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Old 06-01-2010, 08:47 AM   #1
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Why bother with S2000 when you can have S3300 - a Subaru SVX - 56K not OK

Most of you know that after selling the old purple GT4, whilst I was up in QLD, I had decided that a restrictor on a turbo AWD car was just plain silly and spoiling all my fun. Around that time, S2000 cars were being discussed and some had even been built. Recognition was growing that a naturally aspirated AWD could be a good thing.

If you search around, the list of naturally aspirated AWD's that a punter can build (noting S2000's can't) is actually quite short. Once you get over things like the Toyota Tercel, Honda's funny AWD Civic wagons, you realise that there's very little with some actual potential.

However...after fishing a bit with a few people, I came across what I think will be the next ideal rally car...so much so, that I went and built one to prove everybody wrong (or right).

This will be a bit of a build story...there's highs...there's lows...and then even more lows, so grab a beer and stick with me.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:06 AM   #2
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Chapter 1 - a new love

Many years ago...I built a Subaru Legacy as a rally car. After some arm twisting, and probably as a favour to the then editor, I did up some articles for Spokes talking about my build. The articles were subsequently picked up by ARN and a few articles ended up in there (which some people still bug me about not finishing...the fact that it ended up in a tree when I had a chance to win a series outright has somethign to do with them being incomplete).

You're probably wondering why I'm mentioning this...well, in perhaps the first article, I was discussing my options on cars that I had considered to build prior to settling on the Legacy. I ran through a few hypotheticals, one of which was a Toyota Supra turbo (note to self...build one of those one day...is it eligible for the Alpine I wonder?). But the other has become surprisingly relevant.

I mentioned that I had considered a Subaru Vortex.



In Japan and the US, they came with a 2.7 l flat six engine. I had imagined what it might sound like with throttle bodies and extractors (both at that point were completely CAMS illegal) and have never forgotten.

THE CAR

Hence, how I settled on my current car choice.

A 1995 Subaru SVX



Now...get up off the floor (don't forget to wipe up the beer you spilled) and read some of the specs below...this is what got me thinking.
  • 3.3l flat six, 24 valve quad cam with 230hp stock
  • AWD with WRX interchangeability (6 speeds fit)
  • 1650kg stock...woohoo.
  • That's about it

How hard could it be to build the first in the world? Hard
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:24 AM   #3
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BUYING AN SVX

I then came across one of the first challenges. There were only something like 150 of them sold in Australia from between 1992 to 1997, so finding one was going to be a problem. Sure enough, when I first started looking there were none for sale.

Then one came up for sale and I encountered my second challenge.

In 1997 these cars were priced at nearly $85,000 on the road! They came with all the fruit, leather seats, climate control, electric everything (seats, windows, sunroof etc...the complete luxobarge.) Strangely enough, anybody who wanted to sell was asking outrageous prices!! I'm renowned for my tightarsedness (is that a word?) so this was no good and had to stop.

I then came across one at Pickles Auctions in Adelaide. It had passed in but I rang up and made them an offer they couldn't refuse (well the could...but thankfully they didn't) and after a lot of jiggery pokery, it arrived on my doorstep.

THE DONOR

I had bought a 1995 model. For the SVX enthusiast, the post 1995 models were better....dual airbags and an improved automatic transmission were the primary factors (both of which hardly rally relevant and both have found themselves on a landfill in Brisbane).

On receiving the car, it was clear that it had run over something very nasty...check out the following:




Thankfully, the chassis was strong, and hadn't bent, but the same couldn't be said for the front right strut and the rear lateral links.

Parts were sourced and the car was registered in Brisbane and became my daily driver whilst I contemplated my future.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:47 AM   #4
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Stripping

Tortfeaser and his family made a trip up to sunny QLD in 2006 and spent the afternoon with us. It was decided on the spot that the car should be stripped then and there...not before we drove it over the local weigh bridge.

Now, the figure I'm about to reveal has gone on in infamy as a source of utmost hilarity, however, it was super disturbing and revealed the nature of the problems ahead.

The number on the weighbridge with me, Tortfeaser and dynosam in the back was....*COUGH*onethousandninehundredandfortykilograms*COUGH*

Now clearly...it was all Sam, because Marc and I are svelte athletes.

But anyhoo...I digress.

Stripping a car is a long and convoluted process that basically involves removing eveything, then putting some of it back in. I was also trying to save weight...which is a challenge.

After stripping the car, I sent it off to get a roll cage made.



Then started to piece it all back together again.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:50 AM   #5
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:51 AM   #6
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Patience Ray...patience. I am at work you know!!

