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Old 09-11-2017, 12:36 PM   #1
the_bugeye_baller
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Default STi swap in a 2002 WRX

I have a quick questions and just need overall advice. I bought my first 2002 WRX back in June with 195k on original motor. And now a few weeks back it just clocked over 200k. So I'm wondering when would it be a good time to do an engine swap? And also which motor to put in: 207, 257, or just do an engine rebuild?
Any advice would be super helpful! Also turbo smokes a little too, around the down pipe area. Thanks guys!
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:24 PM   #2
MadScientist84
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my guess is that the smoke is created by the turbo seals being worn out.

when is a good time? Today, tomorrow, now, when the engine explodes, when you have the time/money.

If the engine doesn't have any (severe) mechanical problems now, a rebuild would be cheaper now. If the engine throws a rod, spins a bearing, "gives up the ghost," then it'll cost more to rebuild depending on damage. Do you have another car to drive and the available funds to do it now?

Are you talking just an engine swap, or the entire STi drive-train? An engine swap is up to you. Pick what you want that best suits your goals, and price out EVERYTHING required to do the swap PROPERLY. A full drive-train is up to you if you have the money to do it.

Personally, for me, i think you're on borrowed time at 200k (original) miles w. I'm not saying your car will explode tomorrow, but I would start saving for the inevitable.

Also, at 200K (original) miles, you have to look at the other aspects of the car. Hows the trans? Is that original miles, too? How about the diff, xcase. hoses, etc.? If you throw a swapped motor in there with more power, and neglect the rest of the car, you're just asking for a headache. At 200K miles i would do a COMPLETE refresh of the car replacing worn out/dry-rotted parts (bushings, hoses, mounts, etc.). I would send the trans out to get that refreshed, a new clutch, etc. In other words, restore the car before you mod the car.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:15 PM   #3
the_bugeye_baller
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I don't have either another car or money right now. This is my daily. I was hoping h to swap out the engine and the tranny to basically make it an STi, but I also read it's almost better to save up for an STi. That way it'll save me time and money. So at this point maybe just restoring the car would be the better option? And then save to get an STi later down the road?
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:42 PM   #4
MadScientist84
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I don't mean to be a huge A-hole, but no way in hell would i have bought a performance (turbo) car with 200K miles on it as my DD. It sounds like you didn't look before you leaped...

With that being said....

An engine swap (swapping in a non OEM motor) is NOT something you complete over a weekend, it's not something you complete over a week. You have to start at the VERY bottom and do A LOT of research to find out what you need to do to reach your goal CORRECTLY, then you have to get it tuned. This also assuming you have NO issues with the swap, which NEVER happens, that the rest of the car is in acceptable shape, and that you're doing the work yourself. If you're having a shop do it, then you're stuck to their time table. Research what it costs to do what you want to do, then decide on whether or not you want to do it.

If it were me, I'd sell it and get a Civic, but if you're hell-bent on keeping it, then I'd start restoring it. Start with the worse offender(s) first, which in this case sounds like the turbo, and work your way to the better condition parts. I'd check the health of the engine (compression/leak-down test) first, and see where you're at with that. if the engine is fubar, then you need to address that first. You're going to at least need to get your turbo rebuilt, or replaced. Do a full tune-up, replace dried out hoses, replace the timing belt if it hasn't been done recently (while i was in there i'd do the water pump and oil pump), fix any leaks you have, bla bla bla. It might be cheaper to buy a used OEM long block w/ turbo. No matter what you decide, you have to restore the car before you alter the car.

you may very well find out that restoring the car will cost more than it's worth; then you have to decide if it's worth it. 200K miles on ANY vehicle is A LOT, but 200K miles on a turbo performance car is even worse. god only knows how it was treated.

