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My 2006 Outback 2.5i maintenance and build thread.

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Hi everyone. Recently picked up a 2006 Subaru outback 2.5i, 5spd. It has leather seats and a sunroof. I've had 2 other older beater Subaru's in the past, so I'm fairly comfortable working on this car. I sold my last car, which was a brand new 2019 Genesis G70 Sport, so it was a drastic change to get rid of that and come to this car. The Subaru will act as my daily driver/beater/mild offroader/winter driver. While I work on this I'll be saving up money for another sport luxury car. I figure this thing will keep me busy and happy in the meantime!

Here it is... I figure Arnold is a good name for it.

491917


491918


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I've got a number of things I need to do to get it up to the standards I want. The center console is pretty dang janky, a couple of the overhead lights are burned out, the headlights are relatively foggy and aimed WAY too high. The brakes, while they grab well, they feel too spongy. The shocks are definitely blown, as it's really floaty and springy. Also, the interior is pretty messy and needs a good deep clean and detail. New fluids will be put in, and a big tune up will be in order. All of which I'll be doing myself, and I'll post my progress.

Once I get everything nice and buttoned up, I'll most likely lift it. Debating on between 2" or 4", then I'll put on slightly bigger all terrain tires, with 15" or....if I can find some that fit, even 14" rims.


Excited to start working on things!
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Discussion Starter · #241 ·
Bad news, but also some good news.

Bad news is that the caliper rebuild seals I used are less than ideal. The brake pedal feels spongy... I've had this happen in the past with previous cars when using aftermarket caliper seals, and since the only thing I changed were the seals it certainly makes sense that this is the cause of my problem (the pedal was nice and firm before the rebuild).

Good news is that I went to my far away dealer and THEY HAVE BOTH FRONT AND REAR REBUILD KITS!! Wooh! Evidently I had the wrong part number for the rear caliper seals, and they had a newer number that superceded the number that I had.

Behold.... beautiful OEM, made in Japan, caliper rebuild kits!

Rectangle Packing materials Font Wood Box


I love it. Comes with the piston seals, along with the slider pin seals, AND it comes with grease for both. Now I'm trying to decide if I should just use some Sil Glyde instead of the included grease. #1stworldproblems.

I'm tired of working on these brakes. But, it will be worth doing it all over again one last time.
 

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Much the same in the Miata world, where aftermarket radiator caps, thermostats, brake kits, coil packs, cam position sensors, and cam cover gaskets are usually a fail. The exception is clutch master and slave from Exedy, which it turns out is the OEM for Mazda.
 

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Discussion Starter · #243 ·
Okay, I went ahead and replaced all the piston seals/boots with OEM components, and this time I used Sil-Glyde for the components instead of that ceramic-silicone permatex stuff. That said, I really like Sil-Glyde, this is the first time I've used it and the consistency is very nice.

Anyway, pedal feel has improved and subsequently returned back to normal. I was pretty dumb to have had the wrong part number on the rear seal kit. Oh well, live and learn, right?

One more thing I noticed, my passenger side cam seal was popping out at an angle! Haha. So I used an axle socket and was able to push it back in so it's flush (not too deep). There was some oil leakage there, so I cleaned it all up. Hopefully it stays. But if it doesn't, it's a relatively easy fix.

Next up is gonna be exciting. I've got my dyno session scheduled! Also, I ordered a JDM double din face plate from AVOJDM. I was looking all around on Ebay and Amazon, and everything there is used and just as expensive as from AVO, so I figured I'd get it from a trusted source instead. Also ordered an i88 adapter harness. Now I just gotta decide on which head unit I'll install....

Other than this we've got a road trip coming up! Gonna head back up to Portland for fun to visit friends. Of course we'll be taking the Outback! Excited!
 

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Discussion Starter · #244 ·
Did the return dyno run - and I am very pleasantly surprised!!!

OLD: 122WHP
NEW: 157WHP


Gained 35 hp at the wheels! Very nice. So, IF my old engine was making 175hp at the crank, then theoretically my new build is making 210hp at the crank. Haha. I don't think that's the case, but still, fun to think about. All I know is that I'm happy with the gains!

Here's the graph of old (orange) vs new (red)...

Rectangle Font Wood Parallel Gas



Very pumped!

I also made a video. Haha.



Thanks for looking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #246 ·
Ugh. More bad news...

This **** passenger side camshaft plug keeps popping out and leaking oil. We're in the middle of a road trip and the last time I checked my oil level it was 1.5 quarts low!! Filled it back up, pushed in the cam plug again. But literally 5 minutes of driving later I pulled over to check the plug and it's already working itself out again. 😬

Since we used to live here in Portland, I stopped by a buddy's house to try and figure out a temporary solution. It's a Sunday, so the dealership isn't open, and I don't want to risk buying a FEL-PRO plug, so this is what we ended up doing....


