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Mailman’s 2000 RS Coupe: EJ257 / JDM EJ205 Hybrid Swapped

29011 Views 184 Replies 32 Participants Last post by  bue car

As of 12/18/2022: 190251 chassis miles
Swapped at 188706 miles
1545 miles on swap

This is my 2000 Impreza RS coupe which has been my daily driver since 2004. I bought it used from a gentleman in Dallas who had it set up for autocross. Faced with the prospect of buying a new car, I couldn’t find it in myself to part with it! Now after years of wear and tear I am committed to making this thing new again, and to eventually make it into the STI it always wanted to be :)

--- GOALS ---


  • RSTI with daily driven power
  • OEM+ style build
  • "Luxury RS" finish
Short/mid-term Goals:
  • USDM EJ257 / JDM EJ205 Hybrid Swap (currently in post-swap tuning phase)
Long-term Goals:
  • Rear suspension refresh
  • 6-speed swap
  • V6 body trim
  • Upgrade stereo
  • Interior refresh


Engine & Exhaust:

  • USDM EJ257 / JDM EJ205 Hybrid Built Motor
    • 2018 STI RA OEM Shortblock
    • JDM EJ205 Heads, Manifold, Headers
    • IHI VF48 "Hi Flow" Billet Turbocharger
    • 2021 STI Intercooler
    • Tomei Silcone Inlet
    • SPT 02-07 WRX Intake
    • Grimmspeed Lightweight Crank Pulley
    • STI "Dark Blue" 565cc Injectors
    • STI Group N Engine Mounts
    • 2011+ WRX/STI 100a Alternator
    • 07 STI Power Steering Pump
  • HKS Catless Up-pipe
  • Cobb Tuning Turbo-back Exhaust w/ GESI Hi-flow Cat
  • JDM 02 WRX 5-speed Transmission TY754VBBAA 4.444 FD
  • STI Group N 5-speed Transmission Mount
  • STI Group N Pitch Stop
  • XClutch Stage 1X 02-05 WRX Clutch
  • XClutch Chromoly Flywheel 13.42lbs
  • 02-05 Clutch Master Cylinder
  • Kartboy Transmission Crossmember Bushings
  • COBB Tuning Short Throw Shifter
  • Energy Suspension Shifter Bushings
Steering and Suspension:
  • 04 STI Power Steering Rack
  • KYB AGX Struts
  • King OE Height Springs
  • STI Group N Strut Mounts
  • JDM Aluminum Front Control Arms
  • STI Group N Front Control Arm Rear Bushings
  • Cusco Rear Sway Bar
  • SPT Front Strut Tower Brace
  • 06-07 WRX 4/2 Piston Brakes
  • Powerstop Stainless Brake Lines
  • Sparco Assetto Gara Wheels, 17x7.5 Matte Graphite Silver
  • Bridgestone Potenza Tires, RE980AS 215/50R-17
  • Full Repaint
  • JDM Tail Lights
  • Depo Clear Corners and Side Markers
  • Painted Shark Fin Antenna
  • 06-07 STI Badging
  • Full LED Lighting
  • 2006 STI Floor Mats
  • 02 WRX Pedal Covers
  • IAG Floor Mat Bracket
  • STI Duracon 5-speed Shift Knob
  • GC Navigation/Gauge Pod
  • Alpine CDE-SXM145BT Single DIN Receiver
  • Infinity Reference 6000cs 6.5" Component Door Speakers
  • Infinity Reference 6522IX 6.5" Coaxial Rear Speakers
  • Pioneer 12" Subwoofer in Custom Box
  • Noico 80mil Sound Deadener, ~120 sqft
  • Full LED Dash Lighting


1. Original Photos
2. Head Gasket Repair
3. Shifter Linkage/Bushings, Transmission Mount, Interior Trim
4. Suspension, Wheels, and Tires
5. Repaint!
7. Shark Fin Antenna
8. Sound Deadening
9. STI V8 Steering Wheel
10. JDM EJ205 Powertrain Received!
11. 06/07 WRX 4/2 Piston Brakes
12. JDM 5-Speed Install
13. Engine Rebuild as EJ257 Hybrid!
14. 04 STI Steering Rack, JDM Control Arms, Crossmember
15. After a break... the swap resumes
16. First start up and break-in
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1 - 20 of 185 Posts
Original Photos

Here's what it looked like the day I bought it back in 2004. It sure was shiny then!

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Beautiful Impreza! Congrats on hanging onto it for fifteen years! I hope you never have to part.
December 2017

I had a leaky head gasket on the driver side cylinder bank. Subaru did the head gasket sealant many years ago but that stuff never lasts. While I was replacing the head gaskets I went ahead and did the timing belt and pullies, water pump, thermostat, spark plugs, valve cover gaskets, oil/filter change, and new transmission gear oil. The engine bay got a bit of cleaning as well.

Pretty nasty leak:

Timing belt was pretty chewed up as well:

Cleaned up the block:

Heads all cleaned up:

Block reassembled:

All back together:

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Very nice, neat you`ve had it so long. Many miles ?
November 2018

I got tired of my wobbly shifter so I decided to replace the shifter linkage and shift bushings. It was a fairly simple install, but when I attempted to put the transmission crossmember back on I stripped one of the front bolt holes. I had to order a 12mmx1.25 tap from Amazon because no local stores carried a tap with that thread pitch. I also took the opportunity to upgrade to a Group N transmission mount since my old one was worn out.