Last edited by MadScientist84; 09-11-2017 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:02 PM   #5
Loyale93
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:07 PM   #6
86Dreams
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About your smoke... What color is it and what does it smell like?
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:35 AM   #7
the_bugeye_baller
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@MadScentist84 I had a good friend of mine who had worked on Subarus for years and owned them a lot of his life, take a look at it and said it might be worth a shot to take look at it. We got it inspected and the mechanic said with how many miles on it was in good condition. I did a lot of research on WRXs and Subaru in general and how safe and reliable they are, I know it has a lot of Miles but I know they can last for a long time. Tim Herr was the guy who did work on the car, it has new OEM head gaskets and exhaust gaskets, new timing pulleys, new OEM clutch, and other things. Most likely I'm not going to do and STi swap on it now. Doing more research, it costs more money and is a pain in the ass. I'm looking at getting it rebuilt buy Subaru or having them just swap the same engine in it that has lower Miles. It has only had two owners and been stock pretty much it's whole life.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:37 AM   #8
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@86Dreams It's a whiteish and it's not a lot of smoke but noticeable when you get under the hood. Kind of a burnt rubber smell, but not really a burnt oil smell.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bugeye_baller View Post
I don't have either another car or money right now.
This should guide your choices. When you do something like an engine swap, things always go wrong. If you're talking STi engine swap, you're looking at wiring changes. I know a local shop who specializes in swaps and wiring alone is $900 for them to do it. That tells me that if your plan is to swap it over a weekend, you're going to fail. This is something that us guys in the snow belt would plan to spend the entire winter doing so we know we'll have the time to address all the unplanned extra time steps.

Since the big things were addressed (head gaskets and timing stuff), you don't have one of the big known things ready to explode but at 200k miles, anything could fail. If I had to depend on a car, it wouldn't be a 200 mile Subaru anything. I'd be looking to trade it for a similarly priced Civic.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:40 AM   #10
MadScientist84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bugeye_baller View Post
@MadScentist84 I had a good friend of mine who had worked on Subarus for years and owned them a lot of his life, take a look at it and said it might be worth a shot to take look at it. We got it inspected and the mechanic said with how many miles on it was in good condition. I did a lot of research on WRXs and Subaru in general and how safe and reliable they are, I know it has a lot of Miles but I know they can last for a long time. Tim Herr was the guy who did work on the car, it has new OEM head gaskets and exhaust gaskets, new timing pulleys, new OEM clutch, and other things. Most likely I'm not going to do and STi swap on it now. Doing more research, it costs more money and is a pain in the ass. I'm looking at getting it rebuilt buy Subaru or having them just swap the same engine in it that has lower Miles. It has only had two owners and been stock pretty much it's whole life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
This should guide your choices. When you do something like an engine swap, things always go wrong. If you're talking STi engine swap, you're looking at wiring changes. I know a local shop who specializes in swaps and wiring alone is $900 for them to do it. That tells me that if your plan is to swap it over a weekend, you're going to fail. This is something that us guys in the snow belt would plan to spend the entire winter doing so we know we'll have the time to address all the unplanned extra time steps.

Since the big things were addressed (head gaskets and timing stuff), you don't have one of the big known things ready to explode but at 200k miles, anything could fail. If I had to depend on a car, it wouldn't be a 200 mile Subaru anything. I'd be looking to trade it for a similarly priced Civic.
the_bugeye_baller: like i said, i wasn't trying to be a a-hole, but Jack is exactly right. The plus side is that the major comments that would normally fail at this mileage have been addressed. Did you ever get a compression/leakdown test to see the health of the motor? If everything is good, then i'd fix the turbo leak, refresh the other things that need attention, and just drive the car; STOCK

Even swapping in a used OEM drive train won't be cheap, and who the hell knows what you'll be getting; just because it has low miles, doesn't mean it wasn't ran to within an inch of it's life. If you have Subaru do the work, it will be $$$$. If you NEED a reliable DD, that is cheap to run/maintain, then i'd sell the car, and buy a Civic; get the WRX/STi when you're better situated.

People who buy 200K mile cars buy them as projects, not DD's.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:44 AM   #11
the_bugeye_baller
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I understand.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:55 PM   #12
86Dreams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bugeye_baller View Post
@86Dreams It's a whiteish and it's not a lot of smoke but noticeable when you get under the hood. Kind of a burnt rubber smell, but not really a burnt oil smell.
Check your passenger side axle CV boots, there is a good chance one is ripped and flinging grease onto the down pipe causing that smoke.
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:41 PM   #13
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@86Dreams thank you! I'll check that out!
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:15 PM   #14
Daniel Dudley
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Run a decent oil, keep the fluids topped up, and check your oil at every fill up. Don't beat on it, and warm it up at quarter throttle.

You might get some miles out of it.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:24 PM   #15
the_bugeye_baller
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@Daniel Dudley I try to do that as much as I can. Thank you!
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