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Old 08-12-2003, 08:56 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 36566
Join Date: May 2003
2004 STi
Platinum Silver

Default To buy, or not to buy that is the ??? in California

Well, I know I've seen threads similar to this, but I'm not sure I've seen them on this exact topic.

I live in California, in the land of the 91 octane. I have no intention of hunting for racing fuel, mixing additives, or creating additives.

So here is the question:

If I am never going to put anything better than 91 octane, do I get the STI?

Will I possibly do damage that will not be covered under warranty since it wasn't used "temporarily" as it states in the manual?

I understand that I may not get the full potential performance wise out of the car, that's fine. Let's stick to whether the car will be reliable, and SOA's warranty stance. I don't plan on modifying anything except the audio system in the car.

Any input would be gratly appreciated.

If this topic has already been discussed, then please direct me to it, as I could not find such a thread in the search.

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Old 08-13-2003, 12:19 AM   #2
Fair Oaks STI
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 39759
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Fair Oaks, Ca
2004 WRX STI
Blue w/silver wheels


I live in California. I use 91 Octane. I smoke most of the crap on the road. I don't have a detonation problem. I'm enjoying the car.

I don't think you'll have a problem. That's what the warranty is for, and if you're worried, get the extended warranty....I did.
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:55 AM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 7439
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Los Angeles
2002 WRX
Blaze Yellow


For what it is worth, following is my email inquiry of 8/11/03 and the reply from SOA relating to the subject of the Octane rating necessary to run a STI in California. I think Subaru should issue a formal rescission of the page entitled "Gas Station Reference", since it conflicts with the Page 7-2 of the Owners manual as per Mr. Mergen of SOA.

My E-mail question to SOA:

I am interested in purchasing a new WRX STI and have a question that the dealers have been unable to resolve. I live in California where the highest octane rating on gasoline is 91 AKI. The owners manual for the WRX STI on the page entitled 'Gas Station Reference' (this page is not numbered and is in the last few pages of the manual-so I assume it has been appended to the owners manual and supercedes page 7-2) states that gasoline with 91AKI octane rating may be 'temporarily used.' I would like to know what the Subaru official policy is on this issue since the information on this appended page conflicts with page 7-2 which states that gasoline with an octane rating of 91 AKI can be used on a permanent basis.

The Reply from Subaru:

Thank you for visiting the Subaru Web site and for your interest in Subaru products. We apologize for this conflicting information in the owner's manual for the 2004 WRX STi fuel requirements. For optimal performance, you should use 93 AKI fuel in the 2004 WRX STi. If super-premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 93 AKI or higher is not available, such as in California, premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 AKI can be used.

Only performance is affected by not using 93 AKI fuel. The horsepower of the WRX STi is rated at 300 when using 93 AKI fuel. The performance will be less if less than 93 AKI fuel is used. 91 AKI fuel is acceptable to use in the WRX STi if 93 AKI is not available.

We do not recommend using a fuel additive like an 'octane booster.'

Thanks for the opportunity to be of assistance. If you need any future assistance, please feel free to contact us again.

Best wishes,

John J. Mergen
Subaru of America, Inc.
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Old 08-13-2003, 03:40 AM   #4
Triple S
*** Banned ***
Member#: 39300
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Southern California
'04 STI
Silver on Silver


To answer your question: YES GET THE STI

2 octane will not prevent you from enjoying a car like this. A fellow NASIOC board member described the STI so eloquently when he said that driving the STI is the most fun you will have with your clothes on.

My addition: Such an experience is unimaginable. Those license plates that say, "Get In, Sit Down, and Shut UP!" must have been designed by someone who had driven the STI before it was available.

Unless you have $100K to spend on a car (and you do not seek status when you buy your car), you can not get a better car IMHO. Of course, insert EVO for those mitsu fans.

As if my message did not come through clear enough, I flew from SoCal to Salt Lake to buy one before I had ever driven the car. That was one of the most exciting experiences that I have to share about the car. If you have the money, you will only be unhappy that you did not get the car sooner.
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Old 08-17-2003, 03:16 PM   #5
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 31071
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oakland. CA
2003 WRX Wagon


So, how much power do you lose running the car on 91 octane? Is this the reason for the detonation issues?
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Old 08-17-2003, 06:03 PM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 7439
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Los Angeles
2002 WRX
Blaze Yellow


I don't think anyone knows yet how much horsepower is lost running on 91 octane. Cause of detonation is probably related to a correctable programing error in the ECU (my opinion.) By the way, I read the owners manual for a new Lancer EVO and it recommends using 98 Octane and 91 temporarily. I wonder how much horsepower the Lancer will lose?
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Old 08-17-2003, 06:25 PM   #7
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 37478
Join Date: May 2003
Location: San Diego
2003 Evo


Originally posted by toobee1
By the way, I read the owners manual for a new Lancer EVO and it recommends using 98 Octane and 91 temporarily. I wonder how much horsepower the Lancer will lose?
The 98 octane referred to in the Evo manual is 98 RON (Research Octane Number) which corresponds to about 93 to 94 pump octane in the US.

Between 93 octane and 91 octane, the Evo seems to lose approximately 15 peak HP at the lower octane number.
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