  Those parts would have to be stolen from my other car.  Before I got to that, slight serendipity got me a great condition passenger fender (the dinged up one on my car) and a great headlight for the passenger side, both for $50 here locally.




I installed new headlight and it fit great.  I pulled the bumper from the old car, and pulled the grilles.  Since the upper support on the bumper is totally broken off, the grills don't lock in as firmly as they should, but they still locked and looked good.  I pulled the driver side headlight to swap over as well.

Drivers side headlight didn't fit right.  First test install, I realized that the wiring had changed between years.  Luckily he had included both busted up headlights, so I was able to swap the harnesses completely, but then had to add a bracket to hold the connector, since I had 06 wiring on an 05 headlight.  The 06 headlight had this provision built in to it.


Different headlight connectors



Bracket (erector set for the win)



After fixing the wiring, I then also had an alignment issue to deal with.  I guess the rad support hadn't quite pulled out as nicely as I though.  1/4 of an inch off aligning the holes, and 1/4 space between light bracket and rad support.






So I build a bracket out of a big ol bracket I had.






All those issues corrected, I was able to install the front bumper and lights, and then the hood.  Hood latch on hood had to have the bolt holes hogged out so it could be slid 1/4 inch to one side to align with the latching mechanism properly.  But still it didn't take too much to make it all work good.






Looking pretty good.  Now on to fog lights.  Hooray for forums.  Those guys discovered the housing number is shared across multiple vehicles.  So Prius fog lights it is.


Two metal housings with bulbs, aftermarket wiring harness to install them in a car that never had them (this became my seat heater wiring with just a few snips), and even some useless pieces of Prius bumper trim.  $28 on Amazon.



You can see how hammered one of the old ones was



Got them both installed.  Much better, though still missing (to this day) the bezel for the one light.





Edited by Lockleaf
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Since I was stealing so many parts from the old car, but I wanted to resell it, I needed to replace the stolen drivers headlight and bumper grills.


Heres the busted headlight and the other damaged headlight I wanted to use to fix the broken one.




Installed light with started ghetto fab new grills.



Fixed headlight



And ghetto refab front end installed.



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This got the car to driving decently.  So we did a bunch of test driving.  New radiator hoses were leaking a lot, the oil cooler was leaking a good amount of oil, and the rear was making a terrifying grinding noise somewhere.  Crap.


New hose clamps fixed the hoses.  A set of gaskets and a couple of hours fixed the oil cooler leak. The rear end grind had me worried though.  I couldn't tell where it was coming from, so I was afraid I might have a new diff in my future.


My buddy helped me isolate the noise.  Turns out the rear pass wheel bearing was totally shot.  Took forever to fix plus a trip to my buddies house to use his press, but not too bad in the end.  My friend is convinced that these little issues are the reason the guy parted with the car so cheap.  In reality, he could have pulled this drivetrain and sold it for 3K or so around here.  Instead sold me the whole car for less than half that.


All those issues fixed I've had a couple other odd issues, but overall its now a really solid vehicle.

Coming up, new raceland coilovers, and I need new tires on my 18's, then those will go on, though perhaps not black this time.

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Also, the car is named Velma.  The way I see it, she is saab so she is academic, or nerdy, if you prefer.  She has nice curves, but isn't necessarily the prettiest of cars.  However, a little work, a good makeover, and she can be a hottie.  So she is just like the chick from Scooby Doo.  A little plastic surgery mentioned below should really enhance those sexy curves.


This car is a bit of a unicorn and I intend to keep it long term.  I think there were only 138 turbos made in 2006.


Yet, in spite of that, I really want to do a couple of major body modifications to this car.  I want to sedan flare this thing.  Badly.  One day.  I've seen pics of the back of a wagon 92x done but the front is blob eye, and pics of a widened 92x front attached to a sedan.  I've never actually seen a full conversion on a 92x.




Edited by Lockleaf
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So I picked up Velma in May I think.  It took me about 6 months to get all the little things done and finally get it fully registered and street legal.  At the same time, we also bought my wife a new DD.   She has been driving a Saab 97x (Trailblazer) with the 5.3 for a few years.  I bought it cheap with a stuck lifter, and did a full mechanical AFM delete to it.  While it had been a good vehicle, the engine had suffered a little from the AFM failure and was not in top shape.  Plus the thing was white with  beige interior, which in my family is about the ugliest colors imaginable.  


