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Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The time has finally come for me to organize a members journal! Ive been a member here since I purchased my 98 2.5RS in late December of 2005. My car, not unlike myself, has been through a lot since then and made many changes. And now, upon organizing parts and information for my swap, I though I should get the cars history laid out so I can properly journal its future :D

Current Photos:

Mod List: Old stuff is crossed out, and all the new stuff below. I haven't organized everything on the new list, just threw it together for now...

Current Mod List 8/05/2021

Engine / Exhaust / Fuel System

V9 EJ207
IAG Competition series oil pan / baffle / pickup
IAG polyurethane engine mounts
Lowdoller Motorsports oil pressure sensor
Lowdoller Motorsport oil temp sensor
KSTech DBW throttle adapter
2007 2.5i DBW Throttle Body
Roger Clark Motorsports Downpipe
Roger Clark Motorsports Group N turbo-inlet
IAG V3 competition AOS
HKS Kevlar timing belt
Roger Clark Motorsports timing belt guide
Radium Surge Tank w/Walbro 255

V9 Sti 6MT transmission
V9 R180 rear diff
ACT StreetLite flywheel
OEM Exedy Clutch
Goodrich Stainless Braided Clutch Line
Torque solutions transmissions mount (poly)
Torque solutions solid carrier bearing bushings (Aluminum)
Kartboy transmission crossmember bushings
Whiteline front and rear shifter bushings
Torque solutions solid shifter u-joint
Whiteline rear diff bushings (rear crossmember)
Whiteline T-frame bushings

Suspension / Steering
V9 STI 5x114 hubs
V9 STi subframes (front/rear)
V9 STi sway bars (front / rear)
Feal 441+ Coilovers w/Swift springs (9k/8k)
JDM GC8 STi Aluminum control arms
Whiteline ALK
Whiteline roll center kit
Whiteline control arm bushings
Whiteline lateral link bushings
Whiteline trailing arm bushings
2015 STi Steering Rack
L&E Rack steering shaft adapter
Whiteline steering rack bushings

C6 Z06 Corvette 6 piston front calipers w/12.8" STI Rotors
STi Brembo rear calipers
Stoptech Stainless Braided Brake Lines
G-LOC R12 / R10 Brake pads
Centric blank front rotors
Brembo blank rear rotors
CompBrake brake servo
Nameless performance 18" Hydro Handbrake

Enkei PF05 17x8.5 +48
ARP Extended wheel studs
Falken Azenis RT660 Tires 245/40/17

Interior / Safety
Sparco Sprint seat on custom fabricated mounts
Sparco steering wheel
Snap-off R1000 quick release
Custom roll cage built to SCCA GCR specs (1.5"x0.120" DOM)
6OC lightweight door panels
181stleader Carbon fuel tank access covers
Custom central switch panel
6OC Drivers floor plate
iWire DBW pedal adaptor

Aerosim Research carbon fiber race roof
V6 / RS front bumper
JDM Smooth rear bumper
JDM Rear spats
L'aunsport WRC Rear wing
Bakemono 22B Hood Vents
Shaved side moldings
Shaved trunk
Custom Pearl Blue paint

Haltech Nexus R5 VCU
Haltech 15 Button CAN Keypad
Plex SDM700 Digital Dash Logger
Custom motorsport wire harness
MAPDCCD Center Diff controller
MSEL Solid state battery isolator
Odyssey PC680 Battery
2006+ WRX DBW Pedal

My name is Steven and this is my long-standing journal documenting the path of my 1998 2.5RS from purchase, daily driving, to now many years later restoration and transition into a dedicated track car. The most recent phase of this project has taken my roughly 5 years, but I'm getting close to having a complete car, with the goal for a running driving car later this summer (2021).

Original Intro from 2005
Heres my Introduction and story for how I got my car:
My name is Steven Stewart and I'm from lower West Michigan. When I was a freshman in college I was in the market for a new car after crashing my first car, a 95 Nissan Altima, into a telephone pole in the snow. Im not exactly sure what sparked my interest in Subarus but It was pretty quickly that I decided I wanted an impreza.

