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Old 06-14-2009, 11:31 PM   #1
MasterKwan
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Default Few STI's in the advanced groups.

I had a revelation this weekend at VIR. Why there are so few STI's in the advanced group even though there are plenty in the less experienced groups. The answer is, by the time the students get to the advanced groups, their STI's have broken so, they've moved on to other cars.

This weekend, 2 of the 3 STI drivetrained advanced/instructor class subaru's broke and at least one of the STI's in the lower groups, had already broken and had the engine rebuilt. Something's up with my #4 cylinder so, I'll probably be rebuilding mine this winter too.

I'm being a little tongue in cheek but, still, failure rates seem pretty high. Other than that I had an incredible time driving mine at VIR. I'm not sure I need any more suspension mods. Tire wear was pretty much perfect and the car was fun as hell to drive.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:00 AM   #2
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My 05 STi's engine started to let go before 60K miles so I mived on to another car. I think you are right.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:02 AM   #3
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only thing i've heard at the track is STI's eating through brakes...no real problems besides that...and thats A LOT of track times worth...Higher group guys use: Miata's, properly set up old 911's, 944's etc... STI's, EVO's are great for what they are and with a proper driver and mods can kick serious ass. Only difference is driver involvement and difficulty...
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:04 AM   #4
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Are we talking about stock-engine'd STIs, or modded ones?

I definitely think there's a couple problems with modded ones. First, most headers seem like they can't really take heavy track flogging. Because afterkmarket they are less rigid than the stock cast manifolds, they seem more prone to springing leaks at the up-pipe, or just outright breaking the stock up-pipe. Once you've got leaks, that combined with lack of heat shielding can make you start melting things fast.

I also think that when you run stage 2, the cars get hot, which is tougher on the oil and cooling system. I've definitely noticed my STI is more prone to detonation when the oil temps are only around 240* (don't know the water temp, but stock gauge shows fine).

I can also imagine that using race rubber without doing anything to enhance oiling takes its toll, too.

-Mike
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:10 AM   #5
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I agree on the aftermarket header concept. I've got my stock one still; heavy i know but absolutely no issues.


cam
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:21 AM   #6
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MasterKwan,
I was the blond guy who came up and talked to y'all a bit on Saturday about y'all's scoobies.
I'm going to have to agree completely with you on this idea. I mean, I've run my miata for 3 seasons now when i could have run the WRX. Nothing's perfect on the track, and everything's going to break if you push it hard for long enough, but it does seem like the STi's and WRX's out there break a LOT more than anything else.
Something to consider, though, is the ease of modification on our cars. Just turn up the boost, change a few small items, and you've got significantly more power, arguably more than the car was designed for. That's a formula for breakage.
Then look around. Other (N/A) cars are much more difficult to extract major power gains from. Of course, power stresses everything on the car, from brakes to cooling to rubber engine bay components, etc. If it's so easy to get more power from strong-engined turbo cars, it's certainly easily explainable why they break more often. This of course may not be the answer, but it's certainly interesting to consider.
Let's look at my miata for example. It's a spec, so I can't do anything to it. It runs for, let's say, 50k track miles before it gives me any trouble. Recipe for success, yes, but also a recipe for REALLY FRICKIN' SLOW. Now, I have 2 options: prep the scooby for track use, or prep the M3. I think I'll take the M3. It costs so damn much to upgrade engine stuff on the car that I think it'll be an effective deterrent. We shall see.
Moral of the story: I think if we were to take as much time and thought into building our cars with more power as the N/A guys have to, we'd probably have much fewer failures.
Unfortunately, I really don't have a good answer to the question of why the stock STi's are going kaboom. I guess there really is an issue of suitability for track use there.

One last thought: I hate being a downer about scoobies. I love mine. :-(
-Matt
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:15 AM   #7
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My STi is still going strong. I can't say it's been totally problem free but overall it's been surprisingly reliable (knock on wood). This is after several years of driving in the advanced group and TT. If you keep up with maintenance and upgrade the cooling system (oil cooler, larger radiator) they will last.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:18 AM   #8
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I drove my STI to Houston Texas for a Time Attack event. Competed, got 4th overall, and drove back to Orlando Florida.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:48 AM   #9
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Heat is exactly what creates most of the issues on track raced turbo cars. Before racing my STi I raced a turbo'd VW and it was heat the gave me the most trouble. Electrical issues caused by underhood heat, rubber components being weakened by the heat, the oil temps going through the roof because the turbo is at full spool for 10+ miles non stop and cooking the oil etc... My STi is pretty tame, and it hasnt seen more than a dozen rac days, so I havent had any major engine issues yet *knock on wood* but heat is the cause of so many problems on a turbo car. Our cars are in boost pretty much non stop while on track, which stresses the internals, the combustion camber is nuclear the whole time, the turbo is as hot as its going to get, and long straights and repeated WOT runs up to near top speed put a lot of strain on a turbo engine. Sustained WOT and full boost even on a near stock car takes its toll. Ask the guys at Phoenix/ICY how many engines they pop running really close to stock power in the LGT's. For most of us who run 10+ track days per year, its not a matter of if, but when things let go.

