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Old 04-01-2004, 06:34 PM   #1
Unabomber
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FMIC FAQ

The primary purpose of a front mount intercooler is to reduce post turbo air temperature prior to entering the combustion chamber via the throttle body.

HP gain is around 15HP. This figure can vary as results can be further enhanced with post installation tuning. This is one modification that is extremely difficult to put a traditional HP figure on as results truly vary from car to car based on tuning and turbo output in terms of CFM.
FMIC dyno test
FMIC dyno test

Which manufacturer is best? This topic is highly debated. There have been no reported consistent "bad" FMICs on the market. Obviously, there may have been bad FMICs sold, but not enough to report as "bad" overall.

Which FMIC construction method is best? FMICs have two main construction methods:
1. tube and fin
2. bar and plate
There is much debate as to which construction method is best. There are many pros and cons with each design type, but no real hard data. Bar and plate designs are consistently reported as more damage resistant which gives them the edge with regard to appearance longevity. In the end, you are best advised to chose a FMIC based on other qualities rather than concentrate on construction design.

Which FMIC has the best gains? There is no irrefutable evidence that any FMIC has better gains than another. The consensus, if there is one, is they are all within 5HP or less, gain wise, of each other.

I have a 2006/2007 model, any differences? Yes. There were slight engine bay changes in these years, so there are issues with fitment on these years depending on the manufacturer. Check with your vendor prior to purchasing to sort these issues out.

I have a 2008/2009 model, any differences? Yes. Your engine bay has an entirely new layout vs. the 2002-2007 models. Most of the models listed below are for the older models, so you will have to refer to the manufacturer/retailer for fitment, or use this link as a general guide.

Will a FMIC work with my OEM or JDM foglights? It depends on the year/model and your foglights. Refer to the manufacturer/retailer for fitment issues with foglights.

What is the best size FMIC to buy for my turbo? This topic is highly debated. The two general trains of thought are:
a. Bigger is better
b. A FMIC should be purchased based on need
For those willing to do their homework on what particular size would show the most benefit with the least amount of drawbacks, this article outlines the steps necessary to calculate the "best" size.

Are there any downsides to FMICs? There have not been significant amounts of problems with FMICs. Care should be taken by the end users to ensure through the Vendor that any special fitment requirements are discussed and understood prior to purchasing. Even "bolt on" intercoolers maybe have slight issues that you need to be aware of prior to purchasing. STi owners need to specifically ask about fitment as the majority of FMICs on the market were designed for the WRX. Other things to talk over with your Vendor prior to purchasing:
1. Will this FMIC come with a replacement bumper beam or will it require modifying the stock unit?
2. Will this FMIC require any modification to the bumper skin?
3. BOV use. Can this FMIC use the stock unit or accommodate an aftermarket BOV made by XXX? Some FMICs have issues with certain BOVs so it is better to determine what manufacturer/type of BOV you need prior to purchasing your FMIC to ensure a proper fit.
4. Intake use. Can this FMIC accommodate an aftermarket intake by XXX? Some FMICs have issues with certain intakes so it is better to determine what manufacturer/type of intake you need prior to purchasing your FMIC to ensure a proper fit.
5. Can I still use the stock foglights?
6. Does this FMIC have any issues with the placement of any underhood components such as the battery, coolant reservoir, etc.?
7. Can I use this FMIC on a wagon?
8. I have a 2006....will this fit?

What are the hidden costs with FMICs? When switching to a larger FMIC, you will face the additional expense of an aftermarket intake. You may also have to use a specific type of BOV.

What about the additional lag of a FMIC? This topic is highly debated. The two general trains of thought are:
1. FMICs increase turbo lag.
2. FMICs decrease throttle response.
Though there is much debate as to which one is actually correct, many believe that lack of heat soak issues of a TMIC are enough benefit to overcome the associated lower RPM issues of the FMIC.

Once I have a larger FMIC, what steps are helpful to increase its efficiency?
1. Waterspray. There are aftermarket waterspray options that provide increased cooling efficiency.
2. NO2 and CO2 Sprayers. There are aftermarket kits that spray CO2 or NO2 to that provide increased cooling efficiency.
3. Wrapping the return piping of the FMIC. Heat wrapping the return pipe is an excellent way of keeping the cooled air cool. Some FMICs come coated for appearance, but lack the heat reflecting ability of true heat blankets. Though not exactly eye appealing, the heat wrap serves it's function well for those wanting the most out of their FMIC.

