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1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have not been on these forums since 2004 or so. I have had my 1995 AWD ej18 Impreza L since 2001. I'm the second owner. It was purchased as an economical awd car to get through college with plans of of swapping an elusive Jdm turbo engine later on (remember this was 2001 and we were just getting the bugeye Wrx). I started gathering parts and soon had an almost new EJ20k from a V4 STI RA.

As a poor college student, when my EJ18 started leaking oil from every possible seal, I decided just to swap the entire engine out. Unfortunately I didn't have the funds or time to swap in the ej20 yet, but I obtained a like new ej25. As far as I can recall I was one of the first few to swap in a SOHC EJ25 and run it off the 1.8 ECU. that swap has been absolutely bulletproof for over a decade with several track days a year.



15 years later, with a lightly modded Baja turbo as a daily driver an established career and home of my own I finally decided to finish the Impreza which was long ago banished to the depths of the garage only to see daylight 2 or 3 times a year for the occasional track flogging.

As it sits today, it's almost where I wanted it over a decade ago.


Engine:
1997 Ej20k (STI type RA)
Factory forged Pistons
Honed for new factory OEM piston rings
EJ257 rods polished for stress relief and balanced
ARP2000 rod bolts
King XPG rod bearings
Polished OEM crank (center thrust)
ACL race main bearings
OEM multilayer steel headgasketa
All new OEM seals.
ARP head studs.
Replaced two damaged intake valves
rebuilt heads and replaced all seals.
Converted to EZ30r shimless buckets.
OEM 11mm oil pump.
Late model EJ25 oil pan
Killer b oil pickup and baffle
STI timing belt.
Act lightweight flywheel
Group N engine mounts
Custom 3" turboback exhaust

JDM Legacy turbo 5mt trans (4.111)
Ver.3-4 Type RA DCCD gearbox (4.44)
Ver.5-6 type RA front LSD
R160 JDM rear LSD
Comp clutch stage 2
02' Wrx hydraulic clutch setup
Goodridge clutch line.
SPT/STI short throw shifter
04' USDM STI pedal box
RS 3 piece trans mount
Group N trans mount
Group N pitch stop
DCCD Pro Spider

Suspension:
KYB AGX
STI pink springs
Forester rear lateral links (no rear sway bar originally)
STI pink lateral links
Spo motorsports heavy duty rear swaybar mounts and adjustable swaybar.
Whiteline adjustable front sway bar
Whiteline adjustable front end links
GC8 aluminum front control arms.
Noltec camber plates (Broken)
Group N Strut tops
Cusco rear strut brace
STI front strut brace

Brakes:
2006 WRX all around
Goodridge lines
Carbotech pads
ATE type 200 fluid

Prodrive P7s with Falken Azeni RT615K (street)
RS 6 spokes with BFG Rivals (track)

Exterior.
Dents
Scratches
Body color grill
2.5RS Grill
OEM JDM aluminum hood
JDM lightweight bumper beam
JDM V1-4 front bumper
JDM Red/clear taillights
Clear corners
Clear markers
OEM JDM V1-4 turn signals
Custom LED Sidemarkers (before you could easily buy them)
JDM mudguards with cooling duct and associated S-ducts.

Interior:
Half of it removed.
Corbeau Forza drivers seat
5 point harness
STI pedal covers
Clarion auto PC (the best 1998 had to offer!)
Kenwood head unit
DIY 3d printed gauge pack with three 45mm pro sport gauges.
JDM 9k tach and DCCD indicators in stock cluster.


More to come....
 

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Registered
1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The original plan was to do a quick once over on the engine and if everything was good, install it as is. Unfortunately, a leak down test showed 13% leakage on #2 intake side, while the other three cylinders were consistently lower. I had no choice but to break it open. Around late 2005 I tore it down in a weekend. Unfortunately this is around the same time I started traveling across state every weekend to visit my future wife....it sat diasassembled for several years.

Fast forward to 2012. After settling down a bit I decide to continue work on this project. Take the heads home to work on them at my leisure in the basement. Disassemble and inspect everything. Clean up valves and touch up the seats. Fix anything out of spec. Notice while touching of the #2 inlet valve faces there appeared to be a slight wobble. Confirmed a very slight head wobble while rolling the stem on a granite surface plate. Grr 2 bent valves.

I actually had a very hard time locating the valves. Although very similar dimensionally to EJ25d valves, they are lighter because they are hollow. After narrowing down the part number I contacted my wife's cousin who grew up in Okinawa. He called in a favor to his buddy who walked into a Subaru dealer in Japan, gave them the part number and sent me two new valves!


