Monthly Archives: January 2014

Subaru Engines (EJ257) & Their OEM Tune State


So, there’s this discussion going on at IWSTI (there are actually tons of threads like this…this is just the most recent one):

It revolves around the fact that someone’s engine blew up at the 4000 mile mark.  The guy left a ranting and short blurb that his motor blew up and he thought Subaru should give him a whole new car.  Several people asked him for the circumstances around his engine woes (was the oil at the proper level, was he bouncing off the rev limiter a lot or was launching the car, was the engine raced when cold…), but he never returned.  It is speculated that he was trolling, but the post is now spiraling into a free-fall argument of Subaru being negligent with applying the OEM tune or if these people with engine issues are at fault.  Let’s face it, people with tunes still have ringland issues, so sometimes, a tune isn’t the end-all-be-all answer…as well, the ringland may’ve already been damaged before the tune was applied.

Two posts in particular within that thread are full of knowledge:

and (and it includes a dyno chart with AFR measurements before and after a tune, but I’ll also post it)

Please read these links, especially if you’re worried about your Subaru’s engine.  Even if you decide to stay on the stock tune, you can still be a bit more knowledgeable about the subject-matter.

2015 WRX, Why No Hatch? – Automobile Magazine

I continue to see bickering and arguments (and just general piss-tivity) over the fact that Subaru nixed the hatch for 2015.  So, here’s a documented reason.  Note that I’ve posted articles stating some reasons before, but I haven’t posted this particular reason (or article):

One big change that might upset some of the faithful is that Subaru is dropping the hatchback. It’s an unexpected move given that the hatchback/sedan split has been running about fifty/fifty. Subaru product planners explain that they had to sacrifice the second body style in order to get the greater degree of differentiation from the Impreza that they were seeking with the new WRX.

Read more @

National Speed – Tuner

So, I’m interested in determining if I should use National Speed (which I’ll sometimes refer to as ‘NS’) as a tuner.

I reached out to them via Facebook yesterday.  Below is the conversation.


Do you guys do e-tunes? I’m looking at your web page but I don’t see mentions of e-tunes, so I’m going to assume that you don’t offer them. There are tuners up here, but you guys seem to run a great shop!

I’m in the Washington DC area…you guys aren’t exactly far, but far enough that a tuning trip might be complicated.


Hi, Jon! First of all, what vehicle are you working with?

If you can wait a few months, we’ll have a shop much, much closer to you. We’re opening our Richmond, Virginia location shortly!


Oh damn! That’s great news! I’ve a 2011 Subaru STI (sedan) with zero mods. I can definitely wait a few months for the Richmond location to open!


Oooo, we do love Subaru’s around here. 

What are your plans for it? Keep it simple, make it more fun? Those cars wake up big time with just a tune. Here’s a 2012 Subaru WRX STi sedan we did a while back, the only modifications are an Injen intake system, an Invidia Q300 catalytic-converter-back exhaust system, and a custom dyno tune via COBB Tuning’s AccessPORT (did I get all of that right, Christine?).

The blue graph was the first pull on stock calibration (with said bolt-on modifications), the red graph was after tuning. Quite a difference!


My list so far is, Grimmspeed 3 port EBCS, Walbro 255 fuel pump, and Cobb catted DP (as well as a Cobb AP v3).

This isn’t going to be a wild build…I’m just looking to get rid of the stock tune. I want a safety-oriented tune, but will take as much power as I can get while still being somewhat safe, if possible. I want to go straight to Stage 2 to get the most out of the time and money spent on the tune and parts. The biggest worry for me right now is driving on the stock tune. The car only has 15K miles on it, so I’m hoping the stock tune hasn’t damaged things already. I don’t beat on the car but I do autocross it (I’m not a serious competitor, though).

I had an intake on my list (AEM), but I’m not sure if the car actually needs it, so I removed it from my list.

That chart is extremely impressive…sick results! I like how the peaks and valleys of the blue graph were filled in on the red graph, too.

I’ll share the news of your upcoming Richmond shop on the forums.

Car Owner of Tuned STI / Customer of National Speed:

That was it Jordan! And after that, I installed a high-flow catted DP and gained no power at all on the next tune, so I took that to mean that the stock DP and cat is already pretty much maxed out on the STi (just in case you want to save the money Rob). But I was impressed by the gains just a couple bolt-ons and a custom tune made!

The conversation dwindled after that.

I wanted to share this because, when I first saw the gains, I thought they were hokey.  They included a dyno chart that showed both the baseline (the mods were on when the baseline was run) and protune results.  They had some very high gains:  60HP/82TQ peaks, on just the tune alone (!!).  The exhaust was an Invidia Q300 catback (which is 2.75″ inch diameter and is really a full exhaust).  I’m wondering if the Invidia is what was the main factor of the tune (it would almost certainly have to be).  I also thought that the shop shouldn’t have run the baseline with the intake installed…I thought that was a huge no-no.