Anyone run an endurance race in their turbo'd race car? For the wheel to wheel guys, how many race weekends did you make it before you broke something internal?

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Old 06-15-2009, 09:24 AM   #10
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I agree on the heat discussion. That will take it's toll on the turboed cars. A good oil cooler and a baffle in the oil pan should help that out.

With that said, 20+ track days on my LGT and no issues. She has a good street/track setup and I've driven subies in the advanced group for years.

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Old 06-15-2009, 09:30 AM   #11
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Is your car n/a Mike?
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:49 AM   #12
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It's an 05 LGT wagon. Just about every Whiteline Bushing and the AVO LCA Bushings in it. Brembos, Konis and STi Pink Springs.

By the end of the summer I'll have an oil cooler and sometime over the winter baffles.

-mike
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:50 AM   #13
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Before that I had a 96 Impreza L 4EAT Full Race Car. 94 Legacy Turbo HPDE and then full race car. SVX that I HPDEed for a few years as well.

-mike
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:55 AM   #14
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Well, I think its a pretty simple issue.

They are "cheap" powerful AWD cars that have the capbility to exceed the mechanical stress limits of their components fairly quickly. Its not a 100k Porsche Turbo.

In stock form, the cars can last with proper maintience. But, the owner's care and driving habits come into play; that is where the primary problem is I belive.

I think for one, most people don't know how to properly take care of these cars, they expect far more out of them then what is realistic...considering the level of expectations people have these days, I think a lot of STi owners think they can just wail on the car all day with no consquences...ideas reinforced by Subaru's marketing campaigns and the WRC breeding of the cars.

Not saying I'm including current company, but, people often do not understand the stress of power and mechanical limitations.

A Miata doesn't really require much from you other then change its fluids. It is a low powered car thats easy on parts. It doesn't overheat itself, it doesn't out drive its chassis.

An STi is simply not well suited for extended track use out of the box. It gets too hot, it has a natural tendancy to understeer unless driven very aggressively, it has a ton of high tech trickery in it that sometimes just gets in the way of itself. Its an ideal back road runner, because of its capabilities, but out of the box its a bit ill suited for track use. Add on top of that modifications that arn't made with a wholelistic approach and you'll quickly run into problems.

They are expensive cars to maintain for track use, they are fast and heavy, they eat brakes, they suck gas at full boost, they kill wheel bearings cause Subaru decided that they could use the same damn wheel bearing ona 3,300lb car as a 2,700 pound car that came out in 1993...

So, I suppose what I am getting at, is by the time someone reaches a level of track experiance to move into more advanced run groups, they are realizing two factors.

1.) Its cheaper to ditch the STi (Or Evo) and get something cheaper, easier and by extension more enjoyable for track duty.

2.) They decide they still like their STi (or Evo) and that maybe track time isn't worth the cost and they are satisfied enjoying their car on the street.

-Mike F
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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I intend to continue tracking mine because it's the most satisfying car I've ever tracked. I agree with all the comments about overheating and the ease of turning up the power without also adding the supporting mods.

I guess the takeaway is, if you can't afford to put a motor in one, you really want to re-consider tracking your STI.

Quote:
1.) Its cheaper to ditch the STi (Or Evo) and get something cheaper, easier and by extension more enjoyable for track duty.
I've had 3-4 track cars. Miata, Civic, Integra, S2000. None were as satifying as my WRX. So, for me, cheaper doesn't equal more fun.
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:39 AM   #16
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Interesting, I had a 94 Integra which I found to be much more enjoyable to track, considering its agility and superior handling.

My RSTi is obviously faster around the track and much more enjoyable on the street, but she requires far more attention.

Would I go back to the Integra? Well, if I had the money I would consider going with something else for a dedicated track car, the Impreza provides a good trade off for a car that I can drive to the track and drive home though.

Assuming the wheel bearings dont' fall out. : P

One of my points was that most people will decide that they find the cost of replacing a motor in an STi to not be worth tracking it, compared to a Miata.

So, yeah, if you can't afford to replace an engine in an STi, you should reconsider tracking it. However, how many people can afford to replace an engine in any car once a year or at all, at any given time?

Part of this issue goes back to an individuals expectations, modifications and how hard they push the car. If you never mount a set of R compounds and keep yourself at 8/10ths you are going to get a lot more endurance then if you get some Hoosiers and try to be Tarzan Yamada out there.