FORCING that **** plug to stay put.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Gas Automotive exterior Nut



Thankfully there are 3 bolt holes surrounding the plug, so we did some ghetto fabbing to make those metal brackets work. Now it's forcing the plug to stay seated.

This should last so we can make it home safely all while not ruining my brand new engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #249 · (Edited)
Replacement transmission has been ordered. In fact, it's from the same place I ordered my current one! Hoping to swap it out next weekend.

EDIT: new tranny is in along with new axles. Also had to replace the wheel bearing on the side that the axle broke. The rotor on that side is all warped because of heat, and it started grinding against the caliper mounting bracket. The pads are worn all slanted, so they no longer sit flush, and they're SCREECHING when warm. I'm thinking I will end up buying new rotors and pads all around. Ugh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #250 · (Edited)
Fixed another problem. Haha. This **** thing will not just work normally....

Anyway, I found a slow dripping leak from the passenger side axle seal. I figured that I damaged it when trying to install that derpy AutoZone axle on that side, as I started to get sloppy trying to jam it in the hole. Lol. I figured my best bet would be to take off the sundial/retainer, just in case the o-ring is bad as well (though very unlikely).

Here is the leakage...

Automotive tire Tire Fluid Automotive design Alloy wheel



Axle removed...

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Alloy wheel Wheel Rim



Cleaned things up, then marked the sundial.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Rim Gas Auto part



I removed the sundial using a large flathead screwdriver and a hammer. I can definitely see how you could break a few teeth doing it this way, as you need to be patient and consistent.

I counted the rotations and put a dot on the tranny case. 5 rotations total, I also put a dot where the threads disengaged.

Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Alloy wheel



The o-ring on the sundial looks great, as expected, but you can see some damage on the inner lip of the oil seal.

Automotive tire Rim Gas Automotive lighting Personal protective equipment




Out with the old, in with the new. This time I was able to have the new seal sit evenly flush. I also lubed up the new o-ring with silicone grease, along with the inner lips of the new oil seal.

Wheel Automotive tire Tire Rim Automotive wheel system




Gotta make sure you don't cross thread the sundial when going back in, as the threads are pretty fine. I was able to thread it by hand most of the way (about 4 turns), but of course had to use my screwdriver and hammer to get it tightened down fully.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Wheel Alloy wheel Rim




Bolted down the tooth holder and GENTLY lined up the axle and plugged it back in. Nice.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Rim Gas Automotive wheel system



Buttoned everything back up and took it for a short test drive which felt and sounded normal. Afterwards I inspected the seal and saw no signs of leaking. Fingers crossed it all works out (I think it will).


Getting tired of this stupid car always coming up with a problem for me to fix. I'm over it! Haha

Anyway, looking back on this whole process I can certainly see the value of using the "Company 23 Sundial Carrier Bearing Tool" if you're planning on doing this, ESPECIALLY if you've got an older, crusty transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #254 ·
This thread is awesome! I can't wait to see what's next lol. Man I wish I had this kind of talent.

Thank you!

I've got the new stereo install finished, along with the rear view camera. I'm waiting on one part to finalize the USB connection, then I'll post all the details!
 

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Discussion Starter · #255 ·
Okay, double din head unit install is all done! Here's how it went and what I did....

First, I ordered a JDM double DIN faceplate w/climate control from AVOJDM dot com. The price is virtually the same as all the used eBay listings I could find, but the benefit here is that AVO only sells brand new, OEM units. I also bought a new JDM hazard switch. On top of that, I also bought my adapter harnesses.. Specifically, the i88 harness and the general Subaru stereo harness - both of which I bought from Tightfitfab dot com.

Both AVO and Tightfitfab are amazing. I cannot recommend them enough!

Faceplate kit from AVO...

Product Hood Bumper Vehicle Automotive design



Adapter harnesses from tightfitfab....

Wall Gas Font Art Paint



I did pick up the antenna adapter from tightfitfab, but it turns out I didn't need it because it already comes with the AVO faceplate kit.

Here is the stereo harness all soldered and ready for plug in. Note that I connected the parking brake wire to the stereo ground, so that the system thinks the parking brake is always engaged - I did this so I can do dangerous stuff like use the screen mirroring app on my phone while driving, like a lunatic. Haha.

Electrical wiring Electrical supply Wire Electronics accessory Event



The i88 harness does not need any modifications.

