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jonwright 09-03-2010 09:21 AM

1st mod setup advice: Tuner recommendations - your thoughts
 
So I'm looking for a STEALTH back road bomber to make my 20 mile commute to the office via the twisty roads a bit more fun. I'm looking for reliability and not having to mess with my car, but more punch. This car will not be my hobby.

I have a recently purchased totally stock '03 WRX wagon with 37k miles.

So I talked to AWDTuning near Dallas and explained what I wanted - more torque around 3-4k RPM for better drive out of the turns and also a nice rumble from my exhaust - but QUIET. Just a little extra. The car just falls flat on it's face after I shift then it has to build up boots again - and it's no fun unless it's really on the boil at 5k RPM+.

He has a used STI exhaust system laying about that he'd sell me for what I consider cheap. Also a 3 port boost controller and a custom tune along with up/down pipe (I believe). He says that's good for 30+ HP and also a really fat torque curve where I want it.

Thoughts? Other stuff to do while he's in there?

basco 09-03-2010 10:01 AM

That sounds good as a beginning path, if I were you I would pop for some swaybars to really make those twisty roads alot more fun

man show 09-03-2010 10:40 AM

[quote=basco;249845]I would pop for some swaybars to really make those twisty roads alot more fun[/quote]

I'd second that. I also agree with the 3 port bcs, downpipe, catless up pipe, and tune.

Out of curiosity, how much is your tuner going to charge you for the stock STi cat back? You might want to avoid that one because the STi cat back is extremely similar to the stock WRX cat back and there's really not going to be much of a gain in performance or sound there - the tip basically looks a little different. You're probably better off looking for a nice aftermarket cat back that you like the look and sound of. If you're intent on saving money, you could search around for a used cat back. Many people are getting rid of their lightly used quieter exhausts for more sound/performance. You might want to check out NASIOC.com in the classifieds section.

Here's more info on modding too for you to browse through at your leisure: [url=http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=533787]Unabomber's Manifesto - NASIOC[/url]

jonwright 09-03-2010 11:19 AM

Thanks, Manshow. I found the Unabomber FAQ and have been going through it. I don't recall if it was catback only or the full system or what - he just mentioned that he had it laying around as I was talking about getting something cheap and certainly did not want loud at all. He was charging $80 for it.

The swaybars are a good idea as well - I think I found some that I'll see about putting on as well. Brakes, too! Time for new pads. Thinking EBC Red (as I have used them on my race bikes and I have some EBC discount cards).

But really sounds like the boost controller and tune are making the HP at this point, not the exhaust with the STI setup, no?

jonwright 09-03-2010 11:57 AM

So Cobb in Plano has a totally different approach:

He suggests their access port and cat back to start. Just the tune itself would yield set of the pants results. He says that with the stock tunes in the tuner and turbo back exhaust and that's the most you are going to get out of the stock motor.

He also said that running a boost controller wasn't really a good idea in his opinion as once you start turning it up the intercooler is smaller and it's a small turbo and it just makes for a larger heat pump.

So, really, at this point I can see where the new map really cleans up the power curve on the motor - same result from both tuners. While AWD's approach is probably ok, I'm rather liking what I'm hearing from Cobb/Plano at this point as it fits better with staying stock.

I'm sure there are folks out there that have run boost controllers just fine - but if I need to take the car back to AWD for another tune if something isn't right that will be quite inconvenient.

.....thinking......

newtothegame 09-03-2010 12:12 PM

The AP is great I have used it form stock to my 20G set up Im running now. The base maps on the AP are better than none. But there is power that can be made form them as they are general maps meant to work with every car across the nation. Look into used STI turbo (vf39/43 and TMIC) along with a bellmouth DP, 3port BCS and a tune (can be done ontop/using the AP). What is your budget?

jonwright 09-03-2010 12:30 PM

Less than $1k for starters. I'm not looking for dumping a lot of money or HP in this car. Bang for buck. I've got 4 kids and another on the way...

Would a cobb AP that's advertised for an '04 STI work for an '03 WRX? Same part number in their web site.

newtothegame 09-03-2010 12:38 PM

Im not sure if would work or not. The maps would be far from the same (STI and 06+ WRX use 2.5L motors with several different variations within them) the 02-05 WRX uses the 2.0L engine. My initial answer would be no, but you could download (from Cobbs website) the maps for an 03 WRX and it should work then. Best bet is to email Cobb and ask them for a better answer.

mosc 09-03-2010 04:05 PM

No, the AP (V2.0) has 3 versions which are not compatible with each other
02-05 WRX is AP001
04-07 STi and 06-07 WRX is AP002
08+ WRX and STi is AP003

man show 09-04-2010 01:35 AM

I actually got an email from Cobb the other day asking me to fill out a survey on a possible AccessPORT Version 3.0 (the current model is 2.0). It asked all kinds of questions like what did I use it for, what features do I like, what features do I think are useless, what features would I like to see in a revised model, price, map features, etc. It really went into detail and got me pretty excited about the next model.

