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Old 03-17-2010, 02:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Alex's PBP '03 X +AVO turbo kit!

The Table of Contents for our Member Journal can be found here (post #2), or on the next post. The Table of Contents makes it easier to navigate our Member Journal (skip over the chitchat).

March 17, 2010

Thank you for taking the time to look over our Member Journal, or MODding Journal, as we call it (literary license). Your comments, questions or suggestion are always welcome. Post them here or send us a PM.

I should have started a Member Journal for the '03 X Forester a long time ago. It will be a PIA trying to remember & document the MODding, but as the old saying goes, "better late than never!"

The Beginning!

The '03 X Forester was my first Subaru & not by choice. Let me explain. My vehicle brand was GMC, for me specifically, an S15 4X4 Jimmy. I inherited the Forester when my dad passed away. It had around 4K miles on it. My first thought was to get rid of it but for sentimental reasons, I decided to keep it for awhile. I didn't think it would happen, but the Forester grew on me & I sold the GMC Jimmy!

The craziness starts!

I have to admit after the power of the Votec 4.3L V6 in the GMC S15 Jimmy, the Forester felt a bit wimpy. It had good acceleration around town, but seemed to run out of poop on the open road & it was tricky trying to pass on the up side of a hill! While doing some research on how to boost the engine power & in a moment of craziness, I decided to install an AVO Turbo Kit! What a difference it made! Where the NA (naturally aspirated) engine would start running out of power, with the turbo, it would continue on & on! I was hooked & the MODding bug had me!

Moving on...

I've enjoyed MODding the '03 X, but I've always wanted a Forester XT to do some major power MODding on. After I retired (June/08), I started searching for my next project Forester. After what seemed like forever... I really wanted an '04 XT, I found my new to me '07 FSXT last year (June/09) & I passed the '03 X to my son. If my dad was still around, I'm sure he'd approve!

My son loves the Forester, but he's not into this aspect of MODding, so dad gets to do the deed...

Bobby...
August 21, 2003
The actual dealership window sticker.


This is how the 2003 2.5X Forester looked stock.


'03 X engine as it looked "stock".

The upper picture is Alex's lightly MODded '95 Neon Sport, now our spare car. He had a car before he learned how to drive! It was my mother's car before she passed away. I offered to buy the Neon, but dad wanted to keep the Neon for sentimental reasons. After a couple years, dad traded in his Ford truck for the Forester & the Neon was given to me, to give to Alex when he learned to drive. The lower picture is Alex at age 15 (much older now!) with his future Forester... I never saw that coming!


Alex's '03 X Forester, as it looks today!


'03 X engine with the AVO Turbo Kit installed.

The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2) or below on the next post.
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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** NOTICE **
October 16, 2012

A recent forum imposed image posting restriction prevents pictures from being laid out side-by-side, they have been reformatted one on top of the other. This means the picture I refer to as the "LEFT" picture now means the "TOP" picture & the "RIGHT" picture is now the "BOTTOM" picture.



Alex’s Member Journal
Table of Contents

Please note that the links below will not work correctly if the Number of Posts to Show Per Page has been changed from the Forum Default setting. If the links don't come up correctly, you can still use the "Post #" to find it.

First things first:
  • Murphy's law - "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." I've always like that one!
  • DIY - "If you want something done right, do it yourself!" Yes, another favorite saying.
  • "If it's not broken, don't fix it!" Makes sense to me.
  • The old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words." The reason to include pictures in your postings!
Starting the process:The Beginning:The MODding parts box:
A temporary home for project parts before they're installed.
Interior:Glass:Audio:Gauges:Exterior:
Appearance:Lighting:Engine:Handling:
Wheels & Tires:Front & rear sway bars:Miscellaneous & Off Topic:
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Awesome! I've been waiting for this for a while now. :razz:

I keep wondering about the AVO kit vs a supercharger. Supercharger is cheaper, cooler sounding, but less efficient at high RPM (takes a lot of power to spin that thing at 10000 RPM to get 5lbs of boost). If that little turbo spools by 2500RPM, it would work well. Bahh. Too early to be thinking about it now anyway.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Zach!

You're the first poster on this new thread!

This Journal is going to move slowly at first, since I need to try to put some order to the MODding done over the last 5 years.

