Category Archives: TMIC

BOV: Blow off Valve Subaru FAQ

BOV: Blow off Valve Subaru FAQ

Term usage: “Blow off valves” go by several names, among them are compressor bypass valve (CBV), air by-pass valve, bypass valve (BPV), blow off valve (BOV), Diverter valve, and possibly a few others. BOV is the common and incorrect term that lumps true blow off valves and bypass valves under the same term. For the sake of correctness, this post will refer to either aftermarket BOV, aftermarket BPV or OEM BPV as these are the most correct terms.

What is the function of a blow off valve (BOV)? To release pressure from the intake tract of a turbo car when the throttle closes. It is a vacuum-actuated valve designed to releases the air to the atmosphere.

What is the function of a bypass valve (BPV)? To release pressure from the intake tract of a turbo car when the throttle closes. It is a vacuum-actuated valve designed to recirculate the air back into the intake before the turbo inlet, but after the airflow sensor.

A stock Subaru BPV (not a BOV).
A stock Subaru BPV (not a BOV).

What is the purpose of a BOV/BPV? When the throttle closes and the intake system is under pressure, the high-pressure air entering the motor will bump into the closed throttle plate, and in the absence of a BOV/BPV, a pressure wave will travel back to the turbocharger. The result is that the compressor wheel will stall (a phenomenon known as “compressor surge”) and slow down very quickly. This is hard on the bearings and decreases the turbo’s lifespan, but it also means the turbo will take longer to spin up the next time the throttle is opened.

Are aftermarket BOVs necessary with Subaru turbos? No. The OEM BPV is perfectly fine up to 20psi of boost. For applications using higher boost levels, an aftermarket BOV/BPV should be considered.

Can I mod my stock BPV to hold higher boost? Yes. I’ll be creating a post giving detailed instructions on how to do so.

Is the STi BPV better than the WRX BPV? No. They are the same. However, the JDM STi BPV will hold more boost as it is physically different than both the USDM STi BPV and the WRX BPV. The specific PSI rating of the JDM STi BPV is unknown, but users have reported it is good up to 25 PSI.

Is an aftermarket BPV better than the stock BPV? No. Unless you are considering an aftermarket BPV solely for the purposes of holding higher boost levels. An aftermarket unit should sound just like the OEM unit.

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Intercooler Hose FAQ for Subaru STi/WRX

The primary purpose of an aftermarket intercooler hose is to replace the stock intercooler hose with a better flowing unit. Airflow testing indicates 14.2% better flowing capacity than the OEM piece. It can also decrease intake temperatures, increase reliability, and dress up the engine compartment.

HP gain is 5HP. This figure is highly debated as different manufacturers use different dynos with different cars with different levels of mods.

Which manufacturer is best? This topic is highly debated. There have been no reported consistent “bad” intercooler hoses on the market. Obviously, there may have been bad hoses sold, but not enough to report as “bad” overall. The current manufacturers of intercooler hoses that fit the OEM intercooler are:

a. APS: “Y” hose only
b. Perrin: 3 hose set
c. Prodrive: “Y” hose only
d. Samco: 3 hose set
e. Vishnu: 3 hose set
f. GP Moto: 3 hose set

Prodrice silicone intercooler hose
Prodrice silicone intercooler hose

What intercooler hose material is best? Intercooler hoses are made from silicone and cast alloy. There is no irrefutable evidence that one material is better than the other. Obviously, heat soak levels are higher with the cast alloy model.

Which intercooler hose construction method is best?
There is no irrefutable evidence that one design is better than the other. With regard to the number of silicone plys, here is a breakdown:

Perrin= 5 ply
Prodrive= unknown ply
Samco= 3 ply
Vishnu= 3 ply
GP Moto= unknown ply

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TMIC basics on a Subaru WRX/STi

TMIC basics on a Subaru WRX/STi:

The primary purpose of a top mount intercooler is to reduce post turbo air temperature prior to entering the combustion chamber via the throttle body.

HP gain is around 15HP. This figure can vary as many TMICs replace the restrictive OEM piping and results can be further enhanced with post installation tuning. This is one modification that is extremely difficult to put a traditional HP figure on as results truly vary from car to car based on tuning and turbo output in terms of CFM.

How much HP can my stock TMIC hold? 300WHP on the WRX and 400WHP on the STi are attainable. That does not mean those power levels are 100% efficient, but that those power levels are attainable with their OEM TMICs. As discussed below though, TMICs are not meant to be HP rated, but rather CFM related, but this is an FAQ so the HP figures are given as a good “bad” answer.

TMIC basics on a Subaru WRX/STi: 04-07 STi oem TMIC
TMIC basics on a Subaru WRX/STi: 04-07 STi OEM TMIC

Which manufacturer is best? This topic is highly debated. There have been no reported consistent “bad” TMICs on the market. Obviously, there may have been bad TMICs sold, but not enough to report as “bad” overall.

