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Old 11-10-2003, 01:05 AM   #1
stimpy
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Default GD Transmission Converted... Almost

After a total of near 20 hours, we have almost completed the transmission conversion. The goal was to convert my cable actuated 1996 transmission to a hydraulic 2003 transmission in preparation for my 2003 EJ20. This involves a pedal box swap, push clutch and flywheel, transmission and matching rear diff, and new axles if converting from an open diff to an LSD (as I was).

Here is a little teaser of our mess:


The hydraulic conversion was really easy: just unbolt the old stuff and put in the new. The clutch and flywheel were also easy; aside from the transmission removal.

The rear diff wasn't too bad except for a few things. If the rear diff is completely unbolted and it still will not come out, push up on the vertical bolts nearest the rear of the car and it will literally fall out on you. I'm not sure when this was changed, but the horizontal studs on the rear differential are longer on my 1996 rear diff when compared to a 2003 LSD. I had to just swap over the rear cover to make it all work. Very straight forward. Might possibly be avoided if the rear subframe from a turbo car is transferred but it is not worth it IMHO. Here is a shot of the diffs before I moved the rear cover over; the WRX LSD is on the right:


The transmission was a real bear though. Everything unbolted easily, but it simply would not free itself from the block. The standard tricks were used like jiggling, wiggling, putting rearward tension on it with a racheting cargo strap, and finally screw drivers between the bellhousing and the block. After approximately 3 hours of wrangling, we finally freed it. When doing this, don't forget to keep the front of the engine pointed up so the transmission will have the correct angle to slide on and off the studs. We simply tied a strap around the intake manifold and the firewall before removing the tranny.

If you car is older than 1997, you will need an updated shift linkage or you will have to convert your tranny to the older linkage style. This wouldn't be too bad with the tranny out of the car but I surely wouldn't want to do it with it in. Here you can see the new style linkage joint:


Here is the old:


We used 2001 RS axles for the rear LSD and I do have 2000 Legacy axles for the front (just thicker) but I cannot get my front axles freed from the hubs. They are seized into the hub and no amount of banging will free them. I'll have to resort to other methods at some later date.

We have run into a couple snags though. First of all, after it was really cold and many hours had passed, we were just buttoning up the transmission mount when the driver's side 17mm bolt crossthreaded. It is chewed up enough that I will have to hunt down a M12x1.25 tap tomorrow to recut the threads. The other problem, and I know people have mentioned this, is that the 1996 transmission has a stud in the transmission for the lower starter mount location. The newer transmissions just have an additional bolt that goes into the block. I had totally forgotten about this until we had the transmission all the way installed. Not sure what I'll be doing about that.

I'll post more later as I'm having both computer problems and it is way too late to be posting.

-Jon
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Last edited by stimpy; 11-11-2003 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 11-10-2003, 11:39 AM   #2
Jaxx
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soooo what ya gonna do with your old tranny?
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Old 11-10-2003, 12:04 PM   #3
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Default Stud

Great write up. Since the lower starter bolt dont' need to be all that strong and soon you will have a differant engine there with the proper bolts I would do the following. Drill a hole into the engine block thread it and put a stud in. Then just throw a bolt on. Wouldn't worry about getting it proffesionally machined or anything this should be able to suitably do the job. The only problem I see is getting the drill in that tiny working space, hmm.
Joshua
Looking foward to doing his Tranny swap next weekend
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Old 11-11-2003, 12:08 PM   #4
stimpy
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We finally managed to get everything in and done.

The crossthreaded transmission crossmember bolt was easily corrected with the right tools (ie: a tap). One little quirk here, though, is that my transmission crossmember didn't quite line up with the holes properly. It seemed as though it was too long for where it was supposed to go. I don't know if this is by design or due to my frame being bent (it has a clear title) but it was a problem none-the-less. It wasn't the transmission crossmember because I tried both my 1996 crossmember and my 2003 crossmember. To resolve, we just had to loosen the bolts on the transmission mount and then barely thread in one of the 17mm bolts, then start the other 17mm bolt.

Front axles are still stuck... When I do my engine swap I may take the time to swap the axles but when was the last time you heard of a Subaru snapping axles? Lighter is better anyhow, right?

