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Old 08-27-2008, 04:12 PM   #1
Wrinkleboi
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Default Dummie's Guide to Doing an STi Swap...

*I plan on revising / reorganizing this but just wanted to get something started for now...*

Intro
So I did a full 07 STi swap into my 03 Bugeye about a year ago and surprisingly I still get PMs very regularly from people interested in doing something similar. Some requests are more realistic than others but I try to respond to all of them with advice the best I can.
I figured it might make more sense to make a thread about it where some of us can combine our knowledge and experiences for those who are trying to research it.

This thread is open to any and all experienced swappers, and hopefully it will be full of good, knowledgeable, experienced insight on the different scenarios and options available, and the pros and cons to each.

I don't have a lot of time right now to write a short novel on things but I'll kick it off with the PM I just responded to someone with, please feel free to add to it, but please only post with information if you are 100% positive that it is correct.

You can view the documentation and photos of my swap HERE if you're interested...

So you think you've got what it takes, huh?
First off for those considering doing an STi swap, I'd tell you to consider just buying a used STi instead. It will most likely be cheaper in the end after all is said and done, and it will be a factory build which will greatly reduce the risk of any issues that may arise from getting your paws on just about every single bolt, wire, and hose on the car. Swaping is not something I'd recommend for everyone, thats for sure. Its pretty involved and can be quite expensive.
However if you've read this far and are still intent on doing something a little more unique and challenging then word up... I'll try to help you out on your journey. It certainly can be done, and the results can be fantastic.
Additionally, if you're intent on keeping your WRX and swapping one way or another, in most cases I much prefer the complete engine swap to doing a 'hybrid' which is a 2.5L shortblock mated to WRX heads. The cost of parts and labor adds up with that most of the time, and the dollar/hp and dollar/effort ratios just arent there IMO versus a complete STi engine swap.

The road splits here, choose a path
When going WRX to STi, here are the three options that come to mind
...
1) STi motor only with original WRX wiring and ecu (AVCS wont work, not a big deal)
if you do motor only you will reuse your wrx intake manifold and throttle body, all of your original wiring including engine harness, original ecu, and so on.
You will need a currently backordered gruppe-s cam position sensor adapter to make this work. Cosworth also sells one that is in stock, but I haven't verified if it works well or not yet.

2) STi motor only with original wrx wiring and standalone like a Hydra (AVCS will work with harness)
if you do motor only with standalone you can get AVCS to work, but the Hydra is expensive and there are disadvantages to a standalone (as well as advantages).
You will need a currently backordered gruppe-s cam position sensor adapter to make this work. Cosworth also sells one that is in stock, but I haven't verified if it works well or not yet.

3) STi motor, complete wiringwiring, ecu, and more to make it all work including operational AVCS
if you want to do motor, wiring, ecu, etc. then it will require a lot more parts... you will need to pull out all of the original chassis wiring out of your car headlight to taillight and replace it with STi, you'll need a complete STi motor with engine harness, as well as many accessories like ecu, immobilizer system (if an 05+ STi), gauge cluster, abs controller and hardlines, dbw gas pedal with adapter bracket, and so on.

I recommend the first option because it is about 60% of the cost and about 30% of the effort to pull off and you get 90% of the benefit. the only drawback is you will not have an operational AVCS which aids in spoolup and a bit of torque, but it doesn't make a big difference so its not a big deal considering the added cost and complexity.

If you are paying a shop for the swap, plan on $1200+ for the labor of the motor only option and $3000+ for the complete conversion.

Some Inspiration
And since there's a whole lotta text on this page, lets add a couple pretty photos, cause I know you guys like that. Perhaps a little inspiration...

