Monthly Archives: May 2014

Service (Shop) Manuals?

So, after the 2007 model-year of WRX/STI, Subaru stopped offering paper service manuals.  Instead, they offer them online (for a fee).  A 3-day subscription will give you access to the online database of manuals.  You can download the PDFs for later use.

Some forums also have PDF copies of the service manuals.  IWSTI, for example, has them in their Donating Member section.  Also, a quick scour of the web (via Google) may get you some hits.

Air Oil Separators – Not All Created Equal

I’m thinking on adding an air oil separator (AOS) to my wishlist.  It’ll help keep the oil out of my IC and intake and keep the car from experiencing detonation by preventing any condensation from making it into the engine. There are arguments on if this item is even needed on a Subaru (or any blown) engine (see here). There’s quite a bit of AOS makers, too.  I’m going to link each one, but keep in mind that the links may break as the web designers move their products around their web pages:

  • Grimmspeed – this appears to quickly-installed product, but I’ve seen bad reviews of it; there are conditions that will cause blow-by, even with this AOS.
  • Moroso – this is a small dual can variant – $275; they have $350+ variants as well as variants that are $100 less.
  • Perrin – this is a nice unit; I like the fact that I could theoretically pull the drain hoses and see what the oil condition looks like after it has worked its way through the separation process.
  • Crawford – from their website: “Largest internal volume (.75 liters) on the market. This volume is imperative to the effective separation of the oil from the air.”
  • iAG – they’ve a LOT of science-like info on their site regarding this product, but I’m not sure that will be enough to sway me.

I may have missed a few, but those are the ones that jump out at me.  Plus, it seems like the aftermarket is flooded with tuner interpretations of the AOS concept. Note that almost all of them are in the $350-$375 range.  That’s a lot of cash, but apparently they aren’t all created equal. Grimmspeed’s doesn’t work all that well on engines that crank out 350-400 HP, but it’s cheaper than most of the others.  Apparently, they don’t take well to high G maneuvers and they also tend to be more of a street application (low HP and street with no hard street driving).  There have been reports of significant blow-by occurring with the Grimmspeed AOS.  I found a good NASIOC forum thread here that describes this issue and even has Grimmspeed feedback. Crawford’s and Perrin’s apparently work very well on high HP applications. The Moroso AOS appears to also be a good candidate and has many options.  They come in single and dual container configurations.  With the dual container option, you can opt for large or small containers.  The containers can be obtained with powder-coating too.  The thing I’m confused about with the Moroso is that they appear to be more of a catch-can solution.  They will not direct separated oil back into the oil supply.  They have to be periodically emptied and the from my understanding, the they don’t really separate the oil from condensation…the gunk is really something you don’t really want to reintroduce to your oil supply. There’s also the thought that with the general thought behind the AOS concept, you shouldn’t really be redirecting separated oil back into your engine’s supply.  The thing is, these aren’t considered cat cans.  Catch cans just catch any blow-by that occurs.  They have to be maintained…you don’t want them to be full and you have to throw out any gunk they catch.  With an AOS, there’s a separation mechanism and the idea is that once the oil is separated and de-condensed, it should be OK to put back into the oil supply, but I’ve yet to see vendors/makers provide evidence that the oil that is separated is clean and can be reintroduced to the engine’s oil supply.  So, I’m torn between buying an AOS and buying a catch can that I’ll have to maintain. I’m leaning toward the iAG (one of the most expensive) or the Moroso (because it looks good and because it’s cheaper…but it’s just a glorifed catch can…I really don’t think they are true AOSs).  iAG swears that they’ve stopped the issue of condensation, but they haven’t provided any hard evidence.  I’d hate to spend $380 on an AOS (any AOS) only to find that they’re putting gathered gunk back into the engine. Oh, and what’s the difference between an AOS and catch can?  The AOS separates the oil from any condensation and returns the oil back to the oil supply.  A catch can only catches it, it has to be periodically emptied, and there may be more than oil that’s captured.  And note that there are some $300 catch cans.  That’s a pretty ridiculous price for a catch can but apparently Mishimoto sells catch cans in that price range. Lastly, for those located in areas where there are strict emissions testing, an AOS might not be a good thing.  Remember, not only are there visual inspections that some states require (an AOS might not pass a visual), but there’s also the actual sniffing/testing…an AOS might cause a test failure.  I’m not 100% but I wanted to forewarn people, because the PCV is an emissions part.


