When you order OEM car parts from some of these third-party resellers, they’ll ask for a VIN so they can confirm that you’re ordering the right part. After I placed my order, I received an email that said this:
“There is an issue with the VIN # you provided. If this is a US market vehicle, then the number provided is incorrect, please double check it for accuracy. If this is a foreign market vehicle, please be aware we cannot specify parts or check fitment.”
Weird. The steering wheel is on the correct side. All the controls are in English. This has to be a US-market Subaru Justy, right?
I called a Subaru dealership to find out, and I was surprised at what the details they gave me. Yes, the gentleman confirmed, it’s a US-market Justy. He also said:
- It was first sold on January 3, 1991 at Bob Ciasulli Subaru on Route 46 East, in Little Falls, New Jersey. The dealer appears to no longer exist.
- That it was white with grey interior (same as today).
- The key number, in case I want a brand new one made.
- And that it came to the U.S. on ship number 501. I don’t know what that means, but it’s a fun enough detail that it makes me want to call about all my future project cars.
This was good enough for the parts guy, so I finished processing the order, bought a bunch more parts on RockAuto, and once it arrived, I took it to the machine shop. That whole endeavor was covered in my last update.
But as I looked at reassembling the engine, there were just a few more seals I needed that weren’t included in the gasket set.
The rear main bearing cap on this engine (photo at top) also acts as part of the rear main seal support. It slides out in one big piece from the back of the engine, and has these two small rubber rectangles to seal the sides of it. As you can see, my existing ones were hard, brittle, falling apart. The piece sticking out of the end is a metal rod that helps the seal keep its shape.
After failing to find an aftermarket pair on the Internet, I went to my local Subaru dealer. Sure, he said—after spending 10 minutes going through parts diagrams to find this particular piece—he can order them. Then he said, ” There’s only 24 of these left in the world. It’ll be four bucks for a pair.”
Of course I ordered a pair. I am now the owner of roughly 10 percent of the world’s supply of something.
At this point I can begin putting the engine back together and, in that process, find out what other seals are missing from the set.
An aside: my Justy decided to remind me recently of how long it’s been immobile in my garage by sprouting mold on the steering wheel. I’m glad I noticed it when I did, because the mold had already started to migrate to the seat fabric. I applied vinegar to a towel and wiped it down. I’d have preferred bleach, but I don’t want to stain the beautiful checker pattern on the upholstery.
My updates have been slow, but I have been steadily trying to chip off progress with this rebuild. Some Jerry Springer-grade drama within the extended family recently slowed down progress. Now that we have our lives back, I’ve got high hopes to get this engine back in the car by the end of the summer.
[Photos copyright 2016 Alan Cesar | Hooniverse]