Category Archives: Intercooler

Transmission oil change for Subaru WRX/STi:

Transmission oil change for Subaru WRX/STi:

This is a guide on how to change your transmission oil in your turbo Subaru. Transmission oil is usually changed at 30,000 mile intervals, though more frequent changes are suggested if you take part in track days.

Transmission oil:

Subaru 75W90 Extra-S Gear & Transmission Fluid – 1 Quart Bottle

Subaru 803916080 Manual Transmission Drain Plug Washer

Tools needed:

21mm Socket wrench or other tool of your choice
(I used a socket set with the large spark plug fitting and hollow
extension for extra leverage, dad’s tent is now missing one pole.)
– New sump washer
– Funnel
– 2 foot length of garden hose or similar sized tubing.
– Gear oil* – 3.9 quarts for wrx/sti gearbox/front diff. (Extra 800ml for rear diff)
– Oilpan or large container capable of holding 4+ quarts.

1.) First things first, jack the car up, or drive it onto wheel stands. Make sure the hand brake is on. T
Do not go under the car unless you’re sure it’s secure on it’s stands.

2.) Ensure the car is cool enough to work on, wait at least an hour after driving. Now you’ll need to find the transmission dipstick, which is located between
the turbo and intercooler. Pull it out.

3.) Now you can crawl under the car with your socket, dropsheet & oil pan. Looking from the middle of the car towards the front, you’ll be able to
see the drive shafts, transmission & diff, transmission plug, the engine oil sump plug.

4.) The front transmission oil plug is the one you want, loosen it and then slowly unwind it by hand until the end of the thread, then get yourself and the cat out of the way before you both get covered in oil. If all goes to plan, you’ll get most of the spent oil into your container.

Banjo Bolt (Union) removal/install on a Subaru WRX STi

Banjo Bolt (Union) removal and install on a Subaru WRX STi:

This is Banjo Bolt step by step guide on the removal and installation of a Banjo bolt and new copper washers for a Subaru WRX/STi or any other turbocharged Subaru.The Banjo bolt is the one with a filter screen that others have indicated should be cleaned or replaced periodically. Subaru calls it a “Union screw (with protrusion).”
Tools needed:
12 mm socket – for intercooler bracket bolt
14 mm deep-well socket – for up-pipe bracket nut and bolt
10 mm socket or wrench – for stock turbo heat shield bolt
17 mm ratcheting wrench – for Banjo bolt
10 inch or longer extension – to reach up-pipe bracket bolts

Parts needed:
Union screw/Banjo Bolt (If replacing which I highly suggest you do.) – Subaru part # 14445AA090

Subaru 14445AA090 Oil Filter Bolt


Genuine Subaru Turbo Banjo Bolt with Screen – 14445AA090a
Copper washers (2) – Subaru part # 803912040
Subaru 803912040 Banjo Washer


Removal and re-install takes about one hour.

Start by removing any heat shields that are in the way. I have the SPT heat shield that comes off by removing the 12 mm intercooler support bolt.
(See pic “Engine bay area”). I also have the stock turbo heat shield installed. I didn’t take it off, but there will be a little more room to work if you do. A 10 mm socket is needed to remove the stock heat shield bolts.

The next page will describe the removal and re-installation process of the Banjo Bolt and copper washers.

Legacy: 1989-1994 Subaru Legacy (BC/BF) GT/RS

Prior to the Legacy RS turbo, Subaru had never enjoyed the experience of distributing a genuine performance car. Of course, there had been the 4WD turbo RX and Vortex, but neither could crack 10 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint – although they were very reliable. The RS was the gun version of the first Legacy series released in 1988 and discontinued in 1994. The RS (Rally Sport) model was aimed squarely at world rallying, with many of its components and concepts carried over to the dominating Impreza WRX.