Here is the repaired mounting point:

Group N mount installed:

The interior needed some work as well so I replaced my broken cubby unit with a new OE one from the dealer and swapped out the worn out shifter leather for a set I found on Amazon:

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December 2018 - January 2019

Last Christmas I started to get more serious with repair/upgrades. I installed KYB AGX struts with King OE height GC8 springs and STI Group N strut mounts. I was previously running H&R sport springs on stock struts. The car came with AGX's / H&R sports when I bought it. The original AGX's wore out in 2009 and I had the original stock springs put on to save cash at the time. I always felt the H&R springs were too harsh and there was almost no fender clearance in the rear.

I purchased all new OEM strut components to build the new shocks. For the strut mounts I purchased a full set of Group N GC8 mounts from Rallispec. Once I got the shocks put together they went in painlessly. The car definitely rides a bit higher and the ride is a lot more pleasant while still retaining some stiffness.

I also treated myself to some new wheels and tires. I purchased 17" Sparco Assetto Gara's paired with Bridgestone Potenza's from Tire Rack. I really dig the new look.

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Now that I'm all caught up on past maintenance pictures, its time for current events! My nearly 20 year old clear coat has been failing for the past several years. Along with it a lot of the moulding had dry rotted. I've decided to repaint the car myself and replace worn out exterior pieces along the way. Here are some pictures of the clear coat damage:

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I decided to delete the side door bump guard trim that is not present on the JDM models. I saw pictures of other members' cars that had this done and I like the appearance. After removing the trim there were mounting holes left in the door that had to be patched. I patched the inside of the door with fiberglass and filled the outside surface with bondo. The tricky hole was the very front holes on each door. There was no way to access the back side to apply fiberglass. I improvised by rigging a patch of fiberglass cloth attached to a piece of duct tape cut larger than the hole. I attached a piece of string to the patch and shoved it into the hole. Once in, I applied resin to the inside of the panel using a q-tip and pulled the patch flush with the inside the panel and let it cure. Once cured, I cut the string and filled the hole with bondo. The result came out pretty nice so far.

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I got a lot of work done in the past week. I finished all the initial sanding of the car and major pieces. I spent a lot of time block sanding panels to get them straight. Its amazing how warped they got over the years. There were several low spots and dents that I filled with body filler as well. After I finished sanding, I set up a temporary spray booth in my garage and got to work putting on primer. I'll do a second blocking to further straighten out the panels and I will put down more primer if needed. If anyone is curious, I am using a UreKem paint kit from I chose this paint based off a recommendation from redfogo in this post. So far I found the primer easy to apply, though I had to reduce it a bit to get it to spray well of out my paint gun.

All sanded down:

Some primer:
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I really like your solution to filling the holes that held the bumper guard in place. Imo the car just looks so much cleaner without them.

The only problem now is do I try to weld the holes or use fiberglass...
monoposto, I found the fiberglass and bondo method really easy. Time will tell if it holds up. I looked into welding, but I don't know how to weld and I read that welding can cause the door panel to warp if not done properly.
I decided to test out spraying base and clear on the sunroof panel today. I actually sprayed the base yesterday but I forgot to tack the surface off and had a lot of dust in the coat. I sanded it down and resprayed the base today. The base looked pretty good so I moved right on to clear. My attempt at clearing came out even worse. It was fisheye city, fisheyes all over the panel!. Right now I'm trying to figure out the cause. It could be moisture in the air supply, or contaminants on the surface. I have an in-line filter in between two 25 foot sections of hose, and a desiccant snake right before the gun. I thought that would be enough, but I'm going to tweak my setup to ensure the air is as dry as possible. I did not wipe off the base coat with wax and grease remover, instead opting for a tack cloth. There could have been oils left on the panel, or the tack cloth could have left residue on the panel which caused the fisheyes. Tomorrow I am going to sand the panel back down, correct the previous painting errors, and respray.

The color is very nice though :)
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Only one way to learn!
I had some success painting recently. I still have issues with fisheyes and I'm sure its due to the conditions in my makeshift paint booth. Its almost impossible to get the booth clean enough when spraying and I always end up with specks of dust in the clear coat which causes fisheyes. I ended up filling the fisheyes with drops of clear, and when the clear hardens I color sand and buff the clear smooth. I had pretty good results on the sunroof:

I got most of the body of the car painted as well. I'm doing the roof and trunk tomorrow if the temperature cooperates:

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I made a little more progress. I finished up the clear coat on the body of the car. Now I'm working on a cut and buff. Once that's done I'm going to start putting all the weather stripping and moulding back on so I can move the chassis out of the garage. This will make room for all the little pieces I still need to lay out and paint.

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Looks good! Did you use a diy guide or a website that helped you with the painting process? I need to start researching that go see if it’s a challenge I’m ballsy enough to take on.

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Taiyou, I seriously underestimated the amount of time and work this would take. I did a lot of research on Google and watched a ton of painting videos on Youtube before starting this project. The pros that post videos on Youtube make the painting process look so easy, but they don't show the hours upon days worth of sanding and prep work that is needed. Those guys also have years of experience and paint in professional booths. Painting in a garage is a pain, so if you can rent out a paint booth I would highly recommend doing that.

I've also spent way more on factory moulding and replacing broken trim clips than I did on the actual paint. If you decide to remove all the exterior trim when painting, you will likely break several pieces. Some pieces like the trim around the tops of the door windows and the rear quarter windows are discontinued, unfortunately. Luckily I didn't break those pieces and I'll be able to refinish them before reinstalling.
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