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99 Subaru 2.5 RS ..Gray
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57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
im fighting between an AVO turbo or and STI...

there is a big difference between work invovled.
but whats the reall winner here

with gain of horespower?
future power upgrades?
and happiness?
 

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13 Years of RS
2005 Toyota Corolla :(
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5,532 Posts
im fighting between an AVO turbo or and STI...

there is a big difference between work invovled.
but whats the reall winner here

with gain of horespower?
future power upgrades?
and happiness?

I have the AVO kit on my car, and I love it. But to answer you questions, there is a BIG difference between the kit and the swap. The kit will cost about a third the price of the swap, but the STI swap will give you more power right off the bat, and will have lots of room to grow. The RS engine with the AVO kit on it is pretty much maxed out, you can't make much more power unless you replace all the internals and do something with the engine management. Also, while the STI engine makes more power stock than the boosted RS engine, the STI will also be more reliable, since it's not being asked to do more work than it was made to do. For future happiness, that all depends on what would make you happy.
 

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06 Lexus Rx400h
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1,661 Posts
trust me.. i have a non swap turbo.. and all the time and money and everything to get it reliable and right.. i say swap.. wish i would have done it in the first place!!
 

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99 2.5RS
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81 Posts
i would love to do a sti swap on my 99 rs too but i dont have the money or the time. i am currently saving up for a AVO turbo kit and planning to install it myself. im also considering the FAT kit but the AVO kit sounds more fool proof to me. when i was looking into a v5 sti swap for my car, it was getting way too expensive for parts and the wiring work was ridiculous. ive heard many good things about bolt on turbo kits and its possible to drive your car daily as long as you drive with common sense.
 

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Premium Member
2002 2.5 RS-T
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2,960 Posts
i would love to do a sti swap on my 99 rs too but i dont have the money or the time. i am currently saving up for a AVO turbo kit and planning to install it myself. im also considering the FAT kit but the AVO kit sounds more fool proof to me. when i was looking into a v5 sti swap for my car, it was getting way too expensive for parts and the wiring work was ridiculous. ive heard many good things about bolt on turbo kits and its possible to drive your car daily as long as you drive with common sense.
the AVO is a great kit......slap it on in a weekend and you got some power....

and i dont know what all these people are talking about when they say you've maxed out the engine with a turbo kit.....with a turbo kit you have 2 weak spots, the stock internals and engine management.....but if you replace the internals with sti stuff or forged internals, or if you want to do it simply buy a brand new sti shortblock (1750$) and throw it in....then you have to tackle the engine management....which is easy if you spend the money...for 1800$ you can get a plug and play hydra which you can install in 30 minutes....then boom...you are good to go.....while the engine is out get some delta regrinds (like 200$)....and you're good to go....

so the avo kit is what 3500$....and then for the upgrades down the road to allow you to go with a bigger turbo its another 3500-4000$ (if you go most expensive route possible, it can be done for much cheaper but i dont want to get into that right now)....throw another 1000$ on there for a bigger turbo and supporting mods(injectors, fuel pump)...and you are at 300-350 WHP easily........

however the turbo kit is a lot more work in the long run.....in the end you are fitting parts on that are not meant for your car..there are roadblocks and things to overcome....you have to be willing to put the time in....with a swap once you get the engine in everything is simple.....modding is simple...etc....

as for reliability...like people have said there really is nothing more reliable than a swap.....that being said theres no reason an AVO kit, or a Kit +engine build + EM can't be reliable.....you just have to make sure you dont cut corners(dont pull a jefff lol)....you need to put the time in..not just working on the car but researching and learning.....

looking back over the last year in my build (sti shortblock, hydra, mhi 18G, etc) i would definetly go this route again, especially for my first build(yes i said that)....even though i have blown an engine(re used a bad used piston :bonk:) and spent many hours frustrated(search my name in troubleshooting forum lol)....i have learned so much. I'm now confident working on my car....i remember a couple years ago installing an oil pressure gauge scared the crap out of me.....now i dont think twice before pulling the engine, swapping short blocks, tearing apart a block and rebuilding it, tuning the car myself..hacking up the wiring.....i have a much much much better understanding of my car, i know what everything in the engine bay is, what its supposed to look like, what it looks like when it breaks:bonk:....lol.....

