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Old 03-24-2020, 10:08 AM   #1
Stoni23
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Default 03 wrx rebuild. Plz help

Subie newbie here. Here's my situation, I have a 03 manual wrx, seized motor it's been sitting for about a year. Recently wrecked my other car so now getting the wrx back on the road, stupid of me to wait this long but too late now. Borrowing my buddies truck atm for transportation. Money is an issue, can buy parts in stages just dont have enough for large purchases atm so with that being said I purchased a jdm longblock in hopes of swapping it out asap and back on the road. Believe what I got is a 93 ej20g, the jdm guy said it was a twin turbo but idk. Being an jdm and already having one bad motor and being in the situation i am, decided to break the motor down to rebuild as an insurance policy not knowing the engines previous life. It's currently in pieces and I'm cleaning it, waiting for funds to start to piece together all the rebuild components. Seized engine is currently still in wrx, separated from trans ready to come out just had rain delay. No indoor area to pull engine. Everyone is caught up now.

After doing more research starting to think I'm a bigger idiot for jumping the gun and going for a jdm. Know that you have to swap over the timing, cam gears and other normal jdm swap components. But what else?? Are the intake and exhaust manifold the same on an ej that old??? Should I focus on continuing to build the jdm with likelyhood of more problems or scrap it use the crank, cams, rods, heads as backups for the seized and rebuild it instead? If they can even be used like that, not sure the specs on the crank and cams for the jdm or the flow on the heads. 100% sure that everything will go back together on the usdm... not so sure with the jdm. Someone with more technical knowledge please help. If rebuilding the usdm is more logical what problems could I run into with a seized motor. I'll do more investigating once its fully out and timing is off to see what all is free. If the crank doesnt move how do you get the wrist pins out??

What's my best option here guys, looking to get her on the road asap. Probably a stupid question but does anyone know if there is a difference between the 93 jdm ej block and the 03 usdm. Could I potentially just use the jdm block and pretty much everything else from the usdm?? Sorry for the length any help is much appreciated.

Edit: know it's a 93 jdm because of the stamp under the timing cover. Also assuming the seized is usdm it could had been swapped doesnt matter tho the bolt ons were on it so they fit
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:15 AM   #2
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Default Engine id

https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2918668

Link to other thread where I'm trying to I'd the jdm. Like said believe it's a ej20g but the link has a few descriptive aspects of the engines to help I'd it if anyone knowing more than me would like to look and see if they can confirm if it's a ej20g or not. No pics, just info and serial numbers

Last edited by Stoni23; 03-24-2020 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:45 PM   #3
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Default Update

So went out and looked at the wrx and the serial on the engine. It doesnt match the vin plate on the fender so I'm not sure if its usdm or jdm, pretty positive not stock. After much research here in the forums wasnt sure what phase the jdm was and if the parts from the donor engine would fit. Took the Tgvs and put them on the jdm heads. Bolt pattern fits up. The whole phase thing is confusing so is the jdm a phase one and so is the seized?? Are they both phase two or can parts be swapped? What I've read lead me to think no. Do jdms even have the Tgvs?
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:17 AM   #4
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I know that jdm ej205 can come with tgv, I have one off an 05 Japanese wrx.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:43 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by D-Rodman View Post
I know that jdm ej205 can come with tgv, I have one off an 05 Japanese wrx.
Okay thanks for the info, good to know. That means its possible the seized motor is a jdm as well. What to do with that info I have no clue lol, done so much reading the facts are starting to run together. Wish subie had a better way of identifying their engine origin, no luck with either of the block serials.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:49 AM   #6
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I know that jdm ej205 can come with tgv, I have one off an 05 Japanese wrx.
Happen to know anything about heads?? Bout to dive into research but have two sets of heads and curious which I should use, havent been able to pull the one set to visually compare the valves. Being a newbie not exactly sure on the specs and what makes one better than the other. Good flow is good bout all I know lol. Oh also jdm cams are a bit more aggresive?? Guess it would help if we knew if the seized was usdm or jdm
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:56 AM   #7
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One more thing before looking into head info, I'm shooting for 350ish whp. Anyone have any advice on which internals to use? Will be getting the cylinders bored and getting oversized forged pistons. Have to get crank to machine shop to check it out. If needs be replaced not sure whether to use stock or upgraded. Thoughts? Any general advice as far as what product to use and etc would be much appreciated. Still need to figure out what size the pistons are as well
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:18 PM   #8
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the probelm with building it is you are going to have to spend money to switch the thrust bearing to #5. on the phase one engine, the thrust bearing is on #3. so that will have to be machined if you want to build the short block. if you are going to build for power, you might as well go for a 2.1 stroker which means you have to get the ej257 crank and a set of pistons at least. if it was me, I would put some Hbeams manleys in there as for pistions, I would talk to the person that is going to do the machine work and see what they are familiar with.

