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Modifications

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Engine
Handling
Braking
Lighting
Miscellaneous

A lot has changed since I first did this site. Some modifications have stayed, others have been swapped. This section will now be split. To check out past mods, click here. Current modifications are below. Check out the Tips section for other helpful info.

Engine

8.5mm Magnecor Racing Wires - These wires are pretty much guaranteed for life, so the company states. They said the connection terminals will fail before the wires will. I haven't had any problems though. They did add a little better throttle response and a little more power.

Modified stock air box - I've since swapped out the funnel filter for the stock air box. There were several reasons for this. Summer of 2000 I was experiencing intermittent loss of power and stalling. Tracked it down to a failing MAF sensor, $300 later & car ran fine. The open style intakes add extra vibration & turbulent air through the MAF. I added some extra brackets to help reduce vibrations. The final draw for me was moving down to Houston. The hot air being sucked from the engine bay was far more detrimental to power gains then the free flowing intake. So I decided to put the stock air box back on. I immediately noticed an increase in low/mid range torque. 

For the modifications of the stock box. I'm running a K&N drop-in panel air filter. I have removed the snorkel assembly in the fender, and added an additional intake tube to the bottom of the air box to aid in the volume of air the engine is able to suck in. (more pics in the image gallery) Performance wise. It is better then stock, however it still does not have the pull & free-revving in the top end that the funnel filter had. Low/mid range torque is improved and remains there. Overall I'm pretty happy with it. I may tweak it some more and add some velocity stacks to the tubes in the fender.

Possible future mod would be to snag a cobb intake and modify it for my car. But that's a future plan.... along with other plans as well.

MSD Dis-2 Ignition & Upgraded Diamond coil pack - I was pleasantly surprised with this addition. The word is that the MSD units don't produce much difference for the newer Subaru's, but for the first generation engines, they do. When I added mine I also upgraded to the Diamond Subaru coil pack. The Diamond coil packs come standard on the manual transmission equipped cars. They are supposedly able to handle a little more power.

Results, better throttle response in the low & mid range, as well as a little more power throughout the rev range. Would I do it again, you bet. Only down side is the cost, the MSD unit runs about 300 bucks. Check out pics in the image gallery.

Throttle Body Bypass Mod - This modification was pretty easy to do. Benefits seemed to be a little better throttle response. Here's a little background on this mod. The throttle body has coolant lines that run through the bottom portion of it. They were put in there to keep the throttle body from icing up under certain circumstances. Well all you're really doing is heating the air going into the engine, which reduces power. In a hotter climate, you should be pretty safe on doing this modification and not worrying about any icing. If you live in a colder climate, it may not be the wisest thing to do. Some people have toyed around with even putting a bypass hose in there, so during the summer months they can bypass the throttle body, and during the winter they can run coolant through it.

Torque Chip Two - I was passing through Denver on my way up to Seattle and decided to stop by and talk with Al at IWTU Electronics. Al works with the guys at PDM Turbos and his main thing is the electronics side. He designs & builds the Torque Chips. He's got quite an extensive electronics background.

Results, the jury's still out on this one. I had some wires come loose, and since I didn't know how long they were disconnected I don't really have an accurate feel on how well the chip actually works. I did notice an increase in midrange power when it was in. I took it out for troubleshooting purposes to help track down my hesitation issues. I have yet to put it back in, I need to. When I get it back in and get a feel for the results, I'll report back.

UnOrthodox Underdrive Pulley - I was a little hesitant to do this mod at first, due to the fact I have a fairly hefty draw from the stereo, and I always hated the dimming light syndrome you find on those cars with monster stereos. I did some calculating, I was going to have a friend machine me a smaller alternator pulley to compensate for the smaller Crank pulley, however that fell through. I still have the dimensions and plans if anyone wants to give it a go. The overall change in rpm was really not that much. The lights don't dim any more then they did with the stock pulley in. The interior dash does just darken just a tad at idle, but it's not really noticeable. All and all I think it was a worth while modification. Depending on driving I do get about 4-5 mpg more and do have better throttle response. The A/C system I don't think likes it as much, but my A/C system needs to be recharged so that could be the problem too.

