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Canonshooter's '07 FXT (now mac_gc8s 2007 XT)

127154 Views 426 Replies 92 Participants Last post by  Kevin
Admin note January 23 2022: This thread is closed and a new Journal started here: ('06-'08) - Mac_gc8's 2007 XT!

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Most recent photo with stock FXT scoop and grill mod;


I purchased my 2007 Forester XT Ltd. 4EAT/MPT in Newport Pearl Blue new in January of 2007. At the time I had a 2006 WRX 5MT that I very much enjoyed, but needed something a bit more "practical." I wanted another 5MT, but this 4EAT model was on the lot with a price offer I couldn't turn down. This was my '06 WRX.

From the outset, stealth was the name of the game for all of the mods I have done with the FXT - I wanted to keep it a "sleeper." My modification goals were as follows;

  • To be capable of running the quarter mile in under 13 seconds
  • To handle as well or better than any other SUV on the road
  • To enhance interior comfort, appearance and overall ride quality
  • To maximize winter weather capability
  • To retain full daily-driving practicality and utility

In pursuit of those goals, the complete list of mods is listed below.

Mod Notes

“Modding” a vehicle involves many choices – sometimes too many. For this reason (and based on first-hand experience), I decided to set my expectations before moving forward with the purchase of any hardware. Below are some thoughts on how I went about modifying my Forester (full mod list further down this post);

Handling – the Forester carries a lot more mass higher than a sedan and because of this, I never expected my Forester to handle like my WRX. I made the decision from the beginning to make it handle as well as possible without sacrificing ride comfort. The combination of Swift Sport springs (Forester specific) on OEM struts, 22mm anti-sway bars and a performance alignment has worked well for me. Of course, tire selection can make or break the handling (and ride comfort) of any vehicle - finding the right mix of traction, side wall stiffness and ride comfort seems a never ending process.

Ride quality (as well as handling) was greatly enhanced with the addition of bracing. Compared to my WRX, the Forester seemed to twist in every conceivable direction when driving on rough roads, something that not only impacts the perception of vehicle quality, but adversely affects handling as well. IMO, this is something that must be done in combination with any suspension performance modifications. The bracing also seems to have reduced rattles and squeaks. Here is the list of braces used in the order of their greatest impact;

  1. Subtle fender braces ("cowl stays") – no doubt these made a very noticeable difference (as they did in my WRX) and along with a set of rear subframe locking bolts, is the place to start your bracing project.
  2. Whiteline Quick Release Rear Strut Brace – the Forester does not have the benefit of a metal bulkhead in back of the rear seats like a sedan to tie the strut towers together and this brace helps address that. I used a Whiteline brace with quick-detach ends so it could be quickly removed when I needed to make use of all the available cargo space. There are more effective and elaborate braces available, but will compromise your ability to carry stuff in the cargo area.
  3. GTSpec 4 Points Front Ladder Bar – though not as noticeable as the first two braces, it gave my Forester a more solid feel driving over rough roads (we have plenty of those in frost-heaved NH). I highly recommend this brace and in combination with the first two, will make a very noticeable difference in a Forester.
  4. GTSpec Front Strut Brace – more bling than anything else, I cannot feel any difference in normal road driving.
  5. Subtle Trunk Brace – same as the front strut brace, but at least was quick and easy to install.

Sound deadening - the installation of RAAMaudio sound deadening in all four doors and cargo area certainly reduced cabin noise and enhanced the sound quality of my after-market audio system. It also reduced cabin noise from the MadDad Whisper exhaust, but it can still be heard (and appreciated) without any droning. I used about 30 pounds of material and found it to be a very worthy mod.

The combined results of the suspension mods, bracing and sound deadening truly transformed my Forester, greatly improving its handling, providing a more solid feel on rough roads and giving the Forester a higher quality “feel” and driving experience. To place this in perspective, our son in-law drives a late model BMW X5 and though its loaded amenities, it has nothing on my modded Forester in terms of performance, handling or ride quality.

Here is the complete list of modifications;


IHI VF48 turbo
Perrin TMIC
Aquamist HFS3 Water/Methanol Injection
SPT Heat Shield
PTP Turbo Blanket
Samco turbo inlet
Perrin BOV hose
Subtle Splitter modified for IC sprayer and stock FXT hood scoop
Subtle Hood Struts
Subtle Radiator Shroud
Grimmspeed PnP/ceramic coated exhaust manifolds
Grimmspeed Air-Oil Separator
MadDad catted bellmouth DP
MadDad Forester-specific 3-inch Whisper cat-back
Kartboy Exhaust Hangers
KillerB oil pickup tube
Walbro 342 fuel pump
Northstar Group 35 AGM battery
274 WHP - 344 ft/lbs, open source tune by EFI Logics
A review of the MadDad exhaust can be found here.

