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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello!

My name is Aaron and I'm the proud owner of a 2008 Obsidian Black Pearl STI Hatch. I've had my car for a few years and finally wanted to get up and create a project thread to share it with the community here as I've learned a lot to help me make progress on it. In addition to a list of mods, I'll try to always have a pic of my car in its latest condition on this first post and a list with links to any other updates/pics below.



Mods List (with links to details as I am able to post them):
Exterior
- Tint all rear glass, 5%; Post #5
- Wheels Rota G-Force 18x9 e30 in Hyper Black (w/hub-centric rings and black lugs); Post #6
- Partial rear debadge
- Rota center cap conversion to OEM STI cap; Post #7
- Fog light bulb swap to LED
- Front parking light/turn signal swap to LED switchback
- Rear turn signal swap to LED
- Rally Armor mud flaps (rear modified installation)
- WeatherTech license plate frames
- OEM rain guards

Engine/Performance
- AEM Dry Flow panel filter
- Airbox silencer delete (with custom rat guard)
- Whiteline front (24mm) and rear (22mm) sway bars (with upgraded end links); Post #8
- Cobb AP (currently running OTS stage 1 map)
- *Planned* Invidia Q300 Stainless Tip CBE
- Mach V (FastWRX) stainless brake lines

Interior
- Kenwood DNX7190HD head unit
- JDM stereo bezel
- Polk front components and rear coaxials
- Underseat subwoofer
- WeatherTech front mats
- WeatherTech cargo mat

Post History:
- Background info and first day pics; Post #2
- Tint (5%); Post #5
- Rota G-Force wheels; Post #6
- STI center cap installed on the Rotas; Post #7
- Anti-roll bars; Post #8
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I've always loved the look, performance and sound of the WRX/STI and wanted one ever since I first laid my eyes on one back in 2002. Once I finished college and started working, I picked up a 2006 Acura RSX-S and soon after went with a bunch of co-workers to a NASA HPDE track day at Thunderhill Raceway in northern CA. One of the guys brought his...2002 WRX! (I swear it's fate!) He had some heavy mods done to it and it looked great! He took me for a ride and from then I was hooked on the box.

After working for a few years after that I was able to get in a position to finally pick up one of these bad boys. I love the versatility and aesthetic of the hatch version over the sedan, so I focused on that and was able to find and purchase my car from a dealer in early 2012. Here it is on the first day home:



 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the welcome guys!

Tint

My very first mod was...TINT! This black beauty was going to absorb heat like crazy as it is, so I needed to get some relief from that. Via Yelp I found a place in San Jose called Computerized Tinting so I took my ride there soon after I got it and everything went super smooth. I decided to go with 5% all around except the fronts since in CA it's technically illegal to have anything on the front.

Here are the after pics:





 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Rota Wheels

After a few months I had the urge to personalize my STI a bit and decided to get some new wheels. I did a lot of image searching to see what style I wanted and then looked on various vendor sites to check on wheel manufacturer options. I liked the spider-ish style of a 10+ spoke wheel and really liked the recessed look of a low offset. I didn't want to spend THOUSANDS on Volks so I went the Rota route. I know there's a lot of people that curse the Rota quality and there's a ton of memes out there for "friends don't let friends run Rotas," but a friend of mine has been running Rota wheels on his TT car forever and never had issues so I trusted his judgment.

I spent endless hours looking for pics of a black GR with various colors of wheels to figure out which I thought looked best (narrowed it down to hyper black vs bronze) and pulled the trigger on a set of:
Rota G-Force, 18x9e30, Hyper Black
Also fitted with Gorilla hub-centric rings (73x56.1mm) and Gorilla black lugs

I kept the stock tire size as I was worried about fender rubbing if I got anything wider. It ended up rubbing anyway and I actually chewed up my rear tire sidewall quite a bit until I was able to get them rolled. I went to RMS Rolling & Coating in Fremont to get the fenders rolled. The guy was quick and efficient and definitely would recommend anyone to go there. I probably only needed to get the rears rolled but got all 4 done since I was there anyway and was gunshy from the damage already done on the rears.



 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
STI OEM Center Cap Retrofit

Although I loved the new wheels, I felt they lacked some pop of color and missed the STI center caps from the OEM wheels. I didn't like the look of the vinyl stickers you can buy to put the STI logo on aftermarket wheels, so I thought ahead a bit and saved the OEM STI caps before I sold my original rims. Once I finally found some time to jump on the lathe at work and rework the Rota center caps to accept the OEM STI caps, I was very happy with the results!

It's been almost 2 years since I made this mod and never had any issue with them popping off. The ONLY issue I've had is on a track day when the front wheels got too hot and the plastic Rota caps basically reset their shape and did not grip the wheel anymore and literally fell out. I was luckily able to recover them and reshape them to work nicely again (with the help of a heat gun and round aluminum rod).

I took measurements as I went and made a precision engineering drawing for anyone else that wanted to give this mod a shot (red highlight for material removed). This can probably be done with a Dremel tool but the lathe is built for stuff like this so it's hard to beat the finish of it.











 

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Discussion Starter #8
Anti-Roll Bars

I wanted a bit better handling in the corners but didn't want to sacrifice ride quality too much, so upgrading the anti-roll bars was my preferred way to go. I did a bunch of reading and researching and settled on the Whiteline set and got it from Cygnus Performance (best price I found) along with Whiteline adjustable end links.

The installation was pretty straight forward, but I did have some problems getting the rear end links into the lower control arm because the metal had bent JUST enough to not let the end link slide in nicely. After a lot of prying I was able to force it in and got everything secured. I set up the front at the "softer" position and the rears at the "middle" position as a starting point and did feel a good improvement in the roll stiffness, but I haven't played much yet with the setups to see what the real difference is.

A lot of folks have negative impressions of the adjustable end links and report a lot of noise with them. I still went for them because the engineer in me just needed to be able to have the adjustment capability to make any small adjustments I wanted. After the initial install everything was tight and quiet, but I did get some clanking after a few days and it turned out to just be the main nuts that had loosened up a bit. I retightened them and the clanking was gone. So I'd just suggest adding some thread locker to help with that issue, but also double check the nuts whenever you go under the car.

Front:


Front:


Rear:
 
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