Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gearbox Rant

so today we are going to make fun of american culture, people in jeneral, big companies that like to pretend thay are good but not really, etc etc etc.

Transmission is like riding a 18 speed bicycle and pedaling up a hill, you are the engine, the Chain is like the gears in your transmission, and the speeds you select are short or long - easy to pedal or hard. If you have to pedal up too steep a gear with too long a gear and have too much power........ the chain will break.

subaru + wrx + turbo + RA gearset in a google search natural window pops up a huge list of whatnots. Lets summarise the situation:

Sti-RA GEARS can be found most easily in a Sti-RA car.

an STi-RA car (availible from version 1-6) can be most easily found in JAPAN on the streets or in the used car lots or at the dealership.

so, the most ideal representaion of a STi-RA gearbox would be:

take 1 sti-ra car, extract gearbox - give customer gearbox. customer is HAPPY :)

in america, automotive enthusists are differnt. in Japan, they break gearboxes - its not liek nobody in japan drag races. Japan has differnt crowds to market to, differnt driving speeds/styles, differnt measures of performance.

in america, the usa WRX was released in 2001 as an 02 model. full line change, chassis, everything updated. weird weird stuff - like 3.54 rear diff with a 1.1:1 center spider to a 3.90 front diff. weird.
in usa subaru had to get by emissions and fuel consumption standards for various reasons so they went with shitty performance gearing, 100mph 3rd, low compression motor without AVCS to save money, small turbo to compensate, but un-compensated due to 4 cats....

basically it works like this. Long gears speced to get super low rpm exhuast emissions at spec'ed test speeds, low compression bad response, lower overall output motor so u have to drive it harder (more throttle more wasted heat, more abuse on driveline). IF all sports cars were designed like that, no problem. we can all be slow, but chasing V8's down isnt that easy, and so abuse happens, the 5mt breaks, everyone blames subaru for making a shitty gearbox. Gearbox is not shitty, the conditions of its environment were just not yum.

SO, a very USDM solution came along.

- replace gear tree of usdm wrx transmission with gear tree from Japan specific STi-RA OR STi OR wrx. Label it as RA gearset, because its the most blanket term ever. the only differance between a WRX and WRX RA and WRX STi RA gear is the teeth and ratio. one is not stronger or bigger than another in the JDM world. Perhaps in weird american edition runs, but not in japan that i know of.

- reported issues with "RA gearset" installation or american RA 5mt's, etc; Shift forks bending - some were aluminum, some were supposed to be steel, spacing on shims/fitament were off, and catrostropic failures happened, etc etc. alot of very amusing failures.

- approximate cost: $2300 installed or so, average $1400 for the gears, $700 or so for labor.

The proper solution?

- dont abuse the car. drive it smoothly and nicely, deal with having poor gearing for 85% of courses, hope you have a 03 wrx box with revised guts, get mad skils so u pull fast lap times anyway
- get a big turbo and have the magical skills to do the above with a big turbo. be faster than balls.

- replace complete usdm WRX 5mt with a JDM wrx 5mt. perfect gearing. not overstressed , its great.

- if you are a baller, buy the newest. its the best. 2006/7 jdm 6mt will rock your world. cost alota dough too.

-- Next time.... DCCD rant.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Spark me.

lets break down the subaru Ignition system differances

theres 2 styles

Waste spark (old and new) - WS
theres phase 1 (early 89-1998 - external ignotor) and phase 2 (late 1999+ - ignitor built into base of coilpack)

Coil On Plug (old and new) - COP
theres phase 1a/b (89 legacy rs 2 bolt - later ej20G/H 1 bolt - single Q45/sr20det ignitor )
phase 2 (GDA/GDB, individual ignitor)

Waste Spark:

Early Waste spark is compatible between- i.e. you can fit a Ej20K coilpack on a EJ18 93-95, the parts are interchangable.

You can also Convert a external ignitor WS (phase 1 ej18) into phase 2 WS (built in ignitor). you would bypass the ignitor and wire directly into the ignitor on base of coilpack - This was done first by a member who did SOHC ej25 into EJ18 car with EJ18 wiring taht wanted to keep the EJ25 sohc coil/ignitor combo and plug wires. Very smart.


