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Old 05-11-2003, 05:01 PM   #1
Minion
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Default I am a newb, and have questions

I am a big subaru fan and just purchased a 03wrx.
I have a few questions that I would love some answers/opinions on.....

I do a lot of driving from Denver to Las Vegas and L.A., and I was wondering if it would be better on the car to have cat exhaust/downpipe, or catless? And will catless be bad for long drives?

Was also wondering what the best boost controller would be for a stock turbo? I heard greddy was good...

Any tips and opinions are welcome!

Thanks,
Minion
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Old 05-11-2003, 08:01 PM   #2
ShotgunTC88
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Minion,

If you dont have emissions testing where you live an Up/Dowpipe combo wont hurt anything (You will just run a little rich)

I think (.02) I would MUCH rather get a COBB/ECUTEK/Etc Reflash on my car than a blowoff valve

If you are just gettin into tuning,
I wouldnt tinker to much in the area of Air/Fuel mix and Boost.

Things can go bad.........quick

.02

Shotgun
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Old 05-11-2003, 08:47 PM   #3
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Shotgun,
Thanks for the reply. Yes I am new to the tuning gig. Sadly, Colorado does have emission testing. But thanks for the info.
And sadly, I did not underdstand what you were saying about a blowoff valve? I was looking into a boost controller. But again Im a self proclaimed newb, and prob just being dumb. Thanks again.

Minion
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Old 05-11-2003, 11:49 PM   #4
CirrusWRX
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I think what he was saying is that it has been more or less agreed upon that a boost controller as your first mod is probably not the best advice, especially if you are rather unfamiliar with the car. If you are looking to do some performance upgrades that are SAFE on the stock turbo, then you should look at the various stage packages and what they have to offer. Basically, upgrading the "breathing" (ie. uppipe, downpipe, muffler, etc...) and the ECU are great "bang for your buck" upgrades that come with a decent safety margin, but again, just bear in mind that once you start modding, you'll pretty much have to let your warranty go on engine+drivetrain related problems.

A lot of people seem to like the new Cobb solutions - ECU+various exhuasts pieces for really good prices. A boost controller won't be able to touch the overall increase in performance AND level of safety a GOOD ECU reflash can net. Sure it's a bit more expensive then a ball & spring boost controller, but $350.00 for a reflashed ECU is a lot better than $4000.00 for a new engine ruined by a boost controller.

just my .02
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Old 05-12-2003, 04:16 PM   #5
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Great info, thanks for the reply Cirrus. I certantly don't want to buy a new engine, so thats good to know. And shotguns thread makes much more sence now. I think for now I will stick with bolt ons.

I guess the only question I have left in the open is the catless or cat exhaust. With as much driving as I do in the desert and alltitude changes, which would be better? Im not to worried about emissions at this point.

Thanks again for your advise and .02

Minion
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Old 05-12-2003, 07:22 PM   #6
CirrusWRX
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I guess I'll try and answer it with this: the cat is there for emissions. They are technically "bottlnecks" that the exhaust must pass through on the way out of the engine. The less "restrictions" the better, faster trip the exhaust makes. This comes at a cost to the environment, however.

There are 3 cats in the WRX - one before the turbo in the uppipe, one in the downpipe, and one in the "mid pipe" a little before the muffler (both after the turbo.) Many remove the uppipe cat and replace it with a catless uppipe. This can help the turbo spool a little quicker, and the main function of this cat is for 'cold emissions.' Many people remove this one.

The remaining are the downpipe and 3rd cat in the 'midpipe' area. There are two theories here - The more common seems to go with a catless downpipe and keep the factory 3rd cat in place, or replce the factory 3rd cat with a freer flowing "race cat." Others, like in the prodrive performance pack (stage upgrades) they remove the 3rd cat, but put a freer flowing cat in the downpipe (slightly relocatted, too.)

Either way, it's probably a good idea to have at least one cat, even if your state does or does not allow it. The performance decrease is really not all that much, and you're not quite as hard on the environment.

