Saturday, January 24, 2009

Realizations and Improvements

By this stage in the build, I had come to the important realization that building a car because it is what you may want and because it is what people want to see is a very poor way of executing a project. As my driving skill developed, the car proved more and more competent and thus translated to the hands much faster. It was now time to correct some modifications done in preparation for a big turbo/intercooler setup, starting with the intake system. I sold off the Injen setup in favor of a combination of parts starting with the Prova/Eifel Carbon Air Duct, then the ARC Intake, and finally a Zero/Sports hardpipe rounding things out. The entire system follows the concept of factory while focusing on larger diameters and across the board response. While I lost 3awhp [296awhp from 299awhp] as well as 2awtq [324awtq from 326awtq] the more important issue is that both curves increased significantly for the work done. The car gained power in reality, spooling almost 400rpm earlier and rather than peaking, the power band held around 1700rpm longer, thus making the overall feel of the car both stronger and more consistent. This round of modifications was topped off with some aesthetic parts, JDM Door Garnishes and Rain Guards as well as a Chargespeed Type 1 Carbon Front Lip. I was set to have learned from my mistakes and not aim so high at this point, but I needed a more competent suspension setup and I was getting antsy to switch out wheels I had taken advantage of for wheels I really wanted. The car looked a bit off with the ride height being too low now that the lip was on, and the five spokes were not flowing as well as they could with some of the other body changes.  Time for stage 2. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting Ahead of Myself

I had moved to the Subaru from a 240sx still motivated by the stock KA24DE, and I was set to enjoy the car and keep it stock. That lasted about four months. In my opinion, the ultimate problem with keeping a stock STi is that the car offers you almost no incentive to do so. In factory form the car is, harsh, noisy, and flamboyant; the three largest reasons you would stay away from modifying something more mature. Past that, the car responds fantastically to a little work, while offering almost no downsides. Discovering this, it wasn't until I came around to needing a set of tires that things went crazy. In my tire shopping I had also stumbled across the fact that SSR was declaring bankruptcy, the result of which was the complete liquidation of most wheel stock, especially models that would be discontinued regardless of whether or not Tanabe would save the company. Thus I ended up with not only a brand new set of Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s, but also a set of 17x8.5 +48 Gold SSR GT2s, which had fallen from their mid-high 300 dollar mark, to a ridiculous 81 dollars a wheel.

This set of the modbug for me, I was going to make the car faster with stage two, and past that I was building with an even larger turbo setup in my immediate future. I figured surely 450-550 was super doable and necessary for the car, after all it could do it, so certainly I should. Ordering up a Helix downpipe, and the loudly brabling HKS Carbon Ti, Injen CAI, and tuning equipment from Cobb, I had a great start that would allow for big power later. I also planned to build an inspiring and affordable suspension out of STi JDM Pink Springs, RCE Camber Plates, Cusco Front and Rear Tower Bars, Cusco Front and Rear Sway Bars and Cobb Endlinks. Keeping an eye on everything, the car received a set of Defi BF Boost, EGT, and Oil Pressure gauges in an ATI pod.

For the knowledge and ability I possessed, the car came out of this absurdly well. Obviously no decision was made arbitrarily, but I had a car that I was unable to drive past 40% of its potential stock. The car was much better than I, but I just couldn't accept that long enough to leave it alone and enjoy it. I had no need for the power I wanted, nor any means of comparison to justify it. The intake setup was great for building high end power but placed the filter horribly, low in the filthy fender lining. The suspension setup; however, was baller. The Cusco pieces were fantastic, and the JDM Pinks made for a much better match to the factory dampers. The car had a great stance, but was much lower and harsher than I had anticipated. Unfortunately the car would soon suffer from a common issue in the 04 model, with failed rear struts. The combination of issues I had forced a revamp of my setup, but I stand by this as one of the best solutions for handling on a budget.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Being Stock

For the time being the brunt of this blog will be the slow transfer of relevant information out of my STi journal and to this blog. Rather than simply copy the links out, I'm going to attempt to break modifications into versions or stages of the build, provide some commentary, and continue from there with current updates. To start off with, here are some of pics back in the glory days of being stock. I can still remember the rush I received just seeing the car sitting in front of me for sale. I transfered emotionally from interested to committing heart and mind to what I think may be one of the most ideal sports car ever. Though I left these ideas with some rather grandiose and unrealistic plans, read: largely immature; at this stage of the build I really appreciate the beauty of technical competency that Subaru provides in a stock STi.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

148 Words

Hi, my name is Randall. Lately I have been especially bothered by how much I tend to categorize and separate my life. I'm sure that there is something great about having a facebook, and a myspace, and journal, but I can no longer get past the fact that they dissect experience and provide an audience appropriate filtered message. This is why I have my blog; I want the ability for uncompartmentalized Randall, an open form to lay out my whole self. Here I can share the big picture of defeats and triumphs in all forms: increasing in knowledge and understanding of Christ my Savior, of my adorable and loving wife Ashley, share my widely varying photography skills, my fashion interest, my writing, and the reasoning and contemplation involved in my 2004 Subaru WRX STi build; creating my own interpretation of what a dual purpose car should be.