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1998 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It has begun!!! I have just started a swap on my 98 2.5RS, installing an '07 WRX engine. Until this point I have not done to much to the car so I didn't feel the need to make a thread, but now things are changing!! I will update this throughout the swap and through my future modifications.

Table of Contents (Not Completely Functional)

The Beginning (As Purchased)
Pre-Swap
The Day that it All Went Wrong
The Swap (Part 1, Disassembly) and Continued Here
The Swap (Part 2, Wiring) and Continued Here and Here and finally The Finale of Part 2
The Swap (Part 3, Reconstruction) and Continued Here and More Here and Act 3, Scene 4 and It Runs!!!
The Recent Rise and Falls (and Rises Again)

The Engine Autopsy

Racing Results

Modification List

Coming Soon!!!

Featured Pictures

Also....Coming Soon!!!
 

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1998 2.5 RS
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1,744 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The Beginning (As Purchased)

I purchased my car on October 1, 2007. I found it on the NASIOC classifieds. The previous owner (Dobes) had used it for track days, autocrosses, and hillclimbs, as well as a daily driver. He bought the car new, and had the cage installed by Rallispec (I've seen on NASIOC that he was their first customer, and that the cage was installed while the car was still being leased.)

Ad from NASIOC
1998 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS
VIN JF1GM6751WG401909

• One, non-smoker owner – me! I bought this car new in Feb of 1998 so it is one of the very first RS’s made (actually built in 1997!)
• 141k miles.
• Oil changed religiously every 3k miles – that’s 47 oil changes since new.
• Clean Carfax history.
• No accidents although there are a few dings here and there.
• All service records and receipts from modifications (don’t ask me to add that up!)
• Car is fully SCCA legal for Solo 1 events. It comes with an official SCCA Solo logbook.
• At one time, this car (with me behind the wheel!) was the D-street prepared record holder at the Pagoda hillclimb (breaking a 10 year old record) and came within a few tenths of a second from claiming another record at Giant’s Despair Hillclimb in the Pocono’s. Considering how ill-prepared the car is for DSP, there is a lot more potential to be had (intake, exhaust, etc, etc)
• Comes with set of silver factory wheels with 215/45-16 Falken Azeni’s. There is approximately 6/32” tread left on all tires.
• In an attempt to keep things reliable and inexpensive to replace, the car retains an OEM clutch and brakes/pads and does not feature any power upgrades. It is as easy to drive as a stock RS.
• The engine is well maintained and does not burn any oil.
• The sunroof still works perfectly and does not leak.
• The A/C is still installed and blows ice cold.


Modifications:
• Perhaps the single biggest modification is the 6pt Sparco rollcage. The cage was installed by Rallispec. If you’re not familiar with Rallispec’s excellent quality and reputation, you’re living under a rock! Please note, this is not some cheap-o, bolt in cage as is frequently found in “tuner” cars, it’s fully welded in for maximum strength. As you can see by the pictures, the fitment is very tight and intrudes minimally into the cockpit. In fact, the car retains almost all of it’s original interior.
• Also, included are two 5 point, camlock, Sparco racing harnesses. Because of the rollcage, the factory seatbelts had to be completely removed. The driver’s side belt is a little over a year old which means it’s still valid for about 4 years Solo 1 events. The passenger seatbelt is about 6-7 years old now but still works perfectly.
• The car has the original Prodrive suspension package. This includes custom Bilstein dampers (with valving specified by Prodrive), and Eibach springs. I had the suspension fully rebuilt by Bilstein at the beginning of this year. At the time, I installed all new STi strut mounts, dust boots, and suspension hardware so all four corners are practically brand new (see pic).
• The car has an original, stainless steel Scoobysport muffler. This is the custom handmade unit available from the company in England (http://www.haywardandscott.com/) who supplied the factory Subaru rally team with their exhaust systems. It is not the same as the newer Scoobysport mufflers which I believe are relatively cheap Janspeed (or Jansport?) units. The sound is fantastic and at $600 for a muffler it should be!
• There is an adjustable (20, 22, & 24mm settings) Whiteline rear sway bar. It is a rusted up mess due to the cheap coating used by Whileline but still works fine. The only issue is that the stock endlinks creak due to some rusted up hardware that was used to mount the RSB.
• Sparco suede steering wheel that is matted down from use. The hub adapter was modified by Rallispec so the turn signals self cancel like they should. The horn button also works fine. Because there is no driver’s side airbag, I removed the passenger airbag as well and covered the hole with a real carbon fiber cover from Primitive Racing.
• Goodridge stainless steel brake lines.
• Sparco front strut brace (showing a little rust)
• STi engine mounts
• STi transmission mount
• 3M clear headlight protector film.
• Schwinn bike computer mounted for TSD events. When calibrated, it's amazingly accurate.



