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Subaru surgery, back under the knife - Fuel filler fun......

Marina door handles

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Change of pace today, re bushing the transverse suspension arms. I tried pressing the bushes out using threaded bar and sockets but they were properly seized in place.  My next idea was to make a press, I have a 20 ton hydraulic hub puller but its attached to a claw arrangement, I just need to fabricate some kind of cradle and I would have a useable press.  Great in theory but it would take rather a lot of time to figure out and make it all secure, might do this in future though.

Decided to go a bit old school, rubber bushes will melt and I have a half decent of blow torch, so...


Nothing like playing with fire and making a mess! Happily this method worked.

Quick spot of lunch and do some cat entertaining....


Then back down to fitting the new bushes, I figured that with clean lubricated holes (ooo errr) they should go in with a bit of persuasion. I decided to go threaded bar, sockets and a track control arm remover tool for some proper tool abuse....


I used the track control remover as it has a nice big hollow section for the end of the bush to pop into.

Final result.


That will do for today... 

I would have loved to have fitted them and the new subframe but I can't as the fuel tank is still out and I haven't tested the brake lines yet. I have to tell my self it is getting there but it just doesn't feel like it at times!

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An update of various jobs....

The 8mm fuel line arrived (cupro nickel/cunifer stuff) so I pulled the new tank out of its card board home and attempted to make up a new line up to replace one of the plastic lines  (which failed on removal).

First attempt at making a line roughly the right shape.


Actually attaching it to the tank, looking okay I think..


Hmmm not sure about that, looks like I have been a bit optimistic with the shaping and the pipe will possibly clash with the body.


After a bit of pipe cutter action.....


Then I turned my attention to the car itself as I need to repair the pipe on that side of things.


Getting a neat cut was a pain due to access I ended up using a Dremel, flaring the steel pipe was not straight forward either but I am reasonably happy with the end result. I just need some more pipe clips, then it will be ready to re fit.

Back to the brakes. I realised I hadn't done anything with  the cylinders pistons, so before I dropped off the hubs to have new bearings pressed in I removed them and set about removing the remains of the little brake pipe extensions, the unions were in a horrible state and were basically crumbling when you tried to put a brake spanner on them.


I thought they were completely goosed but I applied loads of plus gas and then stuck the unions in the vice and was a bit amazed when I managed to get the pistons to move independently of them!



Ta dah! As they say, not sure of the cylinders pistons are really useable will test them and make sure they are not leaking before I commit to re using them.

Next week I should get the hubs/knuckles back from the garage and the trailing arms (they were pressing big bushes into those for me) then I will have everything I need to put the car back together......

Edited because my brain had forgotten the words for brake cylinder!


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5 hours ago, omegod said:

I've used copper heating pipe for fuel hard lines in the past, very easy to manipulate and can't think of any reason why it would not be advisable  

If there's any movement due to vibration it will work harden and crack, I think?

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Just now, GeorgeB said:

If there's any movement due to vibration it will work harden and crack, I think?

I used 10mm narrow bore copper heating on a Range Rover and a Ssanyong Musso - both I had for a couple of years after the 'fix' with no problems for fuel and ATF cooling lines when replacement steel ones have been £££ or unobtanium.
Extra P clips to clamp.
(Nobody died within my ownership)

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Today I have been mostly trying to chuck the suspension back together (the hubs and arms are back from the garage, fresh bearings and main bushes fitted) so I can check my brake pipe handy work for leaks. Firstly I fitted the trailing arms, then attempted to fit the shock absorbers only to discover that the nuts which hold the top mount to the body that I definitely, left in a safe place to be re fitted had gone walkies...   Dug out some nylocks in the correct thread pitch which will have to do just as place holders whilst the car is off the road. The shocks went on, then I fitted the hub/knuckles and tried to line up the brake hose with the flangy bit on the shock absorber.....

I have even added some red circles to highlight my fuck up!


