Subaru Impreza GC8 & RS Forum & Community banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone. I’ve been in the Subaru community awhile between buying and selling and also owning a few. 02 wrx, 04 forester xt, 01 2.5rs coupe, and 2013 BRZ just to name a few that I have owned and loved. I won't bore you with all that though, this journal is specific to this swap. My wife and I have been focusing on our professional lives for quite a few years now since I got out of the military and I have not had the time or the resources for any toys. Well, the time has finally come where I do!

I went into high gear looking for a clean WRX to enjoy for a while, while keeping my eye out for one clean as possible GM6 rolling chassis, runs rough, w/e to eventually swap into. So, I thought I found the WRX. It was aspen white, supposedly rust-free, barely any modifications, and the owner was a real pleasure to exchange info with on a daily basis while I figured out how to make the 5-hour drive up to him during this COVID-19 mess. On May 13th I woke up super early that way I could get up there, look it over real well, and make the drive back home in time for work. While I was making myself something to eat, I did my usual browse through Facebook Marketplace (23/24 hours a day, jk) and there it was: the rust-free L Coupe I had been waiting for. It was an untouched 1998 Impreza L Coupe 2.2 listed with 200,000 miles for $2000 or best offer noted as very negotiable.
The car was listed for 5 hours, so listed at midnight the night before. I reached out to the kid to let him know I'm very interested and would like to see it as soon as possible. I didn’t hear back from him until my drive back after the wrx test drive, but when I did, I scheduled it for Friday May 15th at 10am. After all the arrangements I had made and all the back and forth with the kid I felt bad, but it was a lot rougher in person than in pictures and as described. It was simply a difference of standards. The head gaskets were leaking, it was on Raceland ultimo's that were clearly blown, it had been on full turbo back exhaust, cobb intake, sti top mount, and fueling upgrades without a proper tune and it had a real bad fuel-cut as early as 3500rpm. It was not the car I was hoping for.

Fast forward to friday: I showed up and the kid was boggled by how many requests he had. I was one of 27 when I got there and within the 30 minutes he got 10 more. He told me he had no problem telling everyone that I was first in line and I really respected and appreciated that. I only got to drive the car within a cul-de-sac as it was out of inspection and not registered. It had sat for a couple months since he bought his newer truck.
IMG_0951.PNG
He was like yeah the front tires are shot and it does have an exhaust leak. He said the alignment is off from the recently replaced driver’s side cv. I didn't have to put in any effort, he said if you have $1500 I'll let it go to you this instant. I happily agreed. Kicker: it only had 150,000, not 200,000. SCORE! He said he didn't look at the odometer when he listed it and just guessed what it had.
IMG_0960.JPG IMG_0961.JPG IMG_0962.JPG IMG_0963.JPG IMG_0964.PNG IMG_0965.PNG IMG_0955.jpg
We drove up to my parent's business to perform the notary work, I rode back with them after, and I drove it home on a dealer plate about 30 minutes with zero issues. My face hurt so much from how much I was grinning on the drive. As of recently, I daily drive a '16 Toyota Camry hybrid you've seen in the background of the pictures, so the old, raw feel of a 98 car was a real pleasure.
IMG_0956.jpg
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I dig your enthusiasm man! What branch were you in?

oh yeah



🤣

Thanks Mike, appreciate having a moderator read that fast! and I completely agree. I was reading in older threads that it had been a pain for some to upload images? Is it actually fairly easy to do and I just read too much into it?

USMC 2010-2015
 

·
Super Moderator
2000 RSTi
Joined
·
370 Posts
Thanks, I doubled up on my MCI's, so I can read g00d n stuff. ;)

Posting pics is super easy, press the image icon below, and click inside the box that pops up.
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, I doubled up on my MCI's, so I can read good n stuff. ;)

Posting pics is super easy, press the image icon below, and click inside the box that pops up.
LOL, biggest waste of my time while I was in. I did all but 2 of the MCI's and I got less than 20 credits that transferred over to college. My buddy got an entire associate's degree out of his. I messed up somewhere clearly. Still, thank god for the GI bill!

