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Old 09-28-2000, 11:56 AM   #1
Maximum
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Lightbulb WRX Conversion: Opinions wanted

I've notice that to solve the power deficit inherent in N.American Imprezas, people either buy an aftermarket turbo or drop in a JDM engine. What about this:

1. Buy an older model U.S. Impreza, an Impreza L or whatever. About $5-6000 US.

2. Buy, for example, a 1998 JDM WRX STI 3-4 in Japan. These can be had with low miles and in good shape for about $13-15,000 US.

3. Bring the WRX over to the States. I'm not sure about U.S. import laws, but if you don't try to register it as a road going vehicle, should be no problem. Cost of shipping it unknown...

4. Strip out the Impreza L and the WRX and transplant all the nasty bits from the WRX into the L's frame: engine, tranny, suspension, differential, shifter, seats, bumber, hood, spoiler, etc. Keep the Impreza L's dash, steering, instrument cluster, etc, which can always be upgraded later.

And your end product is essentially a real WRX complete with everything, nothing left to buy or install.

Obviously, labor for this kind of work wouldn't be cheap. But even if labor were $10,000, which seems a high estimate, add that to the roughly $20,000 you'd need to spend for the L and and WRX, and you're still only at $30,000. Plus the conversion would be smoother since all the parts are coming from the same place.

Another possibility would be to simply buy a Impreza frame, dash and steering assembly in North America, and transplant the WRX parts onto that. Then it'd be even cheaper.

How much would it cost to buy a 98 RS, turbo it or get a JDM engine, and add on all the STI parts, including seats, tranny and engine mounts, suspension, shifter, aerodynamics, etc, etc.?

Do you think it might be worth it to buy the whole car from Japan and just swap it onto a North American car? Good idea or pipe dream? Opinions wanted!

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Old 09-28-2000, 01:06 PM   #2
Maximum
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Talking

I'm at home sick today and have way too much time on my hands, but here goes:

Used 98 RS: 13,000
Turbo plus Tec II: 6,000
From SPD:
STI Ver.6 seats (SPD): 1,228
STI Momo wheel(SPD): 248
STI Shift kit(SPD): 276
STI Shift knob(SPD): 64
STI Motor.trans mounts(SPD): 182
STI Muffler with center pipe (SPD): 368
WRX hood (SPD): 465
WRX bumper (SPD): 532
From Subie Parts
STI fog lamp covers:154
Aluminum control arm kit -front: 895
WRX front coil springs: 78
Rear coil springs: 100
WRX/STI front struts: 143
Rear struts: 143
20 mm sway bar: 82
STI strut tower brace:499
STI ram air brake cooling mud guards: 36
4 piston brake caliper kit: 699
Clear corner lamp assem. rear: 218
Clear corner lamp assem. front: 78
Rear under spolier: 99
17 inch STI rims x4: 1076

For a grand total of 26,663 parts only.

The part list I've complied above is far from complete; for example, I didn't add in a STI spoiler, rear aluminum control arms, etc. I'm sure you could easily add on another 2000, taking it up to 28,663. (Of course if you bought so much from one or two vendors, you get a discount too...)

Buy a used Impreza L for 6000 plus a used 98 WRX STI 3-4 for at most 15,000 for a grand total of 21,000 parts only.

So roughly 21,000 vs. 28,000. Labour for the project WRX would be higher than for the project RS, but the cost difference in parts might balance it out...

Any thoughts?

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Old 09-28-2000, 01:17 PM   #3
Kyle
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Maximum,

If you want to bring a complete car you have a couple options. First try and get it to pass all DOT and EPA regulations, meaning the car has to pass safety and emissions regulations in the USA. That means USA bumpers and glass would have to be installed, 5 mph bumpers, and "something" will have to be done to get the car to pass emissions. Considering there is not a US WRX, it would be trial and error, until you could get the car to pass.$$$$ Even if the car has been in an accident you will not be able to get the car out of the bonded area until you meet the regulations. Keep in mind these circumstances only apply if you want to try and make the car street legal.

