Engine swap options, and other stupid questions.

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Engine swap options, and other stupid questions.

Post by DancesWithMutts »

I recently learned that the Gambler 500 was coming to Colorado, for the uninitiated, it's a 500 mail off road navigation rally event, where people are encouraged to bring weird/old/cheap cars and thrash them on roads that they have no business being on in the first place.

Enter the weenie:


This is the Green Weenie, my good friend bought this fantastic example of Japanese engineering about 8 years ago for $500. It has 370K miles and still runs strong. It's been sitting in South Dakota doing nothing for the past couple years, and we want to give it a proper sendoff.

It already has Junkyard outback suspension, we are going to throw some bigger tires on it and a paint job that pays homage to some of the famous Legacy rally cars.

On to questions. We are going to run it this year with the original EJ22, and if we have a good enough time we want put some more time and money into it for next year (and maybe some rally cross).

We want more power, and the obvious choice seems to be an engine swap. We aren't afraid of wiring and welding but we would like to keep the costs as low as possible. I think a H6 would suit it well, but I'm reading about CAN bus problems with those ECU's, and a stand-alone is really gonna ratchet the price up. What would you guys do?

I am going to park it in my driveway for a few weeks this spring and make some beefy bumpers and skid plates for it, I was also thinking about welding the rear-end, thoughts?

Does anyone know what size tires we can fit under this thing? I am looking on cragslist and seeing a lot of newer outback snow tires for cheap. 225/65/17's. Any idea if this will fit? Do newer subaru (5x100) wheels bolt right up on these? Correct backspacing and all that?
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Re: Engine swap options, and other stupid questions.

Post by mike-tracy »

I don't know much about the max tire size that will fit, you should be able to find that info with some diligent searching in the Google custom search bar above.

I will make a couple comments about the engine swap though. You have literally the most reliable engine Subaru has ever made, so *anything* you swap in (that's made by Subaru) will be a downgrade in that department.

If you're talking about h6's, most likely you'll need a standalone computer to run them. There are very few people worldwide (and like one or two on this forum, who haven't posted in forever) who have successfully gotten an h6 to run with their stock ecu. They are going to be expensive (talking about replacement parts), hard to find in junkyards and (from what I've read) they blow head gaskets as they get older.

My recommendation is to rebuild your heads, and find an ej25 short block, rebuild that too, and make a Frankenstein sohc higher compression build. You'll get 25-30 extra HP, there won't be any wiring involved. Downsides include: requirement to run premium (just like the H6) and you no longer have subaru's most reliable engine. The Franken-engines I've read about seem to be fairly reliable though.
1992 Legacy SS 5mt, build in progress
Josh Colombo wrote: Mon Jan 14, 2002 10:23 am Wait....I'm confused now.
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Re: Engine swap options, and other stupid questions.

Post by Legacy777 »

Welcome to the BBS.

What is your budget? I know you said you'd like to keep it cheap, but I think it would be good to get an idea of what you consider cheap vs. what myself or others consider cheap.

Honestly....for what you're looking to do/use the car I wouldn't do anything with the motor. The EJ22's are just very reliable motors and not to say a frakenmotor wouldn't be reliable, but again how much do you want to spend? Rebuilding a Subaru motor is not cheap in my opinion and not every machine shop knows all the intricacies of rebuilding a Subaru motor so you could go down a path of disappointment and extra costs.

An alternative to the frakenmotor, you could install a set of Delta cams. The 220 grind would probably work out ok.

If you can provide some more feedback on costs I think that would help with the recommendations.

1990 Legacy (AWD, 6MT, & EJ22T Swap)
2020 Outback Limted XT

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Re: Engine swap options, and other stupid questions.

Post by wtdash »

Truth is provided above....

My .02:
- Google up NA-T Ej22. For cheap thrills <$500 you can turbo the stock engine 5PSI is (relatively) safe and won't require a tune, and net you an extra 50/50....but depends on how you drive it. Ken Block imitations not withstanding.

And a turbo handles CO's elevation better. (Tangent: I had a 63hp 1st Gen Ford Fiesta I drove to 9600' Keystone in '84...slow trip.)

My turbo projects:
- Link1 Link2

As that looks to be a '92-'94 model it should have more room under the rear spring perches for bigger tires. 225/65/17 are too big (28.5" tall), but you you might get a 215/65/16 (27"). And the OB 15" wheels may have more tire options ...look for what TYPE (AT vs MT, etc) to see what you want and what sizes are avl. before upgrading the wheels.

And yes, most (Legacy, Forester, Impreza (not STi)) were 5x100 until 2015???

Have fun!
Turbo Subies:
'87 GL-10 Turbo - SOLD
'90 BJ EJ22T/DOHC & 5speed swap - SOLD
'04 FXT, Forged internals, VF39, STI TMIC, Cobb AP- SOLD
'93 Legacy SS - 5-speed, SOLD :-(
'96 BD-turbo'd-SOLD
'98 SF - NA-T
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Re: Engine swap options, and other stupid questions.

Post by redneck_impreza »

Stock your wagon can fit 215s, but if you have a pick n pull nearby, a set of forester struts would raise you up enough to fit 245s,
As far as power goes, there’s not much you can do, turbo kits are a hassle and there isn’t a lot of literature out there on how to do it correctly. Frankenstein some 2.0 heads on there and you will have the giddy up to thrash some gravel roads

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