I'm hoping for input on taking my 2011 WRX hatchback to stage 2, with a catted dp and exhaust. I'd like a little better performance and a nicer sound. I've read through many threads on these forums, and think I have a decent idea of what I'd like... unfortunately the most difficult part is determining how the exhaust will sound (even with all the videos floating around). The main consideration is that I'm in my 40's (and relatively old for a WRX owner
) with a wife and two kids, so there are certain things that may matter a bit more to me than other owners... If anyone has valuable input and would like to help me decide, feel free to comment.
1) It has to be quiet-ish. I would like the exhaust to sound deeper and "meaner", but not really louder in the car (especially at speed). Outside the car, it can be slightly louder, but again the focus would be on a deeper, rumbling sound and not high volume. NO DRONE whatsoever. Of course, it can't sound stock or be so quiet that it was a waste of money.
2) It has to be high quality, but not too expensive. I don't have a large amount of disposable income, but I also don't have the time or patience to mess around with crappy products. I like supporting "good" companies that offer a well made product and support it before/after the purchase. Easy installation and fitment are also key.
3) Continuing on with #2, I want to spend enough money to reach my goals, but no more and no less. In other words, if a mid pipe would be nice but not worth the extra $$$ for someone like me, then maybe I shouldn't consider it. Other input on if certain products are worth it or not, and price vs performance suggestions are definitely welcomed. There is very little chance I'll go beyond stage 2.
4) I want it to look nice, but not stand out. Think slightly nicer than stock, but it definitely can't stick out the back or bottom of the car or be gaudy. It also has to hold up to upstate NY winters and being used as a dd.
Right now, I am sort of leaning towards Nameless catted DP, with their Magnaflow mufflered axle back (or maybe 5" exhaust). I was going to keep the stock midpipe to save money. Anyone have experience with the Nameless on the hatch? How about pics of the 10% gloss black finish installed? What effect would the Nameless midpipe have on the sound for this setup? Are there other quality, mid priced exhausts that would fit the bill? (I listened to a video of the Cobb exhaust and it sounded great, but the price is higher and its hard to tell without experiencing in it person.)
I'll probably go with the Cobb Accessport for tuning, and buy a custom map from an online tuner (suggestions?).
After a month or more, I'll try to summarize the feedback I received in this thread and via PMs... If someone asks me about the best upgrade path to a relatively quiet aftermarket exhaust on a 2011+ WRX hatchback, including more power and better sound while considering cost and quality, here are my suggestions:
- Read up on tuning via Access Port vs Opensource w/ Tactrix cable (there's not necessarily a "wrong" answer - I went with opensource)
- Once you've decided on #1 and understand the steps involved, contact a reputable e-tuner (e.g. Eric from Torqued Performance) about a Stage 1 map
- Work with the tuner by sending logs, etc and achieve the best Stage 1 performance you can. If you are satisfied, you are done with upgrades... otherwise proceed to the next step.
- Purchase a high quality shorty downpipe, catted downpipe, downpipe + catback exhaust, or turboback exhaust depending on whether you just want basic Stage 2 power (i.e. downpipe only), or you also want the look/sound of an upgraded exhaust. Some of the quieter, no drone suggestions are SPT, Maddad Whisper, Borla Hush, Cobb, Nameless w/ Magnaflow muffler option. You can start with just a DP, and move to a CBE later if preferred or undecided.
- Contact your e-tuner again for a map specific to your Stage 2 upgrades.
- If you would like to continue adding performance upgrades or more power (e.g. TMIC, CAI, etc), you will have exceeded the scope of these recommendations. There are all kinds of options, and each individual should invest a good amount of time in understanding the various parts and their effects before moving forward.
The increase in boost pressure may cause issues/leaks with some stock parts on 08+ WRXs, so you may consider one or more of the following...
Thanks for all the input everyone! I'll update the thread after some upgrades.
- Add a clamp/zip tie to each end of the small hose that plugs into the back of the tb (under the tmic)
- Swap out the stock clamps for a t-bolt style on the tmic-to-tb hose
- Some people remove the rubber "boots" on the tmic-to-tb hose before reattaching with the t-bolt clamps (I ended up ditching the stock hose for aftermarket)
- Replace the bpv with a high quality aftermarket part (e.g. Forge - using "yellow" spring)
- If you don't want to replace the stock tmic, perform the "bulletproof" mod similar to what I've done in this thread
More updates after receiving my TBE can be found here (includes pics):
I've sent my data logs to TP for Eric to review, but here's the initial Virtual Dyno plot:
Video of Whisper CBE and Metal v2 DP right after installation:
I'm told the sound may improve more as the car is driven. It is definitely louder than stock, but I think it's just about right for people that want something that sounds like it has more power, without being obnoxious. My wife complained immediately of course... oh well. It's really not bad. Cruising along it is almost imperceptible, but driving around town you definitely can hear the muffler more than stock. That's how its supposed to be though... right? I want it to sound "meaner", just not crazy loud.
Appearance-wise, the parts are definitely high quality. The DP looks very cool, especially with the divorced wastegate, but most people won't see that. I wish the tips didn't stick out as far from under the bumper, but that's the old guy in me coming out... it doesn't look bad, but I would have liked it more "stealth". Really just nitpicking here. I did have to play around with the mounting awhile to get the tips close to even in the back. The driver side still sticks out a little more than the other.
Here's a few pics of the Thermal Solutions turbo blanket and modified stock heat shield:
Here's a pic of the "bulletproof" tmic mod I did. More details can be found here: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...&postcount=108
I think I'm done with stage 2. My last upgrade was replacing the stock bpv with a Forge unit to avoid leaks: