What Happens When a Beginner Mechanic Messes With a Bagged Subaru Baja's Suspension

Experience, the hard way—commemorated on our latest BlipShift shirt.

Most mechanical beginners learn as they go when it comes to wrenching. You start with something simple like changing your own oil, and maybe you work your way up to replacing something like an EVAP canister (thanks, YouTube). But an alignment? That's some 200-level stuff.

Nevertheless, after a friend noticed that my bagged Subaru Baja Turbo's freshly-rebuilt (by yours truly) and recently-fitted front wheels had a case of positive camber, I decided to take matters into my own hands. To correct the problem, I set about changing the positioning of my Airlift Performance struts from the top hats. You can see where this is going.

Shake, Rattle, And (Almost) Roll

After correcting a mess of other issues preventing the Baja from passing its upcoming state inspection, I decided to take it up to our shoot at Wilzig Racing Manor for Alan’s annual charity event “WRM Gives.” The intention was to put a few more miles on the car so that the ECU would hopefully—finally—reset, and also to test out my homebrew suspension adjustments.

Normally I'm pretty good at not jinxing myself, but on the ride home from our shoot with The Drive social media editor Nikhil, I let my guard down. He had never been in my car before, so as automotive journalists, we had some important evaluating to do. “This car is a #&%ing cruiser!” I yelled over the drone of the Baja’s turndown exhaust as I start to push it. And then—Boom!

A mild panic ensued as I frantically began to diagnose what could’ve happened. Either:

  1. The front subframe just broke.
  2. The transmission bushings and/or bolts gave out and my transmission was on the ground.
  3. My driveshaft snapped, since “stancing” the car actually puts it in a somewhat compromising position.

The answer: None of the above. Shocking, I know. Check out the video above to see what happens when a not-a-mechanic like myself messes above his knowledge grade—oh yeah, Nik managed to document the whole thing on video. Then he collaborated with Blipshift to commemorate and prolong my humiliating experience. Check it out below, and order yours before they disappear forever on July 25.

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