So we bought her another one.  One year newer, deep red paint with black leather interior.  Its a very nice vehicle.  Somehow much nicer than the White one ever was.  When we got the first one, I told my wife our new SUV had to be V8 so I could pull a loaded car hauler with it.  Turns out that was serendipitous, because only a couple of months after moving in to our new home in a tiny mountain town, my father-in-law bought a couple of horses "for the family".  My wife has a bunch of siblings, some of whom live in the same town we area in.  The horses are on her dad's property just up the street from where we live.  And my wife is the only horse crazy one, so they are damn near her horses.  Then a couple months later, my parents suddenly bought two horses.  I didn't even know they liked horses, but cool I guess.  So all summer my wife was pulling horse trailers up in to the hills so she could go riding (honestly its only like a 10 minute drive from where we live to where great riding starts).  So she's been pretty happy to have a V8 in her SUV.

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Most of my time for the last 2 years has been either getting my old house ready to sell or else getting our new house built.  We did 90% of the design work and then we had a contractor build the structure, using him to do everything all the way up to tape and texture on the drywall.  The only part of that earlier stuff we did was shingle the roof (which sucked and took days).


After tape and texture, everything else was my wife and I, with help from family or friends.  Budget was a HUGE issue (I don't do well with financial stress, it makes me physically ill), so I refused to go over our accepted budget and was willing to do whatever it took to build our home our way and stay inside those lines.  Cost control was a significant factor in all decisions, though it was not always the most important.  I was hell bent on not having a home that LOOKED cheap, even if I had done things on the cheap.  It took about 3.5 months of 3-4 hours a day after work and 12-16 hours a day on the weekends.  Basically no breaks for me, though my wife took a few to give our kids a break.  they had to come to the house while we were working about 95% of the time.  They are quite little so it was as hard for them to build the house as it was for us.


Vanites are all made out of used dressers with Amazon bowl sinks and faucets. 


We bought every single "mis-tint" shade of grey we could find at Home Depot, lowe's, sherwin etc in 5 gallon buckets.  $30 a pop instead of $100+.  We custom mixed our own color in a 55 gallon plastic tote, about 45-50 gallons worth.  Tinted it till we were happy and sprayed the walls with that.  Lightened it to paint the cieling.  Mixed another 20 gallons of a dark color to paint the trim.  We painted, in those three colors, about 2200 sq ft for under $1000 including paint, primer, rollers, and all supplies.  The sprayer was borrowed from a brother.


Interior doors are solid pine.  We bought them all together from one person.  14 doors solid wood doors for $450.  They were sliding doors with small handles so they only have a couple small screw holes in them.  Then I hinge,hung, and doorknobbed (and narrowed where necessary) every single door for the house.  All told (including the door jambs, hardware, knobs, etc.) we spent about $78 per door, which is the price for the absolute cheapest door at Home Depot.


We love chandeliers.  We bought all of ours secondhand on Marketplace or at ReStore, then refurbished them and painted them where necessary.


Kitchen is all Ikea.  Some of it even purchased in the As Is section, so we spent $30 on those pieces instead of $160 or so.  We found a supplier of stone countertops with prefinished edges, 24 inches by 9 feet, for $240 a slab.  Only needed 2 slabs, so we put stone in our kitchen for under $500 by doing it ourselves.  I even screwed sawhorses to a trailer in order to pick those up and bring them to the house.  Appliances are all used from our old house or bought used from local classifieds.


Anyway, if you made it through all that and are interested, here's a walkthrough of the house just before we moved in. I describe a lot of the work we did, but if you just want to see the place, watch it in double speed.



We've done a TON more since then, and there is a lot more to do, but we are very happy overall.  The only big regret is a last minute change cost us about 5 feet out of the garage depth.  The plan drafter should have corrected it when he made the changes but didn't, and we didn't notice until it was too late.  So the main garage barely fits my wifes 97x, and wouldn't fit anything any longer.