Sounds pretty darn straight forward, def. read way too much into the 15-year old posts. I'm about to add some in now to make it more entertaining. Pictures and crayons are a Marine's best friend!

Semper Fi
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Continued since adding images....

When I got it to my dad’s shop, it was a little low on coolant and the oil was pretty dirty so I topped off the coolant with some Subaru blue I had for awhile and gave it an oil change. Normally I would drain as many fluids as possible and replace, but I saw no point since it’s getting swapped and since the motor and transmission ran fantastic. That ol’ 2.2 was leaking from the heads for awhile but it didn’t skip a beat.
IMG_1029.jpg IMG_1030.jpg IMG_1031.jpg
While it was on our lift I looked it over real good and it looked even better than I thought. I knocked on the quarters and checked out the strut towers and looked underneath the best I could before the test drive, but I was still limited what I could inspect on the ground. On the lift, the only rust I could find was on the front and rear bumper beams. Surface rust too, nothing bad at all. I could not believe how rust-free this car was. It was absolutely perfect for the swap. The only issues found or told (which is maybe part of the reason why it was out of inspection) was the exhaust leak, 2 tires were shot, and the front struts were cracked.
IMG_1032.jpg IMG_1033.jpg IMG_1034.jpg IMG_1035.jpg
Never really saw such a thing on a regular use car, cracked right near where they bolted to the hub/knuckles. So, I set off to find a set of used front struts just to put it through inspection and it enjoy it for a little while. I posted about it on a couple facebook pages and a local rallycross guy reached out and said he had a set that I could have if I came to pick them up. Sounds straightforward, but my work schedule is the opposite of most. I work 2:30-11pm. Like 90% of people’s responses for availability for anything are usually after 3pm. I would literally need to put in PTO just to make parts runs. Well this barrier may have been for the better, because in this time I was still on facebook marketplace daily. I was mainly looking for parts for the Impreza, but since I was focusing my searches on Impreza’s, wrx’s were still showing in my criteria as well. This is where the WRX comes in.

Since Impreza searches were being cluttered with WRX results, I started looking for the proper swap contestant. Another thing that made me decide on finding the swap earlier is how closed up our DOT was. I’ll be waiting a long time before I can get my registration and a license plate for the Impreza. PA and MI were the only 2 that said screw it during COVID as far as I know. So anyway, I went back and forth with a couple people on marketplace, but none were close, or do-able without a truck and trailer. 1 wagon had a blown motor, good transmission; another wagon a blown transmission, good motor; a sedan with a good motor, blown trans; a saab 9-2x found its way in there, all incomplete and not as straightforward as I would have liked. Then, on June 5th, a wrx showed up within 45 minutes of me looking like absolute crap; it was perfect. It was listed at $3500obo and it was very clear by the pictures that it had been sitting.
IMG_1250-2.JPG IMG_1251-2.JPG
There was mud caked up in the tires, sooo much debris and pollen from trees. Somehow his cell phone camera was able to catch all the spider webs that had been made on the car too. Again, it was perfect because the description said will run and drive with a jumpstart, and it did just that.

