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Old 11-09-2011, 02:25 AM   #1
EricInHoodRiver
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2011 WRX Hatch
Cobb Stage 2 Protune

Default Advice: possible cold feet 2011 WRX Stage 2

Lots of folks seem super happy with stage 2 on all years of WRX. Pretty sure I was going to do a catted dp and Cobb Stage 2 OTS on my 2011 WRX hatch, but have started to read about folks having issues with blown intercooler hoses at stage 2 boost levels. I am not a mechanic, and I understand that once I start putting bits and pieces on my motor, as well as reflash the ECU all bets are off for issues normally covered under warranty. I am sure the hose is cheap to replace, and maybe an hour of labor, but what else may come up? A little thing to a WRX DYI hobbiest is a source of stress to me, as I don't do my own work.

Is this a can of worms for an owner who does not do their own work? My WRX is a fun daily driver. I don't race. IS a stage 2 opening me up to more pain, than gain?

Thanks
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:33 AM   #2
100_Percent_Juice
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If you enjoy your WRX now, don't touch it. I think most people go to "stage 2" mainly because of cost. Going past that gets real expensive with bigger intercoolers, injectors, turbo, tuning, etc.

If you don't work on your own car then you need to have more money. If I didn't do all of my own wrenching then I would probably be stock.
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Old 11-09-2011, 11:48 PM   #3
sizemic1
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I'm stage 2 running about 18.5psi. No issues with hoses blowing off etc... My tuner did recommend that I keep an eye on the intercooler as the higher levels of boost have the ability to partially dislodge the plastic endtanks from the core. I went ahead and did the "Bulletproof TMIC" mod to prevent this from happening.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:32 AM   #4
Rabidsquirel
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Eric I am totally on same page with you... Well I haven't even got Stage 1 yet, but that will be in works probably after I break the motor in (or maybe not as I am also paranoid about burning the warranty)... I think cobb sells a kit for hatchbacks that is basically your stage 2. From what I have seen they seem to be very active and helpful on these forums as well. If you are lucky maybe put a shout out in your local area; make some friends to help you install this... If you can afford it if the engine breaks then I would say go for it.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:20 AM   #5
EricInHoodRiver
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Rabidsquirel, the conclusion I came to yesterday was stage 2 is not for me right now. I flashed stage 1 and am super impressed and pleased with how it smoothed everything out, and gave me more usable power down low. I really, really like it. Moreover, if the Cobb stock maps are to be believed, the 91 Octane Stage 1 map looks SAFER to me than the stock, in that boost pressure is prevented from spiking early, then dropping off quickly, whereas at stage 1 it peaks a bit lower, but hangs on longer. So, it appears that stage 1 stays well within stock parameters for boost, anyway. I have spoken to several non Cobb affiliated mechanics who really hate the factory tune, as they feel it's just too lean and does not do the engine any good.

While I have little doubt that stage 2 is safe as well, there is less room for error. I spoke with some tuners at Cobb who really doubted that I would have any issues, but did say that I could upgrade my TMIC to all metal. In so doing, it might be a good idea to then upgrade the intake, which then might be nice to have a..... And so the slippery mod slope begins.

Trust me, I get the slippery slope, and often slide down it happily in many of my hobbies--kiteboarding, sking etc. I often buy new bling because it makes me happy and feel more connected to my hobby. It's money well spent--for me. In the case of my WRX, however, I just don't feel that I have the know how right now to start making significant changes to my car. I don't know what I am doing! I think this bothers me more than the $. I also don't feel the need to have more speed and power over stage 1 at this point, as the car is fast, for me, and I have yet to take it over 4000 rpm as I am still in break-in.

I totally get the stage 2 appeal, but I think a lot of the folks who go there use their wrx differently than I do, and also have the ability and desire to tear into the engine when things need to be replaced/upgraded etc. I have a huge amount of respect for that, but right now it's not me. So, at this point the angst/$ ratio does not pan out, and I am going to enjoy my ride at stage 1.

As a side note, I think part of my interest in stage 2 is that I love the car so much I find myself wanting to do things for it--like a super hot high school girlfriend! So, I am getting that "mod" feeling by doing some steezy tinting to windows and tail lights. These are fun, stress free, and A LOT cheaper than stage 2! Going to a window tinting shop in Portland today, in fact.

Best,
Eric
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:44 AM   #6
Rabidsquirel
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Wow Eric,
thanks for the well thought out response... Well I guess if I did have any issues with a Stage 1 tune I could reset to factory =P... I am in a different boat then you in some sense as I have some mechanical experience, but it was mostly on honda's (finally decided to get a real car =D). I would have no problems replacing intake, exhaust or downpipe (I have done a few clutch replacements in my time, and even swapped a engine)... Granted like you its a matter of is it the financially sound idea (this car is now my daily)... How is your MPG on stage 1? Did you notice much of a change?

