Sunday, August 17, 2014

Getting started: Wheels, tint, and more

The 2015 WRX stock wheels aren't bad looking, but neither are they particularly noteworthy.  They're of modest size (17x8") and the dark gray color makes them sort of hard to see, especially on a light-colored car.  I just happen to know a nice large-size wheel that should bolt up nicely...that's the Mach V Wicked Awesome, which is 18x9.5" and a nice light 19.0 pounds.  A set of Hankook Ventus Evo V12 tires, 265/35R18 size, are exactly the same diameter as the stock tire, and 30mm larger in terms of tread width.  And even with significant increase in contact patch, we actually LOST 0.1 pounds of weight per corner!  What's not to like?  Plus, I think the wheels look great.  We did fit up two different colors -- silver and gold.  Which do you like better?

Since you asked, yes, I am looking to sell the stock WRX wheels, so ring me up at the shop if you are interested.  I'm open to selling them with or without the stock Dunlop Sport Maxx tires.

Other early modifications to the car include an all-around window tinting treatment from Matt at TNT Tint, and clear paint protection film applied by Dave at Proshield.  Do look them up if you need either service done, and tell them I sent you.

Next up for customizing was the audio system.  I spend a good amount of time in the car, and I do like my music, so I headed over to KarTunes, just around the corner from our shop, for some upgrades.  Mike and Dan were more than welcoming, and from talking to them they clearly like their work and bring a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm to the job.  They suggested I bring in my own iPod, and I was able to plug directly in to a display board in the showroom and audition the speakers with my own music.  After a bit of listening, I settled on some Focal drivers.  Focal PS 165 FX speakers went into the front doors and dash, and Focal 165 AC speakers filled in the back doors.

None of the usual suspects make a pre-made sub box for this car yet, but Subaru does offer an OEM amplified Kicker subwoofer.  We used the molded-plastic box from that, tossed out the Kicker driver, and put a JL Audio 10W0 sub driver in there.  The box was a little ringy at first, so the KarTunes guys applied a layer of sound deadening material inside the box.  That tightened up the bass nicely and cut down on unwanted resonance.

For amplification, KarTunes installed a couple of older JL Audio (300/4 and 250/1) amps I had saved just for this occasion onto a custom board on top of the factory spare tire.  The factory head unit was left alone -- it fits and is functional enough, and offers nice integration with the steering wheel controls.  A bonus, and something I didn't realize at first, is that the WRX upper dash info screen has a page that will display current song information sent to it from the head unit. Cool!

The end result is super-clean sound, with very tight bass and terrific clarity and separation.  I never did put any sound upgrades in my 2008 STI, and I always missed having really nice music in that car.  I can tell already I will really enjoy the chance to hear great tunes in this one.

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