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2002 WRX Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this topic has been brought up many times before but I would like to get some answers specific to my situation.

Here's the deal: I've got an '01 2.5RS with 160,000 miles on it (body and engine/tranny). I want some more power but nothing too crazy (stock STi level at most - for now, as I will probably want to add more power later). This car is my daily driver so I need my setup to be reliable, although I can afford to have some downtime here and there. My budget goal for the whole project is to keep it under $4500ish so I can have $1000+ for backup. I will be able to do most of the work on my own aside from wiring and any custom work that may need to be done. Also, I plan on keeping this car for quite a while.

Now, here are the three options that I believe I have at the moment:

1) Turbo current engine - I plan on getting a compression test done very soon (hopefully this week) to see the health of my engine. If all goes well, this is an option. I would also think about adding STi internals (rods and pistons).

2) JDM STi swap - A local shop brought a version 4 STi back from Japan and would put the drivetrain in for $1500-1700 but I am waiting for a quote from them for the actual engine/tranny.

3) USDM WRX swap- I found an '02 WRX engine with literally everything besides a turbo FSB for $2,000 picked up and then I would put the engine in myself and have a professional do the wiring. The only thing that worries me with this setup is my tranny.

I guess my question is: what should I do!?!? I've been reading through my options for quite a while now but I still have no clue what to do.

Sorry for the long post but any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Silver 2000 2.5 RS
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53 Posts
Turbo is never the best option. Yes it is cheaper, but you are running pressure through a motor that was not made for it. While if you swap, you will have a motor that is built for the turbo and it will have less miles so it will run better. A swap is also a very good investment since if you sell your car the value will be far higher. So i would suggest a swap and you can get a wire harness made by ECS for like 1000. That will save you alot of time and money over another shop.
 

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'00 2.5RS BRP
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30 Posts
...So i would suggest a swap and you can get a wire harness made by ECS for like 1000. That will save you alot of time and money over another shop.
ECS sells merged harnesses for $1000? Does that include STI harnesses with DCCD? If so, I'd so go that route.
 

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2003 rs2.5 BRP
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831 Posts
get the 02 wrx it's a usdm(clear smog) and there are plenty of people on here running wrx/sti engines on a rs/l transmission. You can't be launching at 6k every day with them of course but it's not a huge deal. That is the route i would personally go.

then get RA gears later :D
 

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2000 BRP 2.5R-STI
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460 Posts
build and boost, sti internals are fine at the 300hp range... and you will like the 2.5 more than the 2.0... ppl have been doing this for years, u will have to start thinking about tranny and brakes and em about the same as the motor the closer u get to either building or swapping IMO
personally i swapped but several buddies of mine have built their motors to my sti level and beyond and havent had the same issues that ive had... while saving thousands
 

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2000 BRP 2.5R-STI
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460 Posts
but if u swap go for the 2.5... either sti or 06> wrx, u will like the extra torque

money is ur main concern... obviously id swap, but for 4.5k u could start buying supporting mods for that extra power level after u get the motor
 

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The Thread Stopper
11 WRX, Matte black
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My remarks are in red

1) Turbo current engine - I plan on getting a compression test done very soon (hopefully this week) to see the health of my engine. If all goes well, this is an option. I would also think about adding STi internals (rods and pistons).

I wouldn't suggest this. Your down time will be the longest this route. Cost could end up being more in the long run too.

2) JDM STi swap - A local shop brought a version 4 STi back from Japan and would put the drivetrain in for $1500-1700 but I am waiting for a quote from them for the actual engine/tranny.

Depending on the condition, this is a valid option. Just be sure the shop has done this kind of work before. Being the first GC swap is not a fun experience for the consumer (ask me how I know).

3) USDM WRX swap- I found an '02 WRX engine with literally everything besides a turbo FSB for $2,000 picked up and then I would put the engine in myself and have a professional do the wiring. The only thing that worries me with this setup is my tranny.