I have a 2008/2009 model, any differences? Yes. Your engine bay has an entirely new layout vs. the 2002-2007 models.

TMIC basics on a Subaru WRX/STi: A 2008 STi stock TMIC
TMIC basics on a Subaru WRX/STi: A 2008 STi stock TMIC
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Subaru WRX and STi Exhaust general info

Subaru WRX and STi Exhaust general info:

The primary purpose of an aftermarket exhaust is to remove or replace the stock catalytic converter(s) with a better flowing unit. It also increases the exhaust diameter for better flow. The term “aftermarket exhaust” can be broken down into the three main types:

1. Turbo back exhaust (TBE) covers items 1-4 as described below.
2. Cat back exhaust (CBE) covers items 3&4 as described below.
3. Axle back exhaust (ABE) covers item 4 as described below.

The stock WRX Subaru exhaust consists of:

1. Downpipe (with cat) | 2. Midpipe (with cat) | 3. Rear Exhaust Pipe | 4. Axle Back Muffler

The stock WRX Subaru exhaust consists of: 1. Downpipe (with cat) | 2. Midpipe (with cat) | 3. Rear Exhaust Pipe | 4. Axle Back Muffler
The stock WRX Subaru exhaust consists of: 1. Downpipe (with cat) | 2. Midpipe (with cat) | 3. Rear Exhaust Pipe | 4. Axle Back Muffler

Keep in mind that the above information is catered to the 2002-2005 WRX and is likewise applicable to all years of the STi, though there are slight variations. For example, the STi (all years) has a catless uppipe and the 2006+ WRX has a one piece downpipe/midpipe.

HP gain is dependent on the type of exhaust chosen. TBE gains are 20-30HP. CBE gains are 5-15HP. ABE gains are 5-10HP. These figures are highly debated as different manufacturers use different dynos with different cars with different levels of mods. It also varies because exhausts use different amounts of catalytic converters or are catless.

What about overall fitment between the WRX and STi or different model years? All OEM or aftermarket exhausts designed for 02-07 WRX/STi will fit either the 02+ WRX sedan/wagon or 04+ STi. Occasionally, you will have a slight fitment issue with some models (moreso if your car has the optional rear differential cover) that usually get be fixed via hanger adjustment, longer exhaust hangers etc. 06+ models have fitment issues with some exhausts (mainly the muffler portion) due to the new rear diffuser.

I have an 06+ WRX, is the downpipe the same? No. The 2006+ WRX has a unique exhaust in that it’s downpipe is both the downpipe and midpipe sections of the “older” exhaust. This means you must use a “long” downpipe to bolt up to the rest of your exhaust system. A full TBE will fit fine, but when replacing just the downpipe, you must use a long downpipe. Check with your Vendor for other possible fitment issues prior to ordering.

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STi intercooler install on a Subaru WRX

You can easily install the upgraded STI top-mount intercooler in your garage using basic tools.

1. Disconnect your battery and make sure you have all the necessary tools. You need a flat bladed screwdriver, a 10mm wrench, and a 12mm wrench. Consider the picture before you in the engine compartment. The parts you’re looking for are centered on top of the engine. You need the new intercooler, an STI Y-pipe and inlet elbow and a new gasket for the bypass or blow-off valve. You also need the STi air conditioning line bracket for the firewall.

This is the stock WRX engine with the stock intercooler on top.
This is the stock WRX engine with the stock intercooler on top.

2. Two 12mm bolts that hold the intercooler to its mounting bracket on either side of the cooler. On the passenger side, note that there’s an open hole in the bracket—this hole is there to accommodate the STI intercooler. Three 10mm bolts hold a metal tube to the front of the intercooler, and two 12mm bolts that attach the bypass valve. Underneath the intercooler on the passenger side, there’s a hose clamp that holds the Y-pipe to the turbo, and there’s another hose clamp in front that holds the intercooler to the throttle body.

Note the extra bolt-hole Subaru thoughtfully placed in just the right spot for an STI intercooler.
Note the extra bolt-hole Subaru thoughtfully placed in just the right spot for an STI intercooler.
You need to undo all these bolts along the front of the intercooler.
You need to undo all these bolts along the front of the intercooler.

3. Loosen the hose clamps first (and hopefully the one under the intercooler is oriented to make this easy) and then undo all the bolts. The intercooler should lift out and take the Y-pipe with it. Leave the bypass valve on the intake manifold—you don’t need to totally disconnect it. You might need to wiggle it loose, but don’t pull too hard.

Carefully lift out the intercooler and the hoses should come free if you’ve loosened the clamps.
Carefully lift out the intercooler and the hoses should come free if you’ve loosened the clamps.
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