Friday, January 04, 2013

Moar Subie!

The circumnavigation of I-465 went well, without any bits falling off or the car overheating.

Steep curves at on- and off-ramps resulted in me getting all squeamish, afraid that the Forester would tip over, since it has, relative to the Zed Drei at least, approximately the proportions of a wheeled telephone booth*.

Steering took some getting used to: A lot more power assist, plus tall and flexy front tire sidewalls, plus the age of the vehicle equaled a numb on-center feel compared to what I'm used to. Combined with the increased body roll, it's going to be a while before I get comfortable with the idea of making like Tommi Mäkinen in the thing.

Pulls good up to freeway speeds, but runs out of breath a lot sooner than I'm used to. At ~70 mph, both the Forester and the Zed Drei are turning right around 3k rpm, but if you flatten the throttle at that speed, the Bimmer will still shove you back in your seat, while the Subie just sighs and grudgingly, slowly, picks up more speed. This is to be expected from an object that weighs 500 pounds more, has 25hp less, and is the size and shape of a small garden shed.

Today I'll be changing the earl in the car, despite the sticker that says it was done 2k ago, because just because.


*Ask your parents what a "telephone booth" is, kids. Basically, back when telephones had to be connected to buildings with a wire, we put up tiny glass buildings on the street in which to attach phones that anybody could use and get their nasty germs all over. The next time that old movie The Matrix comes on the classic movie channel, look for the scene where Trinity nearly gets squooshed by the truck. That thing she's standing in is a telephone booth.

51 comments:

Bob said...

On phone booths: I remember a hotel my parents owned briefly in Gainesville, Florida, back in the late 1960's. The restaurant featured, in the alcove between the entrances to the men's and ladies' rooms, a beautiful phone booth, beautifully appointed in mahogany, with a small bench for comfort while making calls. A thing of beauty it was.

Blackwing1 said...

My wife's summer car is a 97 Miata. Switching between my Tundra full-size PU and that always gives me the feeling that I'm sitting about 6 inches off the ground.

Then going back to the truck always leaves me feeling like I'm sitting on top of a ladder.

On the gripping hand, MY summer ride is the 'Wing, and that first ride of spring is always fun to be back on two wheels.

Joseph said...

"because" is my favorite reason.

Q: does the Tamster actually do the changing or does a garage do it? I used to take mine to a local garage associated with a major tire manufacturer until they stripped out my oil pan drain plug and wanted to charge me $700 to replace it. I do my own now.

Tam said...

Joseph,

"Q: does the Tamster actually do the changing or does a garage do it?"

The local oil change joint. I'll be damned if I'm lying on my back on snow-covered gravel to save a couple bucks.

Scott J said...

This series of posts has me peeking at Craigslist for used Audis.

We rarely get snow here but Quattro still rocks in rain too.

Ever since my wife replaced her crashed Audi with a Honda Pilot (she wanted the third row and extra space) I've missed having one.

I'm hoping to have something slightly more fuel efficient than my 2003 Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4X4 by the time Summer gas price spikes hit.

Armed Texan said...

Tell us again why you didn't go for the WRX instead?

og said...

never, to me, about saving money, it's about seeing that Cletus doesn't cross thread the drain plug or snap off some irreplaceable bracket.

The rear sways on that are I believe hollow. Simply swapping to a solid rear sway will give you a ride you're more familiar with.

You can also get a set of coilovers for it for about a grand, a good summer project and a dramatic improvement to the ride.

yeah, when you take a top heavy vehicle and push it upwards of 70 on a regulation-diameter exit ramp, and feel the inside front lift off, and the engine race, and the posi grab and kick in, you hope that seat cushion your ass just ate was adequately clean.

Tam said...

Armed Texan,

"Tell us again why you didn't go for the WRX instead?"

Why? You know where there's a decent used one for two grand?

aczarnowski said...

Sounds like you're getting the experience I hoped for when we picked up an '02 Outback (for four times the price of yours). Alas, things fell off ours, bright green leaks occurred and oil was guzzled to the point I could've just started mixing it with the gas.

Hopefully all that bad karma was safely stored away from your Forester when we got rid of it for a Mazda.

mikee said...

Kids these days know what a telephone booth is, because those are very similar to Dr. Who's police box.

NAVIGATOR said...

