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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering upgrading a 98-01 L model to look and perform as much like an RS (less the power of the 2.5l engine). Before I jump into it there are a few questions comparing them. These three are all I have for now, but I'll edit it if I think of any more.

1.) Shift box: The RS has a shorter shift, but it is the system the same in the L model as the RS? The RS seems tighter and more notchy than the L, but the Subaru brochure I have doesn't state any difference between them.

2.) Brakes: The RS has discs all around. The L has rear drums and smaller front discs. Is ther a kit for the L to install discs all around? I have a feeling I'd be stuck with the drums in the back.

3.) Shocks: RS has a stiffer sport suspension than the L. This is the easiest question as shocks and springs are a common upgrades...I'm looking for recomendations for an RS OEM quality and low cost.
 

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1) i believe its a whole different tranny. try looking up the gear ratios on an RS and L, as well as the final drive. i think they are different.

2) it can be done, but its alot of work because of the handbrake.

3) we've but an RS struts/springs on an L wagon. it bolts right on and improves the handling some. best place to find a cheap set is from someone who just upgraded the suspension on their RS. you can probably pick up a set for ~$100.

something else to keep in mind is that the older L models have no rear sway bar, which is a part you will want to upgrade most likely. i think the 98+ have it, but you should check your car before making a purchase ;) also, the 96- have a different hood, so an RS hood will not bolt on.
 

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10th Warrior do you speak from experience or what you have read from others that have done the drum to disc conversion? From what I have read it seems like the only trouble with the ebrake is that you have to remove alot of the interior of the car to access it. I have found that the interior of the car is a piece of cake to remove so it doesn't seem like it would be that tough. I plan on doing the conversion if I can get the parts :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The more I've been looking into what it takes to convert the L to feel like an RS, the more I've been leaning towards simply buying the RS.

The only issue with me is that I originally planned on buying a low cost four door Impreza as a winter/otm (Other Than Miata) car. I started with an $8000 price limit and now it's ballooned to the 4-door RS prices which are around $17000 for me locally.

I've driven several L models and the RS. The RS is just sooo much more fun.

For me, I believe it's the whole package of the RS that makes it so different than the L. The feel of the leather steering wheel, tight notchy shifting, stiff suspension, looking over the air scoop, being nestled in the black interior with the sport seats. Not to mention the biggest difference of the feel and growl of the 2.5l engine. It easily tosses the Impreza around for some serious fun.

The overall cost of upgrading the L is still cheaper than buying an RS, yet as a car enthuziast, I question if I will stay satisfied with the L ....but having a large car payment for a winter car may be even worse!
 

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no, i haven't done, nor attempted, anything regarding the rear brakes (other then bleeding and checking the pads). it is certainly not an impossible task, but its not going to be a simple as bolting new rotors on the front either. i'm not sure if the handbrake on the L has a seperate drum or not, which would influence the difficulty. anyway, do it and let us know how hard it is.
 

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Ntseg Muag!
SRP MY00 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS
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difference between l and rs


RS

has 4 disc brakes
abs
sunroof
better exterior
165 hp

L
2 disc brake
no abs
no sunroof
no wrx bumper
140 hp

that's all i know about the two being different
 

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Two Mini Coopers!
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I went to www.Edmunds.com and researched each model for each year a while ago, although I did not write the results down. However, SOME of the older impreza's like the Brighton, L, and LS in SOME of the years have things like 4-wheel disc brakes, ABS, and some other features which I cannot remember now.

After doing my research I was considering purchasing ONLY a 94 or 96 L or LS (I cannot remember which now) beause of things like the ABS and rear disc brakes.

If you spend like an hour you can find all the differences. Edmunds is a great site for that kind of stuff. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just finished talking to a Subaru mechanic and he said that all the components of the shifting hardware for both the L and the RS are identical. The only difference is the shorter throw lever.

This is good news for me...if I decide on buying an L model I can easily put in a Kartboy or even a used RS shifter.
 

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I own a 1997 L, and I hated it at first because I wanted an RS. (Also because it is an Auto..but thats another story). The 97+ Impreza 2.2L has a rear sway bar....13mm. SO my first upgrade was to a 18mm, and it made a big difference. Then I upgraded to 16" Gold RS rims, and STi Ver 5 inverted struts and Whiteline Springs. It made an incredible difference. I had driven and RS, and if you can get past the lack of hood scoop and cool interior which only contribute to the mental image of the car, my L is more fun to drive than any stock RS because the handling is so good. Intake and exhaust also both boosted performance and made it sound more exciting. Then I added lightened pulleys, which made a little difference. Now, from experience, I can keep up with a stock RS in the straights, and pull ahead in the twistys, and I have the benefit of attracting a lot less police attention.

