Scooby News

25 September 2004 - Status Updates

There hasn't been much need for updates in the past year and a half. I've road-tuned a few more portions of the ECU so that it starts up easier in the extreme cold here (and the addition of a block heater), idle more stable at colder engine temps, and slightly better fuel economy at cruise. I've also made the final upgrade to the front brakes with the addition of cryo-treated slotted front rotors from Diversified Cryogenics (a local company for me),Axxis Ultimate compound brake pads, and SuperBlue racing brake fluid. Aside from new pads the rotors should last pretty much forever. For performance I've only noted much better bite and slightly less fading with these new pads and rotors. I was mostly interested in them for the longevity though. I also put on new all-seasons as the trusty old Yokohamas I had one were all but gone. They have been replaced with new Yokohama AVS dB S2s. I've noticed slightly worse performance on gravel but much better dry and far superior wet performance with these. When I had the car up for the tires I also found the oil filter was leaking a little oil around the seal so I replaced that when I put the new brakes on. I had one more scare with the oil when checking the oil and seeing it a quart low even though the previous week when I had checked it was maybe only a 1/4 quart low. I'm still not sure what had happened but I had checked for leaks and found nothing but then after adding about a half quart of oil it was then above the full line so it must have just not shown on the dipstick correctly. I'm proud to say that car does not burn nor leak hardly any oil at all between changes. I feel that is the key to the longevity of the turbo kit on that car, which has now surpassed 70k miles with the turbocharger. There is finally an AWD dyno in town so I will have to get it down there for more tuning. Can you believe I haven't installed those gauges from over a year ago? Just can't find a good way to mount them, and I'm loathe to mess with the oil system since it has been running so well for me so far. Soon...

12 January 2003 - New year, new problems

After a very mild winter thus far in Minnesota we have finally come back to our usual cold temperatures here. On the 8th of January the temps were close to 50F then two days later it was -5F. For those with mostly stock cars starting in these temperatures may not be much of a problem, but for a car with a different engine computer that has never seen temps that cold things can be a bit more complicated. I almost wasn't able to start it when it was that cold. But it did finally light up and drove home fine. I think now is the time to invest in a block heater for the thing just to keep that issue from coming back up. Next week I'll be installing the gauges I picked up with the help of Total Performance Center and hopefully installing that block heater even sooner.

23 December - End of the year update/review

Many things have been happening of late. There was a local meeting of the Subaru community earlier this month I attended where I met a lot more new local owners who are eager to work on making their cars perform better. I ordered some gauges to install in the car in order to keep an eye on things better. I'm also discussing the idea of doing some work to the intake manifold and finalizing some of the wiring for the Haltech. I'm thinking of creating a poll for the new year as to what direction I should take with this car next. As of right now I plan on buying another car in addition to this one in the summer. I'm not sure yet if I want this to remain my daily driver and buy a competition car or vice-versa. Regardless the summer is still 6 months from now so I'll be doing more to this car before then.

26 November - Chuck Rolland Memorial Drive

Early Saturday morning on 23 November local car enthusiast Chuck Rolland lost his life in a car accident. To show our support two local car clubs, Volksport and Minnesota Sport Compacts (both of which Chuck was an active member in), organized a memorial drive to the funeral service. Approximately 35 cars and owners who had known Chuck showed for the drive. I met Chuck at an AARRF track event where he impressed me with his enthusiasm for all sorts of cars. Chuck will be sorely missed throughout many of the local car circles.

20 October - Lake Superior ProRally

What a blast! I don't think I've had as great a time as I did out in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan with my car ever. Thanks to some cold, wet, and sometimes snowy conditions I really got to see how the car performs in the worst of weather. I'm happy to say that it not only performed well, it even made it a fun drive. My personal favorite was when I was running a few minutes late getting to Brockway Mountain before they closed it and going all out on the twisty stretch of M26 on the shores of Lake Superior west of Copper Harbor. I now know the car can get a foot or so of air and still the suspension holds strong (though I don't know how much more it can take). I met with some i-Club members as well before the rally for some drinks as well as looked over their cars at the Parc Expose on Friday. Many people could have done without the cold rain but I thought it was just perfect for some good spectating on the stage roads. Indeed it was. I was only able to see two stages, SS5 and Brockway (albeit from a distance). Check out the motorsport section for more pictures from the event.

