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Thread: rkrenicki's 1992 Subaru Sambar SDX - 2020-02-07 - Hibernation...

  1. #151
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    It has been several months, and in the meantime I have largely been doing some maintenance tasks. The distributor had a failing oil seal, so the cap was accumulating oil. Subaru does not sell the seal on its own, so I ended up replacing the entire distributor base. I also replaced the valve cover bolts to spruce it up a little bit since they were only $1 each.
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    Last night, I decided to tackle the wiring situation. It has a super simple wiring harness, and I have probably doubled the amount of wiring behind the dash with things like the auxiliary lighting, LED Headlights, power windows, and radio. Since all of these things were done at different times, it just became an intermingled mess of wires, relays, fuses, and random connectors. I also never really cleaned behind the dash, it is still covered in JDM dirt. Here is what it looked like just after the dash coming off:
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    I am working systematically across the dash, relocating relays and zip-tying all of the cables so that there will be none exposed, and cleaning up all of the dirt while I am in there.

    I have also found that Subaru Japan has been discontinuing parts left and right as of late.. I have been busy sourcing and acquiring spare parts to keep this truck on the road for another 25 years. I now have several boxes full of hoses, gaskets, bearings, bushings, etc.. My own little parts store in my garage just to keep it going. In my research, there is a surprising number of mechanical parts shared with the DL/GL platform and the Justy. I bought a NOS steering universal joint from Subaru here in the US that was made back in 1995. This particular part has been discontinued in Japan for quite a while and is not available in Japan or Europe, but it has been sitting quietly in a US warehouse for 24 years waiting for me to put it on my shelf.
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  2. #152
    t3h ub3r m3mber dodik's Avatar
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    Just saw one of these this morning by my son's school. They are very tiny.
    Good luck on the wiring, its a finicky job but once its done its easy to fix any issues that may arise in the future. You of all people probably know this the most that if its messy back there you will get gremlins and after a few years you tend to forget what goes where.
    98 GT -- Intro to Subaru. Cooked HG, dead suspension, and lots of ricer mods.
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  3. #153
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodik View Post
    Just saw one of these this morning by my son's school. They are very tiny.
    Good luck on the wiring, its a finicky job but once its done its easy to fix any issues that may arise in the future. You of all people probably know this the most that if its messy back there you will get gremlins and after a few years you tend to forget what goes where.
    Yep, I am fixing those gremlins now, actually. This will also give me a chance to finish my gauge setup and leave provisions for the additional lighting that I have not yet installed, but still allow me to remove the dash without cutting wires or zip-ties. My goal is to have 2 or 3 interconnects between the "bulkhead" and the dashboard, and no more. Fun fact, the stock interconnect between the two is just one connector with 10 wires.

  4. #154
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    Wow, there are a lot of things that I neglected to post here.

    Here is a progress shot of the cleaning of wiring and dirt:
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    I moved the gauges to be on the A-pillar instead of the dash. I ran the wires inside the pillar and used some Rivnuts to attach the meters.
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    The dash was very faded from many years of sitting in the Japanese sun.. I decided to try to fix it with a heat gun, and while not perfect.. it is quite a bit better.

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  5. #155
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    I ended up replacing the mirrors with the larger Van style mirror, which has a second attachment point to support itself. I also installed new door handles and plastic inserts around the door handle, also from the Van.
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    Flash forward about a month, and I started buttoning the dashboard back up. I had to make some last second wiring adjustments because of various fitment issues, but this is largely how it ended up looking underneath.
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    All back together, and I finally hooked up my Defi Sports Display F that I had in the box for almost a full year.
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    Flash forward another month or so.. I finally had the bed sprayed with bedliner. This was something I was planning from day one, and I never got around to it.

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  6. #156
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    And the last update, for now.

    After some trimming off the hinges and installing some new bolts and screws.. I have the powder coated sides back on, and the backrack back on.
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    I also found that the engine mount was torn, so I swapped that out.
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    And last but not least.. I ended up repainting the engine "hood". It has taken a bump or two in its life, and the paint was less than perfect. I am still waiting for the paint to fully cure before putting the plate back on, but it looks 10x better than before.
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  7. #157
    SLi Resident thenines''s Avatar
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    If you bring "sammie" to WBM don't be surprised if your missing a window crank-one of my is broken
    Legacys are like potato chips-You can't stop at just one!

