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2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #81 ·
I've been making some progress with my flood light solution, so I figured I'd post an update.

Installing the switch ended up being more difficult than I anticipated, so I had to go to plan B and mount it on a slightly different portion of the panel. After testing things out, this is how I went ahead. First step, remove the panel in question...


Originally I wanted to mount the switch on the bottom right hand panel, which appears to be a blank for a button. Problem is, there is an electronic module in the way on the backside, so my only option was to use the curved blank slot just to the right of the sideview mirror knob.


Here it is, drilled and I'm cutting out any material that was in the way.


The tricky part of this is that the switches I got are very small, and they do not come with any connector harness. So, you have to solder in your wires while the switch is mounted. Otherwise, you cannot get the switch's threaded nut onto the switch housing, as it needs to come from behind. Here it is soldered... It's a sloppy job, I know. But it's so dang small it's really tough to get in there!



And here it is mounted back onto the control panel, with my associated connectors.


At this point installation is very simple. Just snap the control panel back into place, and attach your wires. I used fuse #20, which is the cigarette lighter circuit, as my switched power source for the light (and to power the relay's switching mechanism) - at 10 amps this is PLENTY for what I'm using it for. I bought a mini fuse tap from Autozone to make tapping into power easier. The screw holding the panel to the car frame was an easy, and effective, ground source as it's only for powering the light within the switch itself.


Now to test the switch's light. It works!


Looks pretty cool. Nice and clicky, too.

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #82 ·
Next up, time to wire up the relay. According to my research, all 4 of my LED flood lights will draw in a total of 20 amps, so I will need 12-14 gauge wire, and I'll need a good power source along with a decent relay that can handle the current. That said, I decided to overbuild this part of the circuit. I bought an 80/60 amp automotive relay, along with some good 12 gauge wiring and large connectors. The relay needs an input source to activate the internal switch (this is connected to my switch inside the cabin), and a ground source for this same mechanism. This is the low power side of the relay, so this one has 18 gauge wiring for said portion of the relay. The output from the relay will go straight to the flood lights, and it needs a strong power source for said lights. I decided to just go straight into the positive battery terminal - both for max power, but also for ease of install. It shouldn't draw any power when the switch is turned off from the inside.

Here is what I came up with...


I put an inline 30amp fuse between the power source and the relay, just for safety.

This is where I installed it...


You can see how I attached it to the battery terminal. Don't mind the red goo, it's a terminal protectant spray I put on there after cleaning/sanding down the connections.

Here is the ground I used for the low power side of the relay...


The most difficult part, by far, was routing my low power switch input wire into the cabin... Turns out there is a wiring harness bundle which routes within the driver's side fender and into the cabin.

You can sort of see the red wire I'm talking about, going towards the fender...


Next I had to partially move the wheel well splash guard, then routed the wire along other tubes in that area. I taped it up a bit and fed it on top of said tubes to further protect it from the elements (don't worry, I put much more electrical tape on later on to cover it up completely)...


The wire goes along the top, and then ends up here... I went ahead a poked a hole into the rubber grommet with my small/thin screwdriver so I could squeeze my wire into it. It still seals nice and tight...


And the view from the inside of the footwell...


Now, simply route the wire into the mini fuse panel so it plugs into my switch output wire....


Once installed I cleaned up all the wiring as best I could so it wasn't hanging around everywhere. Also added more protection and securing tape on the wiring inside of the wheel well. I didn't snap any pictures though, as I was too excited! Haha.

Anyway, last but not least, verify that the switch is working with my current wiring setup.

Switch is turned off. As you can see, no voltage present...


Technology Electrical wiring Wire Cable Engine


2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #83 · (Edited)
Switch turned on, and voltage is present! It works!!!



There is even an audible click from the relay when you turn on the push button switch on. Also, since I have it attached to a switched power source, it only can turn on when the key is in the ignition and it's turned to at least the accessory position. I really like the blue light around the button as well. Looks pretty dang cool.

I've been trying to figure out how to wire up the flood lamps now. Originally what I wanted to do was route the wires through the front roof rack mount, so to do this I had to remove the driver's side roof rack, but I ran into problems. To access the mounting hardware you must go through the cabin by moving the headliner out of the way. I didn't want to go through the trouble of dropping the entire headliner, so I pulled it down enough to reach into the nuts holding it in place.


The front portion of the roof rack is held in by 3 nuts, with studs extending from the mount itself, through the roof, and into the cabin. I removed 2 of the nuts, but the 3rd just kept spinning! I wonder if it got overtightened during assembly... Regardless, there is no way I can remove it without destroying the mount.

