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All fired up!


It’s been a long time in the works, but I was finally able to take delivery of the car today! I’ll explain…

First, it took several months before Tigwerks was able to complete my rotated turbo kit order. I didn’t receive parts until August 1st of this year…about 2 months later than planned.

Second, my good friend Archie at PSI ended up merging businesses with a new shop—Crown Concepts—so that he can focus on what he does best: building incredible cars. This change in events required relocating his entire shop and crew, and get setup in a brand new state of the art facility. Understandably this is a big change, but I’m incredibly happy so far with how things have transpired.

Archie did everything, and the engine bay was even left looking super clean…one of my cleanest yet! The fuel system looks totally dialed. The intake setup is incredible. And how he managed to install the IAG AOS and make it not like an octopus is beyond me.

On first ignition, everything fired up beautifully. After bleeding the coolant system properly, I was off. The engine ran super, super smooth thanks to Ron @ Phatbotti Tuning. Ron has tuned my last few cars and is incredible in every way. I’m excited to get the car fully tuned—but not before proper break-in per IAG’s instructions. It can’t come soon enough!

PS – while driving home, the EFR7163 basically wants to be in boost all the time. You’ve got to be very intentional on how you apply the throttle, because you’ll hit 5psi before you even hit the gas!


Parts galore!


I knew from before I even purchased the new STi that I’d be upgrading quite a bit. I did a lot of research and landed on the new EFR7163 turbo (the official turbo for all Indy Car racing) because I wanted a car that was ultra responsive, while still putting down some great power.

It’s documented on several other users’ cars that 500whp is definitely attainable, but the transient response and low-end spool are supposed to be out of this world! I regretted moving to a FMIC on my last build, and the headwork I had done had somewhat slowed down the low-end response. I’m keeping the heads stock this time around, and definitely sticking with a TMIC.

IAG, based out of Maryland, hooked me up with almost all of the parts (since most of these parts are their own design). TurboKits.com supplied the turbo, and a few other parts came from RallySportDirect!

See the gallery for all photos!

The gist of the build:
-IAG Closed Deck 2.5 Tuff Block (coming soon!)
-BorgWarner EFR 7163, 0.85a/r, v-band in/out, EWG, 2000 degree heat coated
-Tigwerks v-band headers, uppipe, downpipe (with wastegate return), all Cerakote head coatings (coming soon!)
-Grimmspeed TMIC black coated
-ARP CA625+ head studs
-JE Pro Seal gaskets
-Killerbee Oil Pickup
-Turbosmart Hypergate 45mm (19psi)

-IAG TGV Deletes (on their way!)
-IAG Fuel Rails
-IAG Fuel Line setup
-IAG AOS Street
-IAG IAT kit
-IAG Air Pump delete plates
-IAG Timing belt guide

-Walbro 465 E85 pump (hardwired)
-Injector Dynamic 1300cc injectors
-Aeromotive FPR
-Cobb Flex Fuel + Sensor Kit
-ACT 6-puck clutch
-Koyorad racing radiator
-Other odds and ends 😉


Drive to dusk


It’s been about 2 weeks since I installed a few upgrades, and they’ve been a very welcome addition!

I removed the struts to install the RCE Yellow Springs, as well as the Perrin 20mm spacers. Not only did this improve the stance (purely cosmetic), but the ride actually got a tad softer, while feeling much more neutral. I’ll admit that its one of the first times I’ve driven a car that felt very neutral in aggressive turns, whereas previously it always had a bit of understeer. Problem solved!

I also added a front lip—which completes the exterior look if you ask me 😉

EFR 7163 is on its way, and then its a full IAG Closed Deck motor swap and supporting bolt ons. 500whp on E85 here she comes!


2015 Subaru WRX STi Launch Edition


With an extra 800 miles on her since I picked her up, I wanted to post a quick review of my impressions. Mostly for my own recollection and memory, but hey, you never know who might read this.

While still being bone stock (actually, a Cobb AP with Stage 1 was added since then), the car is incredibly fun to drive. I thought it would be rather dull, but I am happily mistaken. The power is quite linear, which is something I probably just forgot since my 2011 WRX (my first Subaru ever). It doesn’t have that huge surge like a bigger turbo has, and power comes in smooth and hard. You really only start to feel the turbo running out of breath at 6k rpm.

