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Old 02-27-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
Mike03Subaru
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Question Debating on swapping my 2002 impreza rs to wrx motor? Need advice!

So first off i want to say i'm completely new to this... which is why i need some advice!

I have a 2002 impreza rs 5-speed, which is completely stock. It runs fine but i'm getting up to 200k miles on her and for a summer project i would really love to swap in a new motor. not the STI motor, but just a 2.0l wrx motor.

My questions for this would be:
1. What parts would i need for this project, and which parts could i keep that would work from my rs now?

2. Should i look for a salvaged wrx? and where to look? (i live in Washington), or should i just look to buy a wrx motor along with tranny?

3. Which wrx motor would be easiest? my guess would be the matching 02-03 2.0L wrx motor, but like i said i don't know much.

4. And last how much would i be looking to spend through each route?

I've been looking for a forum on something like this but i only find the older RS's, and my thinking would be that a new RS of the same year wrx should be easy to swap right?

Not looking to sell my car and buy a wrx either...

Any help or advice would be awesome! Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #2
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I swapped a ej257 into my car, the most annoying this will be the wiring but the rest really isn't to tough. Just remember you can't run the wrx clutch with the rs trans.
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:18 AM   #3
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Ahh so what all did you end up swapping in? and how much about did this project cost? thanks!
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:04 PM   #4
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Someones got to have some knowledge on this, anything will help! or if there is any forum i overlooked on this, thanks again!
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:34 PM   #5
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Many ppl do on this forum but they will tell you to search and do a lot of reading. I'm in a similar stage as you at the moment. Get familiar with the forums and let's read up!
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:52 PM   #6
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Frank @ Millenium auto helped me out with a list of what I'd need, and he can seel it to you as well. I will be doing something similiar in the future, I will be buying a salvage vehicle, either an sti for $5000-$6000 (wrecked front end, engine may need work) or a wrx $1000-$2000 and putting a jdm 2L. if you buy a salvage vehicle, you know you have everything you need, if you can wait for parts in the middle of your swap (in case someone forgot a part that you need or something) then you may be cheaper to buy as parts.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:08 PM   #7
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If you decide to hook up the wiring yourself, I would recommend IWire to merge your two harnesses together.

Look it up for your reference:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/IWire-...15786161784988
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:41 PM   #8
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I know it sounds fun but run the numbers and you will find it MUCH cheaper to sell your car in its current state and buy a 2002 WRX. Then you get everything from the WRX with no gremlins or incompatibilities plus if you ever decide to sell it then its a regular car than anyone would buy and not devalued because only other forum members want it for spare parts.

Trust me. I speak from experience.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ciper View Post
I know it sounds fun but run the numbers and you will find it MUCH cheaper to sell your car in its current state and buy a 2002 WRX. Then you get everything from the WRX with no gremlins or incompatibilities plus if you ever decide to sell it then its a regular car than anyone would buy and not devalued because only other forum members want it for spare parts.

Trust me. I speak from experience.
I am not sure about the US, but this is not true for Canada, a decent wrx 02-03 is still $5K-$8K, so the $2500 you can buy an rs for and the $1500 or less that you can get a salvage running wrx, would still be $1000 cheaper than the cheapest decent wrx around here. I saw one the other day, 02 wrx with over 400,000 kms (250,000 mi) being sold at $4499 firm.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:51 AM   #10
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I think you had better do some research about the price of an RS. On average an equal WRX and RS are only 25% different in price. If for example the WRX was 8k the RS of equal condition would be 6k.

Shoot, even a 99 RS coupe would still sell for 5k.

I DARE you to show me an RS for 2500. Not L or LS or some other random trim either. I'd also like to see a salvage 02+ WRX for 1500.

Dont take my word for it though. Go through some numbers into KBB and Edmunds. NO U
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciper View Post
I think you had better do some research about the price of an RS. On average an equal WRX and RS are only 25% different in price. If for example the WRX was 8k the RS of equal condition would be 6k.

