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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I figured it was time to start a build post since I’m facing some downtime with a blown motor. I tend to be long winded in situations like this, so prepare for a “read”. I also want to keep this updated as I feel it may help someone, or maybe myself. Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of photos. However as this is starting to get a bit more involved, I’ll do my best to keep a photo log, for me as well as for anyone else who’s following along. Going to break this up in a few posts so I don’t present a single wall-o-text at the start. I’m working on getting the photos hosted somewhere. I’ve not had to do this in a long time.

Current Mods
Suspension

  • Ohlins R&T Coilovers
  • Swift 8k Springs front and rear
  • Whiteline 24mm RSB
  • SPL Rear Endlinks
  • SPL Rear LCA
  • SuperPro Rear toe arms with SPL Eccentric Lockouts
Wheels & Tires
  • Motegi Trak Lite 3.0 18x9.5 w/ Nankang CR-1 275/35r18
  • OE Wheels w/ Yokohama V601 - 255/35zr19
Engine
  • IAG 700 Long Block
  • IAG Timing Belt
  • IAG Oil Pan, pick-up and windage tray
  • IAG Stage 2 Oil Pump
  • IAG AOS
  • IAG Motor mounts
  • ATI Super Damper
  • Koyo Radiator
  • Get a Dom Tune Chamber 4 Mod
  • MAP Intake
  • MAP Downpipe
  • Perrin Turbo Inlet
  • Tomei Equal Length Manifold
  • Cobb APv3
  • Revel Medallion Touring-S Exhaust
  • Revel Oil Temp Gauge
  • iWire AEM Wide-band
  • Walboro 450 Fuel Pump
  • iWire Fuel Pump Hardwire Kit
  • Radium dual pump hanger
  • PRE VF48 turbo with G25-550 clone upgrade
  • GrimmSpeed EBCS
  • ID1050x Injectors
  • Aluminum High Flow TGV's... ;)
Driveline
  • XClutch Twin Disc Sprung organic clutch and flywheel
  • IAG Trans mount
  • IAG Pitch mount

I purchased my STI on a whim in June of 2019. I had been driving a 2015 Mustang GT PP1 for approximately two years with the idea that I could make it “handle”. While I could have done that the Mustang’s real comfort zone was as a cruiser, and just ended up not being my thing. I feel a GT350 is just a better base for a performance Mustang.

This STI had been sitting on the dealer’s lot for 370 days when I went to take a look at it. Apparently this was one of two that they had been allocated, and were not motivated to sell. According to my sales guy this car sat in the showroom for the first four months it was there, and then when they sold their only other STI allocation which was a 2019 Limited. They shifted it around the lot until it sat in the corner for six months.

Wheel Car Tire Land vehicle Vehicle

They had to air up all four tires and move six WRX’s to extract it from the spot it was in. Along the way the sales guy tried to tell me over and over why I wanted the WRX instead of the STI. Having taken a ride in an STI at an autocross waaay back in 2003 I remembered that car and wanted to experience it. This car reminded me of the 2004 STI but with more creature comforts. The chassis felt rigid and the gearbox was much better than the Mustang. The engine’s power wasn't as good as the Mustang, but I figured I was driving a slow(er) car fast, and would acclimate(false).

My car is a stripper model with base everything, exactly how I wanted it, with just the STI short shifter and some other bs dealer options added. They had it listed on the lot for $40,000 or somewhere around there. At this time the STI was viewed as a lame choice since the replacement would be showing up in 2022, or so we thought. So they were happy to sell me this one, on a rainy Father's Day, when nobody else had been in the dealership all day, for $35,xxx OTD. I was feeling pretty good and on the drive home the rear wing freaked me out no less than four times because I thought someone was tail gating me like crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Originally I had planned on keeping the car mechanically stock and driving it in autox BS for a year. I hammered on the stock tires for approximately six months as I had not been consistently driving for more than five years. Along the way I decided to “cheat” a bit since I knew that everyone locally was pretty loose with the rules. I purchased a set of Whiteline COM-C top hats for the stock struts, and got the car aligned. I also purchased the Group N transmission mount, and Group N dog bone.

