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What's Your Modification Tolerance?

653 Views 29 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  JFAZ
Initially thinking I'd keep my STI stock...I've lightly slipped down the rabbit hole, nothing crazy, but starting to encounter some automotive philosophical decisions. As we further departure from the manufactures original product, each modification typically results in some type compromise.

Quick examples: Stiffer Shifter bushings Better shifting feel, but more NVH. Lower Ride Height LCOG results in better handling and looks, but now your driveway challenged and buy new front lips once a year.

Where do you draw the line? When does the benefit outweigh the compromise? I know tolerance will vary depending on how you use your car (dedicated track, weekend toy, daily, etc...)
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You kinda hit the nail on the head when you said "depending on how you use your car."

If you're trying to take a sample of what people are saying, I could say from a daily perspective, it's all down to the ration of reliability/power. You're going to trade between the two, and it's a balancing act. Let's also not forget our EPA friends and the things they've done as well, and what that means for the community.

For me, it goes like this for daily driver:

1) Shifter bushings
2) Lowering springs
3) Pitch stop mount
4) Tires
5) Exhaust
6) Power (EBCS, Turbo Inlet, Tune)
7) AOS, Cylinder 4

That's about as much as I would do, anymore and I would start to throw reliability out, but that's just me.
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^you can do a lot more than that without sacrificing reliability.

I think you kinda nailed it when you said what the car was used for. When it comes to the overalls use of the car, that will not only determine about how far to go, but also what mod options you’ll take (example, coils can be valved for comfort or a more track oriented feel, along with spring rates). It all comes down to what you want out of the car and what you’re willing to put up with and put into it.
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I agree, there's a lot more I CAN do, but I also have to take other factors into account; which is why I believe every situation is different.

For me, I work for a CPA firm and will be advanced to Principal this year, so that means a lot of client interaction and driving to clients. I have to take that into consideration as well.
My modification tolerance is anything that won’t make a multistate road trip intolerable or likely to end poorly. Which also means I may want to ask for a 91 octane map at some point.
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My modification tolerance is anything that won’t make a multistate road trip intolerable or likely to end poorly. Which also means I may want to ask for a 91 octane map at some point.
You’d then have to define intolerable lol. Cause that means different things to different people. Some would consider my car intolerable for that type of trip. Some wouldn’t.
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There is no answer to this question, and in truth it is mostly about money anyway. Seriously. If you can afford another car then it is only about money; what you want and what you can and are willing to spend. I DD drive a fully built 05 for 80K (and that 80K was app 180-260K) as my commuter, and I was thrilled to drive it every day, 100mi/day 5 days a week - and it is a car that is many would not tolerate except for a short joy-ride. It is reliable. That was never an issue. Servicing it was. I learned "Subie" and built a shop to maintain it myself.
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After driving mine as daily for the past 4 years, I think my tolerance is fairly high, even when the STI is in stock form. I'm starting to become annoyed with a couple of my modifications though.

First, the Cobb Big SF intake noise. While I love how it sounds, the constant noise wears on me. Would love it if I only drove this car on the weekends/track, but can't do it as a daily. My Cobb exhaust doesn't bother me a bit, however too much woosh woosh, annoys me.

Second, tires that rub. Love the looks of my fat tires on my lowered coilovers, love the ride that the extra sidewall gives, but getting tired of rubbing. I keep thinking I should just throw on my stock wheels and raise it a bit, but when I walk up to my STI, I just love how it looks. The real solution is getting a tire/wheel setup that fits correctly, should of done that the first time.
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That was never an issue. Servicing it was. I learned "Subie" and built a shop to maintain it myself.
I have probably bought more tools that turned out to be mandatory on the subie in the last 2 weeks than I have for the past 10 years. And I mean yeah, some of my tools are in storage, but I’ve never needed a flex head ratchet or a universal joint before, they’ve always just been “eh that might be convenient at some point”
You kinda hit the nail on the head when you said "depending on how you use your car."

If you're trying to take a sample of what people are saying, I could say from a daily perspective, it's all down to the ration of reliability/power. You're going to trade between the two, and it's a balancing act. Let's also not forget our EPA friends and the things they've done as well, and what that means for the community.