Shoot, even a 99 RS coupe would still sell for 5k.

I DARE you to show me an RS for 2500. Not L or LS or some other random trim either. I'd also like to see a salvage 02+ WRX for 1500.

Dont take my word for it though. Go through some numbers into KBB and Edmunds. NO U
I've seen 4 or 5 salvage wrxs for $1000-$1500, I purchased my rs for under $5K and I'va had the opportunity to buy 2 different ones since then, both under $3K. with the labor being free, there's no doubt in my mind you could do it cheaper than selling yours and buying one.

here's an example - Auto Trader Canada
05 rs with 116xxxkms - $7500 (from a dealer)
04 wrx with 131xxxkms - $11700 (from a dealer)
thats newer with less kms, for $4000 cheaper. now add in that you can sell all the parts from the salvage wrx that he doesn't need and then scrap it, thats easily $700-$1000 back from doing the swap. even if the salvage wrx costs you $2000, and $500 to go get it, that swap still ony costs $1500. if you are willing to do the work, and spend the time working out the kinks, and can afford your car to be done for a week or two, you WILL save money by doing a swap (if you wait for the right deals).
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:09 PM   #12
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here's the private party from kbb, not even the trade-in -
http://www.kbb.com/subaru/impreza/20...ue&anchor=true

$3600 for "good" only $4000 for "excellent", not sure where your shopping for subarus, but they are ripping you off.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:11 PM   #13
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anyways, back to the op, best bet is to buy a salvage wrx because you will have all the parts, the entire harness swap is the easiest way, but it will be a little longer.
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:40 AM   #14
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Are you intentionally playing the shell game to be win the argument?
In your first reply to me you said "a decent wrx 02-03 is still $5K-$8K" then just now you posted a KBB link showing an 02 RS being worth 4k with 170k miles
I'll play along. Your 02 RS with 170k goes for 4k in good condition according to kbb, and an 02 WRX also with 170k is listed for 5800 in the same condition. 70% of 5800 is 4k, pretty close to the 25% difference I originally quoted.

You forgot the cost of refurbishing or replacing parts on the garbage WRX. This mythical salvage WRX for 1500 dollars is going to have damage (or it wouldn't be salvage). You then have an engine/trans of unknown condition since you can't drive it. Doing all the labor yourself its going to cost 500-1000 just to refurb the engine assume there is no damage

It all sounds so easy on paper. You want him to -
Strip two cars down
List all the left over parts and gather money from the people
Put the second car back together
Wait for the right deals on the additional parts

What is he supposed to drive during this time? Where is he supposed to store two unusable cars and the pile of associated parts? Do you understand that a swapped car is often unable to be sold? Both because of the stigma of everything being messed with but also that some areas have trouble with registration when the engine size and type has been changed.

If this is so cheap and easy why doesn't he just buy the salvage WRX and fix it to drive?

Mike03Subaru I'm not lying. Unless you have lots of free time and can deal with your car not running for 6 months to a year and a pile of parts to store you'll be much happier just buying the car you wanted. This will be a project car, not a plug and play daily driver. There will be gremlins. I want to ask, why the attachment to the current car that you refuse to sell it?
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #15
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Are you intentionally playing the shell game to be win the argument?
In your first reply to me you said "a decent wrx 02-03 is still $5K-$8K" then just now you posted a KBB link showing an 02 RS being worth 4k with 170k miles
I'll play along. Your 02 RS with 170k goes for 4k in good condition according to kbb, and an 02 WRX also with 170k is listed for 5800 in the same condition. 70% of 5800 is 4k, pretty close to the 25% difference I originally quoted.