I installed an Aquamist HFS-3 water/meth injection system. Using Autozone -20 degree windshield washer fluid (about 30% methanol, the remainder water) and with a re-tune, the car produces 274 WHP and 344 ft./lbs. of torque on the EFI Logics Mustang Dyno. The graph below shows the gains using the system;

Update May 1, 2011

I had the opportunity to get the Foz on a different dyno, a Land & Sea DYNOmite unit this past weekend. Word has it that this is a very low reading dyno. The only change from the graph above is that I went to a 50% meth/50% distilled water mix for the injection. The car has not been retuned for the new mix, but it feels like the ECU has adjusted to take advantage of the higher octane. On this dyno, the car put down 268 WHP and 360 ft./lbs. torque;


Best run to date - 12.966 at 105.94 MPH, with a nearly 2-second 60' time. I believe with a more agressive launch, it's capable of doing 12.7s.


4EAT with Variable Torque Distribution transfer case, installed June 2015 (standard on 2007 and 2008 Forester XT Sports model)

Rear Differential

With Viscous Limited Slip (standard on 2007 Forester XT Ltd)


Carbotech 1521 Pads
Centric Premium Rotors
G2 Caliper Coating (silver)
Grimmspeed MC Brace

Suspension & Handling

Swift Sport Springs
Whiteline 22mm RSB (adjustable) with STi mounts and mo_boost support brackets
Whiteline 22mm FSB (fixed)
Kartboy Links
Whiteline subframe locking bolts
Whiteline Quick Release Rear Strut Brace
Whiteline steering rack bushings
Subtle fender braces ("cowl stays")
Subtle Trunk brace
GTSpec Front Strut Brace
GTSpec 4 Points Front Ladder Bar
P215/55R-17 Goodyear Eagle Sport on Steel Grey Rota Tarmac 2 wheels (3 seasons)
P225/55R-17 Nokian Hakkapeliitta R on factory alloys (winter)
Performance alignment - minus 1.5 degrees camber all four corners, zero toe


Forester Sports Front Bumper
Forester Sports grille
'08 Sports black tail lights
'08 Sports black headlights with Philips Vision Plus high beam bulbs
Hella Rallye 4000 Compact Driving Lights with 100 watt bulbs
Tint - 50% front windows, 35% rear windows and moon roof
Rally Armor UR mud flaps


Aquamist HFS-3 Gauge
AEM Digital Boost Gauge
Subtle Gauge Bezel
Shifter boot mod with WC Lathe Werks custom knob, center differential (VTD) lock switch
Lloyd Luxe Carpet Floor Mats (front)
Weathertech floor liners (rear)
Lloyd Luxe Carpet Cargo Mat
Sound Deadening (RAAMaudio - Automotive sound deadening products)


Pioneer AVH-P4100DVD with SIRIUS and iPod
Polk DB 6501 components (front) powered by Rockford Fosgate P400-2 amp
Kenwood KFC-1362S 5-1/4" 3-way door speakers powered from HU
Infinity Basslink (installed in spare tire well)

Awards & Recognition

June 2008 Calendar Selection
2010 Wicked Big Meet Car Show - 1st Place, Performance Category
January 2011 NES ROTM
January 2011 FOTM
NES Super Meet 7 - Best Form Award
Granite State Subaru Meets, March 16 - Daily Driver category, 2nd Place
2016 Calendar Selection

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I'm a noob on here, and a recent FXT owner. I am also a 4EAT owner, and wanted to know if there has been any negative impact on the AT since you upped the HP/TQ. Also, any specs on the duty cycles of the stock injectors with the bigger turbo/IC?
No negative impact thus far, but then again I use "mechanical compassion" on the driveline:

1. No power braking
2. I rarely hammer it in first gear
3. I rarely allow the tranny to shift under full throttle/boost

It's like when I had my '06 WRX with a 5MT - there were guys who would break the tranny with minimun mods and guys who were putting down over 350 WHP and never had any problems. Driveline survivability is almost entirely dictated by the behavior of the driver.

I don't have the duty cycle numbers, but with any VFxx turbo the stock injectors are usually not a limitation.

Thanks again for taking a look and commenting!
If you could log, I'd be curious to see your IDC as well. I'm at 85% on WOT pull at 14psi. After the retune I'm planning soon with this new exhaust and header I bet I'll be limited by injector size.

If you could log, I'd be curious to see your IDC as well. I'm at 85% on WOT pull at 14psi. After the retune I'm planning soon with this new exhaust and header I bet I'll be limited by injector size.

I plan on getting back to the tuner in April, so I will get the IDC then.
After 58,000 miles I finally had to replace the brakes. A full report can be found here.