December of 2019 I purchased a set of Motegi TrakLite 3.0’s in 18x9.5 et45 and had a local shop mount a set of Falken RT615k+ in 265/35r18. Not the best tires out there but they wear like iron, were cheap, and were a good first foray into 200tw tires.
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I had the Falkens on for two events and then everything shut down hard for Covid in early 2020. During this time I read up more about the car. Found out a few things about the chamber four cooling mod, how to keep the EJ happy (surprise I didn’t do a good job at it), and why my motor felt like it was constantly pulling timing while I was driving it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
In June of 2020 exactly one year after purchasing the STI I placed an order for an MA Performance intake, downpipe, Cobb APv3, and the MAP OTS map for these parts. The Apv3 arrived early and I immediately installed it with the Cobb OTS for the stock car. I was amazed at how much better the car drove and seriously considered canceling the order for the MAP hard parts. Previously the car would pull from 3000rpm to 6000rpm but there would be the feeling of inconsistent power through the rev range. I had my younger brother ride with me and even he could feel it from the passenger seat.
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The downpipe showed a month later and I installed the intake, and downpipe after wrapping the downpipe with DEI heat wrap and adding a Cobb turbo blanket. The performance increase with all of the hard parts was butt-dyno approved, but mostly I appreciated the improved audible symphony under the hood. I could finally hear what the car was doing. At this point the car finally felt like it could keep up with the Mustang GT (probably just a bit of cognitive dissonance to be honest) and I was briefly satisfied.
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Around this time my local autocross club opened back up and I was able to experience the car with its new found power. I realized that I wasn’t driving the car nearly hard enough and vowed to change this. I would mark this as the beginning of the end for the stock motor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
In March 2021 I finally found a local shop that I liked. They performed a four wheel alignment to the specs that I wanted, as well as installed a Killer B oil pan, pick up and windage tray. While the car was having those installed they also installed Group N motor mounts for me. The change with the mounts was subtle. They stopped the motor flopping around a lot, and were just right for slightly more aggressive driving. Somewhere along this time I also installed a Whiteline 24mm rear sway bar.
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Land vehicle Vehicle Wheel Tire Hood

In June 2021 I turned 40. I used this as an excuse to get the coilovers I had wanted on a car for a number of years. So I purchased a set of Ohlins Road and Track, and a set of 8kg/mm Swift springs after a few months of research. At that time I also purchased a SuperPro Lower Control arm and toe arm kit. The SuperPro purchase would quickly become a point of pain and my first foray into “doing it right the first time” on this car. I also purchased a set of Nankang CR-1 tires in 275/35-r18 on a whim, as they were apparently fairly competitive.
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I finally had all the hard parts installed on my car on the first weekend of July. I took the car to my local shop for the first alignment and was able to dial in -3.6F/-2.0R camber. Also had them zero out the toe all around. They were happy to do the alignment, but they called me crazy. Coming off of the alignment rack the car looked like a V8 SuperCar and had me giddy as hell.
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The next weekend was an Autocross Club member fun day. I took the car out for approximately 25 runs that day. Wore through about ⅓ of the usable life of the Nankang tires. At the end of the day I had a local hot-shoe (I believe he was second at Nats this year) ride with me, and then he drove the car. Somewhere along his runs the SuperPro lower control arms slipped, bad. That said the moment I knew I had done a good job was approximately 2 elements into his first run. “Holy shit dude… this is an STI that actually handles!” I thought he was going fast, but then he really laid into the car. I don't get car sick, but with him driving I almost puked. It was fantastic. He was so impressed with the car that he dubbed it the Dancing Elephant because, to quote directly, “She’s a big old girl but she can fucking dance!”

