Standalone Ecu options....

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91Legacyresto
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Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

I want to hear from others who have run standalone ecus for our first gens. Reason being I want flexibility in the future.
Little background on my car. I currently have a 91 LS wagon that has been undergoing some major changes lately. Most recently I'm finishing up another 5spd swap and currently In the middle of another motor build. The motor is going to be a 22t block, 25d heads, cometic HGs, td05 turbo, 550 injectors, fxt top mount, 3"dp and straight exhaust, maximum 18 psi mainly bc of the MAF limits from what I've read. I know this frankenmotor combo has potential, for my goals eventually I want to boost the block a lot more, let's say 28 to 30 psi...I know theres not a rob tune or other ecu that will do that. I am willing to spend the money on a great standalone, just unsure of what to go with and wanted to hear some opinions. Especially since I'm going with 25d heads. I'm pretty set on this path and was finding little to no info on standalones.
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Bcaron1000
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Bcaron1000 »

I’m doing a similar build in my 92 right now, but it’s a 22t/20k hybrid and decided to go with a Haltech elite because I figured it would have a lot more potential without the use of a maf. Probably gonna push it to 22-23psi.
I have an apexi power fc in my 91 and another 22t/20k hybrid in it running 17psi reliably. But the maf really is what it came down to. I’d suggest a Haltech if you’re aimin for big numbers


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91Legacyresto
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

Awesome, thanks for the quick reply. I would love a 20k hybrid but its reasonably hard finding those heads. Why the haltech elite, I like the option of no maf and would like to hear more about that. Isnt there a 550 750 and so on options as well? Trying to figure out which one would be worth the extra money.
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Bcaron1000 »

If you want 20k heads, I’m sure I could find you a set. With the Haltech you run off of speed density so you just use an air temp sensor. I’ve heard great things about their sprint ecu. I kinda just spent the extra dollars for the elite.


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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

The elite is there top line ecu right? And that would be pretty cool, havent bought any 25d heads yet so that option is still open for the 20k, might be a couple weeks before I can grab em though, still finishing the wrx 5mt swap atm as well.
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91Legacyresto
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

Thanks for the helpful info. I hope others who are looking for these options can kinda refer to this thread as I couldnt find anything. I really like the air temp sensor path a lot better than a maf
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Bcaron1000 »

Yeah the elites pretty sweet it’s got a built in map sensor too. Haven’t heard anything bad about them. And their customer service is on top of things too. They sent me the wrong adapter harness and I had the right one within a day


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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

That's great to hear about customer service. I have yet to hear bad thing about haltech. And looks like I'll be saving up for the elite ecu. Pretty sure my tuner will be happy with the ecu as well. Going to be one fun ass motor. These first gens already do great with the right suspension upgrades, adding real power will make it a killer. Again thanks for the input man!!!
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Bcaron1000 »

Man these first gens are awesome and the 22t has real potential Image
That was in my 91 with a stock bottom end. My next one I’m hoping to make a bit moreImage


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91Legacyresto
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

That's some great numbers to see from the stock bottom end man!!! I'm wanting to split the block and use all forged internals, though not sure if I want to split it yet, dont think I want to go over 330awhp for a while until I get use to the power level feel in this chasis you know?
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Bcaron1000 »

Maaan just split the block and do it. Forge the rods n pistons and just drive it with a smile bro. Might as well do it while you’re in there instead of going back and doing it


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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

You do have a great point there. Might as well split everything and forge it all out. Its definitely a little costly but nothing like building a 25 forged motor which dont always seem to work out in the end. And I would love to see someone hit 30psi with dyno numbers, and if I have to be the test piggy so be it lmao. Just hoping I dont run into too many issues changing it all out to forged components. Weisco pistons most likely, eagle rods, and probably ACL bearings. Have any insight on forged items?
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Bcaron1000 »

I used manly h beam rods and je forged pistons. I’ve never had a forged setup so I’ll let you know when I getter goin


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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Legacy777 »

I'll give you my thoughts on stand alone ECU's as I embarked down this path in 2008. Most if not all modern stand alone ECU's will give you the flexibility and control while still maintaining stock engine functionality. Older stand alones didn't have as much I/O when it came for connecting sensors up and compromises had to be made. Those issues for the most part I believe have been resolved and most modern stand alone ECU's have all the I/O you will need to keep factory functionality. There may be some lower end models that may not have all the functionality or I/O so keep that in mind as you do your research.

