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1Gb Talon Rust Revival

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a little background first. Bought this car back in 2003...bought it as a supplement to my 99 GST Spyder to help me get through harsh MN know, AWD and all. Drove it all through college and grad school until it skipped a tooth on the timing belt at 60mph on the highway. Boom went three cylinders. That was 2009 or so. Car has been sitting mostly since a rebuild I did in 2012. The rust never stops though...

Decided to start off with the rusty old front brakes. Installed a "big brakes" back in 2005 or so, but since the car has been sitting for years, they've been slowly rusting out, along with the springs and struts. Time for a refresh.


Yuck. Bye-bye dust shield.


did some research as I wanted something better. It's been awhile since I've been paying attention to the DSM scene so i didn't know what people were doing with these cars anymore. Turns out, the CTS-V calipers and Cobra rotors are the way to go now if you want the best. So that's what I did. Pretty straightforward and IMO, easier to install than the stock brake configurations.



These things are MASSIVE at 13" across. I had read that SOME 17" wheels, with the right offsets and width would work with these things, so I was hoping that my existing Rota Subzero's with a +45 offset and 7.5" width would work....I was wrong. It was pretty close though. Great, now I need new wheels. Do I go up to 18's or stick with some 17's with a different offset? I had brand new tires on my Rota's, so if I could salvage those and stick with 17's, that's what I wanted to do. Plus, I just don't think 18's look right on a 1G. Call me old-school.

For suspension, I decided to ditch the standard KYB AGX adjustables on Eibach Pro's for BC Racing BR Series coilovers. No choice in changing them out, really. The Eibach's were so rusted through, they broke in half. Yay winters!



So. Did some digging on offsets, and various wheels. I like the open-spoke design, but this time I wanted something that would really shine with my burgundy exterior. My Rotas are silver so I'm thinking black or bronze. I couldn't find anything I liked in bronze and with the correct offset and width without spending a fortune (we have to remember, these cars aren't worth much, so I'm not putting $2k/each wheels on this thing). So, I settled on some matte black Enkei's I liked the look of.


These are 17x8 with a +35 offset. They fit's close, but there's room to spare with no rubbing issues. Now, to swap rubber...old Subzero's in the back.



Now, call me crazy, but it's the small details that really add up and make a car look even better. I couldn't have the standard crappy rubber/plastic valve stem caps, so i got some super cheap black aluminum caps to complete the look. What can I say, I'm anal like that. ;-)

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So, finally decided to tackle the rear-end. I know it's rustier than the rest of the vehicle, but I didn't realize just how bad it was.

I have been sitting on a pair of 3SX adjustable upper control arms so many years, so I figured now would be a good time to get back there and install them. Turns out, that damn eccentric bolt/sleeve combo was rust-welded into oblivion. After using a torch, impact, big-ass breaker bar it was not budging. So, time to drop the rear-subframe to see what I was up against.


as you can see, the crossmember had seen better days. the other side had a huge hole in it just like this side as well. Still couldn't get that damn bolt off. Had to cut the damn crossmember arm off in order to free up the trailing arms. Time to source a less rusty crossmember. Yay.

Here's what I'm dealing with:

New plan: Refinish, resurface and/or replace as much as possible given the lack of parts available for these vehicles. I mean to replace every screw, bolt, washer and seal so make this rear-end as "new" as possible so I don't have to deal with this again.

The immediate plan is to source a new crossmember and get it and the trailing arms sandblasted and powdercoated. I also want to send my rear-diff off to Jack's Transmissions to get "freshened up". They rebuilt my transmission, so I figured they were easily up to the task.
Got a new crossmember pretty quickly. This one's from a southern car, so minimal rust and in great shape compared to my old one. You can see where I had to hack up the old crossmember on the left.

Disassembling the rear some more and replacing what I can get shipped to me relatively quickly. A little wire brushing and some paint and the hubs look much better. Decided to replace the 29yr old wheel studs while I'm at it.