Bobby...

The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-17-2010, 07:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default New Wheels & Tires!

The plain steel wheels just didn't cut it, so I had to have custom wheels. Being "old school" & the dark blue color of the Forester, it had to be chromes!

Bobby...
**Update**
We loved these wheels, but they let us down & we've moved on. The details can be viewed starting on the following link. New wheels - Part 1 - The Motegi MR7 alloy chromes have to go!

Motegi MR7 alloy chromes wheels, 17x7, +40 offset.

I replaced the stock geosquealers with Toyo Proxes T1R tires. These had great traction on dry pavement, but were poor in snow or ice! I replaced the Toyo Proxes T1R with Toyo Proxes 4. I needed tires that have great dry traction, as well as decent snow & ice traction to carry me over to my winter tires. I'd recommend these & I have them on all 3 of our vehicles!
Toyo Proxes T1R
Toyo Proxes 4
The pictures above are not of our wheels, they're just to show the different thread patterns.

Related post:
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'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-17-2010, 07:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I can't believe there wasn't a Journal for this car already man!
guess you've got to dig up all those older threads you made about the mods for it too eh?
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Cannot wait! :)
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duderotomy View Post
I can't believe there wasn't a Journal for this car already man!
guess you've got to dig up all those older threads you made about the mods for it too eh?
We've only had Member Journals for a couple years & I didn't get into them until last year (June/09) when I got the '07 FSXT.

I have to admit it's kinda of hard putting some order to the previous MODding madness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebeephaha View Post
Cannot wait! :)
The nice thing about the Member Journal, is that you can post the MODding out of order or sequence & keep the posts in the correct order via the Table of Contents.

I plan on jumping to the "good stuff" & go back later on to complete the story.

Bobby...

The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-18-2010, 12:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Rear dust deflector, window tint & a hood protector.

After the new wheels & performance tires, I decided the '03 X needed window tinting. I opted for 20% tint on the rear glass, left the front stock (my preference). I also added a front hood protector (deflector) & a rear dust deflector, which I felt was more functional than the rear spoiler.

Bobby...


The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
Attached Thumbnails
Alex's PBP '03 X +AVO turbo kit!-installation-instructions_1of4.jpg   Alex's PBP '03 X +AVO turbo kit!-installation-instructions_2o4.jpg   Alex's PBP '03 X +AVO turbo kit!-installation-instructions_3of4.jpg   Alex's PBP '03 X +AVO turbo kit!-installation-instructions_4of4.jpg  
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'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I am really amazed at how well the hood protector/bug deflector and rear dust deflector work.

Sweet ride man!

What are the specs on the wheels?
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subie 2003 View Post
I am really amazed at how well the hood protector/bug deflector and rear dust deflector work.

Sweet ride man!

What are the specs on the wheels?
IMO, they work best on a dark colored Forester. They blend in more & don't become the focal point.

The wheels are Motegi MR7 alloy chromes, which I don't recommend getting, if you can even find them. They're made in China & the alloy & chrome are reacting... like rust under paint. I love the look of those wheels, but I'm not going to buy another set to have them go bad in a few years! We're replacing the Motegi with XXR wheels, also chrome. I'll add pictures & more details when they're installed.

As the the specfications. The ones on there now are 17x7, +42 offset, with Toyo Proxes 4, 235/50. This gives a wider stance, from the stock offset of +48 & of course the wider rubber adds to the stance.

Bobby...

The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
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'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-19-2010, 01:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Improving the stock sound system!

I'm not into high performance mobile audio, but I do want a nice sounding system. Right off, I knew the factory/OEM system wasn't going to cut it! It wouldn't play my MP3 CD & the volume stepping was odd...?! The '03 X didn't come with door tweeter or the upgraded premium speakers. I bought the premium speaker upgrade, but haven't installed them (still in the box!). After upgrading the head unit, installing the tweeter upgrade & a subwoofer, the sound was perfect for me & my son says it sounds great! Eventually we'll install the premuim speakers, but there's no hurry.

Bobby...
This is the stock factory/OEM head unit that came in the '03 X.

