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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This here is my member journal, which will detail the progression of my 2009 Subaru WRX STi.




BACKGROUND-

As you can see from my SN "KManZ", I came from the land of Nissan's venerable Z car, namely the 350Z. I owned 2 350Z's ('03 and '07) from 2003 up until this past August 2009, and a '98 Prelude SH in between during college. My former cars:





MY STi-

So, in August of 2009 I purchased my first Subaru, a base Dark Gray Metallic STi, from Annapolis Subaru :tup: While waiting for the deal to be finished, I purchased the Whiteline Steering Wheel Bushing kit, some rubber floor mats, and a cargo net from the Parts Dept.

The first thing I actually had done to the new STi was the Venture Shield clear bra, due to the many complaints about the Subie paint. While the clear bra was getting cut on, I happened to notice that right next door was Mach V Motorsports. Big mistake... I wandered over there and left with Whiteline front and rear sways. A week later, these were installed along with Rally Armor mudflaps, and the car transformed from a jello-like boat to a tight handling machine. A few weeks later, the Steering Bushing kit was finally installed, and things got even better.


Windows: still not tinted as of Halloween 2011 :( But I did just install an AEM intake.



MODS:



SUSPENSION-

  • Whiteline 24" Adjustable Front Swaybar
  • Whiteline 22" Adjustable Rear Swaybar
  • Whiteline Steering Rack Bushings KSR207
  • Whiteline Rear Diff Mount Inserts KDT903 (installed 26Mar10)
  • Whiteline Rear Subframe Bushings KDT902 (installed 26Mar10)
  • Kartboy Front Endlinks (installed 31Mar10)
  • Kartboy Rear Endlinks (installed 31Mar10)
BRAKES-



PERFORMANCE-


AUDIO-

  • Alpine 9887
  • Alpine PDX 4.150
  • Polk SR6500 6.5" components
  • PAC SWI-JACK Steering Control Adapter
  • JDM Bezel
  • Forester DIN Pocket

APPEARANCE-





FUTURE GOALS-

After a year and a half mod moratorium, I've decided to open the wallet and add some things to the car.


  • Engine: AEM intake, Tanabe exhaust, EBCS, and another Protune (either Mach V or IAG.
  • Suspension: RCE Yellows, Whiteline ALK, and maybe the Rollcenter Adjust kit.
  • Stereo: Add subwoofer to finish the system
  • Appearance: WINDOWS TINTED!











 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

SURGELINE PROTUNE - STAGE 1
4,050 miles

My first engine mod! Nothing special here, since this is what most people jump into when they start out. I bought the Cobb AP from a NASIOC member. He informed me that in addition to the Cobb OTS maps, there was a Surgeline Protune Stage 1 map as well for a stock '08-'09 STi! Not wanting to wreck my engine, I called Cobb and asked them if I could safely use the Surgeline map, considering my car was stock. They said it would be good to go, though I need to monitor for knock. Very well then, Surgeline Stage 1, here we go!



According to the previous owner, the Surgeline map enabled his car to put down 282.44whp & 304.86wtq, more than what I was expecting from the OTS Stage 1 map! So I performed the usual install, and was ready to launch.

The car feels a lot different, much more smooth idling :tup: Once out piddling around in the neighborhood, taking it slow, it seems the throttle is a little less sensitive and requires a bit more gas to get rolling. I am in Sport, and maybe the car needs to learn the new map, and maybe Sport # is where the magic happens. I take off onto a main road, rev into boost a bit and definitely feel a more willful engine, like it is egging you on to just slam that pedal! Sport mode was nice, but then I tried Sport #...

:evilbanan

Whole...new...car. With a stab of the throttle, the GR picked up tremendous speed, a devilish, rabid whine emanating from where previously had come a kitten-like mew. It's as though a starved, ferocious monster has been let loose to hunt its next meal after being caged for the past 4,000 miles. The power band seems to be more usable in the low to mid-range, especially in 2nd and 3rd gear. When the boost hits at WOT, BAM! Instant seat impression.

