Lavid2002's 05 XT Build Thread - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Southern NJ
Posts: 110
Car Year: 2005
Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
Lavid2002's 05 XT Build Thread

Hey everyone.

Let me introduce myself,

My name is David, and I am a gearhead like a lot of people on these forums. I really enjoy taking things apart and breaking them until I understand them. It's how I got interested in cars, and a lot of other hobbies. I have been a subaru guy for about 4 years now. I'm 22 years old in my senior year of my BS in Applied Physics + Math.

Here's my build for an 05 FXT :)

This is what she looked like when I picked her up

Polished STi crank
Reconditioned OEM forged rods w/ new OEM rod bolts
ACL Race Bearings (Mains and Rods)
B25 Cylinder heads
OEM head gaskets
ARP head studs
Manley coated 100mm 8.5:1 pistons
Top seal rings
3 angle valve job
Bronze Valve guides (Supertech)
Blended intake + Exhaust ports

TGV deletes
STi up pipe
High flow catted down pipe
VF39 turbo
Grimmspeed EBCS
Turbo Inlet
SPT Short Ram Intake
Walbro 255 fuel pump
Pro-Tune by Precision in NJ

Swift Forester springs
KYB Shocks
PS rack bushings

Hawk HPS Pads
Stainless Steel brake lines
Master Cylinder brace

TMIC hose kit
Injectors cleaned + flow tested
New OEM clutch kit
Ball Joints
Wheel bearings
Re-build axles with fresh grease and new boots
Diff + Trans fluids
Swap interior carpet (worn out)
All season floor mats
Swap front seats (DS ripped)
Full exhaust wrap + heat shields to half way down the DP
Turbo blanket
A few gauges (Wideband, egt, boost, oil pressure probably that's all)
Shifter bushings
Painted calipers
Lug nuts
Oil pressure gauge
EGT pressure gauge w/ warning
Custom Splitter

That covers most of the goodies.

It should be a really fun build. I am mostly done the tear down process now. Here's what we have :D

First thing I did after having some fun with it for a week or so was pulled the engine...

Engine / Trans bolt didn't feel like coming out of the engine block
I have never seen this on a subaru. Must have cross threaded it from the factory or something strange like that. All the other ones were crack-one turn- then ready to be backed out by hand.

189,000 miles on this clutch... Really impressive.

Bearings showed some wear.

Last edited by lavid2002; 08-09-2013 at 09:24 PM.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Southern NJ
Posts: 110
Car Year: 2005
Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
Some TGV work. Those tumbler valves had to go, no matter how happy they looked :D

A few minutes with a hack saw

Then a dremel

They are pretty much done now. I am going to smooth out the curves a bit then tank them.

Coming right along

Got my KYB struts and Swift forester spring in. Assembled everything today. The rear tophats were good but I want new ones up front.

Waiting around for the machine shop to finish all my work. A little brake work before. Turns out the diameter and pitch of subaru flywheel bolts is the exact same as the caliper bolts. I used them to plug up the calipers and doused them in aircraft stripper.

You haven't lived until you have had this much fun... Soaked in PB blaster for a week before I dug in.

Opted to rebuild the axles

Had some help in the shop :D

Last edited by lavid2002; 06-10-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Southern NJ
Posts: 110
Car Year: 2005
Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
Finally got down on those brake calipers. I have been meaning to do this but I had to build a stand for my bench grinder first. I was tired of it spraying shavings and debris all over my work bench.
For the painted calipers I used the aircraft paint stripper liberally. 2 of the calipers came unpainted and had rust. I put them in a huge storage plastic bin and made a 1:5 ish ratio of water to hydrochloric acid and used a paintbrush to apply it and wipe the rust away. They got a good rinse with water afterwords. Once they were all cleaned up I hit them with some brake cleaner and painted immediately to keep them from flash rusting.

Finished them off in the oven at 200* for a couple hours or until a fork comes out clean

Stole mommas ultrasonic jewelry cleaner for the afternoon. Some purple power and water 1:1 and tossed the injectors in.

Good as new :) Some new o-rings to go along with the wash job.

Pressed new bearings into the hubs all around. These wheel bearings were good, but had 190k on them. I wanted to close the hood once and keep it closed. 190k on a wheel bearings is a lot to me. The grease was fairly contaminated in the bearings. I'm glad I opted to do this. Insane amount of force required to break these bearings free. I literally hung on the arms of the 12 ton bottleneck jack before the fronts popped out.