At this point I have two options, I can go to the junkyard and source another mount, break my mount, and replace it with the junkyard variant. If this works, I'd have to drill a hold through the roof (underneath the mount). This would make a relatively clean install, BUT, I'd worry about rust and maybe even some leaking (though I'm sure I could get it sealed up very well). I've done moderate body work on cars in the past, and rust is EXTREMELY difficult to prevent. Nothing comes close to factory prep on panels... It seems like no matter how good you prepare and seal a surface, it ALWAYS ends up rusting within a few years.

That said, I'm considering doing it another way. The roof rack metal bars are hollow. So, I will see if I can feed the wiring through the bars and towards the back of the car, and just route it down into the hatch. I'd use the rubber boot from the 3rd brake light wiring to get into the cabin, as this would keep things water tight. This will have a short section of wire exposed on the roof, but shouldn't be too noticeable. It's not quite as clean of an install, but it should still be pretty tight and decent looking. It would be nice to have this as it's reversible - just in case if something happens and I don't want the flood lights anymore. However, since I'd be increasing the length significantly, I would probably have to increase the, 10 gauge wire.

I'll update when completed. Thanks for looking!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #84 ·
New exhaust is done! All custom cat back exhaust: 2.25" piping, high flow cat (downstream), 12" resonator, and turbo style muffler. Converted to single exit. Header is stock. I had him keep the tranny stay bracket, also kept the union joint to keep a little bit of flex in there (OEM is 2.25" anyway) and for ease of engine or transmission removal.

He did a good job. It's nice and tight up against the body, all without rubbing/vibrating against the frame.

Here's a pic from the rear...


Anyway, this thing is too loud. Lol. I'll have my guy weld in an additional resonator - hopefully that will quiet things down.

When you're going easy on the throttle it's not too bad. But, hot ****, as soon as you press the pedal down halfway or more, that thing is obnoxious! Haha.

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #86 ·
What is the opinion of the butt dyno?
A good question. So far it seems like I'm actually getting slightly better throttle response at low and midrange RPM's - which I'm genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised about. Other than that, it's tough to tell, but I swear you can feel it pull a tiny bit more in the higher RPM's...specifically after AVCS engages. Perhaps it's all in my head, though.

Either way, what I'm mostly hoping for is an improvement in MPG's. I'll update when I get more time behind the wheel..

In the meantime, I'm hoping to finish the floodlight install tomorrow. Got the lights mounted and the wiring routed to inside the cabin. Gotta finish up the cabin routing, and....I think that's it.

Thanks for looking!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #87 ·
Lights are done! Everything turned out really well. I won't bore you with the details about how I routed the wiring along the inside of the cabin, unless anyone is curious (I've got a few pictures of it).

On to the finished product!

Here's the outside...






You can see a little bit of the wiring going to the rear hatch. I'm thinking I'll probably paint it black to make it a tiny bit less noticeable. Even so, you don't really see it unless you're looking for it. Here you can see I cut out a small notch from the spoiler....


And a peek inside the under portion of the hatch housing the wiring. I cut into the rubber grommit/sleeve then taped it back up to keep things water tight. Zip ties hold everything in place. Take a look...


Opens and closes without a problem. No rubbing, either.


Last, but not least, the wiring inside of the engine bay. I suppose I could tidy it up a bit more, but I'm okay with it as is for now.



2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #88 ·
I had a chance to test them out tonight while taking my wife out on a date. I pushed the button and they're bright AF.

Here's some comparisons for you.





Same thing from outside of the car....



Lastly, looking directly at them WILL temporarily blind you! Haha.



I'm very happy with how everything turned out!

Thanks for looking!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #89 ·
Looks like I got another P0420 code. Considering I've done a full tune up, including spark plugs, wires, ignition coil, PCV valve, EGR valve, cleaned up all my electrical grounds, replaced the battery, replaced the water pump and thermostat (with OEM), flushed coolant, replaced both o2 sensors...I think it's safe to say the cat is simply done for. At 186k miles, it's not really unexpected.

I suppose there is a possibility of a head gasket leak contributing to cat failure. But, I don't see any signs of that otherwise (ie coolant passages and radiator cap were clean when flushing, no evidence of leaking around the head to block mating surfaces, oil level seems to stay the same between oil changes). Either way, I need a new cat regardless. Plus, I'm planning to change them out, along with most other gaskets this summer (hopefully).