The next Monday I took the car back to get re-aligned and the shop and I both agreed that these SuperPro lower control arms were just going to slip again. I immediately went home and ordered a set of SPL Lower Control Arms, SPL rear endlinks and an SPL toe arm lock out kit for the rear. Big dent in the wallet but completely worth it. I was able to sell the SuperPro arms to a local STI owner who was more interested in looks than performance driving.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The latter half of 2021 I enjoyed driving the car and got faster and faster. The initial set of Nankang CR-1’s wore out faster than I had anticipated, but I liked them so much that I purchased another set.

At some point between December 2021 and June 2022 I hurt my EJ25’s cyl 3. I say that because I noticed oil in the intercooler when I removed it for some maintenance, and some smoke during start-up. I’m saying this now because the next part of the mod path involved me purchasing and installing a few parts and having YamahaSHO tune the car.

These days it seems typical for people to want to blame the tuner when something goes wrong. In this case I can 100% stand up and say, "My fault." I know how I drove this car and to say that I was aggressive during autocross events would be incorrect. I beat the snot out of it. Looking back there were a ton of times where I was in 3rd gear at 3000rpm going full throttle during a run, oil temps were extremely high and I kept going, or water temps went way up and I gave the car a perfunctory cool down and went out for another run. I’m certain this car was hurt for a while before he touched it, and I ignored it. I'd still recommend his services to this day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
In January of 2022 I installed a Revel Touring-S cat back and almost immediately regretted it. With the unequal length manifold the car was difficult to drive around town. During autocross it didn’t matter because I had the windows down and at full chatter there was zero drone. So I drove my F-150 more and figured that the best way to resolve this was to purchase an equal length manifold of some kind.
Flooring Gas Wood Nickel Metal

In April 2022 I found a Tomei equal length manifold for a good deal. I also started talking to JAZ Tuning, AKA YamahaSHO here about getting my car calibrated. He was a fantastic dude to work with and answered all of my questions quickly and professionally. I swapped spark plugs for one range colder NGKs, cleaned my air filter and installed the header. Power delivery was much better, the sound was better (no more drone!), and the car had much better transients with the equal length manifold. I was excited to drive the car again.
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By the end of May the car was done being calibrated and I was generally happy with the results, if not a little disappointed with the overall power increase. I chalked it up to the stock turbo and being at the very limit of what it could do. At this point I was already working on buying injectors, a fuel pump and a slightly upgraded turbo. In all fairness to YamahaSHO I never mentioned this because I figured it was what it was. I went to my first event, a fun run again with the club, and that’s when things took a turn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The first day of the fun event was phenomenal. I drove better than I ever had and did probably 15 to 20 runs. On the second day of the event, on my first run the car blew a huge white cloud of smoke during my first launch. I quickly turned the car around and proceeded to freak out. After calming down, a few other club members helped me look the car over and we couldn’t find any signs of damage or immediate indications of a problem. Someone on site said turbo seal and I ran with it. I disassembled the TMIC and found approximately a quart of oil in the intake tract.
Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood Automotive design Automotive exterior

I immediately went on RockAuto and purchased a replacement stock turbo. To my wife’s credit she told me to buy something a bit better since she knew I was looking to upgrade my turbo. However, after learning that it wasn’t as easy as just buying the turbo, I needed injectors and a fuel pump at minimum, so I placed an order for a brand new Mahle OE Replacement VF48. It arrived and I installed it after cleaning as much oil out of the intercooler and turbo inlet as I could. Note that up until this time I had not yet installed an AOS. Would that have saved the motor? No idea. If I could go back that probably would have been the first thing I had done after the MAP intake and downpipe.

