Pending Restart

It’s been awhile since I posted anything, let alone something about the Subie. I think it’s about time I kick it in the butt and get it done.

Yesterday while I was prepping the barbeque for some boneless ribs, I decided I’d try something with the Subaru. I wanted to know if it was going to run if I grounded the fuel pump. For the uninitiated, the way Subaru runs things through the ECU is it runs grounds out to many of the parts so it will work. The ECU activates the ground to get it to work. In this case, the ground goes out to the fuel pump. What I did is just directly connect the wire to ground so it runs all the time. I originally thought I was going to have to connect it through a relay, but I had an epiphany yesterday. The key-on does this automatically for me by providing power. When the key is off, the pump won’t run because it doesn’t have any power going to it. So, I grounded the pump, turned the key to the on position, fuel pump kicked on, turned it over to start and it fired right up.

I wasn’t sure if it was going to run this way if I tried to rev it up. I had tried to do this before when the ECU was running the fuel pump. This time it did. While I was able to rev it up a little bit, it was running on four or maybe five of the six cylinders. I decided I would change out the plugs and see if it helps any. This morning I went down to AutoZone and picked up some NGK 7092 plugs for it and installed them. While it is running a bit better, I’m not sure it helped the dead cylinders much. I need to get the exhaust done on it to see if the back pressure helps any. When you rev the engine up and drop the throttle back to zero, it sometimes backfires. I don’t really like that much at all. We’ll have to see where this leads us and what I’ll have to do to get it running like it should be.

Something I’d done a couple of weeks ago was create O2 extensions. This makes it easier to route the wiring so it doesn’t rub up against the axle shaft and create issues. The O2 wiring is just long enough without the extensions, but adding another 10″ or so to them makes it a lot easier to deal with.

The other thing I checked today was while I had it running, I put the DMM to the alternator to discover it isn’t putting out any juice to the battery. Looking further at the wiring, I’m not seeing as how the alternator is attached to the battery at all. I believe the output wire on the Alternator should be going directly to the battery, but there’s nothing there which I can see. I think I’ll re-run the main power lead coming off of the alternator and see if it then is charging the battery.

Previously I had welded a bracket up which mounted the VW reservoir ball and the charcoal canister.

While working on the spark plugs, I removed the canister to get some more room. The way I designed it was to just create a “V” out of two pieces of flat metal and welded them at the correct angle so as to capture the canister through an interference fit.

This worked out pretty well, but the two nipples for the vacuum lines pointed the wrong way. After I had pulled it off, I decided I was going to mount it on the back side of the “V”, thus effectively turning the canister around so the nipples would be facing towards the engine and not away.

This makes the routing of the vacuum lines that much easier. I had to unbolt the horn from its happy home in order to do it, but the canister now sits happily in its new location. I’ll have to make a small spacer in order to mount the horn, but it shouldn’t be an issue.

I hope this entry finds you well. I’m hoping you all found it at least readable and maybe a little interesting. If not, I’ll try harder next time.

Until next time … Be Well.

Relocate and Weld

I was able to get a couple more things done on the Subie today. I moved the battery to the trunk (though it’s not installed yet) and moved the Jetta ball from where the A/C compressor is supposed to be to where the battery was at.

To start with I disconnected the battery and moved it to the trunk … wow, that’s surprising :o) As I disconnected the negative lead, I did hear one of the relays click off, which to me tells me the battery is holding a charge (nothing really discharging it). I put it in the trunk, but I’m unsure which side of the vehicle I’m actually going to mount it on … more on that later.

With the battery moved, I took the bolt out of the mount for the Jetta ball. Why do I call it a Jetta ball? Really no clue, other than you can find it in a Jetta and sounds better than a Purge Reservoir or something else. Anyway, it’s in the shape of a ball, so there you go. Once removed I started looking at where it could go and how it was going to fit along with the charcoal canister at the typical battery location. Having put all the work I did into the mount in the first place, I didn’t want to waste the effort.

