modified car is often not a practical car. Sound systems munch up vast amounts
of interior space, excessively lowered springs sacrifice suspension travel and
monster turbochargers destroy driveability.
here’s a modified car that has none of these flaws. The owner uses it for snowboarding adventures, drives it to uni every day and hits the racetrack whenever
he gets the chance.
hello to Mr Versatile - the Liberty
(aka Legacy) RS turbo wagon.
by Pat Gorr of Melbourne ,
this RS wagon is one of only about 100 imported into
in the early ‘90s. Pat purchased his RS in early 2004 with 165,000km on the
odometer and having received a WRX head conversion (a common fix for Liberty RS
lifter problems). The previous owner had also fitted an STi VF24 turbocharger
(after the stock VF12 died) and supplied a 3 inch exhaust with the car.P>
loved the all-round performance of the mighty Liberty
but after 12 years and almost 200,000 clicks, the original suspension was
feeling tired. Understandably. Patt decided against a strut overhaul and opted
for a set of Tein adjustable coil-overs (which are currently set about 2 inches
lower than standard). The understeery handling was further improved with Whiteline front and rear swaybars, heavy-duty rear swaybar links, anti-lift kit,
stiffer bushes for the rear control arms, and adjustable front strut tops. A
carbon-fibre strut brace is fitted at the front and a rear brace is soon to be
standard 15 inch alloy wheels were discarded to make way for a set of MY01
Impreza WRX 17s, which were sourced from a mate (at the right price!). The rims
wear Toyo R1-R semi-track tyres for tremendous cornering adhesion. Pat says
these mods made heaps of difference to the RS wagon’s handling and feel. There
was now balance and poise to match the traction delivered by the Subaru AWD
the bonnet, Pat applied some of the knowledge he’d gained mainly through the
Liberty RS Club forum. The first switch was to a larger VF34 ball-bearing turbo
(ie STi Spec C) which bolts to the standard exhaust manifold. The compressor
inhales through a K&N pod filter and blows through a Hybrid-type front-mount
air-to-air intercooler measuring 600 x 300 x 75mm. Custom mild steel plumbing
connects the 3 inch inlet and outlet fittings of the new ‘cooler.
optimisation of fuel and ignition, an A’PEXi Power FC (intended for a pre-1996
WRX) was plugged in where the original Subaru ECU normally lives. The FC
commands a set of 560cc upgrade injectors teamed with a Bosch Motorsport fuel
pump. The standard direct-fire ignition system is prone to breaking down when
pushed beyond standard so a Bosch coil pack is now in service.
pressure is controlled by a stand-alone A’PEXi AVC-R electronic unit, which is
currently programmed to give a maximum of 1.1 Bar (16 psi). A Bosch plumb-back
blow-off valve (pulled from a Japanese import Impreza STi RA) prevents boost
destroyed two standard Liberty RS gearboxes before stepping up to a later-model
Legacy GT twin-turbo ‘box, which has slightly greater strength, closer ratio
gears and a shorter final drive ratio. Pat says he’s done around 40,000km with
the Legacy twin-turbo gearbox and he hasn’t had a problem – fingers crossed! The
clutch is a twin-friction (ceramic and organic) full-face Xtreme job, which Pat
says hooks up nicely and gives smooth operation.
the time of photography, the RS wagon was yet to receive a fine tune on the
Technic Tuning chassis dyno. Still, with 1.1 Bar (16 psi) boost and a lot of
tuning yet to be done, the car has already pushed out 176kW at all fours.
Given the standard Liberty RS Turbo makes 147kW at the flywheel and accelerates
down the quarter mile in around 15.0 seconds, you can expect Pat’s example to
run a low 13/high 12 (given a good launch). And there’s no trade-off in
starting, idle quality, fuel economy or engine reliability.
don’t forget the practical advantages of the wagon body.
often folds the back seats forward to load ‘er up with snowboards, which
means an over-the-top interior fit-out is out of the question. Effective mods to
the cabin include Japanese-spec WRX front seats, a Blitz AC Racing boost gauge
and an AVC-R unit (which folds behind a console flap from a Liberty
audio system is improved with custom enclosures around the rear wheel arches –
the right-side enclosure is dedicated to a Kicker amplifier, while the left
enclosure contains an Alpine 12 inch sub. The rest of the system comprises a
pair of Cadence front splits, Kenwood rear ‘fills’ and a Pioneer 5550 CD/tuner
(with MP3 and WMA compatibility).
conservative wagon body has been treated to a full re-spray in the original
Subaru burgundy (needed due to multiple scars from shopping centre car parks) and Pat
has bolted on a Japanese-spec rear spoiler for something a little different. The
white-painted 17 inch Rex wheels and Phillips H4 Crystal Vision headlight bulbs
add to the cause.
behind the white spokes of those WRX wheel and you’ll see the brakes are enhanced with upsized MY04 WRX 4-pot calipers and slotted rotors.
ABS brake control came fitted to all RS wagons.
Pat has also fitted the variable assistance steering rack from a Japanese-spec
Legacy RS. The Japanese Legacy GT rack employs a dedicated computer to control
pump speed – and it makes a tremendous difference to steering feel. At the time
of our photo shoot, a toggle switch was used to swap between ‘firm’ and ‘light’
venturing onto the racetrack, Pat says his RS wagon isn’t the quickest thing
attacking the apexes - but there’s no overlooking its bang for buck. Most of the
other cars running similar times ride home on the back of a trailer...
Interestingly, Pat has parked his RS on a weighbridge and discovered that its
total kerb mass is 1440kg (with him in the driver’s seat).
long after our photo shoot, Pat leapt at the opportunity to buy a second-hand
heavy-duty dog box and ceramic clutch. With the strength of the new ‘box, Patt
can bump up the boost pressure to 1.2 Bar (18 psi) without fear of destruction.
This slight amount of extra boost should get the car running to the tune of
around 200kW at the treads.
nice, round number for a very well rounded car.
+61 3 9495 1683