I browsed Ebay, autotrader, craigs list, news papers and such for a couple weeks looking for a new car. One session on ebay, I clicked on a link for this wrecked blue 98 coupe but just glanced at it and moved on. Later, I returned to that link and realized it was about 40min from my house! So the next day I went and looked at it, drove it around the parking lot (it was salvaged title, thats all I could do :( ) and immediately fell in love. They wanted $5500 for it off the lot and that was way too much so I decided to bid on it on Ebay. I Lost the auction to a sniper and it went for $3600 :( I was pretty sad I didnt get it. Anyways, two days later i found it listed again on Ebay! I called them right away, offered $3600 cash and picked it up the next day!

12-21-2005 Purchase!
Heres two pictures the dealer used on the ebay auction

And here she is at the body shop I worked at the day I brought it home

After this, I began the process of rebuilding my new purchase.


Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
So, with 65K on the clock, this car was pretty fresh but had obviously seen some violence. The previous owner hit the center divider on the highway causing the obvious body damage as well as bending the rear suspension up and the radiator support/front clip was off by about 1.5 inches.

I happend to work at a body shop at the time so It was easy for me to asses the damage...

I began tearing into the front body work too, getting the car ready for new fenders, bumper, hood and a headlight.

I started buying parts, first off with a new muffler (OE Replacement) since the mild steel stromung the previous owner had installed was rotted to shit and new lateral links for the rear drivers side. The rear link was a right side but I cut off the sway bar mount and had it re-welded.

Also got floor mats for Christmas...

The first thing I repaired was the rear suspension. Heres a comparison photo for you to show just how bad the lateral links were...

Also bent the long bolt that attaches them to the knuckle. $33.37 for the bolt!

So! with the suspension done, It was time to take it for a little run up and down the street, to see how much BETTER it would drive. At this point, the car was at my good friends house, a couple who had taken me in a couple times as a kid and young adult. The guy who owns the shop, John, would eventually do the body filler and paint on the car. Anyhow, his shop is at the bottom of a hill and my car had bald Kumho summer tires on it and yet I still made it up the hill. My first time experiencing the beauty of AWD!

Next up I purchased a used front bumper off of a member on this site, along with clear turns and fogs. I also picked up a new rear tail light from a local parts place and a new headlight from another member. New fenders and hood purchased through the body shop I worked for.
Test fitting...

Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Next up was the biggest project on the car...the rear drivers fender. Ugh...what a BITCH! Our method of attack was to bend the sheet metal back as close as possible and smooth it out with filler. This involved using alot of different hammers, slide hammers, dolleys, prybars and patience. My friend John, a pro body man by trade, began doing the filler. We were able to keep it no thicker than a quarter inch across the whole fender.
Heres what we started with...

Onto the Bondo...

Meanwhile, I was sanding and mocking up the front end sheet metal

Soon I would get my first taste of fresh Rally Blue Pearl when we cut in the underside of the hood. I also learned how expensive paint was. $250 for two quarts of PPG Basecoat!

Next, the rear fender was ready for Primer and final sanding before paint.

May 2006
PAINT! This came after about 3 months of work. We painted it in my Buddy John's pole barn and it came out amazingly well. It helps when you have someone whos been shooting cars for 25 years at the trigger. People gave me some shit on here for not painting the whole car but in all honesty it didnt need it. The paint was good on the parts that were left covered and the color match and blend is perfect. Heres some pics after 2 and 3 coats of clear.

Last coat of clear goes on...

The next day I began reassembly. The first photo of my car pulling outside after paint is one of my all time favorites of my car. Its almost done!

Side skirts were painted, New windshield installed and a couple other details wrapped up. Then was the inspection from the state, titled and registered. Heres my first time washing and waxing after paint...


Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Spring-Summer 2006

Okay, so next came a couple of small mods. Momo/Subaru shift knob for my 19th birthday, Hella 500 fog lights and a set of 02 WRX wheels for the winter. Wheels got painted gold. Pics plus random...

Hella Switch...

After installing fogs, I did a little shoot...and yes...My badge had fallen off.

Seasons turn...Winter 2006 to 2007

Random brother got his corolla stuck at a party...I pulled him out...Oh yeah and a deer had ran into my fender, hence the dent.