Extra’s included for the full sale price:
• Light bar with two Hella 4000 driving lamps. The bar attaches with 4 bolts for easy mounting/dismounting (~15 minutes). The lights are wired properly – and legally – so they only turn on with the high beams.
• Set of extra OEM head light bulbs
• Original, and rare, factory gold wheels with 205/55-16 Falken Azeni’s. The tires have anywhere from 4 to 6/32” tread left. Two of the tires are worn funky from being mounted on my Legacy GT which, it seems, needs an alignment. All other wheels, included mounted set have normal wear.
• Extra set of 15” factory steel wheels with 195/65-15 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-50 snow tires + 1 extra brand new full size spare including new wheel (5 wheels/tires in all). The steel wheels have a bit of surface oxidation but are fine otherwise.
• Extra set of 15” Kosei K-1’s with completely battered and used up all season (or winter tires). One of these tires does not hold air. ALL tires should be replaced. These wheels also come with the concentric rings that allow the wheels to be mounted properly. Also included, is an extra set of lug nuts for these wheels (one is missing because I had to destroy it to get it off last time. You’ll need to buy one extra lug nut to use this set).
• Extra set of new rear OEM pads.

The bad:
• Overall, the car looks good from 20 feet or so but shows the usual dents, dings, and chips when you get closer.
• The clearcoat is chipping off the plastic hood scoop and vents
• The car was blasted by a salt truck one winter so the driver’s side has a lot of chips in it – none are rusting.
• At one time I rolled the fenders to get more clearance for the tires. Unfortunately, I’ve never done it before the results are not exactly professional, but at least they’re effective.
• In the past few months the car has ‘clicked’ a few times when I tried to start it. It happens maybe once or twice every few weeks but then the car starts perfectly on the 4th or 5th attempt. It has never left me stranded. I’m fairly certain this is because of a flat spot on the starter so I’ll include an extra starter that came off my ’97 Legacy GT when I did a WRX swap.
• Passenger side power door lock switch doesn’t work.





















































OLD picture shows fitment a bit better:



















 

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1998 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Pre-Swap

After purchasing the car I didn't really need to do anything to it, but I did the normal maitenance stuff such as plugs and wires (trying to get rid of the hesitation that is commonly experienced), fluids, belts, etc.

The only thing I did appearance wise was replace the hood scoop and vents with used pieces from a member of RS25. I also put some Colin McRae memorial stickers on the roll cage (After I first went to test drive the car I came home and logged on only to find that he had passed. :( )

To make the car legal for SCCA DSP I bought a passenger side airbag and rear seat belts (what a pain to install the belts with the cage) from a member on NASIOC.

Now that the car was legal I needed some tires (at least that's what I told myself). I bought a used set of 205/45-16 Hoosier slicks for autocrossing (also from a member of RS25). Right after that I found a lightly used set of 205/50-15 Hoosier Spec Miata compound slicks at a price I couldn't pass up (on ebay). I decided I would use these tires for a track day or two.

That's really all I did to the car before my first autocross event. I intended to replace the sway bar end links, and bushings before then, but ordered the wrong parts.

So the first event came around in Hershey, PA, April 12, 2008. I was very impressed with the car. This was my first event in a street car with AWD and slicks (I drove a friends STi for one event last year when the FSAE car sprung a leak, but that was on street tires. Other than that I have only autocrossed with RWD.) The car seemed to have endless amounts of grip. I placed "alright." I knew the car had much more in it, and that I just needed to learn where the limits were.



That was not a problem as the next autocross was the very next day. I began the day with high hopes of improving on what I had learned the day before. My excitement quickly turned to frustration as I found out the extent of the fuel starvation problem that everyone talks about. The day before I had run with about 3/4 of a tank and was fine. Now with only 1/2 tank I experienced starvation at two points on the track. As luck (chances are not luck, but course design) would have it these two places were at the beginning to the two longest "straights" of the course. My times were off that day, but I learned a valuable lesson: "Just run with a full tank."



The next autocross was about a month and a half later. Procrastination, and the arrival of a new toy (2008 Ninja 250R) kept me from replacing the endlinks and bushings. I was also trying to keep from throwing parts at the car to improve my times. I knew what I really needed was some seat time. The next event was the in Lancaster, PA, June 1, 2008. I would like to blame my lack of improvement on something, but the simple fact is it was an off day for me. My first run was my best, and while it was an alright time, I pushed too hard in each of my next three runs and made mistakes. Still not a bad day, but not what I had hoped for. At least I had fun :) (and met two members of RS25 at the event that day)



There was nothing left to do but prepare my car for my first track day in the Subaru only 3 weeks away. I flushed the brake system, bled the clutch and replaced the fluid (was getting a little soft) and finally got around to installing the endlinks, and bushings. I was already for a day of fun at Summit Point. Little did I know it wouldn't end so well :(
 

