[Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in the November 2015 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]
North America by no means formally obtained the first-generation Impreza WRX. As an alternative, we obtained the second era mannequin as our first probability to expertise the efficiency of a souped-up Impreza.
Out there as each a sedan and a wagon, here is all the pieces you could know in case you are available in the market for a GD-chassis Impreza WRX.
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The 2001-’07 GD-chassis WRX has all the time been a implausible fanatic car. Now that costs appear to be plummeting on these second-generation fashions–probably a results of the not too long ago launched 2015 mannequin–the attract of the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged ’Rex is sort of robust.
In the event you want an AWD car for winter snow driftier, driving–this can be a fairly good alternative. Moreover, the 2001-’07 mannequin years supply three totally different physique types–Bugeye, Blobeye, Hawkeye–in addition to a wagon choice. What’s to not love?
In the case of going sooner, tires are all the time going to be a primary alternative for chopping down autocross instances. A pleasant set of Bridgestone RE-71Rs or Dunlop Star Specs on an appropriately light-weight wheel goes to be one of the best bang-for-your-buck improve. Thicker entrance and rear anti-roll bars and new finish hyperlinks are one other simple modification that can make an enormous distinction by decreasing physique roll and enhancing dealing with.
As for energy, primary bolt-on modifications will yield some good good points with a GD. A downpipe, cat-back exhaust and tune ought to produce proper round 250 wheel horsepower and 280 ft.-lbs. of wheel torque. This can be a good bump over the manufacturing facility output and may definitely enhance the driving expertise.
Make certain the car is updated on all upkeep to take full benefit of your modifications. Pushing higher energy and enhance strain will generate further warmth inside the consumption system, so make sure that your automotive can deal with it.
A tuning system can also be an important base modification that pays dividends as your car evolves. A easy tune will kick up the ability a bit and unlock potential for when that downpipe and exhaust arrive at Christmas.
At this level, an intercooler improve isn’t a nasty thought to assist scale back consumption temperatures and get essentially the most out of your tune. Mishimoto presents a really environment friendly direct-fit, top-mount intercooler that gives dyno-proven good points and large drops in consumption temps.
Once you’re prepared to actually dive into the modification course of, top-end energy ought to be the very first thing you deal with. The inventory TD04 is a tiny turbo and has its limits. If the downpipe/exhaust/tune modifications don’t fulfill your starvation for energy, a turbocharger improve goes to be crucial. The extra airflow will assist enhance energy up high and likewise scale back consumption warmth over operating the manufacturing facility turbo at larger enhance pressures. This, in fact, is a expensive funding.
In the case of upkeep, a number of particular areas require particular consideration. Wheel bearings are a fairly frequent failure level for the WRX. As with every wheel bearing, buzzing and play within the wheel are indicators that one thing’s mistaken.
Quite a few failures have been reported concerning the reliability of the manufacturing facility five-speed transmission. They’re usually a results of rising energy output previous 300 horses, animated driving and aggressive launches. Places a little bit of a damper on the possession expertise, doesn’t it?
Regular driving on a mildly modified instance shouldn’t trigger any issues with the transmission, however that’s like shopping for your son a brand new baseball bat and breaking the information that he’s this season’s designated bunter. Excellent news, although: The STI six-speed is a simple swap and may deal with extra abuse.
One other failure we see fairly incessantly entails the inventory radiator finish tanks. The manufacturing facility plastic radiator isn’t of the highest quality and tends to degrade over years of driving. If in case you have a factory-installed radiator from 2001, it’s in all probability time for some preventative upkeep. Changing the inventory unit with an aluminum counterpart offers further sturdiness and improves cooling effectivity. Mishimoto presents each two-row
and three-row aluminum radiator choices for the GD, each of that are drop-in replacements.
Subaru flat-four engines of the turbo selection are likely to burn some oil–not an extremely alarming reality, however one thing to bear in mind throughout possession. Manufacturing unit specs word that standard oil use is as much as 1 quart each 1000 miles. This can differ primarily based on quite a few elements, in fact.
The fenders and subframes are each frequent areas of concern for rust. Relying in your emotions about aesthetics and your deliberate use for the car, bodywork issues could probably not influence your buying choice. A fast peek beneath the automotive ought to reveal any points with the body assemblies.
In the event you’re searching for one in every of these WRXs, it’s a good suggestion to ask the proprietor concerning the aforementioned upkeep gadgets and repair intervals. Examine the upkeep data, too. Subaru recommends timing belt substitute each 105,000 miles, spark plug substitute each 60,000 miles, and fluid exchanges (oil, transmission and differential) commonly. The rod bearings love lubrication and are fast to fail in the event that they run dry.
