Monthly Archives: June 2014

US-spec Alfa Romeo 4C loses nothing in the transition to U.S. trim

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition

The fact that the US-spec version of the Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t turn into a weighted-down pig of a car due to US-mandated requirements is pretty amazing!  In fact, the review states that the car being driven was particularly robust.

Although I’m usually pretty vocal about this car not being the end-all-be-all of hardcore sports cars (the car has been quite sensationalized), the car is gorgeous and I love the “lighter is quicker” concept.  It’s not the car I desire, but I’d be lying if I stated the car was ugly and not a driver’s car.

Another review is here (Automobile Magazine is the author of the article).

Firmware updates for ALL Subaru Accessports!

I like leveraging IWSTI forum posts (because I spend a good bit of time reading and posting there).

Cobb has updated the firmware for all Subaru APs.  The notes are below:

Fast Logging for ALL Subaru Accessports!!

We’ve improved datalogging rates for all Subaru Accessports. This includes V2, V2b, and V3 units and all Subaru Accessport part numbers.

V2 and V2b units will now see improvements in excess of 300% over previous datalogging rates. V3 Accessports will see nearly 250% higher resolution.

OTS Map Updates!!

2008-2014 STI v334 Map Updates

  • Revised Engine Load Compensation tables to address potentially high absolute values in the A/F Learning “C” range.
  • Activated new toggle to induce Per-Gear Timing Compensations for 6th gear.
  • Eliminated factory “Fuel Enrichment Ramping” behavior that caused temporarily lean conditions following shifts while driving aggressively.

2002-2007 WRX v310 Map Updates

  • Massive update for Stage1 and Stage2 mapping. Includes refinements to boost control and overall ignition timing strategy.
  • Added Stage1 and Stage2 support for COBB Electronic Boost Control Solenoid (EBCS).

2009-2014 WRX v331 Map Updates

  • Synchronized mapping across all model years.
  • Implemented Per-Gear Timing compensations.
  • Reshaped Boost Targets table for better control at higher RPM which reduces need for Severe Low Wastegate (SLWG mapping).
  • Removed SLWG maps from map offering
  • Revised odd factory Per-Cylinder Injector Pulsewidth tables
  • Updated Primary OL Fuel tables.
  • Revised ignition timing tables based on power and detonation concerns.
  • Many minor adjustments (changed per-cylinder timing compensations slightly, disabled trims based on rear O2 sensor, revised closed loop fuel target at idle, etc.).

For access to updated features, simply connect your Accessport to Accessport Manager and perform a firmware update!

For any other questions, feel free to email or submit a support ticket at

The coolest part?  The increase in datalogging rates — 300% for pre-v3 APs and 250% for v3s!!  What does that mean?  Better (quicker) logging!  That means better quality datalogs!

Standing Mile: 2015 STI and 2014 Porsche Cayman

I saw the below on Google+, posted by Automobile Magazine.

Note that these two cars aren’t really comparable (they both use horizontally-opposed engines but it’s a stretch to think that they’re related in any sense). As well, the STI’s AWD advantage is nullified by the fact that this is a standing mile competition…the distance is far too long for AWD to be a definitive factor. Also, even though the Cayman is down 25 HP, it weighs 300-lb less while also being 2-wheeled, which means there’s less parasitic drivetrain loss (more of its power is making it to the ground in comparison to the STI).

These two cars only have one thing in common: horizontally-opposed engines. Well, there’s one other thing they share…they both ran the exact same standing mile completion time.

It’s fun to watch as long as the viewers realize that neither of these two cars are designed for drag racing.

Nice WRX!

I saw the below on the Facebook “STi Photography” group:


It was a very good video composition. The car wasn’t bad, either.

