Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 264 Posts

224 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yeah, theres no such thing as a 2001 Forester XT Premium. I wanted to buy a 05 XT Premium, but being a cheap *** I didnt want to spend that much. On top of the price they are very hard to find in a manual transmission.

So I decided to make one.

October 21st,

I bought a 2001 Forester S manual transmission with 108k on the clock. The owner was on his way to Indy to buy a Toyota FJ and dropped it off at my work. The car is very clean for the mileage. Some think I paid to much (Meaty;)), and I did pay a premium for a car that Im going to swap. I wanted an 'S' so that I would get the heated seats, mirrors and windshield, the big *** sunroof and important to me, mono tone paint.

This is the first picture of the Forester....untouched.

I was going to clean it, but I knew it was going to rain.

Because of the rain I started taking apart the donor car that I also bought yesterday (bought two cars in one day). Thanks to Chuck and his trailer, we hauled this 03 WRX home last night.

I got pretty far for only wrenching for a couple of hours.

VF22 turbo, front mount, HKS down pipe, Cobb catback

Door and lights for sale in the classifieds;)

Oct 23,

Oct 24, repeat of yesterday...not a lot done, but better than nothing.

Oct 25th

Oct 26th

First Mod, First bath and donor car is 100% wire free.

Looks so much better with out the roof cross bars. Oh, horns are coming out and going into something else, probably the rally car.

Oct 27th

Tranny drained, turbo back exhaust off, drive shaft pulled, rear struts off (pain in the ***, rusty bolts), rear crossmember dropped. Master clutch cylinder pulled. Can of flat black paint...needed. For an 03 things are pretty rusty:meh:. Thanks [email protected] for coming over.:banana:


Motor and transmission is loose. Tomorrow should be interesting. Im hoping, crossing my fingers, and saying some short prayers that people show up tomorrow and help me MAN lift the shell on to a trailer.

Some goals for this project-
-First and foremost have a safe car for a baby thats on the way.
-Have the car done by the baby's due date JAN. 9th.
-Reliable Daily Driver. No super stiff suspension, no 9lbs flywheels or crazy clutches.
-13.00 second quarter mile times or better
-$8,000 budget (Yes I know I can find 04 XT's for around that price..but not the Premium model.

224 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Oct 30th


11/4/09 Cracked into the Forester tonight. Started with the rear crossmember.

The work didnt come easy but at the same time we didnt get hung up on anything. Matt and I (More Matt than I) manged to get the Forester rear crossmember off and the new WRX on. Close to 3 hours spent working. I dont know if thats good or bad. Stuff got done and now the forester project has officially started:).


Sti 04 stuts, 05 springs (not on purpose), stainless steel brake lines, and some flat black paint.

Im having some bad luck with some bolts braking or snapping the weld nut off in the frame. so far I managed to brake one sway bar bolt, break the weld on the other bolt, and f up the 'front of the rear subframe bolt. After all the bad mojo on the bolts I moved to the inside of the car for a while. Whats weird is the forester isnt that rusty. The 03 WRX has way more rust then the 01.

Spent most of the day battling the ever long subaru bolt that connects the rear hub. Finally gave in and cut the bolt off. Another good portion of the day was spent cleaning up. What little I had left I test fitted the WRX dash into the Forester. Looks like its going to work just fine.

Big catch up date as of 11/12/09 this stuff has been done.

Forester motor and tranny is out of there!

Pulled the intake manifold on WRX. Found out the hard way that a STi intake manifold is NOT compatible with a WRX throttle body. There goes that idea. Still going after those pesky TGVs. Scrapped the idea of rotated intake, too much time for very little gain.

Cant say I ever changed a clutch this way before. I'm in need of a five speed clutch. I found out the one I had on the shelf isnt for a five speed, but it didnt fit my six speed either....what gives? Im putting in a Greddy flywheel while Im in there. Cost me 43.00 to turn a damn flywheel at napa...bastards. I guess I should of asked how much.

Good buddy [email protected], take two of the engine bay photo we all loved in the past.

224 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
So I go to the trouble of going to four auto parts stores looking for this VHT wrinkle red paint. Its supposed to be very close to the sti color. Its not even close, way more orange in the paint. Way more trouble than what its worth. Maybe it will dry way darker.:mad: <<<Damn, the mad face is closer to the sti color than the paint.

