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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Anything is possible, if you have an endless source of moola & a spare vehicle to use while the project vehicle is out of service. :wink: Here's a link to the AVO turbo kit that I installed in the '03 X. Note that this lower cost kit doesn't appear to come with any engine management? :confused:

I'm one of the few members that has installed a turbo in a nonturbo (N/A) Forester that still works. I wouldn't recommend it. I enjoyed the process, but it was way too expensive & it is not "plug & play"! I passed the '03 X on to my son last summer & he loves it. Tell you the truth, I think I liked the '03 X better than '07 FSXT I moved on to. :smile:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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06 FXT 6MT, 07 STi limited SWP
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I have an 02 s premium and I'm thinking it may be worth it to turbocharge it because it is REALLY nice interior wise and exterior even, and I would love to keep it but being young, it's a little slow. Having a sleeper Forester is a really tempting thought as well.

I have a pretty close friend that bought a salvaged 02 Impreza RS that he did all the work on himself and eventually ended up painting it and doing an entire drivetrain swap with a JDM ej20 I believe. He got it tuned at SUBA and today runs e85. It redlines at 8700 and puts 350 to the wheels.

Would this be a realistic idea, because he got the engine, ecu, harness, shaft, halfshafts, tranny, basically everything for $2300 from jhotimports.com and he did all the work himself.

The only thing I don't really like about it all is that the JDM engine that I would be buying is going to be a 2 litre and will probably from a 90's Impreza with 50-100k miles on it.

I could also buy a kit and turbocharge my 2.5 L myself, but a couple potential problems...I'm not sure if my drivetrain is strong enough to handle a turbo stock. Also, my engine has 166xxx miles on it and that might be a bad recipe. Finally, I talked to a couple Subaru performance shops that have done this before, and they said something to the effect of my ECU isn't smart enough. Like it wouldn't be capable of tuning more than 4 lbs of boost, so a turbo would be pretty pointless in my current engine.

Final question of my essay, I will need a scoop for the intercooler. Where can I buy one for my 02?

edit...my friend's JDM engine runs 30 lbs of boost
 

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Premium Member
2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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10,241 Posts
Answer this first: Do you have money to spare?

If yes: Keep considering turbocharging.

If no: Leave it like it is.
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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10,241 Posts
You don't have enough.

You need to have money on hand constantly. There is a very very good possibility you'll have to buy a whole 'nother car to drive when yours undoubtedly breaks.

Projects like this are rarely for someone with a single car and a low income.

I'd say you should save another 5k, spend 4 doing whatever you want to do, and keep 5 stashed for a rainy day.
 

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06 FXT 6MT, 07 STi limited SWP
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Well, theoretically, yes I do have enough. A good JDM engine only runs about $2000 and I can have the project done within a week with help from my friend.

Plus, the $4000 dollars I have on hand is from the one month I have owned my business. Meaning it will continue to grow steadily.

Let's just leave out money as a factor for the time being. If I run into financial issues later on, I won't do it but for now just say it's possible as far as money is concerned.

I am more interested in if you guys think it is doable with a JDM engine on a Forester, and if it would be a good decision.

Also, what is my 02 Forester chassis classified as? Gc8 or...? Tips on the hood scoop are appreciated too :)
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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Of course it is doable. No it isn't a good idea.

Problems with a swap:

1) JDM engines require different fuel than is available in the USA. It's not a drop-to-swap. Add money there.

2) What if that motor is no good? You get it in, fire it up, something is wrong. More downtime, more money.

3) Hood? Gonna cut a hole in it? It'll look ghetto. Go FMIC? Gotta buy one, then DEFINITELY get engine management and that adds time and money.

4) Does Colorado have emissions inspections? Does it have annual or bi-annual vehicle inspections? Ever plan to register the car in a state that does? I believe the law regarding engine swaps is that you can swap a newer engine into an older body, but not the other way around. Plus, the early JDM engines (the ones you are going to get for $2000) were not OBD2 compliant.

5) Drivetrain? If the engine comes with a transmission, you need to source a rear diff. If it doesn't, expect that your stock trans won't hold up. You said you were young, and you wanted fast. Those typically end in blown transmissions. I've seen enough of them to know.

That's for starters.