UPDATE: Regarding the Moroso, I did a bit more research and found some clarification on the Moroso unit (regarding if it’s a catch can or actual AOS):

Q:  The title says it’s an Air Oil Separator, but the description sounds more like it’s an Oil Catch Can since it has to be drained. Which is it?

A:  Its a separator in terms of it breaks down the fumes much more efficiently compared to just a catch can.

If that’s the case, then the oil that it catches can be poured back into the oil supply (sounds like, at least).  I found the answer here, under Questions (it is the second question…the questions aren’t linkable).  And note that these do indeed require maintenace (ie, they have to be periodically drained/cleaned).  Some variants have drain petcocks, and others can be removed from the mount.

STI: Hatch vs. Sedan

OK, so even though the WRX and STI are no longer offered in hatch form, there’s still infighting going on in the Subaru world regarding what’s the better offering:  hatches or sedans.  Here’s my take on things.  Note that this isn’t meant to offend.  If you’ve thick skin, please understand that this is just an opposing opinion…the internet is full of such things.

Now, the key word that hatch owners throw out is practicality.  What is practicality without relating to a Merriam-Webster’s definition?  It relates to utility, usability, and “all-around” (as in jack-of-all-trades).  For those that want the true definition, you can see it here.

I’m going to throw out a few thoughts on practicality:

  • Practicality is only important if you care about it (ie, it is a subjective issue).
  • For a lot of people, practicality isn’t really a requirement.
  • Jacks-of-all-trade type of cars are best at nothing…practicality means compromising.
  • If I wanted true practicality, I wouldn’t be looking at a performance car.

There’s far more to a practical car than having space.  That’s why I got a sedan.  Before I got the STI, I had a quad cab truck…you can’t get any more practical than that, IMO.  I associate practicality with being frugal.  Again, the key words are utility, usability, and “all-around”.  I’ve said this before: I grew up one step from being dirt poor and I’ve always pinched my pennies, so I actually know what practicality is.  It means something different than what most Scoobie owners are thinking when using the word, for sure.  I was so bad with the practicality mindset that I’ve always had problems buying performance cars…if I bought them, they’d have to be low-priced in the extreme, because practicality surely has a money factor…most people don’t relate practicality with a $400 car note, for example.  I had to force myself out of that mindset when I bought the STI, otherwise I’d have never bought even the hatch version.  I never thought of getting a hatch for additional space.  I initially considered the hatch only because it looked better designed (the back end flows better with the rest of the car…that’s not so with the sedan, IMO).

If I’m looking for truly practical cars, I’m probably not going to be looking at a car with a mid-$30K price tag that gets 16-17 MPG in the city and requires a tire swap in snowy/icy/cold weather, $100 oil change services, and other expensive periodical maintenance (from my understanding, brake rotors are NOT cheap, for example) because it takes a lot more than extra space to be considered practical, IMO. Insurance prices for these cars surely isn’t anywhere near practical. None of what I mention hints at practicality.

These are just my opinions, though. I fully expect someone to be offended by this because that tends to be the nature of the interwebz and Scoobie hatch owners tend to be overly sensitive about such things.  I mean no insult by this, but if people are willing to put out their thoughts on why hatches are better, they should expect to receive an opposing opinion and be able to accept a different view of things.

What Forums Do I Frequent?

I’m not sure if you guys are curious as to what internet forums I frequent (in relation to Subarus), but I’m a member of the following forums: (registered tonight)

Of the above, IWSTI is my favorite by far.  ClubWRX is the next favorite but I rarely post on that particular forum.

Regarding NASIOC, I mostly read there.  I’ve a post count of 2.  In my first post, I immediately had a run-in with Unabomber…he tried to be a dick to a poster regarding a him asking questions about a Setting Saver (Unabomber said they were non-existent) and I provided a link showing that they indeed existed.  Unabomber never responded.  This berating of new Subaru owners turned me off and I stopped using that forum as a resource.  I’ve only just started using it as a resource again.  There’s a gold mine of information there (there’s so much of it that it’s rather disorganized).  And they’re extremely rough on anyone that’s not deemed part of the popular crowd.

I’ll be reading up on the next few weeks, just to see how it compares to the other forums I frequent.  It is not a quiet forum, so I might actually find good info there…I’ll let you know.

I usually go by either ‘unixfool’ or ‘NoVaSTI’ on those forums.

