||Thoughts on Forum Advise: click here
1) We were able to help a
new customer. The customer had many mods, including a complete turbo
back exhaust system, with a Stage 2 chip on the way (chipless for now).
He bought a Blitz Intake from another parts supplier in the
area. They installed the intake and drove off finding the check engine
light on and would not go off. Also, the car would not run strong.
Hesitating and holding back. The customer returned to the supplier to
question this. The supplier, who provides parts for many imports and
does a lot of racing said the lights always go on, but if you are
racing, so what. The customer responded by saying I'm not only racing,
I use my car every day and it has to be legal. The supplier now showed
his true colors by saying...your not serious about racing, I can't help
What this shows is unfortunately many general suppliers of
parts have limited experience with Subaru and are not truly able to
help the Subi owner. In fact told him to seek help elsewhere. The
customer went to a local Subaru Dealer, but they also were unable to
help them. But did recommend he speak to us.
We first recommended he reset the ECU, which no one had done,
including the Dealer. This did not put the lights out, so in
desperation, the customer removed the Blitz and re-installed the OEM
intake. After a lengthy discussion on intakes and what the customer
wants, we recommended and ordered an Unifilter Cold Air Intake.
To make a long story short, the intake was installed by one
of our Subaru Performance Dealers, and the Subi Guy can't believe how
strong the car is running....happy to say the least.
The moral of the story is, not all intakes work, even if they look beautiful.
And not all parts suppliers or dealers are going to work with you to
recommend the best or resolve your problem.
Some just want to sell parts and really don't care
2) Heard a story about a
Subi guy who bought a Stage 2 Kit and an Injen intake from a local
performance shop (sells parts for all cars) and had the kit installed
by that shop. This sounds fine to a lot of guys.
Subi guy heads out and in short time finds several things
happening. The CEL is on, the car can't rev over 5K and the engine runs
like xxxx, and seems hot, as if something is burning. So the Subi guy
heads back to the performance shop where he is told they can't do
anything for him, tell him he should find a Subaru Dealer to fix it
(recommending an local dealer). Basically telling him to get out.
Subi guy heads to the local dealer. FYI, this particular
dealer is a buddy of mine and is used to working on performance parts
and hot cars, where they agree to try and help him.
They first recommend he remove all performance equipment, so
they can better access what is happening. After much this and that, the
dealer narrows the problem down to a few possibilities. Such as: the
turbo (not running correctly), the hoses from the turbo (replaced when
the Stage 2 was installed) or the crankshaft having a vibration,
preventing the engine from revving high.
During all of this the Subi guy is getting impatient,
frustrated and rather rude when the dealer explains the possible issues
and related costs. The Subi guy becomes 'wild',
not wanting to pay anything, thinking it should all be covered under
warranty, even though his car had/has performance parts on it. With all
this racket, the dealer finally has it and tells the Subi guy it would
be best to seek help elsewhere.
The moral of this story is fairly
simple. If you're putting on performance equipment, it is
important to consider the manufacturer of the equipment, who
recommended the equipment and who installs it. All play a key role in
the success of your upgrade. If you allow a non-specialist to recommend
equipment and work on your car, you run a risk. Not all things are
equal. You're not driving a Honda, Mitsu, ????, etc. It doesn't
like xxxx for parts or service.
Also, if you
are lucky enough to find a Subaru Dealer willing to work on you HOT car, don't argue with him. You should
become his friend. Don't think for one moment he owes you a warranty or
anything. Rather you should kiss his xxx
and be thankful he's willing to help you at all!
UP Date On This
finally receives some help from a Subaru Dealer and but, Subaru would
not warranty his engine for problems. They found out the upgrades he
had on the car, so.....the Subi guy had to buy a whole new engine from
the dealer to regain his warranty.
The cost was high enough to create a massive nose
a customer visit us a short time after putting on a Rampod intake and
Turboback exhaust system to complete his Stage1 kit with a Dastek chip
on his Forester XT. We discovered he had placed a hyperflow intercooler
and blow off valve from a competitor of ours, I guess trying to save a
dime. You would think the installation should have been simple, but
after some discussion with the customer, he indicated that the
intercooler hose was not properly attached by the other company and had
come off while driving the car home from the install. Realizing
something was wrong when the car was running rough, then not at all.
Upon his inspection, it was found the hose had come off from the
intercooler and re-attached it and drove home, thinking all would be
well. During the week prior to visiting us, he continued to notice the
car loosing power, with boost not going above 7psi. The intercooler
hose was still attached, so he did not know what to make of it. We
completed the install of the Dastek in his XT, then went to test drive
the car, only to discover it was still not making any real boost.