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1998 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Racing Results

Code:
[B]Autocross Results[/B]
  Date       Location     Class      Participants      Place       Notes
 4/12/08   Hershey, PA     DSP             7             2
 4/13/08   Hershey, PA     DSP             6             5         Fuel Starvation
 6/01/08   Lancaster, PA   DSP             5             2
10/25/08   Hershey, PA     SM              9             2         Heavy Rain
10/26/08   Hershey, PA     SM              9             6         Lots of Wheelspin
10/25/09   Hershey, PA     SM              7             1
 3/27/10   Hershey, PA     SM              6             2
 3/28/10   Hershey, PA     SM              11            1
 4/25/10   Lancaster, PA   SM              13            3         Street tires in rain

[B]Hillclimb Results[/B]
 Date          Event       Class      Participants      Place       Notes
 6/27/09   Pagoda           SM              5             4
 5/29/10   Sp. Jefferson    SM              5             3         On street tires
 6/12/10   Sp. Weatherly    SM              4             2
 6/29/10   Pagoda           SM              5             3
 7/10/10   Giants Despair   SM              7             4         Need more power
 8/21/10   Duryea           SM              8             5         Time from 1st day, 2nd day rain
 9/18/10   Fall Weatherly   SM              6             4
 

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1998 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The Day That it all Went Wrong

Story Time!!

(Sorry don't have any pics from the day, just a little story.)

It begins the morning of June 20, 2008. I leave my house around 6 am to make the 124 mile journey (you will see soon why I know the exact mileage) to Summit Point Motorsports Park. I am travelling with my friends Dan and Josh. Dan will be participating with me in Friday at the Track, driving Josh's 2005 STi. We arrive around 8 and go through registration and tech inspection without any problems (The one tech inspector did say something like, "Seems you have a bit more cage than is required." :) )

While I had been to Summit once before (2 years prior) I was still in the novice run group, hoping to move out that day. For the first two laps my instructor drove the car. He was a staff instructor (most of the instructors there are volunteers), and commented that he was impressed with the car and that you could put it wherever you wanted to on the track. This just made more anxious to get behind the wheel.

When my turn finally came, I too was impressed with the car. You really could put it anywhere you wanted on the track, and it seemed that you just needed to think about where you wanted it and it was there glued fast!! The first session came to end (all too quickly) and we returned to the pits for about an hour while the other run groups got track time. (Dan was running in the second novice run group.)

For my second session I had a different instructor. He was a volunteer, and drove a WRX. He knew exactly how the car should behave around the track, and a couple techniques that proved very helpful in getting an AWD car around the track even faster. My times quickly improved and I was feeling more confident in find the cars limits and driving to them.

Dan and Josh were watching from the tower on the front straight and commented after the session how everyone would cheer as I came past each time passing a car or two each lap. (I remember a MINI S, G35, Mustang, Boxster, and S2000.) My instructor seemed pretty comfortable with my driving as he never once mentioned that I was driving too hard into the corner, or that I was driving beyond my abilities. He also had me pushing hard to pass cars. At one point we came out of turn 10 chasing the MINI. I was getting closer and closer, and the driver still hadn't waved me by (FATT uses controlled passing. The car being passed needs to wave the car behing by.) As I am getting within 10-15 feet of the MINI's rear bumper, he is saying, "Stay on it!!! He will give you the sign!!!", which he didn't haha, but I was having fun.

Then about halfway through the 20 minute session I come out of turn 9 and hear a single tap, only one, and it stops so I think nothing of it thinking maybe I just hit a piece of rubber or something on the track. I go down the short straight and into 10. Now I'm doing about 85-90 as I exit the corner and all of a sudden the tapping comes back, only this time it continues. I immediately slow down and wave people by. At first it sounds like an exhaust leak. I check the gauges and nothing is out of the ordinary. The next place for me to safely pull off is an access road at the entrance to turn 1.



As I coast down the front straight and pass the start/finish line the noise gets worse, and then there is lots of crunching sounds. At first I thought it was the transmission tearing itself apart, but then I notice the engine isn't running and see the huge trail of smoke in my mirror. I say out loud, "This isn't good." When I stop on the access road, smoke starts billowing out of the wheel wells, and the hood scoop (nice theatrical effect). I grap the fire extinguisher and open the hood (I know you shouldn't open the hood, but I was just thinking I didn't want my car to burn to the ground.)

Much to my releif there isn't any fire, "just" oil and water everywhere. Luckily for everyone running my car didn't spew oil or water all over the track it simply poured out on the ground where I started. At the end of the session a tow truck came to flat tow me back to the pits. It was not a good feeling to say the least.

