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Old 09-07-2020, 10:17 AM   #1
snake2332
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Default Looking for advice regarding a low miles STI that has been auto-crossed

Hey all, just shooting the breeze here and thought I'd see what some more experienced folks thought about this.

I'm selling my 2015 WRX Limited because, while it's sexy and pretty fun to drive, it leaves me wanting more power and sound. I did a stage 1+ setup and muffler deletes to get rid of rev hang and to get good sounds out of it. It does bring a smile to my face when the Boomba BOV does its thing and the CAI gives a pretty good whooshing sound, but I don't have access to gas over 91 octane and I don't want to dig into the bottom end to upgrade internals, nor do I have the money for that, so chasing 325+WHP feels like too much risk and money. Really, I should just get an STi, right?

So I found a 2011 STi for $18500 with 44k on the chassis, 2k on a stage 2 IAG short-block, that the guy auto-crosses from time to time. You can see where he hits the cones, haha! It's got some nice upgrades:

IAG stage 2 short-block (the $3400 one)
Tomei UEL headers
Process West TMIC
Koyo radiator
Perrin turbo inlet pipe
Perrin pulley(s)
Gates racing timing belt
Clear timing belt cover (haha!)
ACT Extreme Street clutch
Kartboy short-throw shifter
ACT lightweight flywheel
Grimmspeed AOS

Cobb CAI with box
Cobb catted DP, 3" bell-mouth I think
Invidia Q300 (TBE?)

Tein coil-overs
Whiteline, Cusco, and Eibach suspension and chassis bits

Corbeau 4pt harness
Cobb AP3
JDM push-button start
Defi gauges for water temp, boost, oil temp
Radar detector, Pioneer HU, stock speakers and subwoofer (sad face)

-2.5 camber (I can adjust this back to normal, then get it aligned, right?)

Dyno tuned for 297HP/330tq BEFORE the IAG short-block, headers, and turbo inlet pipe.


So I am just wondering what you all think of buying a car that has been autoX'd a bunch. It seems to me that it's not that big of a deal since it does have upgraded suspension parts and that sweet short-block with barely any miles on it. I test drove the car and it didn't rattle or have squeaks. I was surprised the ride was not harsh - in fact it seemed better and less bouncy than my stock 2015 WRX. The driver's seat is in better shape than my pretty damn good seat in my 2015 WRX with 59k miles. The car was garaged when not being used, and it wasn't his daily driver.

The dyno tune was on the original EJ257 that had a ring-land failure at 42k miles. He added the Tomei headers to the new IAG short-block and hasn't had it tuned again. He also added the turbo inlet pipe. A fresh tune is in order, for sure. Which brings me to the 2nd part of my inquiry:

What upgrades would you suggest to safely get ~450WHP out of this setup?
I have had WRX's but never modded them beyond modest stage 2.
I would assume a bigger turbo (have to do rotated?), injectors, fuel pump to begin with, and possibly FMIC. Definitely a TGV delete (and air pump).

Thanks for any advice you guys can give me. I appreciate it!
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:33 AM   #2
viper_crazy
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It surely couldn't be any worse than buying an unbuilt, "Stage 2, bro" WRX from some kid who did a VTA BPV plugging the return line with a cheapoid boost gauge with a gauge pod screwed into the dash. Most, if not all, of these mods are at least in the ball park of being reliability mods. I'd have zero qualms or concerns about buying it if I was in the market because all the things I'd want done to it, especially the Stage 2 block, are already installed. All that being said, buying a used car always has a level of risk so using your own judgment and perception of the buyer (i.e.: the vibe you get from him) is also important.

I say go for it!
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:14 AM   #3
snake2332
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Thanks Viper!

The guy is an empty-nester with a very nice house and a Ferrari kit-car that is his new love. Very cool guy and not a bro at all, thankfully. Good vibes there.

The tune was done on the previous short-block, but it sure seems to run perfectly. I need to either learn how to tune better or take it in for a tune, but he has driven it like this for almost 2k miles, so hopefully everything is okay.

I'm definitely going to do the deal if I sell my car before his sells. He's had it listed for 26 days with little interest so far, which is promising. Fingers crossed!
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:31 AM   #4
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From your OP, it seems like your concern over a tune is due to the headers, correct? If so, headers don't necessarily require a tune. That's not to say you won't benefit from a Protune, but it's nothing to panic over.

Last edited by viper_crazy; 09-07-2020 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper_crazy View Post
From your OP, it seems like your concern over a tune is due to the headers, correct? If so, headers don't necessarily require a tune. That's not to say you won't benefit from a Protune, but it's nothing to panic over.
not true, if you go to an elh from your stock header you are going to run lean if you go the other way its not that big of a deal
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:35 PM   #6
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not true, if you go to an elh from your stock header you are going to run lean if you go the other way its not that big of a deal
I'd like to know under what circumstances that happens because I've personally had the exact opposite experience.