but me personally, for that amount of power you are looking for, I would just get a RA short block from Subaru and call it a day
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:51 PM   #9
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the probelm with building it is you are going to have to spend money to switch the thrust bearing to #5. on the phase one engine, the thrust bearing is on #3. so that will have to be machined if you want to build the short block. if you are going to build for power, you might as well go for a 2.1 stroker which means you have to get the ej257 crank and a set of pistons at least. if it was me, I would put some Hbeams manleys in there as for pistions, I would talk to the person that is going to do the machine work and see what they are familiar with.

but me personally, for that amount of power you are looking for, I would just get a RA short block from Subaru and call it a day
Honestly haven't found a machine shop yet, trying to get my Info right and actually decide what I want. 350ish for right now I say, but who knows probably will want more. It's out now so might as well build for power as you're saying. I dont mind spending money just with building it I'm getting experience and having fun with it and the costs can be somewhat spread out vs new short block it's full cost plus head job. Not sure what the specs are on that short block you stated but are the internals as good and the upgraded forged ones I'd be using in the rebuild?? Still learning my internals but is the number 5 journal in the back of the case by the flywheel??
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:56 PM   #10
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Also already bought the jdm engine so itd be pretty cool if that 700 wasnt for nothing
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:39 PM   #11
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Also already bought the jdm engine so itd be pretty cool if that 700 wasnt for nothing
true but you are going to spend like another 2000 or more to get that block together, it will depend on how good of a day the machinist is having, and it wont last as long as a stock block
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:03 PM   #12
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true but you are going to spend like another 2000 or more to get that block together, it will depend on how good of a day the machinist is having, and it wont last as long as a stock block
Okay say I get the sti ra short, found one online for 1900 plus shipping. What about the heads? Jdm heads out of the question correct it's a 93 so believe phase 1 and the new short block is phase 2. The engine currently in the wrx is def not stock, even if jdm would those heads work? If they're any good that is. Dont believe the trans is stock either, serial doesnt match vin fully only the first 4 digits or so. That doesnt matter because everything should be phase 2 correct?
If the heads are good and compatible would I want to use them and go the hybrid route?? In my readings have heard of issues with hybrid builds? Or would I really bite the bullet for ultimate reliability and get the ej257 heads that are meant for it?? Know it boils down to what I want but advice is much appreciated have only been researching ej20s and my little knowledge is limited to those

Another point, it shouldnt matter is the ra short is 2019 since it's a ej phase 2. Referring to mounting to trans, not sure about if they changed the compatibility in newer years.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:25 PM   #13
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If the new heads were brought into the equation that's close if not over what it would cost to get a jdm sti complete engine. Not even including timing, gaskets and pumps.

https://www.importimageracing.com/products/subaru-oem-2-5l-bare-cylinder-head-right-side-subaru-sti-2008-2010?gclid=CjwKCAjwguzzBRBiEiwAgU0FT598dfsqSmTqZwJ R2D-0mtAIOWdY-waQVGSh-LsKgqPI36ZNPARuehoCAHkQAvD_BwE

Found these, a brand new 257 sounds reaaallyyy nice.
1.9k-2k ra 257 shortblock
1k head casings alone
380 for springs kit
150 intake valves
150 exhaust
Plus a few more hundred for other components, have to research what goes into the 257 heads.
Not sure if ra block and head need to be machined would guess yes plus head assembly(possibly do myself??)
400 oem timing
300ish for gaskets oem
That's roughly 5+k
Jdm v7 runs about 6ish. But forget jdm, usdm ftw
Ej20 rebuild 2500?
257 is tempting even tho it mean the wrx will wait longer to see the road.
Please correct my numbers if youd like that was brief searching and 5k ish just seems low for factory short and 257 heads with upgraded internals.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:39 PM   #14
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Okay say I get the sti ra short, found one online for 1900 plus shipping. What about the heads? Jdm heads out of the question correct it's a 93 so believe phase 1 and the new short block is phase 2. The engine currently in the wrx is def not stock, even if jdm would those heads work? If they're any good that is. Dont believe the trans is stock either, serial doesnt match vin fully only the first 4 digits or so. That doesnt matter because everything should be phase 2 correct?
If the heads are good and compatible would I want to use them and go the hybrid route?? In my readings have heard of issues with hybrid builds? Or would I really bite the bullet for ultimate reliability and get the ej257 heads that are meant for it?? Know it boils down to what I want but advice is much appreciated have only been researching ej20s and my little knowledge is limited to those