The interior is mostly identical to my 2008 aside from the obvious styling refinements that come after a 7 year refresh. The dash has more information in digital form, but the Tachometer is no longer center stage. I’m unsure how I feel about that, really. The position of the tach is also different from my 2008. The range of sweeping motion starts at a much higher point, so when you’re cruising at 3500 rpm, my mind keeps thinking I’m somewhere closer to 4800 rpm based on where the dial sat in my 2008. This is just something I’ll get used to, but its an interesting change on the new body.

The new LED lights don’t seem quite as bright as the previous HIDs. The addition of fog lamps is very welcome for me, even though it’ll never see fog, it does add some illumination near the front of the car that helps when taking a turn in to a dark neighborhood (like mine). The shifter is VERY smooth yet amply rigid and precise. The addition of a back-up camera is awesome, although the 2015 models got shorted a much larger screen that is in the 2016+. The added information panel (which is basically identical to my 2015 FXT) is a nice touch, and comes complete with a decent boost gauge. The SI-drive knob is smaller, and feels “tighter” when you turn it. The steering is might tighter, and I like the looks of the new steering wheel. The bluetooth audio streaming works :) Outside of the dual-climate control, there isn’t much else to mention.

The keyless entry is quite nice. It unlocks the car (if the key fob is close enough to the car) instantaneously as you put your hand on the door handle. You can even program it to only unlock the drivers door, or all four. By default, if you open the front passenger door first, it will unlock all doors—a nice touch. I do dislike how the trunk can’t be opened without the key fob being close to the trunk, even though the car might be fully unlocked already. It’s a weird feature. The wing is huge, and have mixed feelings about it.

Overall, its an incredible drive. Its visceral and very planted. The brakes are awesome (as expected), the suspension and ride is better than any car i’ve ever driven. All combined together though, the car is FUN. Really fun.

2016-03-23 18.49.00

Back in an STi!


The time came for me to finally get back in to a fun car. I still LOVE my FXT, but its totally lacking in sporty fun factor. It’s almost there, but at the same time, is completely void of it all together.

I knew I didn’t want to get rid of my daily driver—I wanted to enjoy a dedicated fun car. This would preclude any need to always maintain the car since I’ll have another car to fall back on, and, it will make the car more enjoyable when I do actually take it out for a drive.

I no longer needed a hatchback for practicality, and didn’t even need 4 doors, which means I looked at a LOT of cars. I considered anything and everything.

I did a lot of research on the BRZ, even looked at a Cayman S (used, of course), even seriously looked in to the new Focus RS. None of them made me seriously contemplate a purchase, until I looked seriously at an Audi S3. It has a LOT going for it, too. But I knew I was paying more for luxury than I was for fun.

The stock motor was stout, but not a “holy cow this is fun” kind of feel. The steering wasn’t overly fun, the brakes weren’t incredible, and the throttle and transmission felt lacking in a few turns—it just didn’t respond when I gave it gas, or it didn’t shift exactly when I wanted it to. What it has going for it is the aftermarket tunes (APR stage 1) will allow it to run low 12s, high 11s in the 1/4. On pump gas. That is super impressive!  It looked incredible in person, and the minimalistic interior had its appeal. In the end, it didn’t feel like the right fit for me, not to mention the price was a bit higher than I wanted.

I kept coming back to a new 2015+ STi based on the rave reviews everyone gave for the new chassis and suspension. After looking far and wide at fun car options, the STi kept feeling like the most comfortable choice. I knew the platform inside and out, but the biggest thing was that everywhere I turned, drivers claimed it as one of the funnest cars they’ve ever driven. Even the online car sites and youtube videos confirmed it was more fun than its competitors and out-of-class rivals (including the Audi S3, BMW M235i, Benz CLA45, VW Golf R), and it even made an appearance on Motor Trend’s 2015 Drivers Car of the Year list.

After searching for the options I wanted, I ended up with a 2015 STi Launch Edition—the only way to get WRB and gold BBS. I have always loved this “standard” color combo that came on the early 2004-2005 models, and really liked the way it made the new platform look. I’m not overly in love with the new looks, but I can appreciate it. More importantly, the Launch Edition had exactly what I wanted: push button start and keyless entry. I didnt’ want a moon-roof or any of the other options, I wanted a purist car that was all about the drive, and nothing else.

