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99 RS coupe just for fun, RallyX and track use
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:53 PM   #1
TopElement
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Default 99 RS coupe just for fun, RallyX and track use

Story:

A little backstory on what got me interested in Subaru's before I even started looking for a 2.5RS coupe.
About 10 years ago, met the guys from Renner Motorsport and started seeing all of the high quality builds they were working on. Most of them were for customers, but Peter and Ivo's (RIP) own cars were the best examples by far.
Widebody coupes, 500hp+ turbo motors, and flawless execution inside and out really got me thinking about adding a Subaru to the garage.
Since I already had a track car and fun daily drivers, I didn't want an old slow 2.5RS yet. Went to the Subaru dealer in early 2012 and ordered a STI hatchback in World Rally Blue. The STI finally arrived from Japan in April of 2012, and it was fun to drive with AWD and almost endless traction. After a few years, I started considering taking on a project of a 2.5RS coupe with a full STI drivetrain.
Why a coupe? It had to be a coupe because #1. 4 doors are stupid looking #2. Ivo had shared his opinion years ago and I agreed that only the 2 door cars are worth building.

So fast forward to 2015 and I've been looking everywhere for a 1999-2001 2.5RS coupe. Literally searching all across the country, on every car site, and even saw a clean example parked in Indianapolis and left a note on the windshield with an offer to buy it (no response from the jerk!). Plenty of ugly 4 doors for sale, some rusty 2 doors for sale, and almost zero stock coupes in good condition.

My fiance (now wife) and I were going up to San Francisco for the weekend to check out Fleet Week in October, so I searched on Craigslist SF and happened to come across a clean white '99 coupe for sale posted earlier that day! Contacted the owner so I could check out the car while I was in the area, and damned luck he was out of town that weekend. I got on the phone with the seller to arrange the sale, and as expected he had already received numerous inquires. I offered to Paypal a significant amount as a deposit, but he gave me his word he would hold it.

At this point it's mid-October 2015, and just a few weeks from getting married. My fiance (now wife) was not thrilled at me buying another car and going to get it. As us car guys do, I explained how great of an idea it was and immediately booked a one-way flight. Flew into SF and within an hour met the seller in a downtown parking lot. Gave the car a quick look inside and out, test drove around the block (and noticed a strange engine knock), and handed over $7k cash to the seller in exchange for a pink slip. That night drove back home to SoCal.

Goal for the car? Turn it into a rally beast and occasional track day fun.

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99 RS coupe just for fun, RallyX and track use-purple-group-session-3-corkscrew-ls2_5943_jun3019_caliphoto.jpg  
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:54 PM   #2
TopElement
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Car: All AWD, some turbo
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: So Cal
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Posts: 56
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As mentioned in first post, the engine was knocking when first acquired. Of course this was the world famous rod knock of the EJ251 motor.
Car made the drive from San Francisco to LA just fine, although with knocking at revs over about 3k rpm. Maybe a little head gasket leak as well, since slight overheating happened at slow speeds in traffic.

Drove the car like this a few times around town, and knock got louder and rougher. Finally after about a one hour drive, it refused to start and engine seemed to have seized after cooling down.

Around Christmas of 2015, picked up a 2.0 n/a motor from Japan and replaced the original motor.

Machined a couple of aluminum plates to match the intake manifold bolt pattern, and used them to lift the engine and keep it balanced.


Some noise from the transmission in neutral, and would go away with clutch depressed. So since the transmission was out, replaced main shaft bearing, replaced absurdly heavy OEM flywheel with ACT Streetlite, and new Exedy organic disc with OEM style pressure plate.

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Last edited by TopElement; 09-11-2019 at 03:59 PM..
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:13 PM   #3
TopElement
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Car: All AWD, some turbo
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2.0 engine running well and transmission working smoothly, it was time to get the car out for some fun in the dirt. Signed up for a RallyX at Glen Helen, and got out there with everything stock.
Just like any OEM parts not intended for high performance, the all-season street tires were slow to respond to quick direction changes and did not grip very well in loose dirt. However the handling of the car was very neutral, and liftoff oversteer could be induced as well as a little oversteer under power with a zero toe rear alignment.