Sssh
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:58 AM   #7
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:08 AM   #8
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ASSEMBLY 1 - the gearbox

I fitted a late model, low km, Subaru Legacy 6 speed gearbox. Subaru having similar reputations as Mazda do with glass gearboxes, made the 6 speed the logical choice.



However, converting a car to manual that was never built from the factory was interesting. Subaru did provide some assistance in that most WRX parts could be made to fit...sort of...with the assistance of a MIG...and swearing.



The brake pedal box of a WRX fits...which is a plus.



The clutch pedal needs some dodgy welding and dubious mounting points.





A gearbox crossmember has to be modified, or in my case, fabricated.



And then the gearstick needs to be extended to reach the box and pop up through the standard SVX hole.

Also, as the diff ratio in the box had changed, I needed to locate and install a different rear diff.

Also needed a clutch master cylinder (new Forester ones fit) and a flywheel (5 speed WRX bolts on).

All too easy...done and done.

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Old 06-01-2010, 10:24 AM   #9
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ASSEMBLY 2 - Suspension and brakes

Surprisingly, with only 150 sold in Australia, aftermarket suspension choices for the SVX were limited...to zero.

However, I forged ahead and organised some DMS to be made for the SVX. I know I know...the DMS haters will be up in arms, but it was cheaper than Murrayflex, and better than nothing.



Despite the similarities to the WRX in drivetrain, this is the one area I found the most frustrating differences.

Front hubs - identical, it would seem, to the WRX STi's from 2005 onwards BUT different because the sway bar mounts to the strut, not the suspension arms (of course).

Rear hubs - like nothing else Subaru has made. Same bolt pattern as the '05 STi's but different angles such that if you fitted STi struts (which do bolt in) the back would be up in the air like a funny car (of course)

I then thought, how about swapping out the complete WRX suspension? But no, Subaru went for subframes in the SVX for NVH I assume (the kind where they can install everything on the bench, then bolt the complete assembly up to the car with 4 bolts at each end) versus the different crossmembers used in the WRX.

Front strut tops - nothing available...custom made using butchered Nolathane solid mounts...and I mean butchered.

Rear strut tops - identical to WRX...bolt straight in, go figure and I used some DMS items.


Brakes were always going to be interesting. The SVX uses 16inch wheels and the brakes are actually quite large. They use a 301mm disc at the front, which is bigger than the WRX and use very large 2 piston calipers.

However, due to real estate issues, they were never going to fit under a 15 inch wheel. Spacers and longer wheel studs have fixed that which is good, and now they do.

At the back, the standard disc is a 290mm odd solid disc. A bonus was that the parts I ordered to fix the damage originally include some jap spec discs which were vented...on they went.

Combined with some Kev spec pads, we were ready to go.

The stud pattern of the hubs was also unusual. At 5x114.3 it was quite different to the default WRX 5x100. However, thankfully, EVO's use the same stud pattern and the offset works, so I managed to get some Compomotives for it



Forgot about the ABS...I removed the ABS system (as it was optional in the US) and had to replumb the lines to suit.
On to the interior

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Old 06-01-2010, 10:51 AM   #10
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ASSEMBLY 3 - The interior

I forgot to mention that when I stripped out the interior, I also used the dry ice trick...wish I'd known about it before I did all my other cars.





I did the worlds most dodgiest cage painting job (I did at least mask some stuff off this time...have been known not to)



The next challenge for the interior was wiring. When I mentioned it was a luxobarge, I may not have mentioned the extent to which it had wiring. The factory loom in it's completeness weighed 30kg!! Add in all the stupid peripheral ECU's, sensors, things that go bing etc. and it was approaching 35-40kg. So obviously, it had to be stripped back.

Using the foolproof approach of working backwards from something redundant, I managed to get the loom down from being as thick as my wrist, to as thick as my thumb...and I got a box of wires to prove it.

The foolproof approach is also quickly followed by the repair of the wires you thought weren't important but actually turned out to be critical to get the brake lights working...or headlights...for example.

I also refitted the dash...mounted some seats...thought about a terratrip...thought about an intercom...thought about a roofvent (although it had a sunroof...the ultimate roof vent, but I'd welded it shut)...mounted some harnesses...a new steering wheel (airbag wheel made me a bit nervous)...locally modified the trim to fit back around the cage...thought about a foot rest for the nav etc etc etc etc etc etc

The interior was then starting to look a bit more like a rally car...which was encouraging.




Check out the fighter jet inspired thrust lever called a handbrake above. Some might recall that the Vortex inside was like some sort of weird fighter plane. And as the SVX is its successor, I think they felt they needed something to remind people of its heritage. So the silly window's in windows and the thrust lever were an homage to the Vortex. Ask me if the thrust lever is useful in a handbrake turn situation.



