Tag Archives: Subaru

Not doing much but I did do something

Yesterday was nothing special, but I did manage to get some things done. I got a massage, finally, and my leg feels great because of it. I also dropped by the local Harbor Freight and got a couple of things I needed to get, including a 12 pack of microfiber wash cloths, the big ones we can use in the shower. The ones I got over the summer are more like face cloths and are just a touch too small for use in the shower, but these are 4″ larger on either dimension so we can stretch them behind our backs and over the shoulders for cleaning where we can’t touch directly. I also picked up some super glue for repairing the Hummels the cat knocked off the shelf, and what is called a flap disk for prepping metal for welding, that fits in the angle grinder. I have a project for my camping friends that requires welding on a steel drum covered in what appears to be powdercoat that will require a lot of mechanical cleaning. This is not a secret project, I’m just repairing the smoker/grill that has a rusted out firebox, so we can have smoked brisket again.

On the Sprint-T front, I have discovered a local source of Subaru JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) take-out engines, cheap. As in complete engines with everything except the ECU for <$1000. I will have to find a flywheel and clutch to use a manual transmission, but really this is a great deal. Now if I only had the $1k and a means of getting it home. And from the same vendor they have the same model engine except for a manual transmission, complete with the Subaru manual transmission all ready to go into another AWD Subaru for <$1600. I contemplated using the OE Subaru to have AWD on the hotrod, but that would require stranding the straight tube front axle and all the money I dropped into prepping it. And TBH while it would probably be faster I'm not copacetic on how legal it would be for Goodguys autocross. I think it would be legal for SCCA Solo racing in A-Mod or E-Mod with ballast, which I would have to use for balance anyway because I can't move the powertrain right to balance the driver. And speaking of balance the front-to-rear balance would be off because the engine would be hanging in front of the front axle, ahead of where I would normally mount the radiator. That's a whole bunch of weight moved way forward of where it would be with the RWD setup, plus a lot of ballast to get to class weight that I could probably set right in front of the rear axle to get the weight back without increasing the polar moment too much but still because I would have to add about 1200 pounds of ballast to make class weight. There is a penalty for both super or turbocharging, and a penalty for AWD, and the weight penalties stack, plus a minimum weight for the class that I will be drastically under anyway. So, all things considered I will probably not install the unit as AWD and probably convert it to RWD by welding the center differential or replacing it with a spool and removing the front drive components. This will probably end up being the cheapest and quickest to build option I have, along with the most reliable and repairable, as all the repair parts are available at my local Subaru dealer.

The fun part comes with buying a standalone ECU to control all the performance functions on the engine. The engine has variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust that can be either bang-bang controlled or PWM controlled to get smooth transition between the available timing settings as RPM increases. Bang-bang control gets the same end performance benefit with a hard transition between modes at a set RPM that can vary depending on if the RPM is increasing or decreasing and is simpler to implement at the controller and for some ECU bang-bang is the only available mode. The downside is the abrupt change in engine power as the valve timing is changed. PWM uses the same engine hardware as bang-bang, but changes the control from either all the way off or all the way on to a little on that gets more on as RPM increases and less on as RPM decreases and gives more power than bang-bang control during the transition. The PWM control starts at a much lower RPM than bang-bang and usually doesn't get fully engaged until a higher RPM than the bang-bang control because the RPM parameters for bang-bang are chosen for the best average power, resulting in too much timing or too little depending on which side of the bang point you're looking at. So PWM gets more power than bang-bang during the transition, which is important for Autocross and SCCA Solo Racing. So I have to look for a controller that has PWM on the output channels that would be used for what Subaru calls AVCS. The fun part is ECU that have PWM valve timing control start at ~$900 and just keep going up from there . The Microsquirt controller is cheap ($314) and has bang-bang control but is a major pain to set up especially for the valve timing control. But for the price I could live with it especially compared to the Holley ECU. About the only thing the Holley could do that the Microsquirt can’t is PWM control over the variable valve timing, things it can do better are pretty much all related to the number of outputs the Holley ECU has that the Microsquirt doesn’t, like individual control of each injector and ignition coil because where the Ms has control of two injector drivers and two ignition drivers for 4 cylinders, meaning they have to be batch fire and waste fire respectively for a 4 cylinder engine, the Holley has 12 of each, meaning there will be at least 16 useless connections on the Holley, but better control over ignition and fuel. Also the Ms controller requires a software upgrade of about $100 on the laptop side and $209 in additional hardware to set the variable valve timing control and a few other variables where the Holley comes with all the software needed to control all the things (and at that price it better come with all the bells and whistles). Either one is going to need harness modifications to connect to all the things that require connections.