6 October - Just coasting along...

Work is long and time is short, but that's how it goes. I helped out the AARRF at one of their high-speed track events since the Roo is never in shape to compete. One of these days all that wiring will be tucked away for good, but not until I'm satisfied with how I've got things wired. I think I'm going to invest in some sort of terminal from Radio Shack to bus all the I/O wiring for easy access. I had some troubles with the alarm system cutting out some key engine stats and keeping the car from running but these have been solved (I'm not an electronics expert). I've also made the decision to save up for a transmission rather than get suspension now. I feel that a solid gearbox will allow me a lot more fun than off-road suspension.

There was also a MN Sport Compacts meet in Duluth on September 29th. Six cars from the Twin Cities drove up for a cold and windy meet next to Lake Superior. It was a successful meet as quite a few locals turned out for the event. Not much in the way of AWD cars at the event though Duluth and the surrounding area boasts quite a few 4WD cars for their utility value in that clime. There was a very nice SVX and probably one or two DSMs representing for us. I was surprised at how many were interested in what was under the hood of my stock-looking car. Maybe some more locals will take the plunge and turbocharge an RS for kicks!

I plan on being at LSPR to do whatever I end up doing there. Before that I hope to finalize some cold-weather tuning so that I can leave my car in the capable hands of whoever ends up with the keys while I crew/compete/volunteer the event. The car is still very finicky but it should be at least running 90% for the event. Some new graphics have been added for this website and for my sponsor, Total Performance Center, Inc.

20 August - The Scooby reaches 50k miles!

On my way home from work the Scooby rolled over 50,000 miles. I had expected to make that mileage while still up in Bemidji for the rally but since I wasn't driving all over getting video footage I didn't quite make it. I pulled over and snapped a pic of the odometer just for the sake of archiving this stuff. This marks approximately 45k miles on the car with the turbo kit installed, one of the longer lasting set-ups among other RS turbos.

15-17 August - Ojibwe Forests ProRally

The weather turned a bit cooler for the rally which was all for the better for the car. I stayed in a bed and breakfast near the north entrance of Lake Itasca State Park. There was a bit of road construction near the B&B which made for a longer drive on gravel roads and some good practice on a very wide dirt road. After a lot of mud, dirt, wind, rain, big bumps, and a little bit of air the car is still going strong. No performance issues were had other than for a slight miscalculation in a refueling stop which forced me to put a few gallons of 87 octane fuel just to get back to Bemidji. Rally headquarters was about 45 minutes from where I stayed.

As I forgot to bring any sort of identification from the website I was not able to get a press pass so I volunteered to crew for Ralph Kosmides and his Group N WRX STi. At the time I didn't know he was the current leader in the Group N championship so I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Regardless I was paired with a legendary crew chief (or so it seemed since every other factory or large service crew knew him) and it was a great experience. Ralph finished well and still retains his lead over the Group N competitors.

Though I didn't get to drive my car as much as I had wanted to (especially since I was so close to making the 50k mile mark) I still had some time to play with it on my drive to and from my lodging. Though the mud is not totally apparent on these pictures I did want to pull over and get some good photos of my car in the woods.

14 July 2002 - Dog Days of Summer RallyCross - Arkansaw, WI

It was a gorgeous day for a rallycross. The weather had been good for the sprints the day before though the courses were deemed to be a bit dry. The landowner watered the course down for us prior to the event, though on watching the parade lap we knew we were in for some slow times. Even the AWD cars were sliding around a bit much. The dry dust had combined with the water and grass to create a slime. The first heats were rather slow, though I took my time and set some competitive times. Many of the 2WD competitors, even those with rally tires, lost several seconds stuck in the mud. I packed up and left after the lunch break after a satisfying time muddying up the car. This rallycross was my first of the season and all I wanted was a shakedown and a little tuning with the computer. I was glad to see no issues of overheating though I was reaching the rev limiter a lot running the course completely in first gear. The intercooler was getting very hot after running the course and idling while waiting in line for the next run. I think a sprayer is in order sooner rather than later.

I took some pictures of the car after the event and will post more as soon as I extract them from my video footage. Here is one of the whole car the day after the event in rallycross regalia. Here is a close-up of the mud that caked onto the front wheel well. More to come as I get them edited.

photo courtesy of Jesse Mullan