As far as the difference between desert and altitude changes, you reallly don't have much to worry about. The factory ECU will take care of messing with A/F ratio's and such. You may need to pay more attention to your air filter if you're frequently in dusty/sandy/dirty environments, as it will need to be changed/cleaned more often, but otherwise, having a turbo is also kinda nice at altitude since there is less oxygen, it sorta makes the engine think it's at sea level (to a degree...)

Oh, and speaking of A/F - you can stick with most bolt-ons and be good, but as a recommendation I say that you should generally stay away from cold air intakes (CAI) and blow off valves as your first round of mods. Read on, young jedi, and you will see why - I don't preach gospel, but I've read a bit here and there.

Uppipe, downpipe, muffler, factory 3rd cat, and some engine management to give you the ultimate upgrade in reliable, safe performance.

my .02
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Old 05-12-2003, 07:40 PM   #7
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Cirrus,
I'm also a newbie and was wondering why you don't recomend a bov, and cold air intake. Thanks

Mike
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Old 05-12-2003, 09:42 PM   #8
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Cirrus,
Thank you very much for your help. You answered my questions and I thank you. And as you said, I will read on! Take care

Minion
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Old 05-13-2003, 01:08 AM   #9
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Again not to be a "search nazi" but the answers about the CAI are out there and, yet, are debated daily.

I don't know much about the WRX, just whatever I have read and spoken to other enthusiasts. I absolutely POSTIVELY don't know ANYTHING about other cars, but according to some general knowledge, CAI's can be very good 'first upgrades' for a lot of cars-- the WRX is NOT one of them.

The main problem as I have come to understand it has to do with the MAF sensor which is housed in the current airbox. 99% of the aftermarket CAI kits either relocate the MAF, or have a piping diameter smaller/larger than stock, which both result in confusing the MAF. The result? Typically causes the engine to run lean - not necessarily a bad thing since the WRX tends to run rather rich when stock, *BUT* this lean condition is "faked." The engine is only running lean because it's confused, not because it has been told to run lean - it's simply compensating.

In doing this, many see an increase in power... which is technicalyl true, since the car IS putting out some more power... but these same people typically don't have a knock link or an EGT gauge, and these poor souls (most of them) are basically sitting on a ticking time bomb of an engine. I think in my reading, I have come to a conclusion that knock is a big time killer of our engines. There are many ways to induce knock, and there are many ways to counteract it. There are only 2 (I believe) CAI's out right now, both short-ram style, that are designed to work "flawlessly" with the WRX-- TurboXS, and somebody else. But in both cases, the vendor recommends engine management ALONG with the CAI.

I think that's the bottom line. Most people install a CAI, see a performance increase and jump to the conclusion that it's a "good mod." But they don't have any fault detection devices (ie. knocklink, gauges, etc...) and don't realize the damage they are causing to their engine(s). Again, I'm generalizing, but I think it's pretty much agreed upon by the smarter people (i'm not one of them, I just try and repeat what I understand to be true...) If you tune your ECU for a CAI, then you *could* expect a safe increase in power, but to be honest, the airbox is NOT a bottleneck on our cars. There are PLENTY of high horsepower WRX's with the stock airbox - the CAI just isn't necessary for most people, and while it's got teh bling factor, and is relatively inexpensive, for the informed enthusiast, it is generally accepted that it is NOT a wise bolt on for our cars.

again, no gospel, just trying to sum up what you will find in your 'research.'
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Old 05-13-2003, 01:18 AM   #10
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Thanx for the reply Cirrus, I appreciate your input.
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Old 05-13-2003, 04:29 PM   #11
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Thank you for that information Cirrus. You opened my eyes quite a bit, seeing I just put a CAI on my car 2 weeks ago.
I think Im going to have to use the credit card and get a ecu tune. Better then an engine thats forsure.
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Old 05-13-2003, 06:14 PM   #12
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Minion,

For what it's worth, I think the best advice right now might be three-fold:
1) Put down the credit card (this is the hard one )
2) Take off the CAI, and
3) Spend alot of time reading.

I'm not going to tell you I'm an expert (I'm not.) It would be far better to sit back, research things a little bit, and then follow a mod plan. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying you shouldn't do what you want to your car, I'm just saying that coming up with an idea of where you want to go first will probably be both cheaper and more satisfying in the long run.

