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Old 01-31-2013, 02:43 PM   #1
JLD13
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Default PNW Noob seeking motor build advice.

Hi everyone.

PNW noob and former lurker here.

I purchased a 2005 Saab 9-2x Aero (5 spd, leather, moon-roof, heated seats/mirrors, HIDs) in November 2012 with ~ 95K miles for around $11K. It had STI pink wagon specific springs and a Perrin light weight pulley installed by the previous owner. The vehicle was professionally inspected at Outback Automotive in Auburn, WA (NASIOC vendor). They did a compression test and everything checked out good. I went Stage 1 with a Cobb AP a week a later.

I drove the vehicle for 2 months and a horrible knock started while driving across the state for Christmas. Total bummer. Had the Saabaru towed 200 miles to Outback (thanks AAA) and they just finished pulling apart the motor. The rod bearing in cylinder 1 is blown and the rod in number 3 seized, and the turbo is hard to rotate (I think that's what Dave said... it was noisy and couldn't hear on my cell).

I'm waiting on the guys at Outback to email me options and pricing to rebuild the 9-2x.

I told Dave I would be completely happy with 250-300 whp. I don't race or track my car. I only drive it to work 4 times per month and that's only a 10 mile round trip. Besides road trips and snowboarding, I don't put a lot of miles on it. I want something fun to drive on the street. A motor that spools up quick, is strong and reliable. I SEARCHED about hybrid builds, lurked in the motor build section and a lot of the topics are geared toward high horsepower builds, not what I want. So here I am seeking your advice.

I figure my options are:
1. Go hybrid. From my research on hybrids it seems that is this a safe reliable option and was the first thing Outback recommended. More torque and a little better fuel economy sounds good. My concerns are how reliable are these really? Do I need forged parts for my goals? I found this thread helpful, but the member's goals were much larger than mine.
2. Rebuild my motor. I would have a 2.1 stroker, right? I'm not familiar with these. I'm really leaning more toward the 2.5 vs the 2.0 because of the torque and reliability.
3. Buy a rebuilt 2.5, adding a 16g, STI top mount, and injectors.
As I mentioned before, I have a Perrin pulley along with a Cobb AP. I also have a Cobb exhaust, Cobb SF intake, and GrimmSpeed coated uppipe which will be installed when the Saabaru is put back together.

My budget is $6-8K. Keep in mind I need to replace my turbo and I think it would make sense to install a new clutch while we're in there. The Exeddy Stage 1 unit is what has been recommend to me. I plan on also doing an STI oil pump, water pump, belts, and oil pickup (killer bee?).

To get to 250+ wheel horsepower what would be some strong, reliable options on my budget? Any advice/knowledge/experience would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

TL;DR with a budget of $6-8k how would you rebuilt a Saab 9-2x Aero to reach 250-300 WHP with a reliable build? Reliability>Price>HP

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Old 01-31-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
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Look into an EJ207 swap. The V7 has forged rods and pistons. The bigger oil pump, vf30 turbo, and AVCS. Very stout reliable motor.

My swap was right in your budget range with replacing the clutch, timing belt and all accessories, wire harness, and a tune.

With a down pipe, exhaust, mbc, and a custom tune, I put down 260whp on crappy California 91 oct fuel. With an intake and a wideband AFR gauge to go a little more aggressive on the tune the tuner said I could def get more power out of her.

Switching the fuel to E-85 will really wake up the motor and get great power. There is a lot of room in the motor to make great power with a turbo swap if that's in your future plans.

The motor isn't for everybody since it is a 2.0 But with the AVCS it is a great motor to outs around town with and doesn't dog out below 2500 revs.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:11 PM   #3
JLD13
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Thanks Tweeder for sharing your experience. I'll be sure to bring this up in when I speak to my builder.

After doing a quick search of the V& EJ207 it sounds really interesting. So it has a higher redline? 8,000!?! That sounds cool.

I'll see if can find some pricing info. Thanks again.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:34 PM   #4
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16G is almost dumb on a 2.5L fyi.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:36 PM   #5
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In my opinion go with the hybrid path with blouch 18g-xt. 16g is not good for the extra .5 displacement with the hybrid engine.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:03 PM   #6
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no offense...but I wouldn't have outback build a motor. period. stupid installs, sure. but not a motor build.

Call a shop that specializes in it........Maxwell Power. ask for Dom.

Dom is one of the BEST tuners/custom subaru motor builders in the country. period.

Last edited by sc00by4life; 01-31-2013 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:35 PM   #7
JLD13
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Thanks HinshawWRX and wrX-MEN for the advice on the 16g combined with the 2.5.

Sc00by4life, Outback seems like a nice shop. We've had good communication so far and judging by the the other motor builds I'm in safe hands.

I didn't know about Maxwell Power. I only contacted the two closest shops that were NASIOC vendors who do builds: R&H and Outback. R&H never returned my calls, so I went with Outback.

Bummed that R&H never called call as I live 10 minutes away from there, but so far so good with Outback.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:44 PM   #8
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contact MPS before doing any work.

this isn't something to just take to any shop that "seems" nice. How many high horsepower RELIABLE motors have they built?

i haven't heard of any.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:01 PM   #9
JLD13
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Thanks for the tip Sc00by!
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLD13 View Post
Thanks HinshawWRX and wrX-MEN for the advice on the 16g combined with the 2.5.

