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97 Subaru Forester GX 5speed Manual.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Noob here. Could really use some guidance.

About 6 months or so ago I came across a lady on Facebook giving away what has become my car. It had not been started in four years before I picked it up. To my surprise the car still turned over first turn of the key after a new battery was in it. I took it home and 3 grand later got it into roadworthy condition and now registered.

What I plan to do with this bad boy is swap the motor out. It's got an EJ20J motor in it currently that's done 309k so I doubt it'll last much longer. I wasn't kidding about the noob part. Is it a simple task swapping the motor for the turbo EJ20 or could I even put a EJ25 turbo motor in it? Any suggestions of what you would do are welcome. I wanna make a sleeper out of this car. I kinda like the idea of keeping it looking like a poop box but having a better engine and gearbox
IMG20210423144018.jpg .
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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Hi and welcome to the forum.
Unfortunately your Forester looks like it is a non turbo.
To swap to a turbo engine would mean:
Engine swap
Turbo
Intercooler
Exhaust manifold
Exhaust
ECU
Wiring harness for under the bonnet and probably cabin too, for the ECU connections
 

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97 Subaru Forester GX 5speed Manual.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the heads up. Do the non turbo models still have the mounts for the turbo gear? I was always going to replace the exhaust anyway.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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I'm not sure how the mounting works in regards to what the non turbo has. I would expect brackets etc would all be neded too.

If you were to go turbo, I would highly recommend going EJ205 or EJ207 instead of an EJ2555 or EJ257 as the EJ25 series blows headgaskets - Some like to argue and say only the non turbos do lol

The EJ20 series are very uncommon but not unheard of to blow headgaskets. You also have thicker cylinder walls too, if you wanted to go for higher boost levels than the 0.8 Bar factory levels. The EJ22 from the Turbo Legacy is also a great block if you were to go the build route and built a forged monster of an engine...........
 

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97 Subaru Forester GX 5speed Manual.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tips. I'll have to do some research on the mounts. EJ22 sounding like a decent option atm.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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If you want some inspiration, this is a pretty special Forester with an EJ22 build ('03-'05) - lockheeds build thread

It would be a lot of work. You would need an STI transmission etc to cope with the power - Ideally you would be able to source a 2003-2004 WRX STI as a donor car for the driveline and brakes and wheels etc
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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If you were going all out, I believe the STI steering rack to give a quickrack has a different cross member too, so if you're changing them.........Might as well ;)
 

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97 Subaru Forester GX 5speed Manual.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you were going all out, I believe the STI steering rack to give a quickrack has a different cross member too, so if you're changing them.........Might as well ;)
These are all excellent ideas. Someone suggested rebuilding the engine and converting it to be able to be turbocharged. Given the kms on the engine I thought it wouldn't be worth it.
(309k)
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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I honestly haven't seen an EJ20 Forced Induction engine in the flesh to know how it might compare to the Naturally Aspirated version of those vintages. My experience first hand getting oily is with the 2005+2006 EJ255

The compression would be very different on a turbo builld compared to the N/A and I would assume the heads would be different too, flowing more for the Turbo version to make the most of the turbo but I honestly couldn't be sure. You would still need the wiring harness and the ECU etc.....

If you wanted a block ready to go there might be engine builders in Aus that do that sort of thing? @Kevin might be able to advise on that as he's a fellow drop bear myth-spreader :p
IAG in the US do some pretty sexy engine builds but I would shudder to think what the shipping pricing and import duty and tax might be on that.
Just an example of their work: IAG Stage 2.5 EJ20 Subaru Closed Deck Short Block For 2002-05 WRX (Prices in USD)
 

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G'day & Welcome @Straagz
Is it a simple task swapping the motor for the turbo
Definitely not a simple task. Much more economical to start with an SF GT or an SG XT

Quite frankly it's not worth considering a turbo engine conversion unless you can do all the work yourself as a project (and be without the car for many months) or you have very very deep pockets.
Alldrivesubaroo have a good reputation; I had one of their standard engines installed in my MY'03 SG in 2010 and my son had an upgraded engine installed in their MY'12 SH S late last year. They ship engines all over Australia:
For your vehicle these are the options:

Or you take the risk of a low mileage second hand engine - there may be someone importing them from Japan
 

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2004 Forester xt
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The swap is definitely possible with most of the stuff mentioned above and much $. Before I found my xt I owned a 04 non turbo.. I got to thinking also being interested in boost for my na. Its a completely feasible thing to do without all the above mentioned things and likely less cash. It wouldn't he a high boost set up but boosted none the less.. I've boosted numerous Honda's,Acura's, neons's, eclipses and even nissan's all of which started life NA . The best were kits for the car such as greddy, hks or revhard and drag. But no one makes one for subaru because we have off the shelf version that rivals most. If the engine is in good kept condition there's no reason 8psi would hurt and give the umph we all crave from a boosted car.. Being a platform with a turbo option already available most things needed for it are readily available or could easily be modified to work. You would need air intake, exhaust manifold, turbo and downpipe. A oil source which is easily located with research and a drain / return simply routed back into the oil pan straight as possible. There you have a turbo intake exhaust and oil (low boost no need from coolant.) Fuel is the key to it all and the most over thought... just use a vortec fmu its boost dependant and raises the fuel pressure 12:1. They worked for every car i ever put one in why not a subaru.. and as for the ecu seeing boost use a 3 bar map sensor or a map trick so it doesn't see the boost. There will be naysayers but i bet it will work.
 

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97 Subaru Forester GX 5speed Manual.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Any chance I can get decent ponies out of na tuning and rebuilding the old motor? It runs well for 300k+ Kms. I'm going for a poopty looking car that runs well.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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You wont gain enough to make a difference easily/cheaply.

To make enough power to make a noticeable difference, you would be looking at cylinder head porting, over sized valves, possibly a stroker kit to make it 2.66 Litre displacement etc.....And you likely would have spent enough to sell your Forester and pick up an XT since you would need new engine management on your N/A since the non-turbos cannot be remapped as far as I remember.

The non turbo EJ20 and EJ25 are incredibly hard/expensive to make power from where as the turbo variants are incredibly easy. I wonder if you could find an old smashed up WRX of that vintage and do a drivetrain (Engine, Gearbox, Differential, hubs that would allow WRX brake etc) swap - Most parts swap over simply enough but I'm not sure abut the ECU and how security and keys etc might work for that sort of year and what was available in Australia
 

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2004 Forester xt
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I'm glad I started off working on a different brand (honda) vehicle because Im not set in my ways and know to think outside the box(er) for inspiration. A turbo on any vehicle with the things I mentioned above will add 10ish hp. per psi of boost. At a conservative 8psi that's 80hp on top of stock hp, any small car will get out of its own way with an extra 80hp. Im not saying it will be a beast but a slug it won't be..
 
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