Though sighting TMICs as examples, these two articles highlight how proper airflow and waterspray can increase your efficiency:
Article
Article

What insurance items should be considered with a FMIC? There are two things to consider with regard to insurance for your FMIC:
1. FMICs come with a replacement bumper beam or require modification of the stock unit. Either option could increase occupant or equipment injury in the event of a frontal accident. Though not proven, your insurance company could raise this issue if they find out.
2. A FMIC is a very expensive modification. Some insurance companies insure mods, some don't. This is one modification where it's worth a phone call to your agent to ensure its replacement value is covered in an accident.

Where do I buy a FMIC? Every Subaru/Import performance store sells FMICs. For purchasing, support your local economy or the NASIOC Vendors.

How hard is it to install a FMIC? Allow around five to eight hours for install time. Professional installation, depending on your area, is around $400. Shadetree mechanics will install for around $100. Friends and install parties via your local Subaru club run the cost of beer and food.

How do I install a FMIC? Refer to the FMIC manufacturer's instructions. For FMICs without instructions, below is a link to some of the better known installation instructions:
APS FMIC installation guide (725)
APS FMIC installation guide (650)
APS FMIC installation guide (500)
APS FMIC installation guide (DR 525)
Perrin Instructions

Should I reset my ECU after this mod? It is never a bad idea to perform an ECU reset after a mod. The traditional route is to disconnect the negative battery terminal, press the brake pedal for a few seconds to bleed the system of charge, and reattach. Some use the more advanced Vishnu Reset.

Do I need tuning with a FMIC? In almost every circumstance, yes. This is mainly due to the addition of an aftermarket intake, which will generally affect your air/fuel ratios. The smart choice is to tune for the intake and at the same time tuning will allow greater utilization of the effects of the increased cooling. The one exception is the Cosworth 08/09 FMIC which is designed to work with the OEM intake, so no tuning is required if using that unit with the OEM intake.

What are some other good sources of FMIC information?
a. Bell Intercoolers' FAQ
b. ARE Cooling's tech article

Which is better a FMIC or a TMIC? There is no definate answer for this. Choose your upgraded intercooler based on the pros and cons of each and your personal goals. Perfect testing of intercoolers is not possible and though not specifically catered towards intercoolers, this Car and Driver magazine article will help point out the reasons why we will never know which is "better".

Comparative Data

Manufacturers of FMICs

APS
ARC
AVO
Blitz
CSS
Cosworth (08+ STI only)
GReddy
HKS
Hyperflow
Injen
OBX Racing
P&L Motorsports
Perrin
Process West
MRT
TurboXS
WBR
XO2 Racing

Pressure Drop

Pressure drop can change based on manufacturer's testing levels. Generally speaking, the higher the turbo PSI, the higher the pressure drop. Manufacturers often quote the lowest testing levels and often times do not quote their test data. This means you cannot compare intercooler A VS. intercooler B.

APS: 1.3 psi (500) 0.5 (650) 1.0 (725) (these figure vary with turbo PSI)
ARC: Unknown PSI
AVO: >1 PSI
Blitz: .05kg/cm2 at 1.2kg/cm2 of boost
CSS: 1 PSI at 18 PSI
Cosworth: Unknown PSI
GReddy: Unknown PSI
HKS: Unknown PSI
Hyperflow: Unknown PSI
Injen: .07 PSI
OBX: Unknown PSI
P&L Motorsports: Unknown PSI
Perrin: 1/4 PSI at 20 PSI
Process West: Unkown PSI
MRT: Unknown PSI
TurboXS: Unknown PSI
WBR: Unknown PSI
XO2 Racing: Unknown PSI

Flow Rate

APS: Unknown CFM
ARC: Unknown CFM
AVO: Unknown CFM, but a claimed 60 lbs/min
Blitz: Unknown CFM
CSS: 900 CFM
Cosworth: Unknown CFM
GReddy: Unknown CFM
HKS: Unknown CFM
Hyperflow: Unknown CFM
Injen: Unknown CFM
OBX: Unknown CFM
P&L Motorsports: Unknown CFM
Perrin: Unknown CFM
Process West: Unknown CFM
MRT: Unknown CFM
TurboXS: Unknown CFM
WBR: Unknown CFM
XO2 Racing: Unknown CFM

Core Construction

APS: tube and fin (500), bar and plate (650), bar and plate (750), bar and plate (525)
ARC: tube and fin
AVO: bar and plate
Blitz: tube and fin
CSS: bar and plate
Cosworth: bar and plate
GReddy: tube and fin
HKS: tube and fin (est.)
Hyperflow: bar and plate
Injen: bar and plate
OBX: tube and fin (est.)
P&L Motorsports: bar and plate
Perrin: bar and plate
Process West: bar and plate (est.)
MRT: bar and plate
TurboXS: bar and plate
WBR: bar and plate (est.)
XO2 Racing: bar and plate (est.)