For better performance next time in the dirt, I ordered up a set of Team Dynamics rally wheels and DMack gravel rally tires. Massive difference in the dirt, and could now push hard with more grip and more puncture resistance.



Hitting the trails at Hungry Valley. At this point I recalled my buddy Ivo telling me years ago that he tried rally with the Subie and it beats up the car, so stick to road racing.


Some trail action in Gorman. Never seen another car, only some quads and dirtbikes.
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Last edited by TopElement; 09-11-2019 at 04:28 PM.. Reason: More updates
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:51 AM   #4
TopElement
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After driving the car stock at a few events, and old slow stock cars not really being fun street drivers, it was time to get rid of any parts that don't make it faster, more reliable, or better performing.

Ordered a pair of pro racing Sparco Ergo seats in different sizes for driver and co-driver, and a pair of OMP 3" 6-point harnesses.

To properly install the seats, I designed side-mount seat brackets and had them fabricated from 1/8" 4130 steel, waterjet cut, and powder coated. They are adjustable for front/back, up/down, and tilt. Lighter than Sparco steel mounts, and narrower to save space.


Since mounting seats to adapter brackets/sliders and bolting those to the stock seat rails on the chassis results in seats that are higher than they should be, and is also a half-ass way of doing things, the sheetmetal chassis rails were removed. Drilled out all of the spot welds, and ground the leftover nubs smooth.
Measured for seat location to determine where new mountings points would be. The drivers seat is placed for optimum driving position, which is determined by steering wheel and pedal position. It's a lot of work to move wheel and pedals back, for not much gain. The co-driver seat should go as far back and down as possible, so it was installed with the back almost touching the rear seat hump in the chassis.
I fabricated 1/8" steel plates to match the shape of the floor and side sills, and TIG welded them in. (Tip- tack weld in place, and grind away underbody coating to reduce smoke and fire!)



Once the mounting points were in place, square steel tubes were welded in. Quite tricky to grind the ends to match the mounting points, and get them level and parallel to properly install the seat.
I machined steel bushings for the harness mounting points, and welded them into the tubes.





Seats with harnesses finally installed. Takes a little driving to find the best seat position, especially tilt. Still missing shoulder harness bar.
Many people don't realize that the OEM setup actually has the driver seat offset from the steering wheel, it's stupid. The new setup has the driver seat centered with the steering wheel.



To round out the interior work, the dash was removed in order to take out all heating and cooling components, resulting in a pretty good weight saving. Sparco racing wheel was installed.

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Old 09-13-2019, 10:07 AM   #5
TopElement
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With the cockpit better suited for high performance driving duties now, it was time to improve suspension and drivetrain for better handling and response.

First up was the easy stuff. Machined a couple of aluminum bushing inserts for the differential mount. This got rid of diff slop under power/decel.

Pic to follow

Then the T bar mounts. These are big squishy bushings that allow the T bar to move around, which allows the diff to move around. All of this causes drivetrain torque fluctuations, which doesn't help traction or make for a precise driving experience.
I designed lightweight solid mounts, and had them machined from 7075 aluminum and gold anodized. Pressed out the original squishy bushings, and put in the solid pieces. (Had about 20 of them made, so extras if you want them)



Next post will be pic heavy, showing stock squishy rubber bushings on the suspension replaced with spherical bearings.
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Old Yesterday, 02:12 AM   #6
LYH45
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It's looking good. Btw I'd recommend using a different image hosting service like Imgur as Photobucket images have a huge water mark on them and are pixelated
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Old Today, 05:57 PM   #7
anthony12052
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yea whats with photobucket now? cant see anything in these pics
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