You forgot the cost of refurbishing or replacing parts on the garbage WRX. This mythical salvage WRX for 1500 dollars is going to have damage (or it wouldn't be salvage). You then have an engine/trans of unknown condition since you can't drive it. Doing all the labor yourself its going to cost 500-1000 just to refurb the engine assume there is no damage

It all sounds so easy on paper. You want him to -
Strip two cars down
List all the left over parts and gather money from the people
Put the second car back together
Wait for the right deals on the additional parts

What is he supposed to drive during this time? Where is he supposed to store two unusable cars and the pile of associated parts? Do you understand that a swapped car is often unable to be sold? Both because of the stigma of everything being messed with but also that some areas have trouble with registration when the engine size and type has been changed.

If this is so cheap and easy why doesn't he just buy the salvage WRX and fix it to drive?

Mike03Subaru I'm not lying. Unless you have lots of free time and can deal with your car not running for 6 months to a year and a pile of parts to store you'll be much happier just buying the car you wanted. This will be a project car, not a plug and play daily driver. There will be gremlins. I want to ask, why the attachment to the current car that you refuse to sell it?
there is a salvage wrx that sold yesterday for $1100, all it was missing was the intercooler and the alternator. The only reason I used kbb was because you said you looked up those numbers and I didn't, those numbers aren't accurate to where I live, but was just to show how out to lunch your numbers were, "an rs should still go for more than $5K". you also ignored my other price comparison, how convenient for you. I can do the wrx swap for $1200, probably less, but regardless that still makes it cheaper to do the swap. I forgot to add in there, people with wrx are the same as sport bike owners, they think there cars are worth more than they are, and sell them like that. even if they were the same price, I, myself, would still rather do the swap.

the op wasn't asking if he should do a swap or buy a wrx, he was asking details about doing a swap to his rs, so if you have nothing helpful retaining to his questions, GET LOST. you know how many people said the ls swaps into japanese made cars were stupid and how many tried to get the people to not do it, where would we be in the performance car world if everybody listened to people like you. either way I am done with this back and forth, I've already answered all of the ops questions I could in a pm, so you can continue to waste the space in this thread, instead of letting people that can actually help post there answers.

ps - just cause it may take you 6 months to do a simple swap like this, doesn;t mean the rest of us would. if you can;t figure this out in 2 wekks, you shouldn't be doing the swap in the first place.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:16 PM   #16
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ps - just cause it may take you 6 months to do a simple swap like this, doesn;t mean the rest of us would. if you can;t figure this out in 2 wekks, you shouldn't be doing the swap in the first place.
Your inexperience is showing. If you had two perfectly running cars the swap could be done in 1 week. We are not talking about two perfect cars.

I'm not a bench racer. I work at a shop that has done so many of these swaps I can't even count them. The customer is always right and we've helped some source parts when they decided to do the work themselves and it almost always ends up being an on going project that had a higher cost than if they had bought the right car in the first place. Would you like me to post a special message for you on the Facebook page so you know I'm not lying?

It is not possible to to the swap as cheaply as you say unless its half assed. When I swap an engine I replace all of the seals, all of the wear items.
For fun I'm going to list the low price of some parts.
The engine gasket set is 220
The timing belt kit (with pump) is 200
Clutch and pressure plate 180
Rod/main bearings and rings 160
Heads refreshed at a machine shop 350

Thats already 1100 and it doesn't include any fluids or replacement parts. Are you going to install blown struts? Are you going to reuse the old rotors and worn pads of an unknown brand? Will you reuse the old belts/hoses/brake lines? Will you have the AC evacuated and refilled? Are you installing the stock headers, catted up pipe, small turbo, catted down pipe?

In the end the swap is not simple especially if you don't have a lift, engine stand, cherry picker, air ratchet, storage for two non running cars or a LOCAL supplier of parts that aren't overpriced. There are going to be many times when you need that one little thing and buying them at the dealer or waiting for ebay everytime drags everything out.

I would advise the OP to look at my join date, and yours
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:31 PM   #17
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Your inexperience is showing. If you had two perfectly running cars the swap could be done in 1 week. We are not talking about two perfect cars.