HEARD PARTIAL BROADCAST ON RADIO ABOUT
FORRESTER RECALL YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK

Eric said...

Do you still have the Zed Drei?

Chris said...

I've been a salesman for 35 years. First thing I would check for in a new territory for the first 20 years of that was where the (relatively) safe telephone booths were. There are a few stories about that, too, concerning a pay phone near one of the "projects" in Baltimore.

Cheeze said...

FIRST! Oh, no, wait. Sorry.

BobG said...

Phone booths were also known as Superman's changing room in the old days.

Fortannica said...

Phone booth?

Oh, you mean the Greenhouse TARDIS-looking thingy we had stateside.

Gotcha.

rickn8or said...

"Today I'll be changing the earl in the car, despite the sticker that says it was done 2k ago, because just because."

Because it's not truly yours until you make the fluid changes.

Boat Guy said...

"Because" IS the best reason;
c.f. Tam's post on M1's and Murican cards "Because Garand".
I have a local small garage do my oil changes; I bring oil (including a quart of Marvel Mystery), filters n' such and he does the actual work with me looking on and chatting. I hand him a $20 and we're done.

Eric said...

Recall information can be found on this web site: http://www.safercar.gov/

Laura said...

Tam, what year is the scooby? might want to be wary of the headgaskets if it has a 2.5L. they're known for being leaky (anywhere from a slight weepiness to OH GOD WHY IS IT SPEWING THINGS THAT MUST STAY INSIDE) if they're from the late 90s.

Tam said...

Eric & NAVIGATOR,

The recall applies to '09-'12 Foresters with "puddle lights" under the door sills.

This is a '99 Forester that doesn't even have cruise control, let alone "puddle lights".

Anonymous said...

What kind of sound system in the Hoopty Do?

Gerry

Discobobby said...

Laura,
My 06 Forester leaks a little oil. Annoying only because I've never driven a car to 180K. The head gasket is a problem on older ones, you'll know it if it happens. A buddy had his go, and just drove it, adding oil every 1200 miles or so for another year before he sold it. The engine can take a LOT of abuse if you just know what to expect.

leBolide said...

You could probably pull off some Ken Block action if you head out after a few people have driven through a fresh snow and packed it down before the plows could clear it...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs-jAImScms

RevolverRob said...

A decent set of high performance all seasons (see Continental DWS), will probably liven it up considerably for when you're not driving on snow tires. My first thought when I went more confidence in a car's handling (after getting somewhat use to it, of course), is a good set of tires and a get set of brakes.

Given the mission statement of Scoobie-ster is to haul around people, guns, and such, at normal people speeds. A decent set of tires and brakes will at least make it a little better to the sportscar.

Glad it went well. I'd consider a coolant system flush soon, and as someone else suggested on the other post a can of HEET in the gas tank to displace any moisture.

-Rob

RevolverRob said...

PS: As someone under 30 around here. I can honestly say, I remember phone booths, when I was about 9 years old. After that, I remember my parents both getting cellphones and by the time I was 12, the phone booth was dead. That would have been circa 1994 (at 9) and by 1997 virtually every phone booth I can think of was gone.

I still remember a few payphone "kiosks" I guess you could all them (payphones attached to the wall of a store), but by 2001 most of those were gone too.

-Rob

Sport Pilot said...

I’m with Tam on not crawling around under my vehicles in the driveway or street with snow on the ground. Now as to the Foresters performance and handling… http://www.andysautosport.com/performance_chips/subaru.html for a replacement chip.
http://www.knfilters.com/news/news.aspx?id=1194 for a K&N air filter
http://www.ehow.com/how_7681345_do-subaru-outback-handle-better.html to decrease weight and increase rigidity
http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/stiffer-springs-and-shocks-without-lowering-iti-171664.html?s=bf9cf54a6f0372650553b507dd66fd6a& on shocks and struts…Essentially replace with new.
Alloy wheels and all season radial tires.
We have a well-used 1999 Outback that’s going through the replacement suspension, engine and overall drive train parts that far too many owners never do. This particular vehicle went through several owners but is still worth fixing up as a daily driver.

perlhaqr said...

There's a place ~25 miles from you (Brickyard Imported Cars) that claims to have a full set of stock '05 Legacy 5 spoke alloy 17's for $85 each, with a less pretty one for a spare at $75. You could drop your tire aspect ratio quite a bit with that. They've also got some 16" 10 spokes out of an '04 for $45 each.

