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2008 - 2point0's 2.5

3548 Views 13 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  2point0
2point0's 2.5...XT!

Hello! I haven't done much yet, but wanted to start logging changes here. I've been a member for a while now, and have browsed the forums quite a bit before even purchasing. This is my 4th Subaru, all 4/4 being WRB (this was not even intentional). I also have a 1967 Mustang that I haven't driven in years and am slowly working to get back onto the road. The Forester was purchased so that I could still have some fun while also being able to haul around things like groceries and camping equipment.

Over the last couple of years, I had been looking out for a manual XT. After having one non-turbo non-AWD Subaru, I was ready to go back, but there just aren't many of these things for sale in Southern California, and the more I looked, the more I wanted a 2007-2008 Sports. Of course, those were the hardest to find. Eventually, I realized I would likely need to settle for automatic and work towards a swap in the future. On the plus side, it's nice that my girlfriend can drive me home if needed.

I purchased my 2008 Sports XT in December 2018 from a forum member. It came with numerous suspension and bushing upgrades, a VF turbo and some 2011 STi wheels with adapters.

Here she was when I got my first look:

And here's how she sits today (I'll do my best to keep this updated):

Name: Evie
Year/Model: 2008 2.5XT Sports
Color: WRB
Trans: 4EAT

  • VF43 turbo
  • Cobb downpipe
  • Strömung exhaust
  • STi TMIC w/ Samco hoses
  • Subtle Solutions IC splitter
  • Walbro fuel pump
  • Cobb AccessPort v2 w/ e-tune
  • GrimmSpeed 3-port EBCS
  • GrimmSpeed radiator hoses
  • Cobb battery tie-down and oil cap

  • KYB GR-2 struts
  • Swift springs
  • Group-N top hats
  • STi front LCA
  • STi Forester-specific rear lateral links
  • STi pink trailing arms
  • STi swaybar brackets
  • Whiteline front 24mm swaybar
  • Whiteline rear adjustable swaybar
  • Whiteline swaybar bushings F/R
  • Kartboy endlinks
  • Kartboy subframe lockdown bolts
  • Whiteline rear strut bar

  • Subaru red 4/2 pot calipers with Kartboy adapters
  • SS brake lines
  • Stoptech Sport pads F/R
  • Centric rotors

  • König Ampliform 18x8.5 +44 in bronze
  • Continental ExtremeContact Sport 245/45-18
  • McGuard black splined lug nuts

  • STi hood scoop
  • Hella Supertones
  • Primitive Racing skid plates: Engine, Trans, Diff
  • Rally Armor urethane mud flaps

  • Panasonic media headunit
  • JL 250/1 amp (old school version)
  • JL 10" W1 sub
  • Weathertech floor mats
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Most work on the XT was done by previous owners, but so far I've done pads/rotors, rear strut bar, new wheels & tires, and GS radiator hoses. I also have an SPT front strut bar that I will need to try and fit one of these days, but the studs on the struts are so long that I can't get the damned thing on without lowering the struts a bit. I know there's also a bit of massaging needed to clear the AC lines.

Here's a pic of the other car, just for fun:

All my previous cars:
  • 1970 VW Karmann Ghia 1600cc - orange
  • 1973 Chevy El Camino 350ci - "copper" (looked like bare metal, really)
  • 1967 Ford Mustang 289ci 5spd - blue-ish
  • 1993 Acura Integra LS w/ 2.0L swap - white
  • 2005 Subaru WRX - WRB
  • 2010 Subaru STi - WRB
  • 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited - WRB

When I wrecked my Integra and needed a replacement, I knew exactly what I wanted: a World Rally Blue WRX; I just had to go find one. After that, I wanted something in Aspen White, but the cars I found available just kept happening to be WRB. I'm now resigned to the fact that I'll never own a Subaru of another color.
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Another shot of the new wheels:

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I recently had to take the fozzy into a shop to work on the front brakes. I was doing a pad/rotor replacement and snapped a caliper bolt head right off. Had to be drilled and re-threaded. The shop checked the rear bolts and gave me the OK that I'd be fine to swap those out on my own (and save $$).

This past weekend, I went to replace the rears and ran into a couple of other issues. 1) The screws I used to pop the front rotors off don't fit on the rears and those things were STUCK. 2) The new rear pads did not come with replacement retention clips (although the fronts did), and the ones on the car are pretty mangled. The driver's side is just a couple pieces of bent wire.

So, I'll get the proper stuff and hopefully take care of that this coming weekend.

While I was back there, I noticed the rear adjustable sway bar is set at different holes on each side. I'm not sure that it's a real issue, but it bothers my sense of symmetry and I'll be addressing that as well.
Wow, I forgot all about this thread! I'm sure there are things I've forgotten about, but...

I finally did some maintenance on my FXT, as I have a long trip starting this weekend (Southern CA > OR > WA > home). It was 6 months to the day since my previous oil change, and I'd only gone like 2700 miles. I've been working from home since early March, but used to drive around 500 miles per week, so this is just weird.

