Howdy - new owner of a 170k mile 03 wagon
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This is a discussion on Howdy - new owner of a 170k mile 03 wagon within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Yesterday, I got my first Subaru! A (semi) shiny 2003 WRX wagon. Thrilled with it so far as it is ...

  1. #1
    Registered User agmike98's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Howdy - new owner of a 170k mile 03 wagon

    Yesterday, I got my first Subaru! A (semi) shiny 2003 WRX wagon. Thrilled with it so far as it is much more fun to drive than my accord was and it fit my budget. It all feels like it works well to me, but I am curious what I need to be looking out for given that it's got 170k miles.

    A few questions:
    1: I don't see many of them around Baton Rouge, but assume there are a few. Anywhere to go for work when I need it?
    2: Lens covers on fog lamps are broken. I plan to just order replacement assemblies from amazon rather than try and replace the covers (Amazon.com: Subaru Impreza Replacement Fog Light Assembly - 1-Pair: Automotive) Mistake?
    3: Previous owner smoked - I'm thinking replacing the cabin air filter will help - also figured I just order off Amazon as the local AutoZone, etc don't seem to have in stock (Amazon.com: FRAM CF10377 Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter: Automotive)
    4: I'm thinking that it would be nice to get a tune assuming that I don't IMMEDIATELY blow up any mechanical parts in doing so. It looks like CORR performance is pretty near here. I need to already have a COBB accesstuner or something similar when I go, right?
    4b: They can't just flash a new tune into the computer without me having a "chip" of some sort?
    4c: Is it generally economical or considered good form to buy the "chip" from the tuner?
    4d: If you have to buy a toy like the accesstuner, am I likely to do ok tuning myself if I stay conservative? I doubt I want to get "all I can" out of the parts I've got.

    OK, way more than enough newbie questions for now. I would actually surf the forums to find answers to my questions, but I want to go drive in the rain.

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    Registered User wreckingball man's Avatar
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    First off, let's take care of your maint. What has been performed? Is it all up to date? Any CEL's?

    2. Check ebay and NASIOC as well for used OEM. Subarugenuineparts.com will also have OEM peices. They're expensive though.

    4. What aftermarket parts do you have?

    4b-c. PhatBotti Tuning - Tuning FAQ & Misc Info - NASIOC

    4d. A guide from Cobb on tuning the Subaru Motor if you're seriously considering tuning it yourself. https://cobbtuning.zendesk.com/hc/en...and-Worksheets

    You have tuning options, research each: Email tune with Cobb Accessport or with a Tactrix cable. Pro-tune on a dyno with Cobb Accesport or with EcuTek, etc... whatever method the tuner uses. Best thing you can do is read all the sticky's and FAQ's about tuning.

    Hopefully some other people will chime in and have some more time to better answer your questions, hope I helped you along. Good luck with it
    Last edited by wreckingball man; 01-05-2014 at 09:40 PM.

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    Registered User agmike98's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick reply.
    My car seems to have been well taken care of, but it is difficult to know for sure. The guy I bought it from had it less than 2 years. The clutch had apparently been replaced by Subaru not long before he got it. Tires, brakes, etc seem good.
    The Check Engine Light isn't on.
    There is a Cobb aftermarket exhaust. I know no real details. I believe it includes a downpipe and that the bulk of the exhaust piping is 3". I don't believe any tuning has been done to make the best use of this change.
    I believe everything else is stock. There is no boost gauge.
    The rear wiper isn't working - I haven't figured out if it is fuse, motor, or what.
    I don't know the status of the timing belt, any key gaskets, etc.
    He said the CV joints were replaced fairly recently.

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    Registered User wreckingball man's Avatar
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    I would expect the downpipe to throw a cat efficiency CEL. A tune would be a good idea if you do in fact have an aftermarket downpipe. Your engine will run better and you'll actually benefit from the mod. Luckily your year model isn't as sensitive to mods as the newer years, so you'll probably be alright for the time being.

    But before any of that I would get all of the maint. figured out first, especially with the mileage!

    In the meantime, If you post pictures of the engine bay we could look for other mods that may have been done, and also identify your downpipe. More tuning info located here: Tuning: Electronic Engine Management

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    Registered User agmike98's Avatar
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    Thanks again - looks like a friendly and helpful group around here.

    Here's an overall of the engine bay and one of the exhaust area.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    These were taken with my phone, so they are obnoxiously big file size while not being super clear. Let me know if I need to remove them from the post and just link them from imgur or something.
    Last edited by agmike98; 01-05-2014 at 10:23 PM. Reason: trying to flip picture

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    Registered User agmike98's Avatar
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    PS: the oil on the ground is not from this car and the pics above are very confusing as one is upside down vs the other.....

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    Registered User agmike98's Avatar
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    Any tips on how to take a useful picture of the exhaust?
    Also, if anyone can recommend a shop in Baton Rouge to check out the car and let me know what general maintenance things need done, I'd appreciate it.
    I've never been impressed with dealerships, but haven't been to the Subie house. I've had good luck with both Fisher Automotive and Tony Lee, but that was with very different vehicles.

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    Registered User wreckingball man's Avatar
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    I'm confused as to why the downpipe isn't throwing a CEL, the previous owner tuned for it or they installed a resistor.

    As far as maint. if you can get hold of a service manual that would be good, especially if you want to do the work yourself. For shops, I'd post on NASIOC in their regional forums as well, find some local clubs, and see where they go.

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    Captain James of the SS Impreza has gone down with the ship Drews's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wreckingball man View Post
    I'm confused as to why the downpipe isn't throwing a CEL, the previous owner tuned for it or they installed a resistor.

    As far as maint. if you can get hold of a service manual that would be good, especially if you want to do the work yourself. For shops, I'd post on NASIOC in their regional forums as well, find some local clubs, and see where they go.
    Sometimes they don't. I've read that a few people put a DP on a bugeye with no issues, although I never would. On my hawkeye, I had my DP on without a tune for about a week and never threw a CEL. Of course I never went WOT and my daily commute was only 10 minutes, but no CEL.
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    I'd not worry about a tune. For a bugeye. The radiator has been replaced.
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    Registered User agmike98's Avatar
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    Thank y'all for the feedback. The previous owner was not 100% clear on what had been done and I took his details with a grain of salt. You could tell me the car has been tuned and I would believe you. I don't even know how to tell. Being this uninformed about one of my toys is out of character for me - but it's an adventure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    I'd not worry about a tune. For a bugeye. The radiator has been replaced.
    How do you know the radiator has been replaced? I'm assuming because it has the rad cap on it. 02's didn't have a radiator cap, 03's did.

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    Registered User agmike98's Avatar
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    Does it look like I actually have a TBE? Is there anyway to tell from the picture I supplied?

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    Captain James of the SS Impreza has gone down with the ship Drews's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agmike98 View Post
    Does it look like I actually have a TBE? Is there anyway to tell from the picture I supplied?
    We wouldn't be able to tell unless you took a picture from behind the car. Even then, depending on the exhaust system you have, we might not be able to tell if your cat-back is aftermarket. You definitely have an aftermarket down pipe.
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