This is probably your best, most reliable, cost effect option. You can easily achieve 300 hp and maintain your RS trans. You won't want to beat on the older trans though, so save your pennies for a PPG gearset.
 

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2002 WRX Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for everyone's comments. Although things are still up in the air, it does seem as though I can eliminate the turbo kit route. I'm actually getting a compression test done tomorrow just to see what kind of condition my engine is in.

@Stiletto: As far as the JDM STi swap goes, the shop literally went to Japan and hand picked each car they wanted to bring back after driving the car. They have the half-cut in the shop and they said that they could start it up for me. The only thing that worries me is that they have never done a complete swap in a Subaru. They mainly do JDM Nissan and Honda swaps but they're completely different from Subaru swaps. I was able to download the wiring diagrams for that car so I could send that to him to help out but it does scare me knowing that he doesn't really know what he's doing.
 

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2002 2.5RS BRP
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2,393 Posts
Here's my take on this. I want to go turbo, but keep low-end torque so I want to keep my SOHC heads. I'm gonna get an ej257 block, slap in some stock STi internals, and use my SOHC heads with either my delta 2000 cams or get some turbo cams. Grab this baby along with an external WG, STi TMIC and 3" exhaust, then get upgraded everything (gaskets, brakes, fliuds, etc.) and call it a 300whp twisty moster
 

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2006 WRX
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611 Posts
Here's my take on this. I want to go turbo, but keep low-end torque so I want to keep my SOHC heads. I'm gonna get an ej257 block, slap in some stock STi internals, and use my SOHC heads with either my delta 2000 cams or get some turbo cams. Grab this baby along with an external WG, STi TMIC and 3" exhaust, then get upgraded everything (gaskets, brakes, fliuds, etc.) and call it a 300whp twisty moster
You forgot the key component of a build like that: A standalone. Those can be pretty pricey and usually end up putting you over the cost of a swap.
 

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The Thread Stopper
11 WRX, Matte black
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5,783 Posts
Here's my take on this. I want to go turbo, but keep low-end torque so I want to keep my SOHC heads. I'm gonna get an ej257 block, slap in some stock STi internals, and use my SOHC heads with either my delta 2000 cams or get some turbo cams. Grab this baby along with an external WG, STi TMIC and 3" exhaust, then get upgraded everything (gaskets, brakes, fliuds, etc.) and call it a 300whp twisty moster
An EJ257 is an STi engine, thus you won't need STi internals...they'll already be there!
 

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2002 2.5RS BRP
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An EJ257 is an STi engine, thus you won't need STi internals...they'll already be there!
<---- view post count = I know that silly. If i'm fortunate enough to find a longblock that's cheaper than getting the shortblock and internals separately, then I'll get one. But so far, it's been the other way around.

You forgot the key component of a build like that: A standalone. Those can be pretty pricey and usually end up putting you over the cost of a swap.
Didn't forget, just forgot to mention. I've done some shopping, and can pull this whole build off (including supporting mods like intake and exhaust and such) for around $5000. That's about the same as an STi swap in price and power, but with a different power band, which is the whole point.
 

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2002 WRX Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just got a quote from the shop: $4000 for the engine/tranny/ECU/etc. (everything necessary for the swap) or $3500 for all of that without the tranny and an extra $1500 for the installation and wiring.
 

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The Thread Stopper
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Sounds fair. I hope they've done one before...
 

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01 STM RS EJ257, 6MT, Brembos
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I would go with option 3. Your stock trans will hold WRX power just fine. USDM WRX is always better because you retain OBDII capabilities and tuning options and parts are easier to look up.
I would not turbo your stock RS engine setup because you would basically need to rebuild your entire engine to handle it reliably and that would be a waste of money.
I would not put a Ver4 STI engine into your car because that Version had the EJ20K which is arguably one of the best GC engines but also the most temperamental. It wont be as reliable for you as a USDM WRX engine.
 
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