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1. Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? I bought my car back in 2013. It is my second car, my first being a 2005 Saturn Ion III (which I actually regret selling, great car). I had wanted an STI for a few years at that point, and new one was out of the question due to insane insurance costs. This was being sold by a local shop, and had a lot of mods already done by the previous owner, who worked at the shop that was selling it. Not knowing much about cars at the time, this sounded like a good idea. The price was right, and I ended up with my new car. Within the next six months, the motor spun a bearing, and I also realized the piston rings had been gone in two of the pistons when I actually had bought the car. The loud valve tick was caused by the valves being out of adjustment, having never been adjusted once (or even an attempt at adjusting). I later found out the car was heavily abused in its past life. I would have never bought a grey car new, but I have actually come to really really like this color, and am glad I was fortunate enough to get this colour, which is uncommon in my area. 2. Describe the modifications you have made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? For the first couple of years, most of the work done was fixing things done incorrectly before my ownership or replacing broken things. The car had a Crawford Stage 2 short block when I bought it with the rotated set up, and within a year or so I had replaced the block, adjusted the valves, and replaced the CHRA on the turbo. These parts only had 20-30k kms on them, and the block and turbo were completely trashed. After getting the car to a good working state with no more fixes to complete, I began modding it with new parts. I have done mostly new suspension, cooling, and oiling parts so far, with some exterior pieces to make the car more my own, as it had a stock appearance with the exception of wheels and being lowered when I bought it. The most recent mods were all new shifter bushings, replacing my Hotchkiss front sway bar with a 24mm Whiteline, and an IAG Air/Oil Separator. 3. Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? For some reason, despite all the engine work done to the car, it still had the oem end links. I purchased a set of front end links from Great North Performance, and immediately felt a difference in the handling of the car. They are a relatively cheap part, but the feedback when driving is worth much more than the parts themselves. Aesthetically, the yellow headlight tint and tire lettering has gotten some very positive feedback from others, and helps set the car apart from the many other Subarus around. 4. How did you go about selecting the specific parts for this build? Any installation tips to share? Lots of research; NASIOC is definitely your friend if you own a Subaru! If you live anywhere that uses road salt, a MAP torch and PB blaster should be kept nearby. Copper anti-seize on your caliper bolts will stop them for seizing inside your aluminum Brembos, and make them a dream to remove. 5. What’s been the biggest challenge with this build? Having bought the car at a time when I had next to no knowledge of working on cars, the learning curve has been pretty steep. This car had a lot of modifications already (and issues), and next to no parts list and zero maintenance record. Thankfully, I have made some great friends in the local car community who have helped me with repairs and teaching me how to do particular tasks that I can't figure out myself, and I am now at a point where I can confidently do most tasks myself. 6. What are you planning next? This winter has been more about preventative maintenance (new spark plugs, rotors, etc), but next year I hope to have some significant upgrades for the motor. The plan is to upgrade my stock header to the KillerB Holy Header, upgrade from a GT to GTX compressor wheel on my turbo, a front mount intercooler, new fueling system (top feeds, more flow), meth injection, speed density conversion, and hopefully a new intake manifold as well.
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