Ext ignitor COP phase 1 can be converted to individual ignitor COP phase 2. ala Rob's GDB style conversion. very good write up by rob- took me an hour and half to do the conversion on my car last night, very good job Rob.

This conversion allows people with Ej20G's to be able to run reliable non-cracking Coilpacks and simplity things by having no ignitor, individual ignitors. Easier for troubleshooting too, only one thing to replace if cylinder 4 is missing- the entire COP+intergrated ignitor for #4.

COP -> waste spark conversion.

ALA jolly green giant on scoobynet- thats who i give the credit to, ala EJ20G wrx - > ej20K spark system conversion.

Basically a waste spark sparks #1 and #2 at same time for the instance that a COP would spark 1 and 2 individually. the ecu signal for 1 and 2 trigger the front paired WS setup to spark both. One is wasted, but its not that big a deal. IF you wanted to pop n drop a EJ20K intake manifold or full motor into a EJ20G car, you could convert the Ej20G cop INTO waste spark BY;

merging trigger 1/2 and 3/4 togeather to feed the front and the back of the WS coils repectively. Power the WS with 12v constant. 3 wires on phase 1 WS setup - one is 12v, one is front pair signal trigger and one is rear pair signal trigger. No Ground invloved.

This is arguably the Cheapest and easiest way to have reliable Ej20G spark. from personal experiance of having COP failure at laguna seca 3x in a row 3 months in a row, i found that running on 3 cylinders was not good for gas milage or power or lap time (although a stock s2000 is slower than my subaru in 3 banger form)

Video here:

Another issue that i'd like to address is the trend of EJ22t Legacy guys going to Ej20G ecu's and worrying about the 4 COP setup. Keep the ej22t WS setup and just wire the 1/2 and 3/4 signals to the WS setup

Monday, June 04, 2007

FAQ: RHD GC8 JDM sti conversion. turn your USDM L into EJ20 RHD Sti JDM


brief outline for FAQ. willl be constantly updating as i figure out what i actually did last week :P

Logic behind my RHD;

1. EJ20 requires mad wiring - i suck at wiring but good at mechanical such.

****Took me about 13 hours for the mechanical conversion VS 45+ for wiring by people smarter than me****

2. if you need to hydro pedal box conversion for turbo clutch, the RHD pedal box is included. LHD hydro pedal box is hard to find.
3. Sti RHD quick steer rack is 2.7 turn lock instead of 3.0
4. GC8 Electronic AC is cool looking and neat - no need to work wiring.
5. RHD brake booster, MC and Prop valve are well matched to STi brakes. USDM single stage BB, 15/16ths MC and stock L pvalve are not idea (blow through 1/2 travel, lock rear brakes easily)
6. LHD AC condensor will NOT clear EJ20 radiator. i like having AC (live in texas)
7. JDM cars most came with non-airbag. Non airbag wheel middle is ideal for use with aftermarket steering wheels (easy to make horn work)
8. Use of RHD complete harness allows easy use of EJ20 radiator fans and other such - the EJ20 radiator bundle runs under the apron instead of on top. differnt plugs etc-
9. RHD JDM sti seats will have the proper adjusters for RHD (i need to buy some still)

Downsides to RHD:

1. You have to be comfortable with adjusing to RHD. not hard, but if u already drive like a suck - no dice. must be coordinated with left hand, and be able to force brain to swap sides. ITS FREAKIN WEIRD.
2. you have to fabricate mad brackets. basically, you remove all LHD brackets, all RHD brackets, and fit the RHD brackets in the proper areas. this requires having a drill with an awesome drill bit- i used a 3/16ths Cobalt bit - hasnt broken yet, and corresponding 3/16ths pop riviter. i dont have a welder, would enjoy welding everything but ill take care of it when i have the other bugs sorted out.
3. power windows dont match up. havnt figured out the wiring yet - just got tailights working, should update when i figure this out.
4. your interior probably wont match. o well, not that bad - my USDM interior is tired as hell anyway.
5. a complete JDM carpet is hard to find. i have one though, but its somting to think about
6. you dont need to remove your interior stuffs, leave AC charged if you are using undersized USA radiator and wussy melt-able plastic fans.

what to buy:

1. 1 complte impreza L. ideally with great body and dead drivetrain
2. Complete JDM RHD EJ20 front clip - unmolested, unmodified is much ideal - the whole car if u can baller it.
3. rear Xmember if possible with rear diff and suches

How to do.


