January 8

2011 Subaru WRX STI, TPMS Installation



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing good. 

Mark: We're talking about a 2011 Subaru WRXSTI, has a lot of digits. What is going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle was brought to us by a used car dealer who is exporting the vehicle to the US for sale. And the, one of the requirements for the vehicles that export to the US is it has to have a tire pressure monitoring system in it. Which this vehicle doesn't. In the Canadian market you don't need the tire pressure monitoring unit, it was never sold with it. But in the US you do need to have that. So we had to do a custom installation on that.

Mark: So that sounds like it might be quite a bit of complicated stuff to do, to install that. Is that right?

Bernie: It was. It's something, yeah, absolutely. There was a lot of complexity involved. A lot of research. And a number of different parts required.

Mark: So had you ever done this kind of a service on a Subaru previously?

Bernie: We have never done this on a Subaru. The only vehicle we did, it was many years ago, we put a tire pressure monitoring system in a Volkswagen. And at the time it was okay to export it with an aftermarket system, with a dash mounted unit. But that's no longer allowed. It has to be exactly like original. So yeah, we've never done anything like this. It was definitely a first time.

Mark: So what's involved in installing a TPMS on this WRX Subaru?

Bernie: Well there's a number of parts. And a lot of rewiring. And a lot of research. You know, before anything happened we had to do a lot of research to figure out what parts were needed. 

So I'll just show a few pictures here of a couple of items. Here is a photo of our nice STIWRX. Nice high performance, fast moving, turbo, all wheel drive, machine. This is some of the, this is the, looking at the wiring of the actual module. This is the TPMS module. This is one of the main components we had to install. And we had to purchase this module. This is sold in the US. It does tire pressure monitoring and keyless entry. Whereas the one in Canada, there's a module there but it only does keyless entry. The other thing we came across is the wiring connector. In the Canadian model it's a small connector with three wires. This one is a 12 pin plug, this is the US model, 12 pin plug with seven wires. So we had to acquire that from an auto wrecker as well. And then figure out how to wire that all in. And just as a last look, that's an actual picture of the module. So I kept a lot of documentation and information on this vehicle because I'm certain at some point we may have to do it again. So that's that. And also, I know this isn't gonna show very well on the screen, but this is a wiring diagram of the actual TPMS module. So that's where we got a lot of information. Studied it and figure out what wires go to where, and then after that it's a matter of just poking around under the hood and seeing what happens.

Mark: Okay, that sounds like a lot of work so far, what happened next?

Bernie: Yeah. So basically the lot of work includes, the other item I didn't mention is we had to install a tire pressure monitoring sensor in each wheel. So we did that. We put the module in. Figured out all the wiring. Wired it all up. The next step is to actually program the sensors to the computer. So we have the tool to do that. So we did that. Plugged it all in and of course I'm saying a little prayer, and it all worked really well. Just like it was in there from the factory.

Mark: Sounds like a great success story and the car was exported successfully to the United States?

Bernie: Yup. Yeah.

Mark: Would you be interested in doing that again? The same thing? 

Bernie: Oh yeah, absolutely. Now that we've done the Subaru I know for certain what needs to be done. One other thing I didn't mention is that the instrument panel needed to be replaced in a mile per hour format, reprogrammed. And the owner of this vehicle happened to have some connections and knew someone who did that kind of electronic programming. So this is another thing that needs to be done that I didn't mention. That we didn't do. But he had taken care of. So that helped out too. Cause the tire pressure monitoring light doesn't work, switch on in a Canadian car, so that had to be functional. But yeah, it's absolutely something we can do. As far as doing it on other brands of cars, it's really a matter of doing some research and finding out. But it is a lot of work and it is expensive. So if you're interested and you're in the Vancouver area call me and we can give you a quote or a guesstimate, because we never know until we get into it as to what it will cost.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking to export a Subaru or just need service on a Subaru in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book. You must book ahead, they're busy. Or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com we've got five years worth of videos on there. Or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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