Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Super Low-Mile GD WRX - Smart Upgrades & Maintenance

We had this really nice 2006 WRX TR come into the shop for some upgrades.  What makes this particular WRX special? Well it only has 17,000 miles on the clock – yeah, 17,000 miles total - Holy moly.

The car was pretty much bone stock, but the owner was ready for some more oomph, so we went over our recommendations with him, including some top-shelf upgrades, and maintenance items that should be considered.  We got a game plan together and we got to work!






First up was making sure the WRX was going to continue to run without any issues – so we got to work replacing the timing belt, water pump, pulleys, thermostat, seals, hoses and gaskets.  Even though the mileage is low, the car is now going on 13 + years old, and these parts will age-out – so to be safe it was all replaced with OEM Subaru components.  We replaced some hoses that had hardened and were in question of sealing, and some new clamps.  We then drained and filled the transmission, rear differential, and engine oil.  Maintenance like this is often overlooked – both by owners and some shops – because it’s not “cool” and the go-fast parts are what sells.  However, if you want to actually keep your car running smooth and without issues these things need to be addressed.  Otherwise your car will be faster, but only for a short amount of time…..Once this stuff was taken care of though, it was on to the go-fast parts!


Next on the list was to remove the factory struts and springs and get a brand new set of BC Racing coilovers installed.  These are a great entry level coilover set as they come with front camber plates, rear top plates, and are dual adjustable for height and pre-load.  They also over 30+ settings for damping control so they are very tunable for your driving style and environment.  The set was installed, and height was set to the owners’ preferences.  Pre-load was set at all 4 corners and we then got the car aligned to be sure the settings were where they needed to be, then we got back to the other upgrades!



The entire stock exhaust was removed in order to make room for the new Invidia Turbo back.  This includes a catted bellmouth downpipe, and a resonated Q300 catback.  This combination will provide a very nice deep sound, and the cat and resonator will cut down on in-cabin drone and overall “tinnyness” of the exhaust note.  We really like this combination and the results speak for themselves once the car is running – a perfect Subaru Boxer rumble! The downpipe was topped off with a Perrin heatshield to keep radiant heat off the Intercooler and other engine components. 



The fuel pump came out next in order to be replaced with a brand new Walbro 255lph pump.  Fuel filters on these cars are often overlooked and become very dirty and can even clog all together, and the filters on this car was no different, even with lower miles the filter was dirty enough to need to be replaced – both the pre-filter and post-pump-filter. We have seen many cars suffer from issues with a clogged/dirty filter – so replacing these filters with the pump is a great idea. The Walbro pump is much better at keeping up with the fuel demands of a tuned car, as the OEM pumps can overheat and fail. 


Old pump and filters on left (brown filter) and new pieces on right (new white filter)

Another component that can fail at higher boost levels in the factory 2 port electronic boost controller (EBCS).  The 2 port works ok on a stock car, but with the higher demands and boost levels of a tuned stage 2 + car a 3 port EBCs is much better.  So we replaced the factory unit with a Cobb 3 port, plumbed it in, and then we jumped to the final piece – a Process West Top Mount Intercooler (TMIC). 


3 port EBCS installed

The PW TMIC is possibly one of the nicest TMICs available for the GD Imprezas – and we have had very good tuning results with these in the past.  It comes complete with a new intercooler splitter that attaches to the factory hoodscoop.  Any upgraded intercooler without a matching splitter is just about worthless – as the splitter is necessary to direct air though the intercooler – otherwise air will take the path of least resistance and just go around it.  That’s bad.  With the Intercooler in place we topped it off with a Cobb XLE Bypass Valve Kit, which replaced the factory bypass valve. The Cobb unit is able to reliably handle more boost without leaking, as the factory units can start to leak with age and at higher boost levels. 


Perrin Heatshiled and Process West TMIC installed!

As a final check we performed a vacuum leak smoke test - This pressurizes the intake system and pumps an inert smoke in at the same time, so if there are any leaks they are very easily recognizable.  This is a very important test to run after any work on a turbocharged car, as even one small missed clamp or leak can cause the whole system to be thrown off!




This WRX was now ready for a custom dyno-tune utilizing a Cobb Accesssport – so we strapped it down and got to work. On the Dynocom dyno we achieved a very nice 260whp/334wtq. - On the stock Td04 turbo!   The car now sounds great, makes much more power, and is a lot more fun to drive.  We also took care of the important maintenance, so the owner is now ready for many more miles of fun!







Only 17k Miles!!!




Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando, Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, engine builds, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!


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