Regarding brands of stand alones, when I did my research over 10 years ago I looked in Haltech, Link, & Autronic. In the end I decided to go with Link since it had the functionality and features I wanted. As I mentioned above technology has gotten better and most modern stand alone ECU's should have all the functionality you need.

Here is my original thread with the research and comments when I was looking at ECU's.

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=35193

Now; after saying that most modern stand alone ECU's should have all the functionality you need, what should you choose? You can look at price or features, but I'll tell you the number one thing you need to look at is local tuner support. Before you buy an ECU go talk with several local tuners and find out what they use and are very familiar with. All ECU's have standard fuel and air tables and any decent tuner can do that. However, when it comes to all the peripheral settings, adjustment tables, etc. That's where it takes a tuner that is INTIMATELY familiar with that ECU's tuning software and parameters.

And while we're on the topic of software, that's another thing that sets ECU's apart. Crappy software can make the best ECU hardware a pain to tune so you can't get the most out of it. Download the tuning software from the ECU's you are looking at and open some of the default files. Play around with it and see if the interfaces are intuitive and are easy to use.

I say all this from personal experience. I bought a Link G3 Plus, installed it, and configured everything so the engine would run/idle on the base map. I had it flatbed towed to a tuner in Houston that was supposedly familiar with the Link ECU as well as being a Link reseller. I got the car back and was not very wow'd with the results. It didn't idle worth a shit and overall just didn't perform or have the power I was expecting. I did some research and made some changes to the settings so it idled better. I also found some settings that the tuner really didn't adjust. Again all they really focused on was the main fuel and timing tables which any tuner can do. They really didn't know about the software and some of the other parameters to get the most out of things.

Several months pass and I do a firmware update to the G4 platform and end up driving up to Dallas to have a tuner up there tune the car. The results were better and they spent more time fine tuning, but again he had some of the parameters not set right so some of the temperature correction factors were active when they shouldn't have been. This is when I did some more research and found Link's main reseller in the US (Fine line Imports in Santa Rosa, CA). He was on Nasioc and I started conversing with them about my issues. I did some logging and he worked with me remotely to get things driving better and more safely. But to get things "right" they needed to have the car. So I ended up driving out to California and they had the car for a week to do a full tune. The results were definitely much better and what I had originally hoped for.

Shortly afterwards I ended up having a head gasket issue, which was more or less my fault during the initial rebuild. So I rebuilt the motor with forged internals and ended up going back to have the car retuned. This time a buddy was going out to Sonoma Raceway and had space in the car carrier so it was a little more convenient and I didn't have to drive. This last tuning was with slightly increased compression 8.5:1 vs. stock 8:1 and with the Delta 220 cams to help the heads breath better. The end result was 255 hp & 206 ft-lbs at the wheels.

You can read through my various threads and see the history and details :)

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=40102

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=42743

viewtopic.php?f=25&p=431279#p431279


So to conclude, the proper tuner and the ECU they're familiar with can make all the difference so that's really what you should be choosing vs. just the ECU.


If I had to do it all over again here are some thoughts:
  • If the RobTune was available when I started this journey I probably would have chose that.
  • Knowing what I know about the overall engine efficiency and design/setup of the EJ22t vs. modern Subaru motors I would probably have gone with an EJ257 motor with the Link stand alone. If you look at the power curves of the STi's or other modern motors they are much flatter and sustain the power band over a wider operating window. The other reason is that it's a much more common motor and most tuners are already going to have maps for it so going that route should minimize the costs associated with tuning. If my current EJ22t craps out that's the route I'll be going down.
As a side note, due to electronics supplier issues Link had to change where they got their ECU boards from and stopped developing the G4 ECU. The new G4+ ECU's are a completely different hardware set and actually better than the G4's. I really would love to have the G4+ software/hardware but can't justify spending the money.

