I for the past month have been researching and reviewing many different forums on the benefits of simply gutting the stock uppipe. After reading the final thread and having reviewed the "Uppipe removal tutorial" from scoobymods.com I decided to undergo this task just this last weekend.
No matter where you look the estimated time of completion on this tutorial is anywhere from 5-7 hours long. The author of the tutorial I was reading claimed he was a noob at mechanics and did it solo and completed it in 5 hours with no problems. And let me just say that unless you are f*@kin Goro from Mortal Combat YOU AREN'T GONNA DO THIS ALONE.
This tutorial read of course gave me, and Im sure many others, the confidence that we needed to undergo such a bold task. Anytime I hear that I have to unbolt the engine from the engine mount and jack up the motor a couple inches I immediately cringe that I will seriously mess something up.
To give a quick description of what is to come: I began this process on last friday night at about 9:00pm - I did not start my car again until last Sunday afternoon at 12:25pm. With that said, lets continue.
May I begin by stating that I am not quite a "noob" at engine work. Having a share in helping my friend during a complete turbo, header and cam swap on an EVO which went well. And I have experienced my share of problems with installing a new suspension kit on my old Honda Civic when I was 17.
However, the process of removing the uppipe from the WRX motor is indeed a task reserved only for the highest level of wizards.
Whereas some people will say "This thread is not intended to frighten you its intended to make sure you understand what your getting into". On the contrary this thread is indeed designed to frighten you. And if you have the money - pay it to have a professional do it for you.
I had every tool listed that would be needed for the job including some useful tools not listed. After rounding off my o2 sensor WITH the o2 sensor removal socket and later having to cut a bolt off of the exhaust manifold I discovered that the author of that tutorial has to have been a mechanic for quite some time...or f#@kin Gandalf the Grey
I would flame up with anger at the fact that this author listed "Now, remove the o2 sensor" as a simple "Step #5" and moves on. Unless you have an 05-06 WRX that o2 sensor is going to be WELDED in place. Even after soaking in Liquid Wrench all night - you will need the jaws of life to get that bold off. Or you'll just end up rounding it off guaranteeing that you will NEVER get that sensor off.
Low an behold when you are enlightened by other NASIOC members that removing the o2 sensor is completely "Unnecessary" and entirely "Pointless" to do after you have spent the last 16 hours trying to figure out what to do with it - it somewhat put a damper on the rest of the project.
Oh but once you simply CUT around the o2 sensor in the heat shield and simply slide the heat shield off you are now facing the removal of the exhaust manifold. A sigh of relief swept over me as bolts were very much cooperating with being removed. Until I attempted to get to the bolt that hides in the shadows behind the rounded off o2 sensor - eagerly awaiting the opportunity to crush my hopes of success.
Several hours later, a broken socket and a possible purchase of 20 gallons of liquid nitrogen to freeze the bolt a torch and 2 broken saw blades later - The bolt was destroyed and had to be replaced.
Lets fast forward - the downpipe is out and I am staring at my foe in the eyes. The cat glares up at me with the look that he wasn't planning on leaving the comfort of the uppipe anytime soon.
It was a fierce battle
Resorting to the tutorial also on scoobymods.com on "Gutting the stock uppipe" I did everything according to his instructions. The author firmly stated that it will take "An hour or more!" to remove the cat. And allow me to say that unless you can move $h*t with your MIND you will NOT get this cat out in an hour. Just plan on devoting roughly 3 hours to be safe.
With the use of 3 different size drill bits - a Dremel tool - wire brushes - and air compressor it took 3 hours and 45 minutes to make it SPOTLESS inside.
A few hours later I was putting the last bolt back in place and beginning to start my car. Weak and exhausted from battle I turned the key to feel cool air rush over my face and through my golden locks of hair as the motor growled to live...no leaks...no CEL....it was perfect.
"What is the conclusion Chef?" you might wonder. While the war between myself and the wrx raged on into the early hours of the night - the final outcome was indeed a happy one.
Needless to say I am thrilled to have completed the task - but the choice to follow my footsteps...i leave entirely up to you.