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Old 01-07-2004, 08:36 PM   #1
lionfish42
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Default Bay Area WRXers - Questions and maybe some Help!?

I recently purchased a 04 WRX (blue sedan). I only have about 2k miles on it and I am looking to add some mods. I will not be drag racing it, so top speed and top HP is not a priority. However, I do drive up in the mountains and would like to take it to track days. I would like quicker spoolup, more torque, and better handling. After doing some research and evaluating my budget I came up with my 3 stages.

Here are my stages (mods) I am considering (any comments and thoughts are welcomed)....I also have some questions at the end of my list.


First:
1. Up-pipe
2. Re-Flash ECU
3. Tuned dyno run
4. Turbo Boost Gauge

(Thinking about ordering Vishnu Stage 0)

Second:
1. Sway bar
2. 17" lighter wheels
3. New tires

Third:
1. Turbo Back exhaust
2. Tuned dyno run.


I have a budget and wanted to roll this out in 3 stages as mentioned above. About $1500 per stage.

Since I live in San Francisco, I was going to go with Vishnu and have him do the tuning and dyno runs.

Here are a few questions. (Let me preface this by saying I have the tools, but no area to do the work and very little experince working on engines - other then my old VW 74 Bug)

1. I was thinking about having Vishnu do all the installations, but his will add up to over $500 on installaion alone for my first stage. I would like to learn and do some of the work myself, they will let me watch and ask questions. I know that Vishnu are pros and that the install would be excellent, however if there is someone that has the space, time, and patience I would be very interested in having another alternative.

2. I can purchase Vishnu Stage 0 for $1k, this includes the reflash, up-pipe, pulley. I have read they are pretty much the best when it comes to tuning, so I understand the premium when it comes to their parts. However, if I bought a AccessEcu, and alternative up-pipe and then drove the car to Vishnu to have it tuned, would that be wise and OK? Any thoughts?

3. If I was to have my first stage completed and installed by Vishnu it would be about $2k for the whole thing ($700 is for installation & tuning). I would have the comfort of knowing they do quality work and they have a top-notch reputation, but...(and there is always a but) I could purchase a third party up pipe, turbo-back exhast, accessecu, boost gauge, sway bar, and then go to Vishnu for a dyno/tune for about $2k, thus knocking out both my stage 1, 3, and leaving me with only to have to purchase the tires and wheels. However, I would need to install everything myself (with much needed help). Any thoughts or comments?


Any suggestions as to third party pipes, AccessECU vs Vishnu Reflash, or anything is welcomed.

Signed,

Newbie getting feet wet!

Thanks in advanced.
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Old 01-07-2004, 10:31 PM   #2
Chrisnonstop
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This is what I was thinking about doing:

First:
Buy Cobb's Accessport ($555) and run the stage 1 map for a while

Buy VF34 turbo, STI injectors, and Walbro Fuel pump.
Aprx: $1250

Buy a down pipe. I'm not sure who's I'm going to go with. Probably Cobbs or Vishnu's. Not sure on price (anyone?)

Have all equipment installed. Again, not sure on price. A buddy of mine might do it if he's got the time.

Download VF34 map from Cobb.
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Old 01-08-2004, 12:00 AM   #3
speedevangelist
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If you are still on re-92s, I'd upgrade the tires (and maybe that means the wheels) first. Next get some upgraded brake pads, like Carbotechs. Then worry about getting more power.
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Old 01-08-2004, 01:03 AM   #4
soundwave
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chrisnonstop
This is what I was thinking about doing:

First:
Buy Cobb's Accessport ($555) and run the stage 1 map for a while

Buy VF34 turbo, STI injectors, and Walbro Fuel pump.
Aprx: $1250

Buy a down pipe. I'm not sure who's I'm going to go with. Probably Cobbs or Vishnu's. Not sure on price (anyone?)

Have all equipment installed. Again, not sure on price. A buddy of mine might do it if he's got the time.

Download VF34 map from Cobb.
he's gonna need a turboback exhaust before he can use the VF34 map from Cobb right?
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Old 01-08-2004, 01:33 AM   #5
mexicanpizza
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And I don't know much...but I know that i-speed labor quotes are very low when compared to other local shops.

-=eric
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Old 01-08-2004, 01:49 AM   #6
tartay
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a reccommendation on the turboback...don't piece it together...just wait and save up and buy a full 3" turbo back
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Old 01-08-2004, 03:01 PM   #7
CupertinoSteve
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If you really want to get into trackday stuff, i say spend the $$$ on attending as many events as possible. Nothing beats seat time. What I have found is that more HP can become a crutch to being a good track driver. When you have less HP you will have to become a good momentum driver (less brakes, hitting the turns properly). When you get good at that, then start playing with tires and suspension ... chop your lap times by a few seconds, then go for the power. If you have lots of HP, you can run decent lap times, but they are not indicative of being a "good" driver. I've seen quite a few people come to the track, those who focus on improving their skills, tend to ramp up and take advantage of new mods faster.