You also have the option of importing the car as a race car, not eligible for street use, and even then the politics involved with the DOT and EPA would not be worth the time. Even if you opted to bring the car in as a race car, your best option would be to remove the engine and gearbox from the chasis. Doing this the EPA and DOT cannot classify the car as being complete, i.e running or being able to operate. If you do this then you would have to pay for shipping on a container, and a crate for the motor and gearbox. The neat thing about this approach is you could have the container with the car pass through customs as package 1 of 2, and the motor right behind it, and they couldn't do anything about it. But why would you do this, unless you really wanted to drive on the right side of the car.

A complete car would require a 20ft. container for shipping, and right now you are looking at a minimum of $3700 for just the freight. This does not include tax, duty, customs clearance, gas sur-charge, shipping during peak season fees, removal from the ship, or freight from the port of entry to the final destination. A crate for a motor and gearbox would cost arround $1500-$2000.

Another option is to import all the parts you need for the conversion as used auto parts, and the money you save on shipping buy a new Porsche for your daily driver while you do your conversion.

I hope this info helps, and if you have anymore questions, feel free to contact me anytime.

Kyle
CTC Motorsports www.ctcmotorsports.com
kyle@ctcmotorsports.com
877-501-4CTC

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Old 09-28-2000, 02:00 PM   #4
#522
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What about the WRX conversion at Rallispec? their site lists whats included and to "call for pricing".
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Old 09-28-2000, 02:13 PM   #5
Hanzo
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Cool

Or option 3 Move to Europe of Japan.
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Old 09-28-2000, 05:33 PM   #6
Maximum
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Hmmmmm. I never thought of that...
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Old 09-28-2000, 10:23 PM   #7
CNC84
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Just to let you know those Sti rims from Subaru parts won't fit with the 4 pot brakes so back to the drawing board on that one check out the 22B rims at www.autocaresubaru.com . Oh and there is no such thing as aluminum rear control arms. And the RS will already have the WRX hood so you can cross that off as well
Chris
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Old 09-29-2000, 12:05 AM   #8
Racer X
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Will the JDM engine pass emisions?
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Old 09-29-2000, 12:09 AM   #9
8Complex

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1. Buy US spec L.
2. Buy JPN or EU spec WRX.
3. Bring WRX over to US.
4. Switch VIN tags.
5. Return & scrap L overseas.

It's illegal, but I know a bunch of people that have brought EVO's over the same way.
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Old 09-29-2000, 12:10 AM   #10
eugenekid
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Someone was doing this in canada, Byron I think. Do a search for this, all the information is in here some where. Rsquire might be able to find the thread.
 
Old 09-29-2000, 12:14 AM   #11
CNC84
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Shipping would probably be a couple grand then customs and waiting to get the car through. You could send all the parts over here and swap that way a company doing this now for a customer is www.ctcmotorsports.com check out their site for info on the swap. All of the body parts could prbably be had cheaper on this side of the pond things like alum. hood and bumper can be had relatively cheaply from www.subaruparts.com.
98 Rs's are going for around 13,000 plus say 6,000 for a tecII and turbo and you have one heck of a fast car, seats go for around 1300 from Mike at www.spdusa.com for the V5/6 seats. The Ver.V susp. can be had for like 5-600 check subaru parts for that the rest of the stuff I am sure you can find pretty cheap somewhere.
I personally think it is a pipe dream but it would be one fun project if you have a lot of time on your hands it certainly can be done but a lot of prep and hard work would be needed to pull it off.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Chris
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Old 09-29-2000, 07:40 AM   #12
Big Tee
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Just a question from someone too timid to attempt this... The import engine, will it run on our gas? Would you be doomed to endless bottles of octane booster? Would the electronics match..ECU wiring harness etc?
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Old 09-29-2000, 09:03 AM   #13
Maximum
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Thumbs up

Thanks Chris. I really do appreciate the advice and information.

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