July 6th, 2004:
4 days of WRX installation action.

I added a vacation day to the 4th of July weekend to complete a few large installs on my WRX. I’ve delayed upgrading my brakes (including brake lines) and installing a new uppipe and downpipe as long as I could, knowing it would take some serious install time. Nearly 40 hours later, the install is done, and well worth the effort. I’m still breaking in my brakes (no pun intended), but I can already tell that they clamp much better than before, with very little fade. The exhaust upgrades reduced turbo lag and allow much more linear acceleration with little additional noise… apart from a little more (welcome) turbo whistle. Gina was a big help when it came to pulling large sections of exhaust out, as well as installing the intercooler (p.i.t.a.), and bleeding the brakes.

I accumulated a few bruises and scratches, but nothing major. According to NASIOC I had a hard time with the easy stuff, and an easy time with the hard stuff. Go figure.

Here are a few things that I learned:
  • Use line wrenches when working on brake lines. They strip easily.
  • There is a very fine line between enough brake parts cleaner and way too much. Keep some rubberized underbody paint handy for those wheel wells.
  • Brake component tolerances are hair-thin. Don’t paint any parts until the brake assembly is complete.
  • Liquid wrench is your friend… just don’t inhale a lot of it.
  • Wear a mask and goggles when you’re working under your car… no matter how uncomfortable. Do the same whenever you’re sanding, grinding, etc. Your lungs will thank you. Trust me…
  • Have a few small containers handy before pulling things apart. Label them so you remember what bolts/nuts go in what parts. This saved a lot of time during re-assembly.
  • Re-assemble exhaust parts with anti-seize and fresh nuts and bolts whenever possible.
  • No matter how well you clean off the Liquid Wrench (or WD-40) residue, your car will still smoke and smell for a day-or-so.
I hope that helps somebody down the line. All-in-all I am very satisfied with the results.

Apart from car stuff, Gina and I had a chance to hang out with Glen on the 4th, check out some fireworks, and have a few “pops.” We also tried out a few new recipes, and watched some NetFlix goodness.

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