I got there and he had his F-150 parked on a super sketchy hill and it was sliding from the rain to get it running. I got there as he hooked up the cables to the wrx battery and without any hesitation it fired right up and stayed running with ease. He let me know that it does not have power steering and I noticed it was out of inspection about 6 months, but he didn’t care where I went with it. He was like look, when I go for a test drive, the number one thing I always regret is not driving the car how I normally would without anyone there, so he said please go get a feel for it and to shoot him a call if I had any issues. So, that’d what I did. I slapped on my dealer plate and away I went. He lived near some very fun twisties and hills so I went and got a great forearm workout for about 30 minutes and It felt great. Shift linkage was a little loose, but he had a new one from Subaru with bushings sitting in a box to go with the car. I also noticed a little bit of smoke coming out of the hoodscoop when I had to sit at a stop sign for a moment.
IMG_1070.jpg
I pulled It into a gas station and it appeared to be coming from the wastegate bracket? (I only have a video of this so I won't bother uploading) It was pretty rusty so it didn’t surprise me, just hadn’t seen it come from there before. So all in all, a great test drive and a great swap for the Impreza. I went back and asked if he was negotiable and he was like “look man, my neighbor bought it a few years ago and it sat. I bought it off him to keep miles off my truck, but my company gave me a truck to use, so it continued to sit for another year and a half. I paid him $2500 or $2400 for it so just offer me what you think it’s worth.” I had printed out NADA, KBB, and Manheim values just so he knew I wasn’t trying to GMG him, and we agreed to $2000. For the record, the low-end was $1900, so I didn’t jew him as bad as some would think. Boom, running, driving wrx for $2000 to pair with my $1500 Impreza. I was so excited to be starting my swap at under $4000.
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
During all this I was reading about the swaps as much as possible. I found the stickied post on RS25 that’s 25 pages long and read that about 2-3 times, found the L coupe to wrx thread that was pretty long on RS25, some also on Nasioc, 1 regarding the steering rack-column modifications needed, all about the subframe combinations, and read pretty much all relevant posts on iWire’s blog regarding compatibility between the 2.2 harness and the 2.0 harness. I also had a ball watching Bucky Lasek’s blog on his rSTi, Luciousy’s sti swap, and a little bit of swede tuned as well. I had such a fun time reading and watching and really looked forward to tackling this project. My decision based on all of this was to stick with stock GM6 interior (No GD dash troubles wanted), however my white coupe has the tan interior and is beat to living hell, so I decided to source out a mixture of the Impreza grey interior and the 2.5rs coupe interior. I basically wanted a full 2.5rs interior, minus the checkered doorcards. I like them, but it just wasn’t what I was going for, nor the carbon fiber option trim panels. At 16 I would have been gung-ho. At 29, not so much. I found a MINT dash out in California for $300 that the kid wasn’t willing to ship, and honestly that’s ok because that would have been $400 or more, and I found one in MD for $100 as well as a center console, steering column surround, dash cubby, and some other bits so that was a SCORE.
IMG_1107.jpg
I found the rest from a guy up in NY and a kid on ebay that mainly sells just impreza coupe and sedan parts by the name of STARSCR33M. Very good seller and he was local so I got to save a ton on shipping bigger pieces like doorcards and trim panels like door sills and such.
IMG_1109.jpg
I’m still working on sourcing the headliner, and if I can’t find a good enough condition carpet, I’ll be purchasing from Zealous interiors who come quite highly recommended. Anyway, I have an almost complete black and grey interior that’ll be going in the same time as the swap. I am pumped about that. I also found an older impreza sedan and a couple legacys in a nearby junkyard in York and removed as many grey interior plastics as I could find such as the rear view mirror cover, the clips that hold on the visors (also found visors), and the clips that will be holding in the headliner.
IMG_1229.jpg IMG_1230.jpg
Might sound pointless to some, but literally all of these things are tan in the tan interior, so I was not trying to slap a complete grey interior together with tan clips.
IMG_1198.jpg IMG_1199.jpg IMG_1200.jpg IMG_1201.jpg
I thought it was pretty cool that some of the pieces came off a 96 impreza sedan with 336000 miles that was driven into the junkyard! Take care of it and it will take care of you!
IMG_1225.jpg IMG_1226.jpg
Anyway, back to the popular youtube and forums, the time that went by from start to finish for swede tuned’s videos, and all the costs that were left out on Bucky’s build, and clearly luciousy is hooked up with his extremely successful photography, I was realizing that it may just be too much for me to handle on my dad’s lift 2 hours from my home. 4 hours spent driving does not leave me nearly as much time as I’d like to have in a day to spend on the car. It was an awfully hard pill to swallow, but I decided it was better off in a reputable shop’s hands, and it just so happens that a long-time friend, Subaru enthusiast, and Master mechanic was willing to take on my swap as well as another sti swap. He has taken on plenty of other swaps as well who are all more low-key people and the swaps were done before we had the use of social media like we do now. Most of these swaps are still on the road today or would be if they were never messed with. The most recent one is a mutual friend who has a first gen with a wrx swap. She freakin loves that thing and so do I.
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
IMG_0983.jpg IMG_1040.jpg IMG_1041.jpg

