New to forum, trouble getting cool air to produce full boost: 03' WRX
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This is a discussion on New to forum, trouble getting cool air to produce full boost: 03' WRX within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Hey everyone, new to how to things work here so bear with me Here's the story: Car is 100% stock. ...

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    Registered User nateleeg's Avatar
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    New to forum, trouble getting cool air to produce full boost: 03' WRX

    Hey everyone, new to how to things work here so bear with me

    Here's the story:

    Car is 100% stock.

    I live in Las Vegas, it gets really hot here, however it's still in the 80's right now. Even so I've been noticing my boost gauge is only spooling up to about 3/4 of it's capacity. The car feels slow, as if there is almost no boost. I thought maybe it was a problem with my intake or something.

    Then I drove to L.A. where the air was cool, dense and humid. Suddenly my boost was spinning at full rpm's and I was reminded of just how fast my sweet sweet ride can be. It was amazing, my lately tired-feeling 2.0L was it's old self again and I was back grabbing gears, loving life. I've realized the air here in the desert is just too thin and hot to produce good spool.

    SO my question is, what are some realistic minor changes I can make to get cooler air into the motor? I've heard a lot of mixed opinions with CAI's.

    Here she is:
    Last edited by nateleeg; 03-21-2013 at 01:09 AM.

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    \_(ツ)_/ Rambo's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    We're going to need a lot more detail here. What does "3/4ths of the boost gauge" mean? What is your peak boost at wide open throttle in 3rd gear?

    Ideally, you would do a datalog and we would have a better idea if you have a boost leak or something across a wide range of rpms, but I realize that's probably not an option for you yet.

    The first thing I'd do is check the air filter (paper filters are fine), and clean the MAF sensor with MAF cleaner (from any auto parts store).

    Next, I would inspect your intake tract (pre- and post- turbo) to check for cracked lines, loose clamps, etc. The OEM plastic intake tubes are prone to cracking with age, and a hot environment like LV would be prime for that. On an 03 in LV, I would be surprised at all to see some cracking. Silicon intercooler hoses are an easy and affordable upgrade if your original hoses are worn out.

    When you remove the intercooler, make sure it is clean inside (should see no oil blow-by). Are there lots of bent fins?

    The idea with all of this is to make sure your intake tract is air tight and your intercooler is working at its best. At stock power levels, your factory hardware should be up the job, as long as your aren't racing.
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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    ^really good advise.

    I'd think seriously about getting it logged. You should also get a boost leak tester.

    Your car WILL hit full boost at those temperatures dry.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
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    Registered User nateleeg's Avatar
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    So the stock boost gauge reads up to ".15", in third gear (and every gear) I hit the .1 mark (which is 3/4 of what gauge shows.)

    The intercooler has some bent fins, but nothing excessive. Pretty normal wear & tear.

    The car has actually been in Michigan it's whole life but I drove it back to Vegas a few months ago, it ran fine until I brought it here. But thats great advice, thanks Rambo.

    I'm changing spark plugs today so I'll definitely clean the MAF sensor and see if I notice any cracks, etc.

    On another note, I've debated doing one of the K&N or Green air filters for the stock box, but being in the desert I'm weary those might not provide proper filtration.

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    Registered User nateleeg's Avatar
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    I've actually never heard of a boost leak tester, I'll look into it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateleeg View Post
    So the stock boost gauge reads up to ".15", in third gear (and every gear) I hit the .1 mark (which is 3/4 of what gauge shows.)
    That is normal.
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    My car was tuned for the altitude here in Colorado. I took it for a spin down to almost sea level in Iowa. The car oberboosted like nuts. Had to be real careful with the pedal. You probably experience the reverse. So after everything checks out OK, you might want to look into a solid first stage tune...
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    Registered User nateleeg's Avatar
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    Yeah I'de love to do a tune, when I have the funds.

    However, I just finished replacing spark plugs, cleaned the MAF sensor and put in a new filter. Now it's running like it should, full boost and all. So stoked!
    Last edited by nateleeg; 03-21-2013 at 06:25 PM.

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    That is normal.
    What he said.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
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    Registered User nateleeg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    What he said.
    So if it were only boosting to that mark in every gear, no matter how many rpms, that's normal? Because before, the boost went higher

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    I'm utterly confused by this. Boost has little to do with the IATs....
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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingo View Post
    My car was tuned for the altitude here in Colorado. I took it for a spin down to almost sea level in Iowa. The car oberboosted like nuts. Had to be real careful with the pedal. You probably experience the reverse. So after everything checks out OK, you might want to look into a solid first stage tune...
    I kind of skimmed over this before, not stopping to think that LV actually has a few thousand feet of elevation. I can't recall what the compensation is off the top of my head but it is noticeable here at 3300 feet (a couple PSI).

    Quote Originally Posted by nateleeg View Post
    So if it were only boosting to that mark in every gear, no matter how many rpms, that's normal? Because before, the boost went higher
    The stock turbo runs out of breath at higher RPM and the boost tapers from the peak to accommodate that. You will possibly see higher peak boost in the higher gears depending on load, but it will usually show the full boost by 3rd if not 2nd. The stock boost level advertized at sea level is only 13.5 PSI, and from what you're reading yours converts to 14.5 PSI at .1 MPa. Does it not taper at higher RPM? Does "before" refer to when it was in MI?
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
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    Registered User nateleeg's Avatar
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    Ha I'm still learning to fully grasp Mpa and Psi, but yes by "before" I mean when I was in Michigan. Been driving it for two days now since changing plugs and cleaning the MAF sensor and it's back to the same amount of boost, doesn't pick up like it did in MI or CA. Whats weird to me is the day I did that maintenance, it was pushing hard again, but then went back to being kind of sluggish. Maybe it has to do with the ECU setting back to normal?

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