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Series: 2015+ Subaru WRX Modification (Pt.1 - Background / Part Testing / ECU Tuning)

February 01, 2021

Series: 2015+ Subaru WRX Modification (Pt.1 - Background / Part Testing / ECU Tuning)

Series: 2015+ Subaru WRX Modification (Pt.1)

     Hello and welcome to my Op-Ed on the 2015+ Subaru WRX! This is part 1 of a 10 part series that plans to encompass all of the information you will need to make informed decisions regarding the best upgrade path for your vehicle.

     This week, I will be introducing the blog series as well as define its intention and general outline. I will also discuss my background with the FA20DIT platform as it relates to part testing and ECU Tuning as well as why the information in this series may be useful to you!


     The statements made in the article below are subjective and based on my knowledge and experience gained from working with the VA WRX platform.  Please refer to your preferred tuner, or a trusted vendor, for recommendations on your specific set up.


     This Op-Ed is intended to help the user better understand how certain modifications affect the engine and performance, what tuning changes are necessary to account for these modifications, and what brand(s) I recommend for each modification category. This is NOT intended to be a tuning guide. I am NOT an expert in ANY category that will be discussed.


My Background

VA WRX (FA20DIT) Platform

     I have owned a 2016 Subaru WRX for almost 4 years now. In that time, I have done many modifications, tested different brands and components, and spent quite a few hours on the track. My experience in setups and tuning is currently specialized within this specific platform. However, I do hope to branch out to other platforms in the future.


Part Testing

     Ever since I began ownership of my 2016 WRX, modifications have been a way of life. Whether it’s increasing airflow or decreasing knock, the aftermarket industry has played a big role in shaping my vehicle into what it is today. Brands like COBB, IAG, and IBR to name a few, have made giant leaps on the VA WRX platform by providing not only performance parts, but the means to control the ECU (Engine Control Unit) calibration as well. Since I started tuning, I have compared and contrasted many different parts on my own vehicle in an effort to provide insight into what parts may be best for any given setup and what parts could have their cost better spent elsewhere.


ECU Tuning

     At the start of 2020, I began studying to become a tuner. My platform of choice was the 2015+ Subaru WRX (FA20DIT). I was inspired to choose this platform from legendary Subaru tuners such as Jr, Botti, Ambot, Adkins, Bains, Shinji, and many others. Since I already owned the vehicle, it was a great place for me to start.

     Through COBB’s software support and HP Academy, I learned the basics of ECU calibration and how to apply them to my own vehicle. After many revisions and countless hours of testing, I had my engine performing as close to optimally as I could. From there, I reached out to friends on the same platform and began tuning their cars and I immediately fell in love with the idea of tuning in general. Coming from an engineering background, I had a good fundamental understanding of how an internal combustion engine operated and what was required to make it function optimally.

     From friend’s cars, I branched out to Facebook forums and other mediums with the intention of making quality calibrations attainable for the masses. This included not only making tuning affordable, but also being transparent and allowing customers to learn about the changes that are being made to their vehicles instead of keeping them in the dark. Knowledge is power and spreading that knowledge is the main goal behind this Op-Ed and my tuning career in general. The support I have gotten from the community, as a whole, has been outstanding and I am excited every day for the ability to be able to share my passion with others.


     Tune in next week (02-08-2021 @ 12:00 EST) where I will be giving an in-depth overview of Intakes, Bypass Valves, and Turbo Inlets. This overview will consider the purpose of each component, how to account for it in a calibration file, as well as what specific brands I recommend.