And of course whichever one I get will require dynotuning for anything more than just getting it to run, especially the engine speed to change the cam timing, so add a few hundred $ for that for both ECU.


OK, yesterday and today

Just checked to see where I left off yesterday, and I had just walked the 1.8 miles from Beltline to the Wal-Mart for the Hot Wheels Legacy event in the DFW area. I spent the next 90 minutes or so wandering around the outdoor car show and checking out the vendors’ booths. There was free stuff given away but you had to either be a kid or bring a kid with you, and the line was like 40 minutes long. I saw the HiPo Hauler from Gas Monkey Garage, but none of the Monkeys, if they were there. I also saw the full-scale Twin Mill from the original release in 1968, and a buttload of contestants for the next round of release, including a vehicle from the local Zombie Apocalypse group in Arlington, which was based on a Subaru station wagon and had the hood off so I could get a good look at an EJ engine in the wild. I wasn’t prepared for how tiny it was front to rear. It was as wide as I expected, but since it was NA instead of turbocharged I could clearly see the whole engine and the 430 mm (16.9″) front to the back of the block measured I saw earlier looked a bit on the generous side.

I needed to grab a drink and something to eat so I stopped at the Sonic and got a Route 44 (as in fluid ounces) diet Coke and a sausage breakfast burrito. I really needed the rest and to get off my feet, and I also needed to rehydrate since there was absolutely no shade in the car show area and I was baked dry. Then after I finished the drink I put the rest of the ice into my water bottle so I would have something cold for the trip home. I still needed more water when I got home.

Then I had today. I got a slightly delayed start and saw the bus go by as I was getting to the corner, which means I missed the bus by less than a minute, and had to wait about an hour for the next connection to the game. Fortunately I got to wait in air-conditioned spaces as the next bus was only 5 minutes later on the outbound part of the loop, then I got to sit in the station while I waited for the bus to the game. I walked 0.7 mi from the bus stop to the GM’s house, and she had the AC set on kill and my seat was right in front of the vent, so I ended up getting a cramp in my bad leg because it got too cold. But enough of my problems, let’s talk about the game.

When we left off before we had just captured the toxic shaman and rendered her unconscious for the trip back to Dallas. Our mage used frequent asses and clout spells to keep her out like a light. The mage was the hero of this session, constantly casting spells until we got to Dallas and a summon could take over the job so he could sleep. Then we had to contract with a Coyote to get us across the border to Chicago so we could collect the ¥1,000,000 bounty. Yes, in the Shadowrun universe they are in different countries, Dallas is in the CSA and Chicago is in the UCSA which is part of Canada. While we were en route to Chicago our cargo plane was attacked by a thunderbird somewhere over what used to be Missouri. I managed to get 2 shots from my arm gun at it to no effect and our other gun character sent a burst of 6 rounds at it that finished it off as it was a bit of a glass cannon, shooting magic lightning but only 4 body and zero armor made taking even one hit from flechettes or explosive rounds (my, and the other gun character’s ammo respectively) would result in an instant kill. After that we delivered our unconscious toxic shaman to the place offering the bounty with no further problems, and the ¥250,000 payment was sent to each of our accounts.

Game session over I hoofed it the 0.7 miles back to the bus stop to catch the bus back to Garland Station and the last bus home, then dinner about 2030.

What I did this 4th of July

Well I went out and did some shopping as depicted in the photograph.
It needs a name

This is my new exercise weight and car repellant. I needed something heavier than my 2 pound hand weight but was not comfortable with buying 5 pound weights which was the next step up, plus I only have the one free hand when walking. It needs a name, but I’m not comfortable with naming it after Thor’s Mjolnir, because number one it can’t live up to the name, and two I’m not Heathen or Asratu, I’m Eclectic Wiccan and I follow (sort of follow) a Greek forge god. Actually I look to Hephaestus as more of an inspiration than a focus of worship. But that still leaves me with a nameless hammer.

