Well, quite a few mods later, I've finally decided that it's time for me to start a Member Journal to chronicle my progress and use it as a sounding board for modifications I have planned.
Artoo is my second RS, hence R2, or Artoo. It doesn't help that I'm kind of a Star Wars geek either
Current Mod List:
2007 EJ255 WRX motor swapped by ECS Performance
Blouch 20G XT-R
HOA 3 port ECBS
KSTech big MAF intake
AMR 3" hard inlet
Tomei UEL stainless steel header
Invidia Turbo Back Exhaust
Cobb AccessPort Stage 2
ACT Streetlite lightweight 6 speed flywheel
Group N Engine Mounts
2007 WRX 4/2 pot front and rear brakes
DBA slotted front and rear rotors
Carbotech Bobcat brake pads
Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
2007 WRX STi 6 speed
2007 WRX STi R180 rear differential
2007 WRX STi rear axles
DCCDPro Universal DCCD controller
Turn In Concepts Holy Shift Kit
Group N Transmission Mount
STi stainless steel braided clutch line
Exedy STi stage 1 HD clutch
STi Gymkhana Tarmac springs
Group N top hats
STi Version 6 carbon fiber front strut bar
Cusco carbon fiber rear strut bar
Cusco 22 mm front way bar
Cusco 22 mm rear sway bar
Whiteline rear end links
Cusco rear chassis brace
GC8 STi aluminum control arms
2004 STi rear hubs
GD WRX rear subframe
Group N subframe bushings
Whiteline rear diff bushings
Whiteline subframe lock kit
Whiteline rear lateral and trailing link bushings
Whiteline outrigger bushings
Whiteline trailing arm bushings
Summer: JDM STi BBS Electra L 17x7 wrapped in JDM Bridgestone Playz
Summer: JDM STi Rays RS five spokes 17x7 wrapped in JDM Bridgestone Potenza RE-011's
Summer: JDM STi BBS Electra C 16x7 wrapped in BFGoodrich G-Force Sports
Winter: Stock RS 6-spokes wrapped in American GT tires (worst tires ever!)
STi Version 6 grille with pink star badge
Mesh fog covers
JDM clear corners
JDM Version 5/6 tails
STI rear diffuser
JDM metal flat fuel door
JDM rear bumper with spats
STi Version 6 front lip
Bakemono carbon fiber Version 6 wing
Rally Armor UR mudflaps (black with red lettering)
Car wash and wax (sometimes)
JDM Ver. 2 WRX RA front and rear seats
JDM Ver. 6 WRX STi Type R V Limited gauge cluster
STi 6 speed titanium shift knob
Bakemono Alcantara red stitched shift boot
USDM DCCD switches
22B stainless steel STi door sills
WRX pedal covers
WRX style dead pedal
When I began driving in high school, I started in a 1986 Mazda B2000 pickup truck. The thing was ancient, rear wheel drive, and rusted out, but had one redeeming feature: stick shift. I held on to the thing all the way through college and got more than my money's worth out of the vehicle before something in the transmission went (possibly the throwout bearing, boy was it loud) and it wasn't worth it to fix because the frame was already rotted through.
The last straw, however, was when I was driving back from work in Chicago and got hit by a massive blizzard and spun out twice in a row and almost didn't make it up a steep hill to my town due to a completely unplowed road and traffic's deciding to crawl up it at 5 mph. After that, I jumped on Autotrader and began looking for an AWD car. As luck would have it, the price tag and insurance on even a bugeye WRX was incredibly expensive, so I set out for a cheaper Impreza. I then found a 2001 RS in Cincinnati in near mint condition, drove down with my family, and picked it up.
I drove that RS for about a year and a half while occasionally lurking around here to find maintenance DIY's and such, and stumbled upon the swap section of the boards. The idea of having a homebuilt WRX without the insurance and cost of a WRX was like having my cake and eating it too, and I began researching.
Unfortunately, a swap in that RS was never to come, as I didn't have the time, money, garage space, or knowledge to do so before I was t-boned by a BMW X3 running a red light. It messed me up a little (the X3 had at least a thousand pounds on me and was going 55 mph), broke my leg, and gave me some scarring, not to mention completely destroying my car. I wouldn't be able to drive stick for a while, and ended up stuck with an automatic for a while.
Eventually, I had to find a replacement car, and knew exactly what I wanted: another RS, the same color, age, number of doors, and approximate mileage as my last one. I ended up searching far and wide before I found a car that wasn't way out of my price range with more wear than the car I had, and it ended up being in New York. Not a stranger to long car trips, my dad and I went out and picked this one up for half the price of my last RS. This one needed some work: it had been in two front end collisions, the first of which wasn't even repaired properly. But it ran well, handled fine, and was in my price range, so I picked it up. I dubbed this RS "Artoo" and began slowly taking care of issues it had.
Artoo, half an hour after the purchase in New York:
I took Artoo down to Arkansas and had a blast on the dirty back roads:
After a few months, I'd finally saved enough for a swap, and still not having the time, garage space, or knowledge to do so, I began researching shops to take Artoo into. It came down between ECS and GT, and after talking to ECS for a bit, I finally decided to have them swap an EJ255 into my RS. I took a friend and made the drive out there, dropped the car off, then flew back and did the reverse in three weeks. There were a few bumps with the swap initially, but ECS and Millenium Autos worked hard and resolved everything. The car runs like a champ now! Along the way, I acquired a set of 4/2 pot WRX brakes, and then proceeded to save up to fix the damage around the car.
A year or so later, I bought a house and got engaged. My fiance allowed Artoo to be in the wedding with one condition: I had to take care of the front end damage that I'd had since I bought the car. That meant new fog lights, a new grille, a new bumper, a proper fender, and the worst part: a ton of underbody rot that had gone unchecked, likely from the first accident that was poorly repaired in the first place resulting in the install of the wrong fender. After picking up a proper fender from Smitch, an STi V6 grille from Broken Motorsports, and the rest of the parts I needed, I sent Artoo off to a local body shop. Artoo returned in time for the wedding, and even got to pose in a few pictures too! Our wedding colors were navy blue and hot pink, so Artoo accessorized nicely (in the words of my wife).
Last up, I'd saved for a while and bought some pretty sharp BBS wheels. Unfortunately, as awesome as they looked, they rubbed in the rear.
I ended up selling them to a friend with a WRX and using the money for a Cobb turbo back exhaust. An AccessPort tune later, and it'll be on my car!
My other member journals:
The L-RS LaRS: Combat Chuck's Caribbean Green '97 L Sedan