I found an aftermarket replacement which includes a high flow cat on Amazon. I would expect it to last maybe 1/4 as long as OEM, if that, but I figure I'll throw on a spacer w/mini cat on the downstream o2 sensor to increase the time between I get another CEL. If I'm lucky it will last a few years, and who knows, maybe I'll even get a tiny bit more flow out of it with the 400 cel cat (vs 600-800 cel OEM). The new manifold should be here in less than a week. I will most likely wrap it and fab up a super basic splash shield for it as well.

I also got in a new in tank fuel filter, and fuel pump strainer. Hopefully I can get those done this week.

Lastly, I made an appointment with my exhaust guy to weld in an additional resonator. Hopefully that calms down some of that drone while on the freeway.

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Update: Had my muffler guy weld in an additional resonator. Now it sounds perfect.

Stock exhaust manifold. 2.25" piping, high flow downstream cat, two 12" resonators, 1 straight through muffler, single exit exhaust.

Take a listen...

No more drone on the freeway! Yay!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #91 ·
Today I decided to swap out my fuel filter. I went ahead and bought a new OEM fuel filter, and a Denso fuel pump strainer. Denso just so happens to make the OEM strainer, so I figure this is as good as getting it straight from Subaru (but for a lot less, let's be honest! Haha)

New parts...


The fuel pump strainer is Denso part number 952-0086.

Anyway, pulled off the rear seat cushion and removed the fuel tank cover. Looks like a squirrel or mouse was living in there at one time. Lol.


Went ahead and cleaned things up, and attempted to de-pressurize the fuel lines. I opened the gas cap, then unplugged the fuel pump power connector while the engine was running. This lowers the pressure in the lines a little bit, but I still got a bit of fuel spraying out when I disconnected one of the lines! Haha.

Here it is, ready to remove the pump housing from the tank...


And out comes the pump/housing...


Once I removed the bucket, I instantly felt good about deciding to do this project. Look at all the debris in the bottom of the bucket, and in the strainer!!


New vs old filter...


New strainer installed...


And new filter installed....


All put back together and ready to go back in!!


After reinstalling the pump assembly back into the tank, I went ahead and pressurized the system and started it up. I let it run for a minute, then before reinstalling the cover I double checked the lines for any leaks. Everything looks good!


This process wasn't too bad!

There's more to come - next post I'll be installing my replacement exhaust manifold/catalytic converter. Thanks for looking!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #92 ·
Got around to installing my replacement header/catalytic converter. I went ahead and bought an Autosaver88 variant from Amazon. It was cheap, and I don't expect it to last long.

This is how it looked when I first got it...


If you look closely at the exhaust inlets you can readily see the sloppy, obstructive welds restricting flow..



First thing I did was grind down the welds. This looks much better...



Next, I figured I'd wrap it since I've had this exhaust wrap lying around for the past couple years. This is a good reason to use it up!


Next, I wanted to try and add something to protect the wrap from oil spilling on it during oil filter changes. So, I got some 28 guage steel sheeting and cut it into a few sections, then sort of wrapped it around the pipes surrounding the oil filter.

This is what I ended up with. Haha.


Installation is really straightforward. Here's the old unit, ready to be pulled...




With the OEM manifold off, I decided to inspect the oil pan and surrounding areas. Found a little oil leak, probably from the head gasket starting to go...



2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #93 · (Edited)
Anyway, here's a comparison between OEM and my particularly cheap aftermarket choice.


Before installing I wanted to peek inside to see how the cat looks. The Autosaver88 is advertised as a 400 cell high flow cat. That said, I assumed the OEM unit is probably an 800 cell. Judging by the looks of it (hard to tell with my crappy focus on my phone camera comparison) the Autosaver88 really is an HFC compared to OEM. Nice. Also, on the other hand, in addition to the previous metal loading probably having been all burnt off, it looks like the stock cat is breaking apart... Lol.


Here's the new aftermarket unit for comparison (again, forgive the poor focus on my camera)...


New exhaust manifold installed!


And a view of my sloppy spill shields. Hopefully they protect from oil spillage when playing with the filter...


This manifold is certainly a little quieter than my OEM unit, I assume probably because of that disintegrating cat being replaced with a fully intact one. Haha. Also, no appreciable difference in power (as expected).

We'll see how long it lasts! But at least in the meantime no more P0420 codes!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #94 ·
Bad news...

Drove to work the other day and noticed a bunch of white smoke coming from the hood. Parked, popped the hood, and that **** upper radiator hose is leaking again! Exact same spot, despite all that I did last time...


