PhatBotti Tuning

2015+ WRX Parts Recommendations

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Q:  I just got a 2015+ WRX, what is the best/cheapest/easiest way to make power?


A:  ETHANOL, ETHANOL, ETHANOL.  A stock car on an e30 tune will make more power (320whp) than a full bolt on pump gas car (300whp).   A stock car with Cobb Flex Fuel and dw300c can make 330-350whp.  Once you are able to run ethanol the parts matter way less.  These cars love ethanol since they are high compression, that's why they pick up so much more hp than an EJ does on e85.  An EJ with pick up 30-40whp on e85, an FA will pick up 80-100whp on e60. 


RUNNING ETHANOL WITHOUT A FLEX FUEL SENSOR

Some people choose to run e60 without the flex fuel kit, all you need is the AEM340 or DW300c fuel pump.  So for $110-170 your car can pick up 100whp over pump gas.  However, I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS unless you are intimately familiar with ethanol and how the content changes at the pump in your specific city/state.  If you are tuned on  e60 when the pump was spitting out e85, then the gas stations switch to e52 in the winter and you don't compensate for it, you will be way down on ethanol/octane and likely experience engine failure.  12 gallons of e85 and 4 gallons of e10 pump gas results in a final ethanol content of e66.  Where as 12 gallons of e52 and 4 gallons of pump gas results in a final content of e40.  This drop in ethanol content will significantly change the knock resistance, the AF Correction/Learning, and the overall drivability of the car.  Shops in areas where the ethanol content varies in the winter have reported contents as low as e30 at some pumps...which would ensure engine failure.  It simply isn't worth risking a $5,000-8,000 engine over a $600 flex fuel sensor.  Do it once, do it correctly. 


If ethanol is not available in your area, then methanol injection is the next best solution to making power on these cars.  Methanol injection has the added benefits of increasing the octane, decreasing the intake manifold temperatures, and cleaning the valves.  Increasing the octane and decreasing the intake manifold temperatures will both move you further away from the knock threshold and thus make the car safer while allowing you to make more power.  So if you're going to eventually spend $400 on a walnut blast to clean the valves, you might as well spend $470 on an AEM Meth kit and receive the added benefits.


I recommend the AEM v2 meth kit spraying pure VP m5 methanol with the medium nozzle (500cc).  If you have to run 50/50 water meth or boost juice then run the largest nozzle (1000cc).  Set the controller to start spraying at 10psi and be spraying full at 14 psi.


Quicklist

  • Cobb AccessPort and Cobb Flex Fuel
  • IAG TGV, Street Air Oil Separator (AOS)(stock turbo), Comp AOS for upgraded turbo
  • EGR unplug
  • Radium Catch Cans
  • IBR Complete TGV
  • PRL FMIC 
  • Grimmspeed Turbo Back Exhaust (TBE), GS Electronic Boost Control Solenoid (EBCS), GS Top Mount InterCooler (TMIC)
  • Dw300c fuel pump ( 9-307-1010  )
  • Cobb LF ByPass Valve (BPV) - stock turbo cars
  • Tial QR Recirc BPV - larger turbo cars (requires flange on intercooler piping)
  • Grimmspeed Intake
  • Killer B Header (non-external wastegate)
  • AEM Meth Injection
  • ACT Heavy Duty Steet Disk  SB11-HDSS = 340-350 ft*lbs tq capacity
  • ACT HD Extreme Street SB11-XTSS = 390-400 ft*lbs tq capacity
  • ACT 6 Puck HD Rigid SB11-HDR6 = 430-440 ft*lbs tq capacity
  • ACT 6 Puck Extreme Race Rigid SB11-XTR6 = 490-500 ft*lbs tq capacity
  • ACT 4 Puck HD Rigid SB11-HDR4 = 430-440 ft*lbs tq capacity
  • ACT 4 Puck Extreme Rigid SB11-XTR4 = 490-500 ft*lbs tq capacity


** I do NOT recommend a catless exhaust unless you get an external wastegates  Without the ext wg's you chance overboosting via boost creep, which causes the car to run out of fuel, lean out, and ultimately knock knock boom. 


YOU DON'T SAVE MONEY BUYING CHEAP KNOCK OFF SHIT.  YOU LOSE THE MONEY YOU SPENT ON THE SHITTY PRODUCT.