Around this time I also decided to ditch the supplied Tomei header wrap and install some DEI wrap and add a layer of their Form-a-shield. From a heat perspective the Form-a-shield is excellent. It also keeps oil off of the exhaust wrap when doing oil changes. To work with it's an absolute menace. It's difficult to cut, difficult to form, the fibers make you itch like a bastard for days, and it smokes worse than any other product I've used when applied to exhaust manifolds. Also wear a mask when working with it. Here's a few shots of my terrible install job. I used a little tie wire to keep it in place. I plan on replacing this with some Heatshield Products Header Armor when the motor is out next.
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Next event in early June I skipped because I was installing a Koyo Radiator and Get a Dom Tune Chamber 4 cooling mod. At this time I also sent my old VF48, that I had thought was blown, out to Pavel’s Racing Engines to receive his G25-550 clone upgrade. I mention this because when he received the turbo he said that it was in fantastic condition, and that the seal was fully in-tact. I find that there are moments in life when you realize you’ve been an idiot and just need to embrace that fact and move on. I hadn’t installed an AOS until now and figured that this was just excessive blow-by. I immediately purchased a Killer B AOS and slapped it on. I was determined that the motor wasn’t hurt, and was really sticking my head in the sand at this point.
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Our club takes a break from autocross after the event in June for July, and August because of the SWFL heat. However in September we had another member only fun-run event and I packed up and went out. This time the car blew smoke again and I knew something was terribly wrong. I pulled the oil cap and there were strong white puffs of smoke out the oil cap. I checked the oil and the car was down to half way on the dip stick. I added oil, limped the car home and disassembled the car for a proper compression test. First thing I was greeted with was a massive amount of oil in the intercooler again. Also, after removing the throttle body on a whim, I noticed that there was a huge puddle of oil in the bottom of the intake manifold.

The compression test results came in at CYL 1 - 147, CYL 2 - 147, CYL 4 - 147, CYL 3 - 80. My friend and I verified this twice. I find it interesting just how much of a relief this was. I'm not made of cash, so motor issues aren't exactly a happy occasion, but at least I now knew that this wasn't all just in my head. I had felt like I was chasing my tail at this point. Looking back I should have done a compression test as a part of swapping plugs out when I was prepping the car for YamahaSHO to tune the car. I’m fairly certain at that point I would have found the low compression and been able to get this done before dumping a bunch of time and effort into hunting for the issue.

So now I’m contemplating a motor build and working with Dirty Racing Products just south of Jacksonville to come up with a plan to build something more resilient. The plan is something that can withstand 350 to 400 whp in the SWFL summers. I won’t get there all at once so the end result of this phase of the build may seem a little strange. I’m focused on getting the car back on the road and driving again. I will be doing a few “while you’re in there” mods but for now not nearly as many as I probably could.

That brings me to current. I’ll add some photos here shortly where it makes sense. Sorry for the wall-o-text. If you got this far pat yourself on the back. I would have looked for the tl;dr and checked out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the story, that was a nice read. any auto cross videos?
I've got one that's worth posting. It's the only one where the shaking wasn't terrible. I need to get a GoPro that I can use with SoloStorm when the car's up and running. Unfortunately the other videos from this day were all garbage. Prepare for a lot of vibrations.
 

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^^that.

would be cool to see photos and videos. And since you do local events are they through scca? Or do you have separate class rules and if so what class/plans do you have?

So far as a motor that can handle that. IAG really is the king when it comes to building Subaru motors. Mine currently has ~7?/8? Autocross days. And a trackcross day (think autocross, but on a road course). I have been making 377whp/401wtq on pump gas, with a 20g. I also have a bunch of street miles. Some hooning, some highway/cruising. All in all, about 40-45k miles on the block still running strong. I’d definitely look into theirs. For reference. Mine is the stage 2 “tuff” block. And has simple arp headstuds. Nothing else (do wish I went closed deck+valves/springs, and with their 14mm head stud though, for safer higher boost)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The local group does follow SCCA rules but has their own championship points system.
That's the official site. I've been a member for about a year and they're a solid bunch. Originally my plan was to keep it BS, then STU, and now I'm seeing SM in my future.

I finally pulled the trigger on an IAG 700 block about two weeks ago. I would have included that in the original post but I had written all of this up a while back and never got around to posting it until this weekend. I'll do another entry in this post in a few hours outlining the general plan, but right now I'm a little bit budget capped. This is my second car and I have a strict no-debt policy when it comes to mods. All of this has been done with discretionary income. You can count me in the ranks of those who have done well in the IT field for the past ~20ish years.

