03 wrx FMI and want to switch to TMI. need some help!
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This is a discussion on 03 wrx FMI and want to switch to TMI. need some help! within the Engine Modifications forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; i have an ebay front mount intercooler as well as the whole cobb stage 2 setup but i heard top ...

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    03 wrx FMI and want to switch to TMI. need some help!

    i have an ebay front mount intercooler as well as the whole cobb stage 2 setup but i heard top mount is much better, i only want to spend 200 bucks though, is it worth it to switch from FMI to TMI. id only buy if it was an 04+ STI tmi but not finding any in my price range. id like to know everything about pros and cons and what im going to lose and what ill gain. Thanks!

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    Registered User cflip2x's Avatar
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    Stay with TMIC you should be fine on Stg 2
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    I think that cflip2x thought that you wanted to go from TMIC to FMIC, rather than the other way around.

    I've never had a FMIC, but I expect that the main performance shortcoming would be a little more lag in boost because of the longer path and larger volume to pressurize between the turbo and the throttle body.

    One non-performance issue: an FMIC may be a likelier target of thieves. It's right there in plain sight.

    Where did you hear that "top mount is much better"? I think most people would see it the other way: an FMIC sees less heat soak, and can be made larger than a TMIC. It also frees up space on top of the engine.

    I suppose that a poor FMIC might provide worse air cooling than a good TMIC. I read a comparison between an eBay TMIC and one of the premium brands (I forget which). The eBay cooler flowed air well, but for all the cooling it provided, it may as well have been a pipe. Maybe FMICs are the same.

    If yours works OK, I recommend that you keep it.

  5. #4
    Registered User cflip2x's Avatar
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    My bad its my Lysdexia kicking in 😋. By going tmic you should have quicker spool up times.

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    2012 WRB 4DR | SPT Exhaust | Short Throw | Rally Armour | WC Lathe Werks Custom TI Knob | Kartboy Bushings | Stoptech Brake Lines | JBK Elements DRL | STI HID Retrofit | XB LED Angel Eyes | GrimmSpeed Lightweight Crank Pulley

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  6. #5
    Registered User Impreza2.0's Avatar
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    Since we chatted about this a little, I figure having it somewhere where you can read it back to yourself might be helpful.
    Front mount inter-coolers are useful when you are using the car to achieve high boost levels, and typically the cost of that is there is a delay between throttle increases and boost increases, which in a perfect world would always happen at the same time, but turbos require air, and the cooler and denser it is, the better, along with the speed it can be delivered. A front mount inter-cooler cannot feed that air to the turbo in time to be synchronous, so there is lag. Until you have a turbine so big it needs a front mount inter-cooler, the top mount is far more capable.

    Yes, a front mount inter-cooler can deliver more and cooler air.
    The problem is, it is so far away from the turbo, it takes a noticeable amount of time for the turbo to begin making power.

    Your front mount inter-cooler is probably worth the value of a top mount inter-cooler that would improve the car remarkably.

    a 2003 or 2004 STi top mount inter-cooler can be had for $150 - $200 and though it is not a performance upgrade in the way the original owner of your car intended the FMIC to be, it will be better than the original that came with the car, slightly, and a light-year better than what is on the car now.

    I would expect to pay prices beginning at $400 for a good top mount inter-cooler that can be along for a good many modifications without being a hindrance to the path.

    The BOV you have could be sold as well, as it will not be needed with the top mount system.
    You will however want to save the money from the sale. You will need a bypass valve, and possibly a new intake connection tube. I can help you find those parts if you still aren't sure what to look for.

    Hopefully the car isn't tuned too roughly, and it will be possible to breathe some life back into it.
    Right now, be careful not to go to far with boost. I can't be certain how it is being controlled, and if you are using the stock turbo, id venture to say, you could hurt it.

    I would see this issue as a problem... I would address it as soon as possible. If my facts are straight, there is stress on the car and it is lacking power. At the end, if you are careful, it could net you more money than you spend. It will, however, take a bit of time to tackle. Every part you are about to have to work on has photographic tutorial writeups so you can't fail at it. Let me know when you are ready, I will post links here.

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    if your gonna pay only $200 for the top mount its not gonna do ya much better than the ebay front mount ya got already. save up a few benjamins and get a good one or the better spool will loose you some power. dont forget to tune!
    2013 WRX sedan - MODS = pretty much every bolt on besides a bigger turbo.

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    good brands for 400 tmic?

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    Registered User Impreza2.0's Avatar
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    two things.
    One, I don't care if you buy a SPearco, or a Process West, ETS, or JUN V-mount front intercooler...
    it will cost power and be useless on a stock turbo, period. Even a $3500 model, cost and horsepower aren't a constant parallel.
    Saving money and buying a better front mount is a total waste of time and money right now.

    Two, even the cheapest junk top mount intercooler will outperform the front mount you are using.
    There are some that are known to be 'not so good'/
    The least expensive one I'd trust in the aftermarket is a Fast Motorsports top mount...
    and I'd get it with NO coating or heat dispersant thermal treatment (a service they will perform for a fee).
    Since you are doing this on a budget, the quality and performance you need will be certainly present on their basic model, and it will definitely be better than an OEM WRX intercooler.

    Yes, it's always smart to save for better parts when you can.
    If you can't even enjoy the car, get what you can afford.
    That way at least you can get to work, get more $ and then more parts! lol
    P

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    does an intake connection tube not come with a top mount? and i think im just going with the 04 sti top mount intercooler so i have money for the turbo xs bypass valve

  11. #10
    Registered User cflip2x's Avatar
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    Intake connection tube? If thats what your refering to you would want to make sure if your getting a used ntercooler. Is your stock BPV leaking?

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    Last edited by cflip2x; 06-13-2014 at 04:50 AM.
    2012 WRB 4DR | SPT Exhaust | Short Throw | Rally Armour | WC Lathe Werks Custom TI Knob | Kartboy Bushings | Stoptech Brake Lines | JBK Elements DRL | STI HID Retrofit | XB LED Angel Eyes | GrimmSpeed Lightweight Crank Pulley

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    i have a blow off valve right now so i should probably switch to a bypass, would turbo xs bypass valve be good?

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