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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The original thread below was started for modification advice, most of which I was already aware of, from users I know who've been around for a while and aren't dyno number chasers. Now, this will be an update thread for my car. Don't expect much from a 35 (currently) working professional dad. I remain true to the old school Subaru crowd, so you'll not find me vaping, wearing flat billed hats, talking with 2020 Millennial dialect, requesting followers on Instagram, or creating worthless uninformative STI youtube videos overlayed with girly background music after 2 minute long introductions. No thanks to the negative camber, ass dragging, hella-flush, crew. Sorry for voicing my pet peeves.

I have a 2018 STI purchased new. The motor is outdated and compared to modern day performance, it's nothing special, but it makes me happy. Per my order, the car came with the Recaro seat package, short throw shifter, carbon fiber (lol) trunk trim, legal and subtle 35% window tint, door trim, and the front lip which I absolutely love. I feel like the minor add-on of the lip is a game changer for the front end. The door trim makes a much bigger difference than I expected, too.

The first mod I will always recommend is the payoff mod. As of 10/9/20, the car has Rally Armor mud flaps, mostly for paint protection, and I finally made a childish purchase of a Cobb SS Tuning 3" exhaust currently en-route. The warranty is on-point, so far.

I replaced my stock Yokohama Advan whatever summer tires with Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+. They perform great, but one of the tires pulls, which I'm currently in the process of attempting to resolve this by mounting a replacement. Don't be like me and procrastinate on tire issues. Rotating your way out of tire pull is only a temporary fix. Other than that, I don't drive hard so they're suitable.

Suspension, wheels, and tires are one thing I'll never change about this car. The current setup meets my wants and needs perfectly. Aesthetically, the car will remain mostly stock in appearance. It's obnoxiously beautiful enough from the factory. I am fond of factory options like the side/rear skirts and vortex generator, but only because it's something true to what Subaru offers. I'd consider it as an option in the future, only after working a couple OT shifts for it. Side note: Another thing is I will work overtime to pay for most of the cost of modifications instead of taking money away from our normal collective income budgeting. Work hard, play hard for bullshit that serves no practical purpose, when the money could be better spent on investments or home improvement.

I know the very basics of keeping this car mostly reliable. If I add further performance parts, that will be top priority. However, as for the big picture, in reality I probably know just enough to make dumb assumptions and to get myself into trouble.

As for a little history, I've always been in love with the WRX/STI line. A Hawkeye WRX STI with Gold BBS wheels has always been my teenage dream car, but I'll never buy another pre-owned "tuner" car (especially not a STI) for the important purpose of daily driving. The sound of the EJ motor is one of the most enjoyable factors for me. Prior to Subaru ownership, I had a Geo Storm as a teen as the ricer starter kit. After that, I had a 2003 Sentra Spec-V, which I riced to hell. I had some Nismo parts, but I also cheesed it up with a VIS Carbon fiber hood, and had a bunch of almost useless nickel and dime parts which created phantom WHP gains. I purchased my first new car; an 09 Civic Si coupe; one of the last high-revving K20 models true to the Si roots. I completed minor bolt-on modifications which were subtle and tasteful. I made my first major big-boy life I sold it to rid myself of the idiotic $400/month payments. I paid off all of my CC and Student Loan debt, and rocked a 2003 Hyundai Elantra hatch for a about a year, until I purchased a used 08 350z 6mt Touring. I hated it and got rid of it in 11 months. It was too soft.