A few photos showing my newly painted brake calipers -

That looks great, I need to do the same this spring, mine are horribly rusty form all the road-salt we get in winter.
Did you take the calipers off to paint them or leave them in place and mask off the struts, etc... ?
That looks great, I need to do the same this spring, mine are horribly rusty form all the road-salt we get in winter.
Did you take the calipers off to paint them or leave them in place and mask off the struts, etc... ?
It was part of a "brake job" that entailed new rotors and pads. The calipers were unbolted but not disconnected from the brake lines, and the pads removed. The product I used to coat the calipers was brush-on, so it was no big deal. BTW, the G-2 brake coating has held up well through a salty New England winter so I can certainly recommend the product.
Auxillary lighting installed as follows:

Hella Rallye Compact 4000 Driving Lights

Lights mounted on FXTSPORTS08 Custom Light Bar behind grille.

Hella 148541001 heavy-duty harness used.

Hella Shieldz smoke lens film to protect lights.

Narva H1 100 watt 12V bulbs.

Factory fog light switch modified to engergize on both high/low beams - link

Additional relay installed to operate driving lights with high beams only - link

Factory harness to OEM fog light wired through additional high beam relay to coil of the driving light relay in the Hella harness. This way, a minimal load is being placed on the factory wiring/fog light relay. With fog light switch turned on, driving lights come on only with high beams.

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Installed the following items today:

1. Samco turbo inlet and afterMAF hose
2. Grimmpseed AOS
3. Perrin BOV hose
4. PTP turbo blanket

I'm glad I replaced the stock turbo inlet because the inlet connection to the turbo was not so great. I didn't want to over tighten the clamp on the stock inlet for fear of damaging it and as a result, I'm not sure the clamp was tight enough to make a leak-proof seal.

The stock turbo inlet came right out, with the help of a large pair of channel locks and a hacksaw blade.

The biggest surprise was once I had the inlet out, there was a pile of old acorns under the intake manifold. I guess the local chipmunks had been partying there this past winter.

The Samco inlet went in without much of a fuss and lined up perfectly with the turbo and other hoses. I did not have to remove the IM or any other items to squeeze the Samco inlet into place. The afterMAF hose required some trimming to get a perfect fit.

In the photo below, you can just see the PTP turbo blanket, which was easy to get on with the Perrin TMIC and SPT heat shield out of the way. Also, the Grimmspeed AOS was easy to install with the TMIC and heat shield out of the way too. I like how the stock engine cover hides all of the extra hoses and maintains a neat appearance.

The car runs well with no unusual noises are CELs. I'll be getting back on the dyno soon to get my tune tweaked for these latest mods.

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Good stuff, nice pix too. Are you gonna get a new pulley cover now or just putting OEM plastic engine back on?
Good stuff, nice pix too. Are you gonna get a new pulley cover now or just putting OEM plastic engine back on?
I am sticking with the OEM engine cover. I'm one of those odd balls that actually likes it!
Man, I love this car. Its got such a clean look to it.
A few more mods today...

I installed a set of Subtle hood struts and a Subtle radiator shroud. The struts are a nice addition and work well. The shroud dresses up the front of the engine bay nicely.

I also installed a set of Kartboy exhaust hangers as my stockers were getting a bit stretched and were allowing the exhaust to move around a more than I cared for. Three of them on the axleback took care of the problem.

Finally, after debating about spending so much, I orderd a set of Lloyd Luxe carpet mats in black for the front and their Luxe carpet cargo mat for the rear. These mats are pricey but let me tell you, they are superb! They are cut perfectly, thick, heavy and have a nice rubber backing that keeps them from moving around. The cargo mat could not fit any better and deadens road noise as well. The front mats cover more area than the stock mats, and the passenger side mat goes all of the way up to the top of the carpet under the dash. I purchased mine at Auto Parts & Auto Accessories - Over 6 Million Auto Parts, Aftermarket Parts, Truck Accessories & Car Accessories.

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Update 4/11

Installed an AEM CAI this past week - model 21-477C for the '05 - '07 WRX/Sti. It fit the FXT perfectly, and mated up to the Samco turbo inlet perfectly as well.

The install was very easy, the 2-piece design making it so. I like the fact that AEM use a rubber elbow through the fender hole which eliminates any possibility of rattling or other noise. The second piece in the fender has a bracket which bolts up to the nut exposed under the fender liner that holds the ABS in place. This makes the end of the cai very secure.

The AEM filter is a dry type that does not require any oiling. With the FXT Sports bumper, the air filter sites low and directly behind the small side grille in the bumper. This is great for pulling in cold outside air, not so great for being exposed to water when it's raining.

I decided the best bet was to place a baffle/splash shield between the filter and the grille in the bumper. I didn't want to lose the cold air flow through the grille, but I certainly wanted to protect the filter from getting wet every time I drive in the rain.