Recently I picked up a new coolant overflow bottle and hose kit (all OEM). My bottle was disgusting, but the big problem was the overflow outlet from under the radiator cap was spewing when it got hot. I also grabbed a windshield bracket for the HomeLink mirror I bought from a member here, which I was finally able to install.

This past weekend, I checked ATF and front diff fluids. Gear oil up front was beautiful, so I didn't even check the rear (let's be honest, I was lazy and didn't want to fight to get the diff skid plate off). ATF seemed OK, and has about 30k miles on it, but the last AT I owned was over 20 years ago and I never changed that out myself back then. I'll bring some extra fluid just in case, but did not want to deal with the hassle until after the trip.

Air filter was pretty filthy so I ordered an OEM replacement, along with some vacuum/breather hoses that are cracked (connects to the black tube that's bolted to TMIC).

And apparently someone, I'm not gonna name names, did not tighten one of the y-pipe coupler clamps when reinstalling the TMIC. The one you can't reach without removing the IC. And that caused it to throw a boost CEL and the engine shut off after about a 40 min drive, while pulling into a parking lot. WHOOPS. Good thing I carry tools in the car! Easy fix, but boy did I feel dumb. I'll be adding some tools to the kit to make life easier just in case. This will be the longest trip since I got this thing about a year and a half ago and I don't want any surprises.

I also bit the bullet and ordered an Ortiz 3-gauge dash pod, but it looks like that won't even ship until early Oct. Guess I have plenty of time to install sending units and run wiring (boost is already hooked up and stuck on steering column, but it's funky). Depending on what all I end up adding, I may get their instrument cluster bezel that holds a gauge in the lower right. I know they make a dual one, but I think I'd be more OK hiding the 8k+ RPMs on the tach vs. my fuel level on the left. I'll add oil pressure and temp for sure, and possibly wideband AFR if I can get the old busted sensor out of my DP.
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On a recent drive, maybe 10 min from home, I noticed some smoke coming from under the hood when I came to a stop. Pulled over to check it out and saw some oily sludge smoking on the up-pipe. I immediately went back home and took the GF's car for the errands. After taking off what I could in my tiny garage, I still haven't nailed down the source, but I'm guessing it's the valve cover gasket.

I had to get things back together in time to get smogged and registered, but I found that after driving a ways, the smoke stopped. I've driven only a couple of times this week, but no more noticeable smoke. I wonder if it's due to the car sitting for a while (still working from home) and the gasket gets dried out. At least I passed smog, so I can go back to fiddling with it.

Also did receive my Ortiz gauge pod. Haven't installed it yet, but a couple of things bug me. First, and this is a small thing, but it's chipped on the back (edge pointing to windshield). It probably won't show up when looking through the windshield. But second, two of the plastic screw posts are broken off. Whatever core they used to make this wasn't taken gently from its donor. I did the same thing removing mine, but I also had no idea about the little clips near the hinge. The plate still screws on, but with 2 fewer screws. Probably not a huge deal, but I would have expected them to inspect the donor parts better. I still need to work on the gauge install.
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The smoking issue has persisted, so I took her up to Metro Performance for a quick inspection. They're positive it's the passenger-side valve cover gasket, so I'm going to have them work on that and install the plugs that have been sitting on my bench for months. Not the cheapest procedure, but I really don't want to deal with this in my tiny garage and I know they'll treat me well. Good folks there.
I finished installing all the Diode Dynamics LEDs that I recently picked up from RSD during sales. Just need a few more, but the annoying ones in the headlights are done, as well as rear turn/brake and the map lights. I went midrange on all of them, as I didn't want to go overkill. Just as bright or slightly brighter than OEM. Huge difference on the eyebrow light, especially. I'll get a pic when I can.

I also sanded/polished the headlights. The driver's side came out nice and clear, but I need to go over the passenger side again. It still has a very faint haze over the whole thing.
It occurs to me that I haven't really done much with the car in a while. Shoot, I only drive a couple of days a week and that's usually on the weekend. I am looking at a 2nd set of wheels/tires, mainly for camping and going to visit the GF's parents who live on a mountain so I don't destroy the nice summer tires. But I also want to make sure we can go hit up someplace with snow and not have to turn around.

So far I have my sights set on some gold Sparco Terra 16x7 with either Yoko Geolandar G015 or Falken Wildepeak A/T Trail in 215/65r16. The wheels are +50mm so I hope that is far enough out to allow the taller tire to clear the spring perch. If not, I do have some 3mm spacers just in case. I've seen that another user has this size tire with Swift springs and +55mm offset so I'm guessing it's fine.

Methods are cool, and I do have a buddy at Discount Tire, but holy crap they're $100 more PER WHEEL. No, thanks. I won't be doing any real offroading, I just want that 3MPSF and a tougher tire that I won't kill so easily.
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Very jealous of your WRB FXT! I have been after one of these for years, and made the mistake of passing on one back when I was in college and could have gotten it for a steal from the carmax I was working at! Regardless, this is probably my favorite north-american market Subaru!

Great work so far!
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Very jealous of your WRB FXT! I have been after one of these for years, and made the mistake of passing on one back when I was in college and could have gotten it for a steal from the carmax I was working at! Regardless, this is probably my favorite north-american market Subaru!

