Upgrade Path to get STi-level Performance from a WRX - Subaru WRX Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 09-16-2013, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Upgrade Path to get STi-level Performance from a WRX

mosc's suggestion in another thread got me thinking about this.

He's probably right that it's better to just get an STi than to upgrade a WRX to get similar performance, but let's think an upgrade path through together just to confirm.

Let's say for argument's sake the objective is STi-level performance at the track, which would be keeping up with a stock STi. What might the minimum and least expensive improvements be required, with some idea of how much might they cost?

Tires
  • better than 225/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE070 [STi OEM]
Brakes
  • track pads + racing brake fluid
Suspension
  • stiffer springs, stronger struts, damping to match the springs, upgraded rear sway+ a performance alignment
Power
  • turbo-back exhaust, turbo up-pipe + Stage 2 tune

The STi has plenty more to offer than this list of upgrades of course, but in the interest of simplicity and to be inexpensive we don't need to include anything that won't help our WRX keep up to a stock STi.

Have I missed anything, and what kind of budget do we need for this upgrade path?
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post #2 of 25 Old 09-17-2013, 09:36 AM
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Trade in your WRX and get an Sti.


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post #3 of 25 Old 09-17-2013, 10:47 AM
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You're thinking of older STIs. No one puts RE070s on STIs now. Those tires suck.


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post #4 of 25 Old 09-17-2013, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking of same-generation WRX/STi comparisons, yes. What are the simplest, least expensives mods that will help our WRX keep up to a same-generation STi at the track?

Getting input on the required mods is the first step. I was hoping to follow through by estimating the typical cost for that list of mods and then comparing the collective upgrade $ to what the difference in street value of a WRX and STi would be.

So what do you think, would the list of mods above be enough to help our WRX keep up with the same-generation STi on the track?

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post #5 of 25 Old 09-17-2013, 03:09 PM
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In what way do you want to match an STi?

How about astetically? That's just a park bench, some fog light covers, springs, wheels, tires, door trim, HED hedlights, Brembo brakes/rotors, front plastic canard covers, door cards, carpets, dash, steering wheel, pedals, except they're drive by wire so you need a wiring harness, ecu, heads, GAH! Sorry, I got nauseous. I could still look in your window and know in 3 seconds that it's a WRX (it's got a 5-speed).

How about driveline? That's even more than every single thing I listed above.

The only things you can match an STi on cost effectively are the engine and the suspension. If those are your two areas of concern (power and suspension), you bought the wrong car for your money. There's a RWD firebreathing beast for less that works far better on a dry track.

I'm going to lay down some really deep wisdom for you man. If you want an STi, buy an STi. Did I just blow your mind?

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post #6 of 25 Old 09-17-2013, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mosc View Post
I'm going to lay down some really deep wisdom for you man. If you want an STi, buy an STi. Did I just blow your mind?
I agree, and we could illustrate that with this thread for others. Not everyone has the depth of knowledge and experience that you have with these cars, and may not appreciate why it's better if they want STi-level performance, to just buy an STi. It was intended to be helpful.

I'm content with a WRX myself, as it'll still let me be involved in all the car Club activities I enjoy. I don't need it to be as fast as an STi, but if I spend $ to improve it I'd like to know that those $ are being spent wisely.

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post #7 of 25 Old 09-17-2013, 03:51 PM
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post #8 of 25 Old 09-17-2013, 09:45 PM
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This thread got me thinking...

My WRX had 36 miles on the odometer when I drove it off the dealer lot back in early 2007. After nearly seven years of owning the car, I'm proud to say that I've modified it to a point where it's "better than an STi" in many ways. Better than an STi in stock form, that is. I regularly update several Excel spreadsheets which document the maintenance I've performed and purchases I've made over the years and so far, I've spent nearly 27k on aftermarket parts (that was about the price of my car when it was brand new, if you were wondering), and that figure does not include shipping costs or maintenance supplies. Many of the same parts that I installed on my car could also be installed on an STi. And car vs. car, the STi would still be "better" overall. Just remember that for as much as you modify your WRX, many STi owners will do the same to their cars. It's never really going to be a fair competition anyway because there's always going to be something that the STi owners will be able to say is better about their cars, and they're right... it's more about the journey. Besides several major jobs that I outsourced, I've done almost all of the rest of the work myself and I've learned so much reading through forums and searching the internet for part descriptions, reviews, and how-to write-ups. Just enjoy the car for what it is and take pride when you make any modification, no matter how small. The automotive hobby is extremely addictive and it engages the mind as well as the body... and unfortunately, the wallet