I am thinking that I have yet to feel the full effects of the new tune, since I only drove the car for a few minutes. Tomorrow's drive to work will be the true indoctrination :tup:
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Stock Grill: Plasti-Dip

STOCK GRILL - PLASTI-DIP

01/15/2010

It's Friday after a long week of work, and I decided to paint the front grill black. Like a majority of owners here, I decided to go with Plasti-Dip, which I bought at Home Depot. While I wait for the first coat to dry, I decided to sit down with a beer and type this out since I have nothing better to do.

First of all, if you are attempting this DIY: don't try to remove the grill itself! Remove the front bumper all together. What a PITA that grill is; you'll never find the 4 screws to remove it without losing your mind first. In fact, you'll more than likely do what I did and take out the wrong screws first before realizing they weren't the ones you needed. Save yourself the frustration and just pop out the 14 tabs and pull the bumper off. Here is an EXCELLENT tutorial from one of our own:


GR Bumper Removal

Once the bumper is removed, clean all of the parts that you will be spraying. I washed mine in the bathtub with Dawn dish soap. After that, dry each piece before you spray so as to ensure proper adhesion.


Grrrrrrrrrr




After drying the parts out, it's time to tape off the Subaru emblem and the STi logo on the front grill. Luckily I had just recently did some painting in the house, so I had a role laying around that was perfect for the task. So just tape those guys off and you are set.

Once you are ready to go, shake the can of PD vigorously for 1 minute prior to use. Put the grill pieces onto something you don't mind ruining, space them out to avoid over-spray, and you are ready to begin.

Hold the can out about 12"-16" away and start spraying nice, even coats in a back/forth motion until it is evenly coated and looks wet. Once that's all done, let them dry for at least 30 minutes, and then go back for another coat. I am going to use 2-3 coats to see how it looks. I don't want a gloppy appearance so less is better me thinks.




Upon removal of the painters tape from the Subaru emblem, I discovered that the Plasti Dip was pulled up along with the tape. This sucks because I had to put the car back together for the weekend with a sub-par paint job :cool:. So, I get to take everything apart again tonight and try to fix the problem. I want to remove the emblem all together to forgo taping off, but only if it isn't too intensive of a process.

Finally, a picture of the grill!




 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

AUDIO SYSTEM Feb '10

PLANNING PHASE - 02/15/10

This project wasn't really the step I wanted to take next in my GR Journey of Discovery, but the stock speakers shat the bed pretty damn quick (6 months :rolleyes:) and now sound like someone gargled with glass shards. Lucky for me I have everything from my last car's install, so the entire operation shouldn't be too costly, allowing me to get it over with quick and then move on to bigger and better mods :D

My plan is to initially install:


  • Alpine 9887 Head Unit
  • Polk SR6500 6.5" Components in front
  • Diamond Audio D610D2
  • Alpine PDX 4.150 amp
  • Alpine PDX 1.600 sub-woofer amp
  • PAC Audio SWI-JACK steering wheel control adapter
  • FatMat Sound Damping
Also included in this adventure, I will be running speaker wire into the doors both front and rear.

What I need to buy:


Sub enclosure: I already have a Diamond Audio D610D2 from my last install which I hope to reuse, depending on the dimensions of the enclosure that I buy. Right now I am leaning towards the Wicked CAS Magic Box, as it appears my sub will fit in the box.

D610D2: .625 cu/ft minimum enclosure volume
Wicked CAS: .65 cu/ft

Good to go :tup:


New Speaker Wire Ran into Doors: Aside from the equipment questions, my next hurdle will be the wiring :scurred: In the past 2 installs (Honda Prelude, Nissan 350Z), running new speaker wire into the doors has been one of the most infuriating issues. It's worth it to know that A) I am not cutting into stock wiring, and B) I have adequate gauge wiring for any future sound upgrades. Good piece of mind, extreme masochistic process to get it through the door grommets.