Power Estimates


** Remember that these are just estimates.  Each car is different.  Every car experiences what's known in the engineering world as tolerance stacking.  Each component on the vehicle is allowed to be within a certain tolerance.  IE the pistons are allowed to be between a and b, the compressor wheel on the turbo is allowed to be between c and d, the turbine wheel between e and f, the rods between g and h, etc etc etc for every component on the car.   Some cars will end up with a combination of all favorable tolerances, some will end up with average, some will end up will all poor, and a few will end up with the golden combo.  Also remember that things like wheels and tires play a big role.  They are rotating mass.  So if you are stage 2 and slap on some heavy 18 inch wheels and tires, your care will likely make less power than what's listed here.  **


- Stock  Baseline - 230-250 tq,  220-240whp depending on DAM, FLKC, etc

- Cobb Stage1 91oct OTS Map - 240-250tq, 230-240hp

- PhatBotti Stage1 Tune  260-270tq, 240-250hp

- TGVEGREBCS w/ Tune 265-275 tq 250-260hp

- Jpipe TGVEGREBCS w/ Tune 275-285 tq 255-265hp

- GS/PW TMIC J Pipe TGVEGREBCS w/ Tune 295-305tq 265-275hp

- GS/PW TMIC J Pipe TGVEGREBCS KB Header w/ Tune 305-315tq 275-285hp

- GS/PW TMIC J Pipe TGVEGREBCS KB EXT WG Header w/ Tune 310-320tq 285-295hp

- GS/PW TMIC J Pipe TGVEGREBCS w/ Flex Fuel Tune 350tq 355-365hp

- PRLFMIC J Pipe TGVEGREBCS KB HDR EXT WG Lower TGV w/ Flex Fuel Tune 350tq 400hp (aggressive map, you may meet Rod)

 

An easy way to guesstimate power potential based on turbo airflow is to add a 0 to the lb/min flow rate, that's the max crank hp the turbo can make based on how much air the turbo can flow.

Then if you want whp multiply by 0.8.  That's the ballpark each can make.        


REMEMBER THESE ARE BALLPARK GUESSTIMATES. 


stock turbo = 50 lb/min = 500chp = 400whp 

SoCal v3      = 57 lb/min = 570chp = 456whp (you will run into issues maxing out the MAF sensor)

FP Blue        = 58 lb/min = 580chp = 464whp  (you will run into issues maxing out the MAF sensor)

ETS 5858    = 62 ln/min = 620chp = 496whp

ETS 5862    = 64 lb/min = 640chp = 512whp
ETS 6062    = 68 lb/min = 680chp =  544whp
ETS 6262    = 70 lb/min = 700chp =  560whp
ETS 6266    = 80 lb/min = 800chp = 640whp
ETS 6466    = 90 lb/min = 900chp = 720whp
ETS 6766    = 93 lb/min =  930chp =  750whp

Cobb AP

The Cobb AP is needed to be able to tune the car.  It is the electronic device that allows you to flash a tune to the ECU, change maps, adjust launch control, adjust flat foot shifting, monitor 6 gauges, and see check engine lights.

No, I do not tune EcuTek.

Cobb Flex Fuel & AEM340/DW300c Fuel Pump

Flex fuel is the easiest and cheapest way to make power on these cars.  The car will easily pick up 60whp going from 91 octane to an e50 blend.  The stock fuel pump is not ethanol compatible and will eventually fail, so it needs to be replaced with a DW300c unit.  The DW300c should be installed utilizing the stock spacer and 2 o-rings. 


Flex fuel allows you to run anything from pump gas to e60 on 1 map, no map switching required.  There are 2 sets of tables in the ECU, low ethanol content tables and high ethanol content tables.  The car will be tuned on "low ethanol" pump gas which is usually 10% ethanol, then it will be tuned on "high ethanol" e60 (or full e85 if you have the Nostrum or IBR HPFP).  You can picture the low and high as the bookends of the tune.  Once the tune is complete, it will basically "slide" between these 2 endpoints based on the ethanol content.   


Yes, the AEM340 pump is also fine.  The LPFP is required for flex fuel.


I do not recommend using the Penguin Tech flex fuel kit.  I worked with 1 customer with their kit and it had to be replaced twice in 2 weeks.  Seems like too high of a failure rate for me to work with.  I have dealt with over 1,000 Cobb kits and only seen 10-15 failures which is less than a 1% failure rate.  I simply can't get on the dyno to tune a car and have the parts be in question.


CATLESS EXHAUSTS & EXTERNAL WASTEGATE INFO


CATTED J-PIPE - Ultimately just selling the catless j-pipe and picking up a catted one is my most favorable solution, but it is both costly and time consuming so I know most people will not do it. 