Sc00by4life, Outback seems like a nice shop. We've had good communication so far and judging by the the other motor builds I'm in safe hands.

I didn't know about Maxwell Power. I only contacted the two closest shops that were NASIOC vendors who do builds: R&H and Outback. R&H never returned my calls, so I went with Outback.

Bummed that R&H never called call as I live 10 minutes away from there, but so far so good with Outback.
I had the same experience like you when it comes to shop, I went to R&H garage before but they don't know how to reply and call back. I've been waiting for a quote they haven't gave me for almost 3 months now. My car performed well when I switched to outback auto.

I've been hearing good things about Maxwell too when it comes to engine build.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:38 PM   #11
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if your just looking for a daily driver i wouldnt ever consider an ej207 purely based on your budget if your having someone basically do all the work plus you have to replace all those other parts, you might be towing that budget line already.
hybrid would probably straight up be the cheapest as well as just getting a vf series turbo (vf39's can be found very cheap on here i hit 300whp on an 03 wrx with a vf39 fyi) will get you 250-300 whp which really is a very easily attainable number
you wouldnt have a stroker motor building the 2.0 unless you used an STI crankshaft/rods, and pistons made for stroker builds stroker kits arent always the cheapest you could just have it bored out and use stock parts
buying a 2.5 longblock would be a good choice too pretty much will be similar to the hybrid but will get you better numbers due to the better flowing heads i think either this or the hybrid will be the way to go will give good spool as well as solid power numbers with a good tune
any of these would be reliable assuming first that the shop doing it does it right, also assuming it goes through the proper break in, and assuming you have a good tuner so i guess the point here is if it were me having someone else other than me building my motor, i would stick to the people who do it best which as stated is MPS
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philly15 View Post
if your just looking for a daily driver i wouldnt ever consider an ej207 purely based on your budget if your having someone basically do all the work plus you have to replace all those other parts, you might be towing that budget line already.
hybrid would probably straight up be the cheapest as well as just getting a vf series turbo (vf39's can be found very cheap on here i hit 300whp on an 03 wrx with a vf39 fyi) will get you 250-300 whp which really is a very easily attainable number
you wouldnt have a stroker motor building the 2.0 unless you used an STI crankshaft/rods, and pistons made for stroker builds stroker kits arent always the cheapest you could just have it bored out and use stock parts
buying a 2.5 longblock would be a good choice too pretty much will be similar to the hybrid but will get you better numbers due to the better flowing heads i think either this or the hybrid will be the way to go will give good spool as well as solid power numbers with a good tune
any of these would be reliable assuming first that the shop doing it does it right, also assuming it goes through the proper break in, and assuming you have a good tuner so i guess the point here is if it were me having someone else other than me building my motor, i would stick to the people who do it best which as stated is MPS
When I priced everything out a hybrid build actually cost more than my ej207 swap. You gotta spend the cash to get the heads CNC'd on a hybrid build. I wouldn't even think about running a thicker head gasket.

Also the 207 swap can be done by yourself in a day. Incredibly easy thing todo.

Not trying to argue with you man, just personal experience between the two.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:26 AM   #13
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Thanks for the input Tweeder, sounds like you did a 207 swap. Any additional thoughts now that you've gone through the process?
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:45 AM   #14
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I understand that I'm just saying sounds like a shop is doing this all so labor drives a lot of pricing on top of the parts I agree if it was me I would be doing everything myself I looked into a lot of different options for my track car everything from a 2.12 stroker to an en207 to a destroked ej257 in the end I ended up with a full ej255 lb for cheap really if you wanna do it right for an ej207 your lookin at around 3800 for the motor ecu and turbo possibly more honestly get a hold of the guys at maxwell power services they will be the best spot for advice they talked me out of a lot of the ideas I had simply because they were bad for my goals
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:25 AM   #15
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You won't pass emissions here with a 207. food for thought.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:13 AM   #16
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I'd have MPS build a hybrid 2.5L. Use a VF39/VF43 if you want ~300 whp on their dyno, or a 18G-XT if you want a little more.

In my WRX, I currently have a hybrid (pretty basic, just forged drop-in pistons) with an 18G-XT, an EL header, and a free-flowing exhaust, and it made ~360 whp and ~400 lb/ft on MPS' dyno at 18 psi or so. The stock 205 cams give it a really nice midrange, although it does run out of steam a bit up top. It has a good "street" power band.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:00 AM   #17
philly15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemming View Post
I'd have MPS build a hybrid 2.5L. Use a VF39/VF43 if you want ~300 whp on their dyno, or a 18G-XT if you want a little more.

