So, new battery in place, I was ready to take the Laser out for a good flogging. The alternator, less than a year old, had other plans. Fired the car up, and wouldn't you know that the lights were giving me a nice disco show? So, in a less-than-a-year-old alternator, the voltage regulator was already dead; we have, at most, ten miles on that alternator.
Pep Boys, you guys suck. Seriously.
That being said, a lifetime warranty makes me feel a little bit better about the situation, and I'm pretty much a master at swapping the alternator on the Laser at this point. Ten minutes to pull it, half an hour to run over to the store to get it tested/replaced, ten minutes to slap it back on, and viola: the car fires up and idles perfectly. So, I dumped fresh oil in the engine, trans, and transfer case (which was close to empty; I love DSM driveshaft yokes, really I do) as a matter of preventative maintenance, and took the car out for an extended drive.
Obviously, the brakes were a little unhappy; the car has been sitting for a year without much movement. After knocking most of the rust off the rotors, I noticed the car was still bogging quite a bit, which I initially attributed to corrosion around the wheel bearings. After an afternoon of burning off the year-old gas, the car was back to coasting properly, accelerating without hesitation, and generally behaving like it did when it was last running properly, as long as I was very cautious with the brakes; give it a bit too much, though, and bam, the driver's side front caliper would freeze shut, and it would take a block or two of driving to get it to back off.
So, last weekend, we bled the brakes; the rears went without incident, as did the passenger-side front (although some rather nasty stuff came out of the lines). The driver's-side front, however, wouldn't bleed at all; we were basically standing on the brake, but nothing was coming out of the caliper. Nice.
My answer? Screw the 1-pot OEM brakes, since I have a nice set of 2-pot calipers from the 2g sitting on the floor of the garage (the 2g has since been switched over to Evo calipers all around). I've cleaned them up a bit, and while I think a rebuild kit is in order, it looks like they'll work out perfectly; I just need a new set of front rotors (the old pads look fine, with a ton of meat left on them). I just need to finish disassembling them, clean them up a bit more and apply a couple of coats of high-temp paint, and slap it all back together. I also need to do a bit of research to see if I ought to be doing anything with the proportioning valve, but the worst case is that I just run it as-is, and deal with a little understeer.
But, the good news is that, aside from one caliper, the car runs perfectly; it's still a sloppy car to drive after getting used to the WRX and the Evo, but that could be fixed cheaply with a decent set of springs (it already has Koni Yellows). Assuming I can get the brake issue sorted out, I have a low-budget winter project in mind: an Evo ECU swap.