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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, all...

I'm a newbie with a question I need resolving about "Bolt-on" aftermarket performance parts for the WRX.

I have no aspirations of super tuning my car (heh-- once I get one) to some outrageous, asphalt melting, hyper tweaked speed demon, but there's something to be said about having a car which truly unique. Some do it by installing aftermarket radios, multiple speakers and multiple amplifiers; some do it by swapping engines (I wonder if anyone has pulled a Suzuki Swift's 85 hp 1.3 liter engine and swapped it for the Suzuki 130GXE motorcycle 156 hp 1.3 liter engine); some go so far as to build (or have built for them) custom body panels, and some just get lightweight aftermarket wheels. Personally, I'm looking at a combination of such things-- a little more engine "oomph", a little more audio "oomph" (I've done that before rather easily), and just a little something different on the exterior (I think my wheels will be the last thing on my list).

I've been following Subarus for quite a while, and while I firmly believe the WRX is going to be my next car, I was really disappointed when I found out the WRX was coming to the US with only 227 hp- about 50 less horsepower than its Japanese cousin (I remember seeing somewhere that the original Japanese WRX had 276 hp back in... what- 1995?). Essentially, I want to tell any gawkers that what I have what is, a WRX tuned to the original Japanese specs.

Nevertheless, when I read in this forum about "bolt-on" replacement turbos and other parts, I'm reminded of a friend who refused to drive anything younger than 20 years old because he didn't want to bother with engine computer modules-- if he wanted to install a different carburetor, camshaft(s), etc., he didn't want some idiot light telling him some sensor was acting up due to too much or too little oxygen as a result of his modification, which would require him to either install an aftermarket ECM, or worse, get an EPROM re-programmed.

Now personally, I have no problem using a ratchet, torque wrench and some elbow grease- but digging into the engine compartment, yanking the stock turbo and installing a bigger or better one seems a little too easy- I'm figuring that there must be more to it, such as installing a new ECM chip (or even the whole module), changing fuel injectors (to handle the higher output), new oxygen sensors (for the new ECM), boost monitors etc.

So... the question I have is, how much of a hassle is it really, to increase my performance if I have relatively little engine experience? (I know more about building PC computers than I do about car engines). Is it really as easy as pulling the stock turbo and dropping in a high performance one? Are the high-perf units designed to "match" the rest of a stock vehicle? If so, can parts be added incrementally-- first the turbo, then a new exhaust, etc... like the PS2 game Grand Tourismo 3? (Sorry for sounding like a child, with the game reference, but it's the only reference I have.)

Maybe a more specific question I could ask is If I want a meager 50-75 hp boost in horsepower, (saying I have 300 hp illicits more envy than saying I have 276 hp) can I do it with just a turbo replacement, or will there be more involved that might require more than a rudimentary "handyman's" knowledge of engine repair?

Thanks,

SH2
 

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You may be able to squeeze out 40-45 hp but stock turbo is pretty darn small. Top end power is severely limited. I don't see you getting that much unless you swap out the turbo and yes it is that easy. I have 300-480 HP packages available if you are interested in putting together a package that works and is tested. Just read up on some of the threads here and at i-club. Lot's of good info on both sites. Good luck!
 

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It amazes me that an intake will cause CELs, but not an upgrade turbo? :confused:

That's actually pretty funny, heheheh
 

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Hmmm...

Well, despite my fears of them, I am starting to debate CAIs even...Hoping my dealer won't void warranty though...

You use the Blitz SUS right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you very much- you have been very helpful- a "God"send, if you will. Once you explained the acronyms, (MBC, FMIC) and the up/down pipes (I've never driven a turbocharged car), My understanding of some of the threads expanded exponentially. I had forgot one (CEL) but I figured that meant "Check Engine Light".

One thing though- when you described the uppipe, you said "It sits directly below the turbo and the stock unit has a cat in it." Isn't that kinda cruel to felines (heh heh) or is that a catalytic converter? Also, with your description of the downpipe, does that mean there are a total of four catalytic converters in the WRX?

Also, in responding to the very first post I made to this forum (nuther newbie with a question) , you said "yes, it's just that easy" (in reference to swapping out the stock turbo). This is definitely what I plan on doing, but never having done it before, I have no idea what the cost is (which is why I wanted to know if I could do it piecemeal). If I wanted a "modest" horsepower increase to about 300 hp, what am I looking at, out of pocket?

Thanks again,

SH2
 

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He he. Yep I meant catalytic converters. Not kittens of course, although my saying is: "kittens have no place in an exhaust system". Actually there are three cats on the WRX. One before the turbo in the uppipe and 2 afterwards in the downpipe.
As for your 300 HP goal that shouldn't be very hard. You can get around 250-260ish on the stock turbo I would think, with huge gains in mindrange torque. With a modest turbo upgrade 300 HP should be simple and you won't have to upgrade your injectors. One more acronym for you:
BPU = Basic performance Upgrade
Anyone who has ever owned a Supra knows that one as it is a Supra owner's term which many Toyota folks use. Just read up on the forums and you'll get a feel for which turbo might be best for you. Probably a VF30 or something inexpensive like that is plenty for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm gonna necro this thread, cuz in the past 10 years since I first posted, I bought an '04 WRX Wagon, an '08 WRX 5-door and just this past November, a 2012 WRX 5-door... (all used as trade-ins, so no, I don't have the old ones).

I was surprised, actually- the '12 had everything the '08 had, plus 40 more HP, upgraded NAV system, enhanced bluetooth connectivity and moonroof, yet it cost $500 less than the '08.

I never had much of an opportunity to do any customizing on the '04 and '08, but I AM going to play a little with the 2012... I nabbed the short-throw shifter and auto-dimming mirror right away... The NAV system will eventually get it's subwoofer - I just don't like the idea of it taking up mondo amounts of room behind the back seat- Maybe I'll build a hard rear deck (to replace that vinyl rollup one) and mount the under-seat sub to that.

I also gotta find out where I can get a new map for it- the installed map (SD Card) is two years old

right now my next little project is the ThinkGeek :: Kiwi Bluetooth Android Phone Car Diagnostic Kit. I've already downloaded The Android app "Torque Pro" from appbrain.com, which has a fantastic gauge theme that mirrors the WRX/STI gauges (red dials, white needles). I may tweak the theme to reflect the font style in the dash. The bluetooth module for the OBDII port will come next week.

Anyone here use it?

The only thing I don't want to do is bork any potential warranty claims (at least not right away- there's less than 2K miles on the car), which means I won't be upgrading the turbo anytime soon... but then again. never say never.
 
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