273.57 AWHP
297.88 LB-FT
Curb Weight
3395 LB
Engine Size
2.5 L
Transmission Type
MPG (City/Highway)
15.6/24.9 MPG
Engine No.

I purchased this car with a rebuilt engine in 2014. After nine months of ownership, despite tuning, the engine suffered ringland failure, destroying the block and turbo. Tearing down the first engine we discovered the previous builder didn’t really know what they were doing. The car was a ticking time bomb. I opted to swap in a Cosworth Engineering EJ short block with forged internals while keeping the car mostly stock. Since then, I have been focusing on preventative maintenance and creating a reliable daily driver. I rebuilt the engine again in spring of 2017 due to a spun bearing. During this time, I machined the heads, TGVs, intake manifold and replaced the turbo inlet in addition to upgrading fueling and boost control. I plan on upgrading the turbo in the future to make the most out of backroading and track days. I look forward to jumping on the dyno again to see what gains I’ve made since the engine and fueling upgrades.

Discuss this build

[]Jessica Pomerleau

You got an interesting name 🤔 what part of the world are you from?

[]Maximilian Rockatansky

Maximilian is a pseudonym that I use. Rockatansky is a variant of a Czech/Bohemian surname. It is the given name of Mad Max, and an alias that has followed me throughout the years. I’m an American/Canadian dual citizen with Scots/East Indian ancestry. I currently live in the heartland of Missouri.

[]Jessica Pomerleau

Wow that's quite a story 😲

[]Jeff Bowman

Beautiful car. Coming from another Subaru owner, that explanation is literally spot on!

[]Ben Moore

I have always wanted to own an STI at some point in my life. Although it does sound like these boxer engines are very finicky and very expensive to modify. Despite all the issues you have had with this car would you still recommend someone to buy and own one?

[]Daniel Maxwell

I love the car and it’s fun to drive and modify. The second rebuild should never have happened. (Local Subaru dealership that I don’t get along with overreved the engine during sub freezing temps and spun a bearing). If you get a car with an EJ motor, good ways to maximize reliability on a car that age would be to do a compression test and replace fluids.

Upgrade your oil pickup to a KillerB or Moroso and grab the KillerB oil baffle windage tray to maximize your oil control. The OEM oil pickup has been known to crack, which can cause oil starvation and kill your engine.

Get an oil pressure gauge and be sure to check your oil often. ALWAYS warm up the car until your coolant is at 175° and your oil pressure is adequate.

An air oil separator will eliminate harmful blow-by oil from re-entering your intake and combustion chamber, which can prevent detonation (another cause of catastrophic engine failure). I recommend the IAG or Crawford units as they are the best on the market. IAG > Crawford, but the Crawford is compatible with a Tanabe strut tower bar

With all of that said and done, I’d still have a few thousand sitting around for when the OEM pistons fail. At that point upgrading to forged internals is a good idea and can provide a long life for your car if you take care of it.

If you get a newer car with a FA engine, I’ve heard that those blocks can carry more power safer than an EJ. They’ve been out long enough by now that tuners and builders have really been able to perfect a build.

One of the most important things you can do to your vehicle is to get a pro tune because the “Off the shelf” tunes leave much to be desired and every car is different and responds differently. You can have two identical cars with the exact same setup and have different tunes/numbers just because they are different vehicles There are good and bad tuners out there so read some reviews and research about the different services offered. A tune can make the difference between life or death of your engine

[]Ben Moore

Thanks for the detailed response Daniel! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I will definitely put everything you have said here in to consideration when I am looking to buy an STI! In your opinion is the hawk eye or the blob eye sti better?

[]Daniel Maxwell

No problem, Ben! I have a full write up on how to maximize reliability and some good first mods to do for a car of that year bracket as well. As far as STis go, 02-07 are pretty indistinguishable as far as drivability and performance goes. Originally I wanted a Hawkeye just personal preference. WRX models have changed between the 2 litre EJ and the 2.5 in different years as well as some gear ratio changes. Idk if it’s a factor for you, but some model years have fold-down rear seats or a rear-seat pass through, which can be something to consider. With any car that likely has been modified and “used and abused” if you will, you’ll likely have to replace clutch, fluids, brakes, ect. Generally speaking it’s probably best to buy the newest model year in your price bracket simply due to age/miles/wear&tear components. Both the Hawk and Blobeye have raised in price in recent years due to the large cult following they have. My general consensus is to buy a car that you like and enjoy, but view the car as a shell and expect to replace the short block at some point. Even the best built motors don’t last forever. It’s likely best to avoid cars that have an aftermarket BPV or Blow off valve because that can mess with your AFR unless tuned really well. A lot of those vehicles have compromised engines and performance simply for the sound that some guys like

[]Ben Moore

Very well said Daniel. Thanks again!

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