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Old 10-20-2003, 12:20 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 41016
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: San Francsico
2004 WRX

Smile Newbie Wrx Owner

Hello all,

I have been reading and investigating for a couple of months, now I am taking the plunge.

I test drove the WRX and just loved it. I will be purchasing one at the end of October from Santa Cruz, since everyone here recommends them.

I would like to add some performance mods, but I am concerned about warrantee issues. I have notice (in the warranty forum) that in several cases that the warranty is denined because mods had been done.

So, I have some newbie questions.

1. Transmission/Gear problems?
I have read about some problems with the WRX - it has to do with stripped gears. (in the Warranty forum). Is there something I should be aware of? Has this been fixed in the 04?

2. ECU (Cobb or Vishnu).
Since I live in the Bay Area, I was leaning towards the Vishnu and have Shiv tune it. Any suggestions Cobb or Vishnu?

3. Up-Pipe / Down-Pipe?
There are so many of them out there. I would probably lean towards any made with 321 SS. I was also thinking of getting them ceramic coated to reduce heat issues. Any suggestions on pipes and/or ceramic coating?

4. Install Help?
I am looking to add an Up-pipe, Down-pipe, and ECU as my mods. I am a newbie to working on new cars (CJ-7 and Bug experience only) and would need help. Is there a group or someplace I could go and get help installing it and maybe learn a thing or too?

5. Tires?
I will be keeping my stock rims, but I would like to upgrade the tires. I am looking for a larger (wider) contact patch. Any tire suggestions?

6. Short-Shifter?
I test drove with the factory short-shifter. I really enjoyed it. Is there a big difference between the two? Is this a worth whiled upgrade? Any thoughts?

7. Extended Warranty - What are you thoughts on this? If I do the up-down pipe modes does this nullify it?

Sorry for all the questions. This is my first NEW car purchase. Need to make sure I do it correctly.

Any and All comments welcomed.

(I will post this in the Newbie section too, but thought that a couple of Bay Area owners could help.)
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lionfish42 is offline   Reply With Quote
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Old 10-20-2003, 03:30 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 40340
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: NoCal
2004 WRX Wagon

Default In same boat as you

I just bought my WRX from Albany Subaru a week ago and am in pretty much the same boat as you.

1. I read on these forums that the gear box issue had been partially addressed starting with mid-2003 model year cars. Your car should be fine.

2. I am leaning towards Vishnu just because they are so close, but Cobb is cheaper to reflash in the beginning and along the way. I think that Vishnu charges $150 everytime you reflash.

3. Know that your car will have to pass a Smog 2 test in four years or if you sell it before then. You may pass the emissions part, but will certainly fail the visual check if you start changing exhaust components. The down pipe change is really easy to spot. It is illegal to mess with the emissions system for a street car, so be careful. The police can ticket you for any exhaust they deem too loud, and then write you up for any other mods you might have under the hood. And remember, never let your car be put on a 2-wheel dyno, I have heard too many horror stories.

4. I know Vishnu has seminars on self-tuning and such, but I don't too much about it.

5. There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions on tires, but I think that the Bridgestone S0-3's are a pretty good compromise of traction (both wet and dry), cornering, grip, and wear.

6. I like the stock shifter, but you can always upgrade in the future.

7. Don't get the warranty if you plan to do anything with the engine or exhaust. It will be voided in a heartbeat. But, be sure to ask your dealer what exactly voids your warranty--don't assume anything. Subaru's warranty doesn't cover their wheels, so do whatever you want with then. The tires are covered by the tire manufacturer.
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Old 10-20-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
Scooby Guru
Member#: 23260
Join Date: Aug 2002
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: -=3/1 Jew Crew=-
Patr ick Willis
for Rookie of the year


2. As far as ECU's go I would be considering I-speed and Vishnu since they are both local. I-speed will be a bit more expensive but it does come with either 1 hour of dyno tuning or 2 hours of raod tuning.
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Old 10-20-2003, 09:54 PM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 25399
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Silly Valley, CA
2003 Impreza WRX


Ya, if you are gonna modify, don't get the extended warranty.
Kinda a rip off anyway.
But you get a chunk of your money back if you never use it..
You can bet they will warranty a light bulb or popit and then you won't get your money back, heh.

