The steering universal joint is in and I'll take a couple minutes to hopefully save some future folks some pain:
1. It is possible to put the u-join in backwards (upside down?) and it will almost seem like it could work that way. Spoilers: It won't.
2. If you just swapped the u-joint and your steering wheel wants to skip or jump but kinda still steers the car, you may have put the u-joint in wrong. Do not drive the car like this. Stop and fix it. You can probably fix this from the top if you're not someplace where you can jack up the car, but it won't be fun.
3. If for some reason you need to get the u-joint off without removing the steering rack, you can loosen the 4 steering rack bolts a bit so it came move around a bit. Then push forward on the rack's input shaft from under the car to get the rack to rotate a bit. That should give you enough slack in the u-joint to get it popped off.
4. Even if you have the u-joint on the right way it can still be a pain to get the two bolts that go through it to start threading. On the steering wheel side, this should be pretty straightforward. On the steering rack side, this can be a giant PITA if you've never done it before. Clean up the splines on the rack and clean out the u-joing then slide the u-joint on by hand. Unless the rack or joint is rusty or damaged it should seat as far as it needs to by hand. If you're having trouble getting the bolt through try backing the joint off by a millimeter or two. Try and push the bolt through while also wiiggling the joint around a bit. If you think you need to hammer the joint on to get the bolt through, you might already have the joint on further than it needs to be.
With that PSA out of the way, here's the car back in my driveway!
- KYB AGX struts
- P11L springs with bump stops and dust boots (Thanks for making this happen 2pot!)
- Whiteline adjustable camber/caster front strut tops (KCA335)
- 20370AA240 rear strut tops. They do seem different/harder than the stock OBS ones, but I have no good way to test for sure.
- Whiteline front roll center adjustment kit (KCA313)
- New stock spring seats/hats/etc (The old ones are somewhere between chiseled spam and hammered shit)
- Jorgen auto rebuilt steering rack
- Superpro rack bushings
I have an appointment to get it aligned at Northwest Rally Sports on Friday. I'm planning to give them the alignment specs 2pot suggested for the P11L springs
. I'll probably also have them get my stupid steering wheel straightened, because I managed to get that crooked during the rack/u-joint madness.
No "real" test drive until then.
In the mean time though I'm working on putting power steering back in. I depowered my leaky old rack as part of the swap, but I don't think it suits this car well. Normal driving was fine. Parking I could live with. But the real kicker was that the steering was heavy enough that I don't think I'd be able to auto-x the car effectively. So I scavenged some early 2000s Legacy hard lines and a reservoir and made myself a bracket so that I can mount the reservoir where the charcoal canister used to be. The bottom part of the bracket mounts to the side of the frame rail and then provides a flat surface for the Legacy reservoir to bolt to.
I am planning to reinstall the evap system, but I need to find a way to trigger the purge control solenoid from the ECU, so it's disconnected for now. When I do reinstall it, the charcoal can will go where the stock horn is and the horn will probably move behind the grille.
The test fit was a success!
Tomorrow night I'll yoink my roommate's car, grab some ATF and give the whole system a proper flush. I'd feel dumb if a bit of metal got into one of the lines or pump while they were lying around my garage and damaged the seals on the brand freakin' new rack, so I'm doing this one by the book (for once).