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Click on the image above for our high-res 2008 WRX STI gallery

Subaru of America announced a service campaign this week focused on the 305-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four powering the 2008 WRX STI. According to the verbiage on a letter sent to an owner, Subaru states that "abnormal combustion" could occur when the engine is repeatedly or continuously operated above redline (6,700 rpm). At these high engine speeds, the Engine Control Module cuts fuel to the powerplant to protect the engine from even higher revolutions (this is common industry-wide, not just with Subaru). Unfortunately, under certain situations the Subaru 4-cylinder Boxer is still under high boost and the fuel cut-off causes the engine to run "over lean" resulting in combustion that breaks piston ring lands... eventually destroying the engine.

Subaru's "Service Program Campaign WVE15" reprograms the Engine Control Module software to improve combustion at engine speeds above redline, preventing engine damage. Subaru is quick to point out that the revised programming "will not adversely affect the peak performance" of the vehicle, so owners need not worry about the free campaign messing up their 0-60 sprints. Letters from Subaru will go out to owners in the next week or two. In the meantime, try keeping the white needles out of the red zone!

[Source: IWSTI]



Dear 2008 WRX STI owner:

During a quality review, we discovered that under certain harsh driving patterns, specifically when repeatedly or continuously operating the engine above the "red-line" (RPM above 6,700), abnormal combustion could occur resulting in serious internal engine damage in the form of broken piston ring lands. This abnormal combustion condition is the result of an "over lean" fuel mixture caused by a combination of fuel cut activation and high turbo boost. To prevent this condition from occurring, Subaru has developed a modification to the Engine Control Module software logic that will improve combustion management above "red-line" engine speed. This revised logic will not adversely affect the peak performance of your vehicle.

Once you receive your official notice, please contact an authorized Subaru dealership to schedule an appointment to have this service performed free of cost. Until you have this service performed, please maintain your vehicle's engine speed below 6,700 RPM.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of assistance. If you need any future assistance, please let us know.

Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Dealer Services Department



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      This issue has do with a bad factory tune not driving past redline... High boost + no fuel = bye bye motor.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Forget the combustion issues. What about the rust issues?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have a 2002 WRX sedan I keep in good condition and wash at least once a month and wax it once a year. I live near the Pacific Coast and it still looks like new. The newer models tend to have a bit nicer paint quality than mine - especially since I didn't opt for the extra safety coat or whatever it was they offered.

        Seems strange newer models have rust "issues".

        How about some links, Tornado...
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Combustion", that makes me laugh, combustion is what happens naturally in an engine.

      Looks like Suburu is adopting Toyota's PR department. An unwanted combustion event is considered detonation, a much more scary (and n this case accurate) word. In a power adder car, detonation= bye bye engine. Looks like the ring lands are the weakest link in this motor.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And this is the best engine of the year category 2.0-2.5??? SUCK AWARD! ..... the 4b11 T is much most better!
        • 6 Years Ago
        A bad Subaru tune doesnt stop this engine from being well manufactured.

        This is an absolutely sound and amazing engine once you do your own custom tune (or even COBB Stage 1 it).

        It has massive potential for extra power on just a little bit of financial input.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "...under certain situations the Subaru 4-cylinder Boxer is still under high boost and the fuel cut-off causes the engine to run "over lean"..."

      So, really, they couldn't foresee a problem like this...?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Exceeding redline...really smart. Once again, technology replacing intelligence...it's called a REDLINE for a reason.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone know bore and stroke ?
      Be interesting to know piston speed @6700rpm
      T2
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish the ECU reflash somehow limited spark instead of fuel.


      also: Launch control!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The 07 fuel map had problems as well (apparent misfires between 2500 and 4500rpms that get worse the deeper you are into the throttle) but they haven't released an update for that that I know of.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lots of Subarus did that.

        My '06 Spec. B did that, they replaced the ECU on a campaign and it is mostly gone. My gas mileage is up 15% too, which I appreciate right now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Quite a few people on the subaru boards that are blowing engines. A lean factory tune in the upper rpm range seems to be blowing rings on the pistons.
      • 6 Years Ago
      toronado455, what rust issues? I've heard about the paint chipping issues, is this what you're referring to?

      As far as the reflash - this, coupled with the "Stop Sale" order (on turbo models, not just the STI), would make me rather reluctant to buy an '08 STI. Even though they say that only certain cars are affected, it makes you wonder. Hopefully, all of these issues will be taken care of before they ship any '09 models.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good to know.

      With the WRX getting some nice improvements - including more power - for '09, I wonder what changes are afoot for the STI.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanks for that.

        It is a bit disappointing. I was hoping for better seats and thinking that, if the WRX got a little more power, maybe the STI...
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