Anyway, if you have questions/comments please share :)
Josh

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2020 Outback Limted XT

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91Legacyresto
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

Legacy777 wrote:I'll give you my thoughts on stand alone ECU's as I embarked down this path in 2008. Most if not all modern stand alone ECU's will give you the flexibility and control while still maintaining stock engine functionality. Older stand alones didn't have as much I/O when it came for connecting sensors up and compromises had to be made. Those issues for the most part I believe have been resolved and most modern stand alone ECU's have all the I/O you will need to keep factory functionality. There may be some lower end models that may not have all the functionality or I/O so keep that in mind as you do your research.

Regarding brands of stand alones, when I did my research over 10 years ago I looked in Haltech, Link, & Autronic. In the end I decided to go with Link since it had the functionality and features I wanted. As I mentioned above technology has gotten better and most modern stand alone ECU's should have all the functionality you need.

Here is my original thread with the research and comments when I was looking at ECU's.

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=35193

Now; after saying that most modern stand alone ECU's should have all the functionality you need, what should you choose? You can look at price or features, but I'll tell you the number one thing you need to look at is local tuner support. Before you buy an ECU go talk with several local tuners and find out what they use and are very familiar with. All ECU's have standard fuel and air tables and any decent tuner can do that. However, when it comes to all the peripheral settings, adjustment tables, etc. That's where it takes a tuner that is INTIMATELY familiar with that ECU's tuning software and parameters.

And while we're on the topic of software, that's another thing that sets ECU's apart. Crappy software can make the best ECU hardware a pain to tune so you can't get the most out of it. Download the tuning software from the ECU's you are looking at and open some of the default files. Play around with it and see if the interfaces are intuitive and are easy to use.

I say all this from personal experience. I bought a Link G3 Plus, installed it, and configured everything so the engine would run/idle on the base map. I had it flatbed towed to a tuner in Houston that was supposedly familiar with the Link ECU as well as being a Link reseller. I got the car back and was not very wow'd with the results. It didn't idle worth a shit and overall just didn't perform or have the power I was expecting. I did some research and made some changes to the settings so it idled better. I also found some settings that the tuner really didn't adjust. Again all they really focused on was the main fuel and timing tables which any tuner can do. They really didn't know about the software and some of the other parameters to get the most out of things.

Several months pass and I do a firmware update to the G4 platform and end up driving up to Dallas to have a tuner up there tune the car. The results were better and they spent more time fine tuning, but again he had some of the parameters not set right so some of the temperature correction factors were active when they shouldn't have been. This is when I did some more research and found Link's main reseller in the US (Fine line Imports in Santa Rosa, CA). He was on Nasioc and I started conversing with them about my issues. I did some logging and he worked with me remotely to get things driving better and more safely. But to get things "right" they needed to have the car. So I ended up driving out to California and they had the car for a week to do a full tune. The results were definitely much better and what I had originally hoped for.

Shortly afterwards I ended up having a head gasket issue, which was more or less my fault during the initial rebuild. So I rebuilt the motor with forged internals and ended up going back to have the car retuned. This time a buddy was going out to Sonoma Raceway and had space in the car carrier so it was a little more convenient and I didn't have to drive. This last tuning was with slightly increased compression 8.5:1 vs. stock 8:1 and with the Delta 220 cams to help the heads breath better. The end result was 255 hp & 206 ft-lbs at the wheels.

You can read through my various threads and see the history and details :)

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=40102

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=42743

viewtopic.php?f=25&p=431279#p431279


So to conclude, the proper tuner and the ECU they're familiar with can make all the difference so that's really what you should be choosing vs. just the ECU.


If I had to do it all over again here are some thoughts:
  • If the RobTune was available when I started this journey I probably would have chose that.
  • Knowing what I know about the overall engine efficiency and design/setup of the EJ22t vs. modern Subaru motors I would probably have gone with an EJ257 motor with the Link stand alone. If you look at the power curves of the STi's or other modern motors they are much flatter and sustain the power band over a wider operating window. The other reason is that it's a much more common motor and most tuners are already going to have maps for it so going that route should minimize the costs associated with tuning. If my current EJ22t craps out that's the route I'll be going down.
As a side note, due to electronics supplier issues Link had to change where they got their ECU boards from and stopped developing the G4 ECU. The new G4+ ECU's are a completely different hardware set and actually better than the G4's. I really would love to have the G4+ software/hardware but can't justify spending the money.