Physical size

APS: 9.5" x 33.5" x 2.5" (500), 9.5" x 28" x 4.5" (650) 9.5" x 28 x 4.5" (725) 3 1/4" x 9 3/8" x 33 1/2" (525)
ARC: 9.5" x 22.5" x 3"
AVO: 8.8" x 23.5" x 3.5"
Blitz: 10.5" x 24" x 2.7"
CSS: 9" x 29" x 3.7"
Cosworth: 18" x 12.1" x 3" (08/09 model)
GReddy: 9.6" x 23.6" x 3" (based on metric conversion)
HKS: 9.6" x 23.6" x 2.5" (based on metric conversion)
Hyperflow: 9.4" x 26.3" x 3.5" (based on metric conversion) or 10” x 30” x 4.5” (Monster version)
Injen: 6.25" x 23.5" x 3"
OBX: 9" x 20" 2.5"
P&L Motorsports: 10" x 25" x 3.25"
Perrin: 9" x 28" x 3.6"
Process West: 9.25" x 25" x 3.5" (based on metric conversion)
MRT: 8" x 28" x 4"
TurboXS: 9.5" x 29.5 x 3.5" (02-07 model) 9.5" x 25.5" x 3.5" (08/09 model)
WBR: 9" x 30" x 3"
XO2 Racing: 9" x 24" x 3" or 12" x 24" x 3"

Do I need engine management/tuning with a FMIC? Yes. Since all FMICs use an intake of some kind, you will need tuning and engine management to ensure safety and performance from your new FMIC.

Editors Note

This post was created because I wasn't able to find a good FMIC FAQ. I came up with the text based on LOTS of searching here. Upon reading this you should have an idea of whether a FMIC best suits your needs or not. The manufacturer is up to you.

If you find an error in this FAQ, please PM me with factual details and I will update this post. Responses such as, "I have XXX's FMIC and it's great!" or "XXX's FMIC broke after 1 month" are not appreciated here, that is what the Car Parts Review Forum is for.
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Last edited by Unabomber; 02-26-2009 at 02:01 AM.
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Old 04-01-2004, 06:48 PM   #2
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Nice write up!!!
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:47 AM   #3
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Here's some more info for the FAQ. This is really the critical info I was looking for, and I'm sure the same is true with a few folks. I just filled in what I've found so far, perhaps more people can fill in what they know about the other FMIC's on the list there.

APS DR500
==========
stock bov? YES
stock beam? NO (includes beam)
stock intake? NO
includes intake? NO
stock fog lights? YES

PERRIN
==========
stock bov? YES
stock beam? NO (includes beam)
stock intake? NO
includes intake? YES
stock fog lights? i'm guessing no.


TXS FMIC
==========
stock bov? YES
stock beam? NO (includes beam)
stock intake? NO
includes intake? NO
stock fog lights? YES

GREDDY V-SPL
==========
stock bov? ???
stock beam? NO (requires modification)
stock intake? looks like it...
stock fog lights? NO
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Old 06-06-2004, 06:08 PM   #4
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perrin retains stock fog lights
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Old 06-06-2004, 06:38 PM   #5
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Awesome writeup....
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Old 06-29-2004, 01:14 PM   #6
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Unabomer, In your extensive research is there any chance you have come across flow numbers and pressure drop numbers for these intercoolers since your inital write up?

Great write up by the way

Drew
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Old 06-29-2004, 02:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by ilivas
perrin retains stock fog lights
on 04+ cars only.

It will NOT retain them on an 02/03 car
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Old 06-29-2004, 02:47 PM   #8
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Added to forum FAQ list. (apparently late)
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Old 07-26-2004, 10:29 AM   #9
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I would add a con to be:

Exposed Intercooler on the front of the car can be more easily damaged by an accident, or road debris
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Old 07-26-2004, 01:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remowgn
Here's some more info for the FAQ. This is really the critical info I was looking for, and I'm sure the same is true with a few folks. I just filled in what I've found so far, perhaps more people can fill in what they know about the other FMIC's on the list there.