METH INJECTION - This is the simplest and cheapest solution I can recommend.  I will tune a catless car if a methanol injection kit is added.  Since the issue with being catless is running out of fuel, adding meth will increase the fueling capacity of the vehicle and prevent you from running out of fuel if a boost creep situation does occur.  Meth injection also has the added benefits of increasing the octane of your fuel, decreasing the post intercooler air temperature entering the engine, both of which will reduce knock and it will also clean the intake valves so you won't have to walnut blast them later.  So if you're going to spend $400 to have someone walnut blast the valves at some point, then it seems like a no-brainer to spend $470 on a meth kit now and receive all the added benefits from it.


EXTERNAL WASTEGATE HEADER - I do not really recommend this.  Very expensive.  Money better spent elsewhere.   This option is going to set you back $2000+ and likely defeats half the reason you went catless in the first place, to save money.  Ultimately I really don't recommend this option, due to the cost and design of the headers and ext wg ports the boost control is not greatly enhanced and can lead to worse spool.  I would really only recommend this option if you are trying to run an ethanol SEND IT map on a stock engine or you just want a really loud setup.  Personally I would put the money towards a short block fund or an FP Blue.

IBR Full TGV or IAG Tumbler Generator Valve (TGV) Deletes

The IBR full TGV will make more power than just the upper TGV.  Whether or not it's worth the extra cost is up to you.  I have no data about removing the plates in the heads.  I took mine out, but have no data on if it is better to take them out or leave them in.


TGV deletes greatly reduce cruise and tip in knock.   TGV Deletes and EGR Deletes are 2 of the best mods for almost entirely getting rid of all cruise knock. These 2 mods really open up the intake manifold flow and reduce charge air temps by 70-100*. While you’re cruising at low load between 2000-5000 rpm the ECU is opening the Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve and injecting hot exhaust gas into the intake manifold. This causes a huge increase in the temperature in the manifold, which can be monitored via Intake Temp Manifold. This large increase in air temperature is one of the main causes of “cruise knock” and/or “tip in knock”. Since the charge air temperature is abnormally high it puts the car in a highly knock prone situation. If a very unfavorable situation occurs the car can pull a -8 to -10 FBKC due to the extremely high intake temps in the manifold.  


They also produce around 10-15whp across the whole powerband.  Should take 30-60 minutes to install.  Do these require a tune, yes.  Can I run my car with them without a tune, yes but you will have CEL's which may put you in limp mode.  Limp mode can cause the car to run rich and not drive correctly.  Best to coordinate with your tuner and have a map ready to load before you even begin the install.  Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.

Is brand important?  Yes, purchase the parts from the companies that do R&D and create the products.  Turn In Concepts (TIC) and IAG.  Don't support knock off companies.

IAG Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Deletes

Unplugging the EGR is simple and is the same as doing the deletes.  This method reduces any chances of air leaks, incorrect burping of the coolant system, and it makes it 1,000x easier to return to stock.  


EGR deletes help eliminate carbon buildup on the valves and they can also reduce charge air temps by up to 100*.  

EGR can just be unplugged.  Same as doing the deletes.   TGV Deletes and EGR Deletes are 2 of the best mods for almost entirely getting rid of all cruise knock. These 2 mods really open up the intake manifold flow and reduce charge air temps by 70-100*. While you’re cruising at low load between 2000-5000 rpm the ECU is opening the Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve and injecting hot exhaust gas into the intake manifold. This causes a huge increase in the temperature in the manifold, which can be monitored via Intake Temp Manifold. This large increase in air temperature is one of the main causes of “cruise knock” and/or “tip in knock”. Since the charge air temperature is abnormally high it puts the car in a highly knock prone situation. If a very unfavorable situation occurs the car can pull a -8 to -10 FBKC due to the extremely high intake temps in the manifold.  

Do these require a tune, yes.  Can I run my car with them without a tune, yes but you will have CEL's which may put you in limp mode.  Limp mode can cause the car to run rich and not drive correctly.  Best to coordinate with your tuner and have a map ready to load before you even begin the install.  Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.

Is brand important?  Yes, purchase the parts from the companies that do R&D and create the products.  Turn In Concepts (TIC) and IAG.  Don't support knock off companies.


After EGR delete install it is imperative to bleed the coolant system as you have introduced air bubbles which can cause overheating.