Rear Speakers: Sticking with the stockers for fill, ran off of the Alpine HU. This will save me much agony due to not having to wire into the doors.

Crossover placement: Where should the crossovers go? I want them inside the car because there is always the chance that they come loose in the door, requiring me to take the panels off and remount. I'd rather not deal with that. So the X-Overs go in the footwells or under one of the seats. Depending on the amount of space the amps take up, under the seats would be the preferred location.

DIN Pocket: Since I am going with a single DIN HU, something needs to be done with the empty area below. All of my previous installs had me using Metra dash kits, though each and every time the quality was mediocre. Extensive searching revealed that some owners have used the DIN pocket from the Forester to take up the space, thereby giving you an usable cubby with a flip-open door. Along with the JDM bezel, this should make for a clean install as long as all of the coloring matches.


02/16/10 -All of the vital pieces required to perform the initial install have been ordered! And now the wait...

02/19/10 - Overnight parts from Japan:




02/25/10 - Finished, at last... From this day forward, I will pay someone else to do my installs. Super frustrating! :tdown: But you know what? It was worth it because the system sounds INCREDIBLE. Much, much better than it did in the 350Z, and back then it had even been finely tuned via Imprint!

Here are some photos from the 4 night install:

Stock speaker vs. Polk SR6500- notice how much wider the basket of the Polk woofer is.



I had to use 2 of the spacers that Polk provided in order to make the wide basket fit. Additionally, I had to drill my own mounting holes because Subaru used a queer shaped woofer here.

The next photo shows the door grommet I had just run new speaker wire into. One of the more evil tasks when installing a new system, running wire into the doors is pure misery, not made any easier by some confusing grommet. In the picture you can see how there are "keys" in the plastic piece that fit into notches in the ring of the grommet.



Here is where I ran the power wire. Windex is a true life saver, making this probably the easiest part of the install.



JDM Bezel + Alpine 9887 :tdown:

In layman's terms, it doesn't fit quite right. The brackets in the '09 STi are not like the ones I saw in all of the How-To threads... this bracket is very small, which doesn't provide a place far enough forward to be able to mount it. The bottom hole I drilled myself.



Here it is once in place:



Yeah, there is a nice 1-1.5" gap where the HU extends past it. Ah well, it's this or a Metra pocket. Overall, the colors match pretty well, and I have a door'd pocket. Lastly, here is a snap of the color matching:






No problems installing the PAC SWI-JACK, the wheel buttons work as advertised. The final answer regarding the steering wheel control wires: you DO NOT need to cut any of your factory wires, you merely need to splice into them (brown and pink wire).

In conclusion, I am pretty chuffed about how the system sounds. The Polks have really come to life, and it's great to have iPod/iPhone control again. I am really looking forward to getting the sub enclosure so that I can round the system out and complete the tuning.

Next stop: Suspension!!!!




 

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Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

Congrats on the new car. Where abouts in VA are you? There are two used Cobb APs selling locally in NoVA ($500 each). Check out the classifieds on IWSTI and NASIOC's MAIC sub forum. You probably won't get a better deal than that and you can verify they are unmarried before forking over the cash.
 

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Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

Nice, happy modding!

:tup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

Congrats on the new car. Where abouts in VA are you? There are two used Cobb APs selling locally in NoVA ($500 each). Check out the classifieds on IWSTI and NASIOC's MAIC sub forum. You probably won't get a better deal than that and you can verify they are unmarried before forking over the cash.
Thanks for the tips! I have been intensely sharking the forums here, and have made some offers. Hopefully soon :tup: I need to look up how to verify that an AP is unmarried. I live in Centreville at the present.

What is the community's impression of Mach V? Reputable? Over/underpriced?
 

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Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

Thanks for the tips! I have been intensely sharking the forums here, and have made some offers. Hopefully soon :tup: I need to look up how to verify that an AP is unmarried. I live in Centreville at the present.