Again this is my personal opinion,
S
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Old 01-08-2004, 03:21 PM   #8
lionfish42
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Default Thanks CupertinoSteve

Excellent advice.

I agree.

I am looking for two things spooling of the turbo in lower rpms (hence the up-pipe and ecu) and better road handling by updating the tires, wheels, and sway bar.

I am not interested in drag racing or maxium horse power.

I am very excited about attending as many track days as possible and learning as much as I can.

I have been told by a race car driving friend (races professionally) that there are some basic mods for my car that he would recommend for track day. His advice was the same as yours, don't worry to much about mods or increasing HP, learn to drive your car.

However, he mentioned that if I were to do a couple of mods that he felt I should do before spending to much time driving stock are as follows.

He said first, I need be concerned about my tires and cornering characteristics. He mentioned that my stock WRX tires will not hold that well in turns and that the car has to much understeer (?) and that I should add a stiffer sway bar. He further stated that I could keep the stock wheels and just get some other tires with stiffer sidewalls with a better contact dry pavement patch and a stiffer sway bar. I should be good to go.

Second issue he mentioned was having the car tuned and he mentioned that the stock WRX's turbo could spool up earlier and mentioned that it was probably the cat infront of the turbo that keeps it from spooling up sooner. He said this would be the second mod he would recommend, but it wasn't as important as the tire and sway bar issue.

Note:
Brakes would be another upgrade, but not untill I am driving for a while and would need a larger wheel to do so and it would cost more.

Other then that he said keep it stock. I figured an up pipe, new tires, a sway bar, and a good tuning is not that big of a mod upgrade.

Thanks again for your advice.

Regards,

Michael
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Old 01-08-2004, 03:34 PM   #9
CupertinoSteve
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Hi Michael,
If that is the case ... I would recommend the uppipe and ECU reflash. Before going out to the track, I would replace the brake fluid with something a little more resilient (I personally use Motul RBF600). I would also recommend getting some grippier brake pads for the front. To be honest with you, I don't have much experience with brake pads for the stock system (I'm running Pagid Oranges on StopTechs). I've heard good t
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Old 01-08-2004, 03:34 PM   #10
CupertinoSteve
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Hi Michael,
If that is the case ... I would recommend the uppipe and ECU reflash. Before going out to the track, I would replace the brake fluid with something a little more resilient (I personally use Motul RBF600). I would also recommend getting some grippier brake pads for the front. To be honest with you, I don't have much experience with brake pads for the stock system (I'm running Pagid Oranges on StopTechs). I've heard good things about CarboTech.

With regards to track turbo spooling, I've rarely found myself below 4500rpm at any given time ... so spooling there is usually not an issue.

With regards to the stock RE92s, they are quite fun on the track. They slip, they are noisy ... i'd say use them until they're toasted, then upgrade.

Rims ... stay with 17" ... I had 18", but those were too heavy and are more for show. Not to mention, 17" tend to be cheaper to replace and there are more available r-compound tire options for 17s.
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Old 01-08-2004, 04:09 PM   #11
lionfish42
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Blue

Default

Quote:
Originally posted by CupertinoSteve
Hi Michael,
If that is the case ...
Thanks for the tips...

A couple of questions:

1. Swaybar? Any suggestions? You didn't mention anything about a swaybar.

2. The standard wheels are 16s, I will be upgrading to 17s down the road. Any recommendations? Light weight and not too expensive...ROTAS?

3. What tires are you running?


Thanks again
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Old 01-08-2004, 04:39 PM   #12
CupertinoSteve
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Silver - Vishnu Stage 2+

Default

Rota Tarmacs + Bridgestone SO-3s (225x45x17)
Rota SubZero + Toyo RA1 (235x45x17)

Stock Sway bar in the Front
Adjustable Rear Sway Bar in the Rear (set at 22mm)
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Old 01-08-2004, 09:13 PM   #13
Riight112
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WR Blue

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lionfish42,

For a sway bar, the cusco adjustable rear sway is very popular. I personally really like their products.

Better tires are always a good upgrade to start off with. Tires is something that is often overlooked when people are looking for performance mods.

As for new rims, I like Volk's rims. My personal favorites are the TE37 and Gram Lights. It all depends on the look you are after or however many spokes you want. Other suggestions would be the SSR competition.

