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Anybody have any idea what to do to fix the chrome?
I'm guessing you've moved on past this but I'll reply anyway. It is possible to polish or abrade a chrome coat on plastic to remove scratches, but it's finicky business. If you polish too deeply, your chrome is gone and you're hosed. The thing is, you don't have to polish completely through the scratch. If you round off the edges of the scratch, you can make it hard to see because it's the edge of the scratch that catches the light. If you can get ahold of an ultra-fine FEPA-grit 4000 silicon carbide paper and use it wet, it will work for your application. I've only bought it from Struers, a company in Denmark. You might need to start with a very light touch-up with 2400 grit, then hit it with 4000 for a few seconds, wash it, dry it with clean cotton and look at it.

You can also get a real fine diamond paste and apply it wet with a tight-weave cotton cloth. I'd try either 0.5 or 0.25 micron diamond and again, go slow and clean it periodically to see if it's working. Struers also makes a colloidal silica liquid abrasive that works great on plated polymers but it's a pain in the ass to use. It is 0.05 micron silica suspended in water and it cuts predictably, but if you let it go dry, it polymerizes and leaves a white film so you have to stay wet and clean it often.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
You can use the McGards spline drive lugs on stock wheels...conveniently in black.
I was looking at those. Didn't know they would be that pricey, but they are supposed to be good. I've not heard anything bad about them anyways. Just have to decide if it's worth the extra money to get the locking set, but having to keep up with multiple sockets/tools just to take my wheels off is a bit of a pain.

Do you know of anybody that makes a closed end black lug nut that isn't spline or locking? And are they worth a damn?
 

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I think mutegi might but I don't believe they have the right face for the OEM wheels. For the McGards, I bought an extra socket, extension, and breaker bar and tucked them into the spare wheel well wrapped up with the spline drive....just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
I'm guessing you've moved on past this but I'll reply anyway. It is possible to polish or abrade a chrome coat on plastic to remove scratches, but it's finicky business. If you polish too deeply, your chrome is gone and you're hosed. The thing is, you don't have to polish completely through the scratch. If you round off the edges of the scratch, you can make it hard to see because it's the edge of the scratch that catches the light. If you can get ahold of an ultra-fine FEPA-grit 4000 silicon carbide paper and use it wet, it will work for your application. I've only bought it from Struers, a company in Denmark. You might need to start with a very light touch-up with 2400 grit, then hit it with 4000 for a few seconds, wash it, dry it with clean cotton and look at it.

You can also get a real fine diamond paste and apply it wet with a tight-weave cotton cloth. I'd try either 0.5 or 0.25 micron diamond and again, go slow and clean it periodically to see if it's working. Struers also makes a colloidal silica liquid abrasive that works great on plated polymers but it's a pain in the ass to use. It is 0.05 micron silica suspended in water and it cuts predictably, but if you let it go dry, it polymerizes and leaves a white film so you have to stay wet and clean it often.
Thanks for the info. I'll definitely keep that for future reference, but yeah, I moved on from that and taped off the holes and painted them with duplicolor metalcast red. Looks really good. Just need a little bit of touch up on the flat black that chipped in a few spots and they are done.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I think mutegi might but I don't believe they have the right face for the OEM wheels. For the McGards, I bought an extra socket, extension, and breaker bar and tucked them into the spare wheel well wrapped up with the spline drive....just a thought.
So, now I'm a little confused. You said you keep all those things all together. But don't you just use the spline drive to take the lugs on and off? what's the socket and extension for?
 

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So, now I'm a little confused. You said you keep all those things all together. But don't you just use the spline drive to take the lugs on and off? what's the socket and extension for?
The spline drive piece that comes with the McGards is a different size than the stock lugnuts so the tools in the back don't fit. Don't want to get stranded with a flat tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
The spline drive piece that comes with the McGards is a different size than the stock lugnuts so the tools in the back don't fit. Don't want to get stranded with a flat tire.
Ok, got it. So I'm guessing you just need the extension to clear the fender? I have a 19mm impact socket I use that just barely clears the fender with my breaker bar or torque wrench. I'm sure if I don't pay attention when I'm doing it that I'll hit the fender with the wrench, so I'll probably be getting an impact extension when I get the lugs ordered. I'm hoping I can find somebody putting them on sale for after christmas or new year's sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Well, all the interior parts I painted have all cured and I re-installed them all today. It looks great! Crappy pictures, but they look great in person. I'm going to get my brother, who is a professional sports photographer to shoot some quality pictures of everything when I go on vacation in February.

Here goes:



Despite what it looks like from my camera phone, the red shift knob came out flawless.













I guess I'll have to take the blue face for my Cobb AP and paint that black now. Just looks odd sitting out there with the silver/grey face on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
I have been following this thread for a bit now. I appreciate all your posts and it has been giving me some awesome ideas to do to my own. Keep up the awesome work!
Thanks. Just give yourself plenty of time to do what ever it is you want to do, then double it. I swear not one of the things I've done to my car has taken anywhere near the "recommended time". But then again, I'm kind of crazy about attention detail. I blame the Navy. I blame most things on the Navy...