What is the community's impression of Mach V? Reputable? Over/underpriced?
I've been very happy with my experiences with Mach V. I've had my oil pan replaced and a performance alignment done there. As with any shop, some of their parts prices are lower, some are on par, some are more expensive ... you just need to shop around. There are a number of great shops in VA and MD. Read up on them at the Vendor/Shop review sub forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

Just went to Stage 1!! The previous owner had gotten his stock Gr Protuned by Surgeline, so the price I paid for the AP was VERY worth it. The car is officially awake.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Stock System Died

I've heard that the stock system is a POS, as generally most OEM systems are, but I didn't expect it to actually **** the bed on me after just 6 months :mad: I hadn't planned on doing the ICE system until well after Stage II and other performance mods, but this is a dire situation b/c I am nearly without sound and my commute sucks bad enough already, so my plans have been rearranged.

The old system from my 350Z is going in, so my overall expenses should be relatively minor versus buying everything new. The acoustics in the Z were horrible, and the stereo components sounded amazing: I am expecting the same system to sound angelical in the STi :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

SUSPENSION

Spring time is here! My next major phase of construction begins with suspension improvements and enhancements :tup: Since day one the handling and poise of this car, to me, has felt floaty and unplanted, jello-y if you will. My goal is to correct this feeling, and bring about a more direct, confidant car.

Here is the intended upgrade path:



  1. Whiteline 24" Adjustable Front Swaybar (installed)
  2. Whiteline 22" Adjustable Rear Swaybar (installed)
  3. Whiteline Steering Rack Bushings KSR207 (installed)
  4. Whiteline Rear Diff Mount Inserts KDT903 (installed 26Mar10)
  5. Whiteline Rear Subframe Bushings KDT902 (installed 26Mar10)
  6. Kartboy Front Endlinks (installed 31Mar10)
  7. Kartboy Rear Endlinks (installed 31Mar10)
  8. Whiteline Antilift Kit KCA334
  9. Racecomp Engineering "Yellow" springs
As of this writing, I have installed the first 5 items on the list, and already the car's handling characteristics have been substantially improved!

Installing the Rear Diff Insert bushings was a ROYAL pain in the ***. The bolts affixed to the diff brace (or whatever that piece holding the differential up is called) seemed almost welded on. Getting them to break loose had me sore for a few days after. Definitely not fun
:tdown: What made the install even worse is that Whiteline didn't put the right number of bushings in, so I had to install 3 of the 4, and then wait for Mach V to order me a replacement. :mad: Kudos to Mach V for excellent customer service! As I am finishing up the install, I realize that I didn't keep the washer I needed for the bushing, so I had to run to Ace Hardware to pick up a replacement. Yet again a close call with the rear diff insert bushings.

The Rear Subframe Bushings were fairly easy. The only difficult part was getting the sub frame itself to line up when putting everything back together. Trial and error, but it got done.


I couldn't help myself: I bought the Kartboy Solid Endlinks while I was at Mach V the other day. So after I finished with the last diff bushing, I got those bolted up. Come to find out that my front sway was on the soft setting
:cool:, so in retrospect, installing the new endlinks improved my handling :lol: Had some clunks tonight, so got under and re-tightened everything. No more clunks.


IMPRESSIONS - 01APR10


With the sways, endlinks, steering rack bushings, rear diff inserts, and rear subframe inserts, this car is simply AMAZING. The "bobble head" effect was cut by about 80% thanks to the rear diff and subframe bushings. I highly recommend these!!!

I simply cannot wait for the RCE Yellows. If what they say is true, then the handling will just get better. The way the car is now, I can live with it and be happy, but if the springs add an even greater bit of handling improvement, I will be blown away.


 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

5Zigen FN01R-C: Wheels at Last!