After looking at where it would be at, I decided I’d put a strip of angle iron down along where the battery mount is at. In order to do this I’d need to lengthen the original mounting tab which I’d drilled the hole through to tighten on a bolt. While it would have probably been cleaner to just cut what was on there away and weld a new piece of metal onto, butt welding a small piece of the same size metal onto the other piece saved me some metal in the end. I don’t have very much of the flat stock left (down to about 18″ now) and I didn’t want to make another trip to the store to purchase more, so I’m trying to be frugal with what I have. Since I have plenty of flux core welding wire (picked up a new roll a couple of weeks ago at Harbor Freight), welding seemed like the best route to go. Definitely not the prettiest route, but I went with it anyway. I measured what I needed to in order to get the right height on the Jetta ball once it was in place. I calculated I’d need about 2 1/2″, so I measured twice, cut once, and welded. I then figured out the length of angle iron I need and cut that out. Measured exactly where I’d want the Jetta ball to end up, marked the angle iron, cleaned both pieces of metal up and welded things together. I think the end product turned out pretty good.

Here’s where the ball will reside when it’s welded into place in the battery space.

To mount the charcoal canister I plan on taking two pieces of flat stock and welding then in a “V” shape onto the angle iron, to allow the canister to sit between the Jetta ball and the engine. The V shape will be just the right size to friction fit the canister down into it. It should work out pretty well in the end. I’ll create a new blog note when the time comes to cover it. I’ve already purchased the hoses and the T-pipe adapter so I can run the coolant lines when I get this completely installed.

I started laying out the cables for the battery. I wanted to show you the cabling and how good they are. I bought a relocation kit from a business on eBay. The company name on eBay is powderperform. As of this blog entry they have a 100% positive feedback with nearly 2400 entries. I mention this because of how pleased I am with what I received. What I was sent was EXACTLY what was on the eBay page I purchased from. I couldn’t ask for a better product.

The product itself was advertised as a Battery Relocation Kit, 16′ long, 2AWG Welding Cable. I have to say, it is exactly that. Here is a comparison of the cable sizes between the stock negative cable which goes from the battery to the engine and the welding cable which will be replacing it.

As you can see, the physical size of the cable is nearly identical. The huge difference comes from how the cable itself is fabricated. When you look directly at the end of the cable, you can tell what I’m talking about.

The core is 100% copper made of fine strands. I couldn’t tell you what the count of the strands are, but can tell you there’s plenty of them. This is great for two reasons. My understanding of how electricity flows in wiring is on the outside of it (this may be wrong, but I’m going with it). With as many strands as this has, this stuff will flow electrons like nobody’s business! The other thing is, all of the strands make this wiring very pliable. Playing with the stock wiring, it is very stiff. This stuff is going to go where ever I want it and won’t put up a fuss doing so. The other ends of the cables are just as good as the wiring itself.

The ends of the cables are professional grade. They look really good. The other thing you can see in the top first image is the ends which come with it, plus shrink wrap to finish them off. The idea here is to get the length cut exactly as you want them, trim back the sheathing, fill the terminator up with solder, melt it down, and stuff the end of the cable into the hot solder to get it to stay put and be well connected. You want to ensure you don’t foget to slide the heatshrink on the cable before you put the end on it, or you’re most likely just going to have to do without. I’ll blog about it when it’s all together so you can see the finished product.

Not everything done today I wanted to get done, but progress is progress. I still need to figure out where/how I’m going to run the positive cable from the back end of the Subie, as well as which side I’m going to put the battery on for sure. The cable seems like it might be about a foot too short to put on the passenger side, so it may end up on the driver’s side. I know this goes against conventional wisdom, but that’s the way the ball bounces when you need to get stuff done.

While you are contemplating your next great build, all I have to say to you is … Be well.

