13th Aug 2015, 15:14
I have a total love hate relationship with this vehicle. It's still fun as hell to drive. I've done some spirited driving, and in stock form the car handles relatively well, way beyond my expectations.
Odometer reads around 78-80k miles.
I am still having oil consumption issues. The car burns anywhere from a third to half a quart per 400 miles. It's not smoking on startup; the oil just disappears and is magically gone. The more I'm in boost, the more I expect it to lose oil. I'm also making a conscious effort to not engine brake.
I have "fixed" the driver's side valve cover gasket some 6 times.
Stealerships charge some 4-600 to do this service for you. I can now do a valve cover in less than an hour and a half.
It is still slightly leaking, which contributes to that.
I have installed an air oil separator, which I believe has helped some, and also vented the oil cap. These engine produce A LOT of positive crank case pressure. Take off the oil cap while running and you will feel it. If you do this and it smokes, you have bad ringlands. The air oil separators for these cars are expensive from aftermarket companies, but I think are a worthy investment. They clear oil from the intake tract, which can cause the car to run lean under high boost.
My A/C, after trying to fix it, has gone the way of the ghost. I replaced my expansion valve (this was an honest pain in the ass), I likely have a leak somewhere; I probably should take it to a shop as the interior airflow of this vehicle is not great. In Alabama heat, it gets miserable quick. The engine produces a lot of heat, and with the intercooler being on top of the engine, the fresh air draws in some of that heat; not great in summer.
The front end is clunking on the passenger front. I anticipate this being the front strut bearing or potentially a loose sway bar end link; it's on my list of minor annoyances to fix. I replaced the front wheel bearings as I thought that's what was contributing to weird brake issues like warped rotors, but I replaced them prematurely. Good experience working on the front end though.
I have upgraded the braking system. Cusco master cylinder brace, stainless lines, Stoptech pads, Stoptech rotors. I love the brakes, great bite, stiffness etc. A worthwhile investment I think. Very confident in stopping.
Added Hella Supertones after an F150 driver almost sideswiped me at 70mph trying to get in front of me on an off ramp. After that happened, I bought the horns. They are louder than stock and will let you know when I'm not a happy camper because you drive like a half wit.
I have really grown to appreciate the stock ej205 engine. Off the line, it's a little sluggish, but it is a true pleasure to drive about 3000 RPM. I'm used to a larger 2.4L Tacoma truck motor, but the ej205 is really smooth up top. This engine likes revs and I don't feel bad getting it up in the RPM band. I have taken it to the redline on some occasions, not a daily/weekly/or monthly occurrence. It's not super bad on take off, but it's no STI.
I will say the stock Subaru tune is pretty crappy. I downloaded a stage 1 free tune, bought a Tactrix cable and loaded my own tune. It's not hard, but you must follow procedures to an absolute T, or you can brick your car's ECU. 2005 was also the last year for non chipped keys, so I got the super sweet STI key blank and it's lovely :)
Many people complain about the glass transmissions in the WRX. I have not had any issues other than the leaky seal. I did replace my front CV/axle, super cheap from Amazon and no issues. The 5 speed ratios are perfect for this car. I understand that the 6 speed is "bullet" proof, but the 5 just feels right. With how the engine winds out and the gear ratio, I love it, I can stay in gears longer and keep the engine in that powerband longer. Yes the 5 speed is weak, but really don't drive it like a tool and you will be fine.
I will eventually build an engine for this car, hopefully after the car note is paid. I have decided even given all the issues, I still love the car.
31st Aug 2016, 16:49
At one point I came close to selling the car. I paid some friends to fix the A/C and try to seal the valve cover as well as fix a leak on the transmission on the axle. They are still leaking.
In the meantime I have added some things to the car. I added a head unit from Pioneer and it works quite well in addition to putting in a DIN pocket. This has added some additional storage to the cabin, which is nice, but the raised center console stores a good bit to begin with. I use my large smart phone for navigation and connect through Bluetooth for hands free talking. It really updated the car and no annoying screens other than my phone.
Added a Kartboy short shifter, no bushings, a bent shift extension and shift knob as the stock leather knob was getting pretty worn out. This brought the shifter much closer to the wheel while maintaining a somewhat stock throw in the shifter.
I have to say the stock wheels are quite ugly on this car. I updated them with STI BBS 5x100 wheels. This particular car is difficult to find wheels with the correct bolt pattern and spacing. They are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports as well and are quite grippy. I'm down to 7/32 tread in 15k miles so the tires are wearing very well. Tires are rotated and balanced every 5k miles.
I am still having oil leaking/consumption issues. Still around 1k per quart of oil. I was pushing 5k oil change intervals, but Subaru published that this should be done every 3750 miles. In this instance I will use about 8 quarts of Rotella t6 per oil change. At 50$ for two that's not horrible. I have changed from an air oil separator to 3 catch cans. One for the crank case, one for the PCV system, and one for the heads that is vented to dual oil breathers. This has helped somewhat in oil consumption, although I can't quantify by how much. This has also helped acceleration to some extent.
I have also removed the turbo pre-catalytic converter as it is a potential failure point and can damage a turbo horribly. At this time a turbo back exhaust was added. This really changed the feel of the car in a spectacular way. The exhaust note is amazing and I love it. A day with a Subaru boxer motor and a stock exhaust is a wasted day. I also purchased a tune off the internet so this could be used. In addition added a GM boost control solenoid to aid in control and performance.
It became apparent at this time that the turbo inlet was old and worn out. At this time the decision was made to replace it. Removal of the old one was troublesome and it had to replaced with an aftermarket version as replacing it with an OEM example was an additional 6 hours of work. The aftermarket one flows much better.
Suspension wise the car has had a used sedan sway bar added as its thickness is 19mm vs the smaller 14mm one which helped immensely. Kartboy endlinks were added front and rear again improving cornering ability. Stock shocks and bushings are holding up OK. They will likely be replaced in the coming years. I did have to install H and R camber bolts to get the alignment somewhat OK as the rear right was way out of spec. Currently running -2° camber on all four corners, tires are not showing uneven wear.
Compression was checked at 144-145 PSI on all cylinders. Replaced coil packs for fun.
The car currently has 111000 on odometer and seems happy.