There once was a boy without a car to call his own. This boy made do without one or borrowed his dad's outback or mother's mini van when a car was required. After much love from his dad's out back and marvelling at his friend's WRX he decided he wanted a subaru of his own.
It was not an easy road. He survived many weeks on a diet of generic brand chef boyardi, top ramen, and oatmeal. He gave up his cable television, bought used books, and went balls to the walls to get good enough grades for scholarships to free up trust fund money. That was 18 months ago. Today that boy fullfilled his dream.
Forgive me if you didn't enjoy the poorly written summary of events. I'm the excited new owner of a 2002 WRX. After plenty of research, carfax reports, and test drives I found the it for $11,000 on 70k miles. It came complete with spiffy clean interior, regular maintenance and a nice thick folder of records to back it up.
Being the slightly presumptuous, testosterone driven, fun loving guy that I am, I want to go about giving my WRX a bit more 'pep'. The problem is: I'm not exactly car savvy or mechanicaly inclined. I could even be considered car stupid or mechanically impaired. Until I read through the stickies I wasn't familiar with the vocabulary or acronyms. I'm still figuring some of them out. All I could do was change oil and brakes.
Anyways. I did some reading and research and the concepts are starting to come together for me. The car came with a HKS electronic boost controller, Apexi super AFC, and what I think is some kind of cat back exhaust. From what I gather, the route that has been taken is kind of lame and cheap. From what I've gathered the first thing to do is replace the stock up pipe with a catless one. Following that with a complete turbo back exhaust system will result in the most power, but there are some legal issues there even if I were to get a high flow cat. What are people's experiences like?
Also, being an enviromentally concious person I want to avoid contributing to much to less than ideal air conditions. With that in mind, I've also read about/considered a new down pipe followed by a new cat back exhaust system. The one I currently have is a little too loud and obnoxious for my liking.
With the exhaust taken care of I think the next step up is getting the support mods for a different turbo. I'm still trying to figure out if its something that I'd actually make use of. My friend, who is somewhat of an enthusiast, just replaced his and is willing to sell me his used IHI VF-35 for $400. After showing it to a few local shops the turbo is in good condition. Assuming I take my friend's offer I'm supposed to need a fuel pump, new injectors, and a new intercooler was recommended. Regardless of whether I replace the turbo or not, I know I'm also supposed to get some sort of real engine management. Access Port is what has been recommended to me so far.
I live and go to school in way northern California but do a lot of weekend trips. A lot of the driving I do is on curvy mountain/sea side roads with one lane of traffic in each direction. Sometimes cars line up behind a big truck or some RV and I'd like my WRX to be in a nice postion to make the passes when the passing lane shows up. On occasion I'll see a friend on the high way and we'll both get that shot of testosterone. I'd like to be able to have enough 'get up and go' to see him in the rear view mirror. I'm not really about the local dirt track (thought it might be fun to try), quarter mile, or racing. I'm looking for a little bit of quickness and a little bit of fun. Hopefully this gives any helpful advisors a gist of what I'm looking for.
All that said, I'm shopping for an up pipe, down pipe, and/or exhaust systems. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations? Am I headed in the right direction?
The whole post ended up being longer than expected. I apologize for the giant wall of text and realize that some of this may be out of place on this forum. I plan on diving into the rest of the web site shortly. See you all around. =)
EDIT 1: I know a lot of this is in the FAQ. I'm kind of sifting my way through it all, but personal recommendations would be appreciated.