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Old 06-25-2003, 12:08 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 31352
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
98 RS
Black....for now

Exclamation Definitive thread on EJ20 swap into GC8

OK after going through loads of stuff and searches, I would appreciate if someone can put into a simple list what is needed. I have a 98 RS and looking to put an earlier 94-95 EJ2O motor in. Besides the motor what is everything I will need for the basic swap. ECU? crossmembers? will tranny bolt up? I know many people have done this, but I can't get straight answers about some things and diff people have diff opinions. I appreciate anyone who can lay out exactly what is needed and what problems I will run into. It would be very appreciated. Thanks

Also....updated vendor list on where to buy quality used motors.
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Old 06-25-2003, 12:18 PM   #2
Scooby Guru
Member#: 177
Join Date: Aug 1999
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
The 93 W/EJ20K-sold
Subaru-less :(


conversion forum perhaps?
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Old 06-25-2003, 01:38 PM   #3
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 1518
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Stow, OH
00 2.5RS


When you say a 94-95 EJ20 I would assume your getting a JDM one? The thing with Jdm's it isn't a matter of what you need but what you get. Some items can be obtained through aftermarket parts some need to be OEM. Plus there are 100 of variables that come with different motors and components to get them in and working. Basicly any EJ motor will drop right into the GC chassis and any TV,TY,and TZ tranny will mate up to the engine, but then you need to make sure the diffs match the tranny. The easiest way find out what you need is to let us know what you have. That's why there isn't a simple list of what parts you need, because most cases are different. I'm not saying you SOL, but there's no simple answer. I have a 94 WRX JDM motor and drivetrain in my garage and have done a ton of research so I might be able to get you some answers.
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Old 06-26-2003, 09:21 PM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 34545
Join Date: Mar 2003
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Worthington, Ohio
1999 GC8


just got done with a 95 jdm swap, but puckaveli basicly said what i was thinking.

If there is one piece of advice, get a whole front clip and not just the engine, tranny and ecu.

if there is any direct questions, pm me.
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Old 06-27-2003, 02:08 AM   #5
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Member#: 1135
Join Date: Mar 2000
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: BAICED


Yup, I'm planning on doing the whole front clip also. engine, tranny, rear diff. That way I don't have to worry about wiring and stuff.
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Old 06-28-2003, 02:49 AM   #6
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Member#: 3664
Join Date: Jan 2001
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: London and North Joisey
2005 broken


also see if the engine/ecu setup you are getting has that infamous security system that subaru engineered into some of the JDM cars, but did not make it over to the US market - namely a key with a transmitter that works with the ecu. without this key, the ecu is almost as good as useless.

Assuming stock RS - this is your quasi-definitive list of needs:
(I assume here that you are getting a STi engine)

- Turbo cross member (failing that, any wrx cross member will work)
- Complete engine (turbo/IC/radiator - oh yeah, radiator supports since they're different!), wiring harness, ecu
- tranny + matching diff (if possible) which opens up the options which ill list in a moment
- half-shafts and axels.

- matching 4 pot fronts and 2 pot rear (which usually means you have a R180 rear diff, as opposed to the R160 we have) brakes
- variable centre diff - which you'll need the controller (separate), wiring, and matching switch
- other suspension bits that may or may not come with what you buy

things to look out for
- avoid the twin turbo ej20 engines - as the 2ndary turbo will give you clearance issues - not that it's not doable, but it's a hell of a lot more work
- get compression/leak down test numbers, along with mileage on setup if possible
- warrenty if possible (i.e. not DOA and so on)

Things i recommend you do while you're partially tearing the car apart and trying to put the new one in
- Clean the IC with either gasoline or other cleaner - as it's probably dirty
- do the tune up/prep work while it's out if you have the room/tools to do it (i.e. get the engine running before you stuff it into the car)
- fix any suspension stuff while the engine/trans is out - it's just a lot easier that way.

oh yeah, did i mention that you should also keep about another grand in CASH handy - in case you need to score things that you didn't realize you need, or just found out doesn't work.

even with the assistance of a very large hammer.

I've learned this from doing a couple of swaps - into imprezas and foresters. I still think the impreza is the easiest and most flexible out of the lot to do.

One note: You're not exactly limited to the STi engines out of an impreza. One intriguing prospect that i recommend doing (assuming you have the time/resources) is to find a Forester STi engine with the matching diff and so on. In all reality, you'll never find a place to really go as fast as you'd like. So why get some more torque and have a lot more fun in between the gears instead? The essential difference between the Forester and Impreza STi engines are the cams and the ecu mapping to compensate for those things. Imprezas have higher hp/lesser tq, whilst the Forester has higher tq/lower hp to account for the extra mass. But since you don't have the extra mass, you'll be amazed at the extra performance.

Yes, this torque over hp route is not conventional - but it's more fun based upon my rally experience.

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