Friday, May 29, 2009

Surgery Underway

I finally managed to push the paying customers aside (sorry, everybody!) to get the Mach V STI on the lift for some extensive surgery. The tasks include replacement of the turbocharger with the Tomei ARMS model; installation of the TurboXS FMIC kit (see previous post); removal of the stock exhaust system in favor of a full TurboXS turbo-back exhaust; and replacement of the fog lamp bulbs with HID units.

So far the turbo is in place, and the bumper is off in preparation for fitting of the FMIC plumbing and core. The core is a generously-sized bar-and-plate unit. Bar-and-plate is known for efficient heat transfer and low pressure drop compared to cheaper tube-and-fin designs.

The exhaust is a full 3" mandrel-bent system. Although the STI has a dual-outlet muffler in stock form, this new system is only a single-outlet. If I was in full-on marketing mode, I'd say that was for weight savings. The truth is that TurboXS hasn't yet relased their dual-outlet STI system, so for now we're going to make do with the single-outlet that fits the WRX hatchback. But hey, we are saving weight...

I also popped in some cool color-changing turn signal bulbs for the front corners of the car. The stock turn signals double as side markers. I wanted those to be pure white, but you can't have white turn signals. These bulbs solve that by being pure LED-white while they're behaving as marker lights, but when they do their blinking turn-singal duty, they turn orange! It's very cool. I took a video:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

FMIC and Harness Bar In the STIzzle

FMIC stands for "Front Mounted Intercooler," for those not in the know. All turbo Subaru models have their intercoolers up on the top of the engine -- that's why there's the big hood scoop. That top-mounted location means a very short pipe routing for the charge air, but it's not ideal for cooling. For that, the front of the car is perfect. Cooler intake temperatures mean more horsepower, and that's what we're after.

We chose the TurboXS front-mounted intercooler kit because we like the guys at TurboXS and we've done business with them for a long time. They make nice intercooler kits, with proper high-strength T-bolt clamps, multi-layer silicone couplers, and polished aluminum tubing. The extra-huge intercooler core should work nicely with the larger turbo we'll be fitting.

One interesting note about this kit is that it includes TWO different piping options, so it'll fit both the 2008+ WRX as well as the 2008+ WRX STI. The STI still uses the old-style aluminum manifold, with the turbo and stock intercooler separated by some piping. The WRX uses the newer plastic intake manifold, with the turbo outlet dumping directly into the stock intercooler. You'd need different plumbing for either option, so TurboXS thoughtfully included both with the kit.

Our kit is in a box in the showroom in front of our car. As soon as we can get some spare shop hours we'll be fitting it up. Stay tuned. In the mean time, I took one last picture of the car before the surgery...

In other news, we developed a harness bar for the 2008+ WRX/STI. This will allow you to mount four- and five-point harnesses in your car without having a full roll cage. We built and delivered the prototype bar to a happy customer during our Mother's Day Meltdown Spring Open House event, and should be building some production bars in the next couple of weeks. This isn't some slapped-together kludge part, either. Just to name one detail of this thing, we machined custom spacers to allow the proper freedom of movement of the factory shoulder belt even with the harness bar installed. Sure, it might have been easier to just throw some washers in there, but that's not the way we do things. Check our web site soon for pricing and availability.