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2013 Forester X Premium
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hoping this can help some other save money on an FB25 engine replacement and have more confidence about a DIY. I'm mechanically inclined and have done almost everything else vehicle maintenance and repair related over the years, but this was my first engine swap.

Anyway, I bought a 2013 Forester X Premium with the FB25A. It was run low on oil I presume and threw a rod through the bottom rear of the block.

I found an engine from a 2013 Legacy that had about 76,000 miles on it which was about $1000 cheaper than any Forester engine available with reasonable mileage within hundreds on miles. It was a C VIN where my Forester was an A VIN. After some reading I determined this wasn’t an issue.

I took me the entire weekend mostly because I was working slow and cleaning things in the engine bay as I worked.

I had to swap over the wire harness (don't worry about marking anything, it's dead simple to figure out where things plug in), two sensors (you’ll know because the connector won’t fit), the A/C compressor bracket and the flywheel/flexplate (not sure if it matters but there are markings on the back to line it back up). There will also be a sensor that has no connector on the Forester harness, it's the oil level sensor that the Legacy has (figures huh) and you can just leave it disconnected, but don't remove it.

I used the throttle body from the newer engine since it was cleaner.

For the ignition coils I had to swap the boot and spring portion (they pull off) from the new coils onto the old coils, and get new bolts from the hardware store (30mm) along with some nylon spacers to take up the gap.

After replacing and filling them fluids and reconnecting the battery and exhaust it fired right up. No warnings or lights.

I purchased new fluids, oil filter, spark plugs, and exhaust manifold gaskets. The load leveler on the hoist was key to getting it done solo. You’ll also want a floor jack to help move the transmission up/down to align with the engine. Other than that common tools were used with some extensions for the sockets, had to get a 22mm 1/2” socket and breaker bar to turn over the engine though. I should’ve done the serpentine belt, tension and idler pulleys at the same time, but they’re easy to access on this engine.

The factory service manual, this forum as well as the discussion here (subaru FB25 engine interchange| Grassroots Motorsports forum |) helped me out tremendously.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester
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Congrats. I noticed in the comments on your last link that the same held true for installing a 2014 Legacy FB into a 2011. Hoping it is never required but its good to know that if I have to, the pool of engines to choose from is now a fair bit larger.
Out of curiosity, you were able to use a C Vin engine to replace a non-pzev, what about for mine that is a 2011 C Vin? Would I have to seek out 2013 or 2014 that is also a C Vin, or would another work as well?
 

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2013 Forester X Premium
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@Quadraria10 Certainly, the prices for non-Forester FB25s are much less as well. ~$500 in my case compared to $1500 for the cheapest used Forester FB25 with more miles.

It shouldn’t be an issue to use another VIN group. My Forester is PZEV I believe, at least it has the badge.

My understanding is that the emissions relates to the catalytic converter and ECU programming only and the engine hardware is otherwise identical so the ECU doesn’t care.
 

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I have a 2012 that I bought knowing a swap was needed. Now that I know a few people have done this I'm happy. @MittenForester did you buy your hoist or rent it? I was going to buy one of the Harbor Freight ones but read some pretty bad reviews. What one did you buy if you bought one?
Thanks ALOT for detailing your swap. You've helped a lot of people it seems.

I'm looking on LKQ and all of the low mileage '13 and '14 Legacy motors are Canadian emissions, even the ones which are local to me in Cumberland, RI. Is that a deal breaker to swap into my 2012 Forester with PZEV? I'm French-Canadian, does that count for anything? :)
 

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@fess522 I bought one from Harbor Freight. The long-term durability likelihood doesn’t seem great and instructions and bolt labeling also not great, but I didn’t have concerns about it collapsing or anything. Load leveler was key to doing it solo.

I ended up buying because every place I found was charging nearly the same price for a rental for a weekend and I didn’t want to end up paying even more if I couldn’t finish in the rental period for some reason. I figure even if I sell it for 75 or 100 bucks I’m still doing pretty well.

My understanding from my hours of reading is that US, US California and Canadian emissions vehicles are completely interchangeable from an engine mechanical standpoint. The only things that vary between VIN codes appear to be ECU emissions programming, possibly catalytic converter though I didn’t verify that 🐱 part, but those are irrelevant for the purpose of a swap with this engine and platform since the internals and wiring are the same. I can’t imagine you’d have a problem even if you live in a jurisdiction with emissions testing either. I’d bet some of that plastic money you have over that way that it would pass an emissions check.
 

