I want to keep a log of my steps and all the info and resources I gathered to swap this 2005 ej205 avcs into my 98 L. I'll make this post in a way that I would have found most helpful as I was looking for information. A lot of this information is identical to the 98 2.5 RS as well. Same engine and engine management.
If your doing a similar swap feel free to ask questions here or PM me! I've done lots of research. I also have a lot of 04-05 wrx front end parts on OKC craigslist
2005 JDM WRX EJ205 w/ AVCS TD04- something t
Maybe some kind of tune not sure yet
I think 17 PSI??
OEM downpipe -2.5 mid pipe- 2004 STI axle back
JDM STI pink struts and springs
Kartboy grey soft outrigger bushing inserts
Whiteline diff bushings
Whiteline 24mm front bar
WRX 20mm rear sway bar
ebay camber bolts in top rear position to reduce positive camber
JDM rear spoiler
WRX hood scoop
Yellow fogs w/ grills
2 piece jetta front lip (modified)
17x7.5 et 40 vision crosssss discount tire special
bf goodrich 225/50/17
JDM 4 Pots front
drums in the rear
Standard pitch stop mount (to reduce NVH)
Group N motor and trans mounts
Whiteline rear subframe locator bolt things
homemade solid rear diff mount
BT head unit
6.5" speakers in all 4 doors
4 channel amp
Type-R 12" subwoofer
Real JDM shift knob
Japanese boost gauge that I don't know how to read yet
As I bought it FEB '15, after tinting (The real project in the background
More photos from my build: http://s1332.photobucket.com/user/ba.../library/Build
Engine swap steps and helpful information:
This is my first engine swap and actually my first time removing any engine at all. I want to include details so other inexperienced mechanics can see an awesome swap is totally in reach. This will be a sizable post with a lot of information. A lot of this info can be applied to other types of swaps as well.
I have resold almost everything from the half cut I didn't use including the diff and trans. Usually at great prices for the buyer to sell quickly. If you take into account the half cut cost, tools parts and fluids, and resale; the swap has cost me exactly $1547.91
. If you had a year to let items sit on ebay for fair prices, I'm sure you could do a swap for zero total cost.
I usually don't like to read for information in between pictures to I'll block text here for anyone interested/ needing info and follow through with chronological pictures later on in the thread.
Step 1: Research and prep
The most important step by far!! Doing this well allowed me to get the clip, two weeks later pull my car in the garage, and one week later be driving it to work again. I spent probably around to 100 hours researching over 2 months before turning a wrench or buying a part. Just relaxed a few hours at a time at my favorite coffee shop and nosed around online. (I knew very little about Subaru, but I would bet even a Subaru fanatic would need to go through this process). Started with the obvious stuff. What will bolt to what? What years can I look at? Once I decided on a specific model and year range I looked at USDM vs JDM. What are ALL the electrical and mechanical differences? Write them down. I decided JDM would work and be way cheaper. Made a FULL parts list and it was clear that a half cut is almost cheaper than the engine and all necessary pieces. I got assurance that it all was meant to work together and that I had all the parts. Plus a trans! I started looking at half cuts that were common. WRX cuts are less common than STI but way cheaper. It looked like a 2002-2005 WRX would be the way to go. Next step was to find FULL service manuals for all cars involved. This site has a lot of good stuff: Directory /Auto/Japan/Subaru/
. Ensuring that the manuals are for JDM cars is tough. Even these manuals, that appeared JDM had some emissions differences I will talk about later. Maybe they are manuals for Australia or England or something. I then made full ECU pinouts of my forester, a 2002 JDM WRX, and a 2005 JDM WRX to examine differences across that generation. I then checked out Brydon's wiring harness merge resources, which I will include in my linked google drive files. ENORMOUSLY helpful. Go through his step by step merge guide over and over until you know exactly what each step is saying. Its worth it.
Here I found just using some common sense was key. Im taking the WRX engine and Putting it in my forester body. Using the WRX ECU. So any communication between the engine, MAF, O2s etc. is none of my business and i just leave those wires going where they go. It sounds simple but going through that in my head helped visualize the harness without having one to look at. Brydon's guide takes this approach too. So what else is left? The ECU has stuff to say to the body of the forester. What kind of stuff makes sense? Gauges, fuel related things, A/C stuff, radiator fans, etc. This is engine related information that the ECU needs to send to the body, receive from the body, or send to the driver. This thinking helped simplify the merge in my head. And it is reflected in Brydon's very nearly complete list or wires to merge. Its only 20-30! A very achievable task!
