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Old 05-19-2011, 03:00 AM   #1
pet3r
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Default Brand new 2011 WRX - Engine Management and break-in

I'm new to Subaru and really don't know much at about tuning. Make that next to zero

I am a quick learner and always educate myself on everything possible. For my new WRX (which comes next week), I want to do it right.

From what I've read, the stock tunes for both the WRX and STi are terrible. I really like a stock car, but don't mind spending $600 on an AccessPort to make it a better engine, with some added performance gains as well.

Two questions then:
1. I've read about break-ins with "newer" vehicles and they aren't too necessary. But, I have read about proper heating/cooling cycles and trying to make sure the rings seat properly, changing the oil to remove the metal shavings, etc. How crucial is any type of break-in?

2. Should the AccessPort be installed after a break-in (if necessary), or from the get-go?

I want this car to last. I understand that adding the AP that the dealership might not warrant any repairs needed since they can see that the AP has been installed (or at least that the ECU has been changed). I don't plan on doing any real tuning, but a lot of what I read about the terrible stock tunes and the base maps that Cobb provides with the AP, it sounds like a decent idea.

Just not sure when to do it, and how hard of a break-in is critical to longevity and power.

Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:31 AM   #2
xanthus29
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Perform the break in as described in the owner's manual. I would wait until after break in to install the AP, but that's just me.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:04 AM   #3
jonklein611
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wait till after break in, follow the owners manual
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:41 AM   #4
Pineapple Devil
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you want the most from your car? break it in the way the manual says, change the oil and perform maintenance as directed, leave it alone other than that
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:59 AM   #5
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Stay under 4k, keep it light on boost. Vary the rpm's. No cruise control. 1k miles to be safe.

You're lucky starting off with an '11. This is my 3rd WRX and hands down the best stock tune. My 04 and 07 had pretty bad stutters getting into boost and an AP and protune took care of that. With the 11 the 1st thing I noticed was how much smoother this car pulls throughout the rev range. It feels like it has more balls than my 07 protune did but that may be because it keeps pulling and pulling where the old TD04 ran out of steam up top but had a bit more low end tuned. The only time I feel a little stumble/stutter is when I drop the pedal under 3k rpm in 2nd turning onto this offramp for a short pull to speed. Taking off in 1st with my foot to the floor and through 2nd feels smooth as butter. So much nicer than the old tunes.

Like some tuners have said, stick with 93 gas if you have it. Don't sit in traffic in 120 degree heat and 200% humidity for 30 mins then redline the thing with 91 octane in it (knock/boom) and the car should be fine.

Having said that i'll be buying an AP soon and having Clark Turner tune the thing as he's done my last 2 cars
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:59 AM   #6
ofspunk7
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You know this topic has been beat to death... there is a ton of good information out there. I would really do a search on Google and check out the info on the different forums. I picked up my car new from the dealership and the sales guy is a big rally person and supporter of our local Subaru community. He said drive it hard after 500 miles, and I did. No issues yet @ 36,xxx and my car is not even close to stock.

The AP is ok but it is another "generalized" tune. Spend the money and get a custom open source tune.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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1. Doesn't matter
2. Doesn't matter
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:50 AM   #8
darren94
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The general consensus is to finish the break in properly and as directed in the manual. Then, flash the AP. I did the same on my 2011 and all is good.

But to be 100% be honest, the gain from the AP is more felt in the smoothness of the power band than the butt dyno. You will notice it pulls harder in the upper RPM range but, the gain is not as drastic as it was on my 05 LGT, 06 STi or 09 WRX. I think this is due to the tune on the 2011 is much smoother than other years. So, dont expect MAJOR changes in the power dept.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:36 AM   #9
pet3r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ofspunk7 View Post
You know this topic has been beat to death... there is a ton of good information out there. I would really do a search on Google and check out the info on the different forums. I picked up my car new from the dealership and the sales guy is a big rally person and supporter of our local Subaru community. He said drive it hard after 500 miles, and I did. No issues yet @ 36,xxx and my car is not even close to stock.
I have done a lot of reading, googling, and searching on a lot of other forums. And this post seems to confirm one thing: there is a LOT of conflicting information about break-ins, and whether the AP will "void" your warranty.