I picked up my slightly used and well-cared STi from a seller in Flagstaff, and it was impeccable. Only 7940 miles on the clock when I got her, and she looked basically brand new.

My first impression after taking off for the first time was “whoa”—it felt good to be back in a STi. Now this is the first time I’ve owned a bone-stock STi before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive it felt. It had great power, but man, the handling felt INCREDIBLE. I was instantly impressed and blown-away at the same time…something I was not expecting to happen.

It feels kind of surreal to be back in a STi, and now, thankfully, it will be a dedicated fun car.


2015 FXT road trip!


I’ve been enjoying the FXT everyday I drive it. It’s practicality cannot be trumped—even my wife’s 2013 Outback seems less practical in comparison. The cabin space and ease of access is just superb, and I’m not surprised that Subaru is breaking sales records lately mostly due to the new Forester platform.

I decided to take a road trip up to an area of Arizona i’ve always wanted to visit: Monument Valley.

The ride was very comfy and I managed a stout 26mpg on the way up (uphill). Once I arrived, the off-road abilities of the FXT were very impressive. While the AWD is clearly class-leading, the ride quality over uneven and bump terrain was just incredible.

I read some of the TripAdvisor reviews about the Monument Valley roads through the canyons and a lot of people complained at how rocky it was, and that they didn’t expect it to be that bad. Honestly though, they must be crazy because the roads weren’t that bad. While very uneven, I could cruise pretty fast down some of the roads without any worry, and the FXT handled it quite nicely. Well done Subaru!


Back to Subaru!


It was an interesting period with the BMW. It was the nicest car i’ve ever owned, and incredibly nice to drive as a daily driver, while still being fun and sporty when you wanted it to be. However, even with a full CPO warranty, the BMW was in the shop more often than not. Not fun.

In the span of the 8 months I owned it, I took it in the shop 6 times. Yes, 6.

Some of the repairs were for major engine failures—like high-pressure fuel pumps, injectors, power seats not working right, the list goes on.  While it has an awesome CPO warranty, there is still a $50 deductible every time you service it.

And I’m not even going to count the number of tires replaced due to TERRIBLE run flat options that were on the car. Thankfully I bought the Discount Tire certificates (only paid for one tire), because I ended up replacing the front two tires 2-3 times EACH. I’ve hardly replaced a full set of tires on a car in a span of 3-4 years, let alone in 8 months.

It started to get a little tiresome always taking it to get fixed. I loved the ride, but the upkeep was a bit ridiculous, not to mention how quickly a luxury car like this depreciates in front of your eyes.

I decided it was time. Subaru was calling me back, and, I wanted something with a bit more utility. Meet the new 2015 Forester XT. She’s purty, pretty sporty (ok that might be an exaggeration, but at least the turbo isn’t terrible), is reliable, and incredibly practical. Happy so far!


In the meantime…


I couldn’t just get out of a 500hp Subaru and walk away with something ‘slow’ again. I learned my lesson. I wanted something quick, but it didn’t need to be full-out faster than anything else.

I wanted an automatic. I wanted it to be comfortable. I wanted it to require less maintenance. At the same time, it needed to be FUN. I think I found my match: 2011 BMW 550i.

This particular car had all the bells and whistles: navigation, rear DVD screens, 4 wheel steering (it’s a trip!), light interior (win!), air-conditioned seats, massaging seats (holy smokes its nice!). It’s decked out and SUPER comfy. Driving on the freeway is like riding in first class…almost.

It’s pretty quick, and the steering and sportiness is still there. A spirited canyon drive proved it to be far more potent than I had expected. It handles quite well (for a heavy car) and is still incredibly responsive—with a full-manual option that doesn’t shift for you if you don’t want it to, and shifts precisely when you ask it to.

I didn’t think I’d like it that much, but man, its NICE. From a cost perspective, it was a straight trade basically.

2014-12-20 12.26.44



It’s kind of hard to believe that I’m getting out of the Subaru yet again. There isn’t really anything wrong with the car, other than it doesn’t have two turbos, more displacement, and more cylinders.  The STi is such a visceral drive—it’s all hands on deck when you want to get crazy!

For daily driving, it can get a bit old. My commute to work isn’t that far, but at the same time, 12mpg on E85 and constantly monitoring the health and performance of the engine can take its toll.

