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New owner, seeks advice on upgrading


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Hey everyone, i'm dab!


I have been a lurker here on the legacy gt forums for about 8 months while i was doing research and finally ended up pulling the trigger on a 2008 2.5 gt that i found about 6 hours away.


So i don't know if there is a welcoming forum post or whatever but i'll just get my introduction out of the way and let me just say that i have had an undying want for a legacy gt since 2005 and I've finally gotten my things in order and took my time and did my research and meticulously picked out the "cream of the crop" at the time.


On to the car


It's a 2008 2.5 gt 5 speed automatic with a bunch of added features at the dealer


So I call it the "cream of the crop" because this particular legacy was purchased, serviced at, and traded into the dealership that i bought it from.


The car has 50k miles on it, and from what i was able to gather about the previous owner the car was either a strictly winter only car or the owner hardly drove it, he put about 5k on it per year and even after the dealer did their inspection and detail i was able to ascertain on the lot that it was a car that did a lot of sitting around in the owner's yard during its early life.


I did find a large exhaust leak at the dealer (about a quarter inch gap in the Y-joint before the mufflers) and they agreed to get it repaired at a muffler shop up the street which i was present for and was able to verify after the leak i had found was resolved. Another reason i believe that it may have been strictly a winter car is the alloy coating on the wheels is deteriorating heavily but only at points where a dog would pee on the wheel.

So after all the additional work I was able to get out of the dealer (the exhaust leak, a steering sensor and getting them to agree to send me a new overhead map light unit for the all too common airbag light issue) and also getting them to run a compression check in front of me (which turned out to be perfectly fine) I went ahead and traded them my 2012 impreza 2.0i (cvt commuter-mobile extraordinaire) and paid out the difference on what their asking price was.


I know this post is in the tuning thread but please allow me to give the back story before the question.


So my main question is:

Being that this is my daily driver and I want it to last as long as possible is there any surefire methods of upgrading the vehicle to net me maybe an additional 50-75 ish horsepower and not destroy the life of the vehicle ? And as a follow up to that, I do intend to do my own basic maintenance on the vehicle (lights, fluids, brakes, filters, etc), would upgrading or attempting to upgrade the vehicle entail any additional basic maintenance. And as a final question: do you have any pointers or tips or things to look out in my journey to finalizing my dream car ?


I really appreciate any advice and apologize if posting this here is against the rules but I hope to stop being a lurker on the forum and start learning and maybe i can eventually help others who are just starting out like me.


Much love y'all


I love my car

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Has the timing belt kit been replaced yet ? the car is 10 years old.


A Cobb AP is what most of us use for more HP.

305,600miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. (SOLD).  CHECK your oil, these cars use it.


Engine Build - Click Here

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The power levels you are looking for are very achievable and in some cases can help prolong the life of the car.


Here are some of my opinions, which are just that, opinions!


While the dealer performed a compression test, I would also have a leakdown test performed. If the previous owner ran low octane fuel, any knock on the factory tune could have caused ringland damage that would not necessarily show up in a compression test. This will give you a better indication of engine health.


For the HP aspect, you are looking at a stage 2 tune and supporting hardware. This typically includes a high flow downpipe (I recommend either Cobb or Grimmspeed). Look for a local tuner that knows Subarus and get a stage 2 dyno tune on the most prevalent high octane fuel you have in your area (91 or 93). Tell them the goals for your car. They should be able to help develop a tune for your car that will prove reliable and gain some additional HP.


Doing that should get you very close to your goals. You could also consider a turbo upgrade such as a VF52. That will bring you a little more power and would still not require a lot of supporting mods such as fueling, intake, etc.


Good luck!

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Hey op checking in here, i'm really happy you've given me some easy to manage suggestions!


I'm going to go with max's suggestion and work it eventually into a stage 2 build


So for now i'm going to go over the maintenance schedule and check everything and replace the timing belt; the condition of the engine is quite sound, i've been running it pretty hard since i've had it, it didn't have any codes on it before i bought it ( i checked it using the onboard trick ) and all in all it feels like a solid car. 10 years old with 50 k on it i still can't believe it.


Eventually i will be able to go stage 2 but for now i'm going to start with something manageable.


So i've got a cobb access port coming and the complimenting air intake by cobb as well.


We have 93 octane gas in my area so i'm going to go up in power little by little until i'm satisfied with it.


Parts should be here next week; I'll update!


Thanks for the info jack-- esp about what kind of turbo to look for

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  • 2 weeks later...

Checking in to update

timing kit replaced

Some glitch happened thru cobb so the order for the intake apparently never happened

So i ended up going with an AEM filter and the cobb AP for now

AEM felt like maybe lower end was a tiny bit better

the real change obviously happened when i flashed stage 1


it's a pretty big difference, the engine runs better, the gears are wider, the boost comes in clearly, and when you need power the lag that was there before has been almost halved.


Pretty impressed by stage 1, So i've ordered at cat back exhaust

I will probably go for stage 2 soon, after i've had a chance to verify additionally the integrity of the engine for another couple thousand miles

Thank you for the suggestions, i'm quite happy with the results

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Pretty impressed by stage 1, So i've ordered at cat back exhaust

I will probably go for stage 2 soon, after i've had a chance to verify additionally the integrity of the engine for another couple thousand miles

Thank you for the suggestions, i'm quite happy with the results


The cat back exhaust won't make much HP difference compared to the bigger downpipe. That's what actually makes it Stage 2.

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