Intake Trials & Tribulations

I haven’t been in this bad of a mood since, yesterday. Some of you may remember a post I did a while back about the broken HKS Super Mega Flow intake, on my WRX. Well lets take it back to the beginning and I’ll refresh your memories.

About a month ago I decided to change out my spark plugs. The EJ uses an opposed 4-cylinder design, meaning the spark plugs are on either side of the motor and quite difficult to reach, as any Subaru owner would tell you. In order to get to the right side spark plugs, you need to remove the car’s intake.

I’ve been running the HKS Super Mega Flow kit since 2007 and I’ve never really been happy with it. It looks great, wouldn’t you agree? Well, that’s where it’s advantages end. The filter is garbage, in fact you’d be better off running no filter, because that’s about as good as the Super Mega Flow is at trapping debris from going into the turbine. Shockingly, HKS air filters are without a doubt, the best selling in Japan. HKS claims that their filter uses a special oil to trap unwanted dirt particles from passing through the multi-layered polyurethane filter. You’re supposed to change the filter element every 10000 miles, which seems a bit excessive for something that doesn’t perform properly to begin with. It becomes pretty clear that the HKS filter’s overwhelming popularity in Japan, is due to the brand name and not the functionality of the product.

So upon removing my Super Mega flow kit, I noticed a fairly large crack where the silicone ring meets the base of the filter. I went on to remove the ring and found this underneath.

Japanese quality right? Now some of you will immediately claim that I’ve tightened the hose clamps too much, resulting in the collapse filter base. You may be correct, who really knows? It’s been so long since I’ve last taken this piece off, that I have no idea how tight the hose clamps where. The bottom line is that this shouldn’t happen, period. The biggest enemy of forced induction are boost leaks and the simplest way to prevent boost leaks is to make sure all of your hoses and clamps are fitted tightly. The silicone ring should’ve given way before the plastic base of the filter, had the clamp been too tight.

You can see here that this is a pretty serious crack. It also left a very large hole, inviting all sorts of dirt, debris and carbon grit, to enter the car’s turbo inlet hose.

Now my fear was that over time, one of these broken bits would give way and get sucked into my turbine, most definitely destroying the turbo. So naturally I needed to get a move on and replace the Super Mega Flow kit.

I’ve always liked the design of the Blitz SUS intake. The stainless steel mesh of the filter meant that it never needed to be cleaned. I’ve also heard reports that it allows for an insane amount of air flow, being one of the largest filters on the market. It’s also Japanese and I do like to use Japanese parts on my Japanese car, whenever I can.

Last week I found a great deal for a used SUS intake on NASIOC. The filter had 15000 miles on it and looked brand new. The member selling it was also a great guy, so I decided to buy it. Yesterday my new, used Blitz SUS intake arrived.

Dear Blitz, fuck you!

Yesterday evening I decided to install the SUS on my car. Everything was going great. The quality of the air filter is very nice and I was extremely excited to get rid of the Super Mega Flow kit. I got the SUS onto the car and went to close the hood. The hood wouldn’t close. What the fuck? I get the latch to lock and the right side of the hood is bowing up by a quarter of an inch. I knew it was going to be a tight squeeze, but had I known the SUS wouldn’t even fit. I never would’ve bought it.

The irony in all of this, is that I’m also running a Blitz FMIC. I’ve also never been overly pleased with this piece because I don’t like the piping layout. The charge pipe goes up into the right wheel well and out a hole (you have to cut) where the OEM intake box sits. So in this case the charge pipe runs directly under the SUS intake, leaving absolutely no wiggle room to let it fit. Now you and I would both think that Blitz would design their products to work with each other. I mean shit, if you run a FMIC on an Impreza, say goodbye to your stock air box. Naturally, Blitz would like to design the SUS intake to work hand-in-hand with their FMIC, so they could sell twice as many products. Given my primitive knowledge of business, that would seem like a no brainer. However, things aren’t that easy and apparently Blitz isn’t too smart.

Naturally, I headed to NASIOC, to see if anyone had been put in a similar position or had some advice to give. You would also think that a FMIC as popular as the Blitz once was and a community of thousands of members, could offer some insight into my dilemma. Then I had to remind myself this was NASIOC. Oh how I miss the days when the North American Subaru Impreza Owner’s Club was a place to read up on tech and share wisdom. Those days have long gone because now it’s little more than a glorified member’s gallery where hypebeasts argue with trolls about wheel fitment. It’s no wonder why so many of my Subaru friends are looking to greener pastures and selling their Imprezas.

So that’s where I’m currently at, if any of you are still with me after that rant. I’ve got 2 different intake kits in about 20 different pieces all over my coffee table and I’m trying to figure out what to do next. That’s where some of you may be able to come in because I know more than a few of you still own Subarus. I need to know if anyone else has run into this problem before. Is there something I can do to make the SUS intake fit on my car? Should I just turn around and put it up for sale? At this point I’ll take any advice including recommendations for another intake that will actually fit on my car. I should’ve just gotten the COBB kit to begin with, but I don’t know how the filter size compares to the Blitz, or whether that will even fit. A few things are for sure though; HKS filters are awful (don’t buy them), the Blitz SUS intake will not work with the Blitz FMIC on a Subaru and don’t bother asking for help on NASIOC.