Returning to the shop we inspected his BOV and discovered it was
leaking at the seal where it attaches to the intercooler. The other
fellows had ground the back of the BOV, trying to help it seat against
the hyperflow intercooler, but in the process created an unlevel
surface, so it would never seat properly. It was obvious, a hand
grinder was used. We were able to save the BOV by removing the base and
grinding the backing plate level on our precision grinder, then
re-attach the BOV to the intercooler. Now it was correct. FYI,
hyperflow top mount intercoolers have a high spot at the top of the
recess where the BOV seats. To have it seal properly requires precision
grinding of the backing plate or XXXX happens. We now take the car out
again to test it, discovering the problem is still there. As the car
accelerated and the boost climbed, the boost would stop and then
decrease. This suggested a blockage in the exhaust system somewhere.
Possibly in a cat, from running a 'too fuel rich condition'. Running
too much fuel through the exhaust system will destroy cats quickly,
plugging them up or breaking them up, where they can fly into the
turbo. Next we removed the factory uppipe (has a cat in it) and
replaced it with an equal length racing header and uppipe. Took the car
out again, finding that this helped a bit, but still did not resolve
the whole boost problem. We next, replaced the downpipe and midpipe,
both with cats and found this to be the final pieces of the puzzle.
Now the fellow is SCREAMING
down the highway, under the power he expected.
See his car here
The moral of
this story is: sometimes when you think you are saving a few dollars,
you aren't...particularly if the people you have install your products
DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING!!! Trying to save a few dollars on parts and labor, can
actually cost thousands of dollars to fix! Be careful, not everything
is as it looks.
this fellow wasn't happy is a huge understatement.
4) A guy called us with a 2002 WRX wagon asking if we
could help him out. He explained he had a Utec engine management
system, TXS turbo back exhaust, TXS BOV, TXS TMIC, 550cc injectors, 255
fuel pump and a VF34 turbo. He said the parts were put on by a local
'tuner' and ran fine for about a week. The car smelled of fuel, would
not idle properly and when he put his foot down, it would stumble, spit
and backfire. The piggyback chip was mapped using the tuner's chassis
dyno, so it was perfect, according to the 'tuner'. When the guy called
the turner asking to bring his car back in because it would not run
properly, the tuner said "sure". After many visits over a 6 month
period, without any resolution, the tuner finally said 'don't come
back', leaving the customer on his own, until he called us. After
discussing what was happening with his car, we agreed to have a look
see, without any promises. Many times a 'tuner' will mess up a car so
much, we will pass on trying to fix the car. Too many things to sort
out, bad mapping, parts added to the car, not working on the car
properly. Most guys don't want to hear they made a mistake or were sold
XXXX, thinking it would work fine and make big power. As part of our
agreement, it was understood we would only look at the car and evaluate
what might be the cause of the problems, then make recommendations as
how to fix them. The guy agreed. What we found was, the chip was mapped
incorrectly, the BOV was vented 100%, the cat was completely clogged
and the intake was messing up the MAF sensor. The cat was clogged
because of the Utec running too rich, along with the BOV 100% to
atmosphere, adding even more fuel to the mix. This rich condition also
fouled the plugs. We have seen this before with other fellows who have
come to us with Utecs and BOVs vent 100%. So, it was decided, we could
correct this problems by removing the Utec, Downpipe w/ cat, BOV and
plugs and replace them with a Dastek piggyback chip, Xcceleration
Downpipe with high flow cats, 100% Recirc BOV and new plugs.
The car is now
running perfectly, without backfiring,
smell of fuel,
and accelerates without hesitation.
See his car here
The moral of this story is:
just because a 'Tuner' has a big shop, great looking showroom and talks
a great story doesn't mean he knows what the parts he is selling actual
do or work on a car, and if he actually knows what he is doing for
tuning. Just because a tuner has a dyno doesn't mean he has the
experience or knowledge to use it correctly.
Remember a chassis dyno is only one part of the tuning
process, not the 'know all, end all' of the process. Cars need to be
road tested and tuned after chassis dyno tuned.
Plus don't judge a book by it's cover!
fellow called us with a STi, who had worked with two other "Tuners" to
bring his car up to about 450hp+, but the car was not running
correctly. The first tuning shop had a big building, great showroom,
many parts on display and a clean shop. As part of the build up, the
tuner replaced OEM engine block with a built STi block from a well
known engine builder, plus upgraded many other parts on the car, turbo
to a APS55, injectors, fuel pump, intercooler, brakes, suspension and
more. He had a UTEC for engine management and the shop tuned the car.
After many weeks, the fellow finally gets his car and comments on how
the engine is knocking. He is told to break-in the engine and the
knocking will stop. While driving home, he calls the tuner and says
it's getting worse what should he do, since its a 3 hour drive home.
The tuner again says the engine needs to be broken in and that the
knocking would go away. The fellow again accepts the answer and
continues driving. The knocking never stops and when he is near his
home, sitting in traffic the engine gives out. He calls the tuner and
reports his engine blew and was greeted with a "You must of been
racing, so you're out of luck!". Not knowing what else to do, now he
takes the car to a second tuner who inspects the engine and says the
block needs to be replaced again, which they do with another "built
block", and add performance street cams and port and polish the heads
to the mix. Several weeks go by again and this fellow is growing
inpatient and wants his car. This tuner says they have tuned the car
and it is ready to be picked up, but can't get it to idle; keeps on
stalling. When asked when they are going to finish the tuning, they
respond they have, there is nothing more they can do and give the car
back to him. This is when he calls us asking us what should he do,
since both tuners can't seem to get the work done correctly or tune the
car. We indicated he should not drive the car with tuning issues, it's
not safe for the engine. Also, since there have been several "Tuners"
involved in the car's build up, worked on the engine, made internal
modifications which can't be documented, we are unable to help him at
this time. Too many variables unaccountable!