so its not really a "which route is better" question.....they both have advantages and disadvantages...and at the end of the day its not a matter of cost, its not a matter of potential or reliability.....the decision rests on how much work you want to put into the car, how much you want to learn, etc......because with a turbo kit going for lots of power you can end up with more power at a lower cost with almost equivalent reliability, an amazing knowledge of your car and pride out the ass in what you've accomplished. But you can also end up popping engines, spending twice what a swap would've costed you, and hating your life. It all depends on how much time and effort you put into it, your research, the questions you ask, etc....

IMO swapping is the easy way out....nothing wrong with that at all.....

good luck man...and if you go the turbo kit route and need any help just holler at me....


/essay lol
 

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'00 RS w/ 05 STi swap
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436 Posts
well said jeff! i feel the exact same way about my rs-t build! i dont think i would appreciate the car as much as i do now if i would have swapped instead of RS-t. Also learned a good amount!
 

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2006 WRX
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611 Posts
I have gone down both routes and really prefer the swap route for reliability, lack of nagging problems, OEM design, OEM parts.

and i dont know what all these people are talking about when they say you've maxed out the engine with a turbo kit.....with a turbo kit you have 2 weak spots, the stock internals and engine management.....but if you replace the internals with sti stuff or forged internals, or if you want to do it simply buy a brand new sti shortblock (1750$) and throw it in....then you have to tackle the engine management....which is easy if you spend the money...for 1800$ you can get a plug and play hydra which you can install in 30 minutes....then boom...you are good to go.....while the engine is out get some delta regrinds (like 200$)....and you're good to go....

so the avo kit is what 3500$....and then for the upgrades down the road to allow you to go with a bigger turbo its another 3500-4000$ (if you go most expensive route possible, it can be done for much cheaper but i dont want to get into that right now)....throw another 1000$ on there for a bigger turbo and supporting mods(injectors, fuel pump)...and you are at 300-350 WHP easily........
So let me get this right:
STI Block - $1750
Hydra - $1800
Cams - $200
AVO Kit - $3500

Total Spent: $7250


Now, let's try STI swap:
STI Donor car, missing a few key swap pieces, interior, damaged body panels: $4000
STI Brembos: $1000
VF39, STI TMIC: $400 (don't ask how I swung those deals)
like-new STI BBS with RE070 (90% tread left): $600
Misc. small parts: $400
Spiider's DCCDPro (for working DCCD in the car): $425

Total Spent: $6825

But wait, with a swap you can sell all your old stuff.

Here's the breakdown for what I sold my stuff for:
Engine: $1200 (EJ25 heads on EJ22T block)
Transmission: $0 (Mine was an auto that I blew, I threw it out)
Brakes: $200
RS Gold Wheels, 2 sets: $1200 ($700 summers, $500 winters)
Old turbo kit: $1200
STI control arms (had to use stock): $200
STI lateral links (had to use stock): $100

Cash I got back from removal of old pieces: $4100.

Total spent on STI swap: $2725.


For the $2725, you get an STI engine, 6 speed tranny, STI turbo, intercooler, working DCCD, Brembos, larger wheels, better hubs, etc. compared to over $7000 for a well done turbo kit.

To me, not swapping was not an option once I broke it down like that. Your experiences may differ.
 

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Premium Member
2002 2.5 RS-T
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2,960 Posts
ok where the hell did u find an sti donor car for 4000$?!?!? i've been looking for one for 2 years now (want the tranny, brakes, interior etc...)....
 

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Avo kit is a good choice, but speaking from experience, making the rs turbo is a little bit of a headache. If it is not one thing it is another. I have been working on mine for 7 months now and just got all the bugs worked out...although....i am most likely making 300 wheel or so at 15psi and can turn it up to 25 or so. With forged internals, and proper ecu (like I) the car is set minus transmission. The down side, i spent 7500 doing it. Go with the swap.
 