A happy new buyer walked away with the car and took it to Louisiana. She’s going to be missed!

Grimmspeed Alternator Cover & Radiator Shroud


With all the recent additions to help clean up the engine bay, it was time to add some customization products that would cover up some of the unsightly parts of the Subaru engine bay, namely the terribly hideous alternator.

I had wanted both of these items for quite some time now, but justifying the cost was the hard part for items that were 100% purely cosmetic. RallySport Direct was running a July 04 sale and decided to jump on board, and I’m VERY glad I did.

Once both the Grimmspeed Alternator Cover and Grimmspeed Radiator Shroud were installed, it was an instant improvement.

The Alternator Cover attaches with spacers to the OEM locations, and it was a fairly straightforward installation. The location of the spacers was a bit difficult to reach on one of the sides, but it didn’t take too much effort to get the bolts and nuts all wrenched in tight. Once installed, the grim sight of the OEM alternator has now almost completely vanished. The black wrinkle powder coating matches very well with the rest of the engine bay, and is a solid mount to place stuff on while working with tools and parts. I can 100% recommend this product!

The Grimmspeed Radiator Shroud was the next addition, purely to match the Alternator Cover, but also because of the integrated tool tray. Without looking at any installation instructions, it wasn’t immediately obvious that the OEM radiator stays needed to be removed, and the bushings on the radiator stays would then be swapped to the Grimmspeed Alternator Shroud. After taking a quick glance at the Grimmspeed website, it became clear what needed to happen and it was an easy replacement. Once installed, it tied everything together perfectly! Both are here to stay for good.

I’ve always been a fan of Grimmspeed products and the way they design quality parts, both in form and function. Two thumbs up here!

Killer Bee Upper Coolant Reservoir Review


As part of a series of new additions to clean up the engine bay and make it look better, the Killer Bee Upper Coolant Reservoir is a very welcome addition. One of the not-so-nice side effects of the Subaru engine layout is the fact that the turbo coolant hoses actually sit higher than the fill cap on top of the radiator. Traditional vehicles allow you to fill your radiator with coolant right at the radiator. But since the Subaru turbo is elevated above the radiator cap, this setup requires that you have a fill point higher than both the turbo and radiator to prevent any air from entering the system.

The Subaru OEM upper coolant reservoir is large, bulky, and not very pretty. It also sits right in the pathway of your turbo intake with any kind of rotated turbo setup. Many tuners are forced to relocate this reservoir to various places, and its not an easy task.

This is where Killer Bee has made a small innovation that cleans up space and makes for a nicer engine bay.

It’s a fairly straight forward install. All the ports and necessary hookups are right on this tiny reservoir and it bolts right up. It’s hard to even call it a reservoir since it holds almost no coolant. This isn’t a problem since the coolant is a pressurized system, and this only only serves as your fill tank, since its still the highest point in the coolant system.

The Killer Bee Upper Reservoir is a beautiful, solid, single piece of billet aluminum and powder coated black. You reuse your stock radiator cap, since it has a valve in it to bleed off any excess coolant into your overflow tank. Once installed, I needed to fill and “burp” the coolant system to remove air from inside the passages. I had to source a special “spill free” funnel to aid in this process. Once filled, squeeze both upper and lower radiator hoses and try and get as much air passing through the coolant system.

Then let the car run for a few minutes until the radiator fans actually turn, so that the thermostat opens and actually circulates coolant through the radiator. Make sure all the bubbles are gone and then button it up.

Kudos to Killer Bee for making this piece! I know it’s likely not going to be a big seller, but it was a welcome addition to my engine bay!

Huge Changes! Manifold, HTA86, Billet Fuel Rails + more


Shortly after I changed out the throttle body for the new Boomba 75mm throttle body, I started to experience some weird misfires. Knowing that I’ve had to replace some ignition coil packs, I pulled the cylinder 1 coil pack and replaced it with a brand new one. I also swapped out all of the spark plugs just to be safe. All of them were clean, but new ones were put in to replace the one-step colder NGK’s that were in there.

