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Old 02-16-2005, 03:17 AM   #1
kingpumba1
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Legacy Advice/opinions for Legacy motor/tranny swap

I am finally getting a little money to start playing with my project, my relocation to San Diego completed and East cost house sold. I just wish I had the time to learn, the hands on way of doing the swap. I have a '98 Legacy GT wagon(70K miles), N/A EJ25 with the stock 4EAT auto trans. I have already done minor boltons, now ready to step it up.
For various reasons, I wish to keep an auto in the car but definately want more power, preferrably a turbo motor. Althought the car isn't driven everyday, I do want the end result to be a reliable, daily drivable vehicle, requiring no constant tweeking or futzing with.
I had originally planned on getting into the AVO turbo kit (SPO Motorsports or similar FAT), but it was recommended to me that the factory motor really wouldn't hold up longterm with much over 5-8 pounds of boost. Originally I thought that would suffice, but now that I will have some funds available shortly I figured why not aim a little higher. It was also suggested to me to look into doing a complete motor and trans swap from a doaner USDM Baja/Forester/etc, that already came equiped with a 2.5 turbo and auto trans. and then slightly altering that motor to produce additional HP/TQ, ideally looking for something in the 250-300 HP range. I have read about the issues with JDM motors and really don't want to go that route.
Now for the questions, after reading several of the threads on the board:
1. Which method would yield the best/most reliable results for a vehicle that will be driven & tagged in CA? I have heard of some "ways around the emission tests", truth or BS?
2. Assuming it will be the complete swap, what could the end result end up costing, including a low mileage doaner car, and labor? I have approx $8-12K set aside, which method would be most economically feasible?
3. Would the factory (70K mile) axles, driveshafts, etc. handle the additional power or is it better to source those from said doaner car? If so, what newer Subaru doaner should I be looking for compatible parts, Forester/Baja/ or STI ?
4. I also read about having the 4EAT serviced with the Level 10 upgrades. Would that still be necessary/recommended if I were to source a newer trans, rather than retain the original? Is the 5 spd auto an option with out incurring geater costs?
5. I have already purchased/installed the following exhaust items, (Borla 2.5 header, Stromung hi-flow cat & mid-pipe, and Borla/SPO rear muffler section) could they be retained for the new set up ?
6. I have definately been bitten by the Subaru performance bug, am I out of my mind or is this reasonable possible, expense wise, emmissions legal, etc.?

Thanks in advance for your time......
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Old 02-16-2005, 12:28 PM   #2
Jaxx
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1 a swap to a new model engine is legal even in CA if you keep all the emmissions devices
2 that is plenty
3 yes they will be fine
4 auto trans and turbos is just a bad idea get a manual.. swapping a 05 LGT 5eat is not a good idea everything .. and i mean everything pulls back to the ecu from door locks to the radio
5 nope none of them
6 sell aftermarket parts and trade current car in on a 05 legacy GT manual or at least test drive one
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:00 PM   #3
kingpumba1
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I can't really purchase a new car right now, which is why I am planning this upgrade. This car is mine but titled and registered to a relative, so as not to be a divisable asset, if you catch my drift.
If the turbo motor is really not a good combination with the 4EAT, I have read several controversial opinions on this board that the auto might actually be "stronger" than the manuals, just loosing a little bit of power through it. That would be the reasoning for the Level 10 auto trans servicing.
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Old 02-16-2005, 04:43 PM   #4
kingpumba1
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I know I'll have to start looking in the N/A forum, but what are typical limitations of going down that road vs. turbo motor?
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Old 02-16-2005, 05:33 PM   #5
Jaxx
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n/a is fine as long as you are happy w/ less than 200 hp

4eat is stronger - yes probbaly ture .. turbo motors have bad low end torque .. it just dosn't mix well with a auto
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:39 AM   #6
kingpumba1
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200 HP isn't acceptable. As for the concerns with the 4eat, isn't that something that is improved with a performance shift kit, hydrosystem valve body modification and performance torque converter, http://www.levelten.com/products.htm . I have to stick with an auto.
Why wouldn't I be able to use some of the exhaust items I already have mentioned above, I believe the piping is 2.5" on the mid-pipe, cat, and rear section, I assume that the headers wont work because of the turbo plumbing?
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Old 02-17-2005, 11:34 AM   #7
Jaxx
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you could use some of them but you would have to cut and reweld to get them to mate up with the turbo plumbing .. which is differnt
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Old 02-20-2005, 02:22 AM   #8
kingpumba1
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BUMP

Nobody else has an opinion besides Jaxx? I am just trying to weigh the costs/options of getting a 2.5 liter, 250-300HP motor into my Legacy, while keeping some form of 4eat in the car. Are the JDM engines an option without sacrificing reliability/durability, and capable of passing CA inspections?
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:37 PM   #9
Jaxx
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jdm- nope
carb= teh devil
talk to i-speed see what they have to say
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Old 02-20-2005, 04:55 PM   #10
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My 97k mile EJ25 has something cracked, heads or block, which is causing head gaskets to go out left and right. Instead of dropping $2500 into heads and being stuck in the 180HP range, i'm asking the same questions and doing a lot of the same research that you are.

At the moment, the county i live in is much less stringent than anywhere in California, so inspecitions aren't as crucial, but i'm still going to have it run clean.

I've looked into the EJ257 swaps from the Baja and Forester, because the intercooler should work well with a Baja Turbo hood and the electronics are likely to be more similar. A local guy has some B4 TT pulls that would also have the advantage of having a compatible intercooler, while being rated at 280BHP on japanese fuel. A single turbo conversion should be straightforward with a set of WRX headers and a downpipe.

I'm hoping for a ceiling of $5k.
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