Audio day! Had to get it at least started before the long trip to Subiefest. Pioneer AVH-210ex for the head unit and Focal component speakers in the front doors for now. In a couple weeks I'll have the rear doors done and some day in the future there will be a sub and amp setup installed. But this will do until then, sounds great!
And yes, that stock radio is not from my 2004, my old roommate had a janky aux cord rigged to his old one and offered to put it in mine. It worked maybe 50% of the time, but I had no idea just how shoddily it was put together until the actual technician pulled it all apart.
After more than a month of aitting in my garage waiting until I had spare time/money, the coilovers are finally on! It's a little over 2in lower at the moment, gonna leave it alone until I'm ready to get new wheels.
So far I'm quite pleased, body roll is all gone, rides pretty smooth, not too jarring. Haven't been on a real bad road yet but I'm definitely happy so far.
I also picked up a couple things from my mechanics outback, including a BMW muffler welding onto a stock axleback pipe. Sounded amazing on his 4 cylinder so for 75$, couldn't resist trying it out. Haven't installed it, just waiti g for him to get it off his car. Also finally got the rear door speakers in.
Been a long time since I've updated this thread, but I haven't given up on it! I haven't been able to do as much as I'd like, but I did get some new wheels that I'm in love with. Cosmis xt206 18x9 +33, they fit well but I need to roll the front fenders. I have some Megan upper links, waiting for a good time to install them. I intend to get the Whiteline rear control arm kit and install them together. I just the other day installed a new power steering pump, pulleys, and serpentine belt, but it didn't eliminate the slight rattle I hoped it might.
Theres been a very light ticking rattle coming front the front pass side of the engine for a while but its recently gotten worse. Changing the pulleys stopped the bearing noises but not the rattle. Both of the mechanics I regularly go to kind of think it's an injector, so I'll be trying that next.
As for the clicking/ticking - the fuel damper, the small round part in the fuel hoses above the injectors, will tick when they go bad. With the engine running, put your hand on it and feel if the pulse matches the tick. It's job is to dampen the fuel flow so the injectors get steady pressure & flow instead of the pulsed flow that comes from the pump. You could also use a stethoscope or a length of hose to listen to it. If it's the source, check the other one on bank 2 and see if it's doing the same. They are the same on all the EJ and EZ engines, so finding a replacement if it's needed shouldn't be a problem. Changing it can be a PITA because that fuel hose is tight on the tubing and its a tight spot.
Other ticking may be an exhaust leak. Check around the gasket and AF sensor bung. Make sure the AF sensor is in tight. A small leak will tick/tap. Had an EZ30 that sounded like valve tapping and it ended up being the AF sensor was installed loose. But if you're hearing it on top of the engine, it's likely the damper.
So I went ahead and installed the Megan upper links today. I was gonna wait for the control arms but I decided to get new front brake rotors/pads and some differential mount bushings instead. It was a bit cheaper and a more pressing issue. Went with EBC yellow w/ their oem style rotors. I wanted the kit with greenstuff and slotted rotors, but again, saved some money with the others. The yellows are slightly better pads anyway so I'm looking forward to that. Rears need changing soon too, and judging by the deplorable state of the upper link bushings(yikes!), those rear control arms are definitely still on the table. Pretty much all the rubber in the rear end is shot...
I've personally changed almost all of the rubber bushings out to poly (whiteline / powerflex) and just need to do the rear diff and some additional in the rear. One of the bushings overlooked a lot is for your steering rack. Once I changed this, I noticed there was less play in the wheel before the tires actually turned.
That's kind of my mission right now, replacing all the rubber. Couple years of rough mountain roads ruined all the bushings, used to squeak like an old truck but it's leagues better with the new upper links.
The steering rack is definitely on the list, I'd love to get some more tightness in the steering.