Subaru Impreza GC8 & RS Forum & Community banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Goal: Find an inexpensive, rust-free, 1st generation 2.5RS to use as a stock class SCCA RallyCross car. This will replace the rusty, but mechanically sound, '03 Impreza Outback Sport that my wife and I have been RallyCrossing for the past 4-years. After losing the brakes in an event this fall and having to repair the four rusted brake lines entering the junction block in front of the right-rear wheel and getting up close and personal with all of the rust underneath this former Minnesota car I figured that we needed to find a rust free car before the suspension ripped out of the current one. I settled on the first gen 2.5 because it was similar to the car we were running and we could use the current car for a spare engine, etc. plus it was lighter than the current car and would handle better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Since I wanted an essentially rust free car I limited my search to areas south of the Kansas City area (where I live) within 6-hours drive so I could get there and back in one day. I ended up finding a poor-quality list on FB Marketplace for a "1999 Impreza" in NW Arkansas with a few poor exterior pictures. No price listed. said it didn't run and he didn't know why. By blowing up the pictures it looked like it had a 2.5RS rear wing, front end and hood, or course it was a 4-door which wasn't sold as an RS here in 1999. Messaging the seller got some additional information, he had a clear title, it was a manual transmission car (even though the listing said auto), it was rust free and he would take $1,500 for the car. Since we lived 220 miles away and I couldn't get there for a few days I asked if he would take a deposit via PayPal and the rest in cash when I picked it up on Friday (when I was already planning on taking a vacation day). We settled on $300, which was I know an act of faith but I know how fast these things go. He also said it was at his dad's business and there was one person there who spoke pretty good English and he finally gave me the address after I sent the deposit.

So on Friday my wife and I loaded the trailer, grabbed some tools and took a scenic drive down to Springdale AR, not really knowing what to expect. We got to the business, a little buy-here pay-here car dealership in an industrial area and saw the car, which was a good thing. The guys there seemed to know that I was coming and pushed the car over to the trailer. I did a quick examination and determined:
  • It was a bit rough, very dirty inside and out (almost to the point that I thought maybe it had been flooded, but there was no sign of water damage), and sun blasted clearcoat.
  • It was a true RS, as evidenced by the seats and dash.
  • Despite it looking rough it wasn't all beat up and there was no rust at all underneath.
  • It did have a standard transmission.
  • It did have a 2.5 engine, but of course it didn't run because there was no radiator and no spark plugs were installed.
  • Yes the secretary spoke English and there was a title, an Oklahoma one with lots of signatures and stamps. But she seemed to know what she was doing and because they were a dealer they could reassign the title. I figured that even if I couldn't title it I could still RallyCross it.
So I paid my money and got the title and bill of sale and loaded the car having my wife steer it while I winched it on the trailer using a spare battery and a set of jumper cables to power and control the old winch on the trailer, which I had never used before. Here are some pictures of the car that I took before we left the business:


 

·
Registered
2001 SRP RS Coupe, 05 FXT
Joined
·
399 Posts
Looks like a nice base for a rally car, congrats on the find. Looking forward to more updates!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Sorry about two copies of the pictures, must have been a big delay with them uploading. Made it home fine with the car from Arkansas, despite a long detour towing it around a bunch of Missouri back roads so that we could visit a couple of quilt shops that my wife wanted to see. So the next day, with the car still on the trailer so that I could haul it to the gas station for an ID / OD inspection so that I could transfer the title. First of all, here is a screen shot of the original add with one of the two pictures, neither showed much:
82152

First all, I had as good discovery when I popped the trunk I found the radiator and fans inside. Along with a bunch of junk, some tools, most of them junk but some good stud extractors, an all-important 10-mm socket, a 12-inch 3/8-in extension and a full can of PB Blaster. I also found a Utah license plate, US Air Force windbreaker and an Oklahoma casino ID for the person that last had the car. Also, the gear-shift boot and knob were cheap plastic, not what they should have been when I looked at pictures of other 2.5RSs, and the car had a cable clutch. Looking at the transmission number on the id plate revealed that the car was originally equipped with an automatic transmission. Looking at the transmission id number revealed that it came from a '98 Impreza L, which accounted for the cable clutch and plastic knob and shift boot. Also, that transmission has a 3.9 final drive ratio, instead of the original 4.111. Plus I wasn't sure if the conversion was ever completed given that the engine wasn't hooked up. Also, the car was very dirty inside and out. There was sand and dirt all over the seats so I did do as good of vacuuming job I could while it was sitting on the trailer. Again, besides being dirty it didn't look like it had been in a flood, no rust inside around the seat rails or frames and absolutely no rust at all underneath - which was the main thing I wanted after dealing with my heavily rusted '03 Impreza. I also hooked up a battery booster to the battery cables (which were missing the positive battery clamp) just to see if the electronics worked at all. The dash lit right up and the wipers and lights worked!
82151
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
While my original plan was to swap out the engine from my '03 Impreza to the '01 RS I decided that becuase of the amount of work and unknowns to try and find a good donor car for the RS and keep the '03 as a backup since I had just fixed the brake lines and it had no current problems (except for rusting away). Plus since I planned to run the RS as a stock class RallyCross car I needed to change out the clutch to a hydraulic one and really needed to change the transmission and rear diff from 3.9 to 4.111.

Fortunately, less than a week later I was able to find an '02 Outback that was just what I needed, EJ251 MAP engine, 5-speed manual with a 4.111 final drive and a viscous rear diff - pretty much everything a manual transmission '01 2.5RS should have. It did have a lot of miles, 250k, but the heads had been redone by a good local machine shop 3-years ago (40k miles) and a new timing belt was installed then. Plus the car looked very clean. It did have an oil leak and the transmission was stuck in gear - but I figured that those things could be fixed. The guy was asking $1,000 but said he would take $700, plus it was only an hour away at his work. My wife and I headed out with the trailer. The car started right up and sounded good. With my wife in the car holding the clutch in, we were able to push the car back so that I could get the trailer in front of it. I decided to try and load the car by driving it on the trailer, he said that it was stuck in a gear other than 1st so I revved the engine a bit and eased the clutch out to try and move it ahead, with the shifter still in neutral. When I did that, i heard and felt a pop and the transmission was suddenly in neutral, the car was fixed! I drove it on the trailer with no problems. When I got home I drove it around some with no problems. Then we got 8-inches of snow the next day and I spent some time sliding around the fields behind our house and it ran great and shifted fine. Here are a couple of pictures of the car:
82153


The donor car looks so good I almost hated to pull the drivetrain and then scrap it:
82154
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top