For me, it goes like this for daily driver:

1) Shifter bushings
2) Lowering springs
3) Pitch stop mount
4) Tires
5) Exhaust
6) Power (EBCS, Turbo Inlet, Tune)
7) AOS, Cylinder 4

That's about as much as I would do, anymore and I would start to throw reliability out, but that's just me.
Is the pitch stop mount worth it? Whats the tradeoff? I've never really looked into them, I remember something about firewall's cracking with aftermarket pitch stops. I'm doing your #1 and #7 (AOS) next.
There is no answer to this question, and in truth it is mostly about money anyway. Seriously. If you can afford another car then it is only about money; what you want and what you can and are willing to spend. ... I learned "Subie" and built a shop to maintain it myself.
^^ This.. I also ended up with a small subie shop in the garage. =/
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Is the pitch stop mount worth it? Whats the tradeoff? I've never really looked into them, I remember something about firewall's cracking with aftermarket pitch stops. I'm doing your #1 and #7 (AOS) next.
If yours isn’t broken. Don’t do it lol. Mine is an aluminum one. I think agency. And yea. It cracked the firewall making for more of a headache. Granted. I’d break stock ones launching so it was kinda necessary. And now it’s good to go.
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During my 25 minute commute by myself I think the car is perfect. Now that I drive my daughter an hour each way on Saturdays over crappy roads for fencing (didn’t see that coming) I kind of feel like I’ve ruined the car some days.

I’ve left the engine stock for reliability and simplicity (live nowhere near a Subaru shop and it’s a can of variables I’m not ready to mess with). I have a corsa exhaust that’s definitely gotten louder, group n pitch/engine/trans mounts, shifter bushings, 200tw tires, and X1 coilovers. Also carbotech ax6’s but that’s another story. I think the coilovers have had the most of a tuning fork effect, linking nvh that previously was dampened by oem top hats. Overall it works because my wife’s vehicle is the go to for any family trips, but if I was in an earlier stage of my life with a lot more driving it would not work. Absolutely still love driving it home after work though, and for that time I wouldn’t change a thing (except these damn brake pads). As was said, just comes down to how you use the car.
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I can tolerate alot I guess. Ive daily driven a loud subaru for 10+ years. Most people dont get it, but thats why they dont drive an sti. Although I will say that modding the sti in my early 20's compared to how I would go about things now in my 30's is totally different. Ive always been a fan of function over form but as the saying goes, with age comes wisdom.

For me where I absolutely draw the line is lowering! I've been in other peoples cars over the years with shitty suspension that every time, I ask myself why would anyone want that. I've been in some cars that hitting anything in the road has your teeth chattering. Ive worked on and still do at times, lowered and slammed cars. It really pisses me off when I have to deal with that. Getting any car on the lift, alignment rack, ramps, inclines, declines, driveways, ect, ect, its just hell when the car is low. Then comes all the noises and issues that go hand and hand with slamming the car.

Our cars dont have much clearance to begin with so to reduce it even more doesn't work for me. Im pretty conciencous about my cars ride height/clearance so ive learned to take things at an angle but still, thats on stock VA suspension. I couldn't imagine doing the same song and dance on a lowered car all day, everyday, everywhere, everytime.

Not for me!
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I can tolerate alot I guess. Ive daily driven a loud subaru for 10+ years. Most people dont get it, but thats why they dont drive an sti. Although I will say that modding the sti in my early 20's compared to how I would go about things now in my 30's is totally different. Ive always been a fan of function over form but as the saying goes, with age comes wisdom.

For me where I absolutely draw the line is lowering! I've been in other peoples cars over the years with shitty suspension that every time, I ask myself why would anyone want that. I've been in some cars that hitting anything in the road has your teeth chattering. Ive worked on and still do at times, lowered and slammed cars. It really pisses me off when I have to deal with that. Getting any car on the lift, alignment rack, ramps, inclines, declines, driveways, ect, ect, its just hell when the car is low. Then comes all the noises and issues that go hand and hand with slamming the car.