GREDDY V-SPL
==========
stock bov? ???
stock beam? NO (requires modification)
stock intake? looks like it...
stock fog lights? NO
stock intake won't work w/ this unit. even the perrin is a VERY tight fit. seems like greddy airinx is best. not sure how it compares to other intakes, but it works, and, more importantly, fits.
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Old 07-26-2004, 01:32 PM   #11
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great post...usefull info
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Old 07-29-2004, 03:26 AM   #12
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Any in depth pictures of an install? I'm doing some custom piping for a Spearco FMIC on my 95 L project car and could use some ideas for creative use of space.

//marcus
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Old 09-17-2004, 05:53 PM   #13
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Old 05-11-2005, 10:24 AM   #14
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Well I recently wrote up a comparison for someone of a GT Spec core
compared to a quality ARC core on a different forum. It gives some good
ideas of what to look for in a front mount, so I thought I would share it.
--------------------------------------------------------------
picture of gt spec tube and fin core:


ARC core (sorry for the huge pictures, I will link the rest):


End tank design

Front of core



First thing to notice is the design of the inlet for the charge air flow across
the core. If you notice on the gt spec, the tubes extend past the header
plate with no concern for any smoothing effect (the edges are abrupt, no
smoothe curves or corners). The charge air will hit the header plate and be
forced to do a 180 and then another 180 to enter the tube. This is a large
source of pressure drop, but even worse it has no effect on cooling.

On an ARC the tubes are almost flush with the header plate, and all the
edges have been filled in and rounded. Also the tubes on an ARC have an
almost venturi designed entrance for the air, starting off wider and
smoothly forcing the air into the tube. The gt spec has no such design. In
one of the articles Ron listed, it notes that designs such as the ARC give
over 8% increase in flow at 10psi, and I am guessing that in this case it is
much higher than that (actual number for the ARC I am unsure of, but as
you can tell by pictures I am sure it is very significant).



Another thing you will notice is the internal fin count/density. on the ARC
there is a much denser population of cooling fins which effectively increase
the surface area. Moreso is the fin design themselves. On the ARC the fins
appear to be stamped onto the tube, and are flat to increase the contact
area. The difference in surface area contact between the two cores is
easily noticed and MUCH higher on the ARC. On the GT spec it looks in
some places like contact might not even be made (which renders the fins
nothing more than a source of pressure drop with no effect on
cooling...very bad).


The end tank design is something else that has a large effect on the
pressure drop. I don't have the fluid dynamics background to give a good
technical description here, but if you look at the ARC, the endtank is
obviously a very clean design, starting closer to the middle of the core and
smoothly rounding out to the edges of the core. Any sharp edges will
create eddies and swirling. If the design of the endtank is poor, the charge
air will not enter the core evenly resulting in higher temps and excess
pressure drops.



The last thing I would note is something you can't see in the picture of the
gt spec. That is the ambient air flow across the front of the core. I'm not
sure of the technical term, but on the ARC they put into the design a
narrow rounded head onto the tubes to drive the air through the core. I
have read the design on the face of the core has more effect on radiator
effeciency than anything else, but it is certainly a detail worth noticing. I
will find pictures in a second, they have been posted here before.




This is only meant as an introduction to comparing cores. I hope it helps some of you.

Last edited by LotusDrift; 07-08-2005 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:00 PM   #15
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Does anyone have more information on what FMIC's fit with the stock bumper beam (or come with replacements etc)/fogs/etc??
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Old 07-08-2005, 07:38 PM   #16
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There is only one that fits the stock bumper beam and that is the Injen. As to which lose the fogs, etc., you will have to search for. Also search in this thread as a few people have posted which ones lose fogs. Also remember that some FMICs that "don't lose your foglights" have worked for some and others have had to lose them come install time due to manufacturer variances.
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Old 07-21-2005, 03:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LotusDrift
Well I recently wrote up a comparison for someone of a GT Spec core
compared to a quality ARC core on a different forum. It gives some good
ideas of what to look for in a front mount, so I thought I would share it.
--------------------------------------------------------------
picture of gt spec tube and fin core:


ARC core (sorry for the huge pictures, I will link the rest):


End tank design

Front of core



First thing to notice is the design of the inlet for the charge air flow across
the core. If you notice on the gt spec, the tubes extend past the header
plate with no concern for any smoothing effect (the edges are abrupt, no
smoothe curves or corners). The charge air will hit the header plate and be
forced to do a 180 and then another 180 to enter the tube. This is a large
source of pressure drop, but even worse it has no effect on cooling.