As for freeway entrances, I usually just keep my '93 Legacy in a lower gear until I'm up to speed. Compared to the whomping V8 in the '72, the Subie 2.2 revs to the moon.

Og: When you say "get a set of coilovers for it for about a grand" do you mean something fancy, like Konis or Teins? Because the stock suspension is coilover struts to begin with.

og said...

The ones I've installed were XYZ's. A pretty simple no-power tool install which gives you rebuildable, adjustable ride.

og said...

Crap, I tried to insert a link and screwed the pooch

http://www.carshopusa.com/index.php?app=1592

Yrro said...

@perlhaqr Yeah, sounds like it. Although if you put $1,000 of shocks on a $2,000 car... you might be an autocrosser.

In a '99, I'd bet you $20 that even a set of KYB's would be a nice upgrade. The shocks are probably dead and gone now given the level of maintenance most people put into their cars.

Larry said...

"might want to be wary of the headgaskets if it has a 2.5L. they're known for being leaky (anywhere from a slight weepiness to OH GOD WHY IS IT SPEWING THINGS THAT MUST STAY INSIDE) if they're from the late 90s."

The early 00's had the same problems. Subaru sells a conditioner that you add to the cooling system that is supposed to mitigate this problem.

Also be aware, the flat 4 makes it's best power in the higher RPM range and is an absolute pig between 1K and 3K RPM, so go ahead and rev it up.

NOTHING will make it handle and accelerate like the Zed (a feature not a bug when the roads get slick), but I don't imagine there's any way you are going to confuse the two from behind the wheel.

I am quite fond of my little yellow Scoobytruck (03 Baja). The Mustang mostly stays under its cover this time of year (because convertible, not so much because of road conditions in Raleigh NC).

Able said...

Phone booths (telephone boxes here) are still all the rage here. Just not in the street. I have one friend who has it set up in his hall as a place to hang his cordless house phone. The other? It's in her bathroom, as a shower cubicle.

(that's the old cast-iron, iconic red telephone boxes if you're confused).

I imagine in a few years kids will be asking 'Dad, why were there showers in the street in the olden days?' - I feel old!

Mick Havoc said...

At least you know how to drive well.
Up here in Cheesetopia, Subarus are one of the favorite rides of the Anti-Destination League.

They are one of four vehicles guaranteed to be "operated" by someone with their head up their ass.

Along with Buicks, Grand Marquis, and the winner: The Prius.

Happy Motoring!

perlhaqr said...

Yrro: Yeah, I put KYB Excel-Gs on my '93 Legacy when I got it. Of course, since after removing them, I discovered that they would compress by hand, and stay there, and the right rear rubber biscuit strut mount at the top had ripped completely out of the frame... yeah, anything at all would have been an improvement at that point. :D

(The triangular frame that mounts to the car, not ripped out of the car completely. Replacing the strut mount solved the problem entirely.)

Will said...

I don't know the details, but there is supposed to be a fuse you can pull to dis-engage the rear axle from the drive line, which turns it into a FWD. Useful if you need it towed for some reason, because it can be done by a wheel-lift. No need for dollies or a flat bed.
I never had to tow one in the years I drove a tow truck, so I never got to check it out. None of my coworkers had, either.

My neighbor had an '04 for sale earlier this year, and wanted $10k. Looked like it was just off the showroom floor, complete with LARGE OB/Biden in '08 sticker.

NAVIGATOR said...

- TAM

RE YOUR NOT WANTING TO TIP OVER

IS THERE ANY WAY OF LOWERING THE CENTER
OF GRAVITY BELOW THE METACENTRIC HEIGHT
OF THE VEHICLE ? SUGGEST BALLASTING DOWN HAVE THE FORMULA TONS PER INCH/IMMERSION FOR VESSELS SIMILAR PRINCIPLES BUT YOUR RESULTS MAY VARY

Ed said...

A telephone booth is a telephone attached by an armored cable to the interior of a non-functioning TARDIS. Bring plenty of coins as you pay by the minute in advance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARDIS

Drang said...

When we met , Mrs. Drang was driving a Subaru wagon, an '86, IIRC. Nice little car. Timing belt gave out every 40k, like clockwork. Mechanics told us that was the one known flaw with Subies, have they fixed it? (I heard somewhere they went to chains instead of belts...)

