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darkonion 06-03-2007 10:32 PM

DarkOnion's 1997 Impreza L
Hey all. I finally decided to start a thread on my ongoing project and first car... my Impreza L coupe. Lots of updates to come.

1997 Impreza L Coupe (AT)


A brief history of the L.

~1997-1998 Aunt buys the L from Stevens Creek Subaru in San Jose, California. Used it as a daily driver and a car to take to Tahoe on many occasions.

~2000-2002 Aunt goes to graduate school in Ithaca, NY. Roadtrips car and all her stuff there and back.

~2002 Gets a job. Sells the L to my dad with $1000 discount on the condition that the car would be given to me. Dad uses it as a daily driver.

~2004 18 years old and finally got my license, I more or less inherit the car to drive places after school.

~2004-2005 I start school at UC Davis and dad uses the car to go to work.

Summer 2005 I decide to use the car in Davis and is now my own personal car. I really inherit the car this time.

Winter 2006 I install my first mod like the noob I am. I buy an Ebay short ram intake. Fitment sucks. Coupler don't fit... blah blah blah. Ended up using duct tape to hold the airflow sensor to the short ram. I lie to you not. See picture...


April 2006 Joined I-Club and went to first Subaru meet in Davis, CA. It just happened to be down the street 1.5 blocks.

Next mod: I bought Borla headers from a member on I-Club that sold his OBS wagon. He threw in a free Ebay strut tower brace and coilover sleeves. Eventually had the headers sit in a corner and yeah. The brace, however, was easy enough to get on.

Summer 2006, before Mt. Hammy: I was at work (Davis, CA) and I saw a set of Rota Subzero's and tires on sale on Craigslist for $225. WOW!! I emailed him and then asked my friend in Fremont to pick them up for me. I had to borrow money from his mom because my brothers and sisters were too lame to help me out. Anyways... 3 good wheels, 3 good tires, and one cracked wheel and one uneven worn tire for $225. Not too bad. Went to SubyDude where I bought the last Subzero in GunMetal from the sh!t pile and a bunch of lugs. Thanks Davon and SD. Eventually had to buy new tires. Davon recommended I get my tires mounted and balance at AI and yeah. The wheels came on. That was that. My parents hated the color though.


After Hammy 2006: I started looking for an exhaust. Talked a bunch with Rau about how to get a WRX exhaust to fit on an L. Considered a few STi catbacks, but none really worked out. Eventually, I saw the JGT500 for the WRX being sold by GilTSuby. Only 300 miles or something. I dropped him a PM and after talking to him, we negotiated that if he didn't sell his catback by the end of the week, I would pick it up for a little less than his asking price. At the time, I was in Davis taking summer classes. That weekend, I drove back and eventually picked it up from him. (Quick note: Tony (aka GilTSuby) has made a bunch of Subaru avatars. He is willing to make a custom one for you for a small donation.) Like most Subaru enthusiasts, we ended up talking and sharing stories of all types. You know... things like why Stevens Creek Subaru sucks and the likes. The exhaust ended up sitting in my garage for awhile (4 weeks) while... (see next part)

End of summer 2006: For all you peeps who don't know, GC's have this small problem where seals on the engine... well... they go bad. Pretty much, the seals deteriorate and the engine starts leaking fluids. Silicone seals. Just like breast implants: after 10 years or so, you got to get them replaced. The engine leaks fluids. Those fluids drip down onto the headers and yeah... You get a burning smell and lots of smoke under your hood. After awhile, had the family fix that and also had him replace my dirty stock headers with my the clean Borla Headers. 3 months or something, and the headers are finally being used. I eventually got a keyless entry/alarm at Circuit City. That sh!t actually helps with insurance. I ran it through their calculator thing and every six months, I save a total of $180. Anyways... I saw Jeff (stg2lgcy) post up a place that did his midpipe and downpipe for his swapped GC. Performance Muffler, down the street from MPJ/SpeedElement. I decided to go with them. Called them up, and brought my car in. They quoted me what it would cost to make the JGT500 fit onto my L. Made an appointment for the next day and the rest is history.



New Catback: (note: It took me forever to get the silencer out for the first time. Not as hard now, but still a pain in the rear.)


~August 2006: I eventually buy Rota centercaps, a Perrin lightweight pulley, and Endlinks from Zoeb when he parted out his WRX. I remember now, this was right before HIN Nightshift in SF. Sometime in August 2006. Yeah. Had my mechanic put my pulley in and do a few other things and yeah. The pulley was probably one of the more useful mods I've done. Thanks to Zoeb for selling me his stuff hella cheap.