Another point, it shouldnt matter is the ra short is 2019 since it's a ej phase 2. Referring to mounting to trans, not sure about if they changed the compatibility in newer years.
Im not too surea bout the compatability between the phase one and 2 blocks and heads , but you can either get the heads off a ej20 and get them ground out so they fit the 257. the problem with the 257 block and the 205 heads is the bowls on the 205 too small so it messes with the compression ratio. I head with this set up compression goes up to like10:1 which isnt too turbo friendly unless you want to run e85 or race gas all the time. but if you tune it for the 10:1 you will have a better engine that will be very linear as far as your power band goes. but in pump you will only be able to run like 10psi.

all the subaru stuff is like legos.it all basically fits together
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:54 PM   #15
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I do have ej205 heads but I dont think it's worth the saved money to worry about compression issues. Think I'll probably go the built 257 head route. Just really hope theres no compatibility issues with a 2018 going into a 02-07. Thank you kindly for the help. Any idea on what to do with the dissembled ej20g lol. Anyone need some heads? Shim under bucket, coil on plug
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:58 PM   #16
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Do you know the "max safe" hp for the 257 with 257 heads? You say itll work for my power goals just curious how much room itll have to grow
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:57 PM   #17
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Im not too surea bout the compatability between the phase one and 2 blocks and heads , but you can either get the heads off a ej20 and get them ground out so they fit the 257. the problem with the 257 block and the 205 heads is the bowls on the 205 too small so it messes with the compression ratio. I head with this set up compression goes up to like10:1 which isnt too turbo friendly unless you want to run e85 or race gas all the time. but if you tune it for the 10:1 you will have a better engine that will be very linear as far as your power band goes. but in pump you will only be able to run like 10psi.

all the subaru stuff is like legos.it all basically fits together
Another thing I just thought of. Besides the fitment which I dont think will be an issue like you say, what about the avcs?? Will just a new wiring harness and a tune take care of that? And any similar issues that might pop up. Hopefully none since everything else should be stock.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:48 PM   #18
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Another thing I just thought of. Besides the fitment which I dont think will be an issue like you say, what about the avcs?? Will just a new wiring harness and a tune take care of that? And any similar issues that might pop up. Hopefully none since everything else should be stock.
so HP numbers will vary, but I have found 400 is a good number to stay safe. that will depend on the turbo you use though. but the bigger turbo you go to they more lag you will get, not that lag is bad, but you just have to realise you have to push the car up in the rmp range to compensate for the slower spool

so if you want avcs, the cheapest way is to get v7-9 heads, and use a iag wiring kit with a jdm ecu. then you dont have to worry so much about wiring the whole ecu up as it is not the same plug as the 205 ecu.

the other problem you will run into if you push the power to those levels is the trans becomes an issue. so that will have to ge dealt with as well. what people dont realize is when you start to go bigger power everything around it has to be upgraded. ie trans, brakes, rear end, suspension. so its not a cheap thing to just upgrade power.

most of the reliability issues come up cause people want to push the heck out of their cars all the time. take it this way, the more you push the more you need to check your oil, the more you need to change your oil. you gotta remeber that these are not racecars its a street car that people are trying to push more and more power out of. and that why they tend to let go.

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Old 03-26-2020, 06:44 PM   #19
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so HP numbers will vary, but I have found 400 is a good number to stay safe. that will depend on the turbo you use though. but the bigger turbo you go to they more lag you will get, not that lag is bad, but you just have to realise you have to push the car up in the rmp range to compensate for the slower spool

so if you want avcs, the cheapest way is to get v7-9 heads, and use a iag wiring kit with a jdm ecu. then you dont have to worry so much about wiring the whole ecu up as it is not the same plug as the 205 ecu.

the other problem you will run into if you push the power to those levels is the trans becomes an issue. so that will have to ge dealt with as well. what people dont realize is when you start to go bigger power everything around it has to be upgraded. ie trans, brakes, rear end, suspension. so its not a cheap thing to just upgrade power.

most of the reliability issues come up cause people want to push the heck out of their cars all the time. take it this way, the more you push the more you need to check your oil, the more you need to change your oil. you gotta remeber that these are not racecars its a street car that people are trying to push more and more power out of. and that why they tend to let go.
Itll be awhile before I get to those numbers was just curious about what the engine can potentially hold. I think I would be happy with 400 +/- for a very long time. As you state the rest of the car isnt equipped for that, have to research it as with everything but not sure if I want to go 6mt or upgrade the gears in the 5. Thinking the 5mt upgrade, know 6mt is a bit more intensive on part swaps. But trans it def next after the car is running, who knows how long it's got left in it atm.