Anyway, if you have questions/comments please share :)
Thanks for the great insight. Thats exactly what I was looking for. And great threads you posted In here as well. You were able to get some great numbers off of those stock heads and delta cams. Providing the sti and wrx data as well seriously puts that motor into perspective. You provided tons of info for me and helped me start deciding what I want to do. Pretty sure I'm going to take my old 22e which is just sitting on my floor currently, throw my 22t heads with pistons on it, and grab a rob tune just for the simplicity of it. Drop that little guy in for a bit, while I tear down my 22t and completely rebuild it. I want the closed deck block to last a while bc I do like to drive very "spirited" and I want to avoid rod knock as much as possible, especially since these motors are all about 29yrs old and not too many people use forged Internals.

That will give me plenty of time to talk to the only 2 tuners I trust here in Colorado to even look at my car, and see which stand alone they prefer to use. I appreciate the helpful advice and insight on this very much. This will be one of my slower moving projects as I want sont want to rush this build. I want to tear it apart once and know it'll take anything I want to throw at it.

In all honesty I dont think I'll ever take this car above 350whp/tq just for the fact I'm going to keep it as my daily driver. Until later down the road If I decide differently. I keep hearing to not split the block and just run DOHC and supporting mods since I dont want to go over anything of 300whp/tq for a while until I'm use to the power level. I love the way quick spooling cars feel, so right around the 300 range is where I wanna sit and I'd be completely content.

Guess what I'm trying to decide to do is slap a boosted 22e in for the time being, while I rebuild the 22t to have a stronger bottom end. Should I even bother with rebuilding it since I dont want to go over anything 300whp/tq???Image

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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by mike-tracy »

I've had terrible luck with used boosted ej engines. I've gotten 5!-5000 miles out of them. My last one I rebuilt, was from a running and driving car that got wrecked. It litterally had chunks of bearing missing on several. I had planned on just "throwing it in" but fortunately I didnt. Some people get lucky and get away without rebuilding. But it's bitten me in the ass too many times now.
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Josh Colombo wrote: Mon Jan 14, 2002 10:23 am Wait....I'm confused now.
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Legacy777 »

91Legacyresto wrote:Thanks for the great insight. Thats exactly what I was looking for. And great threads you posted In here as well. You were able to get some great numbers off of those stock heads and delta cams. Providing the sti and wrx data as well seriously puts that motor into perspective. You provided tons of info for me and helped me start deciding what I want to do. Pretty sure I'm going to take my old 22e which is just sitting on my floor currently, throw my 22t heads with pistons on it, and grab a rob tune just for the simplicity of it. Drop that little guy in for a bit, while I tear down my 22t and completely rebuild it. I want the closed deck block to last a while bc I do like to drive very "spirited" and I want to avoid rod knock as much as possible, especially since these motors are all about 29yrs old and not too many people use forged Internals.

That will give me plenty of time to talk to the only 2 tuners I trust here in Colorado to even look at my car, and see which stand alone they prefer to use. I appreciate the helpful advice and insight on this very much. This will be one of my slower moving projects as I want sont want to rush this build. I want to tear it apart once and know it'll take anything I want to throw at it.

In all honesty I dont think I'll ever take this car above 350whp/tq just for the fact I'm going to keep it as my daily driver. Until later down the road If I decide differently. I keep hearing to not split the block and just run DOHC and supporting mods since I dont want to go over anything of 300whp/tq for a while until I'm use to the power level. I love the way quick spooling cars feel, so right around the 300 range is where I wanna sit and I'd be completely content.

Guess what I'm trying to decide to do is slap a boosted 22e in for the time being, while I rebuild the 22t to have a stronger bottom end. Should I even bother with rebuilding it since I dont want to go over anything 300whp/tq???Image

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You're welcome for the information and glad to help.