The con's of turbocharging your N/A car?

1) It'll blow up. And if it doesn't, that possibility will ALWAYS be in the back of your mind.

2) It'll run like crap. Every turbo'd N/A I've seen, save for a VERY few, have run like poo at some point in the REV range.

3) The parts list is kind of a PITA. You have to swap engine crossmembers. Not just any crossmember. You need one from a 91-94 Legacy Turbo if you want to use your stock control arms. You could use a WRX rack, but then you'd need to get WRX control arms. More money, more time.

4) You live in Colorado. You have temps down to -15 and up to 100. Who is going to tune this car? Very few tuners can reliably tune for temperatures that see that range. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that you aren't one of them. If you are, cross this one off the list.

5) The car won't be fast. It'll barely be quick simply because you can't run that much boost with such a high compression motor (and one known to have multiple weak points. Headgaskets, poorly placed thrust surface on the crank, things like that).

I've talked to a BUNCH of RS-T guys, and most who have done it aren't happy. The ones who have done it and ARE happy, spent THOUSANDS on swaps and getting everything JUST right.

If you REALLY want more power, and want to do some kind of swap that will be reliable. The answer is something that I had always dreamed about. Find a 1995+ Subaru SVX. Buy it. Yank out the engine, wiring harness, and ECU. Splice the engine harness with your body harness (that is, take your stock ECU harness, de-pin all engine control pins. Move the remaining pins to the correct locations for the SVX ECU, then run the bulkhead wiring harness from the SVX harness through the firewall and fill in the pin slots. Plug in the SVX ECU) Move the A/C condenser in front of the vertical radiator support bracket. Move the stock radiator down, and below the radiator core support. Drop the monster H6 in, and plug everything in. You'll need a shop to build you a connecting Y-pipe from the H6 headers to the catback. I'd run two cats, just to even out the exhaust note. You could even make it sound like a Porsche. Or a G35, using a single Sedan muffler.

You can find SVX's of that vintage for right around $3k, and the swap actually CAN be done in a week.

Best of all, you can put the 2.5L from your Forester back into the SVX, jimmy up the ECU like you've already done, and have a 2.5L SVX. You could either sell it on Craigslist to recoup a good portion of your money (some may not really care that it doesn't have an H6 anymore, only that they are buying an innexpensive AWD car). Or you could keep it and drive it as a winter beater or something.

I'd, personally, do the H6 route. It's never been done, but I was MINUTES from pulling the trigger on buying a donor SVX. It will definitely fit, it's just a matter of moving the radiator forward a few inches. I can't remember the exact dimensions, and I can't remember if it would require minor cutting/welding of the lower radiator support. But the motor WILL fit, and it will be FAR more reliable than a JDM turbo swap, or turboing your current motor. The transmission is still a point of issue, but that's going to be the case no matter what you do.

The other "it'll probably work" option is a swap from a newer WRX, but that'll cost more than any of the other two options.
 

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2000 Forester
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^^There's a difference between a JDM engine swap, and a one off, custom turbo add-on to your existing engine. If your going to swap your engine out, look for a JDM turbo engine from an old Impreza. This, though still involved, will cut out a lot of the little nit-picky issues of designing a custom turbo setup. Other wise, find someone who's turbo inclined to help with a solid turbo build. Either way, take pictures!
 

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06 FXT 6MT, 07 STi limited SWP
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Well the only reason why I'm even considering doing this is because my buddy, who has a car built on the same chassis from the same year, JUST did this to his and it's working out really well for him. Final cost, <$4000. My point is that it's been done cheaply, and it's been done well. His car runs as it should and he is able to beat STi's with no problem at all. Granted, his car has been professionally tuned and is putting down 350 whp--more than 100 more than a stock STi. But who knows, maybe he was an extremely lucky one in buying his engine.

Okay, so assuming the risk of failure is too great to go JDM, what about getting an American STi engine that has the same parts included, 6-trans, shaft, half shafts, ecu, harness, etc...better idea? Worse? Obviously MUCH more expensive, but like I said, I made $4000 in the first month I've had my business, and growth will happen.