Halfway there on the tgv delete. I have the other side cut, just needs some grindage. Then its off to Meats house for some filling of the holes:eek:, and some paint.

11/19/09 Update

Got the motor put back together and a new clutch disc in. I ended up using a Stage 1 organic, a stage 2 pressure plate with a freshly resurfaced 14 lbs. Greddy flywheel.

Cleaned up the garage for a couple hours, now you can work in it...again.

Jacked the forester up with the engine hoist just enough to slip the motor underneath


I hope to have the motor up and mounted this weekend. We'll see.

Uhmmm.....11/20/09 bonus day of wrenching + Meaty = A lot done!

Wings at 6:30, started wrenching at 7:30 motor and trans bolted in by 10:15ish. We also got the Sti Front struts and springs in. Thanks Mike(x2). Thanks a bunch guys. Definitely off to a good start for the weekend.

Thanks to Matt the fuel pump is in, fuel lines are run up front, front bar, brake lines, abs lines, starter and clutch slave cylinder is in. A bunch of littel stuff that adds up to a lot!

Firewall is cut for ac and heater core lines, transmission tunnel messaged, painted, dynamatted, and more importantly the cars been Hoff'd!


Cut for the A/C and heater core lines. I primed then covered the area in dynamat. The transmission tunnel had to be knocked down a bit to accommodate for the wrx stuff.

This picture makes the outside look pretty bad. Its not that bad really. Once I get the grommet on the drivers side and the some of the wires in you wont really notice it...I hope.

I found out tonight I have to cut two more pretty big holes. One will be for the ABS plug and another will be for the front mount. Im not to excited about that.

I bought a cd manual on ebay. Im hoping it has all the schematics for the forester doors.

Wiring is going back in:eek:


Excuse the wiring mess.

Steering wheel is in, with a little modifications to make it fit.

Fit some of the piping and cut another hole in the car. The forester doesnt have a hole in the passenger where the wrx does. I'll have to reroute my airfilter because of the piping. If anyone reads this crap I'll have a K&N sti cold air intake for sale $125.00 shipped, missing the hose that mounts it to the turbo inlet pipe.

Radiator is in too. Had to drill for the top mounting brackets. The WRX radiator top is different then the foresters.

Helix downpipe with Cobb exhaust on

finished up the oil catch can, painted and installed the strut bar.

Overflow is mounted and done. ( Need to clean it up more )

Dec 10
Turned the key for the first time today, not to start it but to check door wiring and stuff. So far I go the over head clock working, sunroof all four windows and door triggers hooked up. I seem to have an issue with the door locks. The drivers door works fine but the other doors work in reverse. Im have to dig a little deeper and see what the issue is. So far everything is going pretty good.

Dec 12

Started for the first time! Still along way to go, but headed in the right direction.

Dec 14

Dash is on, stereo is in, heated mirror are working, carpet and center console are in, wires run for audio done.

Oh, air filter came today.

Yesterday I got all the front mount piping connected and the front mostly put back together. The front bumper is ghetto fabulous. Pics to come soon.

12-15-09 2:20 p.m.

BABY Ian Christian was born. Greatest day Ever!

I drove the foester around the block for the first time! Clutch needs bled and/or adjusted. Still needs quite a bit of tweeking but its getting real close. The forester feels great and under boost. It almost feels wrong. Something that looks like a forester shouldnt pull so good. I'll hopefully get some much needed pics up soon, baby permitting.

224 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Havent got a lot done with the new baby and the Holidays. Heres a good chunk of a day.

Back doors, just ran mids back there. Nothing fancy, cut the hole a tad bit bigger so some 5 1/4 would fit.

Polk components up front. The speakers were pulled out of the blue rs I bought. I used some better Diamond Audio crossovers.

This is the top of the dash, under the clock display.

Microphone for the bluetooth.

Hooked up some amps I had from back in my car install days. I also put in the navigation box and bluetooth. It turned out pretty trick. I got a kenwood double din on its way along with a kenwood flat 12 inch sub.

I got most of the interior back together, some of the dash peices were a pain in the *** to get back together. I battled with the hood release for way to long.