I think everyone would love to have the closed deck block as it's the strongest design. My thoughts....the closed deck block is like one's fading youth. We keep trying to hold onto it as long as possible and maybe not embrace one's present and miss out on what there is to offer now. The closed deck block is like one's fading youth. Be open to other alternatives. Even if you want to stay at 300 whp/tq you are going to need to do something with the drivetrain. You will need another transmission as at some point you'll likely kill the stock 5spd.

You really need to be aware of the path you're going down from a cost stand point. I've easily got $7k in the motor and that doesn't include the stand alone ECU, tuning, or the 6spd swap. Do you have $20k to dump into your 91 Legacy?

If you want a reliable daily driver it would probably be best to not swap in a boosted non-turbo EJ22. Again, what are your goals? Do you want a fun car to drive around occasionally and aren't worried about reliability or do you want a reliable daily driven car? Typically finding the happy balance requires some compromise and/or money to increase reliability.
Josh

surrealmirage.com/subaru
1990 Legacy (AWD, 6MT, & EJ22T Swap)
2020 Outback Limted XT

If you need to get a hold of me please email me rather then pm
91Legacyresto
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

Legacy777 wrote:
91Legacyresto wrote:Thanks for the great insight. Thats exactly what I was looking for. And great threads you posted In here as well. You were able to get some great numbers off of those stock heads and delta cams. Providing the sti and wrx data as well seriously puts that motor into perspective. You provided tons of info for me and helped me start deciding what I want to do. Pretty sure I'm going to take my old 22e which is just sitting on my floor currently, throw my 22t heads with pistons on it, and grab a rob tune just for the simplicity of it. Drop that little guy in for a bit, while I tear down my 22t and completely rebuild it. I want the closed deck block to last a while bc I do like to drive very "spirited" and I want to avoid rod knock as much as possible, especially since these motors are all about 29yrs old and not too many people use forged Internals.

That will give me plenty of time to talk to the only 2 tuners I trust here in Colorado to even look at my car, and see which stand alone they prefer to use. I appreciate the helpful advice and insight on this very much. This will be one of my slower moving projects as I want sont want to rush this build. I want to tear it apart once and know it'll take anything I want to throw at it.

In all honesty I dont think I'll ever take this car above 350whp/tq just for the fact I'm going to keep it as my daily driver. Until later down the road If I decide differently. I keep hearing to not split the block and just run DOHC and supporting mods since I dont want to go over anything of 300whp/tq for a while until I'm use to the power level. I love the way quick spooling cars feel, so right around the 300 range is where I wanna sit and I'd be completely content.

Guess what I'm trying to decide to do is slap a boosted 22e in for the time being, while I rebuild the 22t to have a stronger bottom end. Should I even bother with rebuilding it since I dont want to go over anything 300whp/tq???Image

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You're welcome for the information and glad to help.

I think everyone would love to have the closed deck block as it's the strongest design. My thoughts....the closed deck block is like one's fading youth. We keep trying to hold onto it as long as possible and maybe not embrace one's present and miss out on what there is to offer now. The closed deck block is like one's fading youth. Be open to other alternatives. Even if you want to stay at 300 whp/tq you are going to need to do something with the drivetrain. You will need another transmission as at some point you'll likely kill the stock 5spd.

You really need to be aware of the path you're going down from a cost stand point. I've easily got $7k in the motor and that doesn't include the stand alone ECU, tuning, or the 6spd swap. Do you have $20k to dump into your 91 Legacy?

If you want a reliable daily driver it would probably be best to not swap in a boosted non-turbo EJ22. Again, what are your goals? Do you want a fun car to drive around occasionally and aren't worried about reliability or do you want a reliable daily driven car? Typically finding the happy balance requires some compromise and/or money to increase reliability.
Actually I never had a stock 5spd in this car, it use to be an auto. About a year ago i did put in a 98outback 5spd which actually just gave up on me suddenly. I did just finish installing an 02wrx trans and rear end into the car with a new stage 2 clutch. Feels way way better than the 98outback trans ever did. I also do all the work to the car myself so that does help me save quite a bit of money. I really want a decent fun reliable daily driver. Reason for not going over 300 is bc I dont want to blow up my newish to me 02 wrs trans. I never launch my cars, just occasional canyon driving or cruising with friends.