Optima Yellow Top Battery - I am very pleased with the Optima battery. I noticed improvements in my stereo system right away. It sounds a lot better...or like it used to. There is more bass, louder with less volume, no more clipping at higher volumes, mids and highs are a lot more defined, the system sounds like a new system. I think mainly because the power is so much smoother and cleaner.

Also car idles smoother, I think there is a little more power, especially under load, like a hill. I guess I got pissed that I replaced my old battery after only 2 years, and the fact that my one uncle talked me out of the optima battery last time. It wasn't too cheap... $171 from summit racing www.summitracing.com, $178 w/ shipping & handling, which was the cheapest I found.

But if you're looking for a GREAT battery, and can afford it I'd HIGHLY recommend this one.

For those that may not know the optima batteries are spiracle gel batteries, they are dry batteries, so they are maintenance free and sealed, you can mount this battery in any direction anywhere you want, upside down, sideways etc. You can find out more on their website www.optimabatteries.com

It's a little wider than the stock one, I used the little platform that was with the old battery to raise it up, to clear the trans fluid cooling lines, other than that it fit right in.

Handling - Suspension

KYB GR-2 Struts - This was probably the second most substantial mod. to increase handling, at least in my case. I originally replaced the worn front struts with a set of Monroe's around 80k. That helped the immediate problem, but after replacing the stock rear struts with KYB's the car had a BAD case of over-steer, i.e. the rear-end liked to slide out. After putting the matching set of struts on the front the car was a lot better balanced and exhibited more of a neutral handling feel when pushed. The struts are a little stiffer than stock, but not as bad as a set of Koni's or Neuspeed's. Just a little side note. Tanabe is a company in Japan that makes aftermarket parts, yes they make stuff for Subaru. I saw a Tanabe strut the other day that was basically a KYB GR-2 shell. I'm assuming the valving was stiffer. The only bad thing is finding a distributor in the US. As for installing these struts it was straight forward. The strut has to be removed from the lower A-arm and from the chassis. NOTE: When you take out the top bolt that is used to adjust the camber, make a note of where it is so you get it back in a similar position. Put a scratch on the bolt head. After the strut is out use a spring compressor to compress the springs, loosen the nut on the top of the pillow ball mount, take the spring off, while still compressed, and put it on the new strut and assemble in a reverse manner. This may sound relatively easy, but when bolts are rusted it gets to be a little time consuming. You also want to make sure you're very careful when taking the spring off. The last thing to do is get the car realigned, and your all set.

Whiteline Control lowering springs - I waited for about six months for these springs! MRT can be quite a mess some times. One of the reasons I had to get these is the 90-92 legacies have tapered rear springs. Whiteline is the only manufacturer to make springs to fit the tapered rear suspension. You can convert to the non-tapered springs in the rear. You just need the non-tapered springs, new top mounts, and spring hat.

Results, it lowered the car about 1.5" in the front and 1" in the rear. Performance was better, yet ride wasn't too harsh. I could use some stiffer dampers to help control the springs' motion, especially in the front. But for the most part results have been pretty good. I need to get a larger rear anti-sway bar to help balance the car out again. The higher spring rates in the front has put more under steer back into the handling characteristics.

STi Strut Top Mounts - I got these when I did my Whiteline springs. The STi top mounts are harder rubber, which help reduce bounciness that can sometimes be associated with higher rate springs.

FHI 18mm Rear Anti-Sway Bar - This was a good modification for my car. The rear sway bar helped with my over-steer problem. The older legacies were lacking when it came to rear sway bars. I bought a used 18 mm bar from a 91 or 92 turbo legacy, and new bushings. This was pretty easy to install. Make sure you disconnect the bar from the drag-links before raising the car, it will save a little time and headache.

Whiteline Front End links - I picked these up at the spring state Subaru meet in Dallas at Cobb Tuning. They were relatively cheap. I can't say I noticed any dramatic changes in handling, but it may have helped a little.