Nothing goes better with a pretty red intake manifold than a set of EDM Bugeye headlights


07 Interior Conversion: Gauge Cluster, Steering Wheel, Center Console, JDM Seats/Doorcards, etcetera


I'm tempted to whore out more photos but we'll try to stick to the facts here, so those are my 'finished' photos of the swap that I have handy...
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Last edited by Wrinkleboi; 09-03-2008 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:16 PM   #2
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Wait, did I spell dummy wrong?
That's gotta be a blow to my credibility... hahaha. Oh well... thats what I get for trying to post this from work
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:46 PM   #3
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Now Acompany this with an idiots guide to the " Search" and you may have a complete guide
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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Nice photos; that interior shot is great.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:07 AM   #5
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Ok so instance an 02 Wrx to 04 Sti complete with wiring and ecu...still need the gauge cluster and Abs harness?
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:13 PM   #6
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If you're swapping in an 04 STi then you dont need to worry about any of the immobilizer stuff so that makes it easier, and I am not positive but the plug on the gauge cluster might be the same between WRX and STi for that year so you could go either way on that... anyone who's done that install would know better than me though.
Also not sure on ABS, I believe it might be the same for 04 and that they changed to a newer system/wiring/lines in 05 or 06.
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:26 PM   #7
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On a suggestion from a fellow member I thought I would post my info and what help I need on my swap in this thread...

Here Goes:::

Quick info: My car is an 06 Base Model 2.5i. The car already has drive by wire, so the pedal setup is the same...Ive also found a variety of similarities in certain components.

What I have as far as engine/wiring goes, is an 04 STI longblock motor that is being built up. Now my intention is to purchase an 07 STI engine harness so it will plug into the 07 Dash harness I got.

Heres the pain in the butt: my questions + uncertainties.

1. I know that an 07 STI is auto hvac...am I able to simply purchase the auto-hvac controls(Center console) and complete heater box aseembly and install it without issues? Ive heard from some people that because of the auto-hvac box having servos and such that the dash bar and possibly firewall need to be modified...is this tru, at least from your install experience ?

2. Also with regards to the auto-hvac, theres a light sensor on the upper portion of the dash..how did you get that to work? did you swap the dash panel ? or did you just purchase and install an oem light sensor by drilling a hole ?

3. If im not mistaken the 06+ STI's have yaw sensor input. I am under the impression that this comes from the steering column...does this mean I have to swap over an STI steering column ? or did you not notice a drastic difference in your column and the 07 STI one you installed ?

4. I read in your thread that there may have been an issue with the ABS and the plug or plug-in ? But then you said everyhting went together. I guess Im just verifying it all plugged in.

5. With regards to an ECU/Immoblizer, I have both from the same car, but do I have to have the matching gauge cluster? or can I simply purchase an STI gauge cluster and be ok ? I know my local dealer can cut a key for me, but the gauge cluster is my concern

Damn Im sorry to drop so much crap on everyone, this just seems to be stuff that the people I talk to cant answer...for some reason.

Thanks for any input...

Last edited by BlackFlame; 02-01-2009 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:22 PM   #8
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Wrinkleboi? Now that's a screenname I haven't come across in a long time. Good to see you still posting...
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:44 PM   #9
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do you know anyone that wrote a swap guide for a 2.5RS to a STI?
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:13 AM   #10
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hey wrinkleboi, this is a good write up man. it's really making me considering ditching the hybrid idea for just a sti longblock with the cam sensor adapter..
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:26 AM   #11
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My .02 for the bugeye RS/WRX to STi DIY'ers going with option #3:

1. If at all possible, search for an entire donor car with a fully operable engine/tranny. Or try to piecemeal everything from the same MY to make your swap/life slightly easier.

2. Download a copy of the donor car's manual (things change year to year) and a copy of your car's manual, YOU WILL NEED IT FOR ANY WIRING! $15/ea from tradebit.com

3. DON'T GET RID OF ANYTHING UNTIL SWAP IS DONE AND RUNNING!! Not even the shell of the donor car! (I have had to go back and get a bolt here or there from my STi donor.)

4. The easiest way to remove/reinstall the entire drivetrain is through the front and rear subframes, trust me.

5. If re-using the WRX subframe, you will need to reuse the WRX engine crossmember/cradle.

6. Patience is a virtue.....don't break stuff!

7. For 05+ STi's, you will need the gauge cluster and steering column from the same car due to immobilizer/security equipment. The 05+ STi gauge cluster is coded to work with ECU/security system and SoA are the only ones that can re-code it per my dealership service manager friend.

8. When switching from cable throttle to DBW, you WILL need an adapter plate to mount the throttle pedal. East Coast Swappers have them.

