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Old 02-02-2013, 02:04 PM   #1
MaddMax
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Default What this noob has learned from owning his first turbo car

This post is merely to state my personel findings of owning my first turbo car after 27 years of car ownership and possibly give perspective WRX owners an idea of what to expect with respect to the stock turbo power delivery of the 09+ WRX.

Over the years, the only other turbo cars I had driven were a Stage I 06 WRX, stock 02 WRX, and turbo diesel Golf. The Stage I 06 WRX was what ultimately got me interested these cars.

Prior to this car, my last three cars were all NA, modified to some extent (suspension and motor), and all made around 10% to 15% more power than stock. The cars included a 94 Z28, 96 Maxima, and 03 G35 sedan. Most of my modding experience over the past 14 years has centered around toying with Nissan's awesome VQ motors. These motors have great low and midrange power while pulling nicely to their 6600rpm redlines.

In late March 2012 I got my WRX. I was pleasantly surprised by how powerful the WRX felt above 2000rpms. It makes the car fairly easy to drive around town once you figure out the quick revving motor and the nature of the clutch. I was really worried the car would feel a bit boggy like the 02 WRX I had driven previously. Even in 100 degree temps, I feel the power is acceptable and the car doesn't feel nearly as affected by heat soak as my VQ Nissan cars or the Z28.

Over the past 10 months, I've become very aware of load dependence of a turbo. Simply put, you've got to be a bit hamfisted with the accelerator if you want the acceleration you expect. You can't drive them like an NA motor. Period.

Once broken in and fully stock (still is), I finally started getting a feel for the power delivery in these motors. To say the turbo power delivery is different from an NA motor is an understatement. After driving decently powerful NA motors for so long, these turbo motors at full tilt feel foreign to me. Gone is that snap you get from an NA motor when rolling in 2nd at ~3500rpms, punching it, and having it immediately takes off with a fury. Doing the same feat in the WRX results in the pedal going to stopper the floor, the car softly accelerates intially, and then a split second later the motor winds up with a quick rubber band effect. While it feels powerful once going, it doesn't have that immediate snap in power and frankly makes your brain think the car is a bit slow because you were expecting an immediate response in relationship to the movement of the pedal. With a turbo car, it's simply not happening. I have no doubt that while the WRX doesn't "feel" as quick initially, it would slowly walk my G35 and Maxima (both 100mph trapping cars) from a roll.

Punching it from 3000rpms in 1st and rapping it out to around 80mph is fairly impressive, even for stock and is probably where the car feels the quickest. Each shift in 2nd and 3rd is met with a very slight delay and followed by tidal wave of thick power.

The turbo spool between 2500-4000rpms is really fun, especially in the lower gears, and like nothing you'll feel in an NA car. However, this quick and rather strong ramp up in power fools the butt dyno as the power continues to build into the upper rpms. If you've seen a dyno plot for the EJ25, you'll see the power ramp up quickly to ~4500rpms and then power curve becomes broader (flatter). Over 80% of peak power is made by ~4500rpms, peaks at ~6000rpms, and about 90% of peak power is sustained right up to 6500rpms. It's a really effective powerband and every gearhead knows that power under the curve is what truly makes a motor perform and turbo motors are generally really good at this. An NA motor on the otherhand builds power through displacement and rpm; therefore, the power is usually linear and continues to climb to peak power with less of a broad power delivery.

From the seat of the pants, the NA motor can sometimes feel quicker because it starts off with less power, but that power continues to build and build whereas the turbo delivers much of the power in an initial wallop and then sustains the power over a large useable rpm range. That initial wallop in power is what can fool the brain. You fall in love with the turbo surge and expect it to last the entire way to peak power rpm or fuel cut, much like an NA motor. When that doesn't happen, the acceleration can feel a bit muted. I've fallen sucker for this quite often only to look at the speedometer to see I'm going much quicker than I thought.

Lastly, turbos are like mufflers, both on the intake and exhaust side, and these motors rev quite smoothly. It reminds me very much of my ultra smooth revving VQ30 in my 96 Maxima. There is hardly any induction noise like that of an NA motor. Less noise and NVH generally equals a reduced sensation of speed. About all you hear is a light turbo hiss, some faint BPV/wastegate noises, and the imfamous rally-like gear whine in 1st and 2nd.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
nightdown fox
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:02 PM   #3
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If you are punching it then waiting, then the boost kicking in, you're doing it wrong. You need to rev match and downshift then punch it and you'll feel much better and you are being nicer to your car.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napalm3nema View Post
If you are punching it then waiting, then the boost kicking in, you're doing it wrong. You need to rev match and downshift then punch it and you'll feel much better and you are being nicer to your car.
Or mod the car for stage two... And hold on tightly...
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:03 PM   #5
airbornesoldier
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or buy a honda civic
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightdown fox View Post
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:59 AM   #7
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I enjoyed reading it, OP.

Downshifting is where it's at, along with cornering.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaddMax View Post
Over the past 10 months, I've become very aware of load dependence of a turbo. Simply put, you've got to be a bit hamfisted with the accelerator if you want the acceleration you expect. You can't drive them like an NA motor. Period.
So you never noticed this while driving your '06 WRX or your '02 WRX? Seems a bit odd.

