Welcome to the club, congrats on the purchase. Well, first up is maintenance. Make sure the trans and engine oils are good, coolant isn't ancient (still has a low enough freezing temperature for the upcoming winter), brake fluid isn't full of water (don't want freezing lines or fade the first time you abuse the crap out of them as every 17 year old with an interest in cars will), that pads, rotors, and calipers are healthy (don't cheap out here), that your tires are in good condition and are ones that are good for learning with (don't just into high performance tires right away, they don't give the same feeling as they're about to cross over the limit, they just let go usually) then you can look into performance mods.
That out of the way, Fastworks tunes the cars. It's the most worthwhile mod to do to a 4G, and pays itself off in fuel economy after about 20,000 miles. Beyond that, it's extra power everywhere (especially mid range)
I'm gonna assume it's a GS as most are. The popular mods are a catback exhaust (go 2.25" as you'll be mainly driving at lower RPM as your daily, there's no need for a racing focussed powerband on a street car), RRE makes a header that'll remove the oh so commonly plugged cats and replaces the system with great exhaust scavenging (increasing power and fuel economy), DC Sports makes the best bang for your buck intake which is mainly just gonna change how the car sounds, score some cool points with friends, and make it so you stall out after splashing through deep puddles because it's a racecar (but your buddies will still laugh and think it's cool with you). Then there's the RRE underdrive pulley. It's worth about 8whp, will reduce stress on the motor, but adds vibration to the crankshaft when abusing the car. I beat the ever loving shit out of my first motor, it had the underdrive pulley, and what got me was a bent rod. Bearings looked flawless, very evenly worn on that motor when I took it apart. That was with a 7600rpm rev limit.
If I sound apathetic about some of those mods, it's because I was younger and did them too. I cared more about 3hp than having a car reliable to get me to write my exams. I wouldn't recommend it personally now that I'm old and boring. But feel free to make the same (fun) mistakes almost every car guy does. Don't be afraid of a ricer stage either, it'll just give you more to laugh at when you look back. But remember, rice costs more than function generally, and doesn't add value. Car mods aren't an investment unless your car is making you money. Otherwise it's just a hole to fill with $100 bills, and the size of the hole gets paid for with that money. It gets deeper faster than the hole ever fills. But drugs are expensive too, and so is knitting. So a hobby that lets you learn and have something at the end of the day can't be all that bad
Oh, and also, whatever works on the racetrack really well usually works like crap on the street, so keep that in mind. And if it just looks like a racing part but isn't, it's probably bad in both areas
I’ll echo Sabertooth^2... I’m not sure just how much you already know so I’ll start with basic stuff and go up.
First on your list is to get all the unsexy maintenance stuff done. It sucks, but if something goes sideways on you, you will wish you had done it....I personally have just done this myself because I just got my Eclipse too! And this is true for any new to you vehicle.
After that I have to agree that the Fastworks tuning software should be very high on your list. Fuel mileage savings and horsepower and you didn’t even need to turn a wrench. That’s high value, both in terms of cash and your time. And it will pay for itself if you keep the car long enough. Plus as your car is modified and you add go fast bits, you can alter the tune to get the most out of those bits.
After that, i guess you need to decide what you want to do with your car. Drag strip monster? Track days? Show car? Some kind of jack of all trades, master of none?
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