Thursday, June 16, 2016


Look at it; just sittin' there.  Wantin' to drive.
With my Vic now home, I had to figure out a game plan for what yo do with it.  The original thought was that I wanted an '03, but I found a deal on an '02, so I figured gut the interior for the next one and just drive this until you get sick of it.  After seeing it in person and driving the six hours home, I realized that this car is really kinda good.  Also, they changed the door panels in '03, so if I found a car with a black interior, the only things I really could steal from this car are the seats and console.  Two years later, I've decided I'll build my own console not out of plastic, and I'll just find the seat covers.  With this realization, I found myself looking down the slippery slope of project Bitchin' Daily... Then I tripped.

It's just too cool.
First thing's first; the door hits the fender, and my headlight is held in with zip ties.  We started pulling it apart, and we found the car needed a new fender, inner fender, core support, header panel, and marker light because I had already bought a new headlight.  This project was long, tedious, and not something I'm really looking to do again anytime soon.  Between paying for parts and paying back the money I had borrowed from my mom to buy it and only making $8.50/hr, it was a long road to getting this thing back on the road.

She needed some work
I filled the Impreza with parts.  Not imprezive,
It also needed some overlooked maintenance.
I had some help fixing it, and a deadline in my head to get it ready by; I wanted to take my car on band tour in August.  We worked on this thing for quite a while before it was ready, but eventually, I had it on the road in time for the pre-tour rehearsal and drove it to Milwaukee with my drums tucked neatly in the trunk.  (Fun side note: of all the cars I've had at my disposal, the Crown Vic is the best drum set hauler.  I can fit the whole rig, tools, full-size spare tire, small jack and all my clothes in the trunk and still carry 4-5 people in the car.  Full-size for the win!)  I drove to Milwaukee, and that's when I actually noticed the torque converter shudder.  Not knowing what it was, I played it safe and didn't drive the car back down to Indiana and up to Michigan that week.  Total bummer.

Someday I might actually finish replacing the blend door motor.
It's gotta get worse before it can get better.
Crown Vic is still the master of drum set hauling.
Nice, new, reproduction fender
Old and new
VHT Chassis Black
I couldn't have done this without help from a few key friends.
No hood is a good look.
My favorite photo from the rehab period.  I drove two miles like this, and I passed a local and county cop almost back to back; no issues.
Almost down to the core support
There it is
Then new fender
Nailed it!
Later that Fall, we fixed the leak caused by a missing exhaust gasket.  That was fun to watch the guy with the grinder, but my car lost its sound after that.  It wasn't until this Spring that we actually fixed the side where the tailpipe was disconnected in front of the axle causing exhaust to get pulled into the back window when it was open.  How did we fix that, you say?  By replacing the tailpipe... and replacing the mufflers with straight pipes.  Now it sounds great, and it has some sweet backfires when you rev it up.  It feels like a muscle sedan.  I love it.

Doesn't fit well in the garage
Last April, I had pieced all the parts I needed together over the Winter, and it was time to do some major rehabilitation on the car's lack of good maintenance.  We replaced inner and outer tie rods, adjusting sleeves, all four Moog ball joints, Moog idler arm, polyurethane control arm bushings, P71 front coil springs, KYB P71 shocks on all four corners, heavy duty limo spec air springs, sway bar links, all four pads and rotor with "Severe Duty" semi-metallic pads (designed for towing and pursuit), belt, hoses, coolant flush, plugs, one new ignition coil... I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that was over a year ago, and it was a lot of parts.

Polyurethane bushings for the front end
Police spec KYB shocks all around
The suspension installer
Hard at work.
Look at all those empty boxes.
We might have a problem.
I think we raised it too high.
Oh, yeah.  Definitely too high...
We also decided to try a trans flush with some Seafoam Trans Tune to try to clean up the solenoids that were most likely causing the shudder.  Seafoam is a highly refine oil that works great for cleaning things in your engine, and their Trans Tune is five times the concentration of the regular Seafoam.  It worked great.  We also figure, while it was open, we should install a $80 shift kit I bought from for a New Edge Mustang of the same year with the same motor and trans.  That also worked great.  They advertised tire chirping shifts, but so far the only thing I've chirped had been the belt.  Although, I did also install some decent used Michelins on the rear and some amazing new Continental Extreme Contact DWS06 tires on the front and eventually on the back too (because the Michelins were mad at how I do burnouts, now the Contis won't let me).  These tires are great and stick really well in corners with my 4,000 lb car.  I even left the fronts on over the winter with no real issues!  Not bad for a high performance Summer tire.

I love these tires.
I wanted my car to be done for Automotion 2015, but it just missed it.  I wound up getting it all ready to go in time for Hot Rod Power Tour 2015 a few weeks later instead.  I'll tell you about that trip later, but we went 1,200 miles in four days with no issues to speak of.  It's really needed next to nothing since then too.  I changed the belt tensioner and idler pulley, and I finally bought a marker light, but mechanically... No. It does have an oil leak, and the bearing is going for the steering gear which has also ruined the seal.  I also kind of want to flush the brake fluid, cut the coils in front, the driver's window regulator is on its way out, and I still haven't fixed the blend door.  I'm talking about fixing the rest of the paint and body work possibly this Summer, and I've got a guy who will literally give me a LSD with 4.11 gears for this thing which raises the debate of powerslides vs highway mileage.  Maybe I'll try to get a 3.73 ring and pinion to fit his carrier.  We'll see.

The first day I drove it to work.
So this is what has been done to my car in the two years I've owned it.  I love my car.  It's one of my favorite chassis so far that I've driven.  This is my second Vic, and I've decided I need about six more for the projects in my head, but until then, I'll keep rockin' my bitchin' daily because she's a good girl when she has to be, but she's naughty when you want it.  I love my car.

My car and I on set, acting like a police chief.

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