New Forester owner in MB - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Posts: 214
Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester STI
Transmission: MTX
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
New Forester owner in MB

Hello,

I bought my first Subaru, a 2003 Forester X, a few months ago. I bought it with a blown motor, thinking I would just rebuild it and have a solid winter daily.

Crank needed mains and rods reground, the cost was up near the cost of a new crank. Plus a rebuild kit I was looking at north of $1k. I started looking at options.

I now have the entire powertrain of an GC8E EJ20K in my garage alongside the Forester. Looks like the engine, transmission, driveshaft, exhaust, and axles will bolt up without issue. Yay!

The wiring... the wiring is another story. I'm in the process of figuring out what path I want to take. I'm glad to hear opinions.

Thanks!

Ryan

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 07:41 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Newberg, OR
Posts: 34,434
Car Year: 2007
Car Model: Forester Sports XT
Transmission: 4EAT
Feedback Score: 42 reviews
Welcome to the forum from Oregon!

Good luck with the swap!

This sub-forum may interest you: Motor Conversions - Subaru Forester Owners Forum

Bobby...

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


'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno stock Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 08:23 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Posts: 40
Car Year: 2006
Car Model: Forester XT
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
From a former Pegger, welcome to the forum.

2006 FXT
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 05:04 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: ナイアガラ
Posts: 24,101
Car Year: 2007
Car Model: XT Sport
Transmission: 5MT
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Welcome to the forum from Niagara Falls!


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 05:46 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Spokane, Wa.
Posts: 1,257
Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester X
Transmission: manual
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greetings and welcome to the forum from another '03 X owner who is crazy about his Subaru!!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 08:49 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Saskatoon, Canada
Posts: 287
Car Year: 2004
Car Model: FXT
Transmission: 4EAT
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Welcome to the forum from Saskatoon!

I used to have a 2002 Sport and wanted to put a JDM EJ20K in it. I ended up chickening out... (I had the wiring harness all labeled on the EJ20K and had my engine and transmission already out of the 2002. I ran into problems finding the room for the drivers side turbo.

Good luck!

I now have 2 2009 Foresters, and recently bought a 2004 FXT! (Loving it. Going to say goodbye to one of the 2009s)
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Posts: 214
Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester STI
Transmission: MTX
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I think I am about to chicken out. There are quite a few differences.

Aside from the wiring...

The JDM STI engine cradle/subframe does not have the mounts for the Forester longitudinal subframes, and its discretely different enough that it would be hard to weld in new mounts.Of course, the Forester subframe won't clear the turbo pipes.

Just subtle differences everywhere - its making me nervous.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2016, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Posts: 214
Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester STI
Transmission: MTX
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Anyone have a proper EJ20K I can talk to? I need help sorting out a few details in the harness - I just need another engine bay to reference.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Posts: 214
Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester STI
Transmission: MTX
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Well, I've driven the car all winter and it never left me totally stranded.

I've had a few unique issues, and a few recurring issues.

-The harness splice was quite easy. I still have the old EJ25 harness tucked away behind the RHS strut tower - the swap is completely reversible. The EJ225 ECU is in the stock location, and the EJ20K ECU is bolted into the glovebox.

-I had to use the turbo subframe and swaybar with the forester control arms. The two parts have different swaybar end link orientations so neither cars' fit. I need a 5" link with ends indexed 90º. I think the rear link off a mid 00's Elantra work. Do not drive around without end links when your axles are too short.... thats how you get exploding axles. Also the control arm hits the subframe right at the front inner bushing, but its not a big deal.

-STI rad is too thick, it would hit the belt covers. I just used the Forester rad (5/8" core) and I have had 0 cooling problems over winter :P.

-Power steering required some creativity. Wound up using the Forester pump (with some grinding), Forester rack and Forester lines (with some bending).

-Deleted the STI coolant reservoir since I used the Forester rad/overflow.

-Forester throttle cable was about an inch too short, but I flipped the cable bracket over (with some grinding) and it works great now.

-Had a noisy rear diff that took months to diagnose. Finally found it by putting it up on 4 jacks and removing the driveshaft. Found another mechanical rear diff in town and swapped it - now its quiet aside from the regular mechanical diff grindy noises. I tore down the transmission and transfer case three times trying to find this problem - I could have sworn it sounded like it was coming from the front. The bonus there is my trans fluid is clear instead of black because it has been so well cleaned and flushed.

-The engine, trans, driveshaft, and diff mount the same.

-Just fit up the 3" GC8 turbo-back exhaust. Needed custom hangers, but thats no problem. It cleared driveshafts, fuel tanks, sub frames, and bumpers.

-The AC doesn't work because the control systems are intrinsically different. I have not given up hope yet, though!

-The cruise doesn't work either. Haven't even looked into it.

-Can't put the cap on the clutch fluid reservoir because the intercooler is now in the way. Don't have a good plan for this - its currently just wrapped up in shrink wrap to try and cover it.

-Had the pins INSIDE the MAF break apart. Just resoldered them and its been solid. Bought a spare before I figured it out, though. The intake system on the GC8 doesn't really fit so I just put a mushroom filter on the end of the MAF.

-The axles from the GC8 are about half an inch too short, and as a result I have exploded the front left inner joint three times. I can reassemble it on the side of the -road in about 8 minutes now. This last time I lost a bearing outer race, so I will be buying 2002 forester axles, which have the female inner joints and are the correct length.

-I had a rear axle come out. Took me a few minutes of driving to figure it out...It feels like a slipping clutch except your speedometer keeps up. The axle actually slipped back in at one point and I sheared the splines off the tip of the axle past the circlip - just ground them off and popped it back in and its been good so far.

-Had one of the front brake pots stick really hard one day. Had to drive it to the side of the road with a locked tire in 1st gear at 15lbs boost. That also exploded the axle. Turns out the caliper piston is rusty. Might see if a local machine shop can make them from stainless for me. Seal kits are cheap.

-Using a wideband sensor to read AFR (because I was worried about fuel pump capacity - but its a non-issue) and it simulates the narrowband signal. I think the wideband is a slower sensor, plus its further downstream, plus its simulating a signal. I think these delays are causing my AFR to wander at constant throttle. Just enough that you can feel the car surge at like 0.25-1hz on the highway.

Maintenance this spring is rear struts, end links, brake rebuild, new correct length front axles, finishing up the gauge cluster, lighting the clock (pure reflective LCD was dumb, Subaru.), swapping Forester seats back in (GC8 sit way too low), front fender liners, and a few other little things!

I hope to get a few more winters out of it.

All in all, not mad about the swap - this thing is faster than my M3 now, but I would not recommend it to the faint of heart. Plan to take 2-3 months to do it.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Posts: 214
Car Year: 2003
Car Model: Forester STI
Transmission: MTX
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Solved one of the last remaining problems yesterday. The brakes sticking was actually a faulty hill holder - giant POS. I live in MB. I don't even know what a hill looks like. The return spring was not strong enough to return it when the clutch was released so it was always on a little bit. I disconnected the cable and zip tied the mechanism straight. Now I should get my mileage back, be able to brake in reverse, not buy a new set of pads every month, and in general not fear being stranded again.

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