Tag Archives: subaru

Replacing Valve Cover Gaskets

I’ve had a fairly bad oil leak since I got the Subaru running.  Turns out that the valve cover gaskets are a fairly common item to go out on this model, so I decided to replace them.  As long as I had everything apart (the drivers side in particular isn’t easy to get to), I also decided to do plugs, wires, the fuel filter, and the inline ATF filter.

Here is the passenger side valve cover.  You’ll need to remove the airbox to gain access to this.  It is held on with 3 bolts(10mm) and a hose.  Depending on the age of the car, the lubricant on the hose may be dried and powdery, or the hose may crack as you’re removing it.  I was lucky enough to have both issues.  Blah.

Carefully remove the cover by pulling straight away from the engine, and then upwards.  You can throw away the grommets on the mounting bolts – your replacement gasket kit should have new ones.

To access the driver’s side valve cover, you will need to remove the battery and battery tray.  You’ll also need to unmount the washer fluid reservoir, and set it out of the way (on top of the strut mount).  Finally, you’ll need to disconnect the oil filler neck.  All of these mounting bolts are 10mm.

Depending on the model year, you may also have an inline ATF filter that was added as part of a recall.  If you do, you’ll need to unlatch the filter from its mounting bracket to get enough clearance to pull the valve cover off.

You can use any degreaser you’d normally use to clean up an engine to clean up the valve covers.  I found that using a wire brush and small screwdriver helped get into the nooks and crannies.  On the inside of the valve cover, q-tips work well to clean the groove the gasket rests in.

With everything cleaned up, insert the new gasket into the groove on the valve cover, and mount them back on the engine.  The bolts don’t need much torque at all (41 in/lbs I read somewhere).

Legacy Rustoleum Paint Job

(most of this is copied/pasted from my post in the LegacyGT Forums back in September last year)

This past week, I did the $50 Rustoleum Paint Job. I’m not going to cover everything in detail, since a lot of the guides already do an excellent job.

I went from this

To this

I mostly followed DrSimon’s guide from Instructables. Before this, the only other painting experience I’ve had has been refinishing some homebuilt arcade cabinets.

The total cost was under $100, but certainly over $50. I ended up using 3 quarts of Rustoleum High Gloss White Enamel, and did 4 coats. I used 4 cans of Rustoleum spray primer.

Prep Work
First of all, make sure you have plenty of room. I wouldn’t want to try doing this outside, and I ended up using most of 2 garage stalls during the process.

If you have any rust spots you need to repair, this is the time to do it. If there are any parts you can easily remove (bumpers, grilles, etc), take them off and paint them separately.

Make sure to wash the car good first. Paint won’t stick to any road grease or wax on the body, and it doesn’t come completely off just from sanding.

Other than repairing rust spots, you do not need to sand down to bare metal. I used 220 grit followed by 400 grit to get through the clear coat.


Proper masking will give you the crisp lines you want. I had a couple slipups that will take some time to clean up later. The best advice I can offer is to use smaller strips of masking tape when doing curves. Automotive masking tape (green) will stick better than house tape (blue), and at least around here, was a couple bucks cheaper.

Garbage bags work great for masking off the tires/wheels, and ziplock bags work well for the mirrors.

With everything masked off, you can start priming. I did 2 coats of primer, waiting about 10-15 minutes between coats.

Painting (& More Sanding)
I used a spray gun that came with my air compressor for the painting. You’ll have to experiment a bit with your sprayer to figure out how much you need to thin the paint. It seemed to work best when it took 4-5 seconds for the paint to start dripping from the mixing stick. If the paint is too thin, you’ll have a lot of runs, if it is too thick, it won’t dry fast or level out enough.

The first coat will look horrible. The 2nd coat will look like you did it with a can of spraypaint. I waited 6 hours between each coat. Here it is after 2 coats:

After 2 coats, I wet sanded with 800 grit. It was handy to have a spray bottle full of water when doing the wet sanding.

After the 3rd coat, it looked like this. You can still see some orange peel in the reflection, which I was mostly able to get rid of after some more wet sanding with 1000 grit:

I would do it again, and did learn a few good things from this. Paint did get under the paper in a few spots, and I had to scrape off some of the glass. Wetting the glass with soapy water and using a razorblade worked well for getting the paint off.

I let the paint dry for about 18 hours, and it seemed fine once I took it out of the garage. If it’s muggy or cooler out, you might need to wait longer.

’91 Subaru Legacy

(this is actually from November 2010, figured I’d post it and then follow up with a couple ‘since then’ posts)

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a 1991 Subaru Legacy I got from my parents. While it’s hardly a sports car, it would be a significant improvement over my ’99 Durango in terms of MPG.

As it was foundIt had been sitting in a barn for over 6 years, used as storage, and as a home for mice, cats, and various other forms of wildlife. It has close to 120,000 miles on it, most of which are from when it was used as a rural mail delivery car.

I picked it up shortly before winter hit, and wasn’t able to work on it much right away. So far, I have replaced the engine knock sensor (to get rid of a Check Engine Light), installed new fuel hoses (the old ones were cracked and leaking), put a new fuel pump gasket in, and replaced several stripped wheel lugs, along with the tires. I’ve also gone through some of the normal (way overdue) maintenance, such as changing the oil & coolant.