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A really good friend and I have been helping a mutual friend of ours catch up on maintenance and repairs on his recently acquired ‘03 WRX. Last time, we tackled a seized turbo (with the help of yet another friend). This time, we aimed to tackle some long overdue (we think) maintenance items. First up, spark plugs...

This ‘03 WRX was purchased with ~137,000 miles on the clock, and more importantly, no service history. When it started throwing a CEL for a Cylinder 4 misfire, the first step was to change the spark plugs. Having never changed spark plugs in a Subaru before, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as people claim, at least from our newly acquired experience. After removing the air filter/intake assembly and the washer tank, access was reasonable. After removing all four coil packs, out came four well-worn, if slightly lean looking, Denso PK20TT plugs, and in went four of the proper NGK units. During reassembly, we moved the coil pack on cylinder 4 to cylinder 3: A. to see if the misfire moved if the new plugs didn’t fix the issue, and B. to make it easier to get at the potentially defective coil if that was the case. All said and done, it took us about an hour and a half. So far, so good though... Next was the fuel filter...

This was simple enough. The most difficult part was releasing the fuel system pressure; disconnect the fuel pump relay (the white and green relay behind the passenger kick panel), run the car until it stalls, crank the engine one time for 5 seconds, and you’re good to go. The filter itself required the removal of two hose fittings, and a spring clip that held the filter in place... Next up, dealing with some belt squeal...

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The AC compressor belt made a loud squealing noise when engaging. On closer inspection you could see that the compressor belt was slipping and was a bit loose. Re-tensioning the belt caused the squealing to disappear, for now... I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this one pop back up sometime in the near future...

Everything seemed to be going so well, which meant that the last job of the night was going to be difficult... and, it was...

When our friend bought this WRX, it came with wheel locks. What it didn’t come with was the key for said wheel locks... #$@&%*!

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The wheel locks were of an internal star pattern design with no spinning collar. We could have bought the universal removal tool for ~$25, but that would be cheating, apparently...

We started by pounding a cheap 3/4" socket onto the wheel locks and attempted to remove them with a breaker bar (do so at your own risk!). It didn’t work. We then moved onto using the cheap 3/4" socket and a pneumatic impact wrench...success!...for 3 of the 4...

The 4th one was stubborn... we persevered...

Not the recommended way to remove your wheel locks!

One disc grinder, many other cutting tools, a pin punch, and a small sledge later, it was off...

We ended up cutting/breaking a chunk off the wheel lock, then used the pin punch and sledge to unscrew the lock.

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The moral of the story... DON’T LOSE YOUR #$@&%*! WHEEL LOCK KEY!

Next up are brakes, but that’s for another time!