After some cutting, I got those 6" 6032s in the rears.

Wired everything up. Nothing really in this picture, but thats kind of the point. Everything is covered in conduit, soldered, zip tied, and tucked under the carpet. Pro :D

Front end went together today. Also power washed the wheel wells and coated in some new rubberized under coating. This stuff is great and I put it on every car I plan to have for any amount of time.

Last edited by lavid2002; 06-18-2013 at 05:54 PM.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Southern NJ
Posts: 110
Car Year: 2005
Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
Finished the TGVs, painted the intake manifold with wrinkle red VHT paint, cleaned the fuel rails and installed new fuel line and clamps. Cleaned the throttle body. New gaskets.

Moving right along :D


My engine is done at the machine shop! I cleaned out the garage and got it all prepped for engine-build mode.

To start I cleaned out the oil pump, packet it with petroleum jelly, and slapped a new oil seal on it.

Picked up everything from the machinist. For those interested, here is what he did
Jet Tank Heads, block, crank, valve covers, and con rods.
Resurface heads and block
New valve guides
3 angle valve job (He blended the intake and exhaust ports also)
Ground valves
Polished crank
Resurfaced flywheel
Bore + hone to fit 100mm Manley pistons I dropped off
Recondition connecting rods
Remove broken water pipe bolt, remove broken bolt in engine block (Engine/Trans bolt)

Today when I got home I put everything in the garage and finished the rear end of the car.

I put the suspension on, rebuilt axles in, greased the swaybar bushings, put in the new spindle to lateral link bolts (Since I had to cut the old ones off), put in new swaybar endlinks, and also put in new 04 sti lateral links with new bushings.

I am going to put on a few more coats of that rubberized under spray...
The car is all finished except for brakes and an engine. I am going to hold off on the brakes though so they don't rust. They will only take me an hour or so anyways to install and bleed.

Zeroing the micrometer. It was exactly 1 thou over zero. It's hard to adjust these so I just subtracted 1 thou from all my measurements. You can see here that the 3" bar is canted, and makes it read a little over 1 thou. When straitened it read 1 thousandth perfectly, I assure you :D

Taking some measurements of the mains

And here are the results of the crank mic'ing the first go around

Also checked the connecting rods for uniformity using a dial indicator I had that read to the thousandth.

So here's the plan.

I intend to measure the crank, rods, and block three times and record the data on my white board. I'm then going to punch it all into a excel sheet and tell use it to calculate the average and clearances. (Swapping bearings if needed)
I'm also going to do a mock-assembly with plasti gauge once to measure my clearances. After all this is done, I'm going to head back to the machine shop and have him mic everything for me. 3 solid forms of measurement.

Last edited by lavid2002; 06-22-2013 at 06:46 PM.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-01-2013, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Car Year: 2005
Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
I cleaned up the block a bit more and sized my rings a bit more. Manley does things a bit differently in the sense that they size the second compression ring smaller than the first compression ring. I gapped my rings to
Here's the process :D
Lube up the cylinders, a piston, and your ring with some regular engine oil generously to keep from scratching things up. Compress the ring with your hand and set it in the cylinder parallel with the cylinder. Ten let of it and turn it orthogonal to the cylinder. Use a piston to push the ring down and ensure it is perfectly orthogonal with the bore or all your measuring is all for naught because the gap is incorrect.

Slap a feeler gauge in there and read the gap.

Open the gap up by grinding the piston rings. We only grind one side, we grind it square, and only inwards towards the center.

Then we have to debur so we dont score the cylinder walls. I used an old fine grind stone dragging the rings away from the oiled edge while bending the ring a bit to leave the uncut side alone. Worked fine.

Put the ACL race bearings in the rods and block and torqued everything up properly. Then I took some measurements using both a dial bore gauge and plasti gauge.

The case bolts need to be lubed before torqued for an accurate torque spec. I dip mine in a cut oil container like this.

I will post my clearances up later once they are correct. They are a bit tight for now and oil clearancing is on hold until my ACL +.001" bearings come in.

I finally got my valve springs in the mail. I did a final wash and assembly on my cylinder heads. A-like-so :)
Remove all the plugs for the oil galleys in the cylinder head. Then you want to clean out the oil galleys. I just used a pistol cleaning rod with a 30 caliber brush on it. I cleaned all the threads (of the blue and red loc-tite) then once the brush is worn out it fits snug in the galleys.