Our cars dont have much clearance to begin with so to reduce it even more doesn't work for me. Im pretty conciencous about my cars ride height/clearance so ive learned to take things at an angle but still, thats on stock VA suspension. I couldn't imagine doing the same song and dance on a lowered car all day, everyday, everywhere, everytime.

Not for me!
Lol not near as bad as you’re making it out to be. That said. Lowered is very different than slammed. Mine is very low, but functional and I’ve never had an issue.

that said. The way I’d mod this thing in my 20s vs 30s is such a massive difference. I do agree there. I’ve debated swapping parts out for more tame models lol. Aka my exhaust. Part of me has a hard time doing it though cause I just love the look of the n1 style.
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Lol not near as bad as you’re making it out to be. That said. Lowered is very different than slammed. Mine is very low, but functional and I’ve never had an issue.

that said. The way I’d mod this thing in my 20s vs 30s is such a massive difference. I do agree there. I’ve debated swapping parts out for more tame models lol. Aka my exhaust. Part of me has a hard time doing it though cause I just love the look of the n1 style.
I should have been more clear, lowered an inch or so is fine, thats reasonable. However a majority of the cars that ive had experiences with are lowered and basically slammed with a 3" drop. At that point its just not practical. The roads by me are really crappy and that adds to my resentment of lowered cars. I drove from NJ to PA, DE, MD, VA, NC and finally to TN. The roads were an absolute dream on that entire trip, not a single pot hole . Highways, back roads, local towns, mountain roads, ect ect it was all good. It wasn't until I got back into NJ that I realized how shitty the roads are here.

Im at the same point with you on exhaust. I love my Greedy Evo 3, but it has become so loud inside the car. I dont want to get rid of it because it is a bit of a rarity for my generation sti and it does sound amazing. Unfortunately due to its loudness it has really become my enemy at times. I've really been considering going for a Cobb catback to help reduce the noise. We'll see how I feel about it in another week or so when my allergies subside and I can put the windows down.

If I had to do it all over again and start the modding process, id absolutely go for a catted downpipe and a quieter exhaust.
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Yeah agreed on the lowering and exhaust. The VA STI is already about as low as I want to go, any coilovers are going to be the long travel variety. Exhaust…I think I nailed it with the header/downpipe/3” midpipe and stock mufflers combination. Any louder and it’d be a pain but stock was in a weird place where it was too loud to be quiet but not loud enough to be fun. Ah and I can’t stand exhaust leaks these days. Spent too long chasing them on previous cars and now I torque to spec and then retorque after a few heat cycles.
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Yeah agreed on the lowering and exhaust. The VA STI is already about as low as I want to go, any coilovers are going to be the long travel variety. Exhaust…I think I nailed it with the header/downpipe/3” midpipe and stock mufflers combination. Any louder and it’d be a pain but stock was in a weird place where it was too loud to be quiet but not loud enough to be fun. Ah and I can’t stand exhaust leaks these days. Spent too long chasing them on previous cars and now I torque to spec and then retorque after a few heat cycles.
I was actually going to ask you about your exhaust set up on your journal. I saw you had the VSC dp, KB ELH, and some fancy mid pipe but I didnt see anything about exhaust. Now it all makes sense. What mid pipe did you go with? Does it have resonator?

Id love to hear some sound clips of your set up once you get it all squared away. I've considered putting on my stock oem exhaust but the piping is just so small on that exhaust. It gets even smaller at the Y section going to the mufflers. Its like 2" by the looks of it. Its smaller than the VA cars from what I can remember. I also remember it being very bassy/boomy inside the car back when everything was stock.
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Been driving Turbo Subies since 2005. Never had an exhaust leak, stock or Cobb. Having leaks as an issue ia sign of something, not sure what . . . Poor quality parts? Poor installation? Offroading? I've seen and known GDs getting places that surprised many - my son used to tow his dirt bikes . . . ;) Only wheel there would be AWD trucks, and his WRX on RCE yellows. But - nah never mind, he didn't have exhaust leak issues.

OH!! Lowering!! I agree in inch or two on a GD is good. Maybe less on a VA. Yer gonna damage a lip once in a while. The issue is how badly, and do you feel the need to replace . . . I'm used to driving out of many things at an angle . . .
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