The misfire was hit or miss. Sometimes it would pop-up after it got really hot, sometimes it wouldn’t. My suspicion was two things: 1) The Boomba Throttle Body does not have a coolant port like the stock one does. You just route it to back to the block where the stock return line would be on the stock throttle body. I didn’t think it would be a problem, unless the stock throttle body is actually cooling the coolant, making it so that any coolant passing on to cylinders 1 and 3 were at a bit lower temperature. I don’t have any way to prove it, but considering it started happening immediately after installing the Boomba, it was an idea. 2) The injectors or something was clogged, or 3) there was a boost leak on the passenger side TGVs.

With all this in mind, I decided to do some extensive customization when I pulled the manifold to swap out both injectors and TGVs.

I found a used 08 STi manifold and had it custom ported and bored to 75mm, eliminating any restrictions in the intake side. It didn’t make sense to have larger intercooler piping that then was squeezed down to the stock manifold opening. After speaking with another Subaru specialist who had great results with port matching everything (both exhaust and intake), it seemed like a good idea.

I was itching for a tad more power too, so a new HTA86 .82a/r seemed like a great fit for this motor. A Perrin FMIC was also added to the upgrade mix to handle the increased flow and power capacity.

I have always wanted to clean up the engine bay significantly, as the Perrin fuel rails are really kind of an eye-sore. I don’t like the big lines and its whole layout is just messy. After having received the Process West Fuel Rails I decided it was time to make the engine bay look pretty. I took the manifold and intake piping over to PSI to get some custom powder coating! They did a great job and it really has stepped up the overall look.

I tore out the Perrin Fuel Rails and lines and fitted the new Process West fuel rails with custom Earle’s fuel lines and -AN fittings. The fuel rails are -8AN on both inlet/outlet, and all lines from the surge tank and back to the Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator are -6AN.

Injectors were also replaced with hirer rated and higher quality Injector Dynamic 2000cc injectors. ID provides better pulse width data to help resolve any stumbles in the non-linear range.

If you have a keen eye you might have spotted the Killer Bee Upper Coolant Reservoir that replaced the stock one. This was purely to make more space for the turbo inlet, since the stock one is pretty massive and restricts space in that area. It’s a very nice piece and looks a heck of a letter better now!

Big thanks to Phatbotti Tuning for helping me get a near perfect base map, even after all these changes!

Boomba 75mm Throttle Body Review


I recently decided to pick up a larger throttle body since I had read some great things about the low-end response it generates. Across multiple dyno sheets, it added more power everywhere, but significantly added a bit more torque down low. All good things in my book :)

The installation was pretty straight forward. After removing the stock throttle body, the only hard part was actually drilling out the rivets attaching the servo motor cover on the stock throttle body. From there, you remove the gears and motor from the stock throttle body and pop it in to the Boomba. The only thing that was frustrating about the installation, that wasn’t addressed on their provided instructions was that my servo motor was bolted to the throttle body assembly using “tamper proof” torx bolts. This required a pause in the assembly to run to the hardware store and get the special T20 Torx wrench. Other than that everything went together pretty well.

They provided an adapter plate that on one side is mated to the 75mm throttle opening, down to the OEM stock intake manifold bore size. You can purchase an additional straight 75mm adapter for those with bored out throttle bodies (like mine). The provided hardware and bolts were a nice addition, as well as spacers to accommodate for the the change in position of your TMIC.

I had this installed along side my Grimmspeed TMIC before I ended up pulling the manifold for a new ported and bored manifold and Perrin TMIC setup.

Immediately upon driving it I could tell that the low-end response was there. How to measure it I’m not sure, but it was a noticeable change.

zeitronix eca e-85 gauge flex fuel

Zeitronix ECA E-85 Gauge Install


I recently purchased the Zeitronix ECA Gauge, which is a combincation of a flex fuel sensor, a wiring harness, and a custom gauge. This gauge will also emit data (E85% and also Fuel Temperature) for logging if you have that capability, but as of this post Cobb has not yet enabled any type of flex-fuel tuning. Hopefully soon they’ll enable this function, as EcuTek already allows flex-fuel tuning!

I decided to install the gauge inside the fuse door, which is located near gas door unlock. It fits perfect, although it will cover up your fuse diagram. I took a photo of the diagram before for future reference.

As for the wiring, its about as easy as any other gauge. Just hook it up to a switched 12v connection, a ground, and connect the signal cable on the harness and the gauge. Thats it!