EDIT:  I forgot about, so I added it.  Also, I registered on and the site gets a fair amount of traffic, as it’s been around awhile, but on a day-to-day basis, it’s a bit quiet.  Also, most of the traffic appears to occur from California users. Does it matter?  It depends on what I’m looking for.  It’s obvious I can’t use that site to arrange local meets or ask if anyone has local parts, but for general information, it may suffice (it’s certainly no NASIOC or IWSTI, though).

Need A Stock Part but Don’t Care For Dealer Pricing?

If you need a stock part (maybe you’re going back to stock for emissions testing or because you’re trading the STI), but don’t want to deal with dealer pricng, I found a decent salvage yard that has a good internet presence.

Oak Leaf Salvage is located in Wisconsin but will ship parts.  They’ve a basic and advanced internet search feature, as well as an image search feature (in case you don’t know the name of the part).  For parts that aren’t showing up in the search queries, a contact form pops up that will allow direct correspondence with the salvage yard.

This particular salvage yard does have decent Subaru exposure (they post to IWSTI).

I’ve used salvage yard parts before.  I had a Mustang that burned out a power window.  My dad got a motor from a salvage yard that was local to him and I had it installed by a mechanic.  Never had an issue with that window again.  Salvage yards usually verify that the parts work.  If the parts are electrical, they can be tested with multimeters — if the part is mechanical and doesn’t have damage, it should work.

This is another parts option that I thought I’d share.  If Craigslist or eBay isn’t working out for you, try this place or any local salvage yard.

Rally Sport Direct’s 2015 WRX & STI Review

I’m going to let this video speak for itself, but Rally Sport Direct (RSD) has both a 2015 WRX and a 2015 STI that they’ve recently reviewed.  The review is more off-the-cuff in nature (it is not a technical review by any means). They’re also a good vendor to purchase parts from, too.

Without further delays, here it is!


Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost – 18 PSI Boost Peak w/ Twin Scroll Turbocharger!

The 2.3-liter runs 18 psi of boost (not that you’d know it)

Where the center dash vent would be on a six- or eight-cylinder, the turbo four’s cockpit embeds a pair of blue-over-black dial gauges. Closest to the driver is oil pressure; next over is a boost gauge. We noted a max of 18 psi (a smidge over 1.2 bar) indicated during the test runs; it appeared to taper towards 15 psi at redline.

Torque felt adequate and spool was quick, though we were expecting a little more pep in its step. The soundtrack is in the same spirit as the Focus ST, though with a bit more grunt and sans induction noise—save one section of full-tilt lift into heavy braking, there wasn’t much sneezing and whirling from the 2015 Mustang’s twin-scroll snail.

Still, they seem to be fudging on the peak HP & torque numbers.  I’ve seen 315 – 330 HP and relatively the same in peak torque.  And no, it’s not the same engine as the Lincoln MKC (tune and supporting parts will be totally different).

Shift Knobs

If you’ve an STI or WRX, I’m sure you’ve either looked at or purchased aftermarket shift knobs (or even purchased SPT versions).

Here are a few that appear to be worthwhile to own. (in fact, Mach V has a crapload) (5 listed here)

I’ve a very heavy Razo knob that I used in my Eagle Talon awhile back, but the threads are different between the cars, so I can’t use it in the STI.  I might find a new one and mount it in my car, though.

The cool thing about Delrin is that it won’t get hot or cold like metallic knobs typically do (but I tend to like metallic knobs better).

There’s also Flossy knobs, but I will not link them.  Flossy shift knobs are highly desired, but I wouldn’t order one directly from the vendor, because customer service sucks to the point that you might not ever get your knob (it’s a crap shoot).  If you want a Flossy, I recommend you check for For Sale ads on Craigslist or your favorite Subaru forum F/S threads.  Order directly at your own risk.

Do you have a favorite shift knob?  If so, share the maker/model!

ReBlog – Subaru’s Unsuccessful Stint In Formula 1

In the world of rallying, Subaru occupy the upper echelon of success.  A storied history that spanned multiple decades saw World Rally Championships for the likes of Colin McRae and Petter Solberg.

I saw this on another blogger’ site. This is a very interesting article, as I had no idea that Subaru participated in F1, short-winded stint as it was.

Subaru did not do so well in F1…it seems that maybe their expectations weren’t realistic or maybe they didn’t understand the full undertaking of such a project.