I initially thought that maybe I need to add another suspension arm to compress the strut more.  So I dug out the new-ish shiny subframe and jacked that back into place and then fought one one the transverse arms into place. Obviously this made no difference! But at least I now know that the brake lines didn't clash with the subframe, I had got that bit right....

After some more head scratching, I had a bit of a realisation ,  although the struts are not handed as such, the way they are put together with the top mounts, means that they become handed.... 

So off the strut came, to be swapped with the other side...

It now lines up! 


Now I need to do the same on the other side and make up some short brake pipes to go between the hose and the cylinder. I may try and clamp the cylinders so I can bleed the brakes with out re building the drum brakes completely. I also need to track down various missing nuts and bolts, I think I have a garage poltergeist with a bolt fetish, very annoying!

Its quite satisfying seeing it slowly come back together, although I am going to have to take it apart again after I have finished testing the brakes to get the fuel tank back in!


Hopefully have another update tomorrow.


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Today I finally finished the brake lines, made up the short run sections to the cylinders....



Then figured I could just cable tie the cylinders to allow for bleeding without having to rebuild the  brakes.


Then I dug out my reverse bleed kit and attacked each side in turn. The internal pipes did spring leaks at the joins which was a tad distressing. I tried tightening them up as a first step, put some magical diagnostic paper towel under the joins and re tried...   


Success, the Forester now has working rear brake lines again! Can't quite believe this took most of the day to sort!

Next up will be sorting a bit of surface rust followed by fitting the fuel tank.



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1 hour ago, Back_For_More said:

Glad you're doing this before I may have to...... Top marks for the successful 1st time back together. 

Any reason you left the tank out this time? I may have missed that bit..... 

The brake lines run under the  fuel tank before heading into the cabin. I wanted to make sure they bled up okay and cleared the rear subframe before I re fit the tank.  If I had more faith in my handy work I would have done things in a different order!  

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53 minutes ago, andy18s said:

I never knew they came with drum brakes as every one I've seen has discs in the rear.

Yep, them's the brakes......

Non turbo Foresters of that era definitely seem to come with rear drums not sure about the none turbo  version of the Impreza (which is basically the same car underneath). 

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Right actual update time. I have been busy firstly doing a little rust treatment and prevention, then it was fuel tank time, yes its finally time to hoist the tank into position, which is a tad daunting as I am working over a pit, funnily enough dropping the shiny new tank into hard concrete below is not part of the plan. 

Blurry cam in full force....


First snag one of the brake pipes didn't quite clear the tank...


So I had to drop  the tank and gently manipulate the pipe into a better shape, fiddly but not really a big deal with cunnifer, its not as quite flexible as copper pipe but its not too bad.


That's more like it. 

Next job was plumb it all in and then test it for leaks, which meant running the engine with most of the exhaust off, it sounds great! And yes I did have all the doors and windows open in the garage......

Second snag, one of the original pipes on the car body side sprang a leak, when I tried to remove the hose from it the end decided to stay in the hose .....



That section of pipe was then cut off inside the car and replaced with hose like the evap line pipe I had repaired previously





Re tested with the engine running, and this time no leaks, this car plumbing malarky is not that hard after all!

With all that done I can fit the subframe but its covered in some deep scratches  were it was sat in the breakers yard. The scratches/gouges are down to the metal in places, no rust yet but its just a matter of time, so it was out with the paint removal disc on the grinder, a brief clean up and a coating of red oxide.


Next up will be some black stone chip followed by some cavity wax, then I will be fitting it....



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2nd update in one day WTF is going on! To be fair I actually did the work below today, the stuff in the previous post was spread over the weekend.

Anyway I gave the subframe 3 coats of stone chip and once it was dry, offered it up and then coated it in Dynax cavity wax stuff.



Once loosely bolted in place I thought I best see if I can re fit the drive shafts. Managed  to fit them with out separating the hubs from the shock absorbers, so no need to disconnect the newly fitted brake lines. When you write this all down and stick pictures up it looks like it was a five minute job, I wish it had been!


