As the February 18 jump off approached, we started to get a *little* nervous about the number of electron-consuming doodads that we were stuffing into the WRX. The stock battery was only about two years old, but it never inspired confidence never mind awe. The stock alternator? Rated at 75 amps, so even with a conservative rating, we were skeptical of it keeping up with the the demands of dual Ham radios, stereo, rally computer, laptop, driving lights, and more.
The first part of the equation was pretty easy to address. Battery? The obvious answer was a deep cycle Optima. We were reassured by the fact that the battery was guaranteed to operate within design specifications when inverted. The marine "blue top" version fit nicely into the Subaru battery tray and offered dual terminals that made it much easier to attach accessory power.....
We fabricated a little plate to hold a Blue Sea Systems 80 Amp Maxi-Fuse that serves 4 accessory circuits for stereo, rally computer, Ham radio and driving lights.
Addressing the issue of the stock alternator was a bit more complicated. The engine compartment is a *very* cramped place! We hadn't heard of anyone offering a higher-output alternator for the WRX until we caught sight of Wrangler Northwest on a Subaru bulletin board. Stan Hackathorn at Wrangler responded to our cry for more amps and furnished the Comden/Hogan WRX with a 110-amp alternator, This arrived with all required bolts and adaptors.
Time was tight. We wished we had installed this alternator two months ago, but that was not the case. It took us two months to find Wrangler.... Where to turn to get this unit installed? Based on past experience, we made a bee line to Smart Service in Shoreline. As usual, Mike Corbin and crew at Smart Service did a great job on this install. Beyond simply installing the alternator, Mike put in an extraordinary amount of effort in benchmarking the new alternator under load so we could drive north with confidence.
Mike Corbin testing the new alternator under load...
The resulting installation was clean and hard to tell from stock save for some beefy 2-gauge charging cables running back to the Optima battery (and a 175 amp fusible link which I hope we never blow!!)
The alternator in place...
As long as we were messing with electrons, I could not resist the temptation to add some new horns. The previously added Hella Supertones were a great improvement over the anemic Subaru horns, but I was concened about the ability to get somebody's attention in the wind-swept environs we would traverse. The answer (from eBay) were some compact Fiamm air horns which instantly raised the combines horn sound output from 122 to 125 dB.
Not a lot of space under the WRX hood. I hope my positioning of the horns in the vicinity of the exhaust manifold won't cause them to get out of tune!Posted by jimhogan at February 17, 2004 12:21 AM