-Mike F

Last edited by Kitsune; 06-15-2009 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:16 PM   #17
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For those of us with dedicated track cars, the risk of coming home with a wad of metal in tow or with a grenaded engine is a risk we assume. For the guys or girls taking their cars to the track for the day and driving home, or even worse, if its their only car, an engine failure could really wreck you weekend, or month, or year. So yes if you can't afford to write off the car or fix damn near anything on it, you should drive accordingly.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:06 PM   #18
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I drive to/from the track and push it less hard than when I had a less expensive dedicated track car, but I have as much or more fun with it out there. I don't expect to really see any major issues on my car, but then again I take pretty good care of it.

-mike
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:23 PM   #19
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Although capable, they're not exactly the most fun things to drive on the track. Don't see too many rather heavy, 4-door cars in the advanced groups as a whole do you?
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterKwan View Post



I've had 3-4 track cars. Miata, Civic, Integra, S2000. None were as satifying as my WRX. So, for me, cheaper doesn't equal more fun.

I find this hard to believe. As someone who regularly tracks an S2000, and has regularly tracked my WRX, dynamically speaking, the WRX is an absolute bore compared to the S2000. Not even on the same planet as far as driver involvement.

I can't even imagine how a WRX could be more satisfying. Easier to drive fast? Sure. But that's not the same as more fun...

Last edited by REX8; 06-15-2009 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterKwan View Post
I had a revelation this weekend at VIR. Why there are so few STI's in the advanced group even though there are plenty in the less experienced groups. The answer is, by the time the students get to the advanced groups, their STI's have broken so, they've moved on to other cars.

This weekend, 2 of the 3 STI drivetrained advanced/instructor class subaru's broke and at least one of the STI's in the lower groups, had already broken and had the engine rebuilt. Something's up with my #4 cylinder so, I'll probably be rebuilding mine this winter too.

...
were these all engine failures at stock power ?

Last edited by Gonz; 11-09-2009 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REX8 View Post
I find this hard to believe. As someone who regularly tracks an S2000, and has regularly tracked my WRX, dynamically speaking, the WRX is an absolute bore compared to the S2000. Not even on the same planet as far as driver involvement.

I can't even imagine how a WRX could be more satisfying...
I agree here. I had a stage 2 STi with a lot of suspension goodies. and my spec miata is much more fun and involved than the STi was. There's also something to be said for the driver development aspect as well. Driving a lower power rwd car is going to be more telling of mistakes than an AWD turbo car
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:24 PM   #23
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When I say WRX, you have to keep in mind it's an WRX shell with all 05 STI guts so, it's really an STI.

I love the feeling of nailing the throttle on corner exit, having the tail hang out a little while the front end pulls forward and keeps things steady. I run street tires. Azenis right now, 245/45-17. I've never had a car that felt so alive on track. Alive and forgiving. The car is completely balanced by the throttle. Lift a little to oversteer, push a little to understeer. The brakes are great. The feel isn't so hot but, when I push hard they work.

You can do bad things with the car and not worry, braking in corners for instance because someone spun. I find the experience altogether satisfying.

Miatas are great but, there's not much throttle work. You're wide open throttle through most of the course and spend all of your time trying not to slow down. In traffic, getting brake checked means you have to struggle to get you speed back up. I don't see how that's satisfying.

This is all personal opinion of course. I have to wonder if your mods were simply not the the right way to do things. My suspension is simple, RCE-T2's, 24 mm bars front and back. Spec-C front arms and pin flip. -2.5F/-2.5 rear camber. I think many people mod the car when they should be modding themselves.

Last edited by MasterKwan; 06-15-2009 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:30 PM   #24
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Interesting discussion..

The reason why there isn't many in my area is because most of the guys in the advance/instructor groups are much older and have much more expensive toys to play with (997 GT3, GT3RS, R8, 996 Turbos, F360s, etc).. The younger guys (relative) like myself cannot afford those toys yet, so that's why there's only 3-4 STI's in our advance group. As for it breaking, the usual three that come out (myself included) are only basic stage 2 cars, so it's pretty reliable. I know the guys in the other groups have heavily modded STIs and have problems (going back to your comment about mod the driver then car.. which is something I feel very strongly about as well) Our only issue here (actually for everyone) is brakes since the local course is really tough on brakes.

As for your comment about the STI being the most fun, I'm with everyone else. I've tracked only 3 cars in my experience - a 300rwhp FD, a stock powered Miata, and now my stage 2 STI and the Miata was BY FAR the most entertaining. I had a grin ear to ear after each session. I learned soo much driving it. The STI is waay to easy to drive fast, and as you mentioned, very forgiving. IMO, anyone who's had some seat time can make an STI go fast around a track without breaking a sweat.
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:20 PM   #25
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I guess I am not the only who has noticed an inverse relationship between driver skill/experience and cost of their club racer. The best driver I have ever seen still just drives his old 1st gen rx7. Tip O the Hat to Bob Bradfield!

Chris Lock
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