There's a part 2 to the interior to follow. It includes some changes that I've had to make since I first built the car.
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:57 AM   #11
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OTHER THINGS

SVX's get hot...apparently. So in anticipation of that, I fitted a PWR alloy radiator which, at the time, was considered to be the solution (it's not...but that's another post).

I had an exhaust system made for it too. Nothing flash but it made noises (the right noises actually...it sounded fantastic).

Oh and a big sumpguard...big...too big. Feels a bit like an aircraft carrier landing deck. Weighs as much too I suspect.

I also did some basic body protection like mudflaps. Bought a massive roll of the black mudflap material from a dude.

Then I put it on a trailer and took it down to Canberra for the 2006 Natcap figuring it would be a handy intro for the car. I also picked up some tyres on the way down...nothing like last minute.

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Old 06-01-2010, 11:17 AM   #12
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First test session - Natcap 2006

At this point, I had a car that was nearly technical able to compete in a rally. I say nearly technically able as it had the necessary CAMS compliant parts...a logbook, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, triangles, OK Green cross cards etc. It also started and ran and drove, so technically it could have competed...BUT...there was still so much to do.

Thankfully, with the help of the Barrett's (again) I took over a bay in their workshop in the leadup to the event (again) and proceeded to finish all the things I hadn't finished before.

We bled the brakes...fitted the terratrip and wheel probe...fitted the terraphone...got a wheel alignment...forgot to check the exposed O2 sensor wire dangling down near the chassis...fitted the tyres to the wheels...fixed some electrical gremlins (like reverse lights and horn) and a bunch of other stuff to the point that it sort of looked like a rally car...sort of.

Thanks to Blacky (Neil Blackbourn) here's a bunch of pre and post event photos of the car.











Needless to say, like any test session...we had dramas. The car got super hot...very hot. The fact that it was a pretty warm day didn't help for sure, but it got hot.

We got through the first stage. Brakes were disasterous as in all of my quick build, I hadn't actually realised if I could comfortably reach them...and I couldn't really, so that was a nightmare. The handbrake was useless...and it was hot (I think I said that already).

Then, halfway through the second stage (Bluetts) it stopped. Electrical problem which we fixed with a spare 30amp fuse...but then it blew again and the car stopped.

After getting it home, I realised that the O2 sensor wires had been exposed, and were rubbing on the chassis shorting out.

I then went back to Brisbane...the car went to a mates farm and I promptly ignored it for a few months.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:43 AM   #13
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Sorry.


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Old 06-01-2010, 11:52 AM   #14
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Fast forward 5 months - the second build

The first test session had highlighted some pretty significant problems...cooling...brakes...power...O2 sensor wiring etc. This, coupled with some work I'd started on a new engine, prompted me to redo a bunch of things in the hope to make it a better car.

So I promptly fitted a new pedal box - couldn't move seat forward. Worlds best welds slightly obscured.



A hydraulic handbrake whilst I was redoing all the brake lines.



A Megasquirt programmable ECU.

A new fuel pump.

A new engine (subject of a separate post).

Some HID lights and a light bar.

More to come after I have some lunch.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:43 PM   #15
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THE ENGINE

In my early research, I got some specs on the engine which I promptly handed to Club Munyard to get a better understanding of what was being displayed.

The SVX was initially marketed as a sports car, but after journalists got their hands on it, they quickly found out that the combination of 1600kg, 4speed auto and 230hp did not the sports car make. Instead, it was more like a GT car...great on the highways, but hardly spritely.

However, when you pull apart the specs on the engine you start to realise that it could have been so much more.

24 valves and quad cam are obviously an advantage for air flow.

Head flow stock was one of the higher ones Mark's flow bench had seen at that time...he was genuinely excited.

Intake is dual 90mm throttle bodies...one to each bank...HEAPS of inlet air.

Bore and stroke is 96.9mmx75mm which the more astute amongst you would realise is quite oversquare. Oversquare engines can rev...and rev very high, yet the SVX power maxed out at 5400rpm.

Stock cam lift was 7.8mm for exhaust and 7mm for inlet...hardly inspiring.

So...Mark Banyard and I came up with a plan.

I should say from the outset too...Engine Analyser Pro is a horrible piece of software...it wrecks marriages and has a trail of broken dreams behind it...there, I've said it.

By upping the compression, increasing valve lift to 11mm and improving the flow on the heads, EAP came up with the following information. We used it as a guide.

At 10mm lift it had the potential for 390hp and 300ftlbs of torques.

As motivation, when Mark Sessions built his motor there were some suprising correlations with EAP and the real world. Enough to give us inspiration and we suspected that 330hp was an achievable target.