This is how I install wheel studs without a press. You just need a bunch of washers and a lug nut. An impact helps a ton too.
While I'm waiting for parts and fasteners, I realized I can't be making the subframe like new and bolting it back up into a rusty cave of despair so I got to work with the angle grinder and flap disc, a wire cup/brush on my drill and a lot of swearing. Rust is one of those jobs that is just never ending. You always unearth more.

As you can see I've already been working on the right side. The idea was to grind down to bare metal if I can, then put some self-etching primer over it right away. The entire underside of the car is fairly rusty, mainly surface, but from sitting in the garage all these years, the rear is the worst. For now, the goal is to go from the driveshaft tunnel back, otherwise I'll get too overwhelmed.

While under there, looking at the rear bumper cover, and what was likely underneath had me a bit worried. Every bolt I saw attached to the bumper cover was corroded to hell. You know how you can just LOOK at a bolt and you just know it's going to snap? Yeah, that was all the bolts back there. I figured, there's no better time than now. They weren't going to magically stop corroding.

Well, I was right. I'd say 90% of the bolts snapped. The ones attached to the metal bar at the base of the bumper (for stability) had to be cut off. The side bumper support brackets basically disintegrated upon removal. Luckily, I was able to source some more.

Old, nasty bumper support bracket (or what's left of it) and the newly de-rusted, primed and painted one:

Test fit of new bracket:
new bracket.jpg

As you can see above, my crash beam is completely rusted through in several areas. It would probably disintegrate if I got rear-ended anyway so, off she comes! My truck bed is starting to look like a rusty DSM graveyard.

Now to work on the rust underneath the bumper cover. Like before, wire wheel, grinder, primer, paint. Luckily I still have some factory color basecoat and clearcoat leftover from doing a fender a few years ago. Just rattle-canned it to offer some protection.
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Been working away on the underside of the car. There was just too much rust to get down to bare metal, and with all the nooks and crannies as I got further back toward the rear, it made it damn near impossible to get it all. Started researching the best way to seal it up and prevent further destruction. Seems my best bet is to get the flaky-rust off and use POR15 over it to seal it and prevent spreading.

Bought a few cans (a little goes a long way) and got some cheap paint brushes of various sizes. So, if you've never used POR15 before, what you need to know is you've got one shot at it when you open the can. There's no going back or taking big breaks. If this stuff gets on anything, consider that thing ruined when this dries. That means clothes, tools, etc. Make sure you cover the floor where you're using this stuff and don't get it on your skin. If you do, it's on there for a LONG time.

The POR15 process is a 3-step process. First you degrease the area, then use a "metal prep", which etches the metal, then paint on the POR15. This stuff comes in a couple colors, but I chose black, because I also topcoated it with a rubberized undercoating. This all took the better part of a day and not something I want to do again.

Here's the underside after POR15

And here's after the rubberized undercoating:

It's a subtle change, but the POR15 is a glossy and not super smooth finish...the undercoating is a matte finish (which I prefer) and went on super smooth. Overall, I really like the way it turned out. I should also mention that I waited a day for the POR15 to fully cure before applying the rubberized coating. The POR15 dries as hard as a rock. I'd be amazed if any rust continued to spread.

Looks what's back from powdercoat too. Went with "texture black".
powdercoated crossmemeber.jpg
powdercoated trailing arms.jpg

I received the rear subframe bushing kit from RTM and got those installed as well. Ordered new wheel bearings and seals from JNZ so that will be next on the list so I can get the trailing arms/hubs all assembled.

This guy wants nothing to do with me when I'm wrenching on the car...probably because of all the swearing.
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Today I worked on getting the rear hubs all assembled. New bearings, seals and all hardware. Of course, I primed and painted the hubs and cups to match the trailing arms.

On the other end, I ordered an active toe eliminator kit and installed those as well. Again, all new hardware/fasteners.

I also wanted to have a little more protection for the heim joints so i ordered some heim boots from Volk Metalcraft for both the upper/lower control arms as well as the ATE heims. These will keep all the dust and dirt out of the joints and hopefully make them last a bit longer.

I was in the back looking at the bulbs and mess on the center taillight section. That lead me to begin tearing it apart to replace all the rusty hardware and get it cleaned up as much as possible. Of course, at least one bolt snapped and had to be drilled out. Par for the course.