After scrubbing the galleys until that little OCD inside me was content I sprayed the whole head with purple power de=greaser and went in with a tooth brush to finish the job, making sure all old gasket material and everything was removed. Then a very very thorough rinsing with the hose utilizing the jet mode to really spray out the oil galleys. Once done, shake it off and hit it with compressed air all over, again in the oil galleys. Then I used about 1.5 cans of brake cleaner to blow out the oil galleys, confirm everything was opened up, and to really get the heads spotless. Metal parts got a thin film of wd-40 to prevent flash rusting. I pulled aluminum powder, large aluminum shavings (the size of fingernail clippings just not as long), and oil residue out of the heads. A very important process.

All the plugs got wire wheeled and dipped in the ultrasonic cleaner, then the coolant plugs got red loc-tite, and the oil plugs got blue loc tite.

And some of these little guys

Here's my valve spring installation / removal tool I made. I just took a standard deep impact socket (Who needs standard for working on cars anyways?) and ground an access hole. I just set the valve keepers into place and scoot them around until they sit next to the valve properly.

I like this method because I use the tool through the table. This keeps me from scratching the HG surface.

All done. There's nothing more I can do until I bolt them to the block. I wrapped them up in cooking wrap and set them aside until I am ready to bolt them onto my shortblock.

Last edited by lavid2002; 07-18-2013 at 06:12 PM.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
I got my second set of bearings in. They were extra clearance bearings. I slapped them on the rods and in the block and followed the same procedures to calculate my oil clearances. Using some of the bearings from the first batch of standard sized bearings and some from the second batch of oversized bearings I got some pretty good specs. My targets were .0015" for the mains and .002" for the rods

The rods need to go back to the machinist because he forgot to fit my piston pins. Also I need to do a final wash on the engine block. This means I needed to take all the bearings out again. I labeled them accordingly. I couldn't help but think of dropping this box. Lol

I got my rods back from the shop.
Dove right into block prep. Just like the cylinder heads we did :)

Check this out. I open up the bolt for the oil galley and there's huge aluminum shavings and carbon deposit staring me in the face If someone rebuilds and engine without this step they are almost guaranteed they will toast the bearings.

Drill time, I used up all my brass brushes on this engine

Some assembly lube

ARP assembly lube on the rod bolts. This gives a uniform consistent friction every time I torque the bolts so my clearance measurements are accurate, and my bolts are torqued properly upon assembly.

Torquing them up to the crankshaft. I first finger tighten the bolts, then I use a ratchet and tighten both sides in small increments evenly feeling it. Then once it's close I finish it off with a torque wrench. Note the feeler gauges on the connecting rod. This keeps me from torquing the connecting rod and applying an uneven unnatural load to the bearing when tightening. The paper towel is there to hold the bottom feeler gauge in place.

Checking piston to wall clearance. These forged pistons will slap a bit, but the PTW clearance is tight so they shouldn't be too noisy.

These block bolts go through the water jackets so they need new "sealing" washers.

All sealed up with some permatex ultra black. O-rings for oil galleys and coolant galley in place

Slugs go in tomorrow :D

I needed these pins because my machinist ruined mine taking them out to deck the block. I had an old EJ251 laying around with a bad rod bearing, so I tapped them, and used the crank pulley bolt to wack them out unscathed and ready to go into my engine. They were only 10 clams for 4 online, but who feels like waiting a week when we have the parts right here.

Last edited by lavid2002; 11-27-2013 at 01:08 PM.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 11:49 PM
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Car Year: 04
Car Model: Forester XT
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Nice work!! you have done alot so far. Keep the pics coming !
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 08:44 PM
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Wow! That's some serious modding accomplished in one page!! Excellent work!

Last edited by sleeperxt; 07-21-2013 at 04:34 AM.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 09:30 PM
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Got amped reading this, I need to get my mini build started!

Awesome work thus far man,keep it up!

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
Thanks for the input guys!!
It's moving right along.

I did some cleaning and put the heads and ARP studs on. I always think these subaru blocks look so cool with the studs sticking out waiting for the heads for some reason.

Head Gasket on

Threw the water and oil pumps on, a few of the timing components, thermal energy exchanger, etc... I forgot to get the machinist to tank my oil pan. LOL I'll drop that off.

So when my machinist did my valve job he took off material from the valves and valve seats. This means the valve will sit further into the cylinder head. I expected this, and I expected to have to compensate for it with different sizes of shimless buckets. But subarus smallest bucket size is about 4.5mm, and I need buckets around 4.2~4.3mm I could run shim-under-buckets on this, but I refuse to cut corners on this build. A shimless bucket is a lighter better design for what I am building.