Cut to the Quick

Over the weekend I purchased some new hoses for the cooling system. I then had to order some adapters so it would fit on both sides of the equation. The engine side is 1.5″ and the radiator is 1.25″. I bought two adapters so I could fit the 1.5″ ID hoses onto the radiator. It looks as though it’s going to work, but we’ll see once I get coolant into the engine. I still have to relocate the reservoir ball before I can get the rest hooked up, though. Argh … I’m ahead of myself!

The first thing I did was to put the radiator in place. Then I figured out the basic shape of the hose I’d need to do the job. I then drew a rough shape on a piece of card stock. I then started cutting them down until I got what I wanted for length and basic shape. They turned out like this:

I measured both ends (engine side and radiator side) which I’d need to connect to and wrote the information on the cut pieces of card stock. After I was satisfied with what I had, I took the templates to Autozone to see if I could find something which would work. This is what I came up with.

Upper radiator hose:

Lower radiator hose:

(Yah, cut me some slack … I’d already cut it before I realized I hadn’t taken a picture yet :o)

I told you I had to put an adapter into the radiator side of each hose. Here’s what it looks like with it inside the hose. I hope it will work out when all is said and done … only time will tell if it will work well or not.

Both of them worked out okay, I think. I cut them to fit at the proper points and here is what they look like installed.

Like I said before, I still need to do some relocation of the reservoir. That’s going to be a chore in and of itself. I should get the cables to move the battery later this week and I’ll get it done. As always, I’ll write about it as time allows and things progress. Until then, be well.

Way Too Cool

My son and I had been working on his cooling system (see: Radiation Overload) attempting to get the radiator mounted into the radiator core. At first we were going to put it behind the front brace (the angle iron we affixed in place of the top core support portion). We figured out a little bit later into the build we wouldn’t be able to do this because the radiator would be sitting too close to the engine for the hoses to get run correctly. To deal with this, we decided to place the radiator in front of the angle iron. This allows us to put the electric fans between the radiator and the engine, as well as getting the hoses an easier run between the two.

It’s hard to tell in the following pictures, but there is now a ton of room between the engine and the fans. I’ve already mounted the fans on the radiator, which should work just fine.

While the son was here over Christmas break, I also made the tabs and welded them to the bottom core support. While it’s not a perfect job, the overall effort turned out well. The tabs are solid and support the radiator without an issue.

Here’s what the radiator looks like with the fans attached to it.

I had stated previously I was tapping the angle iron which is being used for the upper core support and had broken the tap trying to make it happen. I went to Lowe’s this morning and picked up a new 1/4-20 tap. This one had the correct drill bit with it (I couldn’t find the tap by itself) so I worked the holes a little bit with the drill, then ran the tap through them which worked rather nicely. Previously I had bought some new rubber snubbers which I was able to mount directly into the mounting tab on top of the radiator. I used some stainless 1/4-20 allen head bolts with flat washers to run through the angle iron. Here’s what the upper part looks like with all of it together.

My son and I mocked up the front end prior to his leaving. We needed to trim up the bumper to allow it to fit. Here’s what the whole shooting match looks like together.

I had previously created a bracket and placed the coolant reservoir in where the A/C compressor used to be on the engine. It was a great fit … unfortunately it isn’t going to work. Even with the extra clearance the JDM hood provides, the VW ball sits about a 1/2″ too high which means it’s going to have to move. I thought I would include a pic of what it looks like installed so you can see part of my handywork.

The alternative we are going to go for is purchasing a battery relocation kit to move the battery to the trunk. This will give us room to put the reservoir and the charcoal canister in its place and low enough so they are both out of the road. Yes, that’ll mean I’ll have to create another bracket or modify this one so it will hold the ball, but so is the life of fabrication. I know Nik Blackhurst from Bad Obsession Motorsport knows this all too well. I just wish I had a smidge of his talents!

Radiation Overload

The son and I did a little work on his car today. I’m still fed up with it not starting, but I was able to verify all of the fuses are in good shape, to include the fusible link. I need to look in a different direction to figure out why it isn’t starting. I still think there are a ton of grounds which I need to add into different areas, then it will probably run like a big dog and I’ll be ready to kick it out of the garage.