Old NFO said...

LOL, you should have seen me the first day when I went from at GTO to a Yukon... Thought I was gonna roll it getting back on the interstate!!! o^O

Anonymous said...

>Drang - I think that was with the early 2.2L motors. My 2.5L is scheduled for 100K between timing belts, and since it's a DOHC, you don't want to break a timing belt (new valves, possible damage to pistons, head, valve guides, for starters - never happened to me even though I stretched one to 112K). Not sure, but I think they use chain(s) for the 3.0L O-6. >Larry - You may call your 03 a Scoobytruck, but it's nothing more than an Outback wagon with an identity crisis!
- JT

Firehand said...

I'll be damned if I'm lying on my back on snow-covered gravel to save a couple bucks.
Ah, memories... I remember once shoveling the snow out of a spot in the driveway so I'd have a dry spot to lay on while I crawled under my Courier to change the slave cylinder on the tranny. Because I could barely afford a rebuilt cylinder and could NOT afford to pay someone else to do it.

As to changing the earl, shortly after I got the VFR800, I did that, and the coolant; no matter the numbers said they had some time left. Seeing the coolant, damn glad I did, too.

Larry said...

"You may call your 03 a Scoobytruck, but it's nothing more than an Outback wagon with an identity crisis!"

I'm certain you have a point to make, maybe one day you can tell me what it was.

FYI the Brat was also built from a standard Subi (L series) wagon, the Brat and Baja are collectively known as "scoobytrucks".

Will said...

Old NFO:

"LOL, you should have seen me the first day when I went from at GTO to a Yukon... Thought I was gonna roll it getting back on the interstate!!! o^O"

Wouldn't be the first one. I righted more than one of those that I found laying on it's side in the middle of the freeway. The Yukon/Tahoe seemed easy to tip over during hard lane changes. The equivalent full size Bronco/Expedition not so much, as I never saw one flipped. My '86 Bronco 302 was driven like a giant sports car, and impressed me greatly.

Scott J said...

Apologies for tooting my own horn but it's in the mid 30's here in Alabama but I was able to replace the accessory belt on the Pilot in my 65 degree garage.

I'm spoiled rotten having had such a nice space to work in for the past decade. It was a major contributing factor to homesickness when I decided we'd try relocation at the end of 2011.

I'm so thankful we were able to move back.

The belt change was a frustrating reminder of why I'm not fond of transverse mount engines.

Canthros said...

NEVAR ENUFF SCOOBIE^W

FWIW:

My mother drove a Subaru from before I was six until last year, a bit over 25 years, going through ~5 separate cars, all purchased used and, until the last, generally run pretty hard.

I've been driving a WRX for almost a decade. I don't drive much or terribly hard, and I confess to rather a lot of benign neglect on my poor riceburner. I will miss it terribly when it goes, though: I got stuck with a Ford Focus for a couple days about two years ago due to some other asshole's thoughtfulness in wiping out the rear corner of my (parked!) car. Nice enough car, I guess, but handling was depressing and the driving experience was so thrilling I had trouble staying awake on my two mile commute.

I'm glad your new-to-you Forester is treating you well, Tam. Here's hoping for many years of faithful service.

Earl said...

Changing earl? I like this post, I like all your posts.

Dun Karinn said...

Saw this pic today and thought about your Subie quest.

http://imgur.com/m2N1r

Hope it doesn't get lost in the spam filter.

Justthisguy said...

I miss telephone booths. Manuel's in Atlanta used to have an actual old-fashioned wooden one.

Subarus are like Glocks. They work just fine, but there is no romanticism about them.

Ah, well, when we reach a certain age... And yeah, I'm older than Tam, and feeling it m'self.

john said...

I know what a telephone booth is, yet I am surpeised that you know who Tommi Makinen is! Impressed...

Evyl Robot Michael said...

"Ask your parents what a "telephone booth" is, kids. Basically, back when telephones had to be connected to buildings with a wire, we put up tiny glass buildings on the street in which to attach phones that anybody could use and get their nasty germs all over. The next time that old movie The Matrix comes on the classic movie channel, look for the scene where Trinity nearly gets squooshed by the truck. That thing she's standing in is a telephone booth."

You mean, kind of like a tardis? ;)