First start with Suby!

Bridget is back!

The new engine started today at 8:15 p.m. And all it took was flipping around the fuel pump the right way.

I’d installed it backwards. It was blowing bubbles in the tank instead of pressurizing my fuel injectors. I swear I saw no directional arrow on the pump—though there must be one.

The fuel pump swaparound was but the last hurdle in a long journey to hook up Tom Sheils wiring harness. The thing looked so simple even I could do it. But I had installed it a few weeks ago (before the run to the muffler shop) and got nothing.


Convinced it was grounds (usually on these cars, every electrical problem=bad grounds), I set about making a lot of nice grounds on her when she came back from the muffler shop on Saturday.

(By the way, National Budget Muffler did nice work. The exhaust looks clean and complete. I have a catalytic converter and two oxygen sensors installed, and everything is nicely gapped and/or heat-shielded. The water pipes lookk similarly well-made, but for one end with some saw-flash on the inside I’ll have to grind out. Now, is it stainless steel, equal-length headers and full-welded aluminum tubes for the coolant? No it isn’t. It’s all just aluminized exhaust pipe, neatly welded with some (in the coolant pipes) flex-hose couplers here and there. The whole job cost me $440, which I think is really reasonable for custom work of this caliber).

Anyway, keen to start her up, I stripped out the VW wires and got out the multi-tester to check actual voltages coming off the hot wires. I found a nice 12.5-volt “key-on” wire and hooked ‘er up to the “Ign” wire. I put grounds on the ECU and ran a battery wire from the negative terminal to the cockpit and grounded the bolts for the igniter and the Atmospheric Pressure Sensor–that’s a weird looking bit of kit with two wire plugs and two tiny vacuum hoses attached to it.

Still, she would not even turn the fuel pump with the key on.

After a day of pondering, I finally emailed Sheils. I can’t recommend him enough for all your Soob swap wiring needs. He got back to me within an hour or so:

Good to hear from you – but sorry to hear you are pulling your [hair] out.

First of all – did you plug in the Main Ignition Relay (BROWN) and the Fuel pump Relay (silver – Green Base)??

If they are plugged in – do they close when you turn the Ignition ON? 

The. . . what?

Back out to the car, I find, in my big pack of dangling plugs from the ECU, one that looks very much like the right pattern for a relay. Dang. I broke a relay out of the pile of holders Tom sent back to me and it plugged in.

But the big brown plug? That had more terminals on it. WTF?

I looked again through my loose pieces, found nothing that would fit. Then I returned to the car. Passenger side (where the ECU was)—nothing.

AH! But on the driver’s side: success. I found the bracket with both relays screwed to the chassis, high under the dash on the left side wall of the passenger compartment. Unscrwed that, pulled the standard relay out of the fuel pump holder and plugged both these in.

Hooked up the battery, turned the key and ..whirrrrr!

Fuel pump. Yah!

Still she would not start.

Found I had spark. Shot some starter fluid in the throttle body and got three seconds of a running engine.

I now had a live ECU, and the trouble codes to prove it.

IMG_4512 IMG_4511 IMG_4510 IMG_4509 IMG_4508 IMG_4507 IMG_4506 IMG_4505 IMG_4504 IMG_4503 IMG_4502 IMG_4501

Pulled two sparkplugs and found basically no gas on them. Figured maybe the fuel injectors were all stuck from the engine sitting dry for over six months.

But that didn’t make sense. Took until after dinner to figure out that the fuel pump was in backwards. I knew it had to be when I pulled off the middle fuel hose from the intake manifold—that’s the return line—and there was no gas in that either. If the fuel pump were in right, that hose would have been full no matter what the state of my injectors.

So now, she runs. Barely. She stalled out right away. No idea why but: fuel lines had air in them? Also, vacuum hoses are not hooked up. Etc. Etc. The sound on the video is a lot harsher than it was in the shop. There was no clashing metal or anything like that.

Bridget first start with Subaru engine from Edward Ericson on Vimeo.

And bonus: while the few little 2 and 3-second starts happened, oil pumped out the capillary tube that will serve the oil pressure gauge. That means we have genuine oil pressure, and that means we can run this motor.

Next up: coolant. I need to bridge a couple gaps in the metal lines and tighten up the clamps. Then I have to rig up a fan relay and hook that up.

Then there’s all the wires—everything needs to be put together neat, and all the old wires that do nothing have to be got rid of.

I’ll need to put in a few fuses, probably.

Need to make my air intake system.

Sound deadening around the fuel pump.

Install the heater.

Shifter’s not right yet. Right now I think I have reverse, 1-2-3. But no 4th. Hopefully that won’t be an impossible situation.

With any luck, I could get a very short test drive in by next Sunday.


About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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