Something else we worked on today was getting the radiator put into the front end. We decided to go a little bit different route than we were before. Here’s a picture of the front end as it sits right now:

You’ll notice a big chunk taken out of the front bumper support. The reason for this is we decided we are going to locate the radiator to the front of the piece of angle iron. This will push the radiator forward enough we’ll be able to fit the fans in behind it with room to spare. This will leave them in the puller mode instead of pusher fans. We’ll have to trim the front bumper and the grill won’t fit without heavy modification, but it will work better in the long run. One of the main things it will do is give me more space to put the top radiator hose in place. Before deciding to move it forward, the upper radiator outlet was almost touching the cam belt cover. Where it will be at now will give use plenty of room.

The plan with it is to weld a piece of angle iron (just visible at the top left side of the image) onto the bumper support. This will tie the two sides of the bumper support together while giving us the room we need to make it work. Next, I’ll be welding two tabs along the bottom of the core support where the two shiney spots are at. You can see the metal tabs just below and to the left of the gloves at the top center of the image. After the tabs are welded into place, I’ll need to mark and drill holes in them so I can place the locating pins in the bottom of the radiator into them. I want to get some rubber pieces for the top, but I plan on cutting down the tabs on the top of the radiator, drilling them, then bolting it to the top piece of angle iron. This should leave the radiator very secure and in good shape.

One last thing to look at in the image. If you look really close you’ll see a round object with a blue cap on it. This is the recovery tank for the car. It’s out of some type of VW … a Jetta, IIRC. Where it’s sitting at is where we are going to mount it. It will fit just right in there where the A/C compressor was supposed to be at. I think it will work just awesomely there. I’ll be able to create a bracket to hang it off of right there without too much of an issue. We’ll have to get a T to put into the heater hose line, run hose from the bottom of it back to the heater hose, plus install a small line from the radiator to the small line on the recovery tank. The only prerequisite with the recovery tank is it needs to be higher than the rest of the cooling system. This will make a good home for it.

While the Impreza still isn’t running, it is a little bit closer. I’m have hopes things will continue to progress. I think I can get the welding out of the road tomorrow, at least for the cooling system portion of the build. Things are a little bit closer and I’m happy with the progress.

You’re FIRED!

Our President Elect is known for these words, but really, I’m referring to the awesome sound of an EG33 firing for the first time on open headers! YES! It fired! I am VERY pleased, to say the least. I’ll recap …

If you’ve read any of my other blog entries, you know I’ve had the engine in for some time now, but I’ve been unable to get it to start. I’d tried several things, but nothing was working. My son finally hooked me up with a FaceBook page. After a couple of days I was able to get on there and start asking questions. A couple of guys there took some time to get me thinking about things.

There are three things you need in order for an engine to run (some would argue there are four … get to that in a bit). The three things are: air, fuel, ignition. The “fourth” thing some would complain to me is “compression”. My argument about compression is … if everything is mechanically right with the engine, you’ll have compression. An engine could conceivably run without compression. Compression just allows it to run more efficiently … but I digress.

I knew there was air … that’s a given because it’s there … all around you. As long as it’s sucking it in, you’ve got air. The second thing was fuel. I knew the fuel pump was running, so that shouldn’t be an issue either. The third thing is ignition … you need spark. On checking the spark plug and the coil, there wasn’t any spark. I back probed the coil and discovered I didn’t have any power at the coil … well, none to speak of as it read out to have ~.5vdc with the key on. You should actually see battery voltage with the key on. On the wiring diagram I saw where the coils attached to the connectors of the wiring harness at the back of the engine. The connector is B4 in the Subaru schematics. The two power wires for the coils attach to pins 3 and 6. I traced the wires back from the connector and what do you know I found … they weren’t attached to anything. Luckily I was anal enough not to have cut these off, but had left them in the bulk of the wiring harness which was rather “attached” to the rest of it. I’m glad I did, as I just attached them to the switched power I’m using for the other stuff. While I was at it, I also ran a sure ground to the igniter as the ground on it seemed a little flaky. I ensured the fuel pump was energized, then turned the key and it fired right up. I was completely surprised, but thrilled at the same time. Absolutely fired up … I was, that is! After a couple months of farting around with this thing, it lives.

