Just bought an '03 Bugeye WRX Wagon
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This is a discussion on Just bought an '03 Bugeye WRX Wagon within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Title says it all. I've been driving crappy practical cars for way too long. My wife's car died and we ...

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    Just bought an '03 Bugeye WRX Wagon

    Title says it all. I've been driving crappy practical cars for way too long. My wife's car died and we needed a vehicle that could be used in the winter for commuting and for going to the ski hill. Low and behold my local Subaru dealership gets this WRX with low kms (81k kms) and I pounce on it. I've always wanted a sports car, but they are, realistically, impractical. Subaru has found a genius workaround for this in the form of an all-wheel drive wagon. I'm a father of two great kids and damn I'm so happy with my new car.

    That said, I also want to maximize its potential without going too overboard on things. I have read about turbo lag (and have noticed it first-hand).

    I talked to the Subaru dealership regarding aftermarket installations. They said they could do it, and what I'm thinking is a Cobb Stage 2 kit. Is this a pretty good upgrade? Would I have to have any sort of body-kit added to increase the strength of the vehicle if I added this? I'm just trying to get a feel for what people have done and what works/doesn't work. Obviously people may not want to comment on what didn't work, but the transparency will be helpful for other owners of the vehicle. Opinions on what to do from stock would be much appreciated. Did I mention I'm sooo stoked about owning this vehicle? I'll post pics asap.

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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Welcome to the club, and to the world of subarus!

    Since you have a bugeye, I must say that you basically MUST get a catless uppipe before you do anything else. The cat is restrictive, not necessary for emissions, and likes to get dislodged and kill your turbo. Do it, it's a bit over $100 and some hours of work - and get a nearby member here to help. It'll cost you some pizza and beer, and gain you the uppipe and a friendship

    Stage 2 is a fairly good starting point. That will give you more power, and quicker spooling. This is basically the limit of power mods before it gets too expensive and too hard to dd.

    As for other mods, stage 2 works very well without other mods. The next mods you should do, however, are supporting mods. Once you get into that kind of power, you're going to need things like better brakes, and you're going to want things like better handling through turns. The body is PLENTY strong and sleek - I'm assuming ~150 is a good top speed for you? . You won't need brembo brakes, but some mild brake upgrades will help (especially brake lines - bugeye brake lines are squishy).

    Hope this helps - also take a look at http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=533787 . Got any other questions, that's for what we're here

    EDIT: Also, PICTURES! We love pictures here! Get some up, NAO
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

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    Sweet. Thanks for the advice and links. 150mph is plenty fast. The car is an automatic and it drives great, and once the turbo kicks in the acceleration is unlike anything I've experienced. But, the initial lag between stepping on it and turbo kicking in is something I'd like to remedy. I've been looking into the Cobb Stage 2 kit and am waiting to see if the Subaru dealership will do aftermarket installs. At any rate, I see this vehicle as one that I will keep for a very long time. It's my baby and I intend to take care of it, and have fun with it at the same time.

    Another question, the person who owned it before me used regular oil. I intend to use synthetic. Is there any problem with doing the switch? And, is there much difference between using 91 octane and 93? I have no problem with getting the better stuff, as I want to keep this car for the long run, but if there isn't really any difference, then...

    Thanks again for the help. It's so awesome to finally be driving something that gets me excited about driving!

  5. #4
    UnBanned Sinister's Avatar
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    No problem with the switch. 91 is plenty now. When you get the "stage 2" setup installed, I would use the 93 octane map.


    Don't go overboard with modifications. Stage 2 would be plenty. As said before... get an up pipe. The only one I would purchase is the "Grimmspeed Coated Uppipe"
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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    I second the recommendation for the grimmspeed uppipe - although there is no difference power-wise between the uppipes, that one seems to be best pnp'd, has a nice flex section, etc. Don't refuse another cheaper option, though.

    The subaru dealership is VERY unlikely to put on any parts besides sti/spt parts - not only are these generally not the parts you want (especially in the engine/exhaust area), but they charge pretty insane labor rates. You should instead, if you absolutely aren't willing to do it yourself or with another local clubwrx member, try to find a local subaru tuning/aftermarket parts shop - they do labor like this.

    I'd have to imagine that the automatic transmission is causing a bit of your pain wrt the input lag - it seems those things never want to be in the right gear, and never like to switch gears quickly on a sudden input change... this is one reason why such a large number of us have MT cars (myself included - although my new wrx is the first time I've driven mt ). You can still get very nice performance out of it - you'll have to ask others, but the 4EAT sometimes runs better in certain track situations - since there's no clutch about which to worry.

    One major downside to 4EAT, however, is a combination of the gears and the torque converter - I think it's a generally rule of thumb that without serious modification, you'll only get messy results if you try to stuff much more than stage 2 power into a slushbox. So, after stage 2, I would only recommend doing other mods - brakes, suspension, etc.


    Regarding your gas - it's mildly strange that you have both 91 and 93 available - but, having the choice can be good. Right now, 91 is fine. The stage 2 map will probably be optimized for 93, and 91 will only get bad mileage and bad performance. However, you may be able to find a 91 octane stage 2 map - for the poor souls in California. In this case, run 91, 93 is just useless extra octane. In either case, I should suggest getting an AOS or a oil catch can. This will increase the effective octane to the engine by removing some oil - likely not the difference between 91 and 93, but it would help significantly (basically, the oil lowers your octane. So imagine - and I don't know by how much the octane would change - that it went down one point. 91 octane gas acts like 90 in your engine, and 93 like 92. If you were tuned for this 92, running what was actually 91 would not hurt nearly as badly as running 90).