Live and learn, I suppose.

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14 comments

  1. Have you looked into the Trust/Greddy air filter? It’s much like the HKS one, but imo, better quality, still keeping the JDM theme too.

    1. Some of my friends have used the Greddy air filter and none of them have really had anything good or bad to say about them. I’ve also found that like the HKS, the Greddy is more a filter for looks. I believe the material is also an oiled, polyurethane that needs to be replaced pretty frequently.

  2. Don’t you just love aftermarket? I got an APS 525 FMIC and the APS 70mm CAI. They are a super tight squeeze. Why not just buy a K&N filter? They make like every size and shape you can think of. I’m sure you can adapt one of their filters to one of your current intake tubes. I run a K&N filter on my APS CAI. I had to measure and research on K&N’s website by the diagrams which filter would fit but it was worth it. I havn’t had any problems since.

    1. I’ve been considering doing that. No one really has anything bad to say about K&N and their stuff is power proven. I came across this interesting test and comparison the other night.

      http://www.mkiv.com/techarticles/filters_test/2/

      The Blitz SUS tested pretty horribly, which is a bummer. The Apex’i seems to be the one to buy. I don’t even know if they make that anymore.

      1. That article is at least 10 years old. I remember reading that article when I owned my supra. I bought that filter but never installed it because I went to a big single turbo. K&N may have improved their filters by then, but even if they didn’t K&N has filter socks they go over the filter to protect the filter from water and such. I think AEM has the best filter with their dryflow since they don’t need oil but they come nowhere close to having the different sizes K&N has or have the filter socks.

    1. Haha, yeah man. I just got done reading your post too. I’ve also been pretty uninterested in the car scene for a while. I’m just kind of doing my own thing and looking in from afar. I don’t think I’ve been to a meet in over a year.

  3. I think K&N would do the trick like 07WRBSTI says. An other option is the Apexi. The main advantage of the Apexi is that its a dry filter and the K&N isn’t. But you have to replace the filters once in the 25000 km (aprox 15000 miles) I have a K&N filter on my MR2 turbo and it works perfect!

    Good luck with your filter hunt!

  4. Bummer dude… The state of the automotive scene has to make you chuckle sometimes but you have to step back and realize that you built your car for you, how you want it to be because that’s what you like. And if some internet d-bag thinks your fitment is weak, you need more sidewayz stickerz in your roll call bro or whatever the kids that have been in the scene for six months are e-fight about these days then f%ck em! Classic, clean, quality style will always prevail. But…. back to that intake situation again, this is what I did to the one on our MS3 back in the day and the same thing I have done to the one that is going in my GC. Gold foil and carbon will make anything cooler. Fact. And this is in no way a biased opinion 🙂

    http://www.mazda3forums.com/index.php?topic=126606.0

    1. I hear you man. 2/3 of the people in the scene right now have absolutely no passion for cars or learning more about the the ones they’ve bought as their latest fashion statement.

      Anyway, I love the intake box. I don’t think it’s going to fit with my I/C piping though. 😦

  5. Do yourself a favour a ditch the pod set-up completely, K&N panel filter with a CAI is all you need.

  6. Damn, I sold an HKS panel flter this guy on a local forum. He installed it on his Forester a few months ago. I just heard that the engine sucked out a chunk of foam from it…

    I feel like shit…

  7. the intake ‘test’ on the supra forums is ancient, and not even all that well executed. It’s been floating around for years and somehow quoted as gospel

    the Blitz filter flows great, because it doesn’t filter anything

    best bet for fit, finish and reliability is a properly oiled K&N,r one of the AEM dry filters. I’ve used both, and have been pleased with the results

  8. actually its a very good filter but fitted wrong from what I can see what you need is a metal insert over it comes the filter and then you tighten the clip

    If you dont do this it of course is very obvious the plastic wont hold for long if you add too much force.

    also the forces of bumps will shorten the lifetime of this connection when the metal insert is not fitted.

    Actually it is very easy to just buy the right size of metal insert.
    You buy the insert put it in the filter and use a silicon hose to make the connection one clip over the hose which is over the plastic of the filter connection with its metal insert inside to provide the proper connection. THen another clip which connects the hose to the metal insert from which a part is sticking out a couple of inches. then you connect the hose to the air intake of the engine itself…

    You can choose different colors of filter mesh and also different colors of silicon hose

    It looks awesome and with a good setup your power will increase..

    Dont forget it needs cold air from outside the engine bay. So you still need to make some proper ducting to the filter.
    You can also make an enclosed airtight box around the filter to give it some RAM AIR effect.

    You can find out how to build all this stuff jus on the internet. like wikipedia sites and stuff.

    The youtube demonstration of these filters loosing power instead of gaining power is because they suck in hot air from the engine bay. the setup is not right and they lost like 3bhp in an impreza with 210bhp

    Well you want to gain power so what you need is a good preparation. and you will see you gain a lot of power

    Like 8 to 20 bhp on the impreza

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