                     ***  Coolant bleeder – you must bleed your coolant after an EGR install  ***


http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Burp-your-cars-cooling-system/?ALLSTEPS


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUpXgAJ1gjU


Basically put the funnel in, fill halfway with coolant, start car, let the car heat up until the fans turn on, then turn on heater, then blip throttle until bubbles stop. let car cool with funnel in place. Restart car and repeat one more time

AOS vs Catch Cans

In ranking of keeping contaminants out of the engine


1 - Radium catch cans

2 - IAG race/comp

3 - IAG street


I usually recommend the Street for daily driven vehicles simply because it is a maintenance free item.  But from a performance standpoint of keeping oil and fuel vapors out of the engine, catch cans are ultimately the best solution. 


If you are running an upgraded turbo, then the comp/race setup or catch cans should be considered a requirement.   The increased crank pressure can cause the street aos valves to fail which can ultimately lead to engine failure.


AOS help eliminate carbon buildup on the valves.  Does an AOS require a tune, STREET no, RACE yes.  Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.


After AOS install it is imperative to bleed the coolant system as you have introduced air bubbles which can cause overheating.


All AOS’s suffer from “sludge”.  They attempt to prevent this by running coolant through the can to heat the system, but the return line is not heated.  When the temp drops below 40*, moisture will accumulate in the return line and then mix with the oil and form the sludge pictured below.  This sludge is extremely common in cold temperatures and even more prevalent when using e85.  Running an AOS requires you to check this and either clean or replace the hose.  Many people run 3,000 mile oil change intervals due to this sludge and fuel dilution, but I took my car out to 8,000 miles several times and the Used Oil Analysis always came back excellent.  


Coolant bleeder


http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Burp-your-cars-cooling-system/?ALLSTEPS

basically put the funnel in, fill halfway with coolant, start car, let the car heat up until the fans turn on, then turn on heater, then blip throttle until bubbles stop. let car cool with funnel in place. Restart car and repeat one more time

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GS Top Mount InterCooler (TMIC) (daily driver)

The GS TMIC decrease the charge temps by 40-60* vs the stock tmic and can make 30-40whp more than the stock TMIC at high rpm.  GS TMIC works better than any other TMIC on the market.  Most other TMIC only cool the air marginally better than stock.  Grimmspeed is also made in the USA and has a lifetime warranty.  Can I run a TMIC without a tune, yes but you won't see any power gains.  The gains come from being able to increase the boost.  Best to coordinate with your tuner and have a map ready to load before you even begin the install.  Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.

Given the cost of the GS TMIC and PW VERT, it is best to just get a PRL FMIC.

PRL Front Mount InterCooler (FMIC) (extended abuse, canyon runs, road racing, track)

The PRL FMIC should be used for extended abuse.  I prefer the PRL unit because it retains the stock o-ring on the turbo outlet.  Most other FMIC's do not retain this o-ring and switch to a paper gasket.  The paper gaskets almost always leak unless they are installed perfectly and the flange surface was perfectly flat...which is rarely the case.  And the charge air temps will only be 5-10 degrees over ambient temps.  Can I run a FMIC without a tune, yes but you won't see any power gains.  The gains come from being able to increase the boost.  Best to coordinate with your tuner and have a map ready to load before you even begin the install.  Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.


ETS FMIC are  good too if the turbo outlet connection doesn't leak.  If you choose the ETS FMIC I recommend using this gasket instead of the provided paper gasket.  The paper gaskets almost ALWAYS LEAK unless the pipes are seated perfectly.  If the link is broken it is Mr. Gasket #738G    https://www.jegs.com/i/Mr-Gasket/720/738G/10002/-1   I would also recommend getting the 3.5" or 4" core.  The larger core will not be a detriment on the stock turbo and it will also be better suited if you ever upgrade your turbo in the future.


I would NOT recommend the Mishi FMIC as the silicone coupler on the charge pipe has been seen collapsing in various situations as seen here.  The collapsing can be prevented by installing a couple hose clamps on each side of the bend in the tube.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0tv3uXWJ0Q&list=PL4A4E1B265D92DE58&index=25&t=0s 

Grimmspeed Electronic Boost Control Solenoid (EBCS)

EBCS will produce a smoother boost curve and hold boost better in the midrange, thus picking up hp/tq through having a better and more consistent boost curve.  Should be considered a required mod...especially with a catless exhaust system.  Can I run an EBCS without a tune, yes if you stay out of boost.  Best to coordinate with your tuner and have a map ready to load before you even begin the install.  Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.


GS and Cobb EBCS are preferred.

Perrin EBCS installs in conjunction with the stock BCS.  More vacuum lines and different mapping than the GS and Cobb units.  GS and Cobb provide a cleaner install and make my life easier since the mapping is the same.

Company23 anti surge EBCS is not necessary.

