A Bugeye Story: Year I (2016)

I have been wanting to look back at my years of ownership for some time now but I always forget. I was initially going to do all four years in a single post but I wasn’t even done with the first year before this post hit 1,000 words.

This first post is going to be a long recap of sorts, as I hadn’t started the blog yet.


I picked the Bugeye up in 2016 after selling my 2005 STi for financial reasons. I bought it from the original owner who had the EJ207 v8 swapped in after the stock EJ205 spun a bearing at around 100k miles. Nearly everything else about the car was stock save wheels, a couple of bushings, and the associated EJ207 parts to get it running in a USDM car (AVCS wiring, ECU, tune).

My old 2005 STi

A couple of months before I purchased the Bugeye, I bought an SRT4 from my brother-in-law that had been sitting for a few years. It wouldn’t start and had an overboost issue. After I got it running and driving, I found a ton of rust so I sold it more or less as a parts car.

The SRT4

The Beginning

I found my WRX on Nasioc (same with the Blobeye STi), contacted the owner, then made arrangements to fly down to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to pick it up. This is my second time buying a Subaru out of state, essentially sight unseen, and it has worked out so far. However, never kid yourself that it isn’t a gamble buying any used car.

The original owner picked me up from the airport in the Bugeye and dropped us off at a hotel and took an Uber home. It was nighttime and hard to see anything so I checked into my hotel. The next morning I woke up to this in the parking lot.

I took exactly one photo of it before I hopped in and started my +12 hr drive home. The car was definitely underpowered, which would turn out to be a simple fix, but I didn’t know that at the time. The A/C was broken and I wanted to get moving before the Florida summer heat settled in.

Thankfully it rained through most of Georgia and cooled things down. I made it home safely, but only after getting stuck in ATL for a couple of hours.

151k miles on the clock

The next morning I investigated my purchase in more depth and gave it a wash.

There was a cracked fuel hose that definitely said “Not For Fuel Injection” on it that I immediately replaced. And I pulled the tint off of the door windows. I am not a fan of tinted windows. I will probably get a very mild tint one day; around 35% or maybe higher; mostly to block out some of the Tennessee heat.

I also found the reason for the lack of power. There was a bolt, very similar to a BPV bolt, sitting right next to the knock sensor. It looked like it had been there forever. I pulled that bolt out, reset the ECU and oh man, 300bhp was back. It was a ripper.

Let the Mods Begin

With the WRX running great, the next order of business was to paint the Rota Tarmac 2 wheels. They were in rough shape. They aren’t my favorite wheels either but I didn’t have any money to buy the wheels that I wanted.

And I did a terrible job with them. I didn’t strip or sand enough of the paint off so they looked really bad up close. Especially with the gold paint.

From far away they didn’t look too bad though.

Next up was more maintenance. I put some a/c refrigerant with dye into the system to see if the system was just low on refrigerant. It turns out it was low, and leaking from nearly every fitting possible. I chased leaks in this system for several months if not a couple of years before the a/c would hold a charge for an entire summer.

And since no one wanted to buy my Grimmspeed TMIC for cheap, I sold my EJ207 v8 TMIC for more than I was asking for the GS piece and installed it. For the high revving EJ207, this was probably the better move.

It is so weird to see a battery in my engine bay now.

I still had my Torque Solutions transmission mount that I got from a friend so I install that as well.

One of the first mods I bought for the Bugeye was lugnuts and a turbo blanket. I bought JDM fog lights too but they were shipping for Russia and would take a few months for them to arrive.

I also repainted my wheels. They weren’t supposed to be gray, but after the primer, I liked the look so I threw clear coat over the primer.

A friend who sold his 2005 STi gave me a bunch of his leftover stash: a Sony head unit, a storage cubby and a Grimmspeed oil cap.

Next, I ordered a GFB Hybrid BPV. Most people say you don’t need an aftermarket BPV on the stock turbo but I have found boost response to be a little bit better and I usually gain a psi or two of max boost. Plus the hybrid setup gives you more boost sound.

GFB BPV Installed onto GS TMIC

And perhaps one of the best mods I did was swap out my instrument cluster for a UK Prodrive unit. I still need to have it adjusted to reflect my actual mileage; which is closer to 200k now. After owning two Subarus with center-mounted tachs, I couldn’t adjust to the Bugeye setup. The Prodrive cluster lights also match the Bugeye console lighting.

While waiting for my JDM fog lights to arrive from Russia, I went ahead and pulled the OEM fogs out. One was cracked and I was afraid that it might shatter from a rock or something and spill out onto the road.

And since I’ve never been a fan of the WRX wing I removed it to see how it looked. Unfortunately, I broke one of the studs when I removed the wing. I didn’t want to buy another WRX wing since I wanted an STi wing in the long run. However, the STi wings are becoming more expensive. So, I decided to stay wingless and fill the holes in the trunk with JB Weld. I didn’t really care about how it looked, I just wanted to keep water out.

A couple of days later, after I had almost given up on them, my JDM fogs came in.

These things look amazing in person. I don’t know how they get that effect on the lens. The reflector bowl is just coated in yellow anodize like coating.

Roughly a month after the JDM fogs, I bought the STi Genome axle back from a user on Nasioc. The tone of this exhaust is great. It is a little on the quiet side and the axleback is only 2.5-inches. This isn’t terrible, however, it necks down even smaller at the muffler. Also, I didn’t care for how the muffler and the tip looked.

STi Genome vs OEM Axleback

By sheer coincidence the new owner of my old 2005 STi was selling the suspension for pretty cheap. I picked them up, modified the front struts to fit 5×100 knuckles and mounted them on the car.

Stock (left), RCE Yellow (right)

A bit more maintenance was in order. It took a bit of digging to figure out what spark plugs the EJ207 runs but they run one step colder plugs from the factory. Looks like it had USDM heat range plugs in it.

NGK BKR7EIX (2667)

Despite all the glowing comments about how the EJ207 with twin-scroll should spool, I have found the turbo response wanting. So, I added a Grimmspeed EBCS that I got from a friend. It helped but the response was still a little bit on the slow side.

While searching for the source of an oil leak around my turbo, I found a tear in the turbo inlet. I’m not crazy about aftermarket turbo inlets. I know they work but for the price, I’d rather spend that money on something else. However, finding an OEM EJ207 inlet would have been more expensive.

I impulsively bought the red Perrin turbo inlet and immediately regretted my color choice. It looks great in person but I think I prefer the black inlet.

The final modification of 2016 was Kartboy diff mount bushings and the recently uninstalled Kartboy outrigger bushings. I picked these up from a friend as well.

The Year in Review

Looking back at 2016, I am a little surprised at how many mods I was able to do. I lost my job and I haven’t had a full-time job since owning this car. Some of the parts I had lying around; friends gave me their old parts, and I sold some and traded for other parts to get the Bugeye to its current state.

My favorite mod of 2016 was the Prodrive instrument cluster. It matches the Bugeye and puts the tach were god intended it to be.

On to 2017!



  1. Sam Fino says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with your bugeye. Your write ups on installing the V2 lip and HID retrofit have been helpful. I have a sonic yellow bug that I swapped a V7 EJ207 and 6MT into and use your photos for inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A.A.Smith says:

      Thanks Sam, I appreciate it!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s