- front interior, carpet, center trim bits, dash, pedal box, AC box / Heater box, blower. Steering collum - just remove plugs and unbolt at u joint and the 2 bolts holding the steering shaft to the support member - pull out entire thing with wheel attached!

2. strip the engine bay;

- motor, gearbox, airbox stuff, Brake MC, Clutch MC(if u have one - u probably dont if its a L), Brake lines, Brake pvalve, hill holder thingbob, heater lines, radiator, fans, AC condensor, AC bits

3. remove complete wiring harness. EVERYTHING

- inside bulkhead bundle, ECU, fender harnesses, front radiator harness, Fusebox, Everything. just put back the little bolts in the holes, that way you dont loose them all.

4. pull EJ20 from clip. either pull up, or drop entire crossmember with gearbox attached. thats the best way if u have the space to do it, just drop the whole drivetrain, control arms and everything attached. Leave ignitor and boost solinoids attached to vacume lines, just zip tie it on the intake manifold so you dont get the lines confuzzled later.

5. Set EJ20 aside, pull small engine bay stuffs - airbox, IC water spray, Radiator overflow, radiator and AC if u havnt pulled it yet-

6. transfer the small bits one by one to your USDM engine bay one by one so you dont loose the place.

7. strip out LHD interior, put pieces in a logical order so u can refer to them at reassembly

8. get drill with awesum sharp drill bit and start drilling. compare brackets taht are spot welded and drill out hte spot welds, youll have to do a bit of prying and tapping and such. dont worry too much, you can always bend them back into shape with a metal bodywork hammer.

9. drill out all associated LHD brackets, then fit in RHD ones. steering hole needs to get cut, clutch mount, brake booster mount, throttle cable hole, etc etc. ecu bracket etc-.

10. refit everything.

11. Put in your drivetrain - self x-planitory. fill fluids, bleed brakes, clutch, etc.

12. plug everything in

13. wire in rear wiring harness SMJ to fuel. Plug R1 in the JDM goes from the main harness bundle to the body (controls tailights, fuel pump, etc). you need to hook up fuel pump wires - they are almost the same, and then just find the signal wires and hook those up. took me about 1.5 hours with no diagrams and a test light - EASY)

fire it up. Mine is quite quite quick.

RHD is crazy. the sensation is neat, im getting used to shifting and such now, the 2.7 lock rack is a bit touchy, so i was all over the road. besides not having ever driven a RHD car in my life, the first one i come in contact with is my own . DOUBLE THE POWER, wrong hand drive, crazy short gears, almonst no lag. its a beast of a car

Swap: USDM vs JDM

this applies for EJ20(G,K,T,05, 07, etc)

if you dont know how to work on a car, please refer to the trusty FSM (factory service manual). A subaru is simple enough that with $100 worth of hand tools you can do anything.

You can find downloads for the 2002 USDM GDA FSM and the older JDM GC8 FSM somewhere on this website. hit the search button, i wont give it to you because i dont know where it is.

so what you need to know.

#1. All imprezas are almost fulley interchangable, All motors will fit each other, All transmission will fit each other. You may have to convert things to make them totally compatible, BUT they will fit - provided you do the proper monkey work and have the right parts.


can i put a ej205 2005 WRX engine on my 1994 FWD transmission??
Can i put a 2001 AWD gearbox on my 1993 EJ18 engine??
etc, etc, etc

#2. transplanting the proper bits from your setup is rquired -


problem: i wish to put a 1998 DOHC Ej25 engine on my FWD 1995 automatic impreza
solution: get EJ25 converted to 95 EJ18 wiring harness, then bolt up COMPLETE automatic parts to it (torque converter plate, torque converter etc)

#3. Can i convert my FWD to AWD? Can i convert my AWD to FWD? can i convert my FWD/AWD to RWD

-YES. Look for the proper FAQ to find the solution.

