The second generation Subaru Impreza WRX STi

Subaru Impreza WRX STi winter driving.
Subaru Impreza WRX STi winter driving.

Second generation (2001 – 2007)
Second generation (GDB-F)
Production 2001-2007
Body style(s) 4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Engine(s) 2.0L H4
2.5L H4
Transmission(s) 6-speed manual
5-speed semi-automatic
Wheelbase 2004-05: 100.0 in (2540 mm)
2006-08: 99.4 in (2525 mm)
Length 2004-05: 173.8 in (4415 mm)
2006-08: 175.8 in (4465 mm)
Width 68.5 in (1740 mm)
Height 56.3 in (1430 mm)
Curb weight 3,296 lb (1,495 kg)
Related Subaru Impreza
Subaru Forester
Subaru Impreza WRX
Saab 9-2X
In 2001, the Impreza line received a complete update. The chassis was stiffened so that it had 120% torsional stiffness increase. The WRX STi gained 17″ x 7.5″ alloy wheels over the previous 16″ x 7″ wheels. The 5 speed manual transmission (reputed to be one of the car’s weakpoints) was changed to an STi engineered 6 speed manual transmission. The engine was retained from the Version 6 STi and still retains the semi-closed deck block and is still labeled as the EJ207, However, the turbochargers are IHI models. The interior was updated with a STi logo on the gauge. The STi’s tachometer also has a red shift light. The STi’s and optioned Type RA STi have received Brembo 4 piston front and 2 piston rear brakes while the bare-bones Type RA STi still carried the Subaru 4 piston front and 2 piston rear brakes. Externally, the STis had larger hood scoops and had foglight covers with STi embossed on them. The DCCD was updated so it can work with anti-lock brakes. During braking, when the ABS is on, the DCCD will set itself to open-mode (no locking).

The version nomenclature was dropped from the name. Japanese and other auto-enthusiasts often refer to the chassis as GDB/GDF (the STi has a ‘B’ or ‘F'(for USDM models) where as the regular WRX had an ‘A’). The fourth character of the VIN gives the revision (A to F where G is the 2007 version).

For quick and easy reference to the different exteriors, Subaru Impreza owners use nicknames based on the headlights. Each relates to a creature that has similar looking eyes: 2002-2003 are ‘bug eyes’ / 2004-2005 are ‘Tear Drop’ or ‘blob eyes’ / 2006-2007 are ‘hawk eyes’.

GC8 the first generation Subaru Impreza WRX STi

GC8 the first generation Subaru Impreza WRX STi:

Photo Credit: Barry DufekPhoto Credit: Barry Dufek
Photo Credit: Barry Dufek /

One common misconception is that every Impreza between 92-01 were “GC8’s“. The code breakdown is as follows; G – stands for Impreza, C – sedan, M – coupe, F – station wagon, The 8 stands for the 2.0 L turbo motor.

First generation (GC8)
Production 1992-2001
Body style(s) 2-door coupé
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Engine(s) 2.0 L H4
Wheelbase 99.2 in (2520 mm)

There were six versions of the GC8 STi. The different versions were marketed with consecutive numbers. Another way to tell the version of a WRX STi was to look at the chassis code. Sedan STi Model Codes were GC8, Coupes were GM8 and Station Wagons were GF8, followed by a letter from A to G. There was a GC chassis version of the RS released in 2001 as well in the United States.

One common misconception is that every Impreza between 92-01 were “GC8’s“. The code breakdown is as follows; G – stands for Impreza, C – sedan, M – coupe, F – station wagon, The 8 stands for the 2.0 L turbo motor. So really, there are many combinations. A coupe STi would be GM8, sedan GC8, wagon GF8. Also, the code for the coupe American 2.5RS’s were GM6 (6 standing for the 2.5 L N/A motor)

A JDM Sti Coupe has the code GC8. For example, a version 4 STi coupe has the code GC8 2DD, with the 2 representing 2-doors.

Version I (10/92 – 08/94) – GC8 A/B
The first STi was known simply as WRX STi (there was no “version” moniker added to the name until the version II). 100 Imprezas per month were produced starting from February 1994. In March, production was stabilized to 100 STis a month. It had 250 PS (184 kW; 247 bhp) at 6500 rpm and 31.5 kgf·m (309 N·m, 228 ft·lbs) at 3500 rpm and weighed 1230 kg (2,710 lb). Before the STi, the highest trim line of the Impreza was the WRX and the WRX RA, first manufactured in November 1992. This version of the STi was the only version where the standard cars were taken at the end of the assembly line and replaced by STi parts. After this version, the standard STi was built alongside the WRX on the production lines.

