Out of action for a while

July 27, 2008 – 6:30 pm

I had surgery on Friday for a small hernia, so I’m out of action for a bit.  The swap is slowly nearing completion, and I’m getting to the point where things are beginning to get buttoned up, but it’ll be at least a week or 2 before I’m able to do any work on the car.

Since the last update I’ve been wrestling with the APS turbo inlet and intake manifold installation.  It took a lot of swearing to get everything installed and fitting nicely, but it’s in there now and looks great.


I also implemented a modification to the fuel system I heard about from some guys in NZ, using 2 oem passenger side fuel rails and fuel pressure regulators along with 2 brass T’s and high pressure fuel line to implement a parallel fuel rail system.

The new engine sits quite a lot higher than the stock motor, so I had to notch the support bracing under the hood for clearance at the rear of the intercooler, and the IAC and expansion tank both touch the heat blanket underneath the hood. As far as I can tell this is an unavoidable problem given the lower hood line of the Legacy compared to an Impreza, so I’m just going to wait and see if it causes any problems.

I’ve also completed the brake line modifications needed to fit the 05 ABS system, and made brackets for the new boost control solenoid and 05 cruise control actuator. I still need to finish re-routing the cruise control harness to it’s new location beside the ABS actuator.

The dash went in for a test fit this week, and I have a good idea of how the fuse box and relays will be mounted, just have to make yet another custom bracket for those, and one to hold the fuel pump controller.

I also picked up some more competitive rubber for autox now that the car will be running in Street Modified, OEM Impreza RS 5-spoke rims wrapped in Avon R-compound tires in a 225/50R16 size.

Steering Linkage Swap

July 2, 2008 – 10:15 pm

When swapping a turbo motor into an older Impreza or Legacy, the front crossmember must also be swapped for the turbo piece in order to clear the uppipe.  This is pretty straightforward and doesn’t cause any major problems, but it usually means unbolting the shiny new WRX or STi steering rack and bolting on your old one.

I wasn’t particularly keen on that idea, especially because of the faster ratio of the STi rack. So, I decided to use it and send the old one to the junk pile where it rightfully belongs.

At this point you’ll notice that the splines on the WRX/STi rack are different, so the linkage between the rack and column won’t work. Easy, just swap the column, right?  Nope, that won’t work without serious mods as the columns are a different length due to changes to the firewall.

The solution is to keep the original column and modify the linkage so that it has the correct spline count at each end.

To perform this mod you’ll need your original linkage, and a linkage with the correct spline count for the new rack.  We’ll be removing the rack end from both linkages and swapping them over.

Begin by removing the lock bolt that holds the linkage to the rack.  You’ll notice that the end of the linkage is a single piece of pressed steel.  All that is required to remove the end is to spread it open enough to slide it off the u-joint.

Start with your linkage, the easiest way I found to spread the end was to hammer/press successively larger round rod between the 2 ‘ears’ where the bolt passes through.


In the photo above you can see the end already spread apart, I was using the large end of the socket extension and tapping it straight down from above to spread the ears without risk of damaging the splines. Begin with something small (I used the other end of the extension in the photo) and use progressively larger rod (sockets work well) until the end is spread open far enough to get it off the joint.


Here you can see the disassembled joint. The parts you see on the end of the ‘cross’ in the joint are bearing races and each contain 20+ needle bearings. They should come out of the end as shown above.

Once one is free you may need to tap the other one out with a hammer & punch. Be careful with these! If they come off you may be able to put them back together as-is (the needles are held in by the grease in the bearing), but if any of the needles come out you should remove them, clean, re-grease and reassemble the bearing (without losing any needles).

Repeat the disassembly process to take the end off the WRX linkage.

Once you have both linkages apart, it’s just a matter of putting the WRX/STi end onto the original linkage. Place one end of the ‘cross’ into the end and use a hammer or press to slowly close the end back onto the joint. You’ll need to go slowly and make sure that it closes properly onto the bearing races. Once it’s fully seated check the movement of the joint and adjust the fit until it moves freely.

Once the end is moving freely, you’re done. Bolt it up and enjoy!


Legacy, Meet EJ20

July 1, 2008 – 10:27 pm

Today was the day for the EJ20 to finally take its place in the engine bay, a big day for any swap project.

I had prepped the motor over the weekend by bolting up the exhaust manifolds, uppipe and turbo so all that needed to be done was to lift it off the engine stand, install the flywheel & clutch and mate it to the transmission.

Everything went pretty smoothly, and it’s now safely in its new home!


I would have had this done earlier, but I ran into a small (but time-consuming) snag with the steering column. The design of the ‘combination switch’ (wiper and headlight/indicator stalks) is different enough between the legacy and impreza that I can’t use the WRX switch gear or roll connector, so I’m working my way through mating the WRX harness with the Legacy switches.

I do have the dash almost fully assembled and ready to drop in as soon as I get the wiring finished up. The passenger side is looking pretty good at this point and mostly just needs to be loomed up, but there is still a fair bit of work to do on the driver’s side.

I haven’t forgotten about the steering linkage howto, and will be posting that up over the weekend.