So...new cams were ordered that increased the lift to 11mm. The standard valvetrain wasn't capable of dealing with that lift as the springs maxed out at about 8mm lift before they coil bound. However, in a handy twist of fate, stock WRX valves were the right length, and fit using all standard springs, retainers and collets. We only had to gut the factory bucket, as it was a hydraulic lash adjuster type, to get a solid bucket, fit some shims and hey presto...new valve train with bulk lift!! Mark opted for trying to keep the duration stock given the manifolds (at that time) weren't allowed to be modified.





The compression was upped to 11:1 by skimming the heads. An interesting problem here is that skimming the heads means the inlet manifold (being one piece) doesn't line up as wel, so it needed tweaking. Additionally, the timing belt is one long belt driving both banks. As we moved the heads closer together, the timing was cocked up. So we had to make adjustable cam gears to fix that too.

The flow was increased...the heads now flowed 170cfm which was up towards the high end of flow.



We were pretty excited to see what the new engine could do so had some marathon sessions getting it built, installed, running and dyno'd before ROC.

However...like all of these things, reality stepped in and squashed us. We 1got 137kW at the wheels. Not 200kW.

Anyway, with all of this, we went to ROC...well...we tried.

Since then, I haven't touched the car but 3 years seems like a sensible time to start again. CAMS has recently announced that inlet and exhaust manifolds are free for NA AWD's...so 350hp here we come.

Cheers and thanks for reading,
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LinkBack to this Thread: http://www.bmsc.com.au/forums/bmsc-members-rides/22462-why-bother-s2000-when-you-can-have-s3300-subaru-svx-56k-not-ok.html
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Untitled document This thread Refback 08-10-2014 06:01 AM
SSCC ? View topic - Why bother with S2000 when you can have S3300 - a Subaru SVX This thread Refback 17-11-2013 02:34 AM
Lets see how much flack I can crank up with this, now with 50% more cylinders!!! This thread Refback 28-10-2013 10:14 AM
School me on subaru SVX - Page 2 This thread Refback 10-07-2013 10:36 PM
??? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ??????? - ????????? - ????? \ ???????? - ????? ??? This thread Refback 12-10-2012 06:57 AM
??? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ??????? - ????????? - ????? \ ???????? - ????? ??? This thread Refback 12-10-2012 05:42 AM
??? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ??????? - ????????? - ????? \ ???????? - ????? ??? This thread Refback 12-10-2012 04:27 AM
??? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ??????? - ????????? - ????? \ ???????? - ????? ??? This thread Refback 12-10-2012 02:38 AM
SSCC :: View topic - Why bother with S2000 when you can have S3300 - a Subaru SVX This thread Refback 20-03-2012 02:48 PM
im sure this is a repost but good read anyway - The Subaru SVX World Network This thread Refback 19-03-2012 05:13 PM
im sure this is a repost but good read anyway - The Subaru SVX World Network This thread Refback 19-03-2012 05:03 PM
SSCC :: View topic - Why bother with S2000 when you can have S3300 - a Subaru SVX This thread Refback 19-03-2012 02:53 PM
im sure this is a repost but good read anyway - The Subaru SVX World Network This thread Refback 19-03-2012 01:36 PM
im sure this is a repost but good read anyway - The Subaru SVX World Network This thread Refback 19-03-2012 01:27 PM
im sure this is a repost but good read anyway - The Subaru SVX World Network This thread Refback 19-03-2012 12:19 PM
random phone pix of cars - Page 93 This thread Refback 29-10-2011 05:11 PM
random phone pix of cars - Page 93 This thread Refback 29-10-2011 05:07 PM
random phone pix of cars - Page 93 This thread Refback 29-10-2011 12:52 PM
random phone pix of cars - Page 93 This thread Refback 29-10-2011 10:18 AM
random phone pix of cars - Page 93 This thread Refback 29-10-2011 09:45 AM
School me on subaru SVX - PerformanceForums This thread Refback 08-07-2010 05:54 PM
School me on subaru SVX - PerformanceForums This thread Refback 08-07-2010 04:49 PM
School me on subaru SVX - PerformanceForums This thread Refback 08-07-2010 03:49 PM
link: Why bother with S2000 when you can have S3300 - a Subaru SVX - 56K not OK - AUSubaru.com Forums This thread Refback 06-04-2010 08:18 PM
link: Why bother with S2000 when you can have S3300 - a Subaru SVX - 56K not OK - AUSubaru.com Forums This thread Refback 06-04-2010 11:21 AM
link: Why bother with S2000 when you can have S3300 - a Subaru SVX - 56K not OK - AUSubaru.com Forums This thread Refback 06-04-2010 10:39 AM

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