Legacy: The BC/BF is unique in having an Air - Water intercooler with a front mounted radiator for optimal cooling. The bonnet scoop only provides cooling to the turbo. While later model legacy's have all used air to air intercoolers.
Legacy: The BC/BF is unique in having an Air – Water intercooler with a front mounted radiator for optimal cooling. The bonnet scoop only provides cooling to the turbo. While later model legacy’s have all used air to air intercoolers.

The center Viscous LSD on the MT models initially starts out with a 50/50 torque split, front and rear, and will up the ratio towards the end with more traction. The manufacturer doesn’t give a final figure, so the max split is either 65/35, or could even venture as high as 95/5, since the A/T model has a different system that is marketed at a 65/35 maximum split. A higher ratio would explain some of the handling characteristics at the limit. The rear differential is also a Viscous LSD model.

The BC/BF is unique in having an Air – Water intercooler with a front mounted radiator for optimal cooling. The bonnet scoop only provides cooling to the turbo. While later model legacy’s have all used air to air intercoolers.

FMIC (Front Mount Intercooler) STi/WRX FAQ

FMIC: The primary purpose of a FMIC (front mount intercooler) is to reduce post turbo air temperature prior to entering the combustion chamber via the throttle body.

FMIC install in a Subaru WRX STi.
FMIC install in a Subaru WRX STi.

HP gain is around 15HP. This figure can vary as 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.

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

Which FMIC construction method is best? FMICs have two main construction methods:
1. tube and fin
2. bar and plate
There is much debate as to which construction method is best. There are many pros and cons with each design type, but no real hard data. Bar and plate designs are consistently reported as more damage resistant which gives them the edge with regard to appearance longevity. In the end, you are best advised to chose a FMIC based on other qualities rather than concentrate on construction design.

Engine Management For Subaru WRX/STi


Why do I need engine management?


Consider your stock engine management for just a moment. Your stock engine control unit (ECU) is a very complex piece of circuitry that calculates hundreds of variables every second. All of these variables rely on inputs within a + or – range. When you modify your vehicle, these values change. As long as the changes are within the values the ECU expects to receive, your engine runs fine. Once the values are exceeded, the ECU is programmed to compensate to return the values to normal levels.

A typical way of engine management is to use a Cobb Accessport.
A typical way of engine management is to use a Cobb Accessport.

This is a layman’s explanation of how your stock ECU can actually work against you when modifying your vehicle. This also explains why modifications can feel great once they are bolted on but the butt dyno results seem to fade over time. This is due to ECU compensation.

What is the first step in finding what engine management I need? Finding a tuner. The Tuner FAQ will help with the general rules of finding a good tuner. Remember, it’s always better to have a custom tune vs. a plug and play or “staged” map. Always defer to the tuner’s advice as to what to choose as ultimately he will be the one to provide custom support. Discuss your goals and budget and your tuner should set you on the right path. If you are a “plug and play” kind of person, review the options below and decide for yourself along with input from locals in your regional forum and the car parts review forum.

What will engine management do for me? Generally speaking, engine management optimizes several engine functions to create more horsepower and efficiency. The stock ECU is designed to ensure your car runs fine and monitors the engine’s output parameters. Utilizing an aftermarket engine management solution takes this to the next level.

Turbocharger: How to choose a Turbocharger

Turbocharger: How to choose a Turbocharger for your Turbo Subaru:

In order to make an informed decision when purchasing an aftermarket turbocharger, the consumer needs to avail themselves of the different types of turbochargers first. To this end, we will discuss the various types of turbos on the market. These are just the basics of turbo information though. Please do not confuse this as the main source for turbo information as there are many other factors to an informed turbo choice such as compressor maps, matching the turbo to your displacement, etc. For the best advice, please consult an experienced turbo vendor and/or your tuner.

A regular turbo is, in essence, a pump that forces air into your intake system. The end result is a denser air charge that will produce more power vs. naturally aspired vehicles. The only downside is that more power produces more heat, and the engine’s internal components must be properly suited towards turbo charging. Upgrading this unit to a larger one is the easiest route in terms of time, trouble, and expense. Common upgrades for all turbocharged Subaru models include the VF-30/34/22 and 16/18/20G.