My average AutoX weekend included approximately 10 - 12 launches like that video shows. For reference that was a 5500rpm launch with the only saving grace being that the tarmac is polished a bit from so many years of launches in one spot. Now multiply that over an average of 11 weekends a year for probably two and a half years, she lead a rough 13,456 miles. The first AutoX was at 250 miles. Break-in on a stock motor be damned(in my mind...).

With the capabilities of the IAG700 and some time to save I believe I'll probably land on something from ETS with a smallish Xona turbo. Though an EFR 7163 has been a dream for a while now. Ultimately the goal is to be able to run whatever power level the car reaches for a 20min session in the SWFL weather. I'm not a big power person, my preference being response and linear power delivery.

In the immediate future I'll be running this upgraded VF48 and laundry list of other items. From what I can see 350whp on 93 should be perfectly reasonable from this turbo. I'll have to chill there for a bit since my account will need to recover before I can play more.
 

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The local group does follow SCCA rules but has their own championship points system.
That's the official site. I've been a member for about a year and they're a solid bunch. Originally my plan was to keep it BS, then STU, and now I'm seeing SM in my future.

I finally pulled the trigger on an IAG 700 block about two weeks ago. I would have included that in the original post but I had written all of this up a while back and never got around to posting it until this weekend. I'll do another entry in this post in a few hours outlining the general plan, but right now I'm a little bit budget capped. This is my second car and I have a strict no-debt policy when it comes to mods. All of this has been done with discretionary income. You can count me in the ranks of those who have done well in the IT field for the past ~20ish years.

My average AutoX weekend included approximately 10 - 12 launches like that video shows. For reference that was a 5500rpm launch with the only saving grace being that the tarmac is polished a bit from so many years of launches in one spot. Now multiply that over an average of 11 weekends a year for probably two and a half years, she lead a rough 13,456 miles. The first AutoX was at 250 miles. Break-in on a stock motor be damned(in my mind...).

With the capabilities of the IAG700 and some time to save I believe I'll probably land on something from ETS with a smallish Xona turbo. Though an EFR 7163 has been a dream for a while now. Ultimately the goal is to be able to run whatever power level the car reaches for a 20min session in the SWFL weather. I'm not a big power person, my preference being response and linear power delivery.

In the immediate future I'll be running this upgraded VF48 and laundry list of other items. From what I can see 350whp on 93 should be perfectly reasonable from this turbo. I'll have to chill there for a bit since my account will need to recover before I can play more.
very nice. i'm sure that g series vf48 combo will do you well for sure. it'll be interesting to see how that setup does.

in my area (northern va), the guy (and gal, they share the car lol). that compete best in autocross run an efr7163. it's pretty insane how responsive that car is. it's an 07 sti, foglight mount twinscroll efr 7163 and iirc he's pushing like 35psi ish lol. the thing makes over 600ftlbs at the tires (dynojet). but it's definitely one of the fastest autocross cars in my area at least. def the fastest sti. another friend runs the same efr, but single scroll, "stock location" full race kit, he makes 450whp/450wtq and does pretty well in autocross for SM. definitely something to look into for sure. we also had one guy in another sti who was competitive with both of them, and was running a garrett gtx3071 gen2 with a tmic, he sold the car but was making very good power/tq. all of which would be nice setups for you.


i'm not as familiar with xona's lineup. i do know they are quality turbos. with that vf/g series do you plan on running ethanol?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
From what I understand on the VF48 hybrid it's good for roughly 30% more flow than a regular VF48. End results should look something like a VF48 high flow but theoretically it should hold boost out to 6500ish. We'll see what happens. I've seen dyno plots on Pavel's Instagram showing a car hitting 360whp using 93 on a Mustang dyno. But every dyno reads different so I'm taking it with a grain of salt. From what I can tell this is probably the most aggressive motor that this turbo has been paired with. With the cams, head work and larger valves I'll be interested to see how that turbo works with this engine. It might be a hot mess, but it's what I can do right now.