Along the way, I did pick up another set of wheels and tires for the Impreza. Let me know what you think.
531959_10151433440848881_1734419466_n.jpg 10981432_10153994438098881_3321107557964579096_n.jpg 68791_460512553880_2922271_n.jpg 1622827_10151989105833881_1872566164_n.jpg 1601140_10151989112053881_1403473082_n.jpg
Going to bring up maturity differences again. I've had 18x10 Work Emotion XD9's on a Forester XT, and some 18x9.5 Varrstoen's on my BRZ, along with various 17's and 18's on my first WRX and I'm just not up for anything flashy for this car. So, these were perfect when they showed up on marketplace.

1557558_10151989087788881_1882880978_n.jpg
One more quick off-path trip down memory lane. Here is a picture of my first 99 2.5rs coupe auto that made me join RS25 in the first place next to the FXT. For whatever reason, I didn't take that many pictures of the car. I threw some JDM tails on it, bought some sticky bridgestone potenzas and this was the first car I ever did an "autocross" with. It was on a military base and just a "for fun" event. Funny story about this car. I picked it up for 3k rust-free with 120k miles down when I was stationed in NC. I drove it for a couple months, then let my dad talk me into selling it up north. I sort of regret it even though I did make 3k off the sale. The funny part, it was sold to some young kid that came in with his mom who I really didn't feel comfortable with at all, but didn't think that much into it at the time. The kid didn't even test drive it. Fast forward about 2 weeks, I'm in the middle of pre-deployment training and I get a voicemail from a police officer letting me know I have a warrant for my arrest in the state of NJ. If I didn't mention it yet, I'm from PA, so it was believable to me. I'm tripping out majorly about my command finding out about a crime I didn't even know I committed and surely keeping me home from my first deployment and worse. The paranoia was unbearable. I couldn't focus on my training and I had to wait until the end of the day to be able to contact anyone back regarding the matter.

The second I could, I called back the police officer to get any details I could. He immediately asks if I'm the current owner of a white subaru impreza. I tell him how it was recently sold and that I could get him the buyer's information from my father's notary, but also asked what the call was in reference to. He let me know the vehicle was on its roof in a ditch with no license plate and no-one was with the vehicle and all that was left in the car was an expired registration card with my name on it (WOOPS.) So yeah, that bad feeling I had about the kid was not unwarranted clearly. I never really followed up on the situation beyond that as it left a very bad taste in my mouth concerning the repercussions it almost had on me.

Fast forward to today; I am scheduled to meet with Rich from Flat Four Specialties Monday morning to go over all the nitty gritty details. I am very much looking forward to this as he has been a long-time friend, and always on a professional level. He was the first Subaru mechanic I ever got to interact with back in 2009 when I blew the motor in my 2002 wrx. I tried to be as cheap as possible on it but ultimately, I let him talk me into a new block from Subaru and I’ll never regret that. He is someone that I know will have my best interest in mind through every step of this swap.