Not in the worst shape I've seen for a license plate bracket, considering it's still in one piece. Since it appears to be completely salvageable, I think I'll do what I did with the undercarriage and prep it and apply POR15 and a topcoat of paint or undercoating. You definitely can't get these anymore (at least it's incredibly difficult) so I want to try to keep it in as good a shape as possible.

Disassembled the reverse light housings, cleaned them as well as possible and reassembled with new hardware. Ditching the crappy screws for a new set of stainless allen head screws. I'll be replacing all hardware and chasing all threads on the bracket when I'm done coating it. These will fit back into it like a glove! Also replacing the stock bulbs with drop in LED bulbs.
A little before/after of the license plate bracket.


I always chase threads if I remember at the time. New bolts and screws require fresh thread. If you guys don't have this tool, get one. Makes doing this way easier and you can attach a ratchet to it as well.
Look at all that gunk in the threads.
Look what showed up out of the blue today! Hell yeah. Don't mind that crappy diff cover, I told Jack's not to bother with it. I have a new billet piece coming from Frontline Fabrication...eventually. It's taking awhile due to short supply of pretty much everything. Basically,. just got a refresh of my diff. Nothing major done.
Didn't do a ton today, but what I did do took longer than I thought it would. Reassembled the center tail section. Of course, all new hardware and fasteners where I can. Replacing most bulbs with LEDs while I'm at it. Cleaned everything up really well (all tail light sections) with Simple Green while I had them all out. You never know when you'll be pulling these again in the future so always good to really clean everything while I have it out.


A taste of some things to come. Volk Metal Craft rear lower control arms with sway bar attachment. 3SX adjustable upper control arms and rear coilovers.
Got a Suspension Techniques rear swaybar. Wanted something a little beefier than stock. Loosely mounted on the crossmember for now. I'm almost ready to start assembling the whole thing...just waiting on my Frontline diff cover. No idea when to expect it. Hopefully soon as I was hoping to get wheels on the ground sometime this fall.
Very nice por 15 is real nice i did a similar build too replacacing a rocker next over winter pics when i do it. I replaced all bushings in my dsm front and rear, ones. Sand blasted my sub frames primed and painted then put bushings in it. She needs a minor work before i paint but thats a winter project just a bit if getting her straight, Im glad i saved her she was wasnt the best when i got her. This was one worth saving, ive learned over the 25 years of owning one. And decied to work on he myself thats how you learn. Good job.
Pretty low-key day. Finished up the rear tail light section. Replaced all bulbs with LED's. Much brighter than stock. I had also remembered that before I can even get the rear subframe all bolted back up under the car, I need to replace both e-brake cables. They were so rust-welded to the rear calipers on both sides I had to cut them both. It's a rather simple job, but one I was putting off for some reason. today was the day I got it done though.

Here's both cables as they come brand new:

The main thing you need to remember if you're replacing both sides, is that the passenger side cable is 1/4" longer than driver side on AWD. It's very subtle but it's there and easy to miss if you aren't looking for it. It's a pretty straightforward replacement and super easy if you have the rear-end all torn apart like I do. Just remember to get all the cable clamps in the driveshaft tunnel or you'll get nowhere. Then, you need to go in the car and remove the center console. The cable assembly is right there, not hidden and really easy to get to. Here it is with both new cables already installed. FYI, that center threaded nut is also how you adjust your ebrake lever if it's feeling sloppy and "clicks" too much.


Here's the other end, under the car right next to the heat shield. This is the passenger side, where it enters the cabin. The driver's side is out of the pic, but about 2 inches to the left in the shadow, under the heat shield.


Look what else showed up today...finally:


I used some ultra black gasket maker to seal it up to the diff. Put a bead all around, put the cover on and finger-tighten all bolts, wait an hour, then torque down. Man that's looks pretty!


Here's the mustache bar I had Boosted Fabrication make for me. He usually makes solid mount, but I wanted a little less felt-vibration if I could help it considering all the other things that make this car shake like crazy, so he put 90a bushings on it for me. Great guy and great company to do business with btw. Made very quickly. I had it within about 1-2 weeks I think.
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