Monday, March 10, 2014

Looking Back

Our STI on the day it left
After my last "Everything Must Go!" post, I did sell the car.  I was reminded today that I did not make a final post on this blog to sum everything up.

I did very much enjoy my time owning and driving the STI.  The GR chassis hatchback is a nice size, and the layout is roomy and practical to live with.  It's not exactly a beautiful car, but after modifications (bigger wheels, a little bit of lowering, coloring the tail lamps, and some other details) I think it looked tough and at least purposeful.

Once we upgraded the turbo, the power was more than ample.  Honestly, it was more than I could use in normal daily driving.  Holding the gas pedal down for more than a few seconds felt like tempting fate and inviting arrest.  Don't get me wrong, I love horsepower.  I probably should have taken it out to the track to really explore the car's performance capabilities.

The handling was excellent, and the ride was compliant (despite the low-profile 19" tires) thanks to the adjustable Cusco dampers.

A few posts back I talked about cracking pistons on 2008 model year cars, and mentioned that our car had not suffered this fate. it has.  Our car left us with a little over 8,000 miles.  By 13,000, it had a cracked piston that led to rod bearing failure, and required the replacement of the short block.  We did that repair and when we last saw the car it had headed out to the west coast, running fine.  I guess I'd suggest that if you are in the market for a used 2008 STI car, at least be prepared for the possibility of engine trouble.  Most of the cars on the road by now have far more miles than ours did, so any problems that were going to crop up have probably already happened.

The reason for selling the STI was so we could get a Subaru BRZ, which we did acquire, and promptly started modifying.  You can follow that car's progress on its own blog.

That's probably going to be it for this blog, barring news or updates from the car's current/future owners.  If you do own the car, feel free to drop us a note with photos.  Tell us about your adventures and how the car is doing.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reduced! Come and get it!

The STI is still taking up space in the Mach V showroom, so I have dropped the price by $3,000.  $34,000 takes it away.  That's so low, it's almost like stealing!

Seriously.  It's an amazing value for anyone who was planning to buy an STI and then modify it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Selling the STI

Well, all things must come to an end, and although I love this car, the new Subaru BRZ is coming out and we've got one on order.  That means we have to make some garage space, so the STI has to go.

It's got 8000 miles on it.

Kelly Blue Book on the car is $32,000.  We've added $20,000 in parts and modifications.  (The wheels alone cost more than $2500.)  We're looking for $37,000 for the car, as is with all the mods.  The title is in hand and it's never been in any kind of accident.

Here's the list of modifications:

Rays G-Games wheels  $2,800.00
Cusco Zero-2E coilovers    $2,640.00
Cusco E-con    $579.00
Whiteline front sway bar    $188.00
Whiteline rear sway bar    $212.00
Whiteline Anti-Lift Kit    $143.00
Whiteline Lower Control Arm Support Braces    $102.00
Whiteline steering rack bushings    $68.00
Whiteline rear diff mount insert bushings    $38.00
Kartboy end links front    $115.00
Kartboy end links rear    $125.00
TurboXS turbo-back exhaust with cat    $1,049.00
TurboXS intake    $219.00
TurboXS FMIC    $1,169.00
Cusco front strut bar    $190.00
SMY Cluster Maker gauge bezel    $150.00
Prosport Halo boost gauge    $95.00
Prosport Halo wideband air/fuel gauge    $250.00
Mach V boost control solenoid    $79.00
Blouch 20G-XT turbo    $1,399.00
Deatschwerks 850cc fuel injectors    $549.00
Seibon CF hood    $839.00
Custom paint for CF hood    $450.00
Rear exhaust garnishes    $179.95
Custom-painted tail lamps    $300.00
Custom-painted grill    $150.00
Dual-color LED turn signals    $69.00
LED tail lamps    $50.00
LED interior lamps    $129.00
HID fog lamps    $189.00
ProTune    $500.00
Cobb AccessPort    $595.00
ClearBra    $800.00
Labor    $3,500.00
Total    $19,909.95

If you're interested, give us a call at the shop at (571) 434-8333.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another gauge mounting option

For a long time we've had requests from customers for an instrument bezel gauge mount.  We've had that for the older GD chassis cars for a long time, but didn't have one for the GR...until now.  Our friends at SMY Cluster Maker labored long and hard to make a gauge mount that fits and looks like a stock part.

The mount is textured just like the stock dash, and the finish is a flat dark gray that is a near-perfect match.  If you weren't looking for the mount, you'd never know it wasn't a factory part.  It fits two 52mm gauges.  There's a good amount of mounting depth, but it's not infinite, so the very longest of gauges might not fit.  The Prosport Halo gauges we had in our car fit fine, though.

Installation is pretty easy.  The factory instrument binnacle removes without using tools.  You do have to give it a good sharp tug to disengage it from the clips that hold it in, but it won't break.  The new bezel just clips in -- again, no tools required.

With the new instrument bezel gauge mount in place, we can see how well the Prosport Halo series gauges match the factory red lighting.  Note that for the sake of a clear view (as well as symmetry), we mounted the touch pad for the left-hand gauge on the lower left side of the gauge, meaning the touch pad is now upside-down.  We figured that's a minor price to pay for not having it sticking out into the instrument panel.