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I do get a "shop" at this house which is a nice upgrade.  The third car garage is about 12.5 ft x 28 ft.  Since I designed the house, I have no idea why it isn't 16 ft wide.... idiot.  I did think to have them vault the cieling as much as they could though, so I do have space (tightly) to fit my 2 post lift.  I hope to accomplish that in the coming spring.  I've installed shelving around the back, and I really hope to build an actual mezzanine about 8 feet deep from the back wall, so I don't just have stacked shelving back there.  I installed 2 220V outlets and a whole bunch of 120V.  Now I wish I had 3 or 4 220s.  I also installed a pull pot in the driveway in front of this door and I have a winch point to bolt to the floor in the very back. This will allow me to pull cars off trailers into the driveway and then move to the rear winch point and pull them in to the shop.


Heres a couple pics from the door of the shop.  This was in the midst of starting cleaning it out from just unloading all my crap in to the space.






The pull pot is basically under my feet in that second pic.


Building an installing all the shelving I have so far.







I sent my buddy a pic of the shelf with the bike under finished and he instantly asked me if I had stood on top of it yet.  I laughed pretty hard and sent him this pic.  I was standing up on the shelves getting ready to take this photo when he asked me.  I guess he knows me too well.




Spare seats and parts.  I have a set of 9-5 Aero seats (not sure what for, but I really like them) and I have a recently acquired set of E30 Sport seats.  They need a little work and the upholstery is pretty tired.




Still tons of work and organizing to be done in here, but making good progress.

Edited by Lockleaf
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Shifting back to the Saab build, I have my spare hood, fender and tailight all living up on top.  I need to hang the hood.









There is a stack of 4ft LED shop lights I picked up at Walmart on black friday prices sitting there to be hung where useful as well.

Edited by Lockleaf
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I bought some lights at ReStore for a $1 a piece that were track lights, taking their power through the connectors on the light tracks.  I rewired those to a couple extension cords and used those for work bench lighting.  This pic is half way through.  I did wire them all up, but they could use new bulbs eventually.






The work bench is one of the old counters from a Checker Auto I used to work at.  After Oreilly bought them out, they redecorated, so I took this one home.  😄 


Edited by Lockleaf
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  • 2 months later...

My wife and I bought new cars (one of which was my black saabaru that started this thread) in I think may of last year, just a couple of days apart.  I spent a while doing work on the old cars before putting them up for sale, but we got them listed in like September of last year.  It took until a week ago to sell them.  And when we did sell them, oddly they both sold within just a couple of days again. It's nice to have those gone.


In other news, the day after we sold both cars, I dented my passenger door pretty good because I am an idiot.  Luckily though that is not a Saab specific part, so any Subaru Impreza door can repair that issue.  Still pissed I'm dumb though.


And lastly, I'm hoping I can get to a junkyard about an hour from my house sometime soon.  They have a 92x with a clean front bumper in the yard.  My bumper is still pretty bashed from the accident, though the black duct tape I used to "repair" it actually hides the damage pretty decently.  Still, I would like to have a good front bumper.  I may pick up some other saab specific parts while I'm there as well, like lighting assemblies or fenders etc.



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  • Lockleaf changed the title to The "Daily Routine" build and more - cars, house, and sundry funs

Junkyard front bumper was a fail.  I couldn't tell in the pics, but the lower facia was about 90% of the way to broken off.  No bueno.  so I ended up with no parts from that car.  I'm sure I will find one eventually.  The current one passes a 20 foot test since the damage is all right up under the hood line.


Here is the door that I dented.

You can see a couple stripes of red from the car I nudged.  Anywho, I picked up a set of clean sedan passenger side doors for $20 for both the other day.  They are silver however, so just like the clean fender that I have, I will wait to install the door until I decide I want to paint everything.  Hopefully that will also include a clean bumper. The rear sedan door of course has the sedan flare in it.  I honestly hope to do a sedan flare to this car in the next couple of years, and since the price was so low, I figured I just got my first piece of the widebody for free by buying a piece that I needed anyway.  Widebody requires at minimum sedan front fenders, rear doors and rear quarters.  There are also apparently some alignment issues with the rear fender well and the rear bumper, so a second bumper is necessary to cut pieces out and correct that issue.  I think Hawkeye fenders would be best for the front because they have a shape most similar my headlights, making it easier to cut and weld in the correct piece so I keep my 92x front end but have the flares.


I haven't ever found a full 92x with widebody sedan flares.  I've found a 92x with a blobeye front clip and I've found a sedan with 92x front clip though.  So if I haven't posted it before, these two cars together would be the end goal.





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