The last part of planning is for costs. I made sure to budget for the half car, extra parts (fuel pump, pump controller...), tools I didnt have, misc supplies, and fluids! The little things added up quickly. My budget was $4000 before reselling any parts.
Step 2: Buying Stuff
Everything up to this point was free. At least on my wallet. I started researching JDM shops for my clip. Looked mostly at ebay listings for clips. But some individual shop sites. Narrowed it down to one in NJ and one in CA based on my needs and current availability. I ended up getting a 2005 WRX wagon front clip with 65,000 miles from JDM Engine Bay in California. I wrote a review in the vendor section explaining their awesomeness. They shipped it to my door and into my garage. Awesome. I then got all the little other stuff such as the aforementioned fuel pump.
Step 3: Clip disassembly
The most super importantest part of the disassembly is labeling. I over labeled everything, and if your doing this you should too. I got masking tape, sharpies, and 200 sandwich bags. Labeled all the bolts etc. Taking apart the clip was probably the most enjoyable automotive task ever. Required relatively little thought. Perfect for beer and hockey on the radio.
Once I got the body of the clip completely stripped, 5 buddies and I lifted the shell off the front subframe. I could then separate the transmission and remove the clutch and flywheel. Found a metal separator plate and zero oil leakage. The preferred amount of leakage. We tossed the shell into my roommates pickup and recycled it for a whopping $9.60 USD.
Step 4 Prepping the WRX wiring harness:
Again I will include many details here that I would have loved while doing my research. Once I pulled the entire harness out from the half cut in tact, I could lay it out and see what I needed to keep and what to throw away. There were 3 plugs to the engine harness (remained on engine), 2 O2 sensor plugs, a boost control solenoid plug, a MAF plug, and thats it! 7 connectors that need to remain wired to the ECU forever. I used my forester transmission so I would not use the trans harness at this time.
To ensure I didn't cut anything I needed, I un-taped the whole harness and taped the wires going to those 7 plugs together to identify engine management wires from wires needing splicing. I then followed the wires that my wiring diagrams said I needed to splice from the ECU to their end. This assured me that my diagrams were correct. For example, I needed to splice the A/C switch signal. So I found that pin on the ECU plug, and followed it to see where it went. This particular wire eventually found its way to the climate control connectors. I knew it was the climate control connector because I labeled every connector as I unplugged it. This confirmed the correct pinout. I did this for every wire needing splicing and any unknowns. Most were correct. 2 wires came from the engine that didn't go to the ecu. The coolant temp and oil pressure gauge. 2 went from the ecu to the rear harness (that I didnt have). The 2 fuel pump controller signals. Looking pretty good.
This is when I discovered some discrepancies from my diagrams. The diagrams did not include about 15 wires that I found coming from the ECU, and I was missing around 5 wires that the diagram said I should have. I followed the wires that my ECU pinout did not include and found all but one of them went to engine connectors. So I didn't need to know what they did, just left them alone. The other one went to the front engine harness and I actually never found out what it did. Upon closer inspection of the pinouts I saw every wire that my harness was missing went to emissions related components. Fuel pressure sensor, drain valve, etc. So although the service manual I had is supposed to be JDM, and included differences from USDM cars, my JDM wrx harness did not include any of these emissions components. Good thing I live in Oklahoma.
Anyway after all wires were followed and identified I could cut all the unneeded stuff. Which is a TON of wires. Probably 90% of what I had. I was then left with my ECU connectors with wires going to the 7 connectors mentioned before. And every wire I would need to splice hanging from the ECU connectors. I preferred to label each wire with their respective ECU pinout and function. Then there were 3 wires that come FROM the engine connectors that needed to be spliced into the forester harness. The aforementioned coolant and oil gauge wires and an O2 power wire I did not plan for. There is a yellow power wire that goes from the main relay and splits to each O2 sensor. This took a little while to track down. But after more research this is just switched power to the sensors. And the forester has the exact same setup. Easy. I could then wrap the harness back up. Used quality electrical tape first. Then wrapped in sleeves from the original harness and taped over them.
Step 5: Forester disassembly
This is my daily driver. Even though it had internal head gasket leaks it was still getting me to work with a daily cooling system bleed. So this had to take as little time as possible! Went fairly quick and I found the experience from disassembling the WRX clip to be invaluable. Took one evening to get the engine ready to remove. The next day I rented a hoist and had the crumby ej25d out by early afternoon. The mid pipe, rack, sway bar, and engine cradle had to come out but then it was ready for its new power plant.