The bad news? No one machines these buckets. Every machinist I have talked to says they are hardened and that they can't cut them (The nob inside the bucket) and the others say grinding them will ruin the heat-treatment of the metal and that they will eat away later down the road. So I am measuring my clearance like this with two washers I welded together and a feeler gauge.

With this clearance I am going to do some calculations with the bucket sizes I already have, pull the cylinder heads, pull them apart, and have the machinist grind each valve stem individually.

Last edited by lavid2002; 07-30-2013 at 06:32 PM.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission: 5mt
So I've got some time until I get my valves back from the machine shop (A week-ish) so I figured I'd start on some of the other stuff that has to get done. I went out to ze home depot and got some PVC pipes that were about the same size as my gauges.

Then I cut up my cigarette lighter / ash tray. There is another cigarette lighter in the arm rest so I'm not too upset about deleting this one. It's better than having an A pillar gauge set IMO. The whole theme here is a sleepy forester :D
Some electrical tape to get the right diameter.

I used a hot glue gun to put the tubes into place. They are angled slightly up and slightly to the drivers side. Then I covered the tubes only in vaseline for a release agent.

Mixed up some resin and some hardener, and layed some fiberglass mat on the top.

I have a EGT sensor for that gauge. The threads are 1/8 NPT 27 count. My downpipe already has a nice 02 sensor bung right up by the turbo. So I went ahead and paid 5$ shipped for this thin little SS 02 sensor plug, and went over and used a friends drill press to drill and tap it. Thanks Clem!

Put a 255 LPH fuel pump in also.

I got my valves back. I put them in the head and measured them on the bench. 7 valves were spot on with the buckets I intended for them to be with. 3 were OK after some simple calculations of what I needed and what bucket I had. and 6 need larger buckets (off by 1~4thou) So I decided not to measure anything until I bolt the head to the block. I hear the valve lash changes once you bolt the head to the block. I believe it does, but how much? A measurable amount? Enough to vary over 1 thousandth for the lash? More? We'll see

Either way I wanted to measure them on the bench to see how close I was. (See what I learned?? Lol)

Making some progress! There's an error in this picture. Can you find it? 0.o

Error:(Read backwards) lol
.noitacol laes mac SD reppu eht ni laes scva non rewol SP eht tup I

So taking the cam sprocket bolts off and putting them back on is the same thing. This is, hands down, the best way to hold these sprockets still. Even better than the subaru cam gear holders, I have seen people chip the non AVCS sprockets with those tools. The belt is soft and holds the sprockets perfect. Very effective, and you don't have to buy $200 in tools too.

Before I put the turbo on, I decided to port the IWG a little so I won't have any boost creep issues later on.
You don't have to take a lot off, just round out this sharp corner.

Phenolic spacers for the intake manifold. These are thicker gaskets that help to insulate the heat transfer between the toasty cylinder head and the metal intake manifold. With the OEM thin gaskets the intake heats up so hot you can't even put your hand on it. By keeping it cool we reduce the temp of the intake gasses, thus keeping them a little more dense. The denser the air, the more oxygen per unit volume = want.

Same thing goes for exhaust, kinda. We want to keep the heat in the exhaust system for a couple reasons. Number one it keeps engine bay temps down to help keep the TMIC cool and reduce heat soak, and number two it keeps the exhaust gas hot. The hot air that is less dense can move more easily. Additionally, it is flow that spools the turbo, so if we can keep that gas hot and occupying as much volume as possible, we will help spool a bit. But this is a negligible effect for me, I am mostly wrapping too keep engine bay temps down because I have a TMIC and a short ram intake.

To start, I loosely wrap all of my parts and cut them into the size I will need and then soak them in hot water.

Then I wrap them up as tight as I can and put some stainless steel zip ties on.
The cast iron manifold parts were kind of tough to wrap because of the heatshield brackets, but that's OK because they are getting the OEM heat shields also. Plenty of heat shielding :)

Last edited by lavid2002; 08-28-2013 at 10:18 AM.
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Car Year: 2005
Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
Engine is completely finished! I am ready to drop it in. I talked to my tuner and he suggested I run bigger injectors so I bought some 850cc injectors. He also suggested I buy a better MAP sensor and run a speed density tune, so got an omni 4 bar MAP sensor.

