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2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be my build thread for my 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS. I plan on turning it into a budget ice racer/rally car. The thread will consist of the car's restoration and modifications. I'm very new to cars and hope to leave some knowledge behind as I learn things/figure things out. I'll also be needing lots of help, but thanks to this website and amazing community I'm off to a great start!

The car sitting at the sellers property. It sat here like this for around 2 years.
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The car after I had just begun work on it, the gold grill was taken off, and the vents/scoop were sanded.
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Rip rear rotors, I'll get to you later.
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The engine bay, looks like the seller even got in here with that stupid gold paint... This is after I sanded the gold paint off of the belt covers at the bottom of the image, you can still see some gold around the edges though...
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The car running with a bad coil distributer, I didn't know this at the time of the recording. I took it to help diagnose the issue.

Fixing the messed up wiring in the center console. Also had to add an adapter harness to make the deck work with the stock Subaru plugins... Seller took his out for some reason. Also fixed the cigarette lighter while I was at it. It seems like I'm going to have to fix everything the previous owner has worked on. He left a trail of incompetence behind in his work. Loose/missing screws and lazily fixed issues are just the start of what he did.

Also gave the interior a really good vacuum/clean as it was almost white with dog hair. Whilst the floor was brown from dirt and stains. Lastly, I replaced lots of interior pieces such as the center console, sun visors, and other interior plastics. Much of the interior had melted from the car being left in the sun for 2 years. There were also scratches and stains everywhere. Now that it's fixed I can finally sit in the car without feeling like I might throw up. Let me know if you have a nice 5 speed shift knob for sale for this Impreza. The previous owner thought it would be cool to replace the stock shift knob with one from a Porsche. His reasoning? They both have boxer engines...
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Next step was figuring out why the bumper sits crooked. After taking it off it was obvious why... The car was in a minor collision, pushing the bumper support in and the radiator support up. This make the bumper sit crooked and created a gap along the front of the hood. Sadly I'm doing this build with a very tight budget so I can't replace these parts, or have them professionally bent back. So I just reefed on the supports for a while with a weedwhacker strap. The bumper still sits crooked, but the hood closes a lot better now.
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Next was an oil change. After this was done I let the car run for a while and saw that the oil level was just below full, perfect. After this the car sat for a while, until I moved it into the garage. After checking my oil again I discovered that the fluid level showing on the dipstick had shot up and smelled strongly of gas. The image below does not show even close to how much fuel was in the brand new oil. It was showing full x2 on the dipstick. I decided to run the car for a while in hopes of burning off the fuel. Thankfully it worked and the dipstick now shows just below full in the picture below. Though I can't seem to burn off anymore fuel then this. Looks like I have piston ring damage...
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Next was a compression test. As I pulled out the spark plugs I noticed another issue, oil and black soot on the spark plugs. Just lovely. Hopefully the black soot is just from the car running rich when the timing was off and cylinders were not firing. The oil though may be a bigger problem.
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2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Correction: The dipstick now shows just above full, not below as I said in the thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got a new serpentine belt, replaced a bunch of the lights and gave the interior another very deep clean.

I also noticed that I have tons of fuel leaking into my oil, but only while the vehicle sits. I have no idea why, but I'm guessing that it'll help me rule out a few possible causes and get closer to the actual issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Took the Subaru out to a friends farm on Saturday for some testing. It ran amazingly! Especially for a car that has sat for over 2 years. It burned off the fuel in the crankcase after some high revs. After a lap around the property the car already sounded 10x better than before. The idle quieted down a ton and the engine smoothed out and ran better the more we drove it. Even the rusted brakes worked amazingly and they cleaned up a lot. Only issue I had was the power steering belt screaming at nearly full lock on the wheel. But I'll get that replaced later.

It was also great Subaru weather so most of our testing ended up being sideways:


 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Impreza is now registered, insured and back on the road! Turns out the power steering belt issue was just a loose serpentine belt. Everything is now fixed and the car is ready for some mods! First up are some mudflaps, as we have a lot of gravel roads near us and the car shoots rocks up the sides making for a very noisy drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just found the old Kijiji ad, here are some more photos of the poor thing in the sellers driveway:

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yea, not sure what the previous owner was trying to accomplish with the gold paint everywhere. It's on stock gold rims now though. I love the black car on gold/bronze rims look. It still needs some paint, the facia is silver and the large scoop/left fender are a matte black.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh cool, you're local! Do you know of any nice communities near Red Deer/Calgary? I can't seem to find any groups online that aren't domestic (muscle cars and trucks). I'd love to find a Subaru club nearby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update for the past month-ish:

I've was dailying the RS while I waited to start my summer job. Then, I planned on slowly preparing the car for timed rallycross.

Sadly, those plans have drastically changed. I was driving some friends around, when I coasted to a stop sign in first with the clutch to the floor. As soon as I stopped, the car started bogging down and stalling. I then started off, and attempted shifting into second. Instead, second decided it didn't want to do it's one and only job, but instead grind and refuse to go into gear... Lovely. Most annoyingly, it would shake, shudder and bog down when setting off in first. I tried giving it a little more clutch/gas, but that would just completely disengage the clutch and the revs would climb up. If I gave it less clutch at that point the car would lurch forward. Problems like this continued as we finished some errands in town. I had a lot of trouble finding the clutch bite point, the car would nearly stall if stopped in gear (with clutch to the floor), gears would grind, and it was a pain to drive. As soon as I was on the highway though, the car was fine.

I'm guessing I'm going to have to replace the clutch, but I'm hoping it's maybe some other transmission issue that doesn't involve pulling the trans from the car. I had a feeling this would happen, as the clutch has always slipped. I mostly ignored it though because it only slipped at above 3K revs if floored on the highway and I didn't believe it was this serious.

I'm debating whether or not to keep the car. The chassis is spongey from rust and it simply doesn't seem worth it to replace the clutch when I could sell it and buy another project Impreza that doesn't need major repairs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by!
 

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I would bleed the clutch properly, and possibly adjust the clutch pedal. It's probably the clutch at this point, but you gotta rule out the clutch master and slave cylinder first.
 

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Did you have a solution to the fuel in the oil? I just bought a 2.5rs. Previous owner let it sit for like 8 months and now its just sitting in my driveway for the last 3 months. I drove it 2 times around the block just for fun. I just have to wait till May to have time to really get into it. But I noticed that the oil was way over full too, just like yours. I thought previous owner may have over filled it but now after seeing yours, maybe its the same fuel thing possibly??
 

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2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sorry I took so long to respond. Haven’t checked this site in a while, ended up trading this RS for a half completed STI Type RA swap in a 2 door RS.

I was able to fix the fuel issue by doing multiple oil changes running the car in between, flushed out the fuel. I had gotten fuel everywhere running the car with a misfire while trying to diagnose a few issues. If you go through my profile I have a few threads trying to figure out the fuel thing. If you have a fuel issue with no misfire or history of one then it might be an injector, seal, gasket etc. There were some great suggestions from other members in my threads/questions. I never figured out the dipstick though, sorry.
 
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