I'm not a bench racer. I work at a shop that has done so many of these swaps I can't even count them. The customer is always right and we've helped some source parts when they decided to do the work themselves and it almost always ends up being an on going project that had a higher cost than if they had bought the right car in the first place. Would you like me to post a special message for you on the Facebook page so you know I'm not lying?

It is not possible to to the swap as cheaply as you say unless its half assed. When I swap an engine I replace all of the seals, all of the wear items.
For fun I'm going to list the low price of some parts.
The engine gasket set is 220
The timing belt kit (with pump) is 200
Clutch and pressure plate 180
Rod/main bearings and rings 160
Heads refreshed at a machine shop 350

Thats already 1100 and it doesn't include any fluids or replacement parts. Are you going to install blown struts? Are you going to reuse the old rotors and worn pads of an unknown brand? Will you reuse the old belts/hoses/brake lines? Will you have the AC evacuated and refilled? Are you installing the stock headers, catted up pipe, small turbo, catted down pipe?

In the end the swap is not simple especially if you don't have a lift, engine stand, cherry picker, air ratchet, storage for two non running cars or a LOCAL supplier of parts that aren't overpriced. There are going to be many times when you need that one little thing and buying them at the dealer or waiting for ebay everytime drags everything out.

I would advise the OP to look at my join date, and yours
those are all costs that gow with either the engine he has that may need all those in the near future or one he is swapping in. the op didn;t say if he had tools or not, he simply asked a couple of questions, you answered none of them, instead tried to steer him in a direction he doesn't want to go. I am surpised you didn't list the cost of rebuilding the engine as well. A?C being evacuated and filled is almost the only extra cost, unless you are replacing a very low miles engine with a high mileage one, which is a different story. I don't know what message you want to post for me, but the parts you listed are still less than the almost $5000 difference in the actual 2 cars I listed, plus for far less than that you would have an engine that was freshened up with all those parts you listed. if he sells his, buys a wrx he could still need to do all that is on that list, and if he did what you are suggesting, it would still have all the stock wrx turbo and exhaust parts, all you are doing now is quoting things that don't actually pertain to the swap, but pertain to owning a high mileage vehicle. just cause you work at a shop doesn't mean squat, swaps CAN be done cheaper than selling and buying another vehicle, plus you didn't count on the costs of the new safety/e-test and sales tax (13% over here).

you are still missing the point here, even if you were right, which you are not, you are still ignoring the questions that the op asked, and are instead pushing your opinions on someone else. if you do indeed work at a shop that does swaps, how are you in business if it's cheaper to buy the car you want rather than swap something, and even more so that you are advising people against the swap. if the op asked whether or not he should do the swap, I'd say nothing while you make your ignorant points, but thats not the information he is seeking. I will personally be doing a swap, but I will be doing an sti swap when the time comes, which will save even more money than selling my rs and buying an sti, but if I do go wrx, it'll still be cheaper to do the swap. now if he has to have the swap done by a shop, then it's cheaper to buy the car you want. regardless of whatever awesome point you make next, I don't want to continue this arguement, and that may be because you joined the forum so much earlier than me. Drummerdude OUT
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:37 PM   #18
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ok im actually doing a 02 wrx in to an 04rs swap as we speak so ill put in my 2 cents

For wiring you have two options
1. Re wire the ENTIRE car and use every single wire from the donor car
2. Merge harnesses and have some one do this for you

depending on the trans. and engine all will pretty much fin on to your car but you will need osme things to go along with the swap ....various brackets and such .

Dont think this will take a weekend it wont LIFE happens .....i told myself half a year ago id have it done in a few weeks
For me theres a few exceptions im 16 and i messed up many times with wiring requiring me to strip and re strip the car many times.

I dont want to be a dick to you but im going to put it strait out there...there are TONS of threads on here and over on rs25 that will list out exactly the parts you need ...look for them.

It all depends on how much you love your car.
I happen to be young and my car is my life so im willing to put any amounts of work in to it....i would literally take 2 or 3 bullets for my car.

