• iWire Subaru Wiring Services

"Easy" Subaru Swap Engine Choices

Updated: Aug 9, 2019



Let us first say, there are no truly easy Subaru swaps and every swap has it's own challenges. A lot of work goes into any swap. There are wiring changes, mount changes, mechanical changes, etc and these all depend on what engine and chassis are going to be used. However, when it comes to engine choices there are some simpler options which we will get into below. Our recommendations are based on putting the engine into a GC (1993-2001) chassis.

The most important tip we can give is to do research before buying anything. Don't jump on a cheap engine deal before it's confirmed to be compatible with your car. Not all research is good research. Make sure the information is coming from a trusted and experienced source.

Some things to consider before buying an engine:

1. Is it coming with the matching ECU and matching engine and body wiring? If not, those parts will need to be sourced later.

2. Condition of engine is important. The more stock the engine, the simpler the project will be. Be wary of Frankenstein motors.

3. Be wary of second hand parts coming from another project or someone else's project car in general. Most of the time these are more work to fix than to just start from scratch.

JDM 1993-1998 Engines

Pros: Easy to find and typically inexpensive.

Cons: No OBD2 port which makes SMOG and tuning a problem as well as expensive.

iWire Recommendation: Stay away from these engines despite the lure of the low price point.

JDM 1999-200 Engines

Pros: Long block will be good and typically these cars have low mileage.

Cons: If you want a modern ECU (IE 2002-2005 WRX) for a working OBD2 for smog and simple tuning, basically a complete WRX engine is needed for the cam gears, the headers, the intake manifold, etc. It's a lot of work.

iWire Recommendation: Possible to do but wouldn't recommend.

JDM 2001-2005 WRX and STi Engines

Pros: Easy to find, highly compatible with USDM cars, and parts readily available

Cons: Typically mislabeled by importers, not all wiring components come with engine so need to source extra parts.

iWire Recommendation: Go for it. Just make sure that they have AVCS and mechanical cable throttle. If the car does not have AVCS, it is a 99/00 engine. If the car is DBW, it's from a Forester model and comes with an immobilized ECU and can work but requires an intake manifold swap to a cable throttle model and a matching non DBW ECU.

USDM 2002-2007 WRX and STi Engines

Pros: Easy tuning, parts readily available, and ability to pass SMOG.

Cons: Typically high price point with higher mileage

iWire Recommendation: All good options. If you can afford an STi get one because 300 horsepower out of the box is pretty good. If the STi is not in your budget than a 2 liter WRX is a still a great option with easy paths for more power.

USDM 2004-2008 Forester XT Engines

Pros: Easy tuning, parts readily available, and ability to pass SMOG.

Cons: More difficult to find in good condition.

iWire Recommendation: If you can find one in good condition, go for it.

USDM or JDM Legacy Turbo Models

Pros: Easy to find.

Cons: Very difficult to swap due to CANBUS issues.

iWire Recommendation: Stay away from these engines despite the cheap cost.

You didn't see what you are looking at on this list?

It's likely because it's not a good "easy" swap option. These might include 6 cylinder, twin turbo platforms, newer than 2007 engines that are CANBUS equipped, ETC. If you are looking at one of these contact us before purchasing and we can determine whether it's a good choice for your project.

So what's our recommendation for the simplest swap with cost in mind? For a GC Chassis (1993-2001 Subaru) we suggest a 2001-2005 JDM WRX (EJ205/7 or V7/8) or a 2002-2007 USDM WRX or STi. To do this swap the steps are as as "simple" as, pull the engine from the chassis, swap the cross member, put the new engine in, hook up power steering, AC, exhaust, and radiator. Assuming the wiring harness is sent to us, it would just plug back into the chassis and the new engine and the car is done. As we mentioned before all swaps take time, cost money, and are a lot of work. Make sure to research and check your budget before purchasing a new engine or taking apart your car.

Want us to help with wiring up your Subaru swap project? Check out our services here.

#EngineGuide #SubaruSwap

iWIre Logo with Wording 2 - USE.jpg
0

CALL US

949-510-8278

BUSINESS HOURS

Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm PST

OUR GOAL

iWire is here to simplify your Subaru powered project, big or small. Focus on the mechanical aspects and we'll take care of the wiring headaches for you.

Lake Forest, CA

QUICKLINKS

SERVICES

ANSWERS

SHOP

© 2020 by iWire. 

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White YouTube Icon
  • White Google+ Icon
  • White Twitter Icon

iWire products are proudly Made in America.