Grease monkey…

Last year around this time I was fixing a fuel leak on the car. It was an unexpected repair, and the whole project took a bit longer then planned because I needed parts from shops that were closed for the holidays. This year I decided to once again use the time off to do a little work on the car, only I planned in advance and ordered the parts I would need before hand. “A great plan”, I thought — I’d have plenty of time to get everything working. If only it went so smooth… When working on my car I generally run into the “might as well” problem. Meaning, while I have everything torn apart, I might as well fix a few other things while I’m in there. And unfortunately, I didn’t pre-order those parts. So just like last year, the car’s half apart while I wait until the new year for the local speciality shops to open again. Oh well. At least it’s still drivable this time.

So what am I up to? Mostly general maintenance. The car’s developed a slight exhaust leak from a variety of places in the exhaust manifold so I ordered new gaskets and cleaned and re-sealed it. It was about time to give everything a once-over with the torque wrench anyway, so it didn’t bother me that much and it’s easy enough to do.

Next up was a fuel pressure gauge. The changes to the fuel system made last year raised the fuel pressure slightly and I’m not sure how well the stock fuel pump is keeping up. After the original fuel system changes I used a temporary gauge to smoke test it, but I decided it was about time for a permanent installation. Unfortunately, I ended up needing one more hose fitting that just so happens to be uncommon enough for the general automotive shops to not carry it.

While installing the gauge I also decided that I might as well do the wiring proper and run fresh power to a set of relays driven by various ignition-key positions and whether the headlights are on. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more complicated then I expected to source a decent fuse and power distribution block, so that’s also waiting for next week to be finished. (On a related note, I was explaining this to a friend who commented that buying a fuse box was probably a common thing to do 20 years ago. But I guess people don’t rewire their cars much anymore.)

The next bit I found particularly interesting. I decided to mount the new fuel pressure gauge in the corner of the dash by the A-pillar. Doing the installation nicely would require a few holes to be made in the factory plastic to run wires, so I went in search of a used piece to cut up instead. I figured that a part like this should be an easy find on eBay, and if not, there are always people buying wrecked Impreza’s for parts. After having no luck with eBay or craigslist, I hit up the usual Subaru discussion boards and found the part selling used for about $25. Then out of curiosity, I called the dealer… who quoted me $25 for the part new. Huh. It is certainly a peculiar market when a scarce used part sells for the same price as a readily available new part. Once the wiring is complete, I’ll start the pillar trimming — and if I’m really lucky, my new phone will be here soon and I’ll be able to photo-document the installation.