Great work so far!
Thanks! It's been slow-going lately, but I'm definitely glad I found this one. Really would have loved a 5MT but most of those were across the country.
I finally took (most of) a weekend and worked on installing a few things I've had collecting dust. Namely, a new GrimmSpeed MC brace and a couple of my old gauges along with a clock pod.

The oil pressure and temperature senders went in pretty smoothly, and taking off the TMIC made it slightly easier to install the brace. My wiring is in place and nothing leaks, but the oil pressure gauge is bouncing all around. The temp gauge seems fine, although I didn't have time to get it really warmed up. Lights are working as expected, so I didn't get any wires mixed up (plus they were all labelled from when I took them off my old STi back in 2012.

I think I'll just finish running the wire and get the pod all set, then hunt down any issues with the sender.

The MC brace was a huge PITA and I never want to deal with that again. The hard lines out of the MC are directly in the way of two bolts. If I had realized the issue sooner, I would have tried to bend the line a bit before wrestling the brace in, but by the time I got it that far, I didn't want to go backwards. One of the hose brackets scratched up my hand like a pissed off cat. Then I go to put the air pump back on and the hose is getting squished by the stopper stud on the brace. I've only seen two people mention that issue in another thread a few years ago and there were no responses. Hopefully this doesn't eat through the hose before I find some kind of workaround.

Still, can't wait to feel the difference. This pedal is so mushy, it has to help. To be honest, I never felt much improvement when I added one (not GS) to my BRZ, but that car was toight like a toiger.

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Finally finished installing my gauges yesterday in an Ortiz dash pod I've had for almost 2 years now, but forgot to take pics. Both oil pressure and temp, and I relocated my boost gauge to the pod since it was stuck on the steering column and always in the way. Can't say I'm very impressed with the dash pod quality, but it'll do. I also picked up a 1/8" NPT tee fitting so I can hook the OE oil pressure idiot light back up, but really didn't want to deal with it so that's put off for another day.

As a bonus, I also installed a fresh 24mm adjustable rear Whiteline swaybar along with their HD mounts. All are 05-07 STi spec. When I had recently rebuilt my rear KB endlinks, it was super difficult to get them back on due to the bar contacting the underside of the spare tire well. After a bit of research and a call to the helpful folks at Whiteline, I realized my 22mm rear bar was Forester specific but the mounts were OEM STi. Since there have been several POs before this car came to me, I'm finding things like this sporadically.

Turns out, the STi bar has deeper bends, meaning it actually clears. The Forester normally comes with much taller mounts (89mm vs. 66mm for STi). Since I'm lowered and already have STi lateral links, the STi mount height was appropriate but I really should have had the STi bar.

Joel at Whiteline was a great resource and hooked up a great deal for me with the new bar, mounts, and lateral locks.

After I was all done and started to clean up, I saw 4 shiny washers in my little parts dish. Oops. Those were supposed to go on the mount-to-chassis bolts. That'll be a job for...not tonight.

Front bar is also 24mm but non-adjustable. I have the new rear bar on the middle setting for now and can't wait to go test it out!

On to the pics!

Gotta organize your wiring:

Old 'n busted vs. new hotness:

You can really see the different bends here:

Driver's side:

Passenger side:

No more rub! You can kinda see above and to the right of the sticker is the spot where FXT sized bar rubbed:
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A few updates:

Got a trailer hitch and my Stromung muffler just barely didn't fit. The muffler body is too long, so I took the car to a local muffler shop that I've used in the past to see what they could do. They ended up cutting the axleback just aft of the midpipe connection, swedged it, and slipped the rear piece in about 1" and that made all the difference. Hurt to cut up the OG catback, but it was $60 all done, vs. more like $600-700 for them to make me something custom (with the intent that I would have sold this exhaust). I was hoping to get something a little louder, but can't complain about the price.

I rented a tiny U-Haul trailer to move some furniture and it worked great. Sooo much cheaper than renting a truck/van for the day, because I get reamed on the mileage cost. No mileage fee on trailers!

I also have my SMOG test due soon, so I called the tuner who tuned this car before I bought it (Eric @ Torqued Performance). He set me straight on what all was needed nowadays with new laws and Green Speed. The map update should be no big deal. The downside is that I have to get a V3 AccessPort because mine is a V2 and the drivers are no longer supported. Tried to find a used one, but am not finding them and am running out of time. On the bright side, I just earned a crapload of RSD reward points 😄

Another project that hasn't really taken off yet is installing a trans cooler. I have a Derale cooler and thermostat/bypass, along with a temp gauge. All waiting for the day I get around to changing out the ATF, which seems like a horrible job and I don't want to do it. Mainly due to the "I have a STi TMIC and can't reach the dipstick" issue. I suppose I could install the cooler on its own first, since apparently not much fluid gets lost, but we'll see. I have to make up some brackets first, and just grabbed some hardware today to get that started.

I'll install that temp gauge in a Subtle ashtray pod that I need to finish painting because the black one wasn't in stock when I purchased.

Uploading pictures has become annoying, so I'll get to that later.

If you've read this far, I hope you have a great week!
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