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2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Long-Term Update 8

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/14/2015 Nate Martinez

"Wanna go check out the snow today?" I asked Tiffany, my girlfriend. We were inundated by newscasts announcing the arrival of snow. "Sure, let's go!" We bundled up ourselves and our four-legged friend, Chloe, and jumped inside the STI. Finally, I thought, another chance to properly test the Pirellis' M + S (Mud + Snow) grade. The snowline had dropped to 1,500 feet.

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We weren't alone in our excitement. A mass pilgrimage clogged the two-lane roads leading into Alpine and Julian and other Californian mountain communities. In just one night, they became the go-to destination.

Eight miles from central Julian and its famous apple pie, our crawling convoy came to a halt. Two wrecks rendered the road unpassable. Instead of warm pie we got tart traffic jam. But we made the best of the situation. I turned around and headed for a campground I remembered was steeped in snow. We stayed there, playing and snapping pictures for two hours.

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image In the end, everything worked out. Tiff and Chloe got to frolic in the winter wonderland; I got to use my Italian rubber as it was meant to be used. The STI's grip was never in doubt on the many snowed-over paths and roads.

The day furthered my appreciation for Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Pirelli's PZero All-Season tires. It also cemented the fact that Hawaii-born Tiff will shiver tremendously if left in the cold for too long. (Islanders are even more spoiled than San Diegans!) Good thing we had the standard heated seats to keep us defrosted

Heading down the sinuous mountain road, Tiff reminded me of one thing. "You still owe me my apple pie." Touch, Tiff.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition Long-Term Update 8

Weeks later, at just under 18,000 miles on the odometer, I received an email from Subaru of America. After reading my last update about my hard start dilemma, they offered to send a field service engineer to diagnose and fix my hard starts. I accepted and met with Don Heck, one of the region's top service engineers, at Subaru Pacific in Torrance, California. Don examined the car, focusing his attention on the fuel system and crankshaft's operation.

Don's a master technician who has modified and maintained countless Subarus. He's also been a part of a race-winning rally team. He's witnessed, diagnosed, and remedied it all, including what ailed our long termer: a faulty fuel regulator. Instead of maintaining fuel pressure at 10-15 psi after the engine shut off, the STI's regulator dropped pressure to about 5-10 psi. Hence, the occasional extra work — aka extended cranks or hard starts — needed to prime the fuel system and start the engine. Thanks to Don, the problem was righted and the car now starts without delay. I'm thankful that our Subaru has returned to top-notch shape, but it did take special treatment. Two dealers' service teams were unable to rectify the issue. Hopefully this is simply because of how infrequently they cross paths with a fuel regulator failure.

More on our 2015 Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition:

MotorTend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTend Image 2015-Subaru-WRX-STI-Launch-Edition-side1© Provided by MotorTrend 2015-Subaru-WRX-STI-Launch-Edition-side1
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