How to make a subaru fast, but cheap?


Asked by Mar 09, 2008 at 05:23 PM about the 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX Base

Question type: Car Customization

What parts could i put into my 05 subaru wrx to make it faster, but at the same time dont waste too much money on doing so..?!

33 Answers


A good cold air intake, a good exhaust, and a computer "chip" or program. But if you go to a speed/performance shop, and tell them your wants and desires, they will have all that you need.

7 people found this helpful.

Cobb AccessPort for stage one tuning of ECU. Retune as you add parts ($600 or so). Even with stock exhaust, it will wake up your WRX. Swap out the catted Uppipe & Downpipe and replace with full Turbo back exhaust with high-flow cat to keep everything semi-legal...

16 people found this helpful.

ug. no. don't do not listen to this :D get the AP and a good turbo back exhaust. this will make a lot of power. but, i would say get the car handling better and stopping better before adding power.

9 people found this helpful.

well..i have a quest of my own...i gotta get 1000 hp into my 2000 2.5 RS XD id probably just do EVERYTHING everyone says in here haha youd have a pretty fast car then :D

2 people found this helpful.

this man is completely on point. this is everything a friend of mine did to his, and he can crush stock sti's. just added a front mount intercooler too, also not a bad idea. xspower makes a decent kit for 300 or so.

5 people found this helpful.

as the addage goes: fast, cheap, reliable.. choose two.. =P the accessport makes a huge difference by itself- as was stated earlier.. you get a nicer more usable torque curve than stock.. then, when you save up a little more cash, get a turboback exhaust and change the program with the accessport.. =) it makes a huge difference..

3 people found this helpful.

Well bro if you love your car like I love my WRX you wont want to be giving her anything but the best. So overall I would avoid the word cheap. Pick a few areas in which you want to improve perfomance. Are you a straight 1/4 mile kind of guy or do you love throwing it through the corners. figure out what you want to improve and do a couple of small things there. Dont waste your time with Blow off valves, and body kits, they may look and sound cool, but they dont do anything performance wise. Everyone praises cold air like its the most amazing thing, but over time they will, and anyone feel free to take this up with me, dirty up your engine, and your turbo. So if your planning on putting a lot of miles on it I would avoid using something other than your stock airbox. K&N makes a cheap stock application that will give you another 3-5 horse power, thats around 50$, and Cobb makes a perfomance tuning chip that will help you out a ton. If I were you I would start with the chip around 200$ and work your way from there. That way later you can program your car to perform better with whatever mods you end up doing. Look into short through shifters to improve your response time, and aftermarket uppipe downpipes and exhausts will also boost your horsepower. Avoid the words bolt on too, because those applications usually dont do anything. Just do me a favor and find a tasteful exhaust to put on your Scooby because so many bros have lost my respect bolting on pieces of crap exhausts that I could make with a coffee can and a MIG welder. I hope I helped you out bro, good luck with everything, and hopefully you can get the most out of your Scooby for what ever it is that your able to spend.

33 people found this helpful.

Also you should be aware that many "cold air" intakes actually RAISE your intake temperature compared to the stock intake. The stock intake flows reasonably well, and doesn't require changing unless you're planning for much power. However, a cold air intake will make a nice sound and make the bypass louder, but for power it doesn't do much. Panel filters are a good option and if you really want one of those cone filters, build/buy a box around it (if it is in the engine bay) and if it has the longer bay you need to shield it from water. I have a cold intake and without the box, it raises intake temperature by 10 - 15 degrees centigrade and that's not very good. What I would do to get more power "cheaply", would be to replace the stock downpipe and mid-pipe with straight through pipes (cheapest option) and reprogram the ECU. A turbo-back exhaust would be the next option, with a remap too. Steps after that would be replacing the uppipe (and a remap), upgrading injectors and the fuel pump (and a remap), getting the cold air intake (and a remap), upgrading the turbo (and a remap)... I wouldn't spend my money on a generic chip tune as that doesn't take into account your modifications or the individualities of your car/engine. I would rather look for someone who does dyno/open road tuning and does remaps based on that data. If you plan to upgrade your car further, it is always a wise idea to check the map when you've plugged more parts to the car, you don't want to risk running lean for instance.

3 people found this helpful.