Exhaust flow doesn't alter how the various intake sensors measure air. Initial fuelling is determined by the MAF (including air temp), MAP, and baro sensor. AF sensor in closed loop is basically for redundancy so the ECU can make sure it got it right.

Exhaust gas and pressure pulses may flow a bit more evenly with ELH, sure, but modern ECU's aren't as archaic as some seem to think. I've recorded multiple logs before and after an ELH across several days with different weather conditions and there was pretty much zero difference with my setup. I logged IDC's, AFR with a WBO2 after turbo/before cat, MAF, boost pressure and a few other parameters I can't recall, all during idling, normal cruising and WOT. I understand people like to see proof of some kind but those logs were recorded several years ago at this point and are long gone by now, so obviously take it how you like. I'm just stating my experience.

As I said, there's always a benefit to a tune, I'll never disagree with that. And sometimes there's a benefit to having that piece of mind when you're driving your own car, so either way you swing, you can't really go wrong.
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Old 09-07-2020, 03:18 PM   #7
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11-14 WRX/STis are my favorite generation. If the seller is an empty nester, did he have the work done by a shop? If so, was it a reputable shop? Just based on the mods, I'd say it's a good deal, but as mentioned, the seller and previous history carries more weight than the parts chosen. Oh, does he have records/receipts of the work done? That counts for a lot. If all that's good, I say go for it!

As far as what will get you to ~450whp, you'd be looking at a pretty big turbo. A Dom3XTR will get you there if you use E85. A GT35 sized turbo would get you there on pump gas. I'm on a Dom3XTR on CA 91 and I'm just under 400WHP on an EJ207. When I was using 93octane on the east coast I was able to get to around 420whp. That was with injectors, fuel pump, front mount IC, and tuned to ~25psi. The thing about the big turbos that get you to those numbers is that they take a while to spool (obviously). But unless the heads are worked on the motor, you have a lower redline than my EJ207, so on an EJ257, it's a pretty narrow powerband. it would be fine if you were road racing, and spent the day between 5.5-7K, but just know that that would only be a 1.5K wide powerband, and it would feel pretty slow on the street. Like, when other people have driven my car, they call it slow. That's because they shift at 5, before it gets into real boost. So on my car, you need a lot of road, and you need to look ahead a good distance, and commit to running that gear to redline. Get it over 5, and hold on until 8K and it's really fast. But it's not like just getting behind the wheel of a 420hp V8 powered car that has power whenever you want. It takes preparation and you need to drive it differently. Around town, you're in lag, and it feels like a 2.5L four cylinder. Unless you want to make a ton of noise running your car out to redline everywhere, it's still slow. This is my personal experience, so take it for what it is. But it might be helpful for you to hear the non-glamorous side of a 400+whp turbo 4 cylinder. I'm sure you've already heard the other side - 11 second quarter miles, run with much more expensive, higher powered cars in the canyons and track days, etc.

Personally, I like 20G sized turbos on these motors. Maybe up to a Dom1.5. Something in the 325-350whp range on pump gas. It's plenty fast, and doesn't feel too neutered around town.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:31 PM   #8
snake2332
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Thanks for the good input guys!

I figured a tune would be smart because of the headers and maybe turbo inlet pipe. New short-block shouldn't matter to the tune, I presume. But that's good to know you didn't see any changes after throwing headers on.

Also, the guy just said he thinks it needs a tune, but not due to any bad performance or numbers that he's seeing. So that was sort of convincing me of it before really thinking about it.

As far as who did the work, it was him and his buddy that auto-crosses a similar 2013 STI. While all of his work looks good, he's not a professional. He had the heads machined but I didn't ask what head gasket and bolts he used. I hope he used new, possibly upgraded head bolts. I'll ask him about that. I mean, he spent $400 on a clear timing belt cover, so he probably got some ARP head bolts.

Since I'm not going to be racing it, just hoonin' around town, I'll probably keep the 20G turbo and stock fuel system for a year or two. Eventually I will want more out of it, so I'll research it more thoroughly then and heed your advice.