I finally made the jump to Subaru and traded the Z for a new 13 WRX in 2013, and a 15 STI in 2015. Both had exhaust, Cobb AP, and Cobb SF Intake. Over a few years, the 2015 STI developed suspension and stearing rack issues which Subaru was unable to solve after at least ten trips to the dealership. I was provided a generous credit toward a new Subaru, so instead of ditching the brand like I'd planned, I ordered my 18 which is my favorite car to date. Surprisingly, the 18 feels much more refined and solid than my 15, with the aforementioned options and several small model improvements such as sound deadening, suspension tweaks, larger touch-screen, and some other crap. Look it up if you want. Pictures:



I love this setup:




The original post below

Two and a half years of my warrantied 2018 STI being intentionally bone stock and I've had the itch for more grunt and more sound. I know there have been a ton of "Stage ###" advice threads around, but I value the opinion of users on this site more than others. I've tried to do some youtube digging, but 90% (at least) of it is full of VLOG douchery, with "reviews" from flat billed vapers, overlayed with stupid music.

This will be my third EJ motor with modifications. I've only gone as far as COBB OTS/SF Intake/Exhaust prior to this. I think I've chosen my exhaust, Invidia R400, because trying to avoid proven good quality and sound for the futile attempt to be "unique" seems dumb to me. As much as my intentions were directed toward keeping the car totally OEM, I chose to hang onto my Cobb junk instead of selling it for half the price, because I feared this would happen. I'll have a shop put on the exhaust, and as soon as my shoulder heals a little more from my surgery, I'll install my intake/airbox. Spirited driving with 1 hand on the wheel is not fun, nor a good idea.

My real questions are with the downpipe. Not so much with knowing it has to be tuned by a good shop (duh), but rather what kind of cooling mods can I do to make the car more reliable and prepare for the possibility of going with a 20g conservative (340-350whp) 93 octane setup. I won't do E85, because I want something practical.

So far, I was thinking oil cooler, maybe a good top mount intercooler, and a non-cooling related AOS. I'm not looking for nickel and time snake oil bullshit "cooling mods" like re-routing hoses to get a degree here and there, while totally disregarding Subaru's design. I'm willing to drop money on good name brand parts. Buy once, cry once. Don't speak of an equal length manifold. There's a reason I want to hang onto my time bomb motor.

Long term, or maybe even short'er term, I don't know if it's safer and good a better idea to go with the 20g setup, or to push the stock turbo by adding a fuel pump, injectors, and a few other small modifications. I'll likely pay a reputable (largely Subaru) shop in the area to install everything from the downpipe further. I also want to know if it's possible to have a setup where I don't have to have my AP hooked up when I drive it around. I'd even be willing to take it to a shop every few months for a "checkup."

I also don't do "highway pulls" and I definitely don't race on the street or track. I still like the occasional WOT, downshifting on the regular, and I don't mind leaving the car in high RPM'S on Sunday twisty back road drives. I always keep emergency money for situations like ringland failure and spun bearings, not that I want to spend it on such vanities, but the funds are available to drop in a new motor if necessary.

Asking for a friend.
 

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Man, I wish i was smart enough to have the solid answers. I do have one opinion on the oil cooler. They are typically easy installs and worth waiting on unless you find your oil temps are consistently high. Over cool oil is not really ideal.

The biggest honest suggestion I have for longevity purpose would be elh to help even cylinder temps and exhaust scavenging.
 

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How many miles?
 

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Man, I wish i was smart enough to have the solid answers. I do have one opinion on the oil cooler. They are typically easy installs and worth waiting on unless you find your oil temps are consistently high. Over cool oil is not really ideal.

The biggest honest suggestion I have for longevity purpose would be elh to help even cylinder temps and exhaust scavenging.
What’s “elh”?
 

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Equal length headers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I've heard conflicting information on equal length headers that although they help, it's not significant enough to make the change. Others swear by them. Honestly, I'll never go that route. The thing I've always loved the most about the WRX and STI is the outdated rumble of an EJ motor. I love listening to my car in normal driving conditions, let alone spirited.

How many miles?
17,000 relatively easy driven miles.