Best,
Rabid
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:47 AM   #7
SoCal11Subie
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Sounds like you have really thought it through. I am in the same boat, however mine is 100% based on maintaining my 5y/100kMile warranty. Stage 2 leaves evidence that you modded your car, while stage 1 and an intake can be tossed back to stock with no history of the mods very very quickly.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:56 AM   #8
EricInHoodRiver
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Default

I flashed stage 1 at 250 miles so I can't compare. With 550 miles I am at 20.1 with 180 freeway miles and 370 city. I punch it to 4k rpm around town every chance I get because it's so fun!

Eric
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:02 PM   #9
adamal
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Learn to get dirty! :b It's a really easy hobby.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:03 PM   #10
Rabidsquirel
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Yeah them city miles suck it down. I haven't even hit 2 weeks yet, and already at 650 miles. I am getting more mpg, but I am also doing a lot more highway driving. My wife hates me right now cause I don't let the car really sit at one speed and it is apparently making her car sick (DOH~!). I can't wait until I hit the 1k mark so I can start just sitting in cruise control and see how my MPG sits then. I have been a lil more brutal and have been taking my car to 5k rpms, but I figured I am not redlining so how bad can it be? Anyways, thx for sellin me on the Stg 1, I will need to sweet talk wife into it.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:10 PM   #11
EricInHoodRiver
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"Honey, Stage 1 will smooth out the acceleration--I don't want you to feel sick in the car!"
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:13 PM   #12
Rabidsquirel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricInHoodRiver View Post
"Honey, Stage 1 will smooth out the acceleration--I don't want you to feel sick in the car!"
WIN!!!!!rofl may have to wait until bday in 6 months =(... allowing me to get car was considered xmas...
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:53 PM   #13
EricInHoodRiver
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Default

72 mile trip on freeway at 60 to 70 mph got 25.2 mpg with factory rack on top

Eric

Last edited by EricInHoodRiver; 11-11-2011 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:32 PM   #14
Rabidsquirel
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yeah I am hoping I can cruise at 70... when I go to work... we will have to see... maybe 75... will have to test it out between fillups =P
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:09 PM   #15
EricInHoodRiver
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Trip home 68 miles. Kept car at 65-70 with no spirited passing = 27.2 mph with racks
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:21 AM   #16
Rabidsquirel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricInHoodRiver View Post
Trip home 68 miles. Kept car at 65-70 with no spirited passing = 27.2 mph with racks
27.2... hmmmm I wonder if people typically get better mpg with a stage 1.
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:05 AM   #17
EricInHoodRiver
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Without crossbars and cc at 65 I bet I'd be at 30/31. The bars drop you 1 to 2 mpg. Right now my town driving is 18.8, which is much lower than it needs to be as I am punching it every safe chance I get. Too fun not too right now. From what I am told both stage 1 and 2 are better mpg IF you keep them out of boost. When I hit 1000 miles my non freeway will drop for awhile as I want to red line a bit, and my freeway will improve as I will set and forget cc at 68.
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:45 AM   #18
Rabidsquirel
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Eric, at what point does the turbo kick in with Stage 1? I think with factory it is approx 3k rpm (don't know what MPH that is in 5th).
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:09 PM   #19
EricInHoodRiver
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Cobb Stage 2 Protune

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I really wish I had a mounted boost gauge to give you a good answer to that. At some point I am going to drive with my AP plugged in and monitor some runs both live and stored. In any event, the stock 3500 turbo lurch is gone completely. It feels like the turbo starts spooling up at 2800 or so. That's a guess. I wonder if a Cobb tech can chime in? I also don't know if turbo kick in is purely a function of rpm, or load? I think load must have something to do with it, as I don't think the turbo kicks in when you rev in neutral? I think I am going to google that in my quest to become less ignorant.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:24 PM   #20
EricInHoodRiver
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Cobb Stage 2 Protune

Default

The other thing I notice is the car accelerates much better in first gear. It does not feel like the turbo kicks in in first, however, despite getting to 4k rpm. Maybe this is the better fuel/timing of stage 1? It also leads me to believe that load cones into play for turbo boost. Despite high rpm, I don't think you can put a high load on an engine in first gear, so turbo does not kick in. So, if I am correct, one can avoid boost altogether by accelerating more slowly regardless of gear, and that there won't be a set rpm at which boost happens but there is a load at which boost happens?
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