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Best Software For Tuning / Reflashing 2004 Subaru Forester XT Auto

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To be more specific, I have a ADM 2004 Subaru Forester XT ( Auto ) with 3" Turbo back catted exhaust, VF30 Turbo, Perrin Turbo Inlet Pipe, STI Intercooler, 38mm External Wastegate running 7psi boost currently as this has just been fitted, target boost will be 14 to 16psi max. ( External was fitted to stop heavy boost creep of 20+ psi boost , MAC style 3 port Boost control value.

I also have a cold air intake for the MAF but running the standard airbox and a K&N filter till I get the tune under control then I will fit the cold air intake and do the required scaling. I have also installed an AEM wide band Fuel Ratio gauge in the car to aid in tuning as I do not have easy or timely access to a dyne where I am.....

OK with all that out of the way for reference, I am just getting into the whole reflashing side of things and have a strong performance and turbo system background and knowledge, currently I have a Tatrix unit, ECUFlash and RomRaider ( for logging ) and I am slowly learning how to use them ( hence why I purchased this course ). This software is open source and support, training and other usage information is harder to come by.

Andre if you were starting over again now and owned the same car as me but having the knowledge you have now "what software would you use to specifically and solely use to tune Subaru's ( please remember my focus is ADM 2004 so it must cater fully for this ) I am looking at software like ECUedit, ECULABS... are these better supported, have downloadable maps, and preferably have an integrated Logger.... or is the a much better option that is reasonably cost effective?

The other option is COBB with my son runs on his 2010 Model WRX, I am told that they do not work on the ADM 2004 models... in your experience do they work and are maps available for them and if yes would this be a better and simpler option for me to go down.

Bottom line you may tell me just to stick with what I have but I need to ask the question and hope other members don't mind such a rookie question. Once I know what is the best longer term option is I will really invest the time to ensure I know how to use that software, again I am only interested in Subaru ECU's.

P.S. I am not looking at doing this for a living, just for fun on my own car/s... thanks in advance for the advice for a newbie to reflashing.

Attached Files

heaps of options here open source is a good option

google quickly brings up others to review

regards Ross

Hi Ross, thank you for the reply.... I am look for solid advice based on actual usage in the field, obviously every software package is going to have good points and bad points but I figure Andre and his team have done this for years and based on his real world working knowledge he ( or others ) may be able to say “hey if I was in your situation I would use this software because of these reasons”. I would take that advice and put dedicated time learning to use that software fully rather than jump from one to another to another because the grass is always greener on the other side and one person says this one is great, another says this one is fantastic but I have no idea of their background or real ability to suggest something without bais. I just want to have the comfort of getting good, solid, strategic advice.

Hi Gary,

You'll be pleased to know that we actually have just shot a worked example on the 08 V11 Subaru Sti using ECUflash and Romraider. I've used these products, along with ECUedit through my old shop to tune well over 100 Subarus of various generations. I've also used Cobb at their own facility to shoot the 2015 Subaru WRX worked example. Here's my take on things:

The first thing to consider is the cost. Open source is close to free where as a commercial system from the likes of Cobb is going to cost a reasonable amount of money. You get what you pay for though and Cobb offer accurate and complete definitions, along with proper documentation and support. With open source you're pretty much on your own - That's fine if you've got some experience and know what you're doing (which is where the worked example will help you).

The other advantage with Cobb is their OTS maps for their staged upgrades that do most of the hard work for you. That's only going to help you if you're using their approved parts though. They also offer custom features like real time tuning on many of the more common maps that require tuning, along with flex fuel support etc. If you want this sort of functionality it can be hard or impossible to achieve with open source options. Cpbb on the other hand don't support JDM model ROMs which is what we predominantly see in NZ, although I believe they do support ADM models but you'd need to check with Cobb for your specific model - Some of the older cars with ADM ROMs I'm pretty sure don't have support but later ones do.

ECUedit is a product I started using more recently and while you do pay for it, it's still quite cheap. The definitions are more accurate/reliable, and it has a built in logger which is nice, although no real issue using romraider for logging in my opinion. ECUedit offers some help with explanations of each map which can be useful when you're figuring out what a map actually does. You can get great results on any system as you're still mostly dealing with the underlying Subaru ECU architecture, although Cobb do tweak the way the factory ECU works to suit themselves.

The last consideration is whether your'e planning to tune multiple cars (in which case open source is probably a much more cost effective option), or it's for just one car (where the cost of a Cobb AP is less of an outlay).

Hopefully that helps you a little.

Hi Andre,

I value your experience and knowledge hence why I asked for your opinion and advice, Initially I really wanted to go down the Cobb path but I did contact Cobb and they said they did not support the ADM early models and their support focused on 2010 and up. This actually surprised me as they have kits for the 2004 Forester in the US but maybe the ECU is very different, this made me look down the ECUFlash and Romraider path but as some newer to the Reflashing ( not engine and mechanical as I have been building Turbo Systems for over 25 years ) I found the lack of defined, systematic, process driven information and training very frustrating....not to mention incredible time consuming. This is why I looked at the ECUedit over the last couple of weeks and it seems quite a complete package but again without the skill you have my judgements and evaluation is probably not on point.

How have you found the support, documentation and availability of definitions and maps from ECUedit?

The Logger in ECUeditis integrated but in your opinion is it effective and accurate?

I want to really focus myself down to learning the on package and become very, very effective on the Subaru ECU at this point. I just started going through the Practical Reflashing Training this week so really looking forward to seeing the 08 STI working example.

The definitions from ECUedit so far have been good. Certainly they have everything necessary defined, but I can't say that's the case for every ECU since we only tend to see JDM ECUs here in NZ. The tables have information explaining what they do, however at times this can be a little cryptic though. Ultimately if you can wait another couple of weeks our ECUflash worked example will be available and this will really provide all the info you're going to need to tune any generation Subaru.

The ECUedit logger is perfectly useable. No better or no worse than Romraider though. Either way I use MLVHD to do the analysis so you just need a generic OBD2 logger that can integrate external wideband support (either option does this).