Step 6: Installing the WRX components
I first installed the WRX crossmember, then got the WRX engine in the same evening I took the forester engine out. The WRX engine was bolted to the WRX 5MT with 8 fasteners, while the forester engine and forester 5MT had 4 total fasteners. But the WRX engine bolted up to the forester 5MT with only the 4 fasteners perfectly. The dowel pins (that should remain in the transmission) lined up perfectly as well. I used the forester clutch and flywheel since they were less than a year old and the clutch is a quality product. Used locktight blue on the threads of the flywheel and pressure plate. I also used a very small amount of oil under the heads of the bolts to ensure the friction between the bolt head and the surface of the components wasn't throwing off my torque wrench readings (A good tip from Dad). Toque specs: flywheel to crank: 53 ftlbs, pressure plate to flywheel: 11.6 ftlbs, and engine to bell housing: 36.9 ftlbs. Just applied some more sticky red lube to the surface the throwout bearing rides on and to the end of the input shaft (not too much!). Check out briansmobile1 on youtube. He has TONS of helpful videos of real time Subaru maintenance including how to properly remove and replace a Subaru engine. That's where I got my info from and it was everything I needed.
There were a few unknowns that I had to smooth out at this point. Firstly the WRX alternator plug was different and the A/C compressor would not work with my forester lines. The easiest solution was to use my forester alternator and A/C compressor. The alternator bolted from up. The compressor required the mounting bracket from the forester but this bracket worked perfectly on the EJ205. The low pressure line worked fine. The high pressure line had interference with the heavy bracket that bolts to the intake and covered the injectors. I had to hammer an end of the bracket to bend it away, grind down the metal a little, and CAREFULLY bend the A/C line slightly to clear the bracket. But after this it cleared fine.
I had significant problems getting the power steering worked out. The steering rack from my forester did not bolt up to the WRX crossmember. I discovered that the 2004 WRX steering rack is different from the 2005 WRX crossmember as well. At least for the Japanese crossmember. The WRX ps lines could not work with a LHD rack because they had male fittings on the end. I needed a 2005 LHD steering rack as well as LHD WRX ps lines. The forester lines could work but not without a lot of bending. After getting these parts I went to bolt it up and ran into another issue. The forester steering knuckle has a different spline count than the WRX steering rack input shaft. Very annoying. I needed to use a forester steering knuckle because they are longer than the WRX. They are longer because the forester has front crossmember spacers, increasing the distance from the rack to the body and steering column. I ended up having to drill out the rivets (I think they are considered rivets) in the steering knuckles to combine them. I was able to attach the steering column end of the knuckle from the forester (which contained the extension) to the WRX steering rack end of the knuckle. I used 2 hardened bolts to attach them. PM me if you have questions about this.
The last component that had issues was the radiator. The forester radiator did not have a port for the pressurized fluid coming from the upper reservoir. Also, the location of the upper hose port of the radiator made it impossible to rout the hose without sever kinks. I had to use the WRX radiator as well as WRX fans. The rad fits into the lower forester mounts, but is closer to the engine than that it was in the WRX. Both upper and lower hoses had to be trimmed and are closer to the pulleys but work fine. The WRX fan connectors had to be Spliced into my forester harness. No big deal. The only issue is neither of he cars upper rad mounts worked. So I have a custom zip tie setup at the moment... But that's it! Everything else works great!
Step 7: Merging the wiring harnesses
I'm not sure that I would necessarily call my install a merge. I did not want to remove my entire harness from the forester. It would require a huge amount of interior disassembly that I wasn't interested in. Especially after seeing what was involved on the WRX. So I decided to rout my engine wiring separate from the stock routing and leave the old engine wiring for now. I drilled out a hole behind the brake pedal to allow the harness to pass through the firewall. I chose the drivers side to avoid running the harness right next to the turbo. After the hole was made and cleaned it was straight forward to run the harness through. I carefully routed the harness through the engine bay to avoid heat, rubbing, and water. The interior side runs through the center console and to the stock ECU location.
All of the prep made the actual splicing very easy, although time consuming. My forester pinouts all ended up perfectly accurate. I located every wire needing splicing, labeled it, and cut it from the ECU connector. I then spliced every wire to its respective WRX ECU location, being sure to securely twist, properly solder, and heat shrink and tape to insulate. In the engine bay I had to find the forester coolant and oil pressure gauge and splice the two WRX wires in the correct spot. Then had to find the power wire from the main relay that splits to the O2 sensors and splice it into the same WRX O2 sensor power wire. Left the 2 fuel pump controller signals to lead to the back of the car.
