Subaru XV CrossTrek Performance Upgrades

Posted: November 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

Winter is coming and I’ve no Dragons to keep me warm so Hjalmar is getting some improvements to make it more enjoyable for everyone – even my son approves (and he’s not a car guy…yet). This blog post is also a work in process of what is to come (Pics forthcoming as well).

Freeing up some lost HP and making the boxer sound more like a Subaru. The 2.0 FB engines are not that special and the aftermarket has really not given us a lot of choices. I’m not looking for any big gains but something to wake up the engine. I have a manual in the car so it makes it more fun to drive than the CVT (just dislike driving CVTs even though they are more efficient). As the car makes only 148 HP stock at the crank looking at some AWD dynos that interprets to ~ 100 awhp which is not that much for the weight of the car. Supposedly from others once you hit 7k miles on the odometer the engine really loosens up and improves (but no dyno proof I’ve seen yet).

  • Removal of Intake Charcoal Filter: Subaru has a charcoal filter for emissions purposes next to the stock air filter and removing it really livens up the throttle as allows the engine to breathe easier. It is a pain in the butt to remove and you’ll break these plastic tabs and likely the flimsy plastic on the filter panel as well (like it was never designed to be removed).
  • Upgr8 Dry Air Filter Panel (similar to K&N / Apexi but 1/2 the price). After inspecting the stock air filter it is one of the most restrictive air filters I’ve ever seen removed from a car – it’s almost cotton ball style and very thick. After swapping it out the car seems much more alive and not that much louder – left the stock intake plumbing in place.
  • Cheap & Easy – Rear Muffler Delete: Found that this Intermediate pipe made by Walker (part #: 41785) for less than $20 shipped that will basically fit and bolt right onto the mid pipe and reuse the stock gasket and bolts. Took me 5 minutes to make the swap. I also trimmed the plastic with a coping saw so that the new pipe does not touch the plastic bumper. I will add some aluminum tape and cover the area. You can’t see it anyway as the pipe like the stock muffler is hidden behind. Also this removes about 12 pounds of weight from the car and gives it a nice burble. I have a manual so I can cope with this mod but if you have the CVT it may drone too much. (placeholder for video)
  • Header Back Exhaust with Hi Flow Cat: (placemarker for this possibility) I found a site called Rallisportracing that has a full header back exhaust for the XV that allows you to also keep the stock skid plate / heat shield and has built in hi flow cat options as well. You can also get ceramic coating for better resistance to elements.
  • ECU Reflash: (placeholder) if I go down an headerback exhaust route this would be a good bang for the buck to advance timing, run premium and I bet the engine could make decent power. Not seen anyone do this just yet and there seem to be two ECU tuners with products. Delicious Tuning has a tune for the car at $895.
  • WRX Transplant: (placeholder) this is not in my plans but could be a very easy possibility with the 2015 WRX’s making their way out of the factory (albeit slowly). Supposedly Subaru is also considering an STI version of the XV as well which likely would be a WRX engine transplant (still unfounded rumor).

Rally Cross Prep / Maybe some Ice Racing: Next up is getting the car ready for some more spirited driving.

  • MudFlaps: Another modification I wanted to do to protect the body work is adding the polyurethane rally mudflaps and I found two kits – Rally Armor ($150), Gorilla Offroad Company ($100) and RokBlokz ($90). All are similar but have slight mounting differences. I tried the RokBlokz setup as it was much cheaper than Rally Armors and saved me quite a bit of money. I discovered Gorilla after I already ordered. All of them use the same mud flap material but come with slight variances in mounting. You can mount the fronts with the tires on by turning them but the rears you’ll need to remove. Then notice how heavy the stock wheels are – 50lbs!
  • Rain Out / Air In: Rain guards were up next so I can have the window open to let air in but also keep rain out. I’d suggest OEM Subaru as you can get the kit for < $100 and they are easy to install and have two braces that easily clip into the rain channel that make them very sturdy. No increase in wind noise at highway speeds and they even look good too.

IMG_2187 (Medium)

  • Rear Spoiler (really just for looks): (placeholder)
  • Front Grille (really just for looks but might also allow more air into the radiator for better cooling): (placeholder)
  • Rally Car Horn: (placeholder) The stock horn is really weak sounding and living in the Northeast you need to use the horn from time to time so I want to make sure the other car hears it. Plus it is also red and gives some visual effect of what’s behind the grille.
  • Front Sway Bar: (placeholder) The front sway bar is 26mm fixed.
  • Rear Sway Bar: (placeholder) The rear sway bar is 16mm fixed (USDM model). As the Impreza is the same chassis as the XV you can upgrade to those as well. One word of warning when doing lot’s of on road handling improvements you may negatively affect the way it can off road. There is a upgrade from Subaru (non STI) that is 19mm for the Outback but fits the XV and reuses the stock end links (part # 20451FG020). XV owners can also upgrade to the STI 20 MM rear sway bar from Subaru for $108 MSRP (part #: 20451VA000). Eibach has a 2 position 22mm rear (part #: 7717.312), and Cusco has a makes one as well ( part # 682 311 B20 ) but for $300 and it’s not certain it’s adjustable. Rear end link part #s are: 20470AJ010). Please also remember when replacing the sway bar it likely will require new (larger bushings), mounts and possibly end links (I don’t have an exhaustive list). For those who want dual purpose (good on road and good off road) you can get quick disconnect sway bar end links so you can disconnect the rear sway (only one side needed is all). Otherwise you simply remove a bolt to an end link.
  • Front Strut Bar: (placeholder)
  • Wheels & Tires: (placeholder) After doing the mud flaps and I had to take off the rear wheels I discovered how heavy the stock rimes are (they do look nice). OEM specs note they are ~ 23 lbs each! That’s very heavy from what I’m used to so next summer I’m going to get a new set of lightweight stock sized wheels and maintain diameter / width but take hopefully 8-10 lbs off each end which will really wake up the car by taking away rotational inertia (helps acceleration and braking) and unsprung weight.

Making it Nicer: Some quality improvements to make the car more useable as a daily driver.

  • LED under dash lights:(stock kit) that really brighten up a very dark (black color) interior.
  • LED Dome / Map and Truck lights: Subaru has a “red” theme with their gauges which makes it very dark inside the car (interior color is black). So I bought a Blue LED kit off eBay which helped a lot but still the dome light is just not bright enough to see inside. So I ordered a 16 LED DE3175 1.25″ bulb to see if I can get that really add some more light. If that doesn’t work then I’ll be looking into how I can supplement it.

OEM Specs:

  • OEM Wheels: 17 x 7 with 48mm offset / Weight: 22.75 lbs / Bolt Pattern 5×100
  • OEM Tires: 225/55/17
  1. linuxd00d says:

    I’d recommend avoiding the red mudflaps with red car horns look – unless you drive the car with a backward baseball cap to complete the package 🙂
    Please let us know what you think of the RokBlokz. I’ve been wanting (black) mudflaps for my turbo Forester for years, but never enough to pull the trigger on the overpriced Rally Armors.

    • Just put on a baseball cap backwards 😉

      I’ll be installing the mud flaps later today (if it stops raining and I can fit the car in the garage – full of shit). They looks very similar to Rally Armors and for almost 1/2 price.

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