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Old 04-01-05, 11:00 PM   #1
Nivek
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Default King of Imports' STi

I was one of the first to own a 2004 STI when they first arrived in the summer of 2003. My mod addiction started early.

Here is detailed journal that I had created for another board. I figured it might be useful for those who had not seen a journal. This is one example. You can create your own journal any way you like.

First, I ditched the stock bumper beam for its JDM counterpart which dropped 15+ pounds of weight off the nose of the vehicle.


Second, I unloaded another 20+ pounds by installing this Braille Lightweight Battery. It weighs a scant 11.5 pounds and turns over the STi in all weather conditions (even snow when I got to big bear or mammoth) no problem. It comes with all the mounting hardware, making it an easy install.


Third, I pulled the stock pulley in favor of a Perrin lightweight pulley to drop another 4 or 5 pounds off the front end.


Fourth, I popped in some of the highly recommended Car and Driver Whiteline steering rack bushings (04 Stis only) to get ride of that floatiness effect when going over bumps or cracks in the road. The bushings actually make the steering feel somewhat quicker and more precise. It felt as though the same turns required less steering input and effort:


All the above shed about 40+ pounds off the front end of the vehicle, which improved both steering and handling. Less weight on the front end was the first step to counteracting the understeer effect built into the Subaru from the factory. With a more even handling car, I would later focus specifically on the suspension to get the sort of feedback and handling that I expected from the factory. It seemed that the suspension is the number 1 gripe of most STi owners, but few know where to start.

Before I did that, the reduction of weight continued when I decided to change the gearing of the car. While pulling the transmission out of the STi, I opted for the STi lightweight flywheel (since I know it was specifically designed for the 6 spd tranny and not too light that would cause me problems down the road). This mod not only offered additional weight savings, but it simultaneously resulted in less rotational mass.



Its time to lighten her up with an STi lightweight 6MT flywheel from Japan



This is not only a lighter flywheel on the left, but the flywheel's rotational mass is concentrated around the center of the flywheel. This allows one to reap the benefits of a super lightweight flywheel without giving up too much mass, which has been known to cause check engine lights in past Subaru applications.



For instance, notice in teh following pictures how the stock one on the right has a large bulk of mass circling the perimeter of the stock flywheel while the STi lightweight flywheel does not.









The gearing inside the gear box was to remain the same, but rather I altered the ring and pinion. This is not recommended for most street guys. In fact, I received a lot of critcism because many think the gearing in the STi is already too high. Those looking to drag race want to slap bigger turbos on their cars and let that turbo fully spool up and take advantage of a long sweeping rev range. I had no intention of drag racing. I mainly drive the car on the track and in the canyons. I was looking for awefully quick acceleration out of the curves. The stock ring and pinion ratio is 3.9 while this kit changed it to 4.444, resulting in a 15% increase in acceleration. The STi already involves a significant amount of shifting but with this kit, I have to shift slightly more since at any given speed I turn an additional 4000 rpm over what I did at stock. The real gain in performance is most noticeable during canyon driving or anywhere I am exiting corners on the track. Prior to installation, I would have think twice about shifting mid way through a turn and possibly upsetting the suspension alignment due to the loss of momentum as the STi would drop out of its power band. However, with the conversion, shifting mid corner no longer poses an issue because the car never leaves the powerband and power delivery is immediate. The kit delivered a significant increase in torque with one slight theoretical disadvantage, a decrease in top speed---but since the STi is already top speed limited and I realistically will not be exceeding the speed limit going 155 mph very often it was not a big deal. On a recent trip to SEMA, I had a chance to wind it out and pulled it above 150 so that it was I called it a theoretical disadvantage. At 140 mph, there is still 1,000 left until red line in 6th gear. At 150 mph, I was not looking to see how much RPM I had left until red line. Truthfully, there are very few roads in California where I can get the car over 140 for a sustained period to reach 150 because the drag created by the air at speeds of 140 affect the car’s acceleration.





The last place to get the greatest rotational mass savings were the brakes. We got some rare 2 piece aluminum hat Alcon Rotors designed for the track that would fit under the factory Brembo brake calipers. There were only about 10-20 sets made to our knowledge at a cost of $2600 per set. While I have not personally used them fully to their potential, I have seen them on a few other Stis at the track. Those drivers reported that the pad knockback commonly affecting the stock rotors was eliminated (mainly due to the slightly thicker rotor thickness) and there was no fade. Apparently, the Alcon complete rotor assembly dissipated heat so quickly that the calipers became a major hink sink and absorbed any substantial increases in temperature.

The rotors shed 30 pounds of additional weight. This is a significant reduction in rotational mass and unsprung weight at the wheels which is more than noticeable in accelerating---a sheer gush of torque at any speed---and during cornering---the STi feels so much more nimble going in and coming out of turns. Point and shoot has a whole new meaning.








Stock Fronts:


Upgrades:



Stock Rears:






Upgrades:



Next up was the driveline and suspension, with some of the proven Group N products that STi produces for Subarus, along with other hardened bushings, which were not too stiff that they would have a negative effect on driveability. While there is a slight increase in vibration in certain conditions----sitting at a stop light and the AC kicks on, you can feel it more in the steering wheel for example, this is more than offset by increase in feedback provided by these pieces.