Well I answered the latter from a lot of late-night reading, but the break-in advice seems to be the one with a lot of different opinions.

Quote:
The AP is ok but it is another "generalized" tune. Spend the money and get a custom open source tune.
I'm not really looking to get into custom tuning, and haven't read into too much about open source tuning. The AP seemed to be the easiest (especially if I want to revert back to stock ECU) and has gotten great reviews.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:40 AM   #10
pet3r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren94 View Post
The general consensus is to finish the break in properly and as directed in the manual.
This is where I read a lot of different info. Most of the "general" population (no offense), or those that are owners of the vehicle say to follow the manual. The tuning/mechanic pros say otherwise. Some say to ride it hard, others recommend heating cycles and gradually building up the load and boost, and other say to just follow the manual.

Coming from a lot of different sources, I'm unsure on who to trust. Neither one of the methods seems to have any kind of lasting effect on the longevity and reliability...but the long-time mechanics recommend a "harder" break-in to get the most power out of it in the long run.

Quote:
But to be 100% be honest, the gain from the AP is more felt in the smoothness of the power band than the butt dyno. You will notice it pulls harder in the upper RPM range but, the gain is not as drastic as it was on my 05 LGT, 06 STi or 09 WRX. I think this is due to the tune on the 2011 is much smoother than other years. So, dont expect MAJOR changes in the power dept.
Ya, I'm not looking to gain a dramatic increase in power. What I've read seems consistent though: the stock tune is terrible, and really needs to be changed. Whether ASAP or not is what I'm still trying to determine.

Thanks everyone for all the help! This forum is MUCH more active than the others

Oh, and thanks Unabomber, your opinion is appreciated!
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:46 AM   #11
jonklein611
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What about the stock tune is so terrible?
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonklein611 View Post
What about the stock tune is so terrible?
The lean spots.

pet3r - I followed the break-in procedure according to the manual. Then I changed the oil at 1,000 miles and immediately got a tune. You'll see a lot of different opinions on what you should do, but that's what I did. Also, don't be cheap on gas; if you have access to 93, use it.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:48 AM   #13
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SWP, thanks for the input!

I live in AZ so only have 91 octane :/
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:13 PM   #14
deidog
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The main reason why most say you should tune the wrx is because there's a closed loop/open loop fueling delay. Many feel this should be tuned out due to higher chance of detonation I beleive.

There are many people in the tech forums much more qualified to go into detail then I am if ya search for it.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:55 PM   #15
darren94
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I just went though this exact battle.... To get the AP or not? Is the stock tune that bad? Would getting the AP help with the overall reliability while adding "safe/reliable" power? (and so on)

Here is my conclusion. I broke the 2011 in according to the manual, not by the methods recommended by engine builders and tuners. I feel that going by the recommendation of a tuner or builder is leaning toward the best interest as far as HP numbers are concerned. Whereas, doing it by the book IMHO is in the best interest concerning reliability. I have had 4 turbo Subaru's and logged over 200k miles on them when totaled up. I broke each one in this way and never have i had a motor related problem.

As far as the tune, it does suck and for the most part, most of the turbo Subaru tunes have sucked when compared to other comparable performance vehicles. The lean spots in the tune and the open loop closed loop problems are present. But, is it bad enough to worry about harming your engine? Doubtful. But, there are, will be and have been cases where it has caused major problems for owners. That right there for me is enough for me to spend $500+ dollars on the AP. I like the piece of mind and to feel that my $30k+ car will not have tune related issues.

On my 05 LGT, 06 STi, 09 WRX and 2011 WRX, i have broken them all in according to the book and run AP off the shelf tunes with no major issues. The gain in power/smoothness/drive-ability is nice plus knowing that i have a proper tune makes it all worth it IMHO.

As far as you warranty, yes it can cause the dealer to void specific claims if they can prove the modification caused the failure. But, i always uninstall the AP for any dealer visits to play it safe and never have i had a problem in that regard. There are even dealerships across the nation that sell the AP in the parts dept.
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