Ordered some T Bolt hose clamps to see if I can get that thing tighter. I don't trust the worm gear style clamps.

Even worse news... I checked my dipstick and it was dry! I had changed the oil about 1,000 miles ago... Refilled it and it took about 1.75 quarts. ****. I think my oil control rings are just about toast. No signs of oil leaks anywhere (only a tiiiny bit of oil residue around the bottom of the driver's side head, most likely due to the headgasket). Coolant is clean both in the radiator cap and the reservoir.

No smoke during startup, idle, or revving.

It's gotta be those rings. I've had this exact happen before on a other car.

All things considered... What do you guys think. Should I do a full engine rebuild myself? I've rebuilt a number of engines, but they were all Honda's. I have a good machine shop I trust for my machining.


Should I just buy a JDM EJ253 equivalent? Replace headgaskets and all other seals, then call it good? This would certainly be easier and less stressful. But, I had one bad experience buying a JDM engine (again, Honda) and I ended up rebuilding the entire engine myself anyway because there was water in one of the cylinders (all rusted and gunky).

I was looking at this site to source the engine, specifically...

What do you guys think?

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #95 ·
Fixed the coolant leak. I got some t bolt clamps from Amazon and so far it seems to be doing the trick.

Take a look...


I replaced all the clamps on the upper and lower radiator hoses with these guys.

Now I gotta figure out the oil problem. There's a chance I might be losing oil out the AVLS solenoid, and maybe even the camshaft plug on the passenger side head.

I can also see some ever so slight oozing from around the oil pump, and some around the oil pan and a tiny bit around the corner of the driver's side headgasket. I really don't think those are causing my oil loss, but the AVLS solenoid might be.

I ordered a gasket for the solenoid along with a new camshaft cap. I'll also check in and around the intake manifold soon to see if there's any significant signs of oil there as well.

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Swapped out my fuel injectors a week or so ago. I went to my local junkyard and pulled a set from an '07 2.5 outback with an EJ253.

I sent my injectors to a specialty performance shop called Witch Hunter performance. They were fantastic!

This is how everything looked when I got them back...



The injectors were not only cleaned through a very thorough process, but also flow tested (before and after) and all seals and filter baskets replaced. They included the old seals and filters in the return package.

Onto the install. Removing the old injectors isn't too bad, though some steps can be a bit tight when reaching in there, especially on the driver's side.

First, I chose to relieve the fuel pressure in the lines. You can do this a few ways, but I like to do this in a really straight forward kind of way. I simply disconnected the fuel inlet line and had a glass jar to catch the fuel. It WILL spray out, unless you've been letting your car sit for several hours.

Take a look...


Next, remove the intake piping and air box..



Now get the plug wires out of the way...


Then remove the shield. This thing is pretty silly, I don't know why Subaru made it so thick and heavy duty. Oh well, 4 bolts and it's off. Driver's side needs a bit more finesse, but still doable.


Now unplug the injector wiring plugs, unbolt the fuel rails. I also decided to cut the zip tie holding the wiring harness onto the rails to give me more room to swing the rail out of the way. After that, pull the rails away - they will still be attached to the fuel inlet hoses (rubber) but there will be enough room to swing them out of the way....



Now you can pull out the injectors from the rails. Mine had a bit of gunk in the injector mounting holes, so I carefully cleaned them out with damp shop towels not to get the any of it into the intake ports.

Take a look, nice and clean now....


2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #97 ·
Here the old injectors out...


The new injector seals had different style barrels for the bottom. I was told that this is a design change and even OEM changed to this new design. I don't like it, I like the original design better, but the new one works fine.

While I was playing around I put some shop towels into the holes to prevent any debris from falling into the intake ports..


Reinstalled the new injectors. Pretty simple. Just pop in the inlets to the rails, then gently line them up into the holes, bolt it all in.


Next, clip the harness plugs back into the injectors, put the shields back on (I had to make sure the wiring harness wasn't in the way to get the shield to fit back on properly, since I had removed the zip tie). After that, plug your spark plug wires back on.



Last but not least, put the intake piping back on, make sure you reinstall the fuel hose, and then pressurize the system. You can do this by switching the key to the ON position. Do it several times. Don't start it, though. Check for leaking I'm the engine bay. You'd be able to smell it, so sniff around where you did all your work! Haha. Literally. Once you're sure there's no leaking, go ahead and start her up!

In my case I didn't notice any difference whatsoever, until AFTER I reset the ECU. Now it seems to run a tiny bit smoother, and so far I've gotten 1 more MPG - though it does need more testing to verify this.