On a stock turbo an intercooler wont do much for you at all, you need a bigger turbo. Your buddy cant crush stock stis either, thats bullshit with just a turbo back exhaust and accessport. He must have raced a horrible driver, he couldnt have done it more than once tho because is not possible. The funny thing tho, is that the wrxs trans can only handle so much cause its pretty fragile as the STi's can handle a 400whp daily driver easily. If you serious about modding I would do a STi trans swap in the future. Another solution would be to put in the VF39 STi turbo into your WRX then you would be sticking with a stock STi. 1. Get Accessport $695 2. Get catless downpipe and catback exhaust $1000+ 3. Get a pro tune by a known Subaru tuner. $400 Get an external wastegate if you get serious about modding too. TiaL fo sho. Not cheap but thats probably the best solution.

7 people found this helpful.

There is no Cobb chip for $200. For that price, you will need to learn to use open source. Even used Cobb APs are about $500 for AP2s and $400 for AP1s. I agree that he needs to have some goals for the car first though. As for the air box, I remember an article that the stock intake is good for about 300 hp to the wheel and doesn't need to be updated until after that.

1 people found this helpful.

You forget 1.5 should be an uppipe as the 05 has a precat in there. This would be a cheap method as a lot of sti owners upgrade these and the stock sti one is already catless.

1 people found this helpful.

I concur. The stock tires and brakes also suck, which really do hurt handling the added power.

1 people found this helpful.

Man keep your stock brake set-up but get some good pads and cheapo rotors from napa, 99% of people don't need anything more than a stock brake setup. Just do the basic stage 2- Catless up-pipe, a decent 3" catless/high flow downpipe with a nice cat back exhaust and an open source tune either from some one local or there are a couple good over the internet tuners out there. But def get a good set of sway bars with endlinks and you will really love your car, just from that alone with no power mods is well worth it much more fun in the twisties. All in all a decent stage 2 set-up with an open source tune will run you under 1000$ even cheaper if you feel like gutting your stock up/down pipe, granted there are gains to be seen with a nice down pipe over the stock down pipe. Whatever you choose I'm sure you will be happy.

2 people found this helpful.

You should put a 200 shot of NOS yo that will make your car hella fast. and blow off valves add like 15 hp d00d, I have a mad tyte JDM blow off valve my car sounds so cool pshh pshh

4 people found this helpful.
50 check it out!

2 people found this helpful.

sarcasm.. learn it. And FWIW there is no way to make a fast and cheap subaru, they dont make cheap power. Plus, do some research yourself instead of just asking to be spoonfed information to build YOUR car. There is a reason for the search button. If you think that I don't know what im talking about 'danick' check out my car, no BOV in sight, or nitrous for that matter. Nice try though =)

2 people found this helpful.

lol didnt mean to piss u off!!lol didnt realize how sarcastic u are!!!lol in the end we both agree... there's no such thin as cheap power for subaru!!! p.s. nice ride!!! drift in peace!

3 people found this helpful.

no worries man. and thank you =)


Most of the people that have replied dont really know about subarus except for the select few that have mentioned the COBB accesport. You really should skimp out on performance parts my motto is you get what you pay for . get a full exaust,up pipe down pipe, bigger injectors,fuel pump,bigger turbo with better turbo manifold, front mount is better then the top mount for obvious reasons. check out


I built mine cheap, its somewhat fast (ran 13.000 1/4 mile @ NE Dragway). I bought a $200 VF39 turbo (stock 06' sti turbo), $20 catless up-pipe, bought a used catless downpipe, the rest of the exhaust came already on the car. car came with a front mount for no reason and a cold air intake. I bought brand new 650cc fuel injectors (get new fuel injectors or rebuilt flow matched ones, they were no more than $200. I got a walbro 255 lph fuel pump, wasnt too much, also buy this new. Had it tuned to 20 psi by a good but cheap price tuner, and used a very cheap manual boost controller. also got a $300 clutch. the car was purchased for $5500, and I'm right around $8k total investment, but i did suspension and some other goodies, but the actual go fast bits were cheap. be cautious if you buy a used turbo, make sure there is no shaft play. i did not get a dyno tune, and opted for a street tune to save $$. needless to say, ive beaten countless staged sti's, a brand new camaro ss (from a roll, 3 times), even took down a stock c6 corvette in the mid range (40-130).. the car is fun as hell, and the set up has given me absolutely 0 problems, and it gets a good beating just about daily. just sayin.

3 people found this helpful.

i had a accessport 2.0 that came with the car, it made a huge difference when the turbo was stock, my upgrades are just cheap for an upgraded turbo set up, and made the car significantly faster. but as far as purchasing goes, a street tune will be cheaper (approx. $200) than an accessport (prob about $300+ used)..