October 2006: The first Install Fest at my place. Walter (Rau) sold and helped me install a 19mm WRX front and a JDM 20mm rear sway bar. I'll have to find some more pics. The main event of the day was: how many Subaru peeps does it take to install a heatshield and intake filter on a 350Z? The answer is 8. Anyways... got those sway bars and the endlinks from Zoeb onto the L. Definitely an improvement. I also learned how to change my oil that day. Thanks to everyone for coming.


December 2006: After finals for Fall 2006, I was home in Fremont. The week prior, I met Varun (rikshaman) at the Davis meet. He was kind enough to tip me off on car that gotten t-boned that was at an auto-recycler in San Jose. I called up Karlton (xtremeyolks), Mike (skyliner35gtrx), and Benny (chishifu) and we decided to go to treasure hunting at the junkyard. Once we got to the recycler, Karlton and I was lead to the back where we saw a WRB colored GC. In fact, it was 2.2l L coupe with an AT. When we saw the side, we were about to cry. Anyways, we took a look around the car to see what else was left. Varun already got a lot of stuff off that car. The owner said that he has had trouble selling the CF hood for $250 and that he would let it go at $200. What a deal!! I took it. Anyways... the trick was getting it back home. What we ended up doing was pulling off the vents and strapping it to the top of my L. Mike had some rope and yeah. Apparently, we didn't strap it down to well, so for like half the trip, Karlton and I had our hands out the window holding it down for like half the trip. Yup. Anyways, I eventually get it on a few days later.






Early March 2007 - I got my Corbeau TRS seat from a fellow member here on I-Club. Rob (stratos) sympathized for me being a poor college student and was nice enough to give me a discount on the seat as well as meeting me half-way between Petaluma and Davis. Here is my review more of less of the seat. Not really a racing seat, but definitely better than my stocks. It is actually more comfortable. The seat definitely helps. It holds me a lot better than my stocks. Thanks Rob.


The journey continues. Scroll down to post #14.


[URL="http://www.darkonion.com"]DarkOnion.com[/URL] | [URL="http://www.kimete.com/darkonion/calendar.html"]Calendar[/URL] | [URL="http://www.kimete.com/darkonion/gallery.html"]Gallery[/URL] | [URL="http://www.kimete.com/darkonion/wishlist.html"]Wish List[/URL] | [URL="http://www.cafepress.com/darkonion"][U]Store[/U][/URL] | [URL="http://www.kimete.com/darkonion/darkonionsponsorship.pdf"]Sponsorship Packet[/URL]

medicSTi 06-03-2007 11:57 PM

lol good start bro ;) I'm looking forward to the rest of your story!

darkonion 06-04-2007 12:42 AM

Haha. Sounds fair enough. I think you know most of it already. A few mods here and there. A few installs here and there. A few failed ones. A dyno day where, according to Rau, my car produced 37whp and 124w ft-lbs. on the GST dyno... and yeah.

My website with all kinds of Subie related items.


BLUEJ20 06-04-2007 12:43 AM

u have a website?haha

darkonion 06-04-2007 12:54 AM


Built it myself. My mom asked me to build a site for her business. Yeah. I think my site looks really hot. You should tell Greg and Mike that they should hook me up, because the GST logo is sitting on prime e-estate.

pwnx0rz 06-04-2007 01:48 AM

Greatest story evar.

darkonion 06-04-2007 02:02 AM

Yeah... I am working on it. You know something... Elliot and Kevin picked up my wheels. :p

On multiple occasions. Haha.

pwnx0rz 06-04-2007 02:08 AM

ur subzeros?

darkonion 06-04-2007 02:11 AM

Yeah. Elliot and Kevin picked those up the first time because I was in Davis. I actually had to borrow money from Kevin's mom. Haha.

Earlier this year, I got the cracked wheel and Kevin picked up a Royal GunMetal Subzero from SD, because I couldn't get back into town because of a late afternoon class. Yeah.

pwnx0rz 06-04-2007 02:21 AM

lol... you borrowed money from kevin's mom? :P

darkonion 06-04-2007 02:18 PM

Yeah. My brother and sister were too lame to run money over to Kevin and yeah...

nomex ninja 06-04-2007 04:43 PM

you say and yeah alot

darkonion 06-04-2007 06:31 PM

and yeah...