9. If swapping in the entire front STi harness in, the wiper motor plugs are different. Swap out the motors themselves and all will be well, just make sure you tighten everything up to spec.

10. Do your research!

11. If it doesn't fit, don't force it. Unless, of course, you know what you're doing.

12. Labels are your best friend when removing stuff.

13. If you don't feel like swapping out gas tanks/rear harnesses, the STi main fuel sending unit bolts right in.

If you don't have a whole lot of experience working on cars and you are doing your own swap, make sure you have access to someone who knows what you are doing more than you do. Doing it yourself will challenge you, but I guarantee you will be able to dissect your car in your sleep when you're done! Plus, you will have the joy of owning a car you can say you built!

Last edited by STimedic; 09-03-2008 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:42 AM   #12
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hey for option 1, since avcs doesn't work. can we put non-avcs cams in the heads?
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:00 AM   #13
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Nope. Cam gear mounting points are different.

Last edited by STimedic; 09-03-2008 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02Rexboy View Post
7. For 05+ STi's, you will need the gauge cluster and steering column from the same car due to immobilizer/security equipment. The 05+ STi gauge cluster is coded to work with ECU/security system and SoA are the only ones that can re-code it per my dealership service manager friend.
Sorry to say, but your service manager friend is mistaken there. I'm running a full 07 STI swap in my older RS and am using my own gauge cluster and steering column.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:34 AM   #15
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Yeah I've been told that the wiring goes through the cluster, however the cluster itself does not contain any immobilizer bits, so it doesn't have to be programmed like the immobilizer ecu, the key ring, and the ecu itself. I have no experience with an immobilizer system using a non-original gauge cluster to prove this, but luckily we have an expert on the subject right above me.

As far as non-AVCS cams you absolutely can run non-AVCS cams... but they have to be made for a 2.5L STi, not for a WRX. Of course any cams made for the STi engine will fit into your STi engine.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:45 AM   #16
Wrinkleboi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackFlame View Post
1. I know that an 07 STI is auto hvac...am I able to simply purchase the auto-hvac controls(Center console) and complete heater box aseembly and install it without issues? Ive heard from some people that because of the auto-hvac box having servos and such that the dash bar and possibly firewall need to be modified...is this tru, at least from your install experience ?

2. Also with regards to the auto-hvac, theres a light sensor on the upper portion of the dash..how did you get that to work? did you swap the dash panel ? or did you just purchase and install an oem light sensor by drilling a hole ?

3. If im not mistaken the 06+ STI's have yaw sensor input. I am under the impression that this comes from the steering column...does this mean I have to swap over an STI steering column ? or did you not notice a drastic difference in your column and the 07 STI one you installed ?

4. I read in your thread that there may have been an issue with the ABS and the plug or plug-in ? But then you said everyhting went together. I guess Im just verifying it all plugged in.

5. With regards to an ECU/Immoblizer, I have both from the same car, but do I have to have the matching gauge cluster? or can I simply purchase an STI gauge cluster and be ok ? I know my local dealer can cut a key for me, but the gauge cluster is my concern

Damn Im sorry to drop so much crap on everyone, this just seems to be stuff that the people I talk to cant answer...for some reason.

Thanks for any input...
First, I might know of someone with an 07 STi Engine Harness if you're interested. Buying new would be really expensive I'd think.

1) I had no clearance or fitment issues with the complete 07 STi HVAC system going into my 03 shell. I also may be able to source the center console for you, but don't hold your breath on it.

2) We drilled a small hole in my original dash for the temp sensor, looks OEM.

3) This is where I'm not sure because I did the complete swap so didnt have to mess with any interchangeability here. If the Yaw sensor is indeed on the steering column (I dont know), then obviously you wouldn't have one. However I think this may only affect the oem DCCD system of the 6MT, I'm not aware of it affecting ABS, Traction Control, or anything else. Of course I don't know any of this for sure so anyone please correct me if I'm wrong. If it only affects the oem DCCD then this wont be an issue unless you are doing the complete engine and transmission swap and plan to use the oem dccd system. There are also standalone systems out there like the ones made by Spiider which are a great option.