Its starting to look car like, its tempting to throw everything back together but I need to get the subframe aligned properly, so I have some special bolts on order for that. The way the subframe bolts up is a bit weird, there's potential for misalignment and I don't want the car to crab down the road! 

That's all for today, thanks for reading. 


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  • 4 weeks later...

Bloody hell its June and this is taking way way too long...

Over the last few weeks things have gone a bit wobbly, it all started when my Elderly Mother in law fell and broke her arm, creating loads of back and forth trying to look after the Inlaws. Its been chaos but I have now pretty much finished the mechanicals on Freddy the Forester. 

The subframe alignment bolts arrived, allowing me to set the subframe, re fit all the arms......


Then the drums were rebuilt using some pics I took when stripping them. I am glad I took the pictures as there doesn't appear to be much on line for Subaru full size drums and I haven't got a manual for the car. Like any other drum brake I have worked they are fiddly bastards but actually easier to assemble than the diddy versions you find that are handbrake only, embedded into rear discs.


Then I checked my bank balance and decided that I really cannot stomach replacing the exhaust at the moment but its okay its in beautiful condition, I had it stored in a tank of salt water to maintain its fabulous appearance....


Yes I did put that thing back on and yes I am not proud!

Next job was to change the rear diff oil as I have no record of that being done..


Finally after 2 attempts to bleed the brakes and a wash it was good for a road test.


Yes its finally back on the road. It seems a lot better but due to time constraints I couldn't go far so it still needs  a proper shake down but that's it, basically it, its done!


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  • Marina door handles changed the title to Subaru surgery, Forester actually finished - kinda... For now anyway
  • 7 months later...

The Subaru is back, back to being a bit broken.....

The steering was becoming a little stiff on turning right (this was back in early December but it wasn't too bad), after a bit of prodding , poking and head scratching I had come to the conclusion it was the rack. I did a bit of a shopping around and couldn't find an affordable  straight replacement or refurb rack so settled for a 2nd hand unit. I did find a company that could refurb my old rack but I didn't want the car off the road for an indefinite length of time. 

Over the last couple of weeks I have ended up using the car a bit more than intended and the steering has got a lot worse.  So I finally decided with a bit of time off between shifts and a bit of a break in the weather now is the time to pull my finger out and get the rack changed over. 

Firstly, (and a couple of weeks before I made the decision to actually get on with this job!) I cleaned and painted the 2nd hand rack as this will clearly ensure it works properly.....




Don't really want to fit something that looks manky.

Partly down to the pit being flooded (and due to issues cannot empty it at the moment) and the fact that I didn't want to wheel the MG out of the garage again, I decided to do this on the drive. Fortunately I have an exceedingly toasty, set of insulated and water proof overalls, like a small child's romper suit but in adult size! 

Its been a while since I have removed or re fitted a steering rack, actually the last car I did this too was my Scimitar and that doesn't really count as I had the body off the chassis at the time, access was good... 

This on the other had will be a bit more fiddly to work on.


First job, try and detach the steering column, I can see the bolt but cannot get to it, so I removed the air box and filter, still cannot get to it. Then decide the best way is to remove the off side front drive shaft. Fortunately I have done that quite a few times on this car for various reason, so out that came..  

Steering column now undone, next awkward part, the hydraulic lines, why are these always in an awkward spot?! In this case very awkwardly positioned above the subframe the rack was bolted to. I had a real fight to get these undone, had to really loosen the rack itself and wiggle it around for the best angle of attack. After some swearing and the use of my brake pipe spanners they came free. Finally to free the steering rack completely I had to drop the front anti roll bar and the exhaust manifolds to extricate it.

And its out....


Its clearly got a small oil leak but apart from that nothing obvious without stripping it down

In with the new..


Re fitting never quite the reverse of removal is it? I just could not get the smaller hydraulic line to screw in, the angle and access just made it impossible.

What they looked like from beneath...


I decided to take stock and figure out if you could remove more bits from the engine bay (preferably not the engine !) to get better access. On rummaging about I realised a large bracket was one of the bigger items obscuring my view so out came a 12mm socket and off it came to reveal....