12-31-09 New Years Eve
The swapped forester made it out on public streets for the first time. It went to the exhaust shop to buy a three inch flange. The idling was a bit lumpy, but after the next start up settled itself down. The flange wasnt available, so it was off to Discount tire to have a slow leak looked at. Car drove perfect other than a few rattles. The slow leaky tire was supposedly fixed for free! The guys at discount had a bunch of questions about the forester. They saw it had a different steering wheel, along with a front mount. I must of done a good job on the dash swap, they didnt notice that. I popped the hood and could tell right away they didnt know anything about subarus. It was cool that the forester sparked some interest.

I'll drive it to work on Monday. Assuming everything is still doing alright. Monday will be my first day back after three weeks off with the new baby. Boy, were did that time go??? Its amazing how fast the time went with the new guy. I love every minute of it.

A video will be posted after I get the body parts on the exhaust leak fixed. Right now it sounds pretty bad.

Wish me luck!

1-14-10 Second gear says good bye.

I get this picture sent to me.

Tomorrow I'll get a price quote for repairs and decide what Im going to do. Repair or replace.

I got the transmission back in and the forester back on the road.


I had a bit of a scare on the way home. I blew off a ic hose while deep in a second gear pull....the first pull since I put it back together. The hose left me stranded on coliseum until Matt S. arrived to save the day.

224 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Wiring 101 WRX into the Forester, half *** instructions

This Information if for a 2003 WRX Dash Swap to a 2002 Forester S. I swapped the entire drivetrain, Rear crossmembers, diff control arms, latter arms, hubs, tranny crossmember, everything. Shouldnt make a difference in the wiring though.

I'll be up front and very honest with you, Im not the smartest guy in the world. I try to go at things with the right attitude and cross my fingers, hoping for the best. My wiring of this vehicle might not be professional, may scare you, but everything works (besides the heated front glass, still needs hooked up). That being said, use caution when doing your wiring and only use what I give you as a wack reference.

First, you'll need to strip the donor car and pull the every wire out of it you can. Make note that the WRX ABS harness is different then the Forester harness.

Next for the Forester, pull the dash harness along with the harness in the fender that goes out to the hood. the harness continues down to the radiator all the way to the ABS pump. Take all of it out.
You may leave the Airbag wiring in, I cant remember what I did up front. I know its plug and play for sure and didnt give me any problems.

Leave the rear harness in. The wires that run under the seats, wires that run to the back, door triggers and airbag lights will all stay in the Forester.

Now the Forester should be ready to receive the WRX Dash harness. I started at the ECU and run the wires over to the driver side. Now is also a good time to test fit the dash beam. It took some time with test fitting, drilling and enlarging holes. It will work, just be patient.

Run the WRX wiring out the drivers fender, and into the engine bay. Plug in what you can. I used the WRX radiators, so I didnt have to rewire those.

Engine Bay wiring will consist of rewiring the headlights. No diagrams here, just cut off the WRX plug. Go cut off the Forester plug. Match the colors and you wired up your headlights! Good job. Next parking lights, just plug them in. The WRX connectors are the same as the foresters. Same goes for the foglights. Dont worry about the wrx corner markers, just leave them unplugged and tuck them out of the way.

Cut off the WRX plug and match those colors up to the Forester plug. Damn this is easy!

Shut the hood, your done. Well, not quite. We still have the ABS to do, but thats plug and play after a little cutting on the car.

Drivers door harness/ door chord is not that tough here. A little more if you have a S with heated mirrors.

I used the Forester Door harness. I cut the forester plug that leads to the door harness. We will also cut the WRX harness that leads to the door. The cut WRX wires will have a forester plug on the end of them and then plug into the door. Give yourself plenty of length on the wires for the forester plug.

On the forester the rear view mirror controls are in the door, on the WRX they are in the center console. We need to get the mirror control wires from the center console, cut them free and run them to the drivers door.

Mirror wiring directions...
Red, Red/Black, Blue/Red from the WRX center console wires NOT used. These wires control the driverside mirror. These wires are already in the door. Other than the three wires you dont use, match up those colors and you just wired in your power mirrors. Not so bad.

Power Window wiring directions...
Match up those colors, again. Done! You'll find some of the wires are different gauges. Dont be afraid, it will work.

Power Lock and Unlock wiring directions.
This gave me a lot of troubles, I thought I had the motor wires backwards or something. When I originally hooked up the doors the drivers door worked fine, while the other doors worked in reverse. I got everything working, but on paper it still appears to be wrong or backwards. Heres what I did.