Where is SF are you? I'm always down for meeting another SF wrx owner. =)
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Old 01-08-2004, 09:54 PM   #14
mikkyo
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Black

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Hi, lots of good information here already that I agree with.

I recommend lots of upgrades, but that is just my opinion..
Here is my list, someday I'll get through it myself

Musts:
Better brake pads
Better Tires (larger rims optional)
Better Brake fluid
Rear swaybar (adjustable)
Good aftermarket alarm

Easy Power:
Uppipe
Vishnu reflash
(or a full Stage 1)
underdrive crank pulley

Additional Suspension etc:
Rear strut bar
Anti-lift kit
Steering Rack bushings
STi engine, tranny rear diff mounts, and pitch stop
SS brake lines

Hardcore driver/track:
(after all of the above)
coilovers
ABS disable switch
Extra rims/pads for track use
Big Brake Kit (StopTech)
Front Underspoiler/lip
Skid Plate
VF34 or better Turbo
Large Top Mount Intercooler
Vishnu Stage 2/3 Ecutek reflash or user programmable ECU/piggyback
STi 6-Speed

Last edited by mikkyo; 01-08-2004 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:04 AM   #15
lionfish42
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Quote:
Originally posted by Riight112
lionfish42,

.....

Where is SF are you? I'm always down for meeting another SF wrx owner. =)

I live in the Upper Haight area next to Golden Gate Park. I notice another 04 WRX Sedan owner in my hood recently.

I would be up to meeting and talking about car stuff and learning a thing or two.

Regards,

Michael
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:13 AM   #16
lionfish42
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Quote:
Originally posted by Riight112
lionfish42,

For a sway bar, the cusco adjustable rear sway is very popular. I personally really like their products.
Thanks,

I was just looking at them. They seem easy to install. However, will I need jack stands to install them? I don't have a garage (since I live in the city), so can I install these with out having to jack up the car?

One other question:

What about endlinks? Should they be added at the same time?
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Old 01-09-2004, 01:00 PM   #17
bgsntth
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I would recommend the rear sway bar and upgraded track-specific pads and fluid, as Steve suggested. I would follow his lead and start with the OE wheels/tires for a track day or two, whereupon you will have toasted your RE-92's, which is a good thing. If you get the track bug, and you will, then I would follow-up with an extra set of track wheels and tires and a BBK. With my Stoptech's, swapping pads is only a 5 minute ordeal added on to swapping on my track wheels and tires. I like the civility of all-season tires and normal pads on the street, and equipment I can "beat-on" mercillessly on the track.

I really like my engine/drivetrain warranty, and have used it extensively. So unless you really "need" the HP, I'd spend money elsewhere. I personally only want more HP on the track, where there is never enough. The only HP mod I've done is a Stromung exhaust, which actually made a big difference from 5-7K rpms, and did not effect my warranty.

See you at the track. So when is the next Unlimited laps event? The wife nixed the 1-03 LS event, so I am hankering for some fun.
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Old 01-09-2004, 04:29 PM   #18
mikkyo
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Quote:
Originally posted by lionfish42
Thanks,

I was just looking at them. They seem easy to install. However, will I need jack stands to install them? I don't have a garage (since I live in the city), so can I install these with out having to jack up the car?

One other question:

What about endlinks? Should they be added at the same time?
Swaybar and endlinks are easy and can be done at once, with the car on the ground, as long as it isn't lowered - then it could still be done, but you'd have to a have strong little kid crawl under there to do it.
The swaybar is not under load when the car is at rest.
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Old 01-09-2004, 04:54 PM   #19
lionfish42
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikkyo
Swaybar and endlinks are easy and can be done at once, with the car on the ground, as long as it isn't lowered - then it could still be done, but you'd have to a have strong little kid crawl under there to do it.
The swaybar is not under load when the car is at rest.
Thanks....I will be ordering it this weekend....

If you see some noob installing a rear sway bar on the sidewalk in the Upper Haight - that be me.
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Old 01-09-2004, 05:39 PM   #20
bgsntth
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Ramps, such as Rhino ramps, work well for putting on the sway bar. Otherwise, parking on the sidewalk with the rear-end hanging off works well too. Be prepared, the rightside bracket needs that "strong little kid" to hold the bracket tight while you turn the wrench. It can be done by one person, but you better be strong and determined. Do the endlinks after the brackets, starting with the right bracket first.
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Old 01-09-2004, 05:45 PM   #21
CupertinoSteve
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cordless impact wrench will be a handy purchase for the future (tires, coilovers, bars, ALKs ...).

S
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