Here’s a short video of the second firing:

Yes, folks, open headers are really loud! Nothing like the sound of an engine coming to life which has been dead for so long.

I still have one small issue I need to work out. The fuel pump is still intermittent. I don’t know why, but it only runs if I ground the fuel pump relay manually … this means the ECU isn’t getting a good ground somewhere, or if it isn’t switching it for some reason. Doesn’t matter. Something is wrong, so I’ll have to figure it out.  I also need to shore up all the wiring. As you can tell in the video, there’s wires strung all over the place. It’s a mess in the cabin, but right now it’s a good mess! I can deal with it now I know the engine runs.

The two big things left to do on the car is get the exhaust put together and get the cooling system sorted. The exhaust is going to be an amalgamation of the EG33 exhaust to just past the cats where it Y’s together, into the Impreza exhaust which will run it out the back of the car. It should work rather slick. The other thing which is left is the cooling. We have a Saab 900 radiator and two 10″ electric fans. Getting it all in will be problematic, but should work with a little bit of fabrication. I bought some 1″ angle iron for just such an occasion.

All-in-all, it was a productive night. I’m looking forward to getting it back on the road, but this was definitely a giant leap for the process! I’ll be back with more news as it presents itself. Until then, watch the video again … gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

Back To Basics … and an output diagram.

I got the new ECU in and discovered the old one wasn’t bad. As I plugged in the new ECU, I had the same issue … the fuel pump wasn’t kicking on when I turned the key to the on position. My heart about fell out on the floor. Like I said before, this is R&R wrenching and I do not like it. I then started playing with the wires on the ECU. Low and behold … the pump kicked on. Holy smokes. The problem was not with the ECU, but with the fuel pump relay wire coming from the ECU not making connection at the pin. I then pulled out the pin from the connector, played with it a little bit (read: used a pair of pliers on it to make it have a little better contact), re-pinned it in the connector, and have been rewarded with a consistently working fuel pump since then. Engine still isn’t starting, but the fuel pump runs! Yay, small victories! Even if your victories come after setbacks … argh.

I’ve decided to go back to the drawing board a little bit. I’ve found a couple of charts on which will probably help. I’ve seen these charts before, but haven’t given them much mind until now. Yes, folks, I can be dense (enter: not seeing the forest for the trees cliche here). Here are the two charts I’m talking about:



What these two charts show is each of the important connections at the ECU and what their values should be with the ignition/engine in the off, on, and running positions. The plan for today is to go through each connection at the ECU with the key in the off and on positions, then back-probe the ECU to get each of the values from the pin. I’m hoping in doing so I’ll be able to figure out if something is not reading. It will be an arduous task, but I think it will provide results which may help me figure out why the engine isn’t starting.

Fried Turkey for Thanksgiving?

While we did have a fried turkey for Thanksgiving, I’m almost positive I’ve fried the ECU as well. Just to put anything aside, I’ve gone ahead and purchased another one off of eBay. I know this goes against everything I hold dear with regards to working on cars … as in … I do not do R&R (Remove & Replace) wrenching. There is no worse form of diagnostics. It always costs more money than you can afford. It’s really just wrenching at its lowest level without diagnostics. I guess I can say I’ve actually done some diagnostics, though. Let me explain what’s going on …

I’ve been troubleshooting the Impreza trying to get it to start. I found two plugs in the engine compartment which looked like they belonged together. Plugged them up and they snapped right into place with each other like a matched set … turned the key on and no longer heard the fuel pump kick on. I went around to the other side of the car where the ECU is at and you could smell the acrid smell of burnt electronics in the air. Yah, one of those heart sinking moments. I turned the key off and on again hoping I was just hearing things, but sure enough, no fuel pump. I went through and checked all of the fuses and couldn’t find any which were bad. I can ground the wire to the fuel pump relay and the pump kicks on just fine, therefore I know the relay and connection is just fine. The common denominator here is the ECU. I took the shell off of the ECU and you could smell it had a burnt electronics smell to it. I took the board off of the shell completely and did a complete once over on it. While I couldn’t pinpoint any fried capacitors, transistors, or resistors, something in there smelled burnt.