Grimmspeed Intake

Intakes are mostly just noise makers on theses cars.  They can pick up 5-10hp when maxed out....but ultimately intakes make the AF Correction and Learning worse and are prone to getting moisture into the MAF extension cable which causes erratic fueling.  An intake would be one of the last mods I would buy.  I would put the money towards an intercooler or aos long before buying an intake.  Can I run an intake without a tune, this question varies for each intake as they all have different MAF scales.  The ECU can correct enough to run an intake without a tune out of boost.  Best to coordinate with your tuner and have a map ready to load before you even begin the install.  Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.


I prefer the Grimmspeed Intake because it has a stopper on the MAF sensor flange to butt the filter up against.  So everyone installs the filter in the same spot.  All other intakes have "floating" filters, meaning that each customer can install the filter in a different spot on the intake pipe....this causes fueling issues and makes troubleshooting more difficult.


AEM's intake has the worst box and will make your car lose power due to the intake temps.

Tial or Cobb Version2 By-Pass Valve (BPV)

Despite Boomba's bubble video, the stock bpv works perfectly fine.  The stock bpv has a pressure relief hole in it.  It is designed to leak on purpose.  The stock ones can leak when dealing with larger than stock turbos and elevated boost levels.  It is recommended to have a Tial BPV with an aftermarket turbo.  It is simply not a common issue for the stock bpv's to fail with stock turbos.  The stock bpv has been very reliable on stock turbo setups.  But if you must get one I would suggest the Tial BPV or the Cobb Version 2 BPV.  A BPV would be one of the last mods I would buy.  I would put the money towards an intercooler or AOS before buying a BPV.  


Can I run a BPV without a tune, yes.  The BPV will only make a difference if your stock BPV was leaking really bad.   Always best to have your tuner check logs post install to make sure you didn't induce a leak or cause a problem during the install.  There is no specific tuning for a BPV or a BOV.  The only time a real issue can occur when swapping a BPV/BOV is if your car was previously tuned with a leaking valve and your tune has the wastegate duty cycle increased to compensate for the leaking valve.  If you put a valve on that doesn't leak then your car will overboost.  The problem with detecting bypass valve leaks is that they are part of a closed system, so if they leak boost they simply leak it back to the intake tract so it's really not detectable in the log because it won't change the fueling.  As you see from Boomba's bubble video the stock unit already leaks, but it's so minor it doesn't play a role in any power loss and it's designed that way.  A blow off valve leak on the other hand will alter the air fuel ratio and is easily seen in a log.

 

A blow off valve should never be used on a Mass Air Flow fueled vehicle.  


A blow off valve simply decreases the performance of the vehicle.  The purpose of a bypass valve is to bypass the pressurized air when the throttle closes back to in front of the turbo to help keep the compressor wheel spinning during shifts.  

A blow off valve is taking this feature away.  So the turbo will spin down way more when shifting.  The other major downside to a blow off valve on a MAF based car is that it's releasing air that was measured by the MAF sensor...so when that air is released, it makes the car run rich because the ECU is still injecting fuel for air that's no longer there.  This will prematurely foul the plugs and make your gas mileage go down because you're just wasting fuel every time you let off the throttle.   When the air is released you will notice your AF Correction and/or AF Learning go to very high negative values to try and compensate for the car running extremely rich.  If the rich condition happens at or near idle it can cause the car to sputter and or stall.  This can NOT be tuned out most of the time.  The solution is to pre-load the BOV more by tightening the allen bolt on top of the BOV, using a higher pressure spring in the BOV, or by adding washers below the springs to increase the preload.  If the BOV is not adjustable, then remove it and light it on fire and put the stock BPV back on the car.  

Gas

Racing on 91 octane, or any pump gas in general, is just asking for trouble.  I highly recommend getting a flex fuel or race gas tune for track days, canyon runs or any type of hard abuse.  If you can't afford that then add in 4-5 gallons of 100 oct unleaded and fill the rest up with 91.  If you don't have 100 oct available you can also put in 3 gallons of e85 and fill the rest of the tank with 91.  Both the e85 and 100 oct  will add knock protection and make the car much safer.  You should always race on a full tank of gas to avoid fuel starvation.  There is a reason it's called RACE gas.


Even regular pump gas is not created equal.  While most stations across the US have 10% ethanol in the pump gas, lots of stations still use ethanol free gas (e0).  Ethanol free gas is worse than e10 gas.  The ethanol adds knock protection and allows the cars to make more power.  You can check which gas stations in your city/state carry e0 on this website  https://www.pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=CA  so you can stay away from them.


http://newsroom.aaa.com/2016/07/aaa-not-gasoline-created-equal/