All that being said, I almost did exactly the same thing (run out and buy a CAI and BOV.) I was only saved by being too poor at the time and then being distracted by other things in my life. Since then, I've been able to come up with a better plan and am just now begining to follow it.

Good luck!
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Old 05-13-2003, 06:43 PM   #13
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Cirrus,

Thanks,

I meant to say BoostController but my fingers and old brain corrupted my thoughts!


Sorry Minion

Yea, as far as the CAI, I very much agree!

Although I would like to hear my Turbo spool a little better<G>
I don't think the CAI is worth the trouble and niether do most tuners that you will encounter (UNLESS you go past 285-300hp)

It appears that Cirrus is doing what I have been doing...

Studying the Mods for the WRX...BEFORE he is running out and buying the latest "bolt on H.P"!

As an example here is where "I WANT" to be when Im done and what I am doing in "Stages"

ScoobySport muffler
Perrin Catted Downpipe
Gutted O.E.M Upipe (I like the flex, and fit)
O.E.M resonater pipe
Gredy E.G.T Meter/Probe (with temp hold/warning indicator)
COBB Stage II E.C.U flash
COBB (When realesed) Tuner Software/Cable
.Leavin well enough alone.<GGGG>

I will feel fairly comforatable with this, And if I was to want more out of my car I would start in on the internals (Tranny, Engine,etc)

.02

Shotgun

Oh yea, And number one on the list shoulda been get rid of those dam RE92 Tires......

,
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Old 05-13-2003, 08:47 PM   #14
Minion
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Research! Now there is a concept!
I got so excited with wanting to mod, I figured I didn't need to.
But NOW I will.

I do have a set up in mind that I want to do. Pretty similar to yours shotgun. The reason I went with CAI was because it was on sale at a local store. But I will most likely take it off.

And MorePower, I shall do my best to keep the credit card away!

Thanks Shotgun and MorePower for taking time out to help me.
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Old 05-13-2003, 11:38 PM   #15
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Shotgun and MorePower,
I too am greatful for youe shared knowledge.

I was looking at buying a CAI as a first mod for my car, but will save my pennies for the turbo back system and the ECU reflash.

I too am a newby and have alot to learn. I had some other questions.

"Gredy E.G.T Meter/Probe (with temp hold/warning indicator)"
What is it and why have one?

Also BOV ? Sounds cool and all the manufactors say you should have one(of course) but do you think it is nessesary and at what point?

With all the "more power" talk it seems to me it would be a better choice to start with handling, get that dialed then move on to more HP.

I have a '02 Wagon and at this point don't know where to start to improve handling other than wheels and tires, which I have done.

Thanks in advance for your opinions and advice.

Regards,
WRX-WFO
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Old 05-14-2003, 01:15 AM   #16
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WRX-UFO,

I shoulda mentioned, I went for a mild handling setup

I bought the AVS 100 16" Yokohamas from tire rack, Very nice and sticky for all around driving (Not for winter though)

I got some new Whitline Rear Endlinks to help with the understeer (So far it feels pretty neutral)

Also got Stainless Steel Goodridge brake lines and Vavoline Dot 4 brake fluid (Good for around 500deg. of street heat) and a little firmer pedal feel

Speed bleeders (replaces your stock bleeder valves so you can bleed your brakes by yourself)


The Gredy (or other manufactors) E.G.T Gauge will give you real time indication of how hot exhaust gases are and will let you know as you start tuning if you are outside the "sweetspot" of perfect fuel/air mix, (i.e over 1550degs. is gettin kinda warm for your pistons)

I dont have one, But an Air/Fuel gauge does a good job to, I just feel its not nessacery in my particular tune (COBB Reflash, is on the safe side,..So Im told)

A blowoff valve (You have one O.E.M ya just cant here it) is kinda cool if you like to hear that Phhhhhttttt noise when your turbo vents the waste gasses, It can be a little benificiel in venting to aptnosphere and lettin the built up turbo gasses out and preventing a bit of backpressure.

I am mainly getting my car to run in a fairly safe zone of power and dependability without "undue" stress on the engine/drivetrain....Its a fine line between modding, driving skill and choice of equipment.