Since I’m about 95% sure I’ve fried the ECU, I went ahead and ordered it. Just one more thing I’ve had to purchase. While I’m a little stumped by why this thing won’t start in the first place, hopefully this will get me one step further towards the end goal of a rocket ship for my kiddo.

Sphincter says “What?”

I’m still working the issues, but no joy. I am able to get the Impreza to crank, but there’s no life in the engine. I can hear the fuel pump kick in. There is fuel in the tank. I haven’t checked the pressure at the fuel rail, but I’m assuming there is pressure there. There is power to the injectors (verified). I don’t think the ECU is getting a signal to fire anything. The plugs are dry. I did pull one out and cranked the engine. I didn’t see any fire at the plug, so I’m assuming there’s nothing there. The engine started prior to pulling it. This was on ether, as the fuel pump in the SVX wasn’t working. Since it was running on ether, it would mean the crank/cam sensors should be working providing input to the ECU and spark at the spark plugs. Still, I’ll be checking the crank/cam sensors as they are just hall effect sensors and should provide some type of electrical movement as the field is broken across them.

I’m going to try and get the DLC connector for the ECU hooked back up, or at least get wires ran for it so I can attach my code reader. This should (hopefully) give me some insight into what might or might not be happening in the ECU. I have heard rumor, though, that these Subarus didn’t have OBDI, but rather just the Subaru brand of engine management. I guess I’ll have to play with it and see if I can figure something out.

Wouldn’t you know it … I looked on Craig’s List today. Found an EJ22 for $450 out of a 96 Impreza with supposedly low miles … If I had only known …

The Flow Goes This Way

I haven’t gotten much done to the Impreza over the last few weeks. I’ve been working on a class for my Masters. I also spent most of a week out of town for work, so that didn’t help. Plus the release of TitanFall2 … too much fun and not enough time!

What I’ve been trying to figure out lately is how to get the wiring harness into the Impreza. There have been a few stumbling blocks. I was given some wiring diagrams for the Impreza which were okay, but they were B/W and hard to read. It was VERY hard to tell what the layout of the ECU connector was and the labeling of the wire colors was terrible. Luckily a guy on Stack Exchange provided me with some color ones, which are awesome. Here’s what they look like:


Looking at the two images, the right side of the top one connects to the left side of the bottom one. The ECU plug shown in the diagram actually looks like this when disconnected:


It’s actually upside down. Pin #1 is on the lower right side of the connector and runs across to pin #16, then continues down from there. I’ve found most of what I need to cull out of this to plug into the SVX ECU to make it work. We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to clip the wires I need off of the back of wiring harness (probably leave a pigtail) to connect. I’ll blog about it as I’m hoping to get the car started this weekend.

One of the other things I needed was a diode to fool the ECU into believing the “automatic” transmission is in park. Since the transmission in the Impreza is a standard shift, you have to include the diode in the mix so it will think it’s in either park or neutral. Without it, it thinks the transmission is in gear and that’s all she wrote … no cranking will occur. I was wondering what size of diode I’d need and where I’d be able to find one. Luckily, keeping the old wiring harness pays off. There just happens to be a pair of them already in the harness which you can use for this purpose. Here’s what they look like:


I’m still unsure of how they go into what I’m doing. Not sure of the direction alignment. Not sure of a lot of things, but ultimately I’ll get it figured out.

Like I said, I’m hoping to get it started this weekend. I’ll blog about my endeavours later most likely :o)