Here’s another video (from the same FB group) of an STI playing in the snow. I’ve done something similar but never filmed 3rd person:

WRX / STI parts of interest

Here are a few parts of interest that have recently caught my eye:

Killer B Equal Length Headers

Killer B Motorsports WRX / STi Holy Header

Killer B Radiator Shroud & Alternator Cover (pictured respectively below)



The headers are the big ticket item (close to $1500).  That might be attainable next year but I won’t be able to pull that one off any time soon.  The radiator shroud and alternator cover might be easier to get ahold of, though, although I like JNA’s version of the alternator shroud better (they also come in different colors):


Your thoughts?

Cobb AccessPort – How do you use yours?

I’m a member of several large WRX/STI sites/forums and while I lurk on every one but IWSTI, I read a lot between them all (and sometimes subscribe to those that attract my attention).

I’ve noticed a trend with Cobb AP usage.  With version 3 out now, people are using the AP as a gauge (or a set of gauges).  That’s OK, but I don’t think the unit was designed to replace an actual boost gauge and I’m pretty sure the mechanical gauges will always be more accurate.  I guess it’s OK to use the AP in that capacity, but it can be dangerous if you’re depending on it in that capacity.  It’s one thing to use it while knowing that it may not be 100% accurate…it’s another to think or assume it’s the better tool, because it isn’t.

As well, I’m also noticing a trend where people will use the AP as gauges and monitor real-time in lieu of logging events via the datalog feature.  This thread in particular highlights this problem.  That is definitely dangerous and here’s why:  Monitoring gauges real-time isn’t really real-time if you’re not watching them (you’re not going to be able to watch them and drive at the same time…you might think you can, but you can’t).  Now, under each virtual gauge, there are areas that monitor the lowest and highest measurement of that particular gauge.  Let’s say you’re trying to watch the Fine Knock Learn (FKL) gauge while driving.  You eventually look at the AP and see that while you weren’t looking at the gauges, the AP logged an FKL event.  The counter under the gauge shows the value of, for example, 1.35.  The thing is, you don’t know if it counted that once, or many times while you weren’t looking at the gauge.  Also, this also tends to create a false sense of security because you’re thinking, “oh, there was only one event” when there could’ve been 20 while you weren’t looking.  One measurement showing within the peak value field does not mean there’s nothing to worry about.  That one measurement could be happening more than once.  Very rarely do I actually see an FKL event showing within the AP gauge as it occurs (that’s only happened twice).  Now, if you’re datalogging as well as live-monitoring, that’s a different story.  The analogy that I used in a post at IWSTI is that live-monitoring is akin to reading Cliff Notes, while reading datalogs is akin to reading the actual book and not a summarization of the book.  Based on what I’ve been reading in the forums, people are using the AP’s live monitoring as the only method of monitoring.  I saw at least one guy today state that he has 70psi in cylinder #4 but when someone asked him to post logs awhile back, he didn’t have any, yet he stated that he saw knock events…it is assumed that he saw those knock events on his AP.  He never did post the logs but then posted he had a bad cylinder/piston/ringland.

Subaru owners will need to be extra diligent in following their cars’ maintenance schedules, datalogging (especially after filling up the tank with new gas), not beating up on the car when the engine is cold, ensuring the oil has the proper level, ensuring the oil is clean, ensuring the engine isn’t being lugged in a high gear (no flooring the engine in high gear or on inclines)…following those instructions can lessen engine damage, but logging is key, in my opinion.

Porsche to Manufacture Horizontally-Opposed 4-cylinder Engines.

Apparently, Porsche is interested in producing some new engines:  flat-fours.  Per CAR magazine:

A 1.6-liter version will produce 210 horsepower, a 2.0-liter version will be good for 286 hp, and a 2.5-liter version will produce 360 hp.

As well:

The horizontally opposed engine layout will obviously cut CO2 and boost economy, yet keep a genetic link to the famous flat-six engines which have powered the 911 for decades. Don’t forget 2014’s Porsche 919 Hybrid Le Mans racecar also uses a four-cylinder engine, albeit a V4.

Subaru is the only other car manufacturer to build flat-four engines, which typically have a charismatic soundtrack as evidenced on the Impreza family over the years.

