Project Bugeye GDA WRX: Fixing the Clutch with Exedy

by Mike Kojima

photos by Ian Pak


Poor Ian, MotoIQ's FNG's daily was his trusty Bugeye GDA WRX. The WRX has given many years of faithful service, but since joining the MotoIQ crew, Ian's commute has gotten much longer and the miles were taking their toll on the car which has over 200K miles.

The poor EJ205 engine is burning oil and requires engine rebuild in a can (so as not to quickly run out of oil), and the car's suspension is loose and floaty. To make matters worse, on his way to work, the car sprung a huge oil leak and oiled down the super old clutch, and Ian barely limped into the MotoIQ garage. 

Well, Ian has bought a base model Honda Civic to drive to work. The difference in gas mileage between that and the WRX almost makes up for his car payments! In the meanwhile, this frees up the WRX so we can work some magic on it.

To date, the WRX hasn't gotten as much love as its big brother the STI, and we are eager to explore the EJ205 to see what can be gotten out of it. We feel that the smaller engine is going to be happier to rev and possibly more robust. We will also be attacking the legendarily weak WRX 5 speed transmission to see if we can get it to be durable with more power. 

When all is done we would like to do a comparison between the Bugeye and our Blobeye GDB STI. First things first though was to get Ian's car back on the road, and that was going to require a new clutch.


For a clutch, we felt that we had to be careful with our selection. We had to get a clutch that could hold our anticipated future power level of about 400 hp. We also wanted the least aggressive clutch that could get the job done, so as not to put excessive shock on the transmission. 

To fill this need we turned to Exedy for their stage 1 organic clutch. Exedy is the OEM supplier of WRX clutches, so we felt that they would have a good handle on the platform. 


While we were changing the clutch, we figured that we should install a lightweight flywheel as well while we were in there. We chose Exedy's lightweight racing flywheel.

The Exedy flywheel is machined from a solid one-piece chromoly forging. The forging gives finer grain properties to the metal and orients the metal's grain flow in the direction that will best improve strength. 


The Exedy flywheel has lightening holes around the outer perimeter that will give the greatest reduction in inertia. The inner holes around the crank are designed to scoop cooling air through the clutch from the hub outward.
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Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 7:02 AM
Interested to see where this goes. In the process of assembling a frankenstein 5-speed for my bugeye (I have relatively modest power goals) out of a JDM STI base.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 7:12 AM
"Wow, Ian has s KAAZ straight cut gear set!"

Hopefully this wasn't a surprise to Ian :)

Very interested in this project as I have an '04 WRX that I hope to one day make into a Factory Five 818R.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 10:48 AM
MDR, haha it wasn't a surprise...although it was a surprise that it lasted this long. I got it about a decade ago after one of my friends grenaded my 2nd gear.

I am still toying around with the idea of strengthening the 5MT because I like the OEM gear ratios for daily driving...but it's the weak case design that is the issue. All signs point towards just saving myself tons of headache and swapping a 6speed in there!

But we'll see...
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 11:11 AM
Cryogenics? We got a guy!
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 12:19 PM
i've got a 2005 wrx, so i will be watching this closely.
Friday, September 08, 2017 2:49 PM
When I installed a lightened flywheel in my GS-R, the first thing I noticed was how fast the RPMs fell between shifts. I really had to change the lazy way I shifted before with the stock flywheel.
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