Would you guys push the stock turbo with injectors, a fuel pump, and an intercooler all at once when doing a downpipe, or should I just wait and see if I would want more with a 20g setup? Say, theoretically if I get to 320 whp with fuel mods and other supporting mods, would I really want to bother spending several thousand dollars more for 30whp? Then again, I don't know how the power delivery difference. I'm having trouble finding any reliable modern information not preached from the uneducated modern day Subaru bro. I guess if I do said mods, I'd be more setup for a 20g conversion, in the somewhat unlikeliness I go that route.

I'm not looking for record breaking power, but I would like a noticeable difference. I've heard good power comes from the fuel modifications, but I just want it to be reliable. So fucking cliche... It would also be nice to stay relative to the modern market, as far as power goes.

The shop near me preaches tunes dedicated to reliability instead of chasing power. They seem like genuine educated import tuners, vs. some of the other "reputable tuners" who openly publish videos of them beating the fuck out of customer cars for track times and bragging rights. There's a video posted by a customer where JR just beats the piss out of a STI he just tuned to get the track numbers he wanted, to the point where he gets frustrated and just starts forcefully slamming gears. The shop I'd go to is Ecotech, and they work on a ton of WRX and STI's. They spent an hour looking at my stearing rack and came to an easy conclusion, while refusing to accept my money.

Also, I was talking out of my ass with oil coolers. I'm not really sure how they work, but I've heard they're effective. Although, I don't see many Subaru owners talk about them.

I'm trying to keep myself entertained with this car. I came here for information on a tired subject, because I don't completely trust the reliability of the information from other sources. I will say I think I have a better chance of not destroying my car than a lot of owners. I've been cornered by other STI owners lately. One talked about how she wanted to get rid of all of her series white extras and another who said the car pulls hard in 6th gear... Local Facebook group posts are also atrocious.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm pretty sure I've killed this thread, but it seems like ELH, fuel mods, and a few safety mods like AOS is the way to go. I'd hate to have the obnoxious sound, but it seems to be the best bang for the buck and the safest route to go. I'm seeing great reviews from non highway-pulling Subaru critics. Some are getting numbers as high as 350whp/400wtq.
 

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I don't know about killed. I think you have a solid idea. I'm just unqualified to give you more than you know.
 

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I think you have an STI with warranty left, why not enjoy the warranty?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I've had the warranty for two and a half years. It's longer than I've ever kept a car stock. I'm content knowing I've taken care of the car well enough, and will continue to take care of it, where the likeliness of damaging the engine is much less compared to uneducated STI owners.

I liked the extra foot pedal drama delivered by my previous modded Subarus. Tinkering with the car will keep me interested, and I won't give myself the instant gratification of ordering everything all at once. I've read nothing but impressive reviews from the aforementioned mods combined with the ELH, but my biggest apprehension is that I'm going to have to subscribe to something of a typical "ricer" sound. I refuse to buy anything other than high quality parts, such as the Killer B header.

I'm ordering my Q300 exhaust tonight. It seems to be a nice compromise between sound level and the pitch I'm looking for. I'd like the R400 better, but it's just not fair to my neighbors. That, and if I decide to go with the ELH down the road, it will produce less of a raspy sound.

TBT, there's no telling what exactly I'll do, or if I'll do much at all aside from slapping my SF Intake and Cobb OTS tune on, left over from my 15 STI. However, I believe I've found the safest route to get a great increase in power and torque, while retaining the stock turbo. It seems to be the healthiest path for the EJ motor, as well. Cylinder 4 would thank me if I went the ELH route.

It goes without saying there's some idiocracy involved in doing such things, but I'd like to think I'm financially responsible enough and have the reserve cash to pay for a failed engine on the spot, if necessary. I'm just trying to be a lesser idiot than what I could be, which is why I asked for some input. I know I've done some homework over the years, on this site and others, but I'd hate to overlook something that could help me retain more reliability while improving the fun factor.
 