I also got some nut driver sockets for use with my drill, and some 12″ by 12″ (cut size) wash cloths that were free with the coupon. And on the way home I redeemed a coupon for 2 Ultimate Cheeseburgers for $5 and added small fries and a small drink, and now I’m stuffed. I ate an actual pound of meat, plus cheese and buns, small fries and a Coke Zero, and I was still able to walk the half-mile from the convenience store where I bought the Lotto ticket to my house, but I think I’ll skip the ice cream tonight.

Also, I got the installed measurements for the Subaru EJ engine in an Impreza wagon and I have to say it’s looking pretty good. The height and width are slightly more “as installed” but the really good number was the firewall to front pulley number. This is the installed distance between the two points and allows for 11″ of clearance for the intake and the intercooler and is all behind the rear face of the block. This is longer than the input shaft on the T5 which will handle the output from the 2.5l turbo engine just fine. And that means I can move the engine even further to the right because the bellhousing will be clear of structure. That’s a 250 pound engine mated to a 80 pound transmission for a total powertrain weight of 330 pounds. The offset has to balance my weight of 225 pounds in driving suit and helmet that has an arm of 11.25″ or 2531 inch-pounds or engine offset of 7.67″. That’s going to hang a lot of the right side of the engine out from under the hood. When I started on this project I was looking at a 545 pound engine bolted to a 125 pound transmission that only put out 100 more HP. I went from 1700 pounds without driver to 1360 and lowered the CofG significantly and I only need to tune an additional 15 HP to get the same power-to-weight ratio. That’s a tank of E85 and a few minutes on a dyno adjusting boost. Seriously, at this point I have to say I think I have found the closest thing to a perfect engine for this beast, if I can find one to install.

Role playing game yesterday was fun, but it made me cancel my trip today

I was doing pretty good on the back pain issue until I caught the bus home from yesterday’s game session. There was a hole in the grass that the mower just skimmed over disguising it as a perfectly flat surface, and of course I stepped in the hole. What causes me the most pain is not the uneven surfaces I know about, it’s the sudden drops into places I can’t see. Stairs are usually no problem unless the surface I’m stepping on is not the surface I will be walking on, like a loose stair that is actually sticking up that I expect to take my weight immediately instead of the milliseconds it takes the stair to bottom out. Well hidden holes in grass are the same thing, I expect the solid surface to be in one place and it’s an inch or so lower so my back is not properly set up for the landing, which then really hurts.

On the T-bucket front, someone suggested another engine family that would work, the Subaru EJ. It’s compact, about 28.5″ wide and about 15″ long for the 4 cylinder versions, about 22″ long for the sixes, and has dual overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder, and later versions have VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and some 4 cylinder models had factory turbos. Now the best combo for the GoodGuys events is the VVT and the turbo, which has good low RPM torque combined with high RPM horsepower. That’s because VVT adjusts intake and exhaust events for best power at each RPM point and the Subaru engine lets the computer adjust intake and exhaust separately for even better low speed power and response. This lets the turbo spin up quicker which improves mid-range and upper RPM breathing and power. Engine weights are reported to be about 200 for the 4 and about 300 for the 6 NA engines with the factory turbo adding about 50 pounds to the 4, and not available on the 6. There is an active aftermarket for both versions but biased towards the 4 cylinder, so light weight and lots of power can be had. The stock NA and Turbo versions do very well in SCCA Solo racing, so GoodGuys in the bucket will be mostly matching gear ratios and transmission ratios so the engine is in the best part of the power curve when power is needed. Most of the engine weight is at crankshaft height which helps keep the CG low which aids handling. The debate is does the low RPM grunt from the 6 offset the higher weight and reduced power because of no turbo? There are kits to install the turbo from the 4 on the 6 that are reputed to retain the low end grunt while exceeding the power available from the 4. And there are kits that purport to give the turbo 4 the same low-end grunt as the 6, without increasing the weight over the factory turbo or reducing ultimate power produced. But in any case the main advantage is the low center of gravity offered by the horizontally opposed cylinders of the Subaru engine.