As dumb as it may be, I am just driving around with only one starter stud in there. The car starts... but I haven't checked to see if any movement has occured after driving it for a few hours. A drill and tap could certainly resolve this, however I didn't have the correct drillbit to drill the hole and I'm not sure how well a tap would go through the pilot hole in the transmission in order to tap the block. I would certainly do this if I were going to be driving with this configuration indefinitely.

Getting the hydraulic system to actually work took a little head scratching. First of all, you cannot forget to push the clutch release lever towards the back of the car to lock the release bearing (throw-out bearing) into the pressure plate. Contrary to what many have said, I heard no click or had any indication that it was locked into place. There was still a large amount of movement even after it locked in. I was worried for a while when nothing was working and I was doubting my interpretation of the clutch installation thinking I had forgotten to do something while the transmission was off. This was mostly related to the hydraulic system though.

When you start bleeding the clutch, your clutch pedal is going to drop to the floor and drop hard. It is a little unnerving when you consider that a clutch pedal should return on its own . The spring is quite stiff and you really wonder how it's going to work.

Actually bleeding the slave isn't quite as straight forward as one might believe. You can bleed it for hours and never get the pedal to come off the floor. Had I took the time to consult my FSM, I would have found that the way we were bleeding was wrong. We bled for probably thirty minutes without anything really happening. Fluid was slowly seeping out, but it wasn't pushing through like an effective system would. The clutch was not working and we were getting discouraged. I thought it was stupid that the bleeder screw was at the base of the slave cylinder and there could be a large pocket of air at one end, so out of sheer frustration, I compressed the cylinder all the way and continued to bleed. Huge air bubbles came out and the slave began to bleed properly. If you do it the right way, the FSM calls for the slave to be removed, the bleeder positioned at the highest point, and a clamp placed over it to prevent it from extending as the bleed process occurs. I'll be rebleeding later.

I think that the rest of the summary. The car starts and drives wonderfully. The flywheel makes a huge difference in how it feels, sounds, drives, stalls ; everything. My clutch is currently grabbing rather close to the floor, but I think this has a lot to do with our shoddy bleeding procedure. It may be better once I rebleed.

There are three things that are currently wrong with the conversion. First of all, I have a hole in my firewall where the clutch cable once passed through. I need to see if I can purchase a grommet or something to go in there because everything is really loud with it out. Secondly, I have a deceleration rattle at around 2500 rpm. Sounds like a dead bushing or something but I really have no clue what it is. Disappears when the gas is pressed or the clutch is pressed. It could be a million things since almost anything related to the tranny was replaced. My suspicion falls upon the start and its single bolt, but I haven't had the time to diagnose. I also put in a different start altogether so it may be that the start has a dead bearing and it has nothing to do with installation. Finally, I have a heatshield rattle after putting about 45 miles on the whole setup. I don't think it will be hard to fix, but it requires getting dirty again.

-Jon
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Old 11-11-2003, 01:10 PM   #5
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Are you using a WRX pedal box in the 95 car? I'm likely going to do an automatic->manual swap into my 95LX in the next month or so. If the WRX pedal box didn't fit I was just going to install a Wilwood or some other aftermarket one.
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Old 11-11-2003, 01:17 PM   #6
stimpy
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The WRX pedal box will not fit in MY car. I say MY car, because there are conflicts as to what may or may not fit. Eby says it fit in HIS car. The spacing between the upper mount and the firewall is different by about a quarter of an inch between the WRX box and the RS box. I would be inclined to say that no, a WRX pedal box will not fit, but I don't mean to discount what Eby did.

I am using a pedal box from a Legacy; which is the equivalent to an GC/GM RS pedal box.

Parts used in the swap:
2003 WRX 5MT
1998 2.5 RS shift linkage
2000 2.5 RS shifter
2003 WRX rear LSD
2001 2.5 RS rear LSD axles
2003 WRX push-style clutch slave cylinder
2000 Legacy clutch master cylinder, hardline, and softline
OEM Exedy clutch, pressure plate, and release bearing for WRX
Exedy lightweight flywheel for WRX
2000 Legacy pedal assembly
2003 WRX 5MT transmission mount
2003 WRX starter

-Jon

Last edited by stimpy; 11-11-2003 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 11-11-2003, 01:53 PM   #7
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I just did a very similar conversion not too long ago. Out of necessity more than anything. Broke the stock tranny, luckily had the wrx tranny lying around waiting for the engine swap so it went in along with the rear end.