If you dont have this same devotion to your car, don't do a swap its not worth it. Its a LONG road of cursing and yelling at rusted on bolts and parts that dont fit .....no matter what you say you ull end up spendingAT LEAST 1.5K extra that you didn't think you were going to spend.

It really comes down to this.
1. How willing are you to work at this.
2. How much do you value this specific car.
3. are you a determined person ( if you have a goal will you stop at nothing to get to this goal)

The reasons to do a swap are as followes
1. You have sentimental value with the receiving car.
2. Your putting an engine in your car that was offered in no similar layout (something like an h6 impreza)
3. Your doing something stupid unique such as an old 2.2t block built up combined with ej205 heads and a **** ton of boost. )

if your looking to put an 02 wrx motor in your car because you think you can save money doing this it will cost the same in the end as buying an 02wrx.

If you still have some questions PM me and we can talk some more about swaps.

Also there are certian thing that are MUCH better on a wrx that werent put on the rs ......you would literally have to swap over every single thing from the wrx to achieve this.

For example you can make an s203 replica, but the s203's body was made differently from the regular sti's and therefore no matter what you do you will never recreate an s203 with out buying an s203.
same applies for the wrx.

Unless you fall in the list of reasons to swap, its more beneficial to buy a wrx.

Last edited by KevinT.; 03-10-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 03-10-2012, 06:47 PM   #19
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drummerdude If you include Subaru/BMW/VW my shop has done over 100 engine swaps. Rebuilds or installing new shortblocks aren't included. I mean converting from one engine to another. This may not be my own first hand experience but the information is valid nonetheless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinT. View Post
Dont think this will take a weekend it wont LIFE happens .....i told myself half a year ago id have it done in a few weeks

If you dont have this same devotion to your car, don't do a swap its not worth it. Its a LONG road of cursing and yelling at rusted on bolts and parts that dont fit

if your looking to put an 02 wrx motor in your car because you think you can save money doing this it will cost the same in the end as buying an 02wrx.

Also there are certian thing that are MUCH better on a wrx that werent put on the rs ......you would literally have to swap over every single thing from the wrx to achieve this.

Unless you fall in the list of reasons to swap, its more beneficial to buy a wrx.
I love you.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:01 PM   #20
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you know how many people said the ls swaps into japanese made cars were stupid and how many tried to get the people to not do it
THIS IS COMPLETELY stupid. Can you go out and buy a Subaru with an LS motor from the factory? no. CAn you buy an 02 RS with a WRX drivetrain? Yes, its called a subaru WRX....


I have owned many subarus and involved many swaps. I currently own an 04 WRX with a JDM v7 engine... why? becuase I can't buy a genuine JDM v7 sti here in the US.

OP is asking to build a car that already exists... In all honesty, the ONLY way for this to make sense is to swap in an STI motor, JDM sti motor, or some rare motor to make it worth it... or unique. No point in putting a 2.0L wrx motor when you can just buy a wrx...

even a 2.0L in a 99 RS is good- why? because you cant buy a 1999 Subaru WRX.

Point is, you can EASILY find an 02-03 WRX for $5-8K. And when you sell the car, it will hold its value more so than an 02-03rs swapped... trust me...
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:13 PM   #21
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the op wasn't asking if he should do a swap or buy a wrx, he was asking details about doing a swap to his rs, so if you have nothing helpful retaining to his questions, GET LOST.
by your same logic- if someone asks advice on how to kill him/herself, you should just give tips on how to do it? Perhaps you should try looking outside the box and stop them from doing something stupid... AKA what the OP i suggesting..