Hope this helps anyone who is unsure about messing with their fuel injectors.

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #98 ·
Pulled the trigger on a brake upgrade. Specifically, a brake booster and master cylinder from a 2006 WRX STi. Here are the parts, bought them new on Rockauto. Since I couldn't find much documentation on this upgrade, specifically for an Outback, I will do a basic writeup so you can see what to expect with this upgrade.

Here are the part numbers.

Brake booster...


Master cylinder....


First thing's first, remove the old hardware. You don't necessarily have to do it in this order, but this is how I did it. I started off by removing the brake booster mounting and brake pedal hardware. It is held to the firewall with 4 nuts, and it has a threaded rod with a bracket that attaches directly to part of the brake pedal. To get there, you need to first remove the foot well plastic cover...


Scoot the driver's seat as far back as it will go, and prepare to get into an uncomfortable position. Here you can see the booster mounting hardware, and the brake pedal connection.


Remove the clip holding the pin in place to the brake pedal. Simply pull it out with some needle nose pliers. Also, mine had a white plastic cap at the end of the pin. Just popped it off. It isn't needed.



Now you can remove the 4 nuts holding the booster in place. A wobble end extension would be helpful here, but I did it without one.


All done in the foot well for now. Next, get into the engine bay and make way to remove the booster. Here is a look before I removed anything....


First thing I pulled off the was the booster vacuum hose. Also unplugged the master cylinder connector.



2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #99 · (Edited)
Next, I noticed one of the AC compressor lines was in the way of the booster, so I unclipped these two...


Now we're ready to start undoing the MC. First, unscrew the hard lines with a 10mm flare nut wrench.


Next, undo the 2 12mm nuts holding the MC onto the brake booster. Ease it out while keeping a close eye on the hard lines...


Now you're ready to pull out the booster. In my case there were some hoses and wiring in the way, do the best you can, be patient, and work that monstrosity out of there...


Here is the new booster. Make sure you transfer over the pedal bracket from your old booster...




Bracket swapped to the new one...


Now you're ready to install the new booster. The trickiest part on this, for me, was to line up the pedal bracket with the pedal. When I first put it in the bracket off to the side of the pedal. Had to pull out the booster and try again. This is how it will look when you've got it lined up! (It's not hard, it just was too sloppy initially).


I chose to install the mounting nuts first, but honestly it probably would have been easier to have installed the pedal pin first. In my case the bracket was too far forward and I couldn't line up the pin, so I had to adjust the bracket inward towards the fire wall. Grab some pliers and twist the threaded rod, like this...


Once I got the bracket closer to the firewall, I lined up the pin and put it all together. Also, tightened up the nut on the threaded rod (though I shouldn't have, as later on I needed to adjust the pedal free play so I ended up loosening the nut again anyway).



2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #100 · (Edited)
Now you're almost ready to install the new master cylinder.

First step of this process is to bench bleed. This specific unit came with plugs for the ports. Personally, I like this method for bench bleeding. It's the easiest in my opinion.

First step, fill up the reservoir. Hold it level (preferably in a vice, but I just held it by hand) and wait for fluid to start coming out of the ports. Once you see it coming out, thread in the plastic plugs, it now will look like this...


Now you need to push the piston in to get the air out. I used an 8mm deep socket on a 1/4" drive socket wrench. Fits perfectly.


Now just push the piston in slowly and firmly, give it a few seconds in-between strokes. You might see bubbles come up from within the reservoir. You might also see bubbles coming out from around the plastic plugs. Once you no longer see any bubbles, and your strokes become short and firm, then you're done.

Now you're ready to install the new MC. Easy peezy.


While doing so, I noticed that this bracket no longer fit, so I took it off...


Now, install your hard lines...


Now, the WRX booster does not come with a one-way vacuum valve plugged in like the Outback version does. You have a couple options. First, you can find a valve made for another car that fits the vacuum hose, splice it in. Or, you can use the hose that is designed for the WRX booster, as it has the valve built into the hose. I did the latter. It was less than $20 at my local dealer.

Here is your part number:

And here is how it looks like...


A close up of the built in valve. You can kind of see a bump from the outside...


Make sure to plug in as directed, that is, THIS end towards the engine...


Here it is installed. Looks a bit awkward, but it works. You could add in a 90° elbow to make it more natural, but for now this is fine.


Also, for reference, the OEM hose next to the WRX hose... Very similar dimensions. It's the way the booster nipple sticks out at a different angle that makes it like this.


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