The left picture is the Sony CDX-MP450 head unit that started out in my 4.3L GMC Jimmy 4X4. I pulled it out before I sold it, wanting it to go in the Forester. I loved this head unit, but it was an early MP3 player & it finally needed to be replaced. The right picture is the Sony CDX-GT610Ui that we have in all 3 of our vehicles. Yes, we like this Sony head unit!

Sony CDX-MP450-----------------------------Sony CDX-GT610Ui

I wanted a HD Radio option, so I added a Directed Electronics HD Radio to work with the above head unit. The right picture is the tweeter upgrade kit. If you don't have door tweeters, this is a must have audio upgrade!

This picture shows where I mounted the HD Radio display in the '03 X. I placed the HD Radio display in a different location in my '07 FSXT. You can view it here.

**Update**
Funny how things come around! I recently replocated the HD radio display panel to this same location in my '07 FSXT. You can view the write up starting here. The HD radio receiver module (commander) is mounted under the dash in both installations.

I installed the earier version Kenwood subwoofer, the KSC-SW1 in the '03 X. IMO, it sounds better than the later version, the KSC-SW10, which I have in my '07 FSXT. The right picture shows where the wired subwoofer remote was placed. If you're wondering what the switches are for, one is "audio mute" & the other one is "subwoofer on/off". No seat heaters in the '03 X, so I installed the switches in the blank covers. I hate blank covers!

For step-by-step installation instructions, check out the MODding Journal for my '07 FSXT here. The installation in the '03-'08 models are nearly identical!

The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-19-2010, 08:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Time to add gauges!

The first gauge I added to my '03 X was a Scangauge II. It's hard to beat all the features you get in this very small device. My complete installation write up can viewed here.
I love gauges, traditional gauges, so I decided to do this. The entire '03 X gauge POD v2 write up can be viewed on my post here. I used Nordskog gauges for the fuel pressure & oil temperature. Nordskog doesn't offer a 100 psi oil pressure gauge, so I stayed with a VDO Vision series gauge. All 3 gauges are 52mm/2-1/16" with electric senders.

I selected a mechanical 52mm/2-1/16" VDO Vision series 0-15 psi boost gauge. I prefer a boost (pressure) only gauge. A VUMAXX mounting cup is used to mount the boost gauge on the steering column cover. The detailed installation on my '07 FSXT can be viewed here.
I replaced the incandescent gauge illumination bulbs with green LEDs. This closely matches the factory instrument cluster illumination.

The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-20-2010, 10:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Suspension upgrades!

Trying to document the order the MODding was done to the '03 X is rather difficuilt after so many years! Not to worry, I will get to the AVO Turbo kit!

The '03 X was leaning too much on tight corners, so I decided it was time to correct this problem!

I went with a RalliTEK 22mm front sway bar & a RalliTEK 19mm rear sway bar, both solid. I also upgraded to AVO linkends & Whiteline KBR16 lateral link brace (a must with a heavier RSB!). The complete installation write up can be viewed here.

If I were doing this again, I'd skip upgrading the linkends. IMO, the stock linkends are fine for nontrack use. I retained the stock linkends when I did the sway bar upgrade on my '07 FSXT. You can view my '07 FSXT write up starting here. I'd still recommend installing Whiteline KBR16 lateral link brace.



he Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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Old 03-20-2010, 12:52 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default '04 STi seats installed!

This upgrade made a world of difference on the seating comfort & support. Installing '04 STi seats in the '03 X was a piece-of-cake! The only thing to keep in mind, is that the seatbelt buckle from the stock Forester seats need to be moved to the STi seats. Other than that, it's completely plug & play, no sensors to mess with at all!

As an option to have the STi seats sit higher, as the stock Forester seat sit, the stock seat mounting rails can be used with the STi seats. This will set the seats about an 1-1/2" higher. This is the direction we opted to go.
Keep in mind the driver seat is height adjustable, but not the passenger seat. Placing the passenger seat 1-1/2" lower may not be appreciated by your shorter copilot.

The original '04 STi seat installation write up for the '03 X, done before we got Member Journals, can be viewed here.

Bobby...
The left picture shows the stock '03 X seats minus the headrests. The right picture shows the '04 STi seats.


The left picture shows the '04 STi seats installed. The right picture shows the optional armrest extension installed.

The Table of Contents for Alex's Member Journal can be found here. (post #2)
__________________
'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport

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