As far as the avcs, doesnt the stock usdm 257 head come with avcs??
Speaking of forgot the price of cams in the custom head estimates, another 1500 there?? Complete guess but seems fair for 4 new cams.
To be honest you've switched me over from getting it on the road to taking my time and building it for the future now. After the bad start with jdm I dont want anything jdm.
Plus with jdm ecu your tune options are limited right?? I want to build the heads with aftermarket valves, springs, retainers and such. I dont know if it would have avcs or not just assumed the newer models had it. Ej20 guy no avcs lol, Is there a difference in the ecu for the ej257 ej205?
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Old 03-26-2020, 06:53 PM   #20
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And as far as lag and high hp goes, once the rest of the car is taken care of and it needs alllot of work. That will be awhile from now and hopefully I'll know more but would like to experiment with throwing a quality supercharger into the system to eliminate lag. Would have to compare to vs a quality electric turbo vs just a smaller turbo to ramp up the larger one. Those are just dreams at this point. Am I crazy for think about spending several times over what the car is worth?? Probably.. oh well. Love the bug eye, especially the 03 and my dad helped me get the car so I'm not getting rid of it. Be cool if was one of those YouTube guys and got things for free 😅😅
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:16 PM   #21
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4k for those and 2k for short block. For about 7k a completely new better than stock ej257, now hopefully the ecu wont be an issue.

https://www.iagperformance.com/IAG-Stage-1-Heads-GSC-S1-Cams-WRX-STI-FXT-LGT-p/iag-eng-3015.htm

After a little reading think non avcs is the way to go and dont think those cams are avcs. Dont believe I should have to worry about the ecu if its non avcs. Read that if I get the sti ecu the drive by cable will be an issue

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Old 03-27-2020, 03:57 AM   #22
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i'm not too sure what's happening here, but let me chime in

if you have a long block, why are you swapping out parts? isn't it good by itself?

i ENJOY stripping subaru engines and piecing them back together. it's my hobby/passion so you've done the right thing to open it up and ensure that the internals are good. some good silicone and thread lock should help you when you put it back together.

that being said, ej20g is the one that uses the 1.1mm thick material gasket? i can't remember but it is a good solid engine. if it is a TT, you probably won't get much out of it as the turbos are small and it already pumps out 260-280 or so horses at the crank.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:57 AM   #23
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i'm not too sure what's happening here, but let me chime in

if you have a long block, why are you swapping out parts? isn't it good by itself?

i ENJOY stripping subaru engines and piecing them back together. it's my hobby/passion so you've done the right thing to open it up and ensure that the internals are good. some good silicone and thread lock should help you when you put it back together.

that being said, ej20g is the one that uses the 1.1mm thick material gasket? i can't remember but it is a good solid engine. if it is a TT, you probably won't get much out of it as the turbos are small and it already pumps out 260-280 or so horses at the crank.
Lol theres alot happening. Went from engine rebuild advice to brand new OEM sti ra short block and new heads advice. The thing with the jdm ej20g long block I have is I believe is phase one so not sure what parts are interchangeable and what issues I might run into swapping it. Plus the other guy helping mentioned switching the thrust bearing?? I have the seized ej20 that's in the car, what's wrong with it exactly idk so it's either rebuild the ej20 if even logical to do so after seeing internals. Or the new 257 ra "longblock" non avcs which is what I'm leaning towards. 257 will cost 2 to 3 times more than a rebuilt ej20. Buying the jdm was a case of jumping the gun so now trying to make sure I go the best possible route forgetting about the money and worrying about overall longevity and power capacity instead.

The ej20g might have the 1.1 mm head gaskets not sure I'd have to measure they did feel a bit thick but not like I have had 12 different gaskets in my hand. Dont know enough technicals the tell ya what's supposed to be on the ej20g just learning as I'm going bud
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:27 PM   #24
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it all depends on you, and what you want to do. I would go buy the jdm peads off a ej207 that some guys is selling and get the ra block that will be around 2800 so by the tiime you get it all together around 4000 with the chambering of the heads you will get better heads with bigger ports than the 257 heads and you can go from there. plus you have a new engine that will last and easy 100000 at 400 hpish. you cant really beat that
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:22 AM   #25
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IMO id take the heads from your blown motor and put them on the JDM block. It will be less money by far and it will bolt up. If you use the JDM motor fully you may have to plug an unused hole or create a new mount and hole or fiddle around with something on the JDM heads due to a sensor or lack of one. Also cam sensors can be different between JDM/US and then your ECU doesnt read things. The more you can keep the same on your car before the first engine start the easier to diagnose an issue, particularly with this being your first deep dive into motor swapping.

Sending things out the a machine shop is very expensive particularly Subaru stuff. Most shops are not used to working on suby heads and will quote you a single head setup and then it costs 1.5 or 2x due to a second setup for both heads. If your building on a low budget like under $7500 forget about sending things out to be bored/stroked along with oversized pistons. Same goes with the heads, machining for over sized valves along with their purchase isn't cheap.

JDM v7-8 big port heads would be less $$ also easier but they are not cheap either....last I knew $1k in good ready to drop in shape on the low cost end. BUT big pot heads will not get you were you want to be without supporting mods....turbo-injectors all exhaust bits-fuel system upgrades-tune and then your trans blows up if you want to use the new power.
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