The next step is to prep for the hazard switch, since the JDM version is on the other side. You need to cut a hole into the plastic backing. I just held up the new faceplate, marked it, then started cutting.

Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire Motor vehicle Gesture

Motor vehicle Vehicle Vehicle door Gas Automotive exterior



Now we're ready to put the mounting brackets and stereo together for the install. I referred to the included instructions, despite being printed in Japanese it was still very helpful.

Handwriting Font Parallel Pattern Paper



When all is said and done, if you have an 05-07, you'll have an empty plug - this is the i85 connector. For my 2006 car it's not needed, as it primarily is used for aux input, along with steering wheel stereo control (I think), so I just left it empty.

Plug in the stereo connector, i88 harness connector, the extra stereo ground connector, the hazard switch connector, and finally the antenna. Mount the brackets, and this is what you get!

Circuit component Motor vehicle Electrical wiring Computer hardware Electronic component



Mounting is straightforward....

Motor vehicle Automotive design Vehicle Flight instruments Auto part



My head unit has an external USB input for Android auto and screen mirroring. This needs some custom fabbing...

Watch Motor vehicle Hood Automotive design Gadget



So, I bought a flush mount USB connector and mounted it inside the center console, next to the power outlet.

I had to remove material underneath to get it to work. It was tight, but it turned out great.

Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Bumper Gas Vehicle door




Continued....
 

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Discussion Starter · #256 ·
Now comes the difficult part... Installing a rear view camera.

First thing's first - mounting the camera in a suitable location. There is a flat, horizontal surface just above the license plate, next to the license plate lights that would be perfect for my camera. But, it's not easy to do.

First, remove the rear hatch panels. The lighter colored panels to the sides and above the rear view glass just pop right off with some tugging.

Hood Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive tire Vehicle


The bottom panel takes a bit more effort. Remove all these guys...

Hood Bumper Automotive exterior Finger Automotive tire

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Grey Fender

Tire Automotive tire Wheel Tread Bicycle tire



...then you can start popping it off.


The next big thing is removing the exterior plastic taillight section of the rear hatch.

First, there are a ton of 8mm nuts you need to remove, both directly behind the hatch and on the sides...

Hood Automotive lighting Grille Motor vehicle Automotive exterior

Automotive tire Tread Wood Rim Automotive exterior

Tire Wheel Bicycle tire Automotive tire Bicycle wheel


With all of those off you can CAREFULLY, but FIRMLY remove the exterior cover. Be careful with the wiring, you need to pull the wiring grommet after disconnecting the connector from the inside.

Vehicle registration plate Tire Vehicle Automotive lighting Hood



Now, after some basic measuring, I drilled the hole for the camera. I also smeared some silicone adhesive around the threads for some dampening and to help keep it from loosening.

Water Fluid Nozzle Automotive exterior Gas


....and a view of it mounted. Looks really good!

Musical instrument Bumper Wood Automotive exterior Musical instrument accessory



Continued....
 

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Discussion Starter · #257 ·
I drilled a small hole through the water seal grommet so I could thread my camera wiring through it.

Hand Gadget Finger Audio equipment Cable



I pulled the camera wiring all the way through, then squished in some silicone adhesive to seal it off completely.

Now it comes time to reinstall the exterior cover. I damaged some of the weather seals, so I "repaired" them by gluing the tears back together with more silicone... Not saying this is ideal, but it's what I did. Hah.

Material property Gas Fixture Auto part Electronics accessory



When reattaching the cover make sure the wiring grommet is completely pushed in and giving a good seal. You can see my sloppy silicone job here...

Hood Motor vehicle Car Automotive design Vehicle




And here it is reattached, you can see how the camera is mounted. Looks OEM to me!

Vehicle registration plate Tire Vehicle Car Automotive tire




Now I had to route my wires. I brought the camera plug up alongside the passenger side of the hatch...

Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire Grille Motor vehicle




Next, I need a power source for the camera. They recommend you just use the backup lights for power, which is probably the easiest and most efficient way to go. But, I wanted to be able to nerd out and use my rear view camera at any time, even when not in reverse! So, for power, I tapped into the rear hatch 12v socket.

Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Tread Vehicle door



Also, to get the rest of the wiring up to the camera connector, I had to bring it through one of the wiring rubber boots at the top. I had already threaded my flood light wiring through this thing, so it was an EXTREMELY tight fit to get this through as well... But in the end it worked out...

Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Electrical wiring Gas



And here it is, tied down and connected.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood Automotive design Automotive exterior




Next I needed to route the wiring up to the front of the car. I just followed the same path I used for the flood light wires.