My setup has a set of wires going to the engine through the firewall, and another set of wires spliced to the wires going into the stock forester harness. I left every wire that I did not cut from the forester ECU connector, still attached to the connector. So yes I actually still have the forester ECU connector in my footwell. I did this because of the emissions situation. If I ever absolutely need to get the emissions working, I can find the wires from the forester connector by still reading the pinout. And also I can use any of the forester engine connectors to install any new emissions components necessary. In order to get all that working I would need to get a USDM WRX ECU (connects to JDM connectors) and splice the new emissions wires to it. The remaining issue with doing this is the USDM ECU cannot run the AVCS variable valve timing on the JDM EJ205 (but you can simply run without this function). But I believe someone makes a custom harness to allow for this function with the USDM ECU. If you live somewhere with actual emissions tests and requirements, and want to run a JDM engine and harness, AND want AVCS, you will need to go through these challenges. Much better off getting a USDM donor.
My data link wiring is not complete yet (Need the line end check signals) but I found that just splicing the SSM/GST communication line to the same forester communication wire allowed me to read OBD2 trouble codes through the forester data link. More info on that in my wiring spreadsheet.
Since I used the radiator and fans from the WRX there is an additional complication there. This only requires a small modification as the WRX fans are 2 speed and the forester is wired for single speed fans. The wrx fans are 4 wire, a positive and negative for each speed. I chose to simply not connect the slow speed and have the forester fan relays kick on the fans always at high speed. Perhaps this will reduce the life of the motors but I think it will be fine for many years. You could do some clever wiring with 2 more relays if you wanted to maintain the multiple speed functionality. All the info required to do so could be found in my wiring sheets.
That's all there is to it really. With the proper info and prep the merge is a breeze.
Step 8: Fuel pump system
The turbo engine requires a fuel pump from a WRX. I got a 2002-2005 used fuel pump assembly. Installing the whole assembly into my car caused my fuel gauge to malfunction. The wiring differences can be seen in the photos of my spreadsheet. But I simply used the WRX fuel pump and put it into my forester assembly. Gauge worked fine as it is an independent system from the ECU (Although the forester ECU does receive a T'ed off fuel level signal, the WRX ECU does not).
The WRX also uses a fuel pump controller (although some people delete it) in addition to a fuel pump relay. The forester ECU sends a ground signal to the fuel pump relay to turn it on, but the other side of the fuel pump relay coil is to ignition switched 12 volts. The WRX uses an ignition signal to the relay to turn on power to the controller. Since the controller in the WRX gets power with switched ignition I simply took the fuel pump relay wire that got a ground signal from the forester ECU and permanently soldered it to ground. So the forester fuel pump relay will power the controller constantly with switched ignition. Just like in the WRX. This sounds way more complicated than it actually is.
The WRX fuel pump controller then had to be wired to my forester fuel pump assembly (that now contains the WRX pump). Basically the controller has the output to the fuel pump + and -. And the controller gets signals from the ECU. So the ecu can vary the voltage to the pump motor as it sees fit to help maintain low noise level and long pump life. The wiring can be found in my wiring spreadsheet and is actually very simple. I mounted the controller in the little styrofoam compartment behind the back seats. The controller has a heat sink on it and gets pretty warm while its working, so make sure to put it somewhere with sufficient air around it to dissipate the heat it generates properly.
And that is the final wiring required to do the swap! Not bad right?
Step 9:Cutting the hood for the scoop
This is a less universal step. I used the scoop from the WRX half cut. I chose to simply cut a rough rectangle to allow the metal lower scoop piece to fit through, and mount the lower piece my screwing it into the hood reinforcements. Then I drilled holes for the WRX mounts, but replaced the screws and plastic fasteners with plastic push door trim style push fasteners. I used push nuts on the other side of the hood and they hold very well. To allow the scoop to sit on the hood and look ok I used a universal seal from autozone that they labeled as "bulb style" weather stripping or something. I think it actually turned out really well and it seals completely. Kind of has a 90s look to it actually. But you couls always buy a jdm SF5 hood for hundreds and hundreds of monies.
Step 10: Driving the car and finalizing the project
The first time I started the engine it ran perfectly. I actually did my first test drive pouring out power steering fluid and with my wheels pointed opposite directions. But it worked! I had a CEL that concerned me. After buying an cheap and awesome bluetooth scanner on amazon I found out it the tumbler generator valve sensor. Probably an existing problem or I accidentally bumped it and damaged it during installation. After fixing that it is totally functioning.
Download to view properly and not see what else I was up to while screenshotting
LOTS of pinouts, info, and service manual pictures. I tried to include ALL of the information needed to wire the engine in completely and properly. I will update as I realize more to add.