  8. #158
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    There has not been a whole lot of changes since June. Sammie has been in hibernation for the winter since they started putting down salt in October, and he has been collecting empty boxes in the bed to be brought to recycling come the spring. I did change up the gauge setup a little bit though. I got rid of the Defi Sports Display F and replaced it with an Advance ZD. The only real function I used of the DSDF was the speedometer and perhaps the water temp.. both of which the ZD is more than capable of doing. The ZD is also much easier to read at a glance with its high-contrast OLED display. I also have the ability to place the display in more places since it uses the normal Defi mounting system. I haven't fully decided on its current location, but it will be somewhere in this vicinity.
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    Otherwise, Wicked Big Meet was pretty cool. We had a freak rain storm in the middle of the day, but it was pretty short and we all got back to normal pretty quickly.
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    I did end up taking home second place this year, but by far the highlight of the day was when Chris Atkinson was walking by, I offered for him to hop in.
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  9. #159
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    He looks right at home!
    Legacys are like potato chips-You can't stop at just one!

  10. #160
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    Yesterday was 3 years since Sammie arrived in the US. I am eagerly awaiting spring so he can stretch his tires again

    I also apparently need to update the photos in the first post! They are VERY out of date!

  11. #161
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    I finally put all of the Subarus in a row today. Finding a time when all of them are home during the daylight is not the easiest thing in the world.

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  12. #162
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    There have been no significant changes to Sammie since the gauge changes late last year.. but that is all about to change. I have all of the parts on hand for three big modifications, and work has started now that Sammie is in hibernation for the winter:

    First: OEM Oil Cooler. All of the Supercharged Sambars with automatic transmissions, and all of the Supercharged Akabou vehicles regardless of transmission type have a small water-cooled heat exchanger for the oil. It is similar to that on the EJ and EZ engines, just smaller. It does require changing out the Thermostat housing, and one of the long metal pipes heading up to the radiator to plumb it in, but it will be a good way to keep the oil temperatures down. I have only installed the heat exchanger itself so far, but the rest is coming soon.
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    Second: The 1998-2012 Supercharged Akabou engines had smaller, lighter, and forged pistons. The Akabou and JA vehicles from the same time period also had different "heavy duty" rings. I found a few people in Japan who have replaced their Pistons and Rings with these versions and report a slight compression increase (due to a different chamber shape), and a 20% fuel economy increase! In the meantime, here is a picture of a new piston next to the one that was damaged back in 2017.
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    Third: Many versions of the Sambar had Electric Power Steering available. I have all of the parts to add this to my truck, but I will need to figure out the wiring. Out of the 15 or so wires needed, one of them is not on my particular diagrams. My dash is currently removed and the parts are mounted, but no work will finish until I can figure out that last wire.
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  13. #163
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    I pulled the bed off yesterday to give access for two of the projects. This is the first time I have pulled the bed since it was bedlined, I ended up needing to cut a little bit of the liner where it met the cab. I will have to figure out how to re-seal that when this goes all back together.

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  14. #164
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    Todays progress
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    All of the ancillaries and head are off. I still need to figure out how to remove the oil pan like this.. I may need to pull the CV first before I can get that out.

  15. #165
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    I managed to get the pan off.. boy I sealed that on very well last time. With the pan off, the pistons came out and were replaced one by one. I weighed the old and new piston crowns, and the new ones are a little under 10% lighter (about 18 grams lighter each).
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    I installed all 4 pistons, and it looks pretty good. I need to get some new batteries for my torque wrench before I can start buttoning it up, but it is largely reassembly from here in.
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  16. #166
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    Reassembly continues: New 2002+ model MLS head gasket installed.
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    Head reattached
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    I also carefully spun the engine in various cam positions, and I am happy to report that the engine is still Non-Interference after all of these changes. I whipped on a new timing belt, even though the 3 year old one was just fine. Other than that, I am in mostly in a holding pattern until some items arrive from Japan. I decided to try a new vendor this time around, and they are being less than fast.

  17. #167
    Administrator rkrenicki's Avatar
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    While doing some research over the last few days, I have discovered that the english translated service manual has a critical error when it comes to the head bolt torque. The torque pattern indicated is backwards (it shows the removal order), and also only lists the first of 5 steps to properly torque. If I had followed those directions, the bolts would have less than half of the torque specified in the Japanese manual. Luckily, I caught it early, and it is now properly torqued.

    The last items that I have been waiting for have finally arrived at my proxy. I just submitted the request to have them all shipped to me via DHL, so I hope to see them in the next week or so. I also have a small pile of metal brackets with various levels of surface rust, that I am going to drop off at the powder coater on Monday. I do not need them to be particularly flashy, just protected for the long term since they are no longer available new. I hope to have them all back in the next week or two as well.

    I did install the new coolant pipes the other day while I wait for everything to show up. There are some new brackets in my above order, so they are only temporarily held in with one of the old rusty brackets right now.
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