In my WRX, I currently have a hybrid (pretty basic, just forged drop-in pistons) with an 18G-XT, an EL header, and a free-flowing exhaust, and it made ~360 whp and ~400 lb/ft on MPS' dyno at 18 psi or so. The stock 205 cams give it a really nice midrange, although it does run out of steam a bit up top. It has a good "street" power band.
Nice numbers this is exactly my point if you have good tuners and builders you will easily hit the goal hell I was looking at a dyno of an 07 STI that hit 375 whp and 366 ft lbs of torque on a vf43 with supporting mods I believe it was a phatbotti tune the curve was so damn smooth on the graph I decided to go with them when my project car is done I've never seen a vf turbo with such a smooth power band as that one point is a vf39,43,48 etc is plenty of turbo for your goal my friend blew his 2.0 a whole a go and bought an ej257 on here for $1900 has it tuned on a vf39 w/ supporting mods made just over 300 whp and 330 ft lbs of tq
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:21 AM   #18
JLD13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc00by4life View Post
You won't pass emissions here with a 207. food for thought.
Thank you! Good to know.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:30 PM   #19
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I say EJ207.

It's easy to pass emissions if you have a knowledgeable tuner.

I appreciate the kind words from the rest of you.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:34 PM   #20
JLD13
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99.99% sure I'm going the EJ207 route. Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge.

Regarding Washington State emissions here is what MWP said...

"The JDM 207 is an amazing engine. With the stock Saabaru ecu it can pass emissions. Then you go home, put in the jdm ecu (takes 6 minutes or so) and enjoy all the smooth power.

You can get a complete JDM V8 EJ207's for around 4k bucks with ecu and turbo etc. That is an AWESOME way to go. Plus you'll make over 300whp with it after I tune it for the local octane."

I'll keep everyone updated as the swap progresses. Now I need to sell my Cobb downpipe and GrimmSpeed uppipe, then find a JDM downpipe + exhaust.

Looks like the JDM DP is shorter and uses a different flange than the USDM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #21
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Bumping this for some 207 knowledge...

According Turbo List the VF30/34 that come with the JDM V7 use the same P18 exhaust housing as the USDM VF39.

Same exhaust housing, so will a USDM aftermarket downpipe bolt up? I own a Cobb.

I know the V8/V9 JDM motors use a twin scroll and it will not fit those turbos.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:16 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLD13 View Post
Thank you! Good to know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxwell Power View Post
I say EJ207.

It's easy to pass emissions if you have a knowledgeable tuner.

I appreciate the kind words from the rest of you.
I passed emissions with my EJ207 car before it was tuned for the gas around here. They did a sniffer test with no load on the car and it passed with flying colors. That said, WA OBDII scanners do not read the JDM ECU's.

Last edited by 02wrbrex; 02-12-2013 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:12 AM   #23
Tweeder
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Glad to see you are goin the V7 route. As for emmissions, I passed CA emmisions completely catless, just make sure you have a good tuner.

Depending on what your futur holds with the car will depend on geting the V7 or V8.

The V7 comes with a vf30 turbo which will bolt up fine to our DPs. The V8 is a twinscroll obviously which will require a different DP which I've seen a few threads around here lately pertaining to that topic.

The V7 has forged pistons while the V8 has the same crappy pistons the USDM STI has. Now if you wont eventually be going big turbo the bit of info shouldn't matter to you.

The V8 has bigger ports on the heads than the V7 but they both have AVCS.

Glad to see your coming over to the ej207 side. Having AVCS makes daily driving a 2.0 wonderfull. It def makes up for not having the extra .5L of displacement. Also the 8250 rev limit is soo much fun. After having my swap for sometime, I hoped into a stage 2 STI and bounced the rev limiter pretty bad. I couldnt wait to get back into my car.

Secondly if you go with a V7 let the car warm up in the morning. I find mine is an absolute dog when its not warmed up. I believe it has something to do with the forged pistons and their clearances. PM if you need any help or have some questions. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:26 AM   #24
JLD13
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Thanks 02wrbrex & Tweeder - I'll be sure to hit you up for advice.

Motor has been ordered! Here is the plan for the install:
  • Gates racing belt kit w/ water pump, etc.
  • Grimmspeed t-stat
  • Grimmspeed turbo heat shield
  • Killerb oil pickup (motor insurance + peace of mind)
  • killerb alternator shroud
  • Cosworth timing belt guide (motor insurance + peace of mind)
  • Walbro fuel pump + install kit
  • Exedy stg 1
  • Resurface stock fly wheel
  • Samco radiator hose kit (bay bling)
  • Cobb SF intake w/ box (boy racer traped in me)
  • Cobb maf silicone hose
  • Cobb DP
  • Cobb exhaust
  • Perrin pulley - off my old motor, I think this is compatible

and while I'm at it...
  • Whiteline f&r 22mm sway bars
  • Whiteline f&r end links
  • Whiteline wagon rear strut tower bar

Fingers crossed that in 2/3 weeks I'll have her back.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:27 AM   #25
Tweeder
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Sounds like you have done all the research you need and will have a great setup. Did you order the v7 or v8? Also did you order the 160* t-stat? Most people would say they are useless and see if you can return that item. Smart move to replace the timing belt/water pump. Are you doing the swap yourself? The only thing I didnt see in your list is IA has a wiring kit for the AVCS, if you're doing the swap and not very savy at wiring things up I would suggest picking that up.

Good luck on your swap and keep us updated.
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