    And about your excitement - I've always said, if you want a super-fast (in a straight line), super powerful car, you want something rwd and american, most likely. If you instead want a car to have fun in every way possible, you've come to the right place!
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

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    http://s836.photobucket.com/albums/z...t=IMG_2551.jpg
    http://s836.photobucket.com/albums/z...t=IMG_2553.jpg

    Hopefully those links work. Stage 2 is as far as I'd ever take things - I only want to reduce the amount of lag. In terms of power - once things kick in it has plenty and is actually scary compared to what I've driven in the past. I definitely don't want just a rocket for straight stretches - I love the ability to corner well as well.

    Thanks again for the advice - I'll definitely try to see if I can get someone to help me install this stuff. What Stage 2 kit would be the best? I mentioned the Cobb one, but are there others? Sorry for the noobishness, but I really have just begun this new labor of love.

    Regarding octane, I'm from BC and there are even some places that have 94 octane. Probably not necessary, but eh, it certainly can't hurt anything but the wallet.

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    Moderator smorris's Avatar
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    Oooh white! The Ying to my Yang. Looks great.

    I too am a middle aged Dad of two, and the wagon is perfect! I did the up/downpipe mod on mine as the best single power gain. I'm still running a manual boost controller instead of the electronic reprogramming a lot of people do.

    With the wagon, suspension makes a big difference in how the car feels, Simply adding a heavier rear sway bar does wonders in improving the ride, and you might just stop there.

    Link in my sig if you want to see yours in black and what I've done.

    Welcome, and have a blast with your new toy!
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    2008 Outback 2.5XT Ltd __2002 WRX Wagon __ 1958 MGA Roadster __ 2008 smart Cabrio __ and a few scooters...

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    UnBanned Sinister's Avatar
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    Steve... haven't been around in a while!
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    Registered User Monk_Knight's Avatar
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    Since you have a bugeye, I must say that you basically MUST get a catless uppipe before you do anything else. The cat is restrictive, not necessary for emissions, and likes to get dislodged and kill your turbo. Do it, it's a bit over $100 and some hours of work - and get a nearby member here to help. It'll cost you some pizza and beer, and gain you the uppipe and a friendship
    Not to thread-jack... but would you mind providing a bit more info about this? Where you can find one and such. Does it give you anything in the way of extra power or anything? Or is it just the basis for future mods?

    I have pretty much the same car (03 bugeye wagon... 5mt though) and I have pretty much zero experience working on cars and very very little mechanical ability.

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    UnBanned Sinister's Avatar
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    From 02-05 subaru installed a catalytic converter in the pre-turbo up pipe. It's called the "pre-cat" by most. The substrate that's inside the catalytic converter gets extremely hot since it's so close to the exhaust manifold. The substrate breaks down over time, and occasionally a piece of substrate (called "FOD" - Foreign Object Debris) will break loose and will jam into the turbine wheel of the turbo. Obviously this ruins the turbo. So on an 02-05 WRX we always recommend replacing the up pipe before any modifications... and honestly, I personally recommend it to anyone.
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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    ^^ this is exactly the right explanation. Add the fact that it could give you 10-15HP, and can't be detected by emissions testing, it's basically mandatory.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

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    Registered User Monk_Knight's Avatar
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    Good to know, thanks!
    How would I go about doing that?

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    Registered User poly_poly-man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monk_Knight View Post
    Good to know, thanks!
    How would I go about doing that?
    Uppipe is a SUPER difficult install - we've had horror stories of those inexperienced with mechanics doing it by themselves in on the order of 13 hours of work...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFQV1rGg0-4 <- that's a fairly good video - it's tough to describe, and tough to get access to - you need to remove a large amount of engine bay components and exhaust components to drop it out - and then, of course, you must put everything back. That video (that whole series really) should show you pretty well how to do it. If you're still stuck, grab a copy of the service manual for the car.
    My big thread: The Used WRX Buying Checklist - Please Contribute!

    My current car: 2002 WRB WRX Wagon.
    Mods: GM BCS, Carberry SD rom, uppipe, AEM UEGO, Klunk Killer, F+R shifter bushings, head unit

  16. #15
    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monk_Knight
    Good to know, thanks!
    How would I go about doing that?
    A more in-depth explanation and your options are outlined here:
    Attn '02-'05 WRX Owners: The Importance of the Uppipe Mod

    Quote Originally Posted by poly_poly-man
    Uppipe is a SUPER difficult install - we've had horror stories of those inexperienced with mechanics doing it by themselves in on the order of 13 hours of work...
    I disagree. It's not a difficult install, but it's somewhat of a PITA. Cars that have lived a life in the salt belt (READ: corrosion) are more difficult than cars in a warmer climate, but it's not something you should feel the need to pay someone to do.

    If you can find a local person who's done the install before, you should have no issues with a DIY project. If not, and you are somewhat mechanically-inclined, it'd be something to tackle yourself as well, as long as you have a walkthrough to refer to during the install.
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

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