Archived Updates

October 21, 2004
The leaking gas tank is out. I have been putting this job off and putting it off, convinced it would be a nightmare. I have been soaking all the nuts/bolts with PB Blaster all along then adopting the "mañana" attitude towards actually doing it. Well, that paid off, as all the nuts/bolts came out easy cheesy. I had a harder time with getting the clamps off the rubber lines than anything else. While I was under there, I went nutty with POR-15 on the right side frame rail, behind the right wheel, and along the lip of the rear bumper metal. It is much less rusty under there than I had anticipated, and the bottom of the bed is in fantastic condition.

August 1st, 2004
The BRAT has sit all spring and summer long, more or less neglected. Today, I managed to get the old ignition lock assembly out and the new one back in. I still can't get the dashboard out, and it's quite frankly pissing me off. I need more time to work on it until I get it out. I did also manage to get one mirror off and refinished today, as well as the "tilt" handle- it looked a bit grungy and in need of TLC when I was working on the ignition lock.

February, 19th, 2004
IT LIVES! I put in a known working used distributor this morning. After some troubles getting it installed (it didn't want to sit down in the shaft hole until I smeared gear oil all over the shaft) I got the keys and tried to fire it up for the first time in four months. And... nothing. I got rather aggravated and went off to work. I discussed possible problems with the service manager and some of the techs, and I took home a spark tester so I could see if I was getting spark out of the coil or not. I plugged that in, got inside, hit the key to see if the lights on the tester went nuts, and it almost caught and started! So I sat and thought long and hard and came up with "Huh." Very deep insight, I know. I gave it a little gas, turned the key, and BAMF! It started! I swear this thing is posessed by gremlins. At any rate, I did not believe it would last, so I shut the BRAT off and restarted it. About 3 dozen times. Starts up within about 1/2 a second of cranking every time. Gremlins. Has to be gremlins.

October 16th, 2003
Not much to report- the BRAT still does not run, I lost an auction on eBay for a BRAND NEW distributor because I was not paying attention, and the left rear tire has gone flat... I think the wheels need to be cleaned up and have the tires resealed. In better news, I have so much of the BRAT gutted it is not even funny. I dismantled the fan box and cleaned out the mouse nest, and now have that 1/2 of the dash apart and reconditioned. Now, if I could just figure out how to get the main dash apart without destroying it...

October 9th, 2003
The new passenger door for the BRAT is here. It needs a bit of bodywork, plus I'm going to coat the interior, so the rust problem never occurs with this door. I got the new ignition lock connected to the wiring today, and it still does not start/run. I have to hunt that problem further. I have reconditioned the steering wheel now (it had to come off to attempt the ignition lock removal anyway), and photos of that are now in the "Interior: Recondition" section.

September 30th, 2003
Okay, so the grill I completely refinished turned out to not fit. Ugh! The problem is remedied now, with a 'honeycomb' grill that fits perfectly. I went to put it on tonight, and found the reason the old grill was broken was that the pushbar, being pushed out of whack, cracked it. I have to get it off to put the new grill on- it needed to come off to be stripped and repainted anyway, now I have a good reason to.

September 22nd, 2003
Well, the battery fiasco is fixed, and it looks like nothing is worse for the wear. I finished up cleaning up and repainting the headlamp/radiator frame tonight, and I'm now ready to reinstall the headlamps and the front grill. It's about time!

September 16th, 2003
Minor setback in the progress- I sort of shorted the battery to the body of the car with my ratchet- never use your battery as a tool tray folks! I had a few grounds to replace (the insulation on some burned, and on others the grounds melted through) but no major damage. Recent attention has turned to the other headlamp assembly (waiting on a new trim ring to finish the driver side up) plus refinishing the center grill assembly, which is now done.

September 11th, 2003
Today, I finished up the headlamp frames for the right side of the car. They had become rusty, hard to adjust, and most importantly, hard to change out the sealed beam lamps! A healthy spin on the wire wheel and a good coat of Rustoleum later, they're looking brand-new. Some stainless steel fasteners will ensure these last a very long time!

September 9th, 2003
Work has progressed to cleaning up and repainting/rechroming the headlamp bezels- they are off while I replace the headlamps anyway. I'm going to take this opportunity to repaint the headlamp frames and the springs and trim rings that hold in the lamps, to ensure they last.

September 8th, 2003
Well, tonight I changed out to the new alternator (I figured the old one was fine, but the new one was cheap and it couldn't hurt to do) and alternator belt. The alternator install went great, though it pays to bring your old belts to the parts store- AutoZone gave me the wrong belt. Oh well, easy problem to solve on the way to work tomorrow. The new + and - cables are now (fully) installed, having added new ring terminals to the + run that leads to the fusible links and to the - lead running to the body of the car. Work now has turned to replacing the headlights and removing the pushbar for reconditioning (and straightening). I'm going to let the bolts and screws on those items soak for a few dozen hours in Zep to loosen them up.

September 6th, 2003
Not much to update- I put the overhead pieces back into the BRAT tonight, and the maplight mod was a success! I now have probably 3 times the extra illumination as stock inside the cabin. Other than that, the Chapman was removed tonight (forcibly), the new + and - wires are on the battery, and I have the dash bezel and lower dash trim out to recondition them. The process is going very well if I do say so myself.

September 3rd, 2003
Z00T! I picked up a lock set off of a guy on eBay for $20- it includes the two doors, plus the ignition lock I've needed to get the BRAT running again. Best of all, I saved $120 off the Subaru price on a part I might never get it's so old!

September 1st, 2003
The BRAT is now registered, with a shortened version of "Trunkmoney Racing Service" as the plate. I was headed to Trunkmonkey Racing World Headquarters tonight when the BRAT died. Poof. Done. I thought it ran out of gas (the gas gauge does not work- soon to be replaced) so I had a gallon brought to me. The BRAT started up, drove, and I got perhaps a mile. Had to tow it home. First glance looked like the fuel pump, but now all signs point towards a $140 ignition switch. Ugh.

August 28th, 2003
Not much to report today- I did manage to get the Legacy maplights attached to the headliner. Now I just need for Summit Racing to come through with the VHT dye to finish up the headliner. After that, I need the shift boot to come in, the seats to come out, the Legacy carpet to go in (hey, it was almost new and free), and to finish up dying the dash and doors to get the interior in almost-new shape.

August 26th, 2003
Well, the new radiator came in today, courtesy of Rock Auto Parts. As you may or may not know, Subaru no longer has radiators for BRATs, and a junkyard radiator was out of the question. $105 shipped is a fair price to pay to have a car that does not overheat. I got the radiator, thermostat, and new upper and lower radiator hoses in, plus I finally got the fans working. A new thermostatic fan switch, a bit of ripping out of the hardwired switch, and some dielectric grease and things are perfect. The best part is, the switch only cost $5 brand new!

August 24th, 2003
Most of the news that is fit to tell revolves around the interior. I have been slowly gutting and reconditioning parts of the interior, one piece at a time. What I had the hardest time with was what looked like epoxy on one piece of the headliner; while I got almost all of it off, it looked a bit worse for the wear. Thankfully, the 1995-1999 Legacy provided a solution- acessory maplights! Check out the "interior" section for details.

August 18th, 2003
Ugh. In an attempt to fix the overheating problem, I destroyed the radiator- the fan thermoswitch needed replacing, and the bung for it came out of the end tank when I tried to remove it. Now I have to find a new radiator, and the BRAT is now undriveable. I think that's a record... it only took me about 15 minutes to reach ruination!

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