Picked up a set of 5Zigen FN01R-C in 18x8.5 +48mm. Not too far from stock offset, and lighter than the stock 5 spokers (now my winter rims). I have wanted to see a bronze-type rim on the Dark Gray Metallic, and so far I think it works:









Apologies for the oh-so-exciting background, but I was in a hurry to go out and flaunt the new shoes :D

I really liked the stock 5 spokers, but not their weight. These rims are about 5 lbs lighter/per. Less sprung weight, the better I always say :) Center caps are on order, and my gf just suggested going with some different colored lugs. We'll take a look what's out there, or if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

I'm really looking forward to the RCE Yellows, which will drop the car ~15mm. After that, my suspension/handling work is finished!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

Some pics from Skyline Drive meet - 25 April 2010






Got a chance to take the STi out to the twisties in Shenandoah this past weekend. Last Fall was when I was last there, and didn't really get a chance to open her up because I was still in break-in. Since then I have installed all of the suspension components (sways & bushings) and gone Stage 1, so yes, there was a TREMENDOUS difference in handling and power.






I think I have found my zen spot: alone, driving on a cool Spring day in the mountains, nowhere to go, curvy roads ahead... bliss

 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi

STAGE II

8200 miles

I ordered my Invidia Catted DP from Geoff @ Cygnus Performance on Friday night. Today, Tuesday, I came home to find the good old Fed Ex "missed delivery" slip taped to the door. FAST service! :eek: So tomorrow night after work, Stage 2 begins!

For now I am going to keep the stock CBE, as I really have to slow down the spending on this car :lol: So I also ordered the 3" to 2.5" adapter. I got the Cobb AP fired up and ready to go, so now all that remains is getting the piece into the car. :cool:

April 28, 2010 - Invidia 3" DP Install

So today was the install day. Had my friends helping me out where needed, and ended up using about 4 hours from start to finish. All bolts came off easy, everything fit together, with the heatshield re-install and the intercooler re-install being the toughest portions. My hands are sliced up nicely :tup:

Impressions: fricken awesome. With just the OTS v1.02 93 map, the car pulls much harder than my Stage 1 Protuned map. An added bonus is that you can hear the turbo doing its thing much more now, and the car just sounds a little meaner.

Next plans, power-wise:

- AEM CAI (not sure yet if I want to deal with the sound all-the-time
- EBCS
- Protune from IAG or Mach V

I don't think I am going to get a catback. The gains are not worth the price of admission. The CAI would be mostly for the sound, but like mentioned I may grow tired of its psssshhhhh-ing.

Pics later! :wave:

 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi > Stage 2 Protune by Ptuning

Protuned by Ptuning!

May 8, 2010 - 8600 miles

Today I got Protuned by Toan @ Ptuning in Manassas, VA.



The car has been running nicely on the Cobb v1.02 93 Oct map, though my datalogging has shown some knock in 5th-6th gear while in the lower RPM range (I'm not the only one). I hope the Protune will cure this, along with smoothing everything out.

Results & Impressions

Toan based the tune off of Cobb's OTS v1.04 map, which itself is noticeably less "peaky" than the 1.02 I was running. The 1.02 map felt a little rough around the edges, and the 3000rpm stumble was bugging me. That being said, the new tune is buttery smooth :tup: Honestly, it doesn't feel as powerful as the 1.02, but I'm thinking that is due in part to the smoothing of the power band and delivery. Overall, this tune feels much more solid than the 1.02 map.

Here is the dyno result:



277hp & 291 ft/lb on the heartbreaker dyno. I am satisfied :)




 

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Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi > Stage 2 Protuned

What's up man? I'm the one that you ran into today at Gates of McLean. Funny how I've seen your journal before and then met you haha. I dyno'd my STi SE at Ptuning a month after I got it, can't wait to go stage 2.
 

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What's up man? I'm the one that you ran into today at Gates of McLean. Funny how I've seen your journal before and then met you haha. I dyno'd my STi SE at Ptuning a month after I got it, can't wait to go stage 2.
Gates of mclean is right around the corner from me. Kinda funny reading some of these journals and finding out you are local.
 

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Re: KManZ's - '09 DMG STi > Stage 2 Protuned

KManZ... I think I followed you into the Tysons Corner parking garage a couple weeks ago. I waved as I drove by your car after you parked. Nice wheels! ;)
 
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