Can a Forged Internals Upgrade Extend the Engine Life of a High-Mileage Subaru WRX?

April 15, 2024

As car enthusiasts, you’ve probably spent countless hours debating the advantages and drawbacks of different modifications to your beloved vehicle. One topic that often arises is whether upgrading to forged internals can prolong the life of a high-mileage Subaru WRX’s engine. With the WRX’s engine, known for its power, resilience, and responsiveness, the question of prolonging its lifespan is undeniably attractive.

In this article, we’ll examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of this modification, exploring the role of various engine components like the block, pistons, and oil system. Let’s delve right in, shall we?

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The Subaru WRX Engine

Before we discuss the potential impact of forged internals on your Subaru WRX’s engine, it’s crucial to understand the engine’s basics. The WRX is a car with a formidable reputation, much of which is due to its incredible engine.

The heart of this beast is a turbocharged, horizontally-opposed "boxer" engine. This configuration gives the WRX unique handling characteristics while also providing a significant amount of power. It can handle a great deal of stress, but like any engine, it will eventually start to show signs of wear and tear after many thousands of miles.

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Upgrading to Forged Internals

So, how can forged internals help prolong the life of your WRX’s engine? Well, the term "forged" refers to the process by which the engine’s pistons, rods, and crankshaft are made. Instead of casting the metal into shape, a forging process is used to compress the metal under intense pressure, creating parts that are denser and stronger than those made from cast metal.

So why should you consider upgrading to forged internals? The answer is simple: durability. Forged pistons, for instance, can handle more heat and pressure than their cast counterparts, making them an excellent choice for high-performance applications like the turbocharged WRX.

The Role of the Engine Block

Perhaps one of the most fundamental components of any car engine is the block. This part, often cast from iron or aluminum, houses the pistons, cylinders, and often the crankshaft. The WRX’s block, in particular, is known for its strength and durability. But even the best blocks will eventually wear down after many miles of use.

With a forged internals upgrade, the block might last longer because the stronger pistons and rods can better withstand the rigors of high-performance driving. However, don’t forget that even a good block will require regular maintenance and attention to oil changes to keep it in top shape.

The Importance of Oil in the Engine

Another often overlooked factor when considering the lifespan of an engine is the oil. Oil serves many critical roles in an engine, from lubricating moving parts to helping to cool the engine by carrying heat away from vital components.

For a high-performance car like the WRX, good oil is crucial. It helps to reduce friction and wear on all components, whether they’re forged or cast. While forged components can withstand more stress, they still need oil to function correctly. Regular oil changes and using high-quality oil can help to prolong the lifespan of your engine, regardless of whether or not you’ve upgraded to forged internals.

While there’s no definitive answer to whether a forged internals upgrade will extend the life of your high-mileage Subaru WRX, it’s clear that such an upgrade certainly has the potential to enhance durability. However, it’s always essential to consider other factors, like regular maintenance, proper oil changes, and good driving habits, which can also significantly impact your engine’s lifespan. Remember, every piece of your engine plays a part in its overall performance and longevity. With the right care and attention, you can keep your Subaru WRX running powerfully for many more miles to come.

So next time you’re debating a potential upgrade or modification for your car, remember to consider all aspects of the change. And remember, forged internals could be a valuable asset in your quest for extended engine life.

The Necessity of a Robust Oil System

When discussing the potential benefits and longevity of a forged engine, particularly for a high-performance vehicle such as the Subaru WRX STI, you cannot overlook the importance of a robust and efficient oil system. This includes components such as the oil pan and oil pressure mechanisms, which play a significant role in ensuring the engine is properly lubricated and cooled.

A robust oil system, especially in a built engine, helps to distribute oil effectively throughout the engine, ensuring every moving part, from the head studs to the forged pistons, is well-lubricated. This lubrication reduces friction which can contribute to wear and tear, ultimately extending the life of your engine. However, for a forged internals like the Subaru WRX, the value of the oil system is amplified.

The oil pan, for instance, holds the oil when the engine isn’t running and allows it to cool down. A good oil pan will ensure that the oil pump can easily pick up the oil and distribute it throughout the engine, while also helping to cool the oil after it has circulated through the engine’s hotter parts.

Meanwhile, the oil pressure regulator helps to maintain the right amount of oil pressure throughout your engine. This is especially important in a turbocharged car like the Subaru WRX, where oil pressure can dramatically fluctuate under different driving conditions.

In the case of a built engine with forged internals, investing in a high-quality oil system can enhance the benefits of the forged components. By ensuring that all parts of the engine receive sufficient lubrication and cooling, you can further prolong the lifespan of your WRX STI’s engine. However, it always remains crucial to develop a routine of regular oil changes and to use high-quality oil.

The Benefits of a Closed Deck Block

In the WRX STI engine, the relationship between the forged pistons and the short block is crucial. In most Subaru engines, the short block, which includes components like the pistons and cylinders, is a semi-closed deck. However, for more power and durability, many WRX owners and forum members opt for a closed deck block, which Crawford Performance offers.

A closed deck design helps to mitigate the risks of cylinder distortion and cracking under high loads, making it a preferred choice for high-performance and turbocharged engines. The structure provides greater stability and strength, allowing the engine to withstand higher combustion pressures and temperatures.

For a Subaru WRX STI with forged internals, a closed deck block can enhance the engine’s durability and performance. The stronger, more rigid structure can better support the increased stress and heat that come with high-performance driving. Moreover, it can also enhance the advantages of forged pistons, which are capable of handling more heat and pressure than their cast counterparts.


To answer the question, "Can a forged internals upgrade extend the engine life of a high-mileage Subaru WRX?" we can confidently say, "Yes!" However, it is important to remember that an upgrade to forged internals is only part of the equation. Additional factors such as regular maintenance, a robust oil system, high-quality oil changes, and good driving habits also contribute significantly to your Subaru WRX’s engine longevity and performance.

Furthermore, engine modifications should be well thought out, taking into consideration various factors such as the type of block (closed deck or semi-closed deck), the quality of the forged pistons and other internals, and the efficiency of the oil system.

In conclusion, a forged internals upgrade can significantly increase the lifespan of your Subaru WRX’s engine, particularly when combined with other essential maintenance practices. Therefore, investing in forged internals is a smart move for any Subaru owner interested in power, performance, and longevity. However, it is the combination of all these elements that will truly make your Subaru STI engine stand the test of time.