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post #9 of 25 Old 09-18-2013, 12:12 AM
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Tuned Subaru WRX Cars vs. WRX STi Road Test Comparison - Sport Compact Car Magazine

Yeah, I remember 10 year old (this came out when the STI was 1st released in the US) magazine articles. Ironically I own the "Scoobysport STI Hunter" badge off the Scoobysport car.
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post #10 of 25 Old 09-18-2013, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
Tuned Subaru WRX Cars vs. WRX STi Road Test Comparison - Sport Compact Car Magazine

Yeah, I remember 10 year old (this came out when the STI was 1st released in the US) magazine articles. Ironically I own the "Scoobysport STI Hunter" badge off the Scoobysport car.
Love this article, and the STi Hunter is an example of what I was trying to quantify in this thread:

"But don't forget about Rally Performance's STi Hunter. It's a worthwhile contender that comes in below the total cash outlay of an STi--in favorable proportion to its lesser performance. The STi Hunter is probably the most realistic street car of the bunch, balancing the best fun-per-dollar ratio of any car here. It's a respectable mix of performance, durability, driveability and value."



The STi Hunter had a stock turbo, stage 2 exhaust with the stock under-car catalyst, an STi intercooler and a Rally Performance remapped ECU. That's it. Simple, relatively inexpensive and effective.

The suspension is upgraded with Leda coil-overs, with the stock anti-roll bars, big brakes and racing pads plus performance tires and wheels. They estimate cost to duplicate the STi Hunter to be $30,000 without the Scooby Sport wing or Morette headlights. The WRX is included of course, and is a pretty amazing performance-to-value ratio.

The '04 STi MSRP was $31,500 including destination/prep, so getting an STi had better value at the time with more to offer and a more complete performance package.

Wonder what an '05 STi is worth now..? Ha ha.

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post #11 of 25 Old 09-18-2013, 11:01 AM
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Hit Next. The article is 4 pages long and gives you multiple break downs. The STI Hunter car under performed for what it is. They left plenty of power on the table and it should have done better in the slalom.
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post #12 of 25 Old 10-24-2013, 03:54 PM
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get a 04 sti turbo, injectors, downpipe, fmic "tune it" , a good clutch, suspension... and you'll be fine and definitely have more power... and enjoy every minute of it... lots of people do that
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post #13 of 25 Old 10-24-2013, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 03bugeyeDude View Post
get a 04 sti turbo, injectors, downpipe, fmic "tune it" , a good clutch, suspension... and you'll be fine and definitely have more power... and enjoy every minute of it... lots of people do that
FMIC is a terrible choice for a VF39. FMIC cores are too big (which will actually hurt performance) for a turbo that small and combined with all that extra piping all you're doing is hurting the one good characteristic of small turbos, their responsiveness.
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post #14 of 25 Old 10-24-2013, 04:14 PM
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I agree with the guy above about the intercooler.
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post #15 of 25 Old 10-24-2013, 04:39 PM
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I recently bought a 2012 wrx hatch. I fought back and fourth between a wrx and an STI. I figured that if I was going to build a car for AutoX, and so on where I would need that little extra power, 6-speed transmission, and the ability to control where I want my power, either the back wheels or the front wheel, then the STI would be my best bet. Honestly, I would never use the STI to it's full potential. I went with the WRX and have had a blast upgrading the exhaust, intake, tune and so on, and ripping through the mountains and enjoying it as a daily driver. It up to whether or not you want use the car for what it is, or just have an awesome car that you can enjoy for $6K less than it's sister model. The WRX meets and exceeds my needs. If you are needing all the bells and whistles you get with the STI, trade in the WRX for and STI.
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