1 more thing, my car also gets raced regularly at the track, circle track, drag strip and autocross, and its performed awesomely for me.


extreme cheap and good result would be: Catless downpipe (any brand, used is ok), and the accessport 2.0. and literally nothing else, this will give you a significant power gain over stock, im selling a 2.0 for cheap let me know if your interested, i no longer need it for my wrx.

1 people found this helpful.

Start with good oil. If your gonna beat on it at all a good synthetic oil is a must. My 05WRX has a SPT intake, Perrin turbo back exhaust, Cobb accesses port, stop tech slotted rotors, hawk pads, Cobb short throw, SPT weighted shift knob. The car does well but the suspension will need to be upgraded. I think I'm around 300 hp right now and I didn't need to spend that much money. Like the guy said before me good tires help a lot so invest in new rubber. The main problem I had was stopping! Warped the stock rotors almost immediately after the upgrades so make sure you have stopping power! It seems like everyone forgets about stopping.

2 people found this helpful.

I have an 04 STI I've dropped about 4,000 into it. #1 SUSPENSION. (Coilovers, sway bars, chassis and strut braces) "Get rid of the lift" 2" Up pipe, down pipe full 3 inch exhaust. (Not ebay) invidia has very good stu

3 people found this helpful.

Continue #2 is exhaust up pipe, down pipe 3 in exhaust (not ebay) invidia makes good stuff.(get them ceramic coated inside and out HELP WITH HEAT ALOT) 3# intake TGV delete and K&N typhoon intake 4# Snow performance stage 2 boost Cooler water meth injection (cooler your car runs happier it and you are) #5 fuel factory mount 1000cc or bigger injectors. A regulator and a big pump atleast a 450 (if you have the money go with a top feed conversion) #6 don't just buy a cobb AP and put it on. Take it to a shop let the tune it every car is different. I put down 440awhp 460tq on a safe tune. 93 octane with my boost cooler. And save for a good clutch and short shifter. I can rape vets and cobras all day... Hope this helps

2 people found this helpful.

Save your money and buy quality stuff don't get in a hurry and buy shit. You'll spend 2 times the money in the long run. Most important thing about a turbo car is keeping that intake temperature COOL

2 people found this helpful.

As for a wrx I'd go with full exhaust up pipe down pipe and axel back (get them ceramic coated inside and out.) Snowperformance stage 2 boost cooler, And take it and get it custom tuned with a cobb AP. You'll put down 330ish awhp. Anymore than that you'll rip your tranny out Save your money for an sti tranny and forged 257 shortblock. 2.5 hybrid more tq than a plain STI.

2 people found this helpful.

So many things you can do but building a good car is not cheap no matter what anyone says you cut corners you'll screw it up. Do it right save your money do it right

2 people found this helpful.

How much hp can a stock 2013 sti handle? I went to a shop they gave me a parts list Ets turbokit rotated 6266, ets front mount, fuel rails , 1400cc injectors duel fuel pump tail gate, electronic dump off open 100% after 10lbs cobb v3 . The car is bone stock with 23k miles

I've heard up to 500hp and some say not over 400 idk some help would be appreciate

Very cheap for me,went catless and resonator at the end,just have to correct the check light,very nice rumble,power,not so loud!.


wow... the amount of misinformation here.... Cobb doesn't make a "chip" first of all. The 05 WRX trans can't take much more than 350-400 without launching. More power depends on goals. I would first add a cobb tuner because any protuner will prefer to go through that. 2nd add a cat back exhaust. assuming you are still on a td04 (stock turbo) add a vf46 or similar turbo (sti turbo of any year) upgrade injectors in the process and get it tuned. You should be at 300+ by then. clutch is next. turbo inlet helps spool times some. Intake if you are going over 400 whp. tgv deletes help some but arn't necessary. a 3 port ebcs will help your tuner dial in boost and prevent boost creep. if you want over 400 you are looking at at the very least drop in forged pistons and race bearings as well as running e85 and bigger injectors (1000s) but your trans won't take that. a 08-14 wrx trans or 05-10 lgt trans has stronger gears in a 5 speed that tend to be good to 450 whp. beyond that go with an sti 6 speed swap. stock rods wont take much more that 450 whp so build your build with better rods. heads bolts give way around 24psi in my case some run more. so arp 2000 or even better arp 625+ head studs are needed. Your stock heads and cams will be limited around 450-500 whp also so look at better cams or a port job on heads. after 425 or so these cars get expensive to mod. just depends how far you want to go.

1 people found this helpful.

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