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Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/21/20 12:12 p.m.

I bought my 04 WRX wagon a few months ago, coinciding with taking off from work, so I wasn't able to start acquiring parts for all of the deferred maintenance. In particular, it's still got the original timing belt, so I decided not to start the engine again until I replace that.

Now it's time to begin developing the plan and ordering parts.

It appears that ebay is the preferred source for a timing belt kit if you want an OEM belt and quality bearings (the consensus is that the quality of the Gates belts has declined). The OEM water pump, thermostat, and thermostat housing are also recommended. Prices at the local dealer were insane, so that's out.

I'm not automatically against ebay, but it always feels a little risky, and I would love to support a Flyin Miata type of company. Reliable, ethical, in for the long haul, aware that everyone might have a different goal in mind, etc. FM appears to be a one-off, however, if you get outside of the Miata world.

It needs some axles, those I'll order from RA (we must support the GRM advertisers where possible).

I've also been trying to learn what to do with the car to keep it reliable for daily driving. With the exception of some slotted/drilled rotors and silicone hoses, it's entirely stock, and that's the reason I bought it.

Unfortunately, it seems like all of the usual on-line information sources are all about getting those mad WHP numbers, yo. Kind of a weird dichotomy for cars with a reputation for weak head gaskets and blowing engines. Fortunately, the EJ205 in my 04 doesn't appear to be as fragile as some of the others.
It seems like every discussion goes straight to an aftermarket tune. I'm fine with the stock power, I'd rather know if the factory tune is a safe tune and has good drivability or does it have some weird glitches (looking at you, FRS/BRZ).

I'm wondering about hardware mods, too. I think that there's a good consensus for an air-oil separator, and perhaps the cylinder 4 cooling mod.

The down sides to modifying the car are possibly making it less reliable, getting on the scope-creep treadmill, and taking it out of street class autocross (it'll be my very occasional back up to my ES Miata).

I definitely want to add gauges, AFR, oil pressure, and boost.

Longer term, and after I'm convinced that I'm up to date on reliability/maintenance, I would consider using the car for some track laps.

So, sorry about the disjointed rant, but does anyone have anything to offer in the way of advice? Does it really make sense to keep it stock, or is the car massively improved in every way with a tune and some conservative mods?

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
6/21/20 12:31 p.m.

I don't know a ton about subarus, but I do know Grimmspeed does, and they're about as FM for subarus as anyone I can think of. Plus they're really cool people. 

 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/21/20 2:02 p.m.

I took a look.

Grimmspeed has a good website, and it looks like they have a nice lineup of parts.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
6/21/20 2:09 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I took a look.

Grimmspeed has a good website, and it looks like they have a nice lineup of parts.

I'll vouch for them personally. I don't own, nor have I ever owned a subaru, but I used to live in MN, and helped them with some dev work on the first gen mazdaspeed 3 when that was a thing. Stand up guys. Fast at autox too. 

 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/21/20 2:26 p.m.
Mndsm said:
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I took a look.

Grimmspeed has a good website, and it looks like they have a nice lineup of parts.

I'll vouch for them personally. I don't own, nor have I ever owned a subaru, but I used to live in MN, and helped them with some dev work on the first gen mazdaspeed 3 when that was a thing. Stand up guys. Fast at autox too. 

 

More good news, especially the last two sentences. Thanks.

WillG80
WillG80 New Reader
6/21/20 2:43 p.m.

We've got the SubieDoctor in Colorado who is a pretty good Subaru resource. If you need parts/advice, they might be able to help. It's not autocross, but Todd got 2nd at rallycross nationals in MA this year, he knows his stuff. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/21/20 3:07 p.m.

Pretty sure I have a new grimmspeed boost controller in the basement if you want to cover shipping 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/21/20 3:09 p.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:

Pretty sure I have a new grimmspeed boost controller in the basement if you want to cover shipping 

Can't beat that! I'm sending a PM.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
6/21/20 3:27 p.m.