When I got back to the pits another member of our local SCCA region came by to see what happened. (He was right behind me when the smoke started billowing, said it was quite the sight.) I didn't know at that point, and he said, "Well have you tried to start it since it died?" I hadn't, so I gave it a shot, and the engine spun freely. I then started looking harder. That is when I saw this:


This is a shot between the throttle body and intake at the rear of the engine, down onto the top of the block.

I knew then the extent of things as I continued to find small (and not so small) pieces of aluminum on top of the engine under the intake manifold.

At this point Dan and Josh returned, Josh with video camera in hand. If there was one thing that would make this situation easier to bear it would be if Josh had captured it on video, but alas he hadn't. (He said he did, but when we watched the video there wasn't even a shot of my car from that session. The tape doesn't lie Josh :D )

Now I needed to find a way home. Another member of the local SCCA region trailered his Corvette to the event and said he would drive it home and put my car on the trailer. (You meet the nicest people when something goes wrong.) I then remembered that I had AAA and that I had 100 miles of free towing. I told the guy with the vette thanks for the offer, but he would spend more in gas than I would on the entire tow.

AAA asked me a lot of questions about the car, making sure it wasn't a race car. I guess they don't tow race cars for some reason :) I told them it was a street legal car with registration, inspection, plates, the whole deal. When I got off the phone with them, we quickly took off the slicks, and wiped the numbers off the windows. It took a while for the tow truck to get in as he had to wait in line as the Hyperfest traffic filed in. Yet another sign of how willing racers are to help (and the strength of the Subaru community) as we are loading the car on the trailer, a guy comes running over with a cell phone to his ear yelling, "Wait, what do you need. I own a Subaru tuning shop and my guys are coming up tomorrow. We can bring whatever you need." I guess an engine isn't something that he had or was willing to bring :)

So I finally arrive home around 9 pm (Dan and Josh let me drive the STi home, I guess they felt bad :) ) I was exhausted and kind of depressed. Josh said I sounded like a commercial when I said, "I guess I always knew this kind of thing could happen, I just never thought it would happen to me." Everyone thought I was bein more upbeat than I should given the circumstances, but what could I do now.

After the initial shock wore off, I began weighing my options. I decided that it would be a lot of work to simply replace the engine with another DOHC EJ25 motor, and what would I get? Something equally as old and tired? (The engine had just over 151,000 of hard miles on it when it let go) A SOHC might be a little better (just for the simple fact that they are newer), but still a lot of work for not much gain. Seemed like a perfect time to swap. I had always thought I would do it when the engine became worn, or whatever, it just came a lot sooner than I expected.
 

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1998 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The Swap (Part 1, Disassembly)

It has finally begun!!!

After getting all the parts and finishing my garage I was finally able to start on August 10, 2008.

The car and the engine meet for the first time.


2007 WRX engine


August 10, 2008

The first night I removed the entire front end of the car to give easy access to everything and also prevent me from scratching stuff in the process. I also got the exhaust and intake off, and began disconnecting some other stuff in the engine bay. My drain pans were full so that would have to wait until the next day.





Parts that were removed along with my DD :)


August 11, 2008

Picking up where I left off the day before I drained the oil, antifreeze, and power steering. I also pulled the radiator and A/C condensor. I basically got the engine ready to pull with the exception of the engine mount bolts. I would have pulled it then if I had a chain for my engine lift. I also removed the front seats.









The pile is getting slightly bigger.




I guess I should take my race tires out at some point. :)


August 12, 2008

The engine comes out. Also stripped the interior down. All that is left is the heater box, dash bar, and then I can get to the wiring.

Looking very empty.


Getting empty in here too.




Getting more full over here.


The old enigne resting on an old Azenis




August 13, 2008

Didn't have much time to work last night. Removed dash bar and right side of heater box. Removed front wiring harness (Probably didn't have to do this looking back, but what is done is done.)
 

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91 LSi w/EJ22T
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Car's really clean. The cage looks good as well, I know Rallispec does top notch work, saw Dave while buying some parts welding the cage in his new rally car. Good luck with the swap, 06-07 WRX motor? Plan on hardtop roofskin?
 

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sold it to Susie the Subie
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journals like this make me wish I had a garage. Great work and awsome car
 

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Awesome build. I'm kind of upset that I didn't get to see you run on Main at hyperfest though.

Ohh and the group of guys from the tuning shop that was us....





We also had a guy lose his RS motor aswell that weekend...
 

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Agile Auto


Hill or Bobby sound familiar? Bobbies car was out front of the GTP porsche group.... Silver Blobeye with checkered flage graphics.
 

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'06 LGT
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Again, I can't wait to see this build... And maybe there will be more swapped RS' on Main at Summit Point next year.
 

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1998 2.5 RS
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks I can't wait to see it either :) I hope to be down there and also out to NJMP a couple times next year.
 
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