Off Topic Forester XT work log

It's been a while! Toddler has been keeping me busy so I've been getting little to nothing done :p. Goal is to knock out maintenance to get the car ready for road tripping pretty soon. Up first, installed some new spark plugs using NGK (7913) SILFR6A. Noticed an A/C hose appears to be leaking freon which may explain why my A/C was acting up over the summer. I'll get this verified and taken care of soon. Other than that, still need to change my rear brakes.

Set myself up last night, removed the washer fluid tank and intake. Loosened all the coil packs so I can hop right into it in the morning.



My least favorite side, the driver side. It's all doable but it's a bit cramped over here.

Couldn't do it without this ratchet!

Passenger side was easy with the extra space. Glad the whole process went pretty smoothly.
Uh oh, prank time! Radiator sprung a leak at the upper tank so it got replaced. Checked multiple times and was sure it wasn't one of the upper hoses leaking. Went with a full aluminum radiator I found on eBay. Brand is DH Racing. I would've given the CX Racing radiator a try but it didn't have ports for an automatic transmission lines. I'll report back if I ever encounter any issues if anyone is curious about it. Quality seems good! Only hit a small snag in fitment for the stock fan shroud where the lower pegs didn't line up so I just chopped the pegs off and drilled a hole to secure it. Threw on some Gates hoses too because why not.

Radiator is sold by user new_racing
Full Alum NO CAP Radiator Fit 2003 2004 2005 Subaru Forester 2.5L H4 EJ255 2.5L

The uh oh.



Draining and removing the radiator is pretty straight forward. I did not enjoy how the drain plug points to the passenger side, sprays out, and runs down multiple areas of the frame. Needless to say, it made a big mess. Unless I'm not doing something right here haha.


New VS old.




Here's the snag I ran into. Fan shroud butted up against the radiator but the bottom pegs didn't line up. The top bolt holes for the shroud lined up perfectly though.




Installed and ready for burping.




Until the next prank!
Forgot to update the Forester pranks on this forum for my fellow Mazda friends to enjoy :p Here it goes!

June 15

Weather has been strange this year and we finally have hot weather again. A/C started acting up after about 20-30 minutes of driving by blowing hot air. Usual story, turn off the A/C for 2 minutes and it'll kick on again which is a gamble of how long that lasts. I figured the hot side hose leak was the cause but it looks like the compressor clutch gap is too large. I'm able to easily slip in a 0.7mm using my feeler gauge. Got the clutch off to remove the two washers and putting the thing back on was somewhat of a pain but it's done. The two washers stacked together measure at 0.4mm. Clutch gap is back in normal spec at around 0.35mm. Hopefully it works! Will report back when I get a chance to go on a longer drive.



June 29

The A/C clutch shim removal fix worked. Been out on various long drives on hot days and it hasn't blown hot air on me yet. Aluminum radiator is also holding up well.

July 10

AC idler pulley took a poop and started making a ton of noise. Got it removed and it found it was totally seized. Replaced it with a Gates one and it's back to normal. Had the tensioner on hand too just in case that part broke but it didn't.


Ended up having a tire plug fail due to sidewall flex if I had to guess. Plug was really close to the sidewall and it held for about 5-6 months. Found a replacement tire that matched the rest of mine down to the tread wear and all. Pretty happy about that!
Borrowed my wife's wheels because why not. On Tuesday, I pulled her forester into the garage and lost all brake pressure. Discovered a leak at the rear passenger side junction. Not looking forward to repairing that.



No new updates with mine. It needs a wash and detailing soon though!

Update on the wife's car since I did open that can of worms. Fixed the leaking brake line myself with new lines and fittings. Continued to chase down a wobbling issue at highway speeds and it ended up being blown struts all around. Replaced it all, LCA bushings too while I was in there, got alignment and wheels balanced and the car is driving very well now. No more wobbling.

Back to my car, lots of fun stuff for 2024! Wanted to do a refresh on the steering and suspension bits that I haven't gotten to over the years. All before road trips start happening over the spring and summer. Went to replace outer tie rods, lower control arms and ball joints. Ended up snapping the ball joint pinch bolt on the driver side, of course. Couldn't extract it so I planned to replace the knuckle only to find the axle was also seized into the hub. End result was I replaced all of it on that side! Went with a Trakmotive axle and felt I got lucky a cheap aftermarket axle did not wobble. Had a lot of issues like that in the past. When I finished up, I got the wheels aligned and balanced. It's driving really smooth now but the brakes were pulsating so I replaced those with Centric rotors and Wagner ceramic pads since I've used them before with good results. Decided to change from my StopTech street performance pads as they were producing more dust than I could keep up with for keeping my wheels looking decent lol. Last thing on the to do list is to drain and fill the ATF.