I opted for the
GROUP N STi Transmission Mount
GROUP N Engine Mounts
GROUP N Pitchstop Mount
GROUP N Rear Diff Package (not pictured below)








I also opted for the genuine STi short shifter and dropped in a pair of STi short shifter bushings. After bolting all the mounts and bushings into the car and taking it for a drive, there was a noticeable improvement in throttle response. The mounts did not flex nearly as much under acceleration, so the power being delivered by the engine through the transmission was actually being delivered to the wheels. Less power was being lost through the driveline when throttle is applied. And the shifter was not only tighter, but it also felt like it could tolerate some of the forces and abuse that the transmission would be exposed to on the trac,. The net effect was a more solid feeling transmission and car, particularly in maximum power delivery situations.










After these modifications, I decided to target the suspension, which is probably the single weekest point of the STi from the factory. My previous modifications did a lot to balance out the car's handling with respect to its power, but now I wanted to make it handle like it was on rails.

Because suspension is so important I did not want to trust a random aftermarket company so I opted for genuine STi products not only because their name was on the car, but also because they invest hours and hours of design in engineering to deliver something that is truly made for the car.

Pinks were by far the number 1 recommend spring to use for the US STi.

Also recommended were the Pink STi Sport Trailing Arms with full spherical metal bushings in place of the soft stock rubber bushings, Pink STi Sport Lateral Links and Sway Bar End Links with full spherical metal bushings in place of the soft stock rubber bushings, and the Group N Strut Top Hats.











Since STi did not offer upgraded sway bars, I opted for Cusco since they have developed an oustanding reputation in Japan for delivering high quality products. When the installation was completed, the rear end of the STi took on a whole new life both literally and figuratively:






Once I drove the car with all the modifications, it was completely transformed even if the suspension looked a little colorful. In fact, the ride had actually been improved for daily driving because that stock bouncy suspension feeling was gone. The front end no longer feels like its floating when the wheels hit a few bumps or expansion joints in the road. The car's ride is firm but not too stiff.

When I got the car in the canyons, this is where I noticed the biggest difference. When traveling around a corner and rolling on the throttle as I entered the apex, I noticed that the rear end followed the front more smoothly. In following this feeling, I decided to roll on the throttle earlier before I entered the next turn's apex and induce a slight rear wheel drift. As the rear wheels started to slide out, I realized I could control the slide with the additional feedback that the suspension and bushing modifications added. I now feel more comfortable exploring that edge.

The STi also demonstrated substantially less body roll and it seems like more of the tire was staying planted on the ground as a result of the sway bars working with the STi pink bits. After several months with this setup, I often joke about splurging for the new STi coilover suspension, but its not until after I head out for a day at the track or afternoon through the twisties do I think that the sacrifice in driveability may not be worth the gain in performance. This suspension certainly should have come on the STi from the factory. But I continue to hear how great some of the newer coilover suspensions are very forgiving on the street while providing superior performance on the track. Until I can drive someone else’s car with coilovers, I would not even know which setup to select for myself.

Perhaps again the STi coilover setup is the way to go:





I still remain attracted to the Recaro STi Sport Seats from Japan:


for the race car:



Because of all the color in the rear, I decided to splurge (lucky me, its on my own car) for the Pink Sti Brembo Stainless Steel Brake Lines and changed the brake fluid to a DOT5 High Temp Fluid. The lines increase pedal firmness and do not flex under hard braking.






With the additional Gs I could pull in the STi from all the suspension upgrades, I wanted something to keep me planted in the seat, so rather than going for full racing harnesses, I opted for the CG Lock:

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Last edited by Kevin; 01-10-08 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 04-01-05, 11:04 PM   #2
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This picture was taken at a local socalsti.com meet along with JDM Addict's ride; new volks and removed the fog lights:







Last edited by Nivek; 04-01-05 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 04-01-05, 11:09 PM   #3
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I also have the JDM STi S202 Titanium Exhaust and this sounds unreal.











Current wish list:



Last edited by Nivek; 04-03-05 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 04-03-05, 02:34 PM   #4
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Added Helix Catted Downpipe, STi Recaro Sport Seats, KW Variant 3 Coilovers, and Volks Racing Wheels...(pics to come)

For now, here are some pics and sound clips taken before the above mods were performed:

http://www.kingofimports.com/engine2/images/exhaust/

Last edited by Nivek; 04-03-05 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 04-03-05, 03:20 PM   #5
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Whoa, how big is that S202 exhaust tip? 4.5"?
I'd personally like to end up with a 3.5" exhaust tip. I wonder if there is science behind having such a big tip like that off the S202 exhaust after 3" piping...
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Old 04-03-05, 11:19 PM   #6
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ok i want to know.

Were do i go to get and ezhuast llike the S202? and the bumber from ur wish list (the blue STi) and how much does it cost?
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Old 04-03-05, 11:31 PM   #7
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S202 exhaust runs about $1500 because its titanium and it has that STi label. There is a similar style exhaust by STi in Stainless that is half that, which is available in Japan.

Exhaust is 3.5-4".

The bumper can be had but its the shipping that kills it.Its got to be $2500 for the whole kit.
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Old 04-04-05, 09:18 AM   #8
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aight cool thnkx so i cant find any of them here then? bleh looks like i have to find another high pain job.
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Old 04-24-05, 07:00 PM   #9
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Just added!
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King of Imports' STi-dscn8499-jpg   King of Imports' STi-dscn8518-jpg   King of Imports' STi-dscn8542-jpg  
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Old 04-24-05, 08:50 PM   #10
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One question...

How much would i have to drop so my wrx can look like urs?

as in im goin to lower it.
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