Steering & Aircon

June 28, 2008 – 11:02 pm

I made a little progress last night and today, no pics tonight but I will have some up tomorrow.

As part of the upgrade I swapped the Legacy steering rack for a faster-ratio 2004 STi rack.  The new rack should make it easier to muscle the car around the autox course and improve steering feel over the 11 year old stocker!  However, the STi rack has a different spline count on the input shaft meaning that it won’t mate to the Legacy column without modifications.

Initially I considered swapping the column out, but the differences between the WRX and Legacy columns are great enough that it wasn’t really a viable proposition.  It’s also not legal for the Street Modified Autox class, so that option was out.

The other option was to modify the linkage between the column and rack to make a linkage with the correct splines on each end (Legacy column & WRX/STi rack).

I had heard that this linkage is not able to be disassembled and that the only way to make the adapter was to cut the ends off a WRX and a Legacy linkage then weld them together.  While this works, it isn’t the neatest solution.   The heat from welding will also cook the grease out of the joints and greatly shorten their life.

So, I took a closer look at the joints to see if I might be able to disassemble them.  After a little head-scratching I figured it out, and was able to swap the ends and create the linkage I needed.  Once I upload the photos I will make a more detailed post on how to perform the swap.

The other big project has been the HVAC wiring, as this is one of the major Legacy systems which I am retaining.  I was able to simplify and reconfigure the original harness from the Legacy and got down to 5 connections which needed to be spliced into the WRX harness.  The donor car had automatic climate control so there are several wires which I’m not using (hvac control unit power, temp & sunload sensor, etc), but hopefully I can put that part of the wiring behind me now.

With a little luck I’ll be able to put in a full day tomorrow, I’m planning to get the exhaust manifolds, up-pipe, flywheel & clutch bolted up and drop the long-block into the car…

Long time no update

June 22, 2008 – 10:21 pm

Despite not finding time to update the blog I have actually been making progress on the car.

The new sound deadening is in, I put a single layer of Raammat on the floor and transmission tunnel, which is about the same weight as the oem tar I took out and should be much quieter.


Most of my time has been taken up with wiring…in typical fashion I decided to do things the hard way and use the entire WRX body harness.  My reasoning for this was that I get the WRX cluster, cruise control, keyless entry & ABS.  This also means that instead of merging the engine-related sections of the WRX harness into my original harness, I’m adapting the WRX body harness to the Legacy lights, doors, radiator fans, wiper motor, mirrors, sunroof, etc, etc.

I am keeping the Legacy HVAC, so that wiring will need to be merged into the WRX harness, but otherwise it’s more-or-less a matter of cutting the plugs off the WRX harness and grafting on the Legacy equivalent.  Of course it’s not always that simple but that’s the rough idea.

So far I’ve completed the power windows, the door locks are wired but I’m not sure if the polarity is right (the wiring diagrams don’t show the polarity of the lock actuators, so they’re hooked up but not soldered yet).  The door switches, rear defrost, rear lights, headlights, radiator fans & airbag harness connector are all done.

Next up are the power mirrors, sunroof, fog, cruise and hazard switches, then the HVAC.

In the meantime I’ve also been doing some work on the motor.  I’m porting out the TGVs, which are mostly done and just need some cleaning up and to have the holes filled…not sure yet if I want to put in plugs or invest in the equipment I need to weld aluminium (100% argon tank, teflon liner, al wire) and weld them up, I’m leaning towards the latter.

I also have to gasket match the intake manifold and exhaust manifolds.  I picked up some headers but I don’t think I’ll be using them due to some interference issues.  This wouldn’t be such an issue with the TD04, but I came across a good deal on a ported vf29 & 565cc injectors, so I want to make sure that the exhaust system is up to the task.

I haven’t done anything about plumbing the new ABS actuator yet, I still need to track down the correct ’05 bracket and rubber dampers to get it mounted and see how much work is going to be needed to get it working.

Phew, I think that’s it for now.

Resuming Operations

May 17, 2008 – 3:30 pm

Between moving house and changing jobs (again) the Legacy had been sadly neglected lately.

Now that we’re all moved into the new house I had a little time to get the garage in order and start moving all my ‘car junk’.

The first order of business was to epoxy the garage floor, as I knew that once I put anything in there it would never get done.  I used 2 Quikrete Epoxy Garage Floor Coating kits and so far I’m happy with how it turned out.  The color isn’t 100% consistent but it has held up to me dragging stuff around on it and seems to have bonded well to the concrete.

Once that was done I built some shelves along the west wall of the garage and put up 2 shop lights, I think I’ll be adding another 4 shop lights soon to get enough light in there.

Mike was kind enough to lend me his car trailer, so I loaded up the Legacy and brought it over.  It’s a bit of a squeeze in the garage but I think I’ll have enough room to work.


Next up is moving all the parts that have yet to be installed, I was going to start on that today but the weather isn’t cooperating.

Tomorrow is Autox again, and once more I’ll be running Amanda’s Impreza, hopefully I’ll be able to get the camera up and running for some in-car video.