After spending some time laying under the car and trying a few ideas, I settled on making a baffle from my favorite VIP Auto Parts car wash bucket. I took a hacksaw to it and cut a section out of the bucket to form the baffle. I drilled a few small holes through the baffle and zip-tied it to the actual grille. A little ghetto but a test with the hose proved it protects the air filter, while still allowing air to flow in. You can see the "splash shield mod" in the last photo below.

I also re-routed the small coolant lines under the CAI and secured them out of the way.

Overall, I'm glad I did this mod. With a 3-inch TB exhaust, the extra noise is hardly noticeable.

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Update to the CAI install post above -

After driving in heavy rain, a considerable amount of water still makes it way through past the splash shield. Since the area under the fender liner has plenty of other space to pull air through, I decided to close off the grille entirely. I used an old rubber cargo mat to fabricate a "backing" for the grille. You have to look real close to see it and it does help keep the CAI filter dry. I have also added the AEM "dry flow pre-filter" for added protection.
How fast will it go?

Doing all of these "power mods" left me wondering how much of an effect they would have. Dyno graphs are one thing, but an actual measure of performance really tells the story. So, I decided to visit a local dragstrip to see what the Foz can do.

The local track, New England Dragway, requires a "Snell 95" helmet for any car faster that 14 seconds. So before my track visit I stop at a motorcycle shop and pick up a helmet for $69. It's not the Snell rating, but DOT. Considering the use, I figured it would pass muster.

The temperature was in the low 70s with moderate humidity. During the tech inspection, I'm asked how fast the car is. I just shrug and say that this is the first time I'm tracking the car, but in case it is faster than 14 seconds, I have a helmet. He takes a look at the helmet and tells me since it has no Snell rating, it's not acceptable!

"Just don't go faster than 14 seconds" is the statement by the inspector.

The track is pretty crowded (notice I'm #289) -

Not only that, but I ended up waiting almost an hour because the track crew had to clean up a blown transmission. So while we're all waiting, I knew I would only get one sub-14 second pass. I decided that if I launched badly, I would dog it the rest of the way and make sure I didn't go faster than 14 seconds and take another run. But as the wait grew longer and longer, and the line of cars grew behind me, I figured I might not get another run in if someone else pukes their tranny/engine/rear end on the track again. So with my turn coming up, I decided it would have to be just one run.

I lined up with a Mustang (you can see it in the photo above to the left), I'm in the left lane. I get staged and gradually start to bring up the RPMs while power braking. But, the tree sequences faster than I was adding RPMs and not wanting to let the Mustang off without a good run, I go on the green - and bog off the line. I probably was only at about 2000 RPMs when I "launched" (if you want to call it that). Pedal to the metal, the VF48 spools up within a second and now I'm blasting down the track gaining on the Mustang. I pass the Mustang and as I cross the 1/4 mile marker, I note that my speedo indicates about 105 MPH.

And here is the result (#289, left lane) -

With a geriatric launch and a 60' time of nearly 2.2 seconds, I still mange to hit 13.422 at 104.4 MPH on my only run of the night.

So, I'm thinking that in its present state of tune, with a good launch that the car has 12s in it. I think 12s will be pretty easy next time with the Aquamist system installed. I will also exchange the helmet for something they will accept so the next time I go, I can take more than one pass!

I expect to go back to the track in June, with the water/meth injection system installed and re-tuned.
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I'm stoked for you!
HFS-3 Install #1

I am in the process of installing an Aquamist HFS3 water/methanol injection system. This is the first of mulitple posts documenting the installation.

The installation is going to include the following items;

1 - Aquamist HFS3 kit

1 - Aquamist 806-280 Water Level Sensor Kit

1 - MadDad Ultra Basic Series 52mm Boost Gauge

1 - Subtle Forester - Ashtray Gauge Bezel

I am using the stock windshield washer reservior and will inject -20 degree F. washer fluid. I am using AutoZone -20 fluid, which is 32% methanol/68% water.

Today I installed the gauges in the Subtle bezel and then installed the cluster in the console. The gauges are not yet connected - that will be the last step when I install the main Aquamist controller in the glove box. The photos below show the cluster installed. The LED holder between the gauges will connect to the 806-280 secondary water level sensor, which will be installed about 2/3 of the way down in the washer reservior to give advance warning of when the level is getting low (before the primary float level switch is reached and activates the Aquamist failsafe that drops boost to wastegate level).

The next planned step is to remove the front bumper and (1) install the float level and pump inlet hardware in the reservior; (2) mount the pump next to the reservior; (3) install the FAV (Fast Acting Valve) and (4) install the tubing from the reservior to the pump and from the pump to the FAV. Hopefully I will do that next weekend.

Photos of the gauge cluster installed;

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love the knob!!!!

clean looking install as well
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