16" Racing Gear Type M7 Wheels - This was probably the most beneficial thing I've done to improve handling and appearance. The only real problem was finding rims that would work on my car. Stock Subaru wheels have a very high offset on them, even my 14" steel wheels. Note: Back-spacing is a measurement of how far the wheel is moved in from the center axis. My problem was that nothing had a large enough back-spacing to keep the rear tires from rubbing in the fender wells. The common back-spacing was +35-38 mm. Well after a little over a year of searching every tire shop, speed shop, and internet site I could find, I finally found these Racing Gear Wheels. They have a +45 mm back-spacing, which is unheard of back in the day when I got them. Well guess what they still rubbed. There was NO WAY I was going to take them back or put up with the rubbing. A local speed shop did a fender shave for me. Matt took the old molding out, ground and tapered the inner fender, and applied new molding. The one side still rubbed a little bit and he redid it. He does Excellent work, and believe it or not, it only cost me $30. If you're ever in Everett, WA stop by a place called Evolution Sports. It's behind the Godfathers Pizza on Everett Mall Way. He's tucked in behind there, but it's worth the stop.

Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 - I just got these, they are a relatively new tire. They're manufactured over in Germany. They came with pretty high reviews from people over in Europe as well the Tire rack rep I spoke with. My review, they are a softer tire, which provides pretty good grip. Wet water traction is very good. My only real beef with these tires is the feel. The sidewall is too soft, which doesn't give a very crisp feel in handling. A buddy of mine drove it and said they are typical Goodyear's. Others have said the tires feel very good. So there's a possibility my suspension/ball joints or something in the front end is just worn a little. The other thought is the tires may have a different load range for a different size tire.

Braking

Front WRX Brake Swap - This is one of the many of upgrades I've done to the braking system. I've pretty much redone the entire brake system. Anyway, these are stock OEM WRX rotors. They are slotted rotors and have been cryo-treated by One Cryo. It cost me $20 a rotor, best price I could find anywhere. Calipers were painted same color as before.

Rear Vented Turbo Legacy Brake Swap - I did this at the same time as the WRX fronts. Rotors are Bradi rotors. They were slotted and cryo-treated just like the fronts. I don't think these rotors were 100% true when I put them in. I think it's mainly in the drum portion for the parking brake.

The entire brake swap was not too hard, everything pretty much bolted right up to the stock locations. Results were pretty good, the only thing that has happened as a result is that I have added too much front bias to the brake system. Also I increased the volume demands of the system and pedal travel increased. I'm working on getting a larger bore master cylinder to alleviate that problem. The bias issue, I have a proportioning valve for a wagon which has a slightly higher split point. I still need to do some research to see if that will produce the results I'm looking for though.

Goodridge Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines - These were relatively simple to install, and did them along with all the other brake stuff. Only issue is you need to be careful when taking the old lines off the hard lines. Make sure you use a flare wrench. Even with a flare wrench, one of the nuts stripped. A pair of pliers works pretty good at getting them off. The results were a stiffer brake pedal and less mushy feeling.

Mintex 1155 Brake Pads - These pads are pretty good pads. They provide good resistance to fade, yet have good stopping power for daily driving when cold. They do have better bite after being heated up. I've been told they are harsh on rotors, but I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary. It may be because my rotors are cryo-treated. Either way, they are good pads for their price.

Painted Calipers - This was more a vanity item than anything. It was time consuming, but it looks good. I took the calipers off the car, taped the pieces that weren't to be painted and sealed the hole where the brake line goes in with a bolt. I then cleaned the calipers with brake cleaner and then Eagle One Mag Cleaner. The mag cleaner is sorta like an acid wash and helps get some of the grime off. If you wanted a more thorough cleaning you could also have the calipers sand blasted. Pick out the color you want, I choose a color that was similar to the pin-stripe, make sure the paint is a high temp paint. After everything's dry start to paint the calipers, like painting anything, several lighter coats are better then one heavy coat.