I should probably sell the Enkei wheels with Toyo R888R's on them since I won't be doing autoX....bonus for me!
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:36 PM   #9
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Oh also, looks like I sold my 2015 WRX in less than 24 hours. A guy from Washington is going to fly in and buy it for $19.3k. I think WRX's carry more of a premium in his region (just north of Portland), so he's probably saving a couple thousand by coming over here for mine. Can't wait for the STI!
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snake2332 View Post
So I am just wondering what you all think of buying a car that has been autoX'd a bunch. It seems to me that it's not that big of a deal since it does have upgraded suspension parts and that sweet short-block with barely any miles on it.
AutoX is not overly hard on a car in my opinion. AutoX runs are typically less an a minute each of hard driving at 5 to 10 runs per event which equals not that much abuse. Most cars get more "abuse" on the street driving some twisty roads spiritedly than they would at an AutoX event. That's not to say I haven't seen my share of Subarus blowing white smoke out the rear at AutoX events; but it happens.

I woulnd't be overly concerned buying a lightly AutoX'd car. Just my $.02
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:53 AM   #11
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Cool, my thoughts as well. It’s not like drag racing.

I heard that stage 2 blocks generally don’t last as long as an OEM one, but that makes no sense to me other than most stage 2 blocks probably have other high output parts on it, and hard driving, so of course it wouldn’t go 140k. However, this STi is doing 297hp/330tq with upgraded cooling and AOS, etc, so I see no reason why it wouldn’t last longer than a stock block. This was from something Smeedia said on a live YT video 2 days ago, saying he’s seen stage2 short blocks go 60k but often only 30k. I would think it’s mostly dependent on other mods and the quality of the tune, and how the car was being driven.

Does anyone know what power levels the stock heads and valves are good for? I tried finding that last night and didn’t see anything, but I think I saw a 500whp STi with stock heads.
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Old 09-08-2020, 12:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snake2332 View Post
Cool, my thoughts as well. Itís not like drag racing.

I heard that stage 2 blocks generally donít last as long as an OEM one, but that makes no sense to me other than most stage 2 blocks probably have other high output parts on it, and hard driving, so of course it wouldnít go 140k. However, this STi is doing 297hp/330tq with upgraded cooling and AOS, etc, so I see no reason why it wouldnít last longer than a stock block. This was from something Smeedia said on a live YT video 2 days ago, saying heís seen stage2 short blocks go 60k but often only 30k. I would think itís mostly dependent on other mods and the quality of the tune, and how the car was being driven.

Does anyone know what power levels the stock heads and valves are good for? I tried finding that last night and didnít see anything, but I think I saw a 500whp STi with stock heads.
OEM will always give you more miles, built will handle more power but usually at the cost of longevity. Most don't make it beyond 100k miles.

Stock ej heads don't need to be redone until you're well over 500whp.

To your original question; if anyone is buying a wrx or sti, they should assume that the driver put the pedal down some. IMO, the bigger issue is always maintenance and how well the owner takes care of the boring stuff. Changing diff fluid doesn't give you IG likes but is how you keep a car running well. My ageist thinking is that an adult owner, who is interested in cars (autocrosses) is going to be better at maintaining the car.
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Old 09-08-2020, 06:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by viper_crazy View Post
I'd like to know under what circumstances that happens because I've personally had the exact opposite experience.

Exhaust flow doesn't alter how the various intake sensors measure air. Initial fuelling is determined by the MAF (including air temp), MAP, and baro sensor. AF sensor in closed loop is basically for redundancy so the ECU can make sure it got it right.

Exhaust gas and pressure pulses may flow a bit more evenly with ELH, sure, but modern ECU's aren't as archaic as some seem to think. I've recorded multiple logs before and after an ELH across several days with different weather conditions and there was pretty much zero difference with my setup. I logged IDC's, AFR with a WBO2 after turbo/before cat, MAF, boost pressure and a few other parameters I can't recall, all during idling, normal cruising and WOT. I understand people like to see proof of some kind but those logs were recorded several years ago at this point and are long gone by now, so obviously take it how you like. I'm just stating my experience.

As I said, there's always a benefit to a tune, I'll never disagree with that. And sometimes there's a benefit to having that piece of mind when you're driving your own car, so either way you swing, you can't really go wrong.
so you are increasing VE and you dont think you have to retune for that? it does a little lean not alot but it does run leaner when you put a elh on your car.I know mine did. Maybe your car is compensating for it and you dont even really realize it
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:28 PM   #14
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so you are increasing VE and you dont think you have to retune for that? it does a little lean not alot but it does run leaner when you put a elh on your car.I know mine did. Maybe your car is compensating for it and you dont even really realize it
More than likely a bit of compensation but I don't recall anything overly abnormal or too worrying or anything "out of spec" if you will. It's not like I drive in open loop all the time either. I put ULH back on not too long after that as I'm not pushing big power anyways and preferred the rumble. It's had a tune since swapping back and I don't plan on going ELH again and it appears those logs are gone forever at this point.

Anyways, I won't push the envelope much further. From my perspective, I have my own experiences. Take it for what you will. As said, you can't really go wrong with a tune anyways so might as well get all the birds stoned at once.
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