So...I had owned the RS for a year and had loved every second of driving it. So what was next? RALLY! My best friend and I set out for our first rally and went to the Rally America Sno*Drift rally 2007 in Atlanta Michigan. We met a group in Detroit and had a caravan. Theres some fellow members in here... Pics:

Winter was coming to a close. The RS Goes International...Spring break in Windsor Ontario. I had added a pink star badge. These are my only pics from the trip. I won $150 at casino windsor...went strait to the bar.


Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Spring/Summer 2007

My car fell subject to the dreaded head gasket failure a few months before winter was done so I limped it along until I could afford to fix it and also until the weather was good enough to work on my car in my unheated garage. Aside from the Cometic head gaskets, I also added an Exedy OE Organic clutch, new timing belt, splugs/wires, and a kart boy short shifter. Kartboy bushings were added later, but I have a the whole setup. The car had about 90K on it at this time.

Not much else happened with the RS for a while after this because I got pretty involved in music and planning for school. I was transferring from my local community college to Ferris State in Big Rapids MI and I had to get prepared. I got a pretty complete set of Snap-on tools with my school discount at almost 50%. Soo...needless to say, between music and school I was strapped. Heres a couple randoms from this time...


Random...WRX wheel on my Drummers Van...

Fall 2007
I took the RS to its next rally in Houghton MI for the Lake Superior Performance Rally. This was a pretty good time aside from dunking the nose of my car into a little swamp in a ditch. she came out with just a couple scratches though. Pics from that trip...

Me and my Love

2001 2.5 RS
582 Posts
hey we have a pretty good group of RS up here in Travers City you should come join us some day this spring when we all get together!

Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Winter 2007-2008
Pretty uneventful. I was at school...My car lived in a big parking lot. It got plenty of scratches :( most of them buffed out.

When it wasnt there, it was driving my ass back and forth to school. Alooot of highway miles were put on it.

Spring-summer 2008

This was a good time for my Subie. She got a new exhaust (cheaply built by myself and a buddy), New oil pump and front seal, and got to go to her FIRST AUTOCROSS! I finnished 6th or 7th on my first try because I hit some cones. My second autocross in Lansing I finished Second in STS...Woot...I got a T-shirt!

Also had a shoot with one of my best friends and his 02 WRX. Heres some from that...

And now...were almost up to the present. Just a couple weeks ago I was about to leave for a trip when I checked the was empty. I was horrified. I put some in, checked again...It was pouring out of the lower cam seal on the drivers side head as fast as I could pour it in. I had driven a ton since i checked it last. Now I have a bad rod knock and a blown motor.


07 Civic SI / 97 Miata M
757 Posts
Dang that sucks man. I just got my cam seals replaced, good to know what happens if you don't do it.

Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thus begins the next chapter in my cars life: Swaping my old ej25d for a 96 WRX EJ20G.

Im going to use this journal to help me organize all of my info and to help those who may do a similar swap in the future and Also for those who wanna lend a hand.

So far, I have sourced diagrams from northursalia ( ) and from Subadave ( )
98RS Diagrams:

JDM EJ20G Diagrams

My engine set is from a 96 WRX wagon. Can anyone verify that I have the right diagrams?
More later...

'06 LGT
8,334 Posts
Looks Awesome so far, I'm excited to see where this goes.

Where did you end up picking the motor up from.

Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got the set from ECS. Great guys to work with, got me a good deal and a good product. It gets delivered today and im stuck at school an hour away!

2000 Imp 5 door Sport
6,269 Posts
wow good tread and pics lookin good best of luck on the swap

Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
New update...

Pulled the motor last night and I have a bunch of pics. I had a lot of helping hands and we had some fun...

Alcohol injection installed...

Can you tell im excited?

Obligatory ridiculous picture...

A couple problems have yet to be resolved which keep me from installing the new motor.

More updates will follow.


Premium Member
98 RS | 98 L Wagon
1,702 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sweet, this should be a fun thread. Just curious, was there any specific reasons you chose the wrx motor over the sti motor? I'm thinkin about the future and trying to decide what I wanna do. Also, how long did it take you to get the motor out? good luck with the rest!

It came down to what I could afford. IT took about an hour and a half to pull.
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