4) I believe that in 06 (not positive right now) they changed the ABS control unit and wiring for it so the plugs dont match up and there are a different number of wires. If you're doing 07 wiring, you'll want to find an 06+ ABS control unit and engine bay hard lines. You could bend your own lines if you want but I just wanted mine looking very oem.

5) For the immobilizer you need the main ecu, immobilizer ecu, and key. Those things all need to be programmed the same. You also need an STi key ring (attached to the steering column but you could take it off if you drill the bolts out), which has a receiver in it for the chip in the key, I'm pretty sure this doesn't get programmed but it does need to be present in the system. Like mentioned above you shouldn't need a matching gauge cluster either but one will need to be wired into the system for the car to function.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentt View Post
Sorry to say, but your service manager friend is mistaken there. I'm running a full 07 STI swap in my older RS and am using my own gauge cluster and steering column.
I too heard the same advice from another Subaru tech that the 07+ STI needs the matching gauge cluster. Something in their training or documentation must hint at this.

Either way its good to know that its not required for the 07. I can verify first hand that its not needed for the 04 or 05 USDM STI.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:06 PM   #18
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Thanks for the info guys..this helps and relieves some of my concerns about the whole big messy ordeal. If the steering column is indeed host to the YAW sensors, which aid in the function of the DCCD system then I will most likely upgrade my steering column when and if I swap in a 6mt driveline.

Glad the gauge cluster is not needed....

Glad the HVAC setup will bolt right in (i had a feeling it would)

I have an 06 2.5i so Im 99% sure the ABS pump/setup is the same..Ill check the harness plug-in thats currently in my car against the wiring plug on the 07 harness.

Thanks for this stuff fella's..keep it all comin.

Also...anyone that may have parts (as some have mentioned above) please hit me up..its definately a project budget build and every trimmed corner helps.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:36 PM   #19
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OP - great thread, thanks for pulling it together. The pictures have already answered a few questions I had rattling around in my head. I'm just starting my swap and this thread has been added to my library of references.

Not to jack the thread, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 02Rexboy View Post
My .02 for the bugeye RS/WRX to STi DIY'ers going with option #3:

4. The easiest way to remove/reinstall the entire drivetrain is through the front and rear subframes, trust me.

6. Patience is a virtue.....don't break stuff!

8. When switching from cable throttle to DBW, you WILL need an adapter plate to mount the throttle pedal. East Coast Swappers have them.

12. Labels are your best friend when removing stuff.
#4 - I've seen it done, but any thoughts on pulling and stabbing the motor and tranny as one unit (I don't have a lift)?

#6 - Yep, walk away when you start throwing tools across the garage.

#8 - Thanks, exactly what I was looking for.

#12 - I'm buying stock in Glad Plastic baggies.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:42 PM   #20
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What about Sti longblock in an 02 with stock wiring and ecu... Use Wrx turbo till I get it to the shop to be tuned? Vf34 to the shop? How's the stock 2.0 ecu gonna like that? I've got a complete wiring harness with dash harness and dbw pedal for sale if anyone wants it?
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:25 AM   #21
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i would like to add to something. i've followed your build thread pretty well and i remember you needed to add some Air Pump Delete Plates. i'm guessing you will need these also if your planning on doing path #1 with a newer motor?

i've been really thinking hard about the path #1 compared to a hybrid build. the cost seems to be equivalent. buying a sti longblock still cost around 3000-5000? depending on where you get it from. thats pretty much how much a good hybrid build would run for. decisions decisions..
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:41 AM   #22
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as for the security on the 05+ i'm uncertain on wht needs to be done... do i need the key ring that goes where exactly and does what??
i've also decided to go with the full STi harness on my 02 i know its alot of work but its time to learn i figure by the time i'm ready for my swap i should be set on knowledge... my questions are
1) will an 04 STi harness be a better fit for my 02
2) is going with an 05+ really worth all the extra work
3) if i buy a whole wrecked STi will i still need to buy extra parts to make the swap work?
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:53 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentt View Post
Sorry to say, but your service manager friend is mistaken there. I'm running a full 07 STI swap in my older RS and am using my own gauge cluster and steering column.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrinkleboi View Post
Yeah I've been told that the wiring goes through the cluster, however the cluster itself does not contain any immobilizer bits, so it doesn't have to be programmed like the immobilizer ecu, the key ring, and the ecu itself. I have no experience with an immobilizer system using a non-original gauge cluster to prove this, but luckily we have an expert on the subject right above me..
I was only saying that that was what was told to me because they said they couldn't wire my ECU and security system into one of their tech's STi to diagnose my current issue, and I can't realistically send my car back Stateside for them to figure it out. He said that's what SoA told him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ciper View Post
I too heard the same advice from another Subaru tech that the 07+ STI needs the matching gauge cluster. Something in their training or documentation must hint at this.

