180°

Love it or hate it, the hood scoop is what defines the look of a Subaru. It’s obviously not just a style thing and indeed serves a purpose. Traditionally, Subarus run top mount intercoolers. It allows for the least amount of turbo lag and is an efficient setup for the car, out of the factory. However, things become difficult when trying to run a larger turbo and in many cases, the TMIC won’t cut it.

Lots of Subaru owners (myself included) choose to run front mount intercoolers instead. While a larger core is hugely beneficial, there is a drawback: longer piping. The Blitz FMIC on my car features a maze of piping that runs up the left wheel well and underneath the block. This causes a lot of turbo lag and even my fairly small IHI VF34, doesn’t hit full boost until 4500rpm.

To combat this, many have chosen to run a rotated intake manifold.

For performance, it’s probably the most efficient setup with a FMIC and eliminates multiple feet of piping. This leaves more space in the engine bay and greatly reduces turbo lag. It’s a setup I’ve been considering for years and will eventually pursue, once my car is retired from daily duties.

It’s obviously not as easy as unbolting the intake manifold and rotating it. Custom piping will need to be fabricated and there will be fitment issues with the radiator. The Team Orange GDB (above) moved the car’s radiator to the trunk. So it’s not really the best solution for someone who’s concerned with reliability and ease of operation. But if you’re looking for the greatest amount of response coupled with the best cooling, it’s the only way to go.

For me aesthetics are also a consideration and you can’t deny that it greatly improves the look of the engine bay.

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5 Responses to “180°”

  1. earl Says:

    That’s running the ARC V-Mount, not the D1 trunk mounted radiator set up. But the IC is tiny on that set up, so I’m not really sure how effective it is. V-mount is unnecessary but reversing the intake manifold is a very good option and can be done fairly easily on the drive-by-wire cars (since stock wiring harness doesn’t need any modification) as long as you have a competent fabricator. Not too sure on the throttle cables, which I believe also has more vacuum nipples, so a few more minor issues arise. The biggest issue I ran into was deciding what to do about the alternator and then finding a proper-sized belt (I ditched the AC and relocated it and shaved down the housing to clear the block).

  2. johnisjdm Says:

    Yeah if I ever went FMIC (don’t think I will on the stock motor due to lag + love the scoop!) I’d love to do this. I’ve heard rumors that if you use a Legacy GT plastic intake manifold it’s somehow easier to rotate (?). Like you don’t lose the A/C compressor or whatever the main drawback is for the stock WRX mani.

    • earl Says:

      I like your thinking about FMIC not being necessarily being necessary, but don’t you think that should depend on the type of driving you do, and how much heat soak you can expect. not the motor set up?

      • One thing’s for sure. I don’t “need” a FMIC for my setup. If anything it’s hurting the car. The only reason I did it was for the ease of upgrading to a larger turbo and I got a great deal on it.

        Looking back, I think I would of held off. The car actually felt much better to drive when I was running the TMIC to pass smog a few months ago.

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