Digital Trends has further information:

With power outputs that high and displacements that low, expect all engines in this family to feature turbocharging and direct injection. Each engine will also feature the same horizontally-opposed boxer configuration as the company’s signature six-cylinder motors.

The 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines are expected to find their way into the Boxster, Cayman, and Cayenne, with other models likely to follow as Porsche grapples with stricter global emissions standards.

The 1.6-liter version is reportedly in limbo. It was apparently intended for a “baby Boxster” sports car that could have spawned Audi and Volkswagen siblings, but has now been shelved.

I’ve heard at least one Subaru enthusiast complain that Subaru should be trying to build a boxer engine that outputs 350-360 HP.  If you look across the car-maker spectrum, there are not that many 4-cylinder cars in production (mass produced) that are making power at that level.  In fact, there’s currently only one.  The CLA45 AMG.  And that car is $50K+.  The engine is also fortified to Hell and back, too (much of the money they want for the car is due to the fortification process of the engine).  Now, Porsche is attempting something similar.  Notice a trend?  It’s the luxury manufacturers that are designing H.O. 4-cylinder engines.  No one else is.  That’s a niche Mercedez and Porsche can afford to fill.  I highly doubt a Japanese manufacturer will do this (they haven’t yet).  Now, Mitsubishi was producing the FQ series of Evos, but I’m not sure those should be factored into this discussion, as that variant of Evos are expensive as hell, only available to the UK, and are very limited productions).  And you see where Mitsubishi is now (they’re in financial trouble and have been for years).

If a Subaru fan wants more power, there’s a vast aftermarket world available to him/her.  There’s no need to pine/whine about what Porsche and Mercedez are making…a Subaru rarely compares to cars such as those, although a recent comparison of an BMW 4-series, a CLA45 AMG, and a 2015 Subaru STI ended up with the STI being on top due to its handling characteristics.  I think Subaru knows what they’re doing.  There’s no need for them to be enticed into a HP war that escalates into a vehicle that’s not attainable to most average people.  Subaru is doing fine and has been for awhile.  Just my 2 cents.

Flow-matched Fuel Injectors

If you’ve ever done research into upgrading your fuel injectors, and are looking for a used set, you’ll occasionally see someone saying, “make sure they’re flow-matched”.

Were you ever curious as to what that means?

Look at this video:

In the above video, initially, the spray pattern is being observed, with the injector on the far right turned sideways to see the spray pattern at a different angle.  These are Subaru WRX injectors (so said the author).  The injectors are being run at different RPMs and are not yet clean.  At the end of the observation, the injectors were statically tested.  At the end of that test, 3 of the injectors were flowing 95-96cc while one was flowing 92cc.  3 are within flow specification while the other is not.  His plan is to apply a 20-minute ultrasonic soak to the set in the hopes that the injector with the lower flow will increase it’s flow (the soak would probably clean out any build-up/gunk in the injector).

The above video shows the results of an ultrasonic cleaning and a back-wash to remove any build-up within the injectors from the first video.  Notice that after the static flow test, the injector with the hangup now has a measurement of 96cc, matching at least 2 of the other injectors (the last one is still at 97cc but is probably within spec).

Yes, I saw that he quoted the measurement of the 2nd injector being 92cc in the first video and 93cc in the second video.  Probably a (small) gaff on his part.

I thought these two videos were pretty cool.  I’m a geek like that!

I found the videos while trying to find videos on how to perform an injector swap on GR/GV STIs.

Oh, and by the way, going big on injectors….requires a tune.  The stock ECU cant calibrate itself to adjust for larger injectors — source is here, under the “Questions” tab, and is the answer to Question #3.

Stylish Valve Stem Caps

While I was last at Advance Auto, I picked up some black valve stem covers. The idea was to use them on my motorcycle. 

I decided to try them out on the car’s wheels instead. They were black but UV rays beat out the color and changed them to bronze (at least the top part of the cap). They don’t look bad but I liked the black better. I might throw some black enamel on them.

Cheap eye-candy that doesn’t look cheap…