Just thinking down the road... for those of us who might have the V2 and desire the V3 (if/when it comes out), some people might throw their used V2s on the market for a rather cheap price. You might want to consider saving up your money and buying a used V2 which will probably yield pretty much the same results as a possible V3. Just some food for thought.

But yeah, I'm in a similar boat with Joshua. I bought my AP V2 shortly after I bought my car and flashed to Cobb's Stage 1 map and noticed a really nice difference in smoothness compared to the stock map that was on my 07 WRX. Then I gathered some money and bought a downpipe and flashed to Stage 2 and enjoyed that even more. In the future, I hope to get some more go-fast bits and get a professional shop to tune me for them using the AP.

Whether you buy one new (or used) now or wait and buy one used (or new) later, the Cobb AccessPORT is a pretty solid investment. Worst case, you could sell it and salvage several hundred bucks, but it's nice to grow with it and the variety of maps, tuning potential, and other features are really nice.

I still think you should skip the STi stock cat back though. Save your 80 bucks and put it toward something else. The STi stock downpipe is exactly the same design as the stock WRX downpipe - blank plate/hole design - pretty much the worst and most restrictive design you could possibly have. I think the main differences between the stock STi and WRX cat backs are that the piping of the STi cat back might be like 1/4-1/2" bigger (if that) and the tip is different, but that's pretty much it. It might sound a little deeper, but it really doesn't give you the performance gain to warrant spending 80 bucks on one. If it was dang near free, that might be ok, but honestly, it's better off as scrap metal unless you happen to like the way it looks from the back. I think you'd be better off getting an aftermarket cat back that you like the look and sound of. There are plenty on the market to choose from - I'm sure one will be quiet and stealthy, but deep enough to suite your tastes.

Fin.

sleepr 09-04-2010 05:34 AM

[quote=basco;249845]That sounds good as a beginning path, if I were you I would pop for some swaybars to really make those twisty roads alot more fun[/quote]

Swaybars, endlinks, an ALK kit, bushings, and other suspension pieces are what really allowed me to "bomb" the backroads with precision. Power may get you up to speed, but suspension will keep you at speed! ;)

jonwright 09-04-2010 10:30 AM

Yup, I hear ya sleeper. Back to my streetbike racing days - you spend your $$ on suspension and not an exhaust for best results.

Sounds like I need to hold out for the AP and be a bit patient for a used one. Sometimes I'm good like that.

I was reading up on the swaybars and suspension and that's not as straightforward as a light engine mod it appeared to me. I'm going to dip my toes really carefully there and it handles OK so far for me right now. Brakes are the weak link so far (I think they are OEM from '03 - so it's time). Yeah, the Sumitomo tires aren't quite grippy at the limit but since they are almost brand new I'm not springing for new ones. And I don't want to give up much more in comfort for handling at the moment - I live on a bumpy road riddled with pot holes so I"m a little reluctant to put bigger sway bars on there.

I've got the dreaded clunking noise (I THINK) in the back - could be front - which I've read is a known issue with the struts. I'll read up some more on common fixes and what works well as a modest upgrade for not a lot of $$ than a stock component(s).

jonwright 09-04-2010 10:32 AM

Guess I just need to head to Cobbs for a first Thursday run in Plano to check out exhausts - I might have some business that day that would require a trip to Dallas. :D

brfatal 09-06-2010 04:17 PM

[quote=jonwright;249853]So Cobb in Plano has a totally different approach:

He suggests their access port and cat back to start. Just the tune itself would yield set of the pants results. He says that with the stock tunes in the tuner and turbo back exhaust and that's the most you are going to get out of the stock motor.

He also said that running a boost controller wasn't really a good idea in his opinion as once you start turning it up the intercooler is smaller and it's a small turbo and it just makes for a larger heat pump.

So, really, at this point I can see where the new map really cleans up the power curve on the motor - same result from both tuners. While AWD's approach is probably ok, I'm rather liking what I'm hearing from Cobb/Plano at this point as it fits better with staying stock.

I'm sure there are folks out there that have run boost controllers just fine - but if I need to take the car back to AWD for another tune if something isn't right that will be quite inconvenient.

.....thinking......[/quote]

Tell me the name of the person at Cobb who told you this stuff so I can chew them out for lying to potential customers. This person has absolutely no clue what they are talking about. It couldn't have been Chris or Neil, so it had to have been one of the new guys. :mad:

His advice will result in a louder car with less power and more money spent than what AWDTuning offered. Not only that but everything you just posted that he said is dead wrong. The free maps on the AP are terrible and leave gobs of power untapped, the stock turbo has plenty of potential left despite being small, a TBE and tune is far from reaching the potential of the stock motor, the stock intercooler is fine for what most tuners will do with the stock turbo, and boost controllers are great on bugeyes assuming the user knows what they are doing.


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