Automotive tire Hood Leg Automotive lighting Tire




Now that I've got the camera wires up to the driver's side footwell, I need to also grab a backup signal source. After some researching through the FSM, I found a good signal. There is a plug in the footwell that is just behind and above the fuse block that contains a reverse signal.

Here it is... The brown/yellow wire is our target.

Nail Electrical wiring Thumb Wood Wrist



Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #258 ·
To tap into the reverse source I grabbed some 20 gauge wire, and a spade connector, then went to work.

First I trimmed the spade terminal like this...

Gesture Finger Thumb Nail Gadget



...which allowed it to plug right in, nice and firm.

Finger Electronic instrument Thumb Electronic component Gadget





Then I taped it in place. Hopefully it stays.

Hand Automotive tire Bicycle handlebar Bicycle tire Electrical wiring



Finally, I routed it, along with the camera cord, up and over a bunch of steering related stuff, tying it to part of the factory harness, to behind the head unit.

Can't even see it!

Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive exterior




Now, this camera comes with it's own reverse signal wire (red). If I had attached the rear view lights as a power source, then I could have used this as a reverse signal wire instead of tapping into that dashboard harness plug. But, since I didn't do it that way, this wire is not needed.

Gesture Finger Thumb Nail Automotive tire



So, instead connected the reverse signal wire on the stereo harness to the custom solution I had just wired up. Nice.

Circuit component Motor vehicle Electrical wiring Computer hardware Electronic component




Now we are finally ready to put it all together. Take your time lining everything up when mounting the stereo and the faceplate.... Then you get this!

Gear shift Vehicle Steering part Motor vehicle Automotive design




Testing out that juicy little rear view camera...

Plant Television Gadget Line Vehicle



After listening to some music I'm really beginning to love this head unit, as it actually sounds noticeably better than the OEM head unit, despite still having the old crusty stock speakers in it still! Yeah!
 

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Discussion Starter · #259 ·
After driving around for a bit, I figured I should put in some new speakers to compliment the new head unit. So I went on to crutchfield's website and found a set of Hertz speakers to replace the old stockers. They included mounts and harness adapters at no additional cost. Nice!

Motor vehicle Font Gas Auto part Automotive tire




Install is fairly easy, but it took me a minute to figure it out.

First, the rear doors. Remove the door card by popping off the screw covers, here and here....

Hand Hood Gesture Finger Vehicle door

Hood Vehicle Automotive tire Automotive mirror Fixture


Remove all 3 screws, then start popping off the door card...

Automotive tire Automotive lighting Tire Fender Bumper



With the door card unmounted, you need to disconnect the window control plug, and the door handle cables, like so...

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior Gas

Bumper Automotive tire Gas Automotive wheel system Machine




Now you can remove the old speaker...

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Tread Alloy wheel



Now, the new speaker mounts need customizing. You gotta trim off the two longer tabs...

Wood Font Automotive tire Auto part Rim




Now you have to drill 2 holes, as per the instructions. Lined it all up, marked it, and then went to town with my 1/8" drill bit.

Automotive tire Hood Automotive lighting Bumper Automotive exterior




Here is the mount screwed in, and the wiring harness adapter attached and secured. Ready for the new speaker!

Tire Automotive tire Automotive lighting Wheel Bicycle tire




Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #260 ·
I decided to repurpose the cardboard/foam seals to help direct the sound through the door card speaker grill. I just flipped them upsidedown, then used some hot glue to attach it to the door card.

Wood Gas Auto part Machine Bumper



It was a tighter fit, but it all worked out and nothing was toughing the actual speaker. Nice.

Here's a comparison of old vs new. The new ones are a bit smaller in diameter, but they're deeper with bigger magnets.

Rim Gas Motor vehicle Audio equipment Automotive wheel system

Automotive tire Gas Automotive wheel system Composite material Engineering




Anyway, now for the fronts.

Removal of the door card is almost exactly the same as the rears.... But this time you've got the bottom speaker and the tweeter up top.

Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper




For the bottom speaker, the new mounts also need some modifications..BUT, you don't need to do any drilling this time.

Just cut off the inner tabs...

Automotive tire Gas Asphalt Composite material Rim

Automotive tire Asphalt Automotive wheel system Road surface Circle




Attached the mount, then plugged in and routed the electrical connector, and mounted the speaker.

Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Rim Automotive exterior



Now we gotta do the tweeter. Removing the old unit isn't too bad, unscrew the back and then pop out the tweeter from the housing.

Jewellery Gas Silver Metal Fashion accessory



To mount the new one, I used one of the included foam adhesive pads, along with some hot glue.

Hand Finger Gas Automotive lighting Font




Continued....
 
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