The WRX STi Type RA (marketing has made usage of the RA acronym in various ways; Record Attempt[6] is the current usage. “R = Racing, A = Group A, FIA the racing class the WRC Impreza competes in” has also been confirmed by Subaru of Japan; the correspondence can be seen on the discussion board for this article) produced 275 PS (202 kW; 271 bhp) and 32.5 kgf·m (319 N·m, 235 ft·lbs) of torque. This version of the WRX STi was a stripped out car that had no sound-deadening, radio or air-conditioning. It came sparsely equipped as it was to be sold to racing teams that would throw out the racing parts. This version of the WRX came with a Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD). This device was an electromechanical differential that could lock the differential. The DCCD would be beneficial to people who used it in various rally conditions.

Subaru enthusiast “wave”

I can give some instructions on how to properly wave to other Subaru “enthusiasts”:

Step One.) Lower your window.

Step Two.) Move your hand out so it’s clearly visible.

Step Three.) Make a fist with your hand.

Step Four.) Extend your middle finger so the fellow enthusiast can clearly see your enthusiasm for their ownership of a Subaru vehicle

Step Five.) Take a drink from your monster energy drink.

Step Six.) Crash into a wall.

Subaru wave
Who gives a shit about waving to some random person who like you owns a Subaru.

Subaru Transmission fluid

There a stickied threads on Subaru message boards for a reason. Apparently it’s to hard to spend thirty seconds to search on google for the answer.

Subaru transmission fluid
Subaru transmission fluid

EJ257 Block info

So you bought an EJ257 block to build on the side. The seller says it’s “good” and “was running.” I mean, they can say anything, right? That is until you pull the engine block apart and the crank suffered major rod bearing damage from either oil starvation or debris from other failing components.

Here we go to look at the bore housings of the main bearings on the engine block. They look perfectly round to the eye but only measuring tools will reveal how oval they really are. Heat isn’t your friend and is the major cause in warping the bore housings. Rod bearing failure will cause excessive heat if driven on. Even brand new blocks from Subaru can be out of round.

The pictures show the honing marks after a pass on the honing machine. You can see where the color is more dull and has minimal light reflection. There was no contact there with the honing stones. You can see the dark defining line, which was where the bearing sat. Half of the bore housing number 3 (middle) didn’t make contact while honing as with bore housing number 4, which did not make any contact except where the block halves met.

What do we do now? The issue here is you’ll have bearing clearances that are too small or too large. This will cause oiling issues to areas where they most need it. Also the warped mains will not be straight. This can cause bearing to crank journal contact. So when looking at a block to buy, ask about the block’s history. If the seller has the block apart, look for yourself before purchasing. An experienced machine shop that has an align hone machine will be able to straighten the bearing housings as long as they aren’t too out of round.

EJ257 honing Marks
EJ257 honing Marks
EJ257 honing marks
EJ257 honing marks

Subaru Headlight idiocy continued

Let’s make our Subaru completely useless at night and attract the attention of local law enforcement. Please just stop doing this.  The only reason you should have red lights on your car if your an authorized emergency vehicle which this Subaru certainly isn’t.


Easiest way to get a ticket from the local police.
Easiest way to get a ticket from the local police.

Better hope those poorly made Chinese lights don’t fail and cause a electrical fire.


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5spd Subaru WRX five speed manual tips and tricks

5spd Subaru WRX five speed manual tips and tricks:

So you’ve got this noise coming from your 5spd transmission. It is starting to whine when you’re on/off the throttle. The sound seems to come right from below like around the shifter area. You may be a victim of the infamous falling apart center differential!

Don’t be too worried, transmissions are a dime a dozen! You still have the option to go 6spd or another 5spd transmission with different gear ratios if you choose.

 5spd: The damage. Most times the rear cover will back out minor like this photo. Other times it will completely come off. You can see the circlip survived this incident.
5Spd: The damage. Most times the rear cover will back out minor like this photo. Other times it will completely come off. You can see the circlip survived this incident on this WRX

How to not tow a Subaru like a idiot

If there is one thing you never do with a manual all wheel drive Subaru is tow it with car dollies without removing  the drive shaft. Really the preferred way of towing a Subaru is putting the Subaru on a flatbed or a car trailer.


Kind of a bad idea.
Kind of a bad idea.


Having the Subaru towed on the two rear wheels is asking for the all wheel drive system to die a horrible death and to leave a trail of parts and tears on the road. It’s a great way to need to install if you are lucky a new center differential or if you are unlucky your transmission will need a complete replacement.