I would LOVE to have 400hp, But not at the expense of breaking parts

Just my opinion, Some guys DO run alot of horse's and get away with it, I just wanna get enough power and balance to keep the car for a long time.

Just my 02.

Shotgun

And, For what its worth, I would LOVE to have the C.A.I for the sound and the looks, I just hear to many probs with the WRX and mid horsepower sweetspots

Last edited by ShotgunTC88; 05-14-2003 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 05-14-2003, 02:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
And MorePower, I shall do my best to keep the credit card away!
Heh, that's what the "Good luck!" at the end of my post was for.

I know exactly how you feel, and there's a million little ways to spend your money on your car (and a thousand or so big ones.) I really do think that being realistic with what we can afford and will actually help the car's performance is probably the hardest thing to do. So many vendors and even "enthusiasts" make big claims for each little part, but if it were that easy we'd all be making 350 WHP without any warranty issues.

Oh yeah, ShotgunTC88 already mentioned the second hardest thing, leaving well enough alone. I guess we all fail that one once the first mod goes on.
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Old 05-14-2003, 06:20 PM   #18
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Yep................

I tried, Really ....I tried


Vrroooom!

Shotgun
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Old 05-14-2003, 09:26 PM   #19
Minion
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Bottom line for me, is I want NO stress problems. Being a brand new car and a subaru for that matter, I dont expect problems for quite a few years. (excluding maintance stuff).

For now here is what I want to do.....you guys tell me if I am missing something important or if it will be just fine.
Keep in mind I do long distance driving.

Invidia Exhaust and Downpipe.
Vishnu Upipe
COBB Stage II E.C.U flash
SAMCO intercooler hose kit
APEXi S-AFC

Thats my list. Any opinions would be great before I go drop a few grand.

Minion
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Old 05-15-2003, 12:33 AM   #20
CirrusWRX
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Forget the S-AFC, otherwise, list looks good!



(just my .02)
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Old 05-15-2003, 01:30 AM   #21
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At the risk of being burned at the stake

IF you can swing a wrench half way decent and wanna save some change.

Look for a used O.E.M GUTTED Upipe, a lot of us are using them because they retain the "flex" of the O.E.M and are less pron to leaking, At the cost of very little H.P loss.

I Ordered a Perrin (Which is a beutiful piece of steel!) and sold it at a big loss, Because I heard to many people bitchin about leaks and other minor issues.

I am in NO WAY saying YOU may have that prob. I just went with a more (In my opinion) one time fix it and forget it issue.

It appears to me, The WRX just seems to like the dam flex in there because of heat expansion/contraction fitment, blah,blah,blah.

Please dont just take my word, As I would have loved the Perrin Im sure,........Just didnt feel like the possible headache

.02

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Old 05-15-2003, 08:45 PM   #22
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Cool!
Thanks for the suggestion shotgun. You sparked some interest which led me into looking for flex upipes. I saw a few web sites that suggested a few brands. MRT and Autospeed seem to have quite a bit of post. The prices on flex upipe are nice too!

What do you think of flex in the invidia exhaust? <-dumb question
Was going to send link, but web site has no pics

Not going to burn you
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Old 05-16-2003, 12:58 AM   #23
CirrusWRX
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I just wanna toss out there that AutoSpeedPerformance has teh r0x0rs. I went down there a few months ago and the guys there are terrfic- and they make a HELL of a product. Beautiful stuff for Audis, Porsches, and believe it or not, Subarus!
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Old 05-16-2003, 01:12 AM   #24
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Minion,
I IMHO think you should just try to find a pre-gutted O.E.M cat on e-bay or one of the Subby forums,

BUT...Make sure you check it to make POSITIVE whoever did the gut job got ALL the Cat out. (Tell us who it is, We prolly know im)

You can useally pic em up for $100 max and if you think you could do it (Not to bad, just time consuming) by one not gutted and go for it for around $50.


If I bought (And I did, but sold it new) a after market uppipe,

I would get the Perrin, Again,..A little high but the quality is superb.

Im sorry but I havent seen the invidia flex U/P
.02

Shotgun

Last edited by ShotgunTC88; 05-16-2003 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 05-16-2003, 08:05 PM   #25
Minion
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Good stuff! Takin notes down and doing research!
Thanks again guys!
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