When my wife was at work, I tossed the heads in the dishwasher and did a final clean before reassembly. Assembled them, wrapped them up and took them to the shop where they once again, sat for awhile.


Now it was time for the crank. Although I had it stored indoors and well oiled I was pretty bummed to find it has some speckles of surface rust. I was keeping on a tight budget and didn't want to buy a new one. I decided to polish it out.


With the budget in mind and the decision to salvage the stock crank and retain #3 thrust position to save some cash I wanted to explore some options to make it last and prevent the inevitable ej20k spun bearing.

The stock rods are archaic heavy beasts, same as the old ej18. Luckily for me my buddy blew his second 257 in his STI. He bought a new factory shortblock and had it built up so I took his never run before rods. Much lighter and stronger design. I polished off the casting marks, made a jig to balance them and added arp bolts.

I had less options for #3 thrust bearing locations so I went with ACL race bearings. Based on positive reviews I orders a few sets of King XPG for the rods. Ordered a few sets of standard and extra clearance so I could really nail down desired bearing clearances.

Took a week off work summer 2015 to assemble this thing. Everything was recorded and measured. ACL bearings kinda suck. Very inconsistent and and some were even twisted and warped when torqued. It was a pain and very time consuming.

Decided to go with the killer b oil pickup and baffle and combine that with the late model 2.5 oil pan. Used OEM headgaskets which the nice folks at MRT in Australia sent to me. ARP head studs as well. After everything was torqued, sat over night and torqued again, it was valve clearance time.







After replacing valves, touching up the remaining valves and seats all the clearances had to be adjusted. With the STi under bucket shims being hard and expensive to come by I decided to bite the bullet and convert to EZ30r exhaust shimless buckets.


Once that was nailed down it was time for final assembly.
 

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1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Fearing I would never have the time to finish this project, I moved everything from the shop to the garage figuring I would at least be able to work on it a few minutes a day even if it made the job more difficult.

On a Sunday afternoon I jacked the car up and pulled the 2.5 out of it.


Later that week a friend came over and helped me pull the trans and cross members out.



Switched to the 3 piece trans brace and turbo cross members as well as GC8 aluminum control arms. Ended up replacing the steering rack and bushings instead of rebuilding it.



while working on the car I heard a loud crash from the passenger side. Noticed the strut laying on the ground. With the weight off the wheels so long and the strut in suspension the old Noltec camber plates finally gave out.


Asked my wife for help installing the trans and came out to this.

She did end up helping me position the trans and install it.

Still putting off the inevitable wiring, I swapped out pedal boxes with one from an 04 STI, took a little clearancing but it works! Also added 02 Wrx clutch master cylinder, hardlines and a Goodridge braided flex line.

Took the 1.8 engine harness and modified it for the ej20. Changed iac and tps connectors, extended a few wires to reach and ran wires for the knock sensor using the egr wires I would no longer be using on the existing harness. Installed all of this on the engine and then reinstalled the manifold.



Bolted the solenoid plate to the shock tower and ran the wires through the firewall and over to the Ecu.



Finished up prepping the engine with the flywheel and clutch, a/c compressor and routing as many vac lines as I could.


Install time.

 

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1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Needed to support the L throttle cable. Found some scrap metal landscape edging.



Next was the Ecu wiring I had been putting off.
3 plug obd1 to 3 plug obd 1 is pretty simple actually. I made a diagram, labeled everything and simply repinned the ej18 Ecu harness.



For wires that had to be added such as boost control solenoid and pressure sensor, I had to splice the 1.8 terminals on since the JDM terminals don't plug into the usdm connector.

Fired up first try although. Had some check engine lights and a high idle.

Pulled the codes. IAC, boost solenoid and pressure source switching solenoid. Turns out I forgot to connect the bits on the shock tower to a 12v source. Also got a wire switched on the IAC, after correcting my mistakes no more codes and it actually idled.
 

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1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
It's been a very long term project! The ECU wiring only took part of an afternoon. Half of it drawing the diagram and labeling and then a few hours swapping pins and soldering what was left.
 

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1995 L
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Some progress has been made.

Front swaybar banging has been fixed with whiteline adjustable endlinks which were much shorter than the ones I was trying to use.

I had to make 2 more throttle cable brackets until settling on one I liked. The third one looks like it will be the final revision.