Steps in logistically doing your conversion:

1. find FSM for your existing setup and for whats going into it.
i.e.- if putting 1996 Sti-RA EJ20 into 2003 USDM 2.5RS, get both FSM. you need all the info you need.

2. Figure out the logistical scope of your project; how much $$$ you need to blow, how much $$$ you have to blow, how much time / manpower / tools you need and have.

3. Get all your ducks lined up - get all the parts in or slotted to arrive JIT (just in time)

4. do it.

so my secret to doing efficient (time /cash) EJ20 swap.

--my personal pervious experiance in swaps;

2002 - FWD-> awd gas tank / disc brake conversion on 93 impreza
2003 - EJ20G sti version 1 into FWD 94 EJ18 5 speed car
2003 - EJ25 DOHC into EJ18 FWD car
2003 - AWD sti version 1 gearbox into FWD EJ18 car with Hyrolic clutch conversion and turbo transmission setup / clutc
2003 - EJ20G sti engine into EJ18 FWD car - full engine bay conversion
2004 - drove car around and was happy
2005 - 1998 180SX type X blacktop into 89 Sohc S13 car
2005 - 1995 STi-RA v2 v-limited 3.9 Gearbox swap into place of 4.11 sti version 1 gearbox with Mechanical LSD rear swap into Viscous 3.9 housing
2005 - (coming up) 1995 Sti-RA V2 V-limited EJ20G entire engine bay and interior into 94 impreza with RHD conversion, electronic climate control and brake/clutch conversion for RHD......

So - going into my personal favorite conversion - what i am doing and what i put my money into (i dont listen to anyone who dosn't put their money where their mouth is)

you have a early impreza (1993-2001) i prefer early (pre 97 because its lighter). you want to have better stuff-

you need to buy a front clip. YUP. entire frekin front clip.

why the whole monty?

You actually get everything. no cut wires, nada.
You get more than you need - you can sell off anything u dont need.
Cool toys come with it -$$$$ aluminum control arms, Fatty radiator, Extra coolant overflow tank, Waterspray tank, Power steering oil cooler, Etc, etc.

if you are lucky you'll get a undamaged hood and a bumper too.

regardless, you can sell everything you dont need and it'll help offset your costs severely.

No turbo kits, no excuses, no lamearse EJ205 engine that needs $2000 thrown into it to be interesting, get the real deal. you need a JDM EJ20.

why? its the best bang for the bank. easy, Cheap (relatively), simple to do.

You can do a USDM swap, but for the expense involved ill pass. a 2004 STi would be nice with EJ257, but that is for ballers. if you get your hands on an entire USDM car dirt cheap, go for it. otherwise stick with the JDM.

have i worked on the USDM WRX? yes. i sold them before you drove them. Do i like it? my best friend has a well tuned 235 AWHP machine that i enjoy. is it good? of course its good, but $2000 of tuning bits dosnt seem a really good deal on top of the stock EJ205. not in my book. more reasons that the EJ205 isnt good enough - look at the market demand for EJ207's.

so EJ20G old skool is the best bank for the bang. comparisons with a well tuned EJ205;

will the Ej20g will be less responsive? will it make less power?

yes--IF comparing STOCK 94-96 EJ20g with hydrolic lifters, stock downpipe / flywheel/crank pulley and everything in comparison to a EJ205 standard usdm WRX motor with no cats, ECU retune to 300 CHP, aftermarket downpipe and up pipe.

Why? its obvious, response and tuning does what you pay $2000 for.

Is the older EJ20g head design inferior to the newer MEchanical ("sti version 6 head casting") ??

Yes. It is not as responsive at higher rpm's -6,000 +

does it matter? not really. not for the price differance.