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I'm not being a smug 'smart-A' to advise that you might be better to deal with your head issues than the car. Where lies your dissatisfaction, depression, fragmented ego that even an STI...a brilliant and 'rocket-ship' car can't satisfy you? It has warranty...you are prepared to toss that in and turn your car into an unreliable, perhaps unsaleable and if sale-able at massive loss more likely than not, 'hot rod'. You will void any insurance of your own damage or in being damaged.

You wrote"
'and will continue to take care of it, where the likeliness of damaging the engine is much less compared to uneducated STI owners.' Well...what you propose is not taking care of it and your rationalising on 'uneducated' STI owners is just excuse-brokering for what sounds to me like a very foolish set of decisions ...although I know it's your car and your life and your money. Your said-empathy for your neighbours on 'raspy' noises may be as far as your concern for others around your or on the road might go...The urge to 'put the boot into it' seems to me to be your driving force, which means menace to others.... perhaps less educated than you in highway and back road skill-sets.

If money is no object as you indicate...would it be worthwhile? to leave this car stock standard and holding its value whilst buying a second car to be victim to you passion for 'changes'. That might, if done to specs, enable some club racing with the second car, fulfilling various urges driving you.
 

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Where lies your dissatisfaction, depression, fragmented ego that even an STI...a brilliant and 'rocket-ship' car can't satisfy you?.
If you think a stock sti is a rocket ship, just wait until you drive just about any modern sports car your mind will be blown.

In the grand scheme of fast the sti is middling. Better than a lot, but not equal to it's peers. What it does offer is a fairly quick, fun, and reasonably priced entry into a sporty weekend warrior.
 

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If you think a stock sti is a rocket ship, just wait until you drive just about any modern sports car your mind will be blown.

In the grand scheme of fast the sti is middling. Better than a lot, but not equal to it's peers. What it does offer is a fairly quick, fun, and reasonably priced entry into a sporty weekend warrior.
Fair comment but then 'where' is it a weekend warrior'...on the public roads more likely than track where a lot of discipline in preparation and behaviour are assessed. The STI is of itself as a sedan a 'rocket ship' but so is a 635, so was a Saab Carlsson compared with a Porsche over some distances, so also are some products by VW and even Ford in everyday manufacturers.

What is a 'peer'...something of equal quality, ability, social status, nobility, worth you might (or not) agree. It's not a Lambo or a Ferrari, R8 Aventador a super light or an RS Cosworth or even a an R5 Turbo, one of the truly fast early vehicles particularly in mid-engine form...and doesn't pretend to be one. You can't put it alongside the cars that you can see on internet that are daily perfected for purpose at Heasman's workshop...It does however have significant suspension and transmission quality and significant and most excellent braking quality in a fast sedan. It is fast enough and has good enough brakes and suspension matched to its performance potential for any road driving...ex factory.

Trying to make it what it isn't for highway and back-road driving through 'grunt increase' is of the essence, whatever the platitudes, a menace to the public owing to the mindset of the person who wants that 'extra grunt' and their need to thrill themselves and show-off to the susceptible. The old excuse was 'safer overtaking' but that was for only a hundred yards or so if actually safer as opposed to increasing risk....the desire for 'clear road ahead' was more to the point.

I smile at the 'If you....if you read...if you did...if you rode....if you drove... if's from the unknown. I offered one acceptable ;if'......If I hadn't had the desire myself, and built, modified, stroked engines and reinforced gearboxes and added plates to automatics when it was not commonplace or fixed engines hot shot tuners couldn't I wouldn't have earned some 'right' to pontificate. The engines today are commonly 'significantly de-tuned...the Cosworth Ford was an early example of that. In a way one might compare today to yesterday where cars were limited by reducing venturi area in the carburettor. Engines were actually not intrinsically 'speeding up' by opening the butterfly/venturi but reducing the 'slowing' of the engine which was achieved by strangling the air velocity (and volume) and thus limiting the fuel being 'vacuumed' out of the fuel bowl and spraying into the engine intake. Nations and States have to justify road safety and so limit the 'available' performance. They have no objection to reaching engine and chassis and driver potential on approved tracks with adequate safety, scrutinised vehicles and appropriately licensed drivers. Tracks are one way traffic unlike most public road. The people charged with road safety do object to racetrack mentality being put on the public roads.