Just about to seal up the reverse lights. Pics coming soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Here are the reverse lights all cleaned and polished up. Had to use some 1200 grit sand paper to get the paint off that leaked around onto the front. Just a few little spots. Followed that up with about 20 or so passes with Meguiar's PlastX to clean them up and they are looking pretty good now. Just have to get out the black permatex sealant and put the piece together. Then my favorite part, the re-install.

I ended up messing up on the cutting when I opened them up and so I taped off the center portion on the inside that the light actually comes out of and painted the outer part to cover up the little chrome bits that were left behind from me cutting too far from the edge. I still think it came out nicely even with the little "pin stripe" that goes around between the two black sections.

Taking pictures of clear stuff with black behind it is a pain in the ass. Despite what it looks like in the pics it came out really nice, and the inside is definitely flat black, not whatever color the flash makes it look like.









Still working on those damn brake lights. They have really turned out to be a mess. Hopefully I can have them finished up by next weekend. One of these days, I might just buy another set of brake lights and try again. Right now it's more of a salvage effort. :censored:
 

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Thanks. Just give yourself plenty of time to do what ever it is you want to do, then double it. I swear not one of the things I've done to my car has taken anywhere near the "recommended time". But then again, I'm kind of crazy about attention detail. I blame the Navy. I blame most things on the Navy...

Just about to seal up the reverse lights. Pics coming soon.
I look forward to the tail light photos. So you're in the Navy? I also blame the Navy for my want to fiddle with things and my attention to detail. I'm just glad there isn't a ton of paperwork involved with working on the car. I was wondering if you could post a list of items you purchased and where you got them from? I'm having difficulty finding the appropriate LED bulbs for the tail lights without just purchasing random items.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
I look forward to the tail light photos. So you're in the Navy? I also blame the Navy for my want to fiddle with things and my attention to detail. I'm just glad there isn't a ton of paperwork involved with working on the car. I was wondering if you could post a list of items you purchased and where you got them from? I'm having difficulty finding the appropriate LED bulbs for the tail lights without just purchasing random items.
For the LEDs, I got the rear turn signals, reverse lights, license plate lights and rear side marker lights (red) from diodedynamics.com. Make sure you get the resistor kit from them for the reverse lights. I got the switchback front turn signals from some knock off foreign company. I don't really like them because they aren't very bright. I'll probably order the switchback front turn signals from diodedynamics one of these days. Those also require a new blinker module that is very simple to install on the back of the interior fuse box.

I like diodedynamics products because they don't over inflate their bulbs' light outputs with approximations. Good prices and good sturdy feeling bulbs (a lot of the bigger bulbs have aluminum bodies).

Let me know what else you're looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Black grill surround with Black/Red star emblem and surround is done. For now. I ordered the emblems from subarubits.co.uk. They are made out of some kind of flexible resin type stuff with an adhesive backing. Since they are much thinner than the OEM emblems, I had to cut some plexiglass pieces to to fill in the rest and cut the tabs off of the emblem surround and some 3M double sided adhesive. Unfortunately since the area is curved, so the plexiglass pieces' corners were sticking up in a few places. So when I attached the new emblem, I pushed too hard and you can see a few creases from the plexiglass pushing from the back. Oh well. It will work for now. Here's how it looks. I'll either install it on the car tonight, or tomorrow when I get home from work.



 

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Discussion Starter #57
Finally got some pictures of the reverse lights installed and grill surround installed. About as good as I could get with a camera phone in a garage.







And here's a couple of the grill sound and new Subaru emblem.



 

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Discussion Starter #58
Installed the black McGard lug nuts yesterday. So much better looking than the stock chrome lug nuts.

Also got to drive my car around yesterday. Only the second time since my left ankle surgery. Went pretty well for only being 9 weeks post surgery. Just drove it around the neighborhood for about 15 minutes. Still waiting on my backup set of brake lights to come in tomorrow so I can actually get her out on the road again. Then I'll have plenty of time to get the tail lights exactly how I want them.



 

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Discussion Starter #59
Just got back from taking my wife up to Ski Beech, NC for a week of skiing. Timing was perfect. It snowed 4 out of the 5 days we were there. Very glad I had the all-season Michelins on. Temps got down to around 8F a couple of nights with windchill below zero. She handled the snow and ice like a beast, although she struggled to start on those 2 super cold mornings. Here's a few pics of how much the car enjoyed it.

My car had a visit form his little brother.



I always enjoy being able to see my car from my hotel room.







She got a bit of a runny nose....

 

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Discussion Starter #60
Well, I'm finally tossing in the white flag on my brake lights. They are done for, kaput, dead, toast. And of course I made the mistake of looking at those damn Valenti tail lights with the extra LEDs. I have to admit I have the best wife ever when she told me, "If those are are good quality and it's what you want, get them." Well, hell. What do I say to that?
 
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