When combined with our windshield mount gauge pod, you've got a total of four possible gauges you could mount in any of the GR chassis cars.  (GR chassis includes 2008+ Impreza, WRX and STI.)  We actually did install four gauges in a customer STI recently.  Stay tuned for photos or videos of that car.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Out with the squish!

Removing stock steering rack bushings
We replaced several factory squishy rubber suspension bits on our STI with firmer polyurethane versions from Whiteline.  On the menu this week were the rear differential mount inserts, front lower control arm bushings, the Whiteline Anti-Lift Kit, and the a set of steering rack bushings.  The idea of all these parts is to take out slop and squish from the system, resulting in more precise location of the suspension components so they can do their job more directly and without deflection.  The factory rubber stuff is soft and comfortable, but as I've complained about in early blog posts, the 2008+ STI feels a lot more vague in its steering feel than previous-generation cars.  I wanted some of that feel back.

 Note that the 2011 STI did get revised, slightly firmer rubber bushings at the front and rear control arms. These Whiteline parts will be firmer still, but the difference from stock on the 2011+ cars will not be as dramatic as on the 2008-10 cars.

Pointing to the stock rear diff carrier bushings
Our shop guys report that installing all these parts was very easy.  The steering rack bushings come with a cylindrical tool that makes pulling out the old bushings very simple.  The rear diff bushing inserts just push into the voids in the existing rubber bushings -- we spritz the rubber with glass cleaner to provide a bit of lubrication.  The two sets of front control arm bushings (the Anti-Lift Kit goes on the back of the control arms, and the control arm bushing set goes on the front) install easily, too.

Once the car was back on the ground, I took it out on the road to see if I could tell the difference.  The effect on the steering was immediate -- between the control arm bushings and the steering rack bushings, it feels like the steering from a different car.  There's much more immediacy in the reactions of the front end.  Twitch the wheel, and the nose of the car twitches.  Go over a ripple in the pavement, and you can feel it in the steering wheel.  I love the increase in precision -- I feel like I can place the nose of the car very exactly in a corner.

Pressing in the Whiteline rear diff bushing inserts
The rear diff bushings were not as easy to feel at the beginning.  Once I started driving the car hard, though, I could tell things were firmer.  There is less "bounce" from the rear under hard one-two gear shifts, and on-off throttle transitions produce less wiggling of the rear end of the car.  It's hard to describe this, because I didn't really notice it before, I just perceive the lack of it.  Getting on and off the gas when the car is loaded up in a corner, it seems to stay planted better than it used to.

I can't say there's no effect on comfort from these modifications.  The increased feel in the front end is also accompanied by more small bumps and impacts transmitted into the car.  The stiffer diff mounting is noticeable when the car goes over expansion strips or other quick, small impacts, and in the form of some additional drivetrain vibration and noise in the rear of the car.  (You probably won't notice this from the driver's seat, but rear seat passengers might.)  The car isn't uncomfortable to me at all, but it's firmer and not as plush-riding as the OEM bushings were.

Overall I'm quite happy with the changes.  The steering feel, in particular, is worlds better than it was before.  The whole car just feels more secure and planted because of the more direct connection to the road.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

End of year update

We've been doing some more tinkering on the STI since my last update.  We've got a new gauge mounting solution for the car, and some suspension goodies.

As I've talked about before in this space, the STI is a tough car to put gauges in.  The top of the dash is all one curvy piece, and there's no separate removable clock pod on top like in the pre-2008 cars.  We did develop the windshield pod that you saw in earlier posts, but that's not for everyone.

I contacted our friends at Craven Speed with our problem, and we went back and forth with some design ideas for sitting gauges on top of the steering wheel cover.  In the end, Craven came up with a simple universal gauge pod that will bolt on to almost anything, and will mount a gauge the way I had in mind.

The pod is made from CNC-machined aluminum, and is very sturdy.  The little foot bolts into place from the back side, so it's perfect for the top half of the steering column cover.  (It would not be so perfect for the top of the middle of the dash, though, since it would be difficult to access the underside to insert the bolts.)  Despite the smallness of the base, it's quite sturdy, and I'm not worried about the gauge vibrating or moving around.

There's a 52mm version and a 60mm version of the pod.  52mm is more than large enough if it's going to be on the steering column.  You might want a larger gauge if it's going to be farther away.

I just put a random EGT gauge in for this mockup -- I don't actually want more gauges in the car at this time, so this is just a temporary setup for purposes of photographing the product.

Craven Speed gauge pod -- click me!

On the bottom side of the car, we're going to be installing some additional suspension parts courtesy of Whiteline.  These include stiffer bushings for the rear differential subframe, bushings for the front control arms, a roll center adjustment kit, and maybe one or two more items.  I hope to have some photos of those, along with some feedback about the handling, in my next blog post.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Boost and Wideband Gauges Installed

One of my personal peeves is that turbo cars should all come with turbo boost gauges.  I'm surprised I let our STI go without one for so long.  But this past week we finally remedied that situation (thanks, Mach V shop staff!), and we got a new Prosport Halo boost gauge and wideband air/fuel meter in the car.  As you've probably seen from previous posts, we like the windshield mount pod, and chose that for our car.  It keeps the gauges off the dash, which really doesn't have a lot of room, and the pod is nicely concealed from outside the car.

I made a video showing all the features of the gauges.

I'm just happy to be able to see what boost pressure the car is running without having to hook up a laptop or AccessPort to see it.  Want to have gauges just like this?  Buy 'em from our web site.  You'll thank me later.