I also came upon the starter lower mount hole problem. I just put the top one in and figured I'd go from there. Checked it periodically to see if it was loosening or anything, but seems to be fine and it has been about 2 months now since i did the swap.

I agree the bleeding is a pain in the butt. Takes a bit to get all of the air outta the system, but it works pretty nice after that.

On the plus side though, it's nice going from the stock diffs to limited slips front and rear. Noticable difference in cornering. I also really like the increased precision in the shifting over the old tranny.

Rob
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Old 11-11-2003, 01:57 PM   #8
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Default nice write up Jon

did this last year when the JDM 5MT was put into my '96 Brighton
everything went together fairly well on mine.
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Old 11-16-2003, 08:27 PM   #9
yebokmj
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Default Help me!

stimpy,
I have two question for you after having done my tranny swap:

1: How did your remove this piece?

Mine wouldn't come off my origional tranny and the replacement tranny didn't have one.
2. Did you end up using this piece? If not could you help a fellow L wagon out??
Thanks,
Joshua
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Old 11-16-2003, 10:24 PM   #10
stimpy
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The piece you see is attached to the transmission currently in my car. I didn't have to deal with that joint

However, I do happen to have an extra one lying around. It is held in place by a spring clip identical to those found attaching the front axles to the transmission. Beat the hell out of it.

Here is a picture of the pin:


If you need the joint itself, message me.

-Jon
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Old 11-17-2003, 07:26 PM   #11
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I'm sure I will be finding all of this helpful when I'm doing my WRX drivetrain swap...Aiming for summer...need to recoop my money and need the time
Take it easy, Micah
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Old 11-18-2003, 02:57 PM   #12
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Default Jon's starter bolt

Hello Jon -

Very informative write up.

I installed a MY2000 Legacy tranny onto the JDM phase I EJ20 in my car last year. To solve the starter problem, I used that M12x1.25 tap you mention in the new transmission starter bolt hole where the stud was on your original tranny. The drilled hole there is very slightly oversize for this tap, but a lot better than nothing. Find a correct length M12x1.25 bolt in your parts bin to replace the stud and your starter will never torque out of alignment. You don't want to ding your new flywheel. Of course, a lot easier to do before installation in the car!

Luck.

Mike McBride
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Old 11-26-2003, 03:04 AM   #13
tbd
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Default i ca'nt believe i over looked it the first time

Hey Jon,

is that an STI trailing link (arm) in the top picture?

wow. are they spherical bearings or hardened rubber?

tony

Last edited by tbd; 11-26-2003 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 11-26-2003, 10:45 AM   #14
stimpy
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Yes it is. I believe they are hardened rubber. The Cusco arms are the ones with the spherical bearings.

-Jon
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Old 11-26-2003, 12:34 PM   #15
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hot tip on the starter jon...

I put a 02 forester trans in my '98...there's two studs on the '98, and a stud and a hole on the 02...as I suspect yours is like.

I got a 12mm coarse tap out, You're tapping aluminum remember, and bought a 12mm bolt. drill (12.7mm there's a standard equivalent) through the corresponding ear on the starter, and tap the trans case, not the block. it worked the treat.

I was even able to tap mine in the car...don't forget the tap magic.

sjd
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Old 12-06-2003, 02:09 PM   #16
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Why didn't you just use the wrx rear axles? On my legacy, i've checked and the rear wrx axles look like they do go into the legacy hubs. Legacy and impreza hubs are the same.
Is there anything i'm missing here or did you not get the wrx axles?
Brent
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:35 PM   #17
stimpy
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Yes, there is something you are missing.

First of all, the drivetrain I purchased did not come with axles so I had to source them myself. Next up, the Sedan has a wider track than the wagon. Suspension geometry is slightly different and axle lengths are different.

The WRX axles will physically fit on both the LSD end and the hub end (heck, my rear hubs are from a WRX). Problem is, the sedan axles (easily found) are the wrong length for the chassis. If I wanted to, I could have used WRX wagon axles, but I had a hard enough time finding used RS LSD axles.

-Jon
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