I've owned '05, '06 and '09 WRX's, and all 3 suffered from turbo lag, even with tunes. Like someone else mentioned, rev matching helps, but always depending on the turbo for power can definitely be a PITA.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:17 AM   #9
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You just discovered turbo lag now! I noticed my fist ride in a pos turbo civic and my Rs does it all the time I just don't floor the Damn thing thinking I drive a top fuel dragster.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nhmtns View Post
So you never noticed this while driving your '06 WRX or your '02 WRX? Seems a bit odd.

I've owned '05, '06 and '09 WRX's, and all 3 suffered from turbo lag, even with tunes. Like someone else mentioned, rev matching helps, but always depending on the turbo for power can definitely be a PITA.
Na, I know what turbo lag is, I knew what I was getting, and that 2002 WRX suffered immensely from it. The 2.5 turbos are bit more responsive mostly due to more displacement, especially the 06 since it has a quicker spooling TD04. It just didn't have the balls up top like the VF52.

I've just learned with a turbo that 50% throttle doesn't necessarily mean 50% power. It's not a 1:1 relationship like that of an NA motor.

I totally understand that a well executed downshift results in the strong surge of power, especially when you time it just right to build some initial boost. With that said, I do like to stab into the throttle from a roll as well.

I will say that the light flywheel, light rotating assembly, and the quick response of the accelerator pedal makes for incredibly easy and perfect high rpm rev match downshifts, especially into 2nd and 3rd. I've never driven a car that so easy to execute these types of downshifts coming into turns and such.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightdown fox View Post
Hey, it's not my fault you can't read something that takes most people merely 2 to 3 minutes to read
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaddMax View Post
Hey, it's not my fault you can't read something that takes most people merely 2 to 3 minutes to read
Very telling in this case to look at a member with a number below 10,000 with something to actually say, with references and accurate information, then to see a new member with a 300,000+ number post up something like " you expect me to read all of that?".

Sigh, this generation. Things sure have changed.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:55 PM   #13
leecea
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One of the key factors in communicating successfully is to know your intended audience and deliver the information in an appropriate manner. If the OP is trying to give useful information to the typical new NASIOC member and WRX buyer, it may have missed the mark.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:04 PM   #14
woody06967
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You forgot to mention that forced induction is awesome. I currently own my third and fourth turbo cars and love both.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:11 PM   #15
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even a stage 1 tune will help with the lag issue.
I think on my (stage 1) car full boost (13-14psi iirc)comes on around 2500, before that it was clearly controlled by the ecu to be more like 9psi all the way through like 3200-ish rpm.

It's not earth shattering but it did require a bit of getting used to, now that I've used to it.... I'm itching for stage 2...

Best thing about stage 1 is that no other mods needed

TL;DR turbos are awesome.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:26 PM   #16
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:27 PM   #17
MaddMax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea View Post
One of the key factors in communicating successfully is to know your intended audience and deliver the information in an appropriate manner. If the OP is trying to give useful information to the typical new NASIOC member and WRX buyer, it may have missed the mark.
It's my nature. I like details so sometimes my posts can become wordy. Nothing annoys me more than people posting on forums with minimal to no detail about the point they're trying to make.

Perhaps I should have written my post like a teenagers text message and then maybe the younger generations would be able to tolerate what I wrote
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:05 PM   #18
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I think in the end, to elaborate on my original statement, is that any turbo car will require more driver interaction and attention to get the best from them. I love my STi because it demands the most from the driver to get the most out of it. I'm constantly rowing gears to get power when I need it etc. So I really don't notice turbo lag because of the style of driving I have adopted. Sure it's more interaction than when I had a 5.0 etc.. but I much prefer it.

Enjoy the car, and be as wordy as you would like. I'll take that over the alternative 'k hi i am wndring what u thnk of cars with tirez'
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:14 PM   #19
airbornesoldier
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just wait until you drive that car in the snow for 9 months out of the year like here in Alaska.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:32 PM   #20
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hahahahahah sooo good
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:34 PM   #21
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I'm dead!

good post, OP.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:37 PM   #22
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If younthink your stage 1 wrx is fast, id hate to see howmlong your post would be about the sti
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaddMax View Post
It's my nature. I like details so sometimes my posts can become wordy. Nothing annoys me more than people posting on forums with minimal to no detail about the point they're trying to make.

Perhaps I should have written my post like a teenagers text message and then maybe the younger generations would be able to tolerate what I wrote

d0000d...yer **** needs a t00n
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:40 PM   #24
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Very interesting. These are the in-depth opinions that I like to read about. Anyone can throw together a couple sentences. But, as a first time turbo owner, I really enjoyed your post. I don't have much comment on driving. I tend to drive like a grandma and then sometimes punch it up to 60, when the limit permits. I'm not good at downshifting or rev matching. I used to just slowly let the clutch out when downshifting because there was too much going on and I would get confused if I also had to watch the RPMs and try to guess how much gas to give it. Now, I at least tap the gas and get it up around 3k before downshifting in traffic. It's tough to be precise while braking and turning and working your turn indicator though. I think I'll just get better with time.

Edit: people are hating on your post length. I say, I'd rather have too much information than not enough. Also, the reader can just skim if they want... People just like having something to bitch about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airbornesoldier View Post
just wait until you drive that car in the snow for 9 months out of the year like here in Alaska.
These spin-in-place AWD donuts never get old.

Last edited by mclrn227; 02-03-2013 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:42 PM   #25
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I'm new to the forum, but I think I like you guys. This has me laughing so hard I'm crying.
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