With the increasing amount of high horsepower Subaru’s running around, being able to monitor the quality of your fuel has never been more important!

deatschwerks dw300 pump failure e85

DW300 pump failure :(


Didn’t make it to the track this weekend like I was hoping. I wanted to make a few passes and claim one of the Grimmspeed TMIC bounties for running a 10 second pass. Lets just say that friday was an interesting car day. I was pulling some logs for some final touchups on the tune and out of nowhere the AFR began to spike to 14+. Fuel pressure was down almost 20psi! I cranked up the FPR and no change…figured maybe its a bad Aeromotive FPR. I limped home and didn’t drive it.

I pulled the Aeromotive FPR today to check it out, as everything else seems fine. Disassembled it and it seemed brand new still.

Put it back in and it returned to idle at 35psi (like it was Friday night). What the heck is going on?

I sit on it for the day and go to start it this afternoon. Fuel pressure dropped to 8psi…WTF?! I then realized there was no more loud DW300 pump noise…both of them were not turning on. Checked all the fuses. Pumps are dead. Go figure, the one time I give DW a try (when a lot of DW300 pumps have failed on E85). The poor Walbro 255 is trying its best to create pressure through the dead pumps and feed the engine. At least it is not dead.

I drained the tank, pulled the pumps, and rewired in a single Walbro 460 and things are back to normal. This time, with a single pump, if it dies, it will be immediately noticeable vs a dual pump setup could have one failure and still be somewhat functioning. Car is running awesome now!


Weekend Canyon


A quick shot from my weekend canyon cruise putting to test my new Canon 400 2.8 IS. This is a 4 shot stitch, on one of my favorite parts of the Mt. Lemmon drive!

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Review


Upon receiving the car back last November, it was pretty apparent that the tires had not been rotated. The back tires had some decent treat left, but the front were pretty worn. It was quite a difference. Considering you really want to have consistent tread with an AWD vehicle, and the fact I was never overly impressed wit the BF Goodrich Sport Comp 2 that I originally had put on, I decided it was time for a new pair of shoes.

After doing a lot of reading and comparisons, there were quite a few tires I was looking at. Bridgestone had a few tires that sounded pretty awesome, including the RE760, S-04 Pole Position, and the RE970 Pole Position, the last getting the best reviews for dry performance. Durezza has a decent offering with the DZ101, and the Hankook Ventus RS3 also had great reviews. Having had the Hankook Ventus EVO12 on the Forester, which performed very well especially for the cost, these were also on my list. The last on my short list were the always revered and acclaimed Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

The Michelin tires are OEM tires for many venerable cars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia, and many other true super cars. It didn’t get the BEST ratings when pitted against a few of the named above, but it was always in a close second. Importantly though, it took high marks in both wet traction as well as dry traction. Seeing how wet traction isn’t a big deal in Arizona, this wasn’t a huge deal. However, comfort and ride noise were always praised as well. With overall positive treadware reports, I decided to bite the bullet and go with the Michelins and overall, I’m very pleased so far. I’ve only put about 100 miles on these tires, so take it for what it’s worth.

I think these are great looking tires, both in the tread pattern as well as sidewall design. I’m a bit OCD when it comes to appearance, and these had no problem passing my eye test. I like the fact that they don’t look like a ‘ricer’ tire, and I’ve always been a fan of assymetrical design. The Bridgestone RE760 have a great pattern to them, but overall were a tad too obvious when it came to looking like a sporty tire. The Michelin’s are subtle, but to any auto enthusiast, appear to mean business.

Ride Comfort
I was quite pleased in my first few miles to notice that they were definitely comfortable. I never really had considered how tires could affect ride comfort, but they was a slight difference when comparing the BFG Sport Comp 2.

Ride Noise
These tires are quiet. I can’t even really notice them. The BFG Sport Comp 2 did well in this regard, but this is another step in the right direction. Welcome addition!

Dry Traction
Wow. These things grip like no ones business. I have yet to break the tires loose on some sharp turns, and for me this is impressive. The Hankooks and BFG gripped well, but push it hard enough and I could break them loose. Not in a bad way, but there was a limit. I don’t think I’ve quite hit the limit on these Pilot Super Sports, they almost feel like slicks (not really, but you get the picture).