One other problem for patrons to maintain an eye fixed out for: poor modifications. Sketchy workmanship can lead to a horrible car possession expertise. (Ask me how I do know!) The secret’s to acknowledge or ask for a full record of auto modifications and start researching every element. Assuming the modifications are high quality items and the car is operating effectively, the danger could also be price it. Nevertheless, on the whole you need to begin with a clean slate if doable.
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By at the moment’s requirements, the manufacturing facility 227 horsepower is a bit on the low facet. To treatment this, a primary Stage 2 setup does wonders for low- and midrange torque in addition to total drivability.
Energy sensible, we see a ton of individuals going with the aforementioned Stage 2 configuration. This consists of an Entry port for tuning and an upgraded turbo-back exhaust. So long as the automobiles are saved in good mechanical situation, this offers an important bump in energy over inventory with out hurting reliability.
An previous trick that was once standard for WRX house owners is the “milk jug mod,” which entails eradicating the consumption silencer within the passenger fender effectively. Precise energy good points are negligible, however the good points in sensory suggestions present an enhanced driving expertise.
Essentially the most vital points we see with these automobiles often contain powertrain reliability. The automobiles are able to operating effectively for a very long time so long as correct upkeep is accomplished. Making certain the timing belt and related pulleys and tensioners have been changed can even go a good distance towards engine reliability.
One other massive problem: wheel bearings. The automobiles with 5x100mm wheel bolt patterns are infamous for chewing by means of them when launched to larger lateral masses. There are firms providing upgraded items which might be a lot better suited to efficiency driving occasions.
In the event you’re planning on getting your WRX on observe, we positively advocate a extra performance-oriented set of tires. Even in inventory trim, the WRX is able to way more than the standard-equipped tires will permit.
Nice article, I’ve been in search of one for the previous 10 years that’s affordable priced and never ratted out. Regionally to me they usually have physique injury, which might embody accident and rust. The drivetrain are often shot and the modifications are questionable. On high of that they’re asking a ridiculous value. Regardless I nonetheless cannot get the reminiscence out of my head as a younger faculty child going to the dealership and them throwing the keys to me and let me take it with my pal. We had been ripping across the streets and even discovered a dust highway. It grew to become a enjoyable pastime on the weekends to go on check drivers, again then they might simply throw us the keys and we might throw the automotive round full a pair J-turns and throw the keys again to the dealership and go away. I suppose somethings are enjoyable when they’re free to us lolz.
I completely cherished my 2002 WRX Wagon. Regardless of driving it like I stole it and proudly owning it from round 145k to 185k, it was one of many extra dependable automobiles I’ve owned. Most likely helped that I did not mod it previous what the article calls “Stage 2”. Solely I did it tremendous funds with a free canned tune from a buddy with the identical yr automotive and a Tactrix cable/adapter, $200 shipped eBay turbo again, a panel filter and a reputation model catless up-pipe that price greater than all the pieces else mixed. Ran low 14’s at my native drag strip with terrible 2.5 second 60′ foot instances from a nasty driver mod.
IIRC, on the time I purchased it, it was typically thought that for non-STi WRX’s you were not seeking to do greater than primary bolt ons to, the 2002-04 EJ20 automobiles had been extra dependable than the 05-07 automobiles that jumped as much as the EJ25. Additionally IIRC, the insurance coverage charges for a WRX wagon had been loads cheaper than the sedan.
FWIW, I cross shopped my 2002 towards a 2006 WRX Wagon (each bone inventory 5-speeds) that had half as many miles and located the 2002 to be extra enjoyable to drive. Though I am unable to bear in mind particularly why that was.
What killed it for me was town MPG’s when 93 octane went over $4/gallon and the corrosion. The fender/quarter rust did not trouble me a lot, it was stuff just like the axles fusing to the hubs and each single half that attaches to the rear knuckle fusing to it or the one enormous lengthy bolt that attaches all the pieces to the underside of it.
If I needed to do it once more, I would get one from someplace that does not use salt within the winter.
My 02 wagon has been a blast. Owned it since 155k and now its on 200k.
I obtained fortunate in that mine was a one-owner un-modded instance. apart from the same old excessive mileage stuff (worn bushings largely) its by no means let me down. Solely operating a “Stage 1” tune with the talked about airbor silencer delete and a home-brew muffler delete.
Nice automobiles in order for you one thing enjoyable and sensible, and insurance coverage is reasonable for the wagons.
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