Orange to Lt. Green/Black
RED to Blue/White
Yellow/Red to Red/White
Red/White to Yellow/Red

There is a white wire from the WRX door harness that is not used.

Heated Mirror Wiring directions
This sucks, I dont know if I have good enough notes or not. There are two relays in the passenger glove box area and there is another relay under the driver side by the fuse box. Take good notes when you remove these items from the Forester harness. The wiring will have to be cut out and connected to the WRX harness. I run some wires here because I was popping fuses trying to use the WRX wires that were already there.

From the driverside harness there will be a green/white wire that leads up to a pink relay harness.

The relay harness has a very large gauge green wire that will need to get tapped in the back of the fuse box. It gets tapped to a similar gauged green wire again on the back of the fuse box towards the bottom. From the relay there is also a white/blue wire, this wire gets tapped into a same color white/blue wire located in the same plug as the very large green color wire. Black wire from relay goes to ground.

I ran two wires to connect the drivers harness to the passenger harness. You will be connecting the drivers side green/white with a jumper wire to the green/white on the passenger side harness. The other wire is black/yellow, connect with the jumper wire drivers door to the passenger door.

We are now done with the Drivers door. We should have no wires left over from the forester harness other than the speaker wires. These wire colors match up, connect those two and we're off to the passenger side door harness.

Passenger Side Door Harness/ Door Chord
Play the matching game.
The only wires we are going to reverse are the door locks....same as the driver side.
Yellow/Red Red/White
Red/White Yellow/Red

From the Forester harness we need to get the rest of the relays to wire up the heated mirrors. The black/yellow wire will lead you to the relays. There are two small black wires coming from the relays, these go to ground. There is a large Red/Blue coming from the relay. It gets tapped into another Large Red/Blue that runs along passenger side harness of the WRX. Mirrors are done. They work anytime you are using the rear defroster. Putting your hand on the mirror while the defroster is on will tell you if they are working or not. If you feel heat, your done. Move onto the rear doors.

Rob, I kind of blame you.

Your forester is fantastic and kind of pushed me towards buying one. I've owned a lot of subaru's but could never pull the trigger on a forester. The whole 'Dike Mobile' thing kind of set me off.

Add two more pics. The donor car should be stipped and out of the garage by next weekend. Then into the forester.

2002 S
2,702 Posts
Rob, I kind of blame you.

Your forester is fantastic and kind of pushed me towards buying one. I've owned a lot of subaru's but could never pull the trigger on a forester. The whole 'Dike Mobile' thing kind of set me off.

Add two more pics. The donor car should be stipped and out of the garage by next weekend. Then into the forester.
Well I guess I should thank you.
I wish I could get to the swapping point with mine but we'll see how it all works out in the future I guess. Yours is white so I have a feeling that if you do some body mods, I'll like yours more than mine, Aspen White FTW.
How about some pics of that wide body RS next to the donor car?

2002 S
2,702 Posts
Haha, starting another big project before the last one's finished is just part of being male, women would never understand.
What widebody kit is that, HTAutos?

224 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
What widebody kit is that, HTAutos?
No its a L'chsdkfgosihg something, pieced together with a coupe rear end. In other words, a cluster :huh::huh:! Every piece had to be modified in some shape or form and its still not right.

Should have some more pics up tonight.

First mod done to the SF, roof rail delete and a bath. WRX interior should be bare.

2002 S
2,702 Posts
Nice work! I'm thinking of swapping a late 90s LGT in the next year or two.
Of all the SUbarus on the road, my dream swapped cars go in this order: SF, 97-99 LGT, Impreza. There was a red LGT sedan with an STi swap on Nasioc last year that was just plain amazing.

224 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Rear crossmember dropped. If everything goes right the front and trans crossmember will come out tomorrow.

Also having a buddy fab up cable throttle bracket for an 04 sti manifold. I figure while Im doing the tgv delete I'll throw some prettiness on top. May even go flipped manifold while Im at it. That would be pretty cool.

2002 S
2,702 Posts
any infos on this? I've been thinking about doing it.
I think he means he pulled the crossbars off.
If you really want to ditch the rails themselves, an easier way would be to get a set of the lower profile JDM ones.
1 - 20 of 264 Posts