This is the only area where I thought it was somewhat of a downgrade. The BFG Sport Comp 2s were quite responsive. Any subtle twist of the steering wheel was met with an immediate response. The Michelins do not respond nearly as quick, but they are still very precise and very predictable. During a spirited drive up the canyons these tires were very predictable throughout the entire turn.

4.7 out of 5 stars! The only knock is the steering response, and this might be personal preference on my part. However every other aspect is top notch. To date, these are the best tires I’ve owned!

PS – You can also see the new JDM STi R205 side badges, a nice upgrade!

Accessport V3 + STi Dashboard


Made some tweaks to my current displays and added a new boost gauge, as well as my own unique setup for mounting my Cobb Accessport v3.

The boost gauge is a digital AEM, which replaced the really cheap and crappy Prosport Gauge which also beeped at me, refused to work, and flat out died within a year. Don’t waste your money on it.

I decided to go with a digital gauge to somewhat match my Innovate Motorsports MTX-L wideband. The gauges are harder to read at quick glance because you have to actually look closely to see its power range, where as the digital versions I can glance super fast and see what level I’m at. I do prefer the Cobb Accessport with a 6 gauge display, as it will show me my latest peak, so I can look later and see what it was running.

I taped a super strong neodymium magnet onto the dash, near the radio, and the AP v3 sticks right to it. Love how simple it is now!

Process West Surge Tank Review


I’ve been running the car for almost 2 weeks now and have worked out a few kinks here and there. So far so good!

I just wanted to post a quick review of my thoughts on the new Process West Surge Tank that I recently installed to help improve fuel flow, and reduce any potential starvation.

Overall it’s pretty straightforward and it works as advertised. The build quality is excellent, it fit wonderfully in the designated area, and seems to flow as advertised. It bumped the previous fuel pressure setting from 55psi to 60psi.

I removed the Walbro 465 from the in-tank location and replaced it with a standard 255lph pump to prevent any possible over-pressurization of the surge tank itself.

The only negative thing I have to say is that Process West advertises it as “zero pump noise”. That is definitely not the case. At idle, it’s quite audible, where any of my previous pump setups I’ve tried (Walbro 255, Walbro 265, AEM1000) had no noticeable noise in the cabin. It’s not a big deal for me and it’s a nice reminder to know it’s pumping away, but be aware that you’ll hear it. I think it makes it sound more like a racecar :)

Fired up!


OK, so the past two weeks have been slow, long, but fruitful. After getting the rotating assembly all balanced (thanks Bakers!), I started doing in the build and install. I had a buddy to help me wrench in the garage, so it helped having two hands on a few things.

I had to make a few trips to PSI to grab a few items that I didn’t realize were missing, and/or just wanted new items for piece of mind. They had them every time (case bolts, bolt washers, piston clips) and can’t thank them enough!

We spent a good part of the day yesterday getting things all tidied up. Wired up the new AEM IAT to the intercooler, installed the Process West Surge Tank, replaced a fuel pressure gauge (AEM, which ironically is not working).

The surge tank was straight forward, except the instructions did not match up with my ECU pinouts. I called Subaru Superstore in PHX and one of their techs emailed me a copy of the ECM pinouts and we tapped in to the wiring from there. I’m curious as to why it needed a RPM signal though, on top of an ignition signal. Just never heard of it is all. Process West advertises NO pump sound, but I can clearly hear it when idling. I was worried about how to prime it before firing it up, but turning the ignition to ‘on’, you could clearly hear it working. Props, seems like a VERY stout setup.

We fired it up yesterday and things were going great! Held 2,000rpm for 16 minutes (cam break-in) before we saw that the coolant temp was up to 225°!! We shut it down and checked the coolant system. We put in a brand new Koyorad at last minute (perfect fitment) and replaced the upper hose at the same time. The lower hose was cool…upper hose was pretty hot. Crap. Called Tucson Subaru and got a new thermostat + gasket.

By the time we got back to the house it was cool enough to flush it out and replace the thermostat. Took about another hour in and out. Refilled the coolant, fired it up, burped it a bit, and let it idle for another 6 minutes. Engine held at 190° for about 10 minutes so I figured we were safe to go. Immediately changed the oil (Brad Penn break-in oil) and went on a drive.

It’s only on 91 pump right now, but so far I can tell its a bit more responsive. I’m betting its mainly the 9:1 compression. It feels a TON better than when we pulled the motor, so I’m happy :) New ACT 6puck replaced my worn out 6puck and it grabs very low. Little chatter if I don’t blip the throttle, but so far it has some great bite. In a few hundred miles she’ll be ready to start tuning!