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Thanks MF. I’ll grab a HF hoist and definitely the load leveler. I was going that way originally but talked myself out of it. I found a 2014 Legacy motor 54k mi. So it has the 6 mo. warranty. I originally thought I had to go for an ‘11-‘13 motor for my 2012 forester because of the canbus but reading here it looks like that ‘14 should work.
Please someone correct me if I’m wrong. My 04 MDX is seized so getting this going before the snow flies took on new importance.
 

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@fess522 The thread here (subaru FB25 engine interchange| Grassroots Motorsports forum |) suggests you won't have any issue with a 2014 Legacy engine, the engine harness has to be swapped onto it from your current engine so that eliminates any wiring issues and the mechanicals are identical other than the accessories. Good luck, happy to help if you have any questions.
 

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@MittenForester I waited just a day too long to pull the trigger on the '14 Legacy motor at LKQ near me. It's gone. I'm wondering, since the MY 11-13 and the 14-16 seem to be grouped together and if a '14 works as we know, will a 2015 Legacy motor have the same compatibility with the appropriate swaps. It would stand to reason. I'm going to post over at Grassroots to see if there's any info there. If anyone here has insight, I'd appreciate it.
 

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Hoping this can help some other save money on an FB25 engine replacement and have more confidence about a DIY. I'm mechanically inclined and have done almost everything else vehicle maintenance and repair related over the years, but this was my first engine swap.

Anyway, I bought a 2013 Forester X Premium with the FB25A. It was run low on oil I presume and threw a rod through the bottom rear of the block.

I found an engine from a 2013 Legacy that had about 76,000 miles on it which was about $1000 cheaper than any Forester engine available with reasonable mileage within hundreds on miles. It was a C VIN where my Forester was an A VIN. After some reading I determined this wasn’t an issue.

I took me the entire weekend mostly because I was working slow and cleaning things in the engine bay as I worked.

I had to swap over the wire harness (don't worry about marking anything, it's dead simple to figure out where things plug in), two sensors (you’ll know because the connector won’t fit), the A/C compressor bracket and the flywheel/flexplate (not sure if it matters but there are markings on the back to line it back up). There will also be a sensor that has no connector on the Forester harness, it's the oil level sensor that the Legacy has (figures huh) and you can just leave it disconnected, but don't remove it.

I used the throttle body from the newer engine since it was cleaner.

For the ignition coils I had to swap the boot and spring portion (they pull off) from the new coils onto the old coils, and get new bolts from the hardware store (30mm) along with some nylon spacers to take up the gap.

After replacing and filling them fluids and reconnecting the battery and exhaust it fired right up. No warnings or lights.

I purchased new fluids, oil filter, spark plugs, and exhaust manifold gaskets. The load leveler on the hoist was key to getting it done solo. You’ll also want a floor jack to help move the transmission up/down to align with the engine. Other than that common tools were used with some extensions for the sockets, had to get a 22mm 1/2” socket and breaker bar to turn over the engine though. I should’ve done the serpentine belt, tension and idler pulleys at the same time, but they’re easy to access on this engine.

The factory service manual, this forum as well as the discussion here (subaru FB25 engine interchange| Grassroots Motorsports forum |) helped me out tremendously.
You’re an animal!!!! Great job Brotha. Me and my buddy replaced the engine in my 2013 Subaru Legacy with 86,000 miles on it. Clean as a whistle!!! Drive it for about 6 months, CVT tranny went on me 😭😭😭… I just found a near perfect 2013 Forester Premium, with a blown engine 🤔🤔 .. don’t know if my buddy is willing to help on another job haha. Great job again.
 

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I’ve got a 2013 that I’m about to swap with a 2015 Legacy motor. I know the timing covers have an extra Idler in them… can I just buy a new 15 serpentine belt or do I need to change to the 2013 timing cover?
 

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2012 Forester
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I’ve got a 2013 that I’m about to swap with a 2015 Legacy motor. I know the timing covers have an extra Idler in them… can I just buy a new 15 serpentine belt or do I need to change to the 2013 timing cover?
Only if you want to keep your power steering. They went electric in 2014+. You will also deal with the TGV issue. Better read up on it subaru FB25 engine interchange
 

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So I got the engine swapped, I did everything that was mentioned in the previous post. Except I used the old intake from the 2013 instead of dealing with the TGV issue. It didn’t match up exactly as you know but with some gasket maker it worked just fine.
I’m getting a crank position code and some random misfire codes. Not been times yet but scheduled in 2 weeks.
should I address these codes before the tune or will that take care of them?
Wondering the sensor is bad and maybe the old coils are bad as well. I used the ones from the 13’.
 

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Did you check or change the cam and crank timing wheels/discs? The cam wheel may have the "outie" instead of the "innie" that the Foresters came with. And AFAIK the crank timing wheel has to be from your 2013 with your crank timing sensor.
 
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