On an ARC the tubes are almost flush with the header plate, and all the
edges have been filled in and rounded. Also the tubes on an ARC have an
almost venturi designed entrance for the air, starting off wider and
smoothly forcing the air into the tube. The gt spec has no such design. In
one of the articles Ron listed, it notes that designs such as the ARC give
over 8% increase in flow at 10psi, and I am guessing that in this case it is
much higher than that (actual number for the ARC I am unsure of, but as
you can tell by pictures I am sure it is very significant).



Another thing you will notice is the internal fin count/density. on the ARC
there is a much denser population of cooling fins which effectively increase
the surface area. Moreso is the fin design themselves. On the ARC the fins
appear to be stamped onto the tube, and are flat to increase the contact
area. The difference in surface area contact between the two cores is
easily noticed and MUCH higher on the ARC. On the GT spec it looks in
some places like contact might not even be made (which renders the fins
nothing more than a source of pressure drop with no effect on
cooling...very bad).


The end tank design is something else that has a large effect on the
pressure drop. I don't have the fluid dynamics background to give a good
technical description here, but if you look at the ARC, the endtank is
obviously a very clean design, starting closer to the middle of the core and
smoothly rounding out to the edges of the core. Any sharp edges will
create eddies and swirling. If the design of the endtank is poor, the charge
air will not enter the core evenly resulting in higher temps and excess
pressure drops.



The last thing I would note is something you can't see in the picture of the
gt spec. That is the ambient air flow across the front of the core. I'm not
sure of the technical term, but on the ARC they put into the design a
narrow rounded head onto the tubes to drive the air through the core. I
have read the design on the face of the core has more effect on radiator
effeciency than anything else, but it is certainly a detail worth noticing. I
will find pictures in a second, they have been posted here before.




This is only meant as an introduction to comparing cores. I hope it helps some of you.
Thanks a bunch. Please tell more about the ARC.
Where did you buy?
Fits w/ with fogs?

Thanks!!
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Old 01-13-2006, 06:34 PM   #18
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Default power xs

anyone know of power xs, i saw it on ebay at some store it was a fmic for a wrx very cheap like 200 or 300 $ buy it now made by powerxs and he has a bunch of em...i dont know...

all the rest ive seen have been lke 1000 so this seems a little too good to be true...

i just found a 22 page "study" of this elsewhere in the forum sorry

Last edited by dj00crusty; 01-13-2006 at 07:23 PM. Reason: never mind
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Old 09-26-2006, 09:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilivas View Post
perrin retains stock fog lights
you cant use fog lights with the perrin front mount. i have a perrin front mount and the fog light wont fit on the driver side because of the piping.
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:27 PM   #20
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APS changed thier install guide links.

http://www.airpowersystems.com.au/wr...ll/install.htm
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Old 01-06-2007, 08:26 AM   #21
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Thanks for the update, they doinked their old install links as well, so I post webarchive links as a stop-gap measure.
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Old 01-06-2007, 09:03 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislehr View Post
I would add a con to be:

Exposed Intercooler on the front of the car can be more easily damaged by an accident, or road debris
+1 You also lose that BIG steel bumper that deflects a lot of energy and keeps your frame rails attached to each other. However, they do look cool and have a place on the mod list for some. My .02 meh!

Last edited by Rexfan; 01-06-2007 at 09:07 AM. Reason: spell
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:16 PM   #23
Shan Man
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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hello everyone, i have a 2006 STi and i would like to purchase a FMIC , i already have a turbo xs bov and CAI..

i feel that the fmic will fill up the bumper a bit more and gain some more h.p.

i kinda dont want much lag

any suggestions? i was thinking a new injen intake to fit with injen's fmic..

i dont plan on upgrading the turbo... well maybe.. but thats a while away...
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:22 PM   #24
Shan Man
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Member#: 160036
Join Date: Sep 2007
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hello everyone, i have a 2006 STi and i would like to purchase a FMIC , i already have a turbo xs bov and CAI..

i feel that the fmic will fill up the bumper a bit more and gain some more h.p.

i kinda dont want much lag

any suggestions? i was thinking a new injen intake to fit with injen's fmic..

i dont plan on upgrading the turbo... well maybe.. but thats a while away...
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:09 PM   #25
MrSlowbaru
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Long Island NY
Vehicle:
2005 wrx
cgm

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dont waste your money any more than you already have, ditch the bov, ditch the cai, get a downpipe and EM.
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