Regarding brakes. I am still bone stock, and my brakes work fine. If you rally at all, the e-brake is more powerful with the stock rear drums. I want to upgrade the front brakes eventually, but I use 15" rims for Rally and I am not sure which brake kits will clear.

Another big difference is the heads. On a 2.2L there is only one exhaust port on each side, unlike the RS which has two. I am not sure how much it really effect performance....but it does effect the sound a little if you get an opened up exhaust.

Feel free to email me with any question. I always like to talk cars.
[email protected]
 

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'17 Impreza Sport, '15 OB 3.6R
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Wasn't the 22B a stroked WRX STi engine? (To 2.2L?)

Hmm. Buy 2.2L. Turn into 22B.

Big smile.


:biggest:

Heh...

In retrospect, I wish I'd bought an L wagon. Merely because I miss the utility of my old hatchback cars, and the L was quite the attractive wagon, among wagons. But, the 2.5L engine was what turned me on at the time, and I didn't know anything about the Subaru tuner/STi manufacturer market then, sooo....

:) Not that I hate my car, mind you, I just don't like having a trunk the size of a shoe box.

-S2-
 

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Ntseg Muag!
SRP MY00 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS
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Siper2 said:
Wasn't the 22B a stroked WRX STi engine? (To 2.2L?)

Hmm. Buy 2.2L. Turn into 22B.
that's what i heard too but i'm not sure....i'm thinking it's a 2.2l cuz it has a bigger bore and stoke than the 2.0l....so that's what i'm guessing....bigger bore and stroke should mean bigger engine....somebody correct me if i'm wrong!!!
 

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that's correct. they took an EJ20 (WRX engine) and let termites loose on the pistions to expand it to displace 2.2L. NOTE: this is very different from the 2.2L sold in the US.
 

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Ntseg Muag!
SRP MY00 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS
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how are they way different when the only difference it that one is a closed-deck? plz tell me.......
 

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they start from a whole different block! it is a completely different engine. the 2.2L here is not an overbored EJ20, nor is the EJ25. whole different ball of wax. the enternals are all different, from the pistons to the valves, the heads are different, i'm sure the water and oil passages are different. the intake and exhaust manifolds are different. just for comparison, the new STi engine has ~80% different parts compared to a J-spec EJ20. now just imagine what STi did to the engine going into the ultimate impreza :eek:
 

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i've got a 96 L coupe. For that year, the LS had the ABS and rear disc, but both got a 13mm rear sway bar (mine did anyway). I've converted the front brakes to the WRX front brake kit and that was extremely easy. To convert the rear drums you've gotta get the hubs and everything off a Legacy (that's what was recommended the most to me) I haven't done the rear conversion yet, but i'm going to a scooby boneyard tomorrow to pick up parts. Adding 2.2 headers and simply upgrading to the (RS) Brospeed exhaust made a huge difference in power. The RS hood 97+ will fit no problem if you really want the scoop/vents (you could always cut the holes yourself in the existing hood). L's are just as fun as any scooby, it's all in how well you drive. Besides if you want some nice power, you can drop a jdm wrx engine in there, and you're already 400lbs lighter than a rex.
 

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Here's my thoughts, as I've debated this forever.

First off, the 97 L is only 100 #'s lighter. Substantial, but not a reason to buy a completely different car.

I always come back to the bottom line. It's all about money, or we would have all imported an STi from Japan by now. That being said, what's it going to take to geet an L to an RS, and what will you be able to sell it for at the end of it's life. If I would have known the RS was going to remain around $15,000, I would have bought one a few years ago.

The only way I've concluded that an L makes sense is if you are planning on doing a LOT of mods. No sense in starting with a $15K car, if you're going to scrap half the things that made it that way. Seats, hood, suspension, brakes, engine, etc.

If you want an RS, but want racing seats, and are going to tweak the snot out of the engine, and put on cross drilled rotors, and replace the suspension, etc...why not start with the base model?

For that matter, why not start with one that got hit in the front and rear, cracked the block and then caught on fire? That's actually what I've been looking for.
 
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