Lighting

Heliolite 80/100 Watt "Diamond Blue" Headlights - These actually do help visibility at night. The light is a different type of light, it doesn't look like the dingy yellow light that the headlights normally put out. They're supposed to imitate the Xenon headlights which are easier on your eyes. If anything they help to see a little farther, and piss off on-coming traffic...:)

Polished Clear Coated Headlights - I was tired of the yellowed headlight lenses. It reduced lighting performance and looked horrible. A guy at a body shop told me to lightly sand down the lenses and paint them with clear coat. Well being the anal person I am I went a little further, and more involved in prepping the lights and painting. The result was quite amazing. They've been on the car for several months now and no yellowing or discoloration. This may be a pretty permanent fix to the yellowing headlight problem.

Catz XLO 70 Watt Hyper White Driving Lights - These puppies are BRIGHT. They shoot a reasonably far beam and project a lot of light directly in front and off to the sides of the car. My one major complaint is that they produce a single beam up and down, directly in front of the lights. It's fine when the weather good, but when it's raining, foggy, or snowing there is a beam reflecting in the air, which hinders your view. Also one more note, Truckers HATE these lights, when I say hate, I mean it. On my way back from college I had numerous people that I was behind, move over, let me pass, pull in behind me, and give me the brights. Now what's better than that is having an 18 wheeler do that at about 70 mph. I try to be courteous on the interstates and leave them off.

Miscellaneous

Turbo Legacy Spoiler - I got a decent deal on a turbo legacy spoiler. I've been wanting one for a while. It really added a more sporty look to the car. I wired up the brake light in the spoiler to the existing one. The sticky clips I used to run the wire down the trunk support don't hold too well. I'd like to find something different, but for the time being it works fine.

Turbo Legacy Hood/Hood Scoop - This addition was the result of a slight fender bender on my part. Since I was going to replace the hood, I thought, why not get a turbo hood. It looks very good, especially with the spoiler and everything else.

20% Window Tint, All Windows - I must say tinted windows definitely adds to the appearance of the car. One particular reason is that most Subarus have black trim around all the windows, so when the windows are tinted the tint and the trim blend together very well. The guy who did my windows is extremely good, I have had no bubbling, pealing, etc. The seams are hardly noticeable. I had my windows done at Eastern Window Tinting in Reading, PA. Rich, the owner does all his own work, excellent quality, for a reasonable price.

Clifford Intelliguard 800-IQ - This alarm is a pretty damn good alarm. First off because my car has never been stolen :) but also because the amount of features it has. (Insert sales pitch here) First off Clifford is one the oldest alarm companies around, and features like anti-code grabbing and anti-falsing circuitry are a big plus. My alarm's main feature is a dual-zone proximity sensor. Basically if you get too close to the car the alarm buzzes at you. If you break the interior zone, stick your hand in the car, the alarm goes off. I can also remotely adjust and turn off the zones. The alarm also has a shock sensor, and the capability of starting my car. Needless to say that is more of a novelty item, and at the time of install I did not have the extra money. One thing I did myself was tie my driving lights into my alarm. I can turn them on and off with the remote. It wasn't too bad, I just had to swipe the wiring schematic for the alarm.

Escort Passport 4600 Radar Detector - This has proven to be a pretty good radar detector over the past years. It has saved my butt more than once. It detects all bands of radar, and laser.

Hella Supertones - I don't know if any of you have heard these bad boys.....but they are LOUD!! They are a dual horn set, one horn is 300 Hz, the other is 500 Hz. Together they produce one mean sound. I decided to upgrade my horns because some lady in a mini-van almost side-swiped me the other day. My stock horns were the only thing that probably saved me. That made up my mind to upgrade to the Hellas. I got them from a local shop. However you can get them online from Susquehanna MotorSports and Rapid Parts. They're goin to run about $70 US. I've got them mounted in the stock horn locations right now. I will probably try and move them behind the grill. There wasn't any easy way to do it when I initially installed them, plus it was cold and proper tools were lacking.

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Disclaimer:
These modifications are what I have done. There is no guarantee that if you try them that they will work. I hold no responsibility if you injure yourself or others or void your warranty.