Spool and response is why I am debating Xona vs EFR. From what I understand from reading up about Xona's stuff is the engineering is pretty extreme. That said you will pay for it, but in rotated applications it's not too much more expensive than a G Series Garrett or Borg Warner EFR. However if DRP tells me to go a specific direction I'll take their advice. I'm starting to get to the point where I'm making expensive decisions, which in my mind tells me it's time to talk to professionals who have done this a lot.

Ethanol is something that's out due to budget right now. I need to keep costs down so I'm going to start with ID1050x's and an AEM drop in pump. While there is no reliable source of E85 near me, I've got my truck and fuel cans. I can certainly make a drive or pick up a few 5G pails of E from a race-shop if needed. With Flex being more difficult these days I want to wait and see where the industry goes. If there's a plug-n-play kit that doesn't interrupt the TGV's I'd go for it. Or I'll go full stupid and run a stand-alone and just be done with it.
 

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fair enough. the benefits of ethanol are great, but i get that it's annoying not having a plug and play option for flex fuel currently. pending where you live, it's not super hard to order a 55gal barrel of it, and store it (storing it comes to locality, and laws there), for me, i'm in a rural area and can store up to 399 gallons without having any permits. but that's definitley a pain especially if you are switching back/forth from ethanol to pump gas. as you basically have to drain the tank and ensure you have the proper tune for whatever ethanol content you are running.

xona is a quality turbo, but the engineering in garrett/borg is also pretty up there. i just dont know as much about their lineup, i have always been a garrett fanboy lol.

i'm excited to see what the turbo will do and how much it'll hold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here’s an update for the plans going forward. I’m working with DRP, which was a decision based on two friends having solid experiences with this specific shop. On the 4th of October I purchased an IAG 700 long block from DRP. Not sure when this will be delivered, I was told to expect a wait time of 12 weeks. I'm hoping that was just Covid delays that are mostly solved for now, however I'm not holding my breath. DRP will take delivery of the motor and offered to store it until I've trailered the car to them. Based on my conversations with them I’m installing the following parts, except for the clutch and turbo which were my choice. This may not be an exhaustive list, it’s what I’m remembering off the top of my head sitting in the airport.
  • IAG 700 Long Block
  • IAG Competition Oil Pan
  • IAG Stage 2 Competition Oil Pump
  • IAG AOS
  • 3 port EBCS
  • ID1050x Injectors
  • AEM 340LPH Pump
  • ETS Intake for Speed Density
  • VF48/G25-550 Clone modified by PRE
  • iWire Speed Density kit
  • XClutch Organic Sprung Twin Plate clutch
  • Cobb Anti-Stumble Kit
Some people might ask why I’m using x part or what lead to what decision. I made a lot of calls to DRP and talked to them about what I was doing with the car and how it would be used. My goal was to get the car back on the road/track while doing as many of the "while you're in there" that I could afford. A lot of this is coming from DRP’s experience running cars here in SWFL. I’d prefer to go with their formula since they’ll be doing all of these installs and will be on the hook to explain to IAG for their 2 year 24,000 mile warranty if there’s a defect.

To say that I'm fairly excited about this process would be putting it lightly. I've wanted to do something like this for a number of years. However family, house, and other adulting reasons have always had me delaying it. It's interesting but when I first purchased this car I had an image of what I wanted it to look like when I was done. A motor build an EFR turbo was on that list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Small update. Went back and forth with Pavel a few times about the P18 vs P20 exhaust housing for this turbo. Because I will probably be on this setup for a year or more, and because I drive this car with such... enthusiasm... he suggested that the P20 SS304 housing would probably be a good idea. This motor will probably be one of the most aggressive that this turbo has been installed in, so it'll be a good data point for him all around.
Ordered the SS304 P20 housing and it should be here next week. Waiting to hear back from DRP about the list, they were busy with SubiFest Florida last week, and it's Halloween today, so everything's been a bit slow. No harm, no foul. Maybe I can order the parts on Black Friday and save a few Fed Units.
 
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