It's true I am no longer intimately familiar with the top price sports cars today not driving them ... neither perhaps are the 'glove box' journalists driving the hunger for competitiveness . What is around today, differently from the past, are quite accessible turbos faster than pretty much anything of earlier times and with those turbo's offering readily achievable power boosts beyond their suspension, drive train, brakes and pretty commonly driver ability and commonsense. That's where my resistance comes into play....sub-optimal decisions.
 

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Challenger scat pack, Camaro ss, charger rt, gti, type r, golf r, rs, m240i, and probably multiple others that fall in that price range.

Since street racing was your target the first 3 will literally dump on the sti in a street race, they will leave the sti so fast the vacuum will suck the wing off.

That's not what the sti is about. It's a niche vehicle for enthusiasts. It doesn't have to be the pinnacle of anything. It's a good car at a fair price. Maybe the interior is a little janky, maybe the front heavy plow is overwhelming at times, maybe the ej isn't the longest lived. That's not the point.

It's just a fun car that has a solid fan base and it's a good platform to work from.
 

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You wrote, "It's just a fun car that has a solid fan base and it's a good platform to work from. "...it's the 'for what' and public safety I actually targeted. I mustn't have made that as clear as I thought I was doing. Street racing and sociopathic drivers in denial and fantasy at the same time are a menace to the general public. My comparison was with other cars considerably above the quality of those you mention apart from VW which I'd intended to mention if I didn't.

The flashbau I bought in France two decades ago was not for road use and of course it would blow off an STI...or even a Morris Minor...but none of that was my reasoning....I'm not interested in claims and provings of what goes faster than something else...I wanted it as a'collectible' in the Porsche range, owing in part to its aerodynamics..

I accept your opinions of what's faster than an STI but I'm not interested in bolstering 'street racing' and its mindset or the 'boy racer adding bits and boosts and what-nots then off to the tuner (if any money left) mentality' to hot up the road car...or rather as I well explained, to reduce in some cases the engine and other restrictions and demands which made it acceptable in that State or nation. The STI and the WRX have the ability, ex factory, to be good safe road cars in design and interfacing. In retrospection, the SAAB 9000 Carlsson in 1991 was perhaps the fastest car point to point on the road, not a straight road or a competition set of predictable corners and grades and owing not to vast power but an assembly of components which worked together and a perfect driving position for road use.

'Good enough ex-factory' can nevertheless benefit from better tyres, shock-rates and alignment tuned to particular use and particular roads and environmental ambient. That includes my bug-eye which as you will recall has only tyre and suspension safety and improvements. The engine and the rest of it are in first class order and with a sensible and healthy driver, reasonably safe on the road ...in empathy for others . I think that is a summary of an accurate portraying of my views. Thanks for taking the time to respond.I'll leave the subject now.
 

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Ok, on a track it's also equally out done or matched in it's price point by vehicles with obvious advantages. There are class separation arguments to be made in competitive bodies but in general, it's middle of the road. That's fine.

There are many advantages to modifying your car if your pocket book allows it. Drag racing is still a big thing by me and many guys run their daily drivers on test and tune night for bragging rights. It's fun, it's a fun car. I've taken my 2013 rubicon that's lifted, on 35s with full off road bullcrap down to thornhill for a few runs. Over 20 seconds in the quarter mile. Hell of a good time for a walking pace.

We can also argue advantages to tires and brakes. Technically the wrx and sti are assembled and mounted with summer tires. Changing them to winters on a narrower wheel and a narrower tire is armies safer. This alone is a modification. Stainless steel brake lines, different pads and slotted rotors can also be an advantage daily depending on where you live.