an 2.0L engine in running condition will cost around $1500. Wiring another $700. 5speed ($1000) optional- can use ur RS.
Labor is worth $1000, regardless of whether you do it or someone else does.
Total: $3200 with RS 5 speed
$4200 with WRX 5 speed (full drive train)
Then after its all done- what about it working properly? You think it will be as smooth as a stock wrx? NO!
in the end- not worth it
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:20 PM   #22
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THIS IS COMPLETELY stupid. Can you go out and buy a Subaru with an LS motor from the factory? no. CAn you buy an 02 RS with a WRX drivetrain? Yes, its called a subaru WRX....
I was quoting the ls in the case of people wanting to do something and listening to the advice of someone sitting behind a computer, it happens all the time on car forums, someone asks how to do something or for info on how to do it, and people start dicouraging right away. I wasn;t using the ls swap to the argument, just towards the fact that he was discouraging somebody from doing something they wanted to do. but way to take the quote out of context.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:22 PM   #23
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http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2100956

WRX to STi for $2500... hmmm, but RS to WRX will cost $5000, I have seen a dozen salvage wrx, more than half that ran and drove, go for under $2K in the last 6 months.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:41 PM   #24
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http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2100956

WRX to STi for $2500... hmmm, but RS to WRX will cost $5000, I have seen a dozen salvage wrx, more than half that ran and drove, go for under $2K in the last 6 months.
Just think about it... Do u really think its cost effective/time well spemt to swap a 2.0l wrx in an 02 rs. Think about the time, labor, and headahes... Then thinknresale value... When u buy a running wrx, no headaches, u know what u get. A swap can cause frustration eapecially if u mess up along the way
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:16 PM   #25
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Just think about it... Do u really think its cost effective/time well spemt to swap a 2.0l wrx in an 02 rs. Think about the time, labor, and headahes... Then thinknresale value... When u buy a running wrx, no headaches, u know what u get. A swap can cause frustration eapecially if u mess up along the way
my labor is free, if you are using a salvage vehicle, then everything can be swapped (less headaches). why would I think of resale, I am not swapping an engine so I can sell it, I am swapping an engine so I can have a wrx for less money. if I thought of time, labor, and headaches evey time I made a decision about working on my cars, I'd be broke from the repair costs. do you know how many people told me I wasted my money when I bought a jeep tj with a blown engine, then I bought a salvage yj (which has many different small parts than the tj) and then I sold it and made money on it. I didn't even have 15 hours into swapping the engine all the parts needed, plus replacing all of the parts needed for a safety and some other minor changes (and thats with 2 days of 100F/55%+ humidity weather). the frsutration and all the issues you guys are bringing up would be relevant if you bought just an engine and swapped it, but buying a salvaged wrx means that everything will be there, its not rocket science to change everything over. My Jeep was way more complicated given that I was using a yj and a tj, and I pulled that off solo in 2 days, so a wrx swap IS going to be cheaper, and it WON'T take 6 months (thats me, someone else may not be able to find the deals I do, or do the mechanical work I can do). I still find this fnny that dude works at a shop that makes money by people paying for subaru swaps, yet he says not to and says if you avoid the thousands there shop probably charges, you still can't do it cheaper on your own. Oh and this is the Subaru conversions forum, he says he wants to do a swap, stop arguing with me and either answer his questions or keep typing things that bot he (op) and I will ignore. if you guys are so against swaps why do you bother spending time in the forum designated for doing conversions???? oh well, I answered the ops questions in a pm, and gave him advice on where to get his salvage donor from, so I guess we can continue to argue back and forth. I'll finish with this, I have no doubt that someone could attempt the swap and fail, or spend more money than selling there rs and buying a wrx, but what I am saying is that it is POSSIBLE to swap and rs cheaper than buying a wrx. for the average person that doesn't have the time and/or the skill to do the swap in an inexpensive/timely manner is far better off to sell there rs and buy a wrx. so... if he had said he couldn't have the downtime on his car or he didn't have the time, or he didn't have the skill, your responses would be right on, but he hasn't indicated any of those and you haven't asked him any of those questions, so to just chime in "sell your rs and buy a wrx", is very unhelpful and frankly he asked for people to NOT respond with that statement. remember, before you reply to this, I am agreeing the average person is better off to sell what they got and buy what they want, but some people are not better to do that.

Last edited by drummerdude; 03-10-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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