Clint and Tony at Turn in Concepts out of Ohio in addition to Paul at Primative Racing and  Justin and the gang at Grimmspeed. Myles Williams is good people as well at RaceComp Engineering. I miss Jamie (Subiegal) and GenuineSubaruparts.com

 

The Subaru world is filled with a whole lotta nope, but those are some of the good people. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/21/20 3:46 p.m.

Mach V Motorsports is a longtime GRM supporter and always my first recommendation for Subarus:

https://machv.com/

tb (Forum Supporter)
tb (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/21/20 3:48 p.m.

All good info here. I can only add good things to say about grimmspeed and also have gotten good service from subimods.com people.

 

For non Impreza specific info you can always check out legacygt.com too for a better signal/noise ratio than most subie forums. Plenty of helpful people and vendors plus a legacy gt of that era shares a lot in common with a wrx sti.

tb (Forum Supporter)
tb (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/21/20 3:53 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Mach V Motorsports is a longtime GRM supporter and always my first recommendation for Subarus:

https://machv.com/

D'oh, how could I forget this! They have great stuff and real knowledge. 

I think they are also known as fastwrx.com?

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/21/20 4:05 p.m.

Wow, I wish I would have posted this the week I bought the car! All kinds of great sounding leads.

I'd been kind of discouraged when I started looking for some online guidance. Like I said, it all seemed to be sort of a monoculture: turn up the wick until it blows, whine on line, then repeat. I felt like I had fallen into a pulling tractor crowd.

tb (Forum Supporter)
tb (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/21/20 4:16 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Nah; while I Do vape, I do not blow head gaskets or turbos every week. Plenty of people out there with proven products and solutions that support the enthusiast community.

 

Also, Colorado is full of Subaru specific recyclers due to the high popularity and dry climate. Plenty of them will ship parts to you and have good knowledge of common issues and fitments.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/22/20 12:12 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Mach V Motorsports is a longtime GRM supporter and always my first recommendation for Subarus:

https://machv.com/

They are halfway decent people there. Probably who I would recommend outside of Grimmspeed. 

nameless performance makes great exhaust pieces for Subarus; however, there customer service is hot garbage and if you order something just expect it to get there about 6 months later. My experience with both times I've done busieness with them. 

Also double check the rubber fuel lines in the engine bay. When I had an 02 Wagon, mine leaked like crazy when winter rolled around and apparently it's a common issue. 

Also check out various Subaru off-road forums. The people on those are much more helpful when it comes to maintenance and solving problems than NASIOC, or facebook, groups and the such. I hate that forums are dying, they used to be a great resource for each niche of car. Now that people have mostly migrated to facebook groups, it is impossible to search for things. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/22/20 12:21 a.m.

I think there's a "Flyin' Miata" for every automotive niche. They may not be the highest profile and they will undoubtedly be mocked for being more expensive, but there's a grownup company for all platforms that is often the go-to reference for actual technical knowledge and support. For Land Rovers, it's Rovers North. For Minis, it's MiniMania and Mini Sport. For Vanagons, it's Go Westy. For BMW, it used to be Pelican although I'm not sure what's happened since ECS swooped in. 

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
6/22/20 7:11 a.m.

I'll second a lot of what others have said. Mach V, Grimmapeed are both really good sources. For OEM stuff eBay is probably your cheapest bet.

 

Anything maintanence related I highly recommend OEM. That's what I've done and my 02 is at 200k miles and still going.

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
6/22/20 7:23 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Mach V Motorsports is a longtime GRM supporter and always my first recommendation for Subarus:

https://machv.com/

+1 on Mach V, although I'm biased as they are local to me! They know their stuff.

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
6/22/20 7:29 a.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

Wow, I wish I would have posted this the week I bought the car! All kinds of great sounding leads.

I'd been kind of discouraged when I started looking for some online guidance. Like I said, it all seemed to be sort of a monoculture: turn up the wick until it blows, whine on line, then repeat. I felt like I had fallen into a pulling tractor crowd.