At some point in time I will have a whole sti driveline for it but I'm not counting on big power for a while, anything from 250-300 would be plenty for quite a while.

After seeing what's happen to people in the past, I might as well tear down the 22t just to be safe.

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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

mike-tracy wrote:I've had terrible luck with used boosted ej engines. I've gotten 5!-5000 miles out of them. My last one I rebuilt, was from a running and driving car that got wrecked. It litterally had chunks of bearing missing on several. I had planned on just "throwing it in" but fortunately I didnt. Some people get lucky and get away without rebuilding. But it's bitten me in the ass too many times now.
You do have a very good point. Motor I have pulled now only has 130k on it currently. Still old as hell though. Some good points I'll have to remember, definitely dont want my engine to do shit like that

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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by Legacy777 »

91Legacyresto wrote:Actually I never had a stock 5spd in this car, it use to be an auto. About a year ago i did put in a 98outback 5spd which actually just gave up on me suddenly. I did just finish installing an 02wrx trans and rear end into the car with a new stage 2 clutch. Feels way way better than the 98outback trans ever did. I also do all the work to the car myself so that does help me save quite a bit of money. I really want a decent fun reliable daily driver. Reason for not going over 300 is bc I dont want to blow up my newish to me 02 wrs trans. I never launch my cars, just occasional canyon driving or cruising with friends.

At some point in time I will have a whole sti driveline for it but I'm not counting on big power for a while, anything from 250-300 would be plenty for quite a while.

After seeing what's happen to people in the past, I might as well tear down the 22t just to be safe.

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Yeah, I do all my own work as well to try and save some cash and make sure it's done right. It also helps to plan things out; I didn't really do that initially so I redid some things where if I had done it "right" the first time I could have saved some cash. The other thing is parts change over the years so what wasn't available a couple years back is available now.

Take your time and try to plan things out :)
Josh

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2020 Outback Limted XT

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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

Legacy777 wrote:
91Legacyresto wrote:Actually I never had a stock 5spd in this car, it use to be an auto. About a year ago i did put in a 98outback 5spd which actually just gave up on me suddenly. I did just finish installing an 02wrx trans and rear end into the car with a new stage 2 clutch. Feels way way better than the 98outback trans ever did. I also do all the work to the car myself so that does help me save quite a bit of money. I really want a decent fun reliable daily driver. Reason for not going over 300 is bc I dont want to blow up my newish to me 02 wrs trans. I never launch my cars, just occasional canyon driving or cruising with friends.

At some point in time I will have a whole sti driveline for it but I'm not counting on big power for a while, anything from 250-300 would be plenty for quite a while.

After seeing what's happen to people in the past, I might as well tear down the 22t just to be safe.

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Yeah, I do all my own work as well to try and save some cash and make sure it's done right. It also helps to plan things out; I didn't really do that initially so I redid some things where if I had done it "right" the first time I could have saved some cash. The other thing is parts change over the years so what wasn't available a couple years back is available now.

Take your time and try to plan things out :)
That's my plan brother. After doing literally months of research, I'm going to split that block and do everything right. I just slapped another 22e I rebuilt a few months ago in there so I'm good for a while to plan this out and do it right. Thanks for the help guys!

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91 LS Turbo Project
91Legacyresto
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Re: Standalone Ecu options....

Post by 91Legacyresto »

Bcaron1000 wrote:I used manly h beam rods and je forged pistons. I’ve never had a forged setup so I’ll let you know when I getter goin


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Did you ever get that motor running with those forged internals?? I've decided on weisco boostline rods, king engine and rod bearings with coatings, non beat up crank, but I cant decide if I want to go with the weisco pistons or je pistons. I know both are made of separate metals and that's what's giving me a tough time choosing. I wanted to hear your opinion more on the JE pistons you bought....

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91 LS Turbo Project
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