Process West Anti-Surge Tank for Subaru


I just received the latest Process West Anti-Surge Tank with dual DW300 pumps over the weekend, and I must say this thing is STOUT. There are alternatives that look pretty nice from Radium Engineering, but I wanted a complete plug and play system where I didn’t need to source new wires, hoses, or anything else. The Process West was a tad pricey, but it came complete and ready to install. A HUGE bonus is that this is a surge tank that mounts above the transmission cross-member, so it is not inside the cabin where it can produce extra noise, take up trunk space, or potentially leak inside the cabin bay and cause a potential hazard. Kudos to Process West for making a fairly straightforward product that is robust, well documented, and one that flows like a mother.

Each of the DW300 in-take fuel pumps can flow 300lph, giving me a potential flow capacity of 600lph! Holy shnikes! Some might ask “hey, don’t you already have a Walbro 465 pump”? Yes, I do. It also has a tendency to slip out of the stock Subaru in-tank canister nipple, which causes a pressure leak. So while it can handle the flow for the power I’m making, there was a secondary reason I wanted a surge tank: fuel starvation for extreme g-forces (hard cornering on a track), and drag racing. There were a few times when I did full 1/4 mile pull, and near the top of 4th gear, I could feel some slight hesitations, and it was because the stock Subaru canister would run out of fuel. This only happened when the fuel tank was running on the low side, but a full tank would also add significant weight.

Both problems are now hopefully solved, and I can rest assured that fuel starvation will no longer be a problem. Hopefully the install will be as straight forward as they say!

Ported W25 STi Heads


Part of the plan for the bigger build was some rebuilt heads. It was something I wish I had done to the car a year back but decided not to. I sent my spare heads off to Curt Brown in Pittsburgh for a port and rebuild. His service was excellent and everything seems pretty awesome so far. The actual porting doesn’t look quite as nice as other’s I’ve seen from Nuke Performance or from Headgames, so who knows how they’ll perform.

Included was a whole new valvetrain upgrade, including Ferrea valves, GSC Beehive springs, new valve seals/locks, as well as some GSC S1 cams. Hoping to rev her out to 8000rpm and let her rip!

Outfront Motorsports Closed Deck Block


It’s been a while since my last update and figured now was the time. When the car came back it arrived with a check engine code for a 2nd cylinder misfire. It wouldn’t go away so I took it to PSI and had them check it out. Combined with the CEL, low compression in cylinder 2, there were bubbles in the coolant and a bit of white smoke in the exhaust when getting on boost. The diagnosis was a failed headgasket. Ugh. The last thing I wanted to see.

I pulled the engine, did a leakdown test, and it was also indicative of unhealthy motor, despite everything looking clean. The pistons were good, cylinders were great (still had a great cross hatch too), rings looked fine, and no cracks. I thought “hey lets just replace the rings and call it a day”. We went to re-hone it and the piston cylinders were out of round. I’m betting Rallispec used stock case halves and didn’t bore it themselves, which means Subaru doesn’t use torque plates when boring the case halves. Lame.

So I’ve been taking my time thinking through what I want to do with the car and how I wanted to proceed. After a bit of time and research, I came across a new block strengthening treatment that is meant to be nearly indestructible with high boost. A few people over at NASIOC have been stress testing these blocks with great success, pushing the 800whp on these new blocks. I was sold and put one on order. Outfront Motorsport’s closed deck subaru block is a beautiful solution with 10 years experience behind it. The machining looks impeccable! Hoping this is a better long term solution to running a high boost Subie!

PS – Outfront also sells a custom headgasket made by JE, since after decking the block again you lose about a 1/2mm in deck surface, so a standard head gasket wouldn’t be adequate.

PPS – Lets see what 30psi feels like now? :)


En Route!


Got a happy text this morning from my buddy that the STi was picked up this morning! Holy tolito, it’s finally happening.

When I shipped the car to DC, it took 3 days. I’d love to believe she’ll be here that quickly, but, if she arrives before Friday I’ll be elated.

What should the next mod be?

9500ix, Tein Super Street Coils + EDFC, Carbon Fiber Driveshaft?

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