So here's the back end of the engine with the crank and the rear main seal.

Put the flywheel on with a new pilot bearing in there, and torque in a star pattern.

Of course if we torque on this side of the crank we are going to have to hold it still. :D

Slap a new clutch plate on that motha'. The plastic piece is a clutch alignment tool. It aligns the center of the clutch with the center of that pilot bearing in the flywheel.

Bolt the pressure plate on and you can pull the alignment tool out. The pressure plate is now holding the clutch to the flywheel so the tool is no longer needed. Everything is lined up and ready to mate against the transmission.

The engine is in :D I put it in last night!

Last edited by lavid2002; 09-06-2013 at 09:19 PM.
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 10:32 PM
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freaking next level modding!!! subscribed.
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by stupidaznmunkey View Post
freaking next level modding!!! subscribed.
For real! If only we all had these kind of skills!
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-15-2013, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Car Model: Subaru WRX
Transmission: 5mt
Thanks guys! :) I'm really excited to see everything tying together.
It's really not that difficult. If anything I feel like it's a -the more you know, the more you know you don't know- type deal!

I did a mock assembly and started welding in the cutout today

I also got a little incognito switch for the cutout. I had a few blank switch covers to the left of the steering wheel. A perfect spot for it IMO.

So I have these oil catch cans also.
For those unfamiliar, the job of an "Oil catch can" is to separate the oil vapors out of crankcase gasses. Back in the day we used to vent these gasses to the air. With modern emission standards we plumb these gasses back into the intake and burn them. Problem is, the oil vapors slime up things and lower your effective octane rating. Anyways...
I decided to go with a dual catch can set up.
As aforementioned, the job of these motha's is to separate the oil vapors from the air before it returns to the intake (Turbo inlet or PCV). Problem is, neither of these catch cans are baffled. I don't see them being very effective at all this way. So I will mod them to my hearts content.

You don't have to be an engineer or a master of fluid dynamics to figure out that the air is going to go right into that one line, then zip right back into the other line on the top of this can carrying most of that vapor with it. Amirite?

Here's the game plan

So the problem with that design is once liquid starts accumulating in the bottom there will be a bubbling / slurping effect. So I moved the filter media up higher, and held it there via rivets that were only partially riveted (So I left the stem) and I cut slits in my baffle to let air flow through. The catch cans can now fill up over half way, I predict this will be plenty.

I cut the baffle from sheet aluminum and used JB weld to adhere it to the roughed up and cleaned surfaces of the lids. I put them in a vice to center it with the catch can housing also.

My design is directional though. Air should go in the filtered side.

Yesterday I rebuilt the e-brakes with all new components, and swapped out the differential fluids. I am doing the transmission fluid also, but I'm putting some redline shockproof in there, and you just can't find that stuff locally :/

I did collaborate with my tuner and I got my base map onto my accessport. Mwahahahaha :D

I went ahead and swapped out my OEM MAP sensor for an OMNI 4bar MAP sensor :D
Out with the old and in with the new

So I put these modded subaru injectors in my car. These were flow tested and matched. You can see all they do is remove the plate at the injector that helps atomize or mist the fuel. This changes these from 550cc injectors to 850cc injectors. You can see the difference in length and tip design.

I am not a fan of "Fix it in a can" type stuff. I do like seafoam though. I read good things about engine break in additives, so I bought some lucas.

I also welded up this bracket for my catch cans.
Here's the start

I cold cranked the engine with plugs in and got a solid 50psi~55psi.

Oil catch cans all plumbed up

Happiest gasket ever, assembling the TMIC

I've noticed when we were cranking for oil pressure there was no fuel pump hum. I took the assembly out again. See what I forgot? lol!

Brotha-man was home for a few days before he starts the police academy, so he helped me out and was here for the first start up! :D

The car is up and running. I have put about 20 miles on it so far varying engine RPM and load with as much engine braking as possible. I am getting a MAP code but I think this is because my base map won't account for the Omni 4 bar sensor. I am using the aggressive break in procedure and this car is a BEAST! I love it! I will keep breaking it in, sort out the MAP sensor, and once I put a few hundred on her we will go get this baby tuned! :D
AFRs are looking good. 11.1 @ WOT, exhaust wrap cooking off, turbo is spooling up very nicely I love it. I could have gone with a turbo that would give me more power but this is plenty for my goals.

Last edited by lavid2002; 11-27-2013 at 03:57 PM.
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