A twin scroll turbo is designed to be used on an equal length exhaust set-up. By internal turbo design and having all the exhaust gases enter the turbo at the same time, this allows the turbo to spool faster vs. an equally sized regular turbo. This is a very important point as many people are confused by the marketing hype of twin scroll set-ups. When comparing a twin scroll turbo that will flow say 500 cfm vs. a normal 500 cfm turbo, the twin scroll should see full boost sooner. So if there are two suitably sized turbochargers, with one being twin scroll and one regular, the twin scroll unit may be your best choice if you do not mind the extra exhaust expense and prefer faster spooling.

This type of turbocharger requires more expense than a simple upgrade though. The biggest concern is the use of an equal length header, proper uppipe design, and the possible use of a different oil pan to accommodate the new twin scroll exhaust piping. Quirt Crawford of Crawford Performance recently did some testing on a GT32 twin scroll turbo Legacy to test the theory about the importance of exhaust flow to a twin scroll unit. When he switched from the correct equal length header and uppipe to a traditional unequal length header and normal uppipe, he saw degradation in turbo response by 750 RPM. This should be word to the wise to anyone who thinks they can avoid the expense of the correct exhaust components and still see the quicker spooling benefits of a twin scroll turbo.

Another consideration is the change in exhaust tone. An equal length header required in a twin scroll set-up sounds entirely different than an OEM or aftermarket unequal length header. To fans of the familiar boxer rumble, equal length headers are just not an option. It may sound silly, but for many, this reason alone is enough to keep them from buying a twin scroll turbo.

A rotated mount turbo is any turbo that’s physical size prevents it from fitting in the stock location and must be mounted at a slightly different angle. Most of the turbos that fall into this category are of the larger variety. Many require custom piping, a front mount intercooler, external wastegates, custom tuning, tumble generator valve deletes, and other technical or expensive upgrades to support it. Most would consider this type of turbo to be outside the scope of the average do it yourself person and should be farmed out to a professional or at least utilize one of the kits supplied by various manufacturers.

As well, many feel that when going this route, strong consideration should be given to fully built motor, or at the very least, forged pistons. Rotated mount turbos produce large amounts of power and though there is no magic horsepower number for switching to forged internals, the larger rotated mount set-ups seem to be commonly used on built motors.

Header Aftermarket Turbo Subaru FAQ

Header Aftermarket Turbo Subaru FAQ

The primary purpose of an aftermarket header on a turbocharged Subaru is to remove or replace the stock exhaust manifold with a better flowing unit.

An Agency Power Stainless Steel Header for a EJ257
An Agency Power Stainless Steel Header for a EJ257.

HP gain is 15HP and 20TQ. This figure is highly debated as different manufacturers use different dynos with different cars with different levels of mods. It also varies because some headers incorporate an uppipe into their design. This makes it nearly impossible to compare the gains of a header without an uppipe vs. a header with an uppipe.

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

Where can I find headers?

Subaru WRX STI Header Prosport Unequal Length Stainless Steel Header

Perrin Subaru STi /WRX Header Equal Length Big Tube

AP WRX/ STI Stainless Steel Unequal Length Header w/o Uppipe

Invidia HS05SW1HDR Racing Header for Subaru WRX STI/Legacy GT

Agency Power (AP-GDA-175) Unequal Length Header, Stainless Steel

Perrin PSP-EXT-050 04-08 STi /LGT/FXT/06-08 WRX (06+ WRX requires modification to oil cooler) Header (02-05 WRX Requires STi Oil Pan)

TOMEI 193082 Headers

What differences are there with headers? The main difference is exhaust piping length. Headers are made to be unequal length or equal length. Unequal means the piping on the driver’s side of the engine will be longer than the passenger’s side. Equal means the piping length is equidistant from the engine outlet to the header outlet for all piping.

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.