Sure, performance mods may have a limit of usefulness on a daily driver, but let's be honest here. We are an enthusiast site. By large the recommended mod path is don't, but we are in a thread by a long time member who has a reasonable track record of maturity. He is aware of the downside of what comes from this both professionally and from member horror stories of blown apart engines. It's the opposite of an 18 year old kid with parental money slapping bullshit on his shitbox to impress his friends.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Gee. I don't believe we've met, but you have me pegged. I definitely learned throughout the last few posts about how much of a selfish, reckless, immature, financially irresponsible sociopath I am. Thanks for the uh... input? Thanks for the help.



Anyway... I tucked my tail between my legs at the last second and instead of buying the Invidia r400 I really wanted, due to its deeper tone and being a little more loud, I went with the Q300 so I wouldn't upset the neighbors. I'm confident the guy who lives across the street from me with his mufflerless truck makes much more noise than either, but I'm more comfortable with this. From the homework I've done, the Q300 seems to be one-of, if not the-most, quiet aftermarket STI exhausts.

I looked up the costs associated with a healthy high quality ELH setup, and it's still an additional $4,000-$6,000 from where I'm at now, if done correctly. Jesus. Going further in my research is opening my eyes to just how much you have to sink into this car to see any real results. I'm starting to understand the reasoning behind the harsh criticism toward the current generation STI.

I'd imagine I'll bolt on my intake sometime within the next couple months. I may even just upload the Cobb stage 1 tune prior to that so I can smooth out some of the kinks in the power band, although I'm still having doubts about pulling the trigger just yet. I think the only sensible thing to do in alignment with my desires is to take it slow. If I continue on, my next step will be dedicated to choosing a good downpipe and pairing it with injectors/fuel pump. Supporting mods would include an AOS and possibly a cooling mod similar to an aftermarket top mount intercooler. I'll have to reevaluate everything according to current goals, life circumstances, and met performance expectations from that point.
 

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Id approach it trying to target the specific thing you want to be more engaging. Honestly sound may fill that void more than you'd expect.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It's been an eventful and bi-polar'ish 6 days. I found out the Q300 was backordered at rallysportdirect until possibly December. I canceled my order thinking I could find something in stock, or wait it out and re-think things. That night I had a double gin and tonic. I was feeling bold, I ordered the exhaust I wanted from the very beginning of owning this car; Nameless catback without mufflers and with titanium tips. I woke up the next day with a sinking feeling in my stomach and canceled the order... Awakening my sleeping infant, upsetting the neighbors, and thoughts of loud 5am drives to work got the better of me with a quickness.

After more research, I went with about the most subtle/adult sounding and looking system, being Cobb Tuning SS 3" cat back. I'm the most satisfied and least apprehensive about the decision, since it's a high quality/proven system. It was a couple hundred dollars more, but I can sleep soundly knowing the quality is there. I did my homework enough (very little) to know I need a Grim Speed adapter, for the final kick in the nuts. $1,400 and some change. I'll probably pick up another OT shift to chip away at some of the guilt or ordering such a useless item.

The sound clips for the Cobb catted DP sounded great and not too obnoxious, as well. I'm not so sure I want the whooshing sound of an intake anymore if I decide to add a little more power, so an easy, affordable, and tolerable alternative would be a Cobb catted DP and a simple reflash with my AP.

I think I did the right thing. Fingers crossed.

On another note, after a tire rotation one of my Michelin Pilot Sport A/S + tires is pulling hard. They're discontinued, so I had absolutely no luck finding another new one, call after call. I ordered a used tire within a 32nd of my current depth as a replacement for the suspected bad tire. I should have taken care of this a year ago when I purchased them. I hope this fixes the issue, as the pull is significant. I've had awful luck with tires so far.

I'm just going to keep this thread open as my "build" (lol) thread. I may have a new addition every 6 months or so if I get in a hurry. :LOL: I'll post a picture of my basic-bitch STI up top.
 
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