There they are! And I can even get an arm in and suitable spanner to get at them (photo taken after the event).

That job done it was just a case of buttoning everything up, which is a glib way of saying that I .... Deep breath.....

Re connect the steering column, torqued up the tie rods, greased the inner tie rod swivels, fitted the bellows, fitted the track rod ends, re fit the subframe lower plate, re attach the front anti roll bar, re fit both exhaust manifolds,  re fit the bracket which obscures your view of the hydraulic lines, re fit the hydraulic lines to the pump/reservoir, top up the PAS reservoir, re fit the the drive shaft, re attach the steering knuckle to the strut, re fit the caliper and  re attach part of the ABS wiring, re fit the air filter housing and the air box gubins.. Bleed the power steering ..

Re fit the wheels - lower the car, torque up the hub nut and stake it like a Vampire, worry about the tracking... park that thought, torque up the wheel nuts, shut bonnet, take overalls off.... Road test! 

Road test went well, needs tracking but its no longer threatening to seize up.. 😐

Nice to do a mechanical job that unlike my work on the Rover (mostly body work) that doesn't take months, very satisfying.

Anyway thanks for reading, assuming you made it this far down! 


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  • Marina door handles changed the title to Subaru surgery, back under the knife - steering rack time......
  • 2 months later...

I'm sure, as a Subaru expert, you're going to tell me there's an easy way to do it, but I've just spent 4 hours changing the spark plugs on my 2010 Forester & I feel I deserve a medal! Taking the air box from the offside, disconnecting the MAP sensor and removing the battery from the nearside is really easy, giving one a false sense of ease regarding the rest of it, but blimey, that's some job! Fortunately I have quite small hands, which helps, but the job's still incredibly fiddly! No wonder Subaru only recommend a plug change every 60,000 miles! In fact, my Forester is at 90,000 miles, so I've jumped the gun a bit, and I'm sure it'll be a (tiny) bit easier next time! 

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56 minutes ago, Andrew353w said:

I'm sure, as a Subaru expert, you're going to tell me there's an easy way to do it, but I've just spent 4 hours changing the spark plugs on my 2010 Forester & I feel I deserve a medal! Taking the air box from the offside, disconnecting the MAP sensor and removing the battery from the nearside is really easy, giving one a false sense of ease regarding the rest of it, but blimey, that's some job! Fortunately I have quite small hands, which helps, but the job's still incredibly fiddly! No wonder Subaru only recommend a plug change every 60,000 miles! In fact, my Forester is at 90,000 miles, so I've jumped the gun a bit, and I'm sure it'll be a (tiny) bit easier next time! 

Ha ha - no the plugs are awkward buggers! I suspect as yours is more modern (multi valve heads?) the plugs might be in even deeper than on my older model.  When I did mine I removed as many things on either side as possible, including hoiking the screen wash reservoir up a bit. Mind you, do make sure they are in nice and securely - having a plug unwind itself and pop out of the head whilst driving makes the most amazing racket, I thought I had blown a hole in the exhaust manifold or possibly worse! 

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If yours is a 2010 model, you're welcome to learn from my experience. Looking back on my "day of the sparking plugs" I'd suggest tacking the job in this way:

(Offside plugs first)

1/ Disconnect the wiring loom from the MAP sensor, unscrew the Jubilee clip holding the air tube to the air filter & remove the air filter, together with the attached plastic container underneath the filter housing.   

2/ Using the shortest 12mm socket and the thinnest ratchet you have, unscrew the bolts securing the coil packs to the engine block. (If you find your socked & ratchet aren't thin enough loosen the bolts stop now and nip out to your local motor factors & buy some that are!) Remove both bolts.

3/ Follow the wires back from the coil packs to the pint where the wires are secured to the engine block by a plastic clip. Ease the clip away from the block. Doing this helps the wiring move more easily. 

