It's been almost 20 years that an enthusiast's hobby would open the door to starting a business. Just shy of 17 years since that thought was turned into action, that action into countless wonderful experiences, as well as the ups and downs that nobody can escape when it comes to a new business. Just trying to figure it all out and attempting to make it all work...all the while trying to please everyone in the process. It's challenging, it's what keeps one striving for better, working harder, working smarter to keep family and customers alike happy.
From being the first to perform CA Smog approved conversions (NA to WRX swaps) 19 years ago to motor builds, moving shops and building our current facility, racing Modified Magazine Tuner Shootout, racing with Redline/Global Time Attack, our series "The Underdogs", to regular everyday maintenance, the financial crisis of 2009, and now pandemic of 2020. After almost 17 years, LIC Motorsports will be closing our doors. There is a lot that goes into this and ultimately this isn't the route we had envisioned long term, but not everything can be as planned and go exactly as one wants - we are no exception to this.
We truly want to thank you for everything, for placing your trust in us, even if it was just continuing your relationship with us via your car; it really has meant the world to us. You helped build our dreams, our families, and our success for these past 17 years - without you all this time, we never would have existed.
Some Images Over The Years
Its been a long time coming and we're happy to report the new LIC Motorsports is up and running! For quite a few years we had given up on our old one and virtually stopped updating it because of some quirks it had - although we were still interactive in the comment sections on a daily basis.
Having redone the site, the upside is its fresh and clean looking, as well as being mobile optimized! Unfortunately the downside is all the previous comments (which there were thousands of them), especially on "The Dreaded Subaru Head Gasket Issue" blog article - which you can still find in this blog section a few posts down. Its a bit of a bummer but we had to cut the cord on the old system at some point and that point came today.
As you'll notice, we currently don't have a full blown e-commerce site up but do have a "LIC Products Page" where you can find all our products for purchase still. We've also added a section in the About Us where you can meet "The Team" here at LIC.
We hope you like the new site - we'll be in the process of updating more and more as we build upon it.
At times we get asked why our 105k service costs more than the next shop. The answer is simple, we use OEM Genuine parts or better....NOT inferior products passed off as OEM.
You see, a lot of folks in this field like to make double margin profits on parts and although that may be nice in the short term, its not always in the best interest of the consumer; you the customer! These folks like to pass these parts off as OE, which stands for Original Equipment. The term OEM means Original Equipment Manufacture and doesn't necessarily mean its the same spec component that came with the car (sometimes they also call this OES, Original Equipment Supplier). You'd think it stops there but it doesn't. You still have OEM Genuine, which means its the same component that came on the car or would get from Subaru as a factory component.
Lots of companies make water pumps, albeit aftermarket, OE, and OEM but not all water pumps are created equally. You can physically buy a OEM water pump that orginially produced a product for Subaru but have it be an inferior quality. This is because Subaru doesn't make water pumps, well they really don't make any of the bolt on components...they contract others and in those contracts they have certain products that are a proprietary design. The only way to get it is to purchase it directly from a source that sells OEM Genuine components (these will always be in Subaru packaging).
Ok enough of my ramblings....let me show you what I mean.
Here is a 2005 STi, it had a 105k service done elsewhere and as part of the 105k you do the water pump. The company whom did the work used an aftermarket water pump. The customer advised he was seeing coolant temps ranging from 195* - 218*, this is concerning because this is at a level of warping heads. The normal operational temps one should see while driving is typically in the mid 180's to low 190's (under normal cruising conditions for this time of year out here in California), he was seeing 199*+ just cruising. Being as the radiator fans turn off at 195* this means something isn't right in the system. A quick test of the cooling system to rule out C0 gases was done (you get C0, or exhaust gas, in the system when you have warped heads).
After ruling out the C0, we moved onto the thermostat and ensuring A) someone installed the right one, as there is a 172* one and 180* one available and B) that its functioning properly. Both those items checked out so our next level of inspection was at the water pump level.
We know from experience on these aftermarket pumps to check certain areas. When you look on the surface, it all looks just fine. But digging deeper into the functionality of the product one can easily point out what is going on.
Here is the aftermarket water pump, it uses the old style cast impeller wheel (like seen on the older non turbo models).
If you look closely, it shows how the profile of the cast impeller doesn’t even follow the inner housing (big gap in front and even on outer leading edge it has a huge gap).
In this next image it shows (albeit hard to capture) the huge gap associated with the outer leading edge as well.
This is a OEM Genuine unit, it shows the revised stamped steal design but even so, the tolerance should be no different.
This aftermarket water pump is not engineered properly and it's causing cavitation in the system, leading to poor circulation, and ultimately overheating.
To us as a business, that's not worth the 100% profit margin on the part!
Non turbo 4 cylinder applications all have head gasket issues, you've heard this before, most of you know this, and yes its a result of a bad/faulty design with the gasket.
The factory gaskets have a coating that deteriorates over time (typically between 80-120k miles. That range is dependent on if you've run the SOA mandatory coolant conditioner, which is designed to get you past that 100k mile hump).
The symptom of leaking "head gaskets" is oil weeping between the head/block surfaces. This weep over time turns into a significant leak, which then turns into coolant leaking as well, after that symptom you often times will go into overheating, from there its a few mile slippery slope...which then has coolant and oil intermingling together.
If you haven't guessed it yet, this is where bearings get trashed, you develop a rod knock and hopefully at this point you've realized its about to be over but recognize before the next critical stage.
The sad thing is....it doesn't need to get to this point. If you work with a specialty shop its easy to point out early on when this is happening (at the weeping stage) and proactively fixing it. By doing so, you 1- secure your investment with your vehicle, 2- save yourself the headache of being broken down on the side of the road, and 3- you get to enjoy your car for another X amount of miles b/c you didn't let it catastrophically fail.
Did you know when we do head gasket jobs here at LIC Motorsports we don't install the same gaskets that do the same thing? Would you be shocked to know that the dealer and most other independents still install these bad/faulty gaskets to this day when they perform this job (reason being is Subaru hasn't revised the gasket on the older SOHC vehicles).
These vehicles all have cylinder head gasket related issues:
You can purchase revised/upgraded gaskets here: Non Turbo Upgraded MLS Head Gaskets
More info about our Head Gasket Service here: Maintenance Service Page
Here is images of when someone has let it go to far and more or less driven there car into the "ground" (that slurry leaking out is the "milkshake" of coolant/oil that has mixed).
Did you know LIC Motorsports is on Facebook? Well just like the rest of the world, so is LIC. We use facebook as a source to keep others informed of what's going on around the shop and to better stay connected in an era of social networking. We show what we encounter from day to day and give helpful hints on where others went wrong (ideally so they don't encounter the same mistake).
We do not do shameless self promotion in order to get folks to buy anything, we're simply keeping you connected and who know's we all might learn a thing or two ;-)
We can be found at: LIC Motorsports on Facebook
Most Articles are written by Noah Levy.