I’m still up in the air about what we’re going to do regarding the 205 motor while it’s pulled out, if it’s getting built, or if I’m going to look into another drop-in block, what to do about the oil leak with the turbo, if I just replace what’s broken and go with it, and other odds and ends such as that. I really just want to compression and leakdown test the 205, if it’s good slap everything in the way it is now and enjoy it as soon as possible. Again, 16-year old me would be adamant about that and cut as many corners as possible. 29 year-old me is looking at it in a long-term perspective. I’m by no means in the position to just be dumping money into this as properly as Bucky could, but I’m prepared to spend the money where it counts the most such as the motor, the iwire merge, and obviously the labor for the swap. I think I’m going to leave this here for now and post what ends up being decided with Rich on Monday. I might add more later as I remember more since this has occurred over 2 months. OH! Here’s something I’m very very excited about. It might sound stupid to some, but the Impreza coupe has just over 150,000 miles and the WRX has 150,7xx miles!
IMG_1069.jpg
I’m so pumped that they are that close. I won’t be questioning the integrity of parts down the road since there will be such an insignificant difference between them. Anyway, I’ll be back on here Monday night or maybe Tuesday morning. Thanks for reading up so far! If you have any advice for me, please feel free to offer it along. I’ve absorbed as much knowledge as I can so far, about 3000 screen shots worth on my old iphone 6 I keep just for storage and wifi only things, and I have a pretty good idea of what it’s going to take, and with Rich’s knowledge of swaps, I feel very confident going into this. Still, you can never stop learning, so please don’t hesitate to throw anything in. That 25-page thread is over a decade old now, so things could be changing for the better for these swaps that I still have yet to learn.
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
That's crazy about your RS. Were you able to prove your uh innocence in the matter?
Yeah man, thankfully my dad was able to provide all the documentation for the title transfer. Almost cost me a deployment!
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Had the meeting yesterday and everything went well. The plan was to just drop and swap, but I think we're going to be fine-tuning a little bit more than that to keep suspension geometry's as neat as possible along with some other things. One thing that Rich would like me to find out, that if someone can point me in the direction I would be extremely grateful, would be "what is the best solution to dealing with the AC hardline where the top mount intercooler's y-pipe will be running when the EJ205 is slapped in there?" Thanks everyone!
 

·
Super Moderator
2000 RSTi
Joined
·
370 Posts
The factory AC line that runs under the TMIC can be routed lower, either over or under the pitch stopper.

What Radiator will you be running?
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Alright so just a little bit of moving around, no need to run new lines?

The plan is koyo, just gotta figure out who has the best price
 

·
Super Moderator
2000 RSTi
Joined
·
370 Posts
What fitment radiator? It matters because not all radiators clear the lines for all AC condensor panels.
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
The R1819 seems to be what everyone raves about paired with FAL slim fans, unless a JDM GC8 one can be acquired.
 

·
Super Moderator
2000 RSTi
Joined
·
370 Posts
That's the route I took. The Koyo R1819 Radiator takes 91-94 Legacy Turbo fans OR 98 Forester OR 98 RS fans. You can go aftermarket for fans if you want, but IMO the OEM solution is better, due to the slim metal shrouds.

To make everything work, here's the combination of AC parts I used. When it says 97-01 Impreza (all), I reused the AC parts that came on my car (a 2000 2.5RS). Those labeled as 98 RS/98-00 Forester I had to buy used. And those are that exact model specific, a 98 L or a 99 RS or 01 Forester etc won't work in it's place.

83890
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Those Ors help a lot, much easier to acquire on. Good to know they will be the proper size as well as the legacy turbo.

What an awesome illustration Mike. I really appreciate it. So I can re-use my 98 L for the 97-01 Impreza pieces you have up there, and just have to acquire the rest from either a 98 RS or 98 Forester.

Regarding the radiator.. I google the R1819 and it brings up a couple different websites including eBay, koyo, nolimitmotorsport, etc. Since koyo does the different "models" R-series, V-series, Hyper-V etc., what am I looking for? The Hyper-v appears to be the most searched and a little more inexpensive.
 

·
Super Moderator
2000 RSTi
Joined
·
370 Posts
Exactly, you can reuse your 98L AC parts for the "common" lines and compressor. Regarding the Koyo, so long as it's genuine and doesn't have plastic tanks on the sides, you should be good.

A word of caution: Most places list 98 RS and 98 Forester parts as being identical with later years. This is not the case for certain items, such as the above. I say this because if you order those parts, there's a 50/50 chance they send you the wrong thing. So be prepared to send some stuff back. I used car-part.com to find junkyards who had the correct parts and were willing to ship. In addition to ebay, of course.
 

·
Registered
White 1998 L Coupe
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Good to know. I'll be ordering that shortly.

Ah, that is very useful to know. I'll see about pulling everything from a forester at a nearby u-pull-it.

Thanks again brother!
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top