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I've been looking around for a turbo to put in my 2001 Impreza RS. I've only found two brands that sell brand new turbos for the car, but have read lots about legacy turbos being installed. Its obvious that the legacy turbo job would be complicated, but its less expensive than a new one, but less reliable. What do you suggest I do?
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I think it depends a lot on your budget, mechanic skills and your overall goals. Many of the kits that are out there are fairly easily to install, but are limited in how much you can upgrade them without spending lots more money. Doing it yourself is more time consuming than a kit, but less expensive.

I personally am a little scared of the off-the-shelf kits for the RS because they all seem to have special custom parts, like the up-pipe to the turbo. That is fine and all because you have less work to do, but in a year or two if it cracks or breaks, how are you going to replace it? Many of the companies who were making RS kits are out of business. So any purchasers of that kit are no longer able to get replacement parts. If the Legacy kit breaks, you can buy parts at your local Subaru dealer or wrecking yard. That is a good thing.

As far as reliablility, both types of kits should be identical - depending on the parts you buy. The Legacy kits are probably a little more reliable as they truly are designed for a turbo by SUBARU, not some guys in a garage who may not have access to the same information as the manufacturer. Did you know that in about 1992 Subaru won distinction for building the Worlds fastest street edurance production car that ran for something like 24 hours at full speed? That was their Legacy turbo. I don't remember the exact thing they won, but basically they took a Legacy and ran full speed for like a day or two. It hauled a** and so they won. So I think that their turbo Legacy is probably a LOT more reliable than any after-market kit.

As far as complicated, I think the results would be worth the effort.

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