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'04 PSM WRX Premium
8,339 Posts
Budget Build FAQ
The entire guide does not fit in one post, so I put a link at the bottom to where the guide actually starts. Please leave a comment on this thread so I can get some feedback!

5/11/08 - First Posted
6/11/08 - Added links
6/12/08 - Changed some ideas on intakes, corrected errors about struts, added swaybar info for non-GCs
6/18/08 - Updated information on WRX/STi axlebacks
3/6/09 - Added 'Concept', transmission information, and updated other sections
3/11/09 - Modified 'Concept', other minor updates
6/9/09 - Changed entire intake concept, updated headings
10/19/09 - Added more information on exhausts and corrected prior information, added section on brakes, updated links
5/18/10 - Updated sections about wheels and intakes, fixed spelling errors
5/23/11 - Major revisions, new theories, and ordering
9/18/11 - Added maintenance section

Purpose: Educate the newbie or anyone else who wants to learn about how to build a decent daily driver for minimal cash. I'm talking no swaps, coilovers, no major power upgrades, or money pits. Many of the things you will be buying will be used or "do it yourself". Most of the work will be done by you too. You are going to need a PayPal account to buy used parts and from the internet. It's what most all people accept on RS25 on NASIOC. It's not about buying the best, most expensive parts or car. It's about taking your dumpy little L and turning it into something that's better than what it was before, for the least amount of money. This guide is designed to help you along making a 'fun' little daily driver.

Concept: Many people think the fastest cars are the ones with the most horsepower. Many times, answer isn't that simple. If you have a stock car, but know how to drive it, there is no doubt you can beat cars with higher horsepower ratings (within reason). Understand that the way a car 'puts down' that power can vary greatly too. For most cars and especially Subarus, 'going fast' means suspension mods and proper driving technique. People who boast insane dyno numbers are only shooting for peak horsepower and fail to obtain a more usable powerband. These people also don't drive that car everyday because it's not reliable at all. Subaru's EJ series engines have great torque ratings and good reliability factors, which makes them great platforms for daily drivers. That torque comes at a price in peak horsepower - after about 5K, the power falls off. But, paired with Subaru's legendary AWD system and good suspension tuning, these little cars can be turned into quick street cars and excellent daily drivers.

To summarize, Subarus have a few things going for them over other cars:
AWD System
GC/GFs are sort-of light weight
Reliable engine
Usable torque and powerbands

Another thing I'd like to touch on is the seemingly basic question... "What do you want in a car?" For many people, they just think fun is going fast or 'beating' other cars. Let's get one thing straight, street racing is illegal and you should not be racing other cars. So if you're not racing, what's the point in being faster that some other car? I agree a car needs to have some guts too it in order for it to be fun, but I think even a stock EJ22 can be very entertaining. Most people have fun on 'back roads' where the speed limit is around 35 MPH. Even with suspension mods, you shouldn't be going more than 45-50 MPH when no one's around. So why do you need an insanely fast car putting down 200+ WHP? I just don't get it.

Imprezas and other Subarus have been labeled as 'driver's cars' throughout their existence. The AWD system makes the entire car feel very stable even in harsh conditions. AWD is not a full proof savior though. It needs proper tires to work properly and still makes no impact what-so-ever in stopping power. I'd rather have a car that feels solid and has character than a car that's not as stable, but is technically faster when it comes to lap times. When you're driving down the road, lap times aren't going to matter much there.

It's all above having fun and having a car that you enjoy. I think it would be a waste to own a car I could only drive on weekends because it cost me $30+ K and I don't want to break it. I also think it would be a waste and pain to have a car that was so powerful, it wasn't reliable. The biggest statement I can make is that it's all about how much fun you can have with the least amount of money. Does the cost justify the fun?

My little rant above was mainly sparked by this thread on NASIOC (but I've always had these views):
Engine mods & money, what a waste....??

Here are some more threads to check out...

Unabomber's Manifesto

General threads of note concerning NA

NA Power White Paper

Ok, enough with the lecture.. let's get on with the guide. Since it's kinda long and doesn't fit in one post, either scroll down to post #36 in this thread, or click the link below.

To start, click here!

Premium Member
'17 Impreza Sport, '15 OB 3.6R
9,806 Posts
My thoughts as well, but I figured I'd take the official route and gauge interest.

Oh the hell with it. :D

'04 PSM WRX Premium
8,339 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
i wanted to know whats done about the 1.8s i feel leftout
All the same things that go on 2.2 and 2.5 NA models will work on 1.8s. The only difference will be with your MAF or MAP sensor on your intake (although, I'd assume all 1.8s would be MAF, but check). Everything else is the same.
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