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99 2.5RS
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81 Posts
i thinking the wire splicing for the sti swap is a lot of work compared to a bolt on turbo kit. not to mention the actual labour work taking the stock engine out and fitting a sti engine and other parts. its definately not easy.

both set ups will not be as reliable as the stock rs. thats really obvious. i dont want to argue which will be more reliable since they are both unreliable as you are changing the stock vehicle.

finding a donor sti for $4000 is nonsense by the way. even my girlfriend laughed when she read that.
 

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Premium Member
2002 2.5 RS-T
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2,960 Posts
i thinking the wire splicing for the sti swap is a lot of work compared to a bolt on turbo kit. not to mention the actual labour work taking the stock engine out and fitting a sti engine and other parts. its definately not easy.

both set ups will not be as reliable as the stock rs. thats really obvious. i dont want to argue which will be more reliable since they are both unreliable as you are changing the stock vehicle.

finding a donor sti for $4000 is nonsense by the way. even my girlfriend laughed when she read that.
donor sti for 4K can be done.....but once in a blue moon....u cant count on it when planning your build....

the swap is damn close to stock reliability....to be honest if its done right it's probably more reliable cause its a newer engine than stock....

turbo kit not so much.....but if you are happy with 5 psi and will never want more then you are right the AVO kit is a lot less work :)
 

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i remember reading a while back about this guy who kept saying "swapping the car just makes it into a car you made.. and that it wasn't the same car any more.. it was just a shell.."

turboing our cars makes are cars rs's (rs-t) and not sti's...

keeping our stock motors and building them makes our cars what they are... and not just shells with different motors... swaps are reliable and probably the easy way out.. but going through turbo builds takes alot of heart and appreciation, sticking it out through all the hurdles and tough times faced... i know later on i probably will be swapping but for know im going to stick with my turbo..
 

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98 rs
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116 Posts
turbo kits are great.....until you break. early 98 RS dohc....dont turbo...go STI....tooo many issues and problems period, and only really designed for 165-170hp...adding more adds more time under the hood, .....when you could be getting laid. After 20yrs under hoods....getting laid is better than messing with semi hacked horsepower...go STI, go faster sooner get home and laid...more often, less work to get there.
 

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2015 STI Crystal White Pearl
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1,861 Posts
true. I can say, from what I see on the forums, that going the swap route can lead to problems as well. and since its the 'easy way out', some 'swappers' don't know what the hell is going on with their cars after they find a problem.

I know I went the bolt-on route and haven't got my car started after finishing my build about a month ago. but I can tell you this, it makes you a smarter troubleshooter for your own car because you're the one who built it.
 

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2002 2.5 RS-T
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2,960 Posts
^ true. but you will be smarter and all if you build/re build the donor motor plus if its old jdm (ej20g/k) it will be a pain in the butt and you will do tons of research and will learn new things that way.
once you rebuild the motor the cost grows very quickly.....and at that point you're better off just rebuilding the stock engine with better internals...as the same work on the RS block eliminates one of the two barriers to turboing the RS
 

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02 F-150 Extended Cab
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2,610 Posts
turbo kits are great.....until you break. early 98 RS dohc....dont turbo...go STI....tooo many issues and problems period, and only really designed for 165-170hp...adding more adds more time under the hood, .....when you could be getting laid. After 20yrs under hoods....getting laid is better than messing with semi hacked horsepower...go STI, go faster sooner get home and laid...more often, less work to get there.
98 rs is the best yr to turbo dude..2.2t swap the block or a 2.5 sti block = gooooooood!!
 

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2002 2.5 RS-T
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2,960 Posts
i think he was talking about slapping a turbo on the stock engine....but honestly im not a fan of doing this with any ej251.....for a little extra money theres sooo much more potential...shortblock swap/rebuild with better internals FTMFW!


98 rs is the best yr to turbo dude..2.2t swap the block or a 2.5 sti block = gooooooood!!
 
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