What about putting an older Japenese motor in my newer car (i.e. 94-96 EJ20g into my 99 RS). Sure, why not? JDM motors only have at most 60,000 miles - it plugs in and works just fine.

all this being said, if i coould get a version 8 EJ207 to drop in my own car instead of my sti-RA version 2, id do it in a jiffy, but last time i checked - longblocks were abo9ut $8000. i dont have $8000. if you do, procede to the baller section and read somone else's FAQ.

ok. prices;

EJ20G 1994-1996 WRX front cuts can be bought for under $2500 bucks. UNDER $2500.
EJ20K 1997-2001 WRX front cuts should run you about $4500 or so.

is it worth it to go for the later ones? in my opion no, but to each his own. I'd rather spend the extra $2000 on footwork or really good food and beer, or a ticket to go to TAS.

wont the earlier clips be harder to put in my later car?
perhaps, if u are doing the wiring yourself. Otherwise the wise guru's at lachute and i-speed and the like are professionals at wiring, and it shouldnt phase them at all.

Mechanically, they are all the same.

in my book, there are 2 ways to do this conversion.

LHD and RHD.
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the LHD conversion is intense. Mad props to sam (powerlabs), and anyone else who has the guts to deal with 40 lbs of wiring hell. MAD props.

i will do any sort of monkeying mechanically, but wiring scares the ehll outa me. wiring on a SR20DET wasn't bad, but thats a walk in the park compared to a subaru.

option 1 for LHD - strip all harnesses out of your donor clip and your current car, send both to a ace shop - lachute, i-speed, rallispec, etc. Pay them $$$ for their hard work, and they will chop both harnesses and make them into one proper one for you. Will you pay for it?? YES. but its worth all the cost. I'd budget $800-$1000 for that option, i'd never do it myself.

option 2. Be an animal like yamaharocket, or powerlabs and do it yourself. when i think of this option i usually cry like a little girl. you need to pinout all the wiring, and splice things to where they need to be. not fun.

option 3. be king of monkey labor and extend all the RHD wiring. We've done this on my friends 1994 STi version 1 swap. Not fun, but easier IMO than splicing to USDM harness. figure out where everything needs to go (from looking at the JDM FSM) and then make the plugs happen there.

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RHD swap. its like a choose your own adventure book.

For a JDM EJ20 conversion, I feel that RHD swap is hte best way to do it. i'm going this route for my personal car - i put my money where my mouth is.


everytrthing fits perfectly. Every single wire, EVery sensor for electronic climate control, Every bit for power steering, AC, Everything.

what is the catch - ? you have to learn how to drive RHD, but the mail man does it, and my IQ is > than the average mailman, so you can do it too.

if you want to complain to me about RHD, go away. im not listening to it. half the world drives RHD, suck it up.

only 1 wiring plug to deal with, its R1 off the SMJ - goes to the rear bundle (fuel pump, Turn signals and the like. Besides for that, you are golden. Plug it all in and you hott.

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what about the Hydrolic pedal box and such? which gearbox should i use.

the 4.11 gearbox that comes with the JDM wrx is awesome. the USDM WRX gearbox is a POS in comparison, trust me.

you'll want to use the proper JDM gearbox with the proper JDM EJ20 motor. you'll have to make sure you have a 4.11 rear diff, LSD or not isnt important for now, deal with that later if you havnt already done it.

for RHD cars you can run the complete RHD hydrolic pedal box assembly, feor LHD you need to obtain a LHD hydrolic pedal box and clutch MC assembly. the slave cylinder is good for either LHD or RHD. Use the turbo clutch and everything in your kit - youll neeed to have all the parts, but it will all be there because you are buying a complete front clip intact.

Buy the sucker intact. FULL front half of car. the full monty.

anything i left out - please post. if you want to debate USDM vs JDM, please post on differnt thread. i'm extremely biased and have good reason to be so

if you care about emissions or need to pass inspection - find a shady smog man. or register your car in a cool state like michigan. a JDM Ej20g WILL pass california smog legit, you just neeed to have it properly installed with cats.