4/ G-e-n-t-l-y ease out the coil pack from the front plug. This one's slightly easier than the back one. Turning the coil pack through 180 degrees will assist easing it out, as this will expose the connector, which you can then disconnect by finger pressure. I didn't do this, but it might help. With the coil pack able to move without the wiring to restrict it, turn it and ease it towards the front of the car, with the long sides of the coil pack body vertical Remember the rubber part that slides over the plug is flexible, so there's just enough room to ease it slowly out.

5/ The plug removal's relatively easy, but having socket extensions of varying lengths will help. You'll need a small sized plug socket, with a rubber or magnetic insert, to hold the plug as it comes out. The plugs are 'long reach' ones, so they come out a long way. As it does, the socket will come up against the side of the engine bay, so before it does, change the extension for a shorter one! Oh, and given the confined space, you'll be moving your ratchet through only a few degrees each time, so it's a long slow process..... Replacing the plug is the reverse of the above, and, for once, it really is! DON'T put the coil pack yet!

6/ Removal of the rear coil pack is harder and more fiddly, but with the wiring disconnected it's a little easier. moving it down towards the underside of the engine helps, and again, turning the coil pack through 90 degrees helps as well.  The plug removal is as per the front plug, but it's even s-l-o-w-e-r..... Make sure both plugs are tightly screwed in, as you don't want to be going through all this to tighten them later!

7/ If you've remembered how the coil packs came away, you'll be able to "wiggle" them both back into their respective places. Turning them through 90 and  180 degrees does help, honestly! Once they're in place, you'll need to rotate them to reconnect the wiring, if you've disconnected it, as the snap-on connectors are much easier to access when the coil packs are upside-down! Turn the coil packs to align the holes for the securing bolts and manually screw the bolts in as far as you're able, then tighten them with the 12mm socket. 

8/ Replace the air filter body and filter, join up the pipes, tighten the jubilee clip and reconnect the MAP sensor.

You're half-way done, so go for a drive & check there are no engine management warning lights. Reward yourself with a mug of tea (or something stronger...) and I'll explain the near-side ones later, if this has helped!  

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Next fun issue with the Forester, is that it occasionally leaks fuel when filling up....  Being yelled at on loud speaker at a petrol station was embarrassing! 

My initial thought was the filler neck as these are known issue, I removed and checked the filler neck, its definitely crusty and on the way out but it didn't appear to be the actual culprit. Still it was heavily corroded so I ordered a new one and also the main hose that runs between the filler and the tank (the tank is brand new see page 1 of this thread!) .  

The new filler arrived and turned out to be the wrong version, this ended up hacked about and is being trial fitted to my Rover (see my Rover thread for more.... ) , so I ordered a different version and that was just the ticket. At that point in time the filler hose (rubber section, not the neck) still hadn't arrived, it was ordered from Japan so wasn't going to be quick.  Problem is I needed to move the car so I went to just fit the filler neck on its own.

On faffing uncomfortably under the car for a bit I skillfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and pulled the original rubber hose off ! Hmm it should not have just "pulled off" at all as it has a hose clamp on the fuel tank end...


I think the hose has had it and I suspect the hose clamp cannot be much good either...

Finally the new hose arrived, so time to crack on and get it fitted. The main issue with this job is access, were the tank connects to the hose is just above the rear subframe and is basically inaccessible. The best way to deal with this is to drop the subframe and which is a bit involved. I did want to use my garage pit but thanks to the constant damp weather I cannot get it empty of water (first world problems I guess), so next option do this on the drive. 

Jack the  car on the rear diff, support the body of the car on axle stands. Drop the crusty old exhaust out of the way then undo the four main subframe bolts and lower the diff which takes the subframe with it...

Subframe in place..


Subframe down...


Like working through a letter box!


A properly fiddly job but hopefully that will fix the incontinence! Just need to brave a trip to a petrol station to find out of its all good! 

Thanks for reading. 



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  • Marina door handles changed the title to Subaru surgery, back under the knife - Fuel filler fun......

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