I was also introduced to a really cool local guy who was able to put together a real, complete exhaust system for this thing. Turned out really nice. Sounds great and isn't too loud.


Decided to postpone my plan for a custom AWIC setup in order to get this on the road and also save some weight. Gathering parts and going with a V4 front end.

There were 6 bumpers left in the US after this one.

Also, out of the 4 ECUs I have collected, this one runs really really strong! It's definitely been hacked. It came out of a V4 STI RA.

Anyone see something like this before?
 

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1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Last week the gc8 aluminum hood showed up at the dealership. Only showing 4 left in the U.S. Parts system!

Got it on today. All the hardware and other front end parts will go on after paint but that probably won't come until early spring.

 

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1995 L
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Last month while trying to reboot the left rear axle, everything went wrong. The Long bolt that goes through the lateral links and knuckle was seized to the bushings. Trying to remove it with a breaker bar cause the aged urethane in the Noltec camber plates to fail and it all came crashing down. It also broke the parking brake shoe when it fell so those had to be replaced as well.







Took all day and some luck getting parts but I got it back together. And now I am on group N strut tops front and rear (rears are getting hard to get).




I mocked up the Grill and headlights and realized how cloudy the sidemarkers were, so I replaced those with some cheap aftermarket ones for now.



Replaced the hood latch and wiper arms as well since the original ones were pretty nasty.

And now it's at the paint shop to make it all one color!
 

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1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
After getting into it, found a few surpises in the form of corrosion we were not expecting. Just means I've been waiting alittle longer than planned. Hopefully soon!



 

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1995 L
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Discussion Starter #14
sub'd. that ver4 front is going to look good. plan on the ver4 lip/spat things to go with it?
If I do, I'll add it later. I really like the way the v4 3 pieces front lip, side skirts and spats look but I'm not sure if I want to give up my factory splash guards. They work and I kinda dig the look. Don't know how the front lip would look without the other pieces either.

Last part should be at the shop next week for the body repair (new door skin) hopefully I'll have it back in a week and a half to assemble and then start the tuning process.
 

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1995 L
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
For the past year the car has been rolling around the garage on my track tires, RS 6 spokes with BFG Rivals. The street wheels had 10 year old dry rotted and badly cracking Goodyear F1s. I decided while I was waiting I should order new wheels and tires for normal street use but I just couldn't let the old P7s go despite being an older style and really heavy since I just really like how they look. So I ordered some new Falken Azenis for them and they arrived yesterday. I figured while I was still waiting for the body shop to finish I would take them to get mounted today so they would be ready to go when the car was ready. They still need to be washed.



Then while waiting for the tires to be mounted, it happened. I got the call. The car was ready.





It's finally back home. I still have to swap bumpers, add the grill badge, swap wheels and add the washer nozzles and intercooler ducting as well as recharge the A/C but that's going to have to wait a week or so until I get some more time to work on it. I absolutely love how it turned out and I'm glad to have it back in the garage. Today was a good day.
 

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1995 L
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Got some work done before I leave town. Hood seal is on. Hood scoop plate and intercooler shroud are on. New grill emblem is on. V4 Bumper is almost on. I need new hardware to attach it to the fenders as those stupid clips with the captured nuts fell apart on disassembly. I also have to rewire the lights because the existing L fog lights and turn signals have the connectors reversed from the JDM ones. So the turn signal harness plugs into the fogs and the fog harness plugs into the turn signals. Then the new mud guards with provisions for the brake ducts will get installed and everything buttoned up.

 

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Hawk, the lateral link disaster is definitely heartbreaking. I had the same issue back in 2008 with my 2004 STI.... likewise a Michigan car!! a 45 dollar fix quickly turned into a $350+ new hub assembly.
The car is gorgeous, I just picked up a 98L auto and a motor-less 06WRX and will be swapping the entire wrx drivetrain and suspension into the gutless L. Ill definitely be following your thread.
BTW I used to live in Waterford, raced BMX at Waterford Oaks.
 

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1995 L
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100 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I just picked up a 98L auto and a motor-less 06WRX and will be swapping the entire wrx drivetrain and suspension into the gutless L. Ill definitely be following your thread.
BTW I used to live in Waterford, raced BMX at Waterford Oaks.
Nice!

I got some things done over the weekend. Re-wired the turn signals and fogs so those are working now.




Got the new mudguards installed with the functional brake cooling ducts. Re-charged the Air Conditioning.


Also put the P7s back on with the new Azenis to roll around on the street with.
 
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