Veece, I didn't even know that JDM engines came N/A. I was definitely planning on buying a 90's Impreza STi JDM engine all along.
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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I wouldn't spend money you don't have, but buying a donor newer STi is a good place to start. I'd try to pick up an 06/07. You can expect to spend ~9k or so on a lightly wrecked one.

Just swap EVERYTHING. I'd also buy a beater Honda to drive while the Forester is down. You WILL run into issues. Bolts breaking, things not fitting, etc.

What kind of business do you own that you don't anticipate ANY possible losses?
 

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06 FXT 6MT, 07 STi limited SWP
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I wouldn't dream of putting $10k of borrowed money into a car that works great as it is.

Everything being...

I basically own two websites that people buy home needs from. I earn points, points equate to money. It's really pretty simple, and I do nothing as far as the product is concerned.

Thanks for your input on this!

edit...where do I find these salvaged STi's?
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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They pop up at auctions (which the general public doesn't have access too). Salvage yards (not junkyards) typically pay good money for cars like that, so finding one is rare.

What you need to do is police BIG forums like IWSTI, Nasioc, whatever local forums you have. Keep an eye on southern california and any state with a lot of snow. Find a local who posts about a wreck they just had. Then contact them and see if they'll let you buy the car back from the insurance company (through them). The way one owner explained it to me, when he did this, was that his car was wrecked. The insurance company paid him what the car was worth and gave him 72 hours to decide on the buy-back. He ended up buying it back and selling it off. So he got a 15k check, bought the car back for 7k, and made 8k selling it all off. So at the end of all that, he was +1k.

All you do is market the sites? So you are, effectively, in a pyramid scheme. Kind of like Mary Kay and all that. The money holds up so long as you keep pushing the site. I had a friend who did that many years ago. He made good money for 2 or 3 months, then it dried up and took too much effort to keep moving forward.
 

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That sounds more than complicated to get my hands on one :) but I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the idea.

And yes, when it boils right down to it, it's just a big pyramid scheme. However, the person I am sponsored by and my current coach have been more than what I would call successful in the business and I have no doubts. And if all else fails, well, I've gained $4000 in one month.
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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If I can remember, jeez, 2 years ago. Moving the radiator like I said and using slim fans, you get the crank pulley about an inch from the fan shrouds, which is plenty if you use Group N or Cusco engine mounts.

Wiseco pistons, STi rods, and a 3300 series Whipple should net the neighborhood of 380whp. The 2300 blower will do ~320whp and have slightly better manners. Wire up a UTEC Delta, and it would be VERY similar to what the supercharged 350z guys do.

It's actually a solid plan if you have the money to do a motor rebuild. STi rods are cheap and plentiful, Wiseco pistons can be had for a few hundred bucks, and ACL race bearings don't cost a fortune. Just hone the block, assemble it, put new seals in the heads, and button it up!
 

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Really sounds like you know what you're talking about. I wish you lived closer because it would be nice to have some experience on my side.

How close to these boxers are 2 stroke kart engines? I race Rotax and tear down one of those in a matter of a day. I'm not all that familiar with Subarus and have yet to do major engine work that includes going down to the pistons.

So you're talking about supercharging an h6? That still requires an intercooler, which leaves me with the original problem of a hood scoop...
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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Really sounds like you know what you're talking about. I wish you lived closer because it would be nice to have some experience on my side.
This isn't my first rodeo. I don't live close by, but myself and many others are on the forums. You' be surprised what you can accomplish with a proper reading of the factory service manual and the advice of forum members.

How close to these boxers are 2 stroke kart engines? I race Rotax and tear down one of those in a matter of a day. I'm not all that familiar with Subarus and have yet to do major engine work that includes going down to the pistons.
They aren't similar, but the precautions and procedures are likely very very similar. If you've rebuilt a Rotax, then you are heads and shoulders above anyone who hasn't.

So you're talking about supercharging an h6? That still requires an intercooler, which leaves me with the original problem of a hood scoop...
Whipple: Whipple Industries

For intercooling, you could either run un-intercooled. Superchargers, at the same boost levels as a turbocharger, run much cooler.

OR, Whipple makes a variety of sandwich-type air-water heat exchangers. You could use one of those. Either way, the supercharger assembly would require a custom intake manifold. If you or a friend know how to weld Aluminum well, it is a relatively simple job to modify an intake manifold.
 
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