Haha. I'll clean up the thingy above a little later.

darkonion 06-07-2007 01:27 AM

March 2007 - I had an Install Fest at my dad's place in Fremont. The plan was to do a drum to disc conversion on the L. I guess the story starts even before the install fest. I had a heck of a time trying to find hubs and rear brakes and rotors. I went to the junkyard in Rancho Cordova and the recycler said that they wanted $300 for the whole set. I was like... no thank you. Since the event was already planned, I had about a week or two to find some hubs. I was able to get the rear brakes and rotors from theScoobyMedic for $20. I remember him telling me that his parents told him to get rid of his "sh!t" in their garage and that was pretty much that. My parents are like that, too. Anyways, back to the hubs. I had a ton of trouble really finding something. Anyways, a fellow member, bugeye, was kind enough to contact me the week before the install fest, and notified me that he had hubs. That day, I drove up to his work and picked up the hubs. He did tell me that he couldn't guarantee one of the hubs, but said that if I had any problems that he'll try to get me another one. When I arrived, he had the hubs ready to go. He actually gave me a few other items. He gave pretty much the whole rear assembly for the hub. Both the brakes and hubs and parking lines. Eric (Daios) convinced me to drop SS brakelines onto the L at the same time. He just happened to be trying to get rid of some new SS lines. He gave me a deal and I picked those up from him. The week prior, Karlton (xtremeyolks) and I pulled off the Borla headers. There were two cracks/holes in them and I kind of wanted to sell it while it has some value since it won't port over after the swap. Anyways, since there was a crack, I ended up selling it to Karl (kitsune) for really cheap.

Install Fest came by and boy did we have a "fun" time. We encountered a ton of problems. Getting the basic stuff wasn't that bad. We were able to get most of the items off with the exception the trailing arm bolt. I think it was the trailing arm bolt. The thing was that my L, that bolt was in there with a rubber bushing, so we couldn't really get that sucker off with leverage. Eventually, Sam (mulcibre) came by with an impact wrench/air compressor (after finding out it was out of oil and making a stop at Home Depot) and Gagan (joltudeuc) spent about 3 straight minutes bursting on the impact wrench to finally get those stupid bolts off. That wasn't the last of it though. After proceeding and getting the parking brake lines on, we found that the rear passenger side hub was being stupid. We weren't able to get the rotor onto the hub. You think that was bad. It became worse than that. One of the wheel studs was all screwed up and we couldn't get the lug to fit on it either. I would have to run on 4 lugs!! As for the rear driver side. That went on smooth. This other side though. That was hell. We ended deciding that we'll just get the rotor on buy taking out some parking brake adjuster thingy and just trying to get it on all four wheels. After that, called it a night.

The next day, I more or less learned how to bleed brakes. Did some research on the web and just did it. It didn't really work out the first time so I had to jack it back up and do it right the second time. Anyways... that was that. I had a car that was running 4 lugs on one corner, without a parking brake, and unsure if I bled the brakes correctly. Yay. Not exactly a car that my parents felt that I should be driving to Davis from Fremont. Dad made me leave the car home and to get it fixed when I came back. Anyways... my baby sat there in the garage for two weeks.

Before I continue the disc brake story, I would like to give credit where it is due. Thank you to Greg (Roo) for supervising. Thanks to Sam (mulcibre), Eric (Daios), Karl (Kitsune), and everyone that helped out. Really appreciate it.

Parts and Tools


Us peeps working


The Hellish Side


The car finally back on all fours wheels


Back to the story. The car would sitting in the garage for 2 weeks. When I got back to Davis that night, I sent out PM's to GST and MPJ/SpeedElement to see if someone had an opening to "clean" up my mess. Eventually, I planned an appointment with Mike at GST and had my dad drive my car to the shop in Hayward to drop it off on a Wednesday. I pretty much called both shops and chose the one that had the earliest opening to fix my car. Those guys pretty much took care of everything. The adjuster thing, the leaking brake line (at least I thought it was leaking), SS lines for the front, the two bad wheel studs, and a full brake fluid flush. The next day, a day which I didn't have any classes, I took the shuttle from UC Davis to Cal, and then BARTed (subway/train thing in SF Bay Area) into Hayward from Berkeley. Greg at GST kindly offered to give me a lift from the station to the shop where I picked up the car. Two weeks without my car and I finally got her back. Yay. Big thanks to Mike, Greg, and the rest of the GST crew.

April 2007

I attended my first Auto-X at Monster Park in San Francisco. The guys dragged me into it. I've heard a lot of great things about Auto-X from the Subie peeps here in Davis. Mike (Skyliner35GTRx), Benny (ChiShiFu), and Karlton (xtremeyolks) talked me into participating. Gagan (joltdudeuc) sponsored me for the event and even loaned me his loaner helmet. Thanks. Anyways...

edit (added more names): I have an addiction now. And I blame it all on you people. And... all you other auto-x'ers I didn't mention yet. Rob (stratos), Kevin (Kevin M), other Rob (2cam16), Glen (glenspen), and anyone else i forgot. Thank a lot, y'all. I hope Karma bites you in the ( )( ) and let's my 37whp L post better times than y'all. :p


[URL="http://www.kimete.com/darkonion/galleries/070429/"]More Pictures from my first Auto-X[/URL]

That's pretty much up to date as of June 7th, 2007.

Next mods: Suspension and Summer Tires. Those will be coming soon... I hope.

Kevin M 06-07-2007 02:39 PM

Nice front brakes! ;)

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