Now this fellow doesn't know
what to do,
since he has had two "Tuners"
touching his car and it still doesn't work correctly.
The moral of this story is:
you need to check the references of who does your work before starting.
Just because the shop looks great: clean, organized and with a pretty
building (face) doesn't mean they know what they are doing. You need to
do your homework first on who you are dealing with. Most important, if
too many hands touch your car, doing custom work and it fails, no one
is going to want to jump in and sort out the problems. The liability is
too great and so is the mess. If one tuner
causes a problem, you should resolve it with them first; either
mechanically or legally before moving on. It only gets worse with the
more hands involved.
"If your car
doesn't sound right or operate correctly, it's only common sense there
is something WRONG!!"
6) Had a
fellow who wanted to upgrade his Legacy GT contact us and after much
discussion decided on a stage3 kit for his car. He lived too far away
from us, for us to install the kit, but that did not matter because our
kit could be put on by anyone. After the kit was installed, he called
to say how happy he was with the performance and over the next 12
months ordered upgrades for the suspension and brakes as well. Now the
car handles as well as it goes.
The fellow contacts us after about a year
has passed, wanting to know what he could do next to increase power
again. We spend many hours discussing what he wants to do with the car;
daily driver, track days, etc.. It’s decided he wants to keep it a
daily driver but wants as much low and mid range power as possible for
acceleration, trying to reduce turbo lag to where it’s almost
non-existent. He wants to go fast! We put together a plan to accomplish
his goal, which includes a custom turbo for low/midrange power,
upgraded block to run up to 30psi or more and our custom heads and cams
for extreme low/midrange torque, keeping his stage3 large tmic and more
upgrades to support the plan. The mods are to be sent to the customer
who is going to use a local machine/install/tuner shop to do the block
work and install the parts, including tuning. The upgrades are actually
our STi stage5 kit modified to fit the Legacy GT and produce the
extreme low/midrange power seen by our STi guys.
It becomes immediately apparent having
some of the work completed away from us is going to be a rocky road. We
know this by the types of questions we see from the
engine/install/tuner shop. Questions like: what are the tolerances for
installing the t-sleeves, and it’s going to take a lot of time to road
tune the car, is there a fast way?
Eventually, our fellow changes shops, and
finds an engine machine shop and an install/tuner shop, but now the
install/tuner shop is convincing our guy he needs to change parts, that
our plan isn't going to work and he will need their turbo, engine
management and other parts to replace our stage kit in the name of high
horse power. The customer agrees.
After the install/tuner replaces our
turbo for a larger one, removes our large top mount intercooler for a
large front mount intercooler and retunes the car using his engine
management system, the car is delivered to the customer, who calls us
and says “I have terrible turbo lag, the car is worse than before and
isn’t any fun to drive”. The car is now making about 500whp and has
plenty of top end power, but no low end power. This would be great if
he wanted to go drag racing, making 5,000 rpm hole shots, but not so
for acceleration on the street. We discuss the changes at length and
suggest a way to reduce the turbo lag, still using the parts
recommended by the install/tuner. Trying to help get back on track. The
fellow arranges for the car to go back to the install/tuner to explore
About 2 months go by and we receive a
call from our customer with his progress on making the changes, trying
to get back his low end power. He now says he has plenty of low end
power, but no power over 6,000 rpms. The power has now dropped to about
380whp and falls off quickly. When asked what was done, he replies:
they changed the turbo again, this time to a small twin scroll, lowered
the boost and removed our custom race cams. When asked why, he said
because they could not stop the detonation over 22psi, but they are
looking into how to get back his top end power and will make more
changes in the future. What a waste of time and
money to continue using these guys!
The moral of this
story should be: decide what you want the car to do, decide who you are
going to trust to recommend the upgrade plan and decide who is
qualified to install and tune, not just sell you parts and tune without
capability. We have seen this too many
times where a fellow decides a goal and in the middle or at the end of
the build up is swayed to make changes, which is different from the
original plan ….usually to the project's demise. Many install/tuner shops will not just install your
parts and follow a plan, rather their egos get in the way and they have
to make changes, to take control of project and call it theirs, even if
they don’t know what they are doing.
Just like quicksand, once you start sinking (changing
the parts to suite the financial gain of the install/tuner) there is no
going to FAIL!
Once you decide on your performance
goal, who you are going to trust for advise, you must stand firm and
not deviate from the path!! Fellows who want to just sell you parts and
take your money aren’t interested in the success of your project.
they are only stories.
them for whatever value you get from them.