I posted about this on IWSTI and after discussing with another member, came to the conclusion that I should not use National Speed.

I also posted to IGASTI ( and provided the same information and actually got a wealth of information back from them (more so than my post at IWSTI).  One poster at IGASTI stated that I don’t really have enough information to suggest that National Speed’s numbers were hokey…I agree, in hindsight.  But my main concern is that tuners should offer as much information as possible to potential clients so that they don’t assume…NS did leave a LOT of gaps in their description of that tune, and there are not all that many Subarus making 60HP from just a tune.

I will continue to watch National Speed, but I will be checking out IAG next.  For now, it’s a bake-off between IAG and NS

FFR 818 Anyone?

So, everyone is aware that there are Shelby Cobra kit cars, right? Well, Factory Five Racing has several kit car models but the 818 is the most recent. It is a very light-weight two-seater that is uses Subaru WRX parts (engine, suspension, brakes and such…). The 818 is the approximate weight of the vehicle in kilograms, which is roughly 1,800 lb (weight per build may vary since some people customize their builds).  They offer a street build and a racing build.

Here’s an recent article about the 818 below:

Hellaflush / Stanced ?

Someone posted this on IWSTI and I laughed my ass off!  This video speaks for itself!

For those who think that their WRXs and STIs don’t need appropriate tires…

Here ya go!

The forum thread includes pictures.

The OP states:

was heading to work, we had just got about 3″ of snow… coming into a turn, only the car didnt turn it went straight. Took out 4 aluminum poles about 3″ in diameter concreted in the ground, which explains the right rear wheel tucking up in the body. they were some cheap a** tires that came on the car when i bought it…

Anyway ended up hitting head on with a telephone pole…

Someone asked him:

Did you have snow tires on?

And the OP stated:

… I did not have snow tires on. Probably would have been a different out come if i did.

And there it is, folks.  There are several other similar posts this winter about the same topic (someone wrecked their car because they didn’t have the right tires or were trying to get by with the summers).

Yes, I know it sucks for this guy and I’m not making light of his situation, but everyone can learn from this and spin it as a positive.


Flat 4 Photo!

Check this out!

I ordered one so I can either place it in my garage or place it in my “man area” of the house. I’ll get a frame for it. They ship them either flat or rolled…I wanted flat but wasn’t willing to pay $25 extra in shipping…screw that.

2014 Focus ST vs 2015 WRX – First Head-to-Head Review!

Now, on Motor Trend’s FB page and the article’s comment section, several people stated that they thought this comparison was flawed because of the platform difference. Well, I don’t remember anyone saying anything similar last year when the cars were compared…seriously. As well, there isn’t much the WRX is going to compare to, since there aren’t many AWD cars in it’s category (cars that are at or under $30K that have 270 HP that are AWD)…but it’s been like that for years. Someone also mentioned that it should be compared to the Evo…no, the STI is the better Subaru for that.

This WRX may not be as quick as the last generation WRX in the quarter-mile, but I’ve said this several times now: it’s because of the change of gearbox (it now has a 6-speed instead of the GR/GV 5-speed manual). It has a good bit of thrust in the quarter-mile, as well…that trap speed more accurately reflects the car’s HP, IMO. It also sounds better than I thought it would, since it has equal length headers now…that’s the first video I’ve seen of a manual-equipped WRX.

The overall comparison shows that the WRX has been improved upon and is quick (pulling a peak of .96g on the skidpad and 25.3 sec in the figure 8). It bested the Focus ST in every contest of performance and also got decent enough comments in the road portion of the comparison. I’ve the feeling that this car may be getting a lot of such reviews.

Here’s the video that’s within the article. If you get bored, just skip everything and go to the last 2 minutes…you’ll love it!

Subaru Engine Assembly/Disassembly – Video

If you’re curious as to how Subaru engines are disassembled and assembled, the two videos below are bursting with knowledge and pertain to the EJ257 (STI engine in this case).

What’s cool is that the person in the video is a master Subaru technician. He explains a LOT of things (with the help of the person behind the camera). As well, he explains such terms as cracked ringlands (30 minutes into the assembly video). Ever heard the term “spun a bearing” and don’t know what the term means? He explains that term. He shows what bearings are and shows the differences between forged & cast pistons (and explains the differences between the two). He also shows the damaged caused by driving these cars with no oil.

These are great videos!

Note: I’m having a hard time finding the disassembly video, but will post it here when I find it.