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Mods for WRX Exhaust and Other Parts | MAPerformance

Dan Carey

October 02 2019

Subaru WRX Performance Mods: Where to Start

If you are like many members of the Subaru WRX community, you have thought about modifying your vehicle to get more performance. This can be an exciting and rewarding part of car ownership. There is nothing quite like hitting the road in a vehicle you've worked on yourself. Of course, it can be hard to know where to start. From a new WRX exhaust to air intakes to brakes, there are a lot of options to choose from. The following guide will help you make informed decisions.

1. Catback WRX Exhaust

Pushing out exhaust from your engine is an essential part of making power. Better yet, a catback exhaust is a relatively easy modification to make. This can significantly increase the outflow of exhaust gases from the engine, allowing it to suck in more air and make more power. A slightly more complex exhaust upgrade is a new downpipe. The downpipe, which connects the turbo to the catback, is quite restrictive on a lot of WRX models and prevents the turbo from spooling up quickly. Changing this for an aftermarket downpipe is another way to make more power. Of course, the exhaust isn't just about making horsepower. Another important consideration for many drivers is the sound. The Subaru WRX and STI have a unique and recognizable rumble created by unequal length headers. You can replace these to make even more power but you may lose that trademark exhaust note.

2. Aftermarket WRX Air Intake

To get more power for your Subaru WRX, the first place to start is where the engine breathes. Internal combustion engines are igniting small explosions to move the pistons. An essential component of this process is oxygen. Access to oxygen is one of the most common limiting factors for engines to make power. OEM intakes limit the amount of air that the engine can suck in. A larger, high-flow aftermarket intake could be the answer. However, not all air intakes work the same. In most OEM and many aftermarket configurations, the air intake is sucking in air from the hot engine bay. A cold air intake uses a box to separate it from the rest of the engine area, allowing it to pull cool air from outside the vehicle.

3. Lower and Tighter WRX Suspension

Many people when they think about suspension mods first think about raising or lowering the vehicle. However, new WRX suspension doesn't need to be just an aesthetic alteration. New coilover suspension can offer you a tighter driving experience while also getting a great new look. Lowering your suspension can have some aerodynamic benefits. Of course, if you intend to use your WRX for a rally or similar driving, a lower suspension may cause trouble. Similarly, a tighter suspension may make the ride almost unbearable on harsh surfaces. There are so many options for your suspension. Think about what you want to use your WRX for. An adjustable set of coilovers may be the right choice as they will let you get the performance you want in a variety of settings.

4. Larger WRX Brakes

Performance isn't just about speed or power. If you want to get your lap times as low as possible on the track, you need control too. While the OEM WRX brakes are fine for day-to-day driving, larger brake systems can help you get the control you need to lay down your best lap times. As a simple starting mod, you can upgrade your brake pads to a higher-performance version. If you are ready for a more substantial performance boost, consider a completely new performance brake system kit.

5. Added WRX Boost Gauge

Your Subaru WRX makes a lot of its power through its turbocharger. This amazing piece of technology lets your car get a lot of performance out of a relatively small displacement engine. However. the drawback of this is the more complex power-delivery curve compared to a naturally aspirated engine. A boost gauge will help you understand how much of an increase in air pressure your turbocharger is delivering. This helpful gauge will give you the data you need to perfect your driving with your turbocharged WRX. These are easier to install than you may expect. They can be added to a custom dashboard or integrated into the A-pillar shroud.

6. New WRX Intercooler

A surprising number of vehicles have hood scoops and other air vents that are just for show. As Subaru enthusiasts know, this isn't the case for the WRX. Your hood scoop is pushing air straight to the intercooler. This is great except that it means that intercooler is mounted at the top of the engine bay. Consider switching to a front-mounted intercooler instead. This will let it suck in air from the front grill while avoiding heat soak from the rest of the engine components. If you are swapping your intercooler for an aftermarket alternative, you may as well upgrade too. Change out the piping to increase your airflow in and out of the intercooler. This will help your turbo get a little extra boost.

7. Tune Your WRX

If you are working on performance upgrades for any car, tuning is perhaps the most important part of the process. A proper tune can help your car get every ounce of performance from its mods. Even a stock WRX can be made to perform better with a tune. It is especially important to go through the tuning process if you have made any upgrades that can increase power. Not only will you not get the full benefits of your mods without a tune, but you will also risk damage to your engine.

Get Started Wrenching

There is so much you can accomplish for your Subaru WRX with a few relatively simple modifications. Upgrading your WRX air intake, for example, is fairly simple and can immediately add power to your engine. There is nothing quite like experiencing the superior performance you created through mods. Check out MAPerformance for all your Subaru WRX performance parts needs.

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