Use that $2K Xwarranty money for mods.

I think you actually have 5 years before smog for MY 04.
If you do anything loud or obvious, you end up visiting the state ref before then though.

Why modify unless you plan to race?
I would just enjoy the power the way it is, except for a reflash, and do brakes and suspension, and dress up stuff first. Then maybe stealth exhaust if you feel you need it.

The car does 100mph in a little over 14 seconds stock, you won't really need more if you aren't racing.

If you are getting a 5Speed, take the time to learn to drive it well.
The Subaru tranny is a bit slower between shifts than many others.
It will do just fine if you don't abuse it.
Unless you mod for big power.

Vishnu stuff is good, and Shiv is smart and careful.

If you come to the local meets, you'll get to know tons of enthusiasts and there are definitely folks to help you learn about working and work on your car.
The meets are a good place to see and feel the different mods too.

Welcome to the Club.
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:19 AM   #5
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 41016
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: San Francsico
2004 WRX

Smile Thanks

I am not looking for straight-line speed or top-speed. I tend to drive on lots of winding roads.

Of course I will probably leave the car stock for the break-in period. We plan on purchasing the car this weekend.

I think my wife is more excited then I am - she love performance cars. She grew up in a porche family and she was really impressed with the WRX.

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Old 10-21-2003, 11:38 AM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 38411
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Antioch, CA
2003 WRX Sedan
2001 Honda CR-V SE

Default Re: Thanks

Originally posted by lionfish42
I think my wife is more excited then I am - she love performance cars. She grew up in a porche family and she was really impressed with the WRX.
Sounds like a fun wife!
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Old 10-21-2003, 11:55 AM   #7
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 41016
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: San Francsico
2004 WRX

Smile Great Wife!

We plan on going to racing school together. She is very aggressive and competative. I think I will have to fight her to drive the WRX. When ever we take the family Porsche out for a Sunday drive - she always has the first go and really smokes it.

We plan on buying the WRX this weekend and are already fighting on who gets to drive it home.

I told her we will have to keep the revs down for the break-in period. she wasn't happy about that.

She is a great catch! That's if you can catch her!

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Old 10-21-2003, 02:47 PM   #8
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 22072
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: San Jose, CA
1999 OBS


Originally posted by mikkyo
Why modify unless you plan to race?
*giggle* That's funny coming from you, Erik.

Anyway, before doing engine mods, I'd sort out the suspension. Stock, they're a bit mooshy and have ridiculous understeer. You can cure the understeer pretty quickly by changing rear swaybars, but to do it properly, you'll want change the spring/damping rates, probably by swapping in a good coilover. As for rubber, yeah, getting rid of the RE92's is a priority for good handling. If you're going to keep the stock rims, I'd recommend sticking with the stock tire size. You can probably go one size wider on those rims, but your sidewalls are going to bulge a bit and that's not ideal. Better to get proper fitting tires with really stiff sidewalls and a sticky compound.

Last edited by hoche; 10-21-2003 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 10-21-2003, 03:07 PM   #9
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 20542
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Bayarea
03 WRX

Default welcome

Welcome to the family..
I have a 03 wrx with these mods just to help u out. Nothing to fancy as my need for speed has been tamed till my warrenty expires then it's balls out..

--Tanabe springs 2.0 front 1.0 rear i think..
--CF hood and CF version 1 Lip
--GT spec exhaust
--Helix uppipe
--snorkel mod--which i will be posting later.. Snorkel removed and 1 parts v8 addition shhh..show u later>($11 mod priceless)
--18's -dpower rims hyper silver
--saturday night special--oops wrong board
--Vishnu reflash....HOT DANG pulls hard..
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Old 10-21-2003, 03:25 PM   #10
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 30370
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: i-club.com
2011 STi
White & Hyperblue


snorkel mod sounds interesting... post pics if you can.
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