This is one of the reasons that I sold my WRX (besides it not depreciating ever)! I did find the clubwrx crowd to be much more helpful than the NASIOC crowd, although both were up there with a bodybuilding forum for level of intelligent discourse.  But in my area, pretty much every WRX is tuned, tinted and douched-out, and at a track day, yep, there's a high likelihood that someone who shows up in a WRX or a GTI will spend part of the day ripping their engine bay apart after something blew.

Great car! Particularly in the snow, not that you have that to worry about.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/22/20 8:45 a.m.

Back when I had my old WRX's, my go-to's for parts were the following:

OEM stuff: Manchester Subaru. They got sold to the Prime dealer network, so they are out.

Suspension bits: Turn In Concepts. They had lots of good stuff. They are still around: https://turninconcepts.com/

Go-fast stuff: Mach V Motorsports, and like others said, they are a GRM sponsor and still around.

Odds and ends: Kartboy. No WRX is complete without a Kartboy short shifter and bushings! He makes great stuff. https://www.kartboy.com/

I'm still active on the NASIOC's OT forum almost a decade after I traded in my 2009 WRX. It used to be a great resource for info when I had my cars, as long as you're prepared to dig for info.
 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/22/20 9:00 a.m.

+1 for grimspeed. Top quality stuff. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
6/22/20 9:17 a.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

Does it really make sense to keep it stock, or is the car massively improved in every way with a tune and some conservative mods?

I used to co-drive an STX WRX.  It is a night and day difference from stock, and very reliable in that form.  That said, it also costs a significant amount of $ to do a full prep build and I'm not sure how competitive they are there anymore.

The WRX is the new DSM.  Cheap to come across, easy to slap on a huge turbo and turn up the boost and then complain about how unreliable it is.  A 2.0 serviced properly on OEM parts is a great car.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/22/20 10:11 a.m.
Dave M (Forum Supporter) said:
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

Wow, I wish I would have posted this the week I bought the car! All kinds of great sounding leads.

I'd been kind of discouraged when I started looking for some online guidance. Like I said, it all seemed to be sort of a monoculture: turn up the wick until it blows, whine on line, then repeat. I felt like I had fallen into a pulling tractor crowd.

This is one of the reasons that I sold my WRX (besides it not depreciating ever)! I did find the clubwrx crowd to be much more helpful than the NASIOC crowd, although both were up there with a bodybuilding forum for level of intelligent discourse.  But in my area, pretty much every WRX is tuned, tinted and douched-out, and at a track day, yep, there's a high likelihood that someone who shows up in a WRX or a GTI will spend part of the day ripping their engine bay apart after something blew.

Great car! Particularly in the snow, not that you have that to worry about.

I didn't know putting window tint on my car was douchey. TIL. 

white_fly
white_fly HalfDork
6/22/20 10:38 a.m.

I highly recommend Circuit Motorsports. They are based in Orlando, won the $2018 Challenge, and are hugely knowledgeable about all things Subaru. Talk to Tristan and tell him Patrick with the Jaguar sent you.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/22/20 11:46 a.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
Dave M (Forum Supporter) said:
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

Wow, I wish I would have posted this the week I bought the car! All kinds of great sounding leads.

I'd been kind of discouraged when I started looking for some online guidance. Like I said, it all seemed to be sort of a monoculture: turn up the wick until it blows, whine on line, then repeat. I felt like I had fallen into a pulling tractor crowd.

This is one of the reasons that I sold my WRX (besides it not depreciating ever)! I did find the clubwrx crowd to be much more helpful than the NASIOC crowd, although both were up there with a bodybuilding forum for level of intelligent discourse.  But in my area, pretty much every WRX is tuned, tinted and douched-out, and at a track day, yep, there's a high likelihood that someone who shows up in a WRX or a GTI will spend part of the day ripping their engine bay apart after something blew.

Great car! Particularly in the snow, not that you have that to worry about.

I didn't know putting window tint on my car was douchey. TIL. 

I don't think it's douchey, but I don't tint the windows on my fun cars. Don't care for the look.

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