Either way its good to know that its not required for the 07. I can verify first hand that its not needed for the 04 or 05 USDM STI.
My swap is from an 05, but once again, you all have better first-hand experience on that part because of the hybrid stuff, mine was a straight swap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beaviscih View Post
Not to jack the thread, but...

#4 - I've seen it done, but any thoughts on pulling and stabbing the motor and tranny as one unit (I don't have a lift)?
Wrinkleboi would probably have a better answer on that one, but I would have to say it'd take quite a few sets of jackstands (4 to hold up the car, 4-5 for the engine/tranny via subframe), an engine hoist (hold the engine/tranny by a grade 8 bolt through the dog-bone mount on the tranny, it worked for me, no issues, was hanging by that for almost a week before we got to bolting everything back in) and 1-2 floor jacks. I used a large tranny jack to lift the rear subframe into the car, so you'll have to find a way to do that without a lift, but Wrinkleboi would prolly know more on that.

Once again, just my experience, results may vary.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugeye-brawler View Post
as for the security on the 05+ i'm uncertain on wht needs to be done... do i need the key ring that goes where exactly and does what??
i've also decided to go with the full STi harness on my 02 i know its alot of work but its time to learn i figure by the time i'm ready for my swap i should be set on knowledge... my questions are
1) will an 04 STi harness be a better fit for my 02
2) is going with an 05+ really worth all the extra work
3) if i buy a whole wrecked STi will i still need to buy extra parts to make the swap work?
The key ring is around the ignition on the STi steering column. If you buy a whole, entire wrecked STi, you will only need to replace the possible broken parts on the STi. (Had to replace the timing belt outer covers on mine.)
If you go 05 and swap front/engine/dash harnesses minimum, you will need to swap out the door harnesses unless you want to graft in the window switches, the plugs are slightly different between 02 and 05. You will have to atleast swap the drivers' door harness out to retain use of the power mirrors. If you re-use the 02 center dash/console, the DCCD sensor box will have clearance issues with the cupholder and mirror switch.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:18 AM   #25
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: san francisco, ca
Vehicle:
90BJ Legacy LS ABS
AWD 946 Rio Red Jpn built

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugeye-brawler View Post
as for the security on the 05+ i'm uncertain on wht needs to be done... do i need the key ring that goes where exactly and does what??
The immobilizer security is a matched set of three items. The ECU, the immobilizer box (right between your knees) and the Key. The antenna is universal and is hidden inside the lit part of the keyhole on the column. It is easily detachable and has a two pin connector that plugs directly into the immobilizer.

The Security light on the cluster is a good indicator of how happy the immobilizer is in the event you have problems starting the car. Since I retained the old dash and gauge cluster I used a volt meter to watch the security lights output from the ECU.

Its technically possible for a Subaru dealership to remarry keys/ecu/immobilizer combos but they are usually either ignorant to the idea or unwilling to mess with a modified car.
Because of this make sure you get at least one key with the ECU/Immobilizer.

*Note: You don't have to actually start the car with this key. You can put the antenna/key/immobilizer anywhere in the car you want which essentially defeats the security purpose. The ignition switch is totally separate from the equation.

Edit: If anyone knows of a dealer that will reprogram the immobilizer without the original vehicle please PM me. I have a matched working set with a partially broken ecu (no power to the throttle motor) and an orphaned ECU of the same type and it would be nice to create a working set.

Last edited by ciper; 09-04-2008 at 02:24 AM.
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