Swap City: Part 2

It’s time for Part 2 of our GC swap — it’s about to get real.  If you missed Part 1 or forgot what went down, here’s a link for you to catch up on how it all started.  This weekend, we would be joined by Eddie’s friend, Sum.  He is a mechanic by day, Corgi breeder by night.  He specializes in Subarus and from working with him on this car, I can say he’s legit.

With the majority of the interior stripped, and the rear end of the car done, it was time for the business end of the swap.  In an oversimplified nutshell, all we have left to do is take out the stock engine/transmission, swap the entire wiring harness, and drop in the WRX engine/transmission — so simple!

Day 3

We planned on pulling out the stock engine and transmission together, and in order to do that, we had to remove the bolts holding the transmission and engine to the chassis.

I started removing the housing around the shifter from the interior. The shifter has a rubber housing on the bottom, held on by a metal bracket. The shifter is from an STi, which has shorter throws. Meaning it requires less distance to change gears, making gear shifts a little quicker and providing a better feel when shifting.

The main component holding the shifter to the chassis itself is a hard rubber bushing — this came off next. The bushing is aftermarket, further improving shift feel.

As I was doing this, Eddie took out the radiator. It looked pretty beat up and had a lot of rust spots. Supposedly, the stock RS radiator is adequate for a WRX engine, but I’ll most likely upgrade it to either an aftermarket or stock WRX radiator.

Next, the AC and alternator had to come off, since we would be keeping them for the other engine.  That meant their respective belts had to be removed.

After all the other engine accessories were disconnected, the H-brace that holds the transmission up was unbolted, allowing us to remove the transmission along with the engine at the same time.

it was time to lift the heart of the RS out.  We hooked up chains to the engine and hoisted it up with an engine lift.

Now that the engine was out, the crossmember — the frame which holds the engine — was taken out and replaced with one from a WRX wagon, since the stock one wasn’t meant for a turbo engine.

Since things were going so smoothly, the steering rack end on the newly installed crossmember decided not to fit with our steering column knuckle.  The teeth on the steering rack end were much more fine than the ones on the stock one.  A new knuckle had to be bought in order to fit the rack to the column, or else we’d have no steering.

Given the set back, we decided to press on and deal with the steering knuckle later on since it was getting late.  We moved on to connect the tie rods to the wheel hub, so at least part of the steering was hooked up.  The tie rods extend out from the steering rack, and they are basically what rotate the wheels to steer them.

Then, we moved onto the interior, removing what was left of the dash — the dash reinforcement bar and air boxes — to get to the rest of the wiring harness and ECU.

After that, we called it a day; and with the engine removed, things were getting exciting.

Day 4

Today, we would be replacing the brake and clutch master cylinders.  The brake master cylinder needed to be replaced because if you’re adding power, you have to add stopping power; we would be using one from an STi, because STi.  Eddie had a new clutch master sitting around, so he donated it.

Replacing master cylinders means a lot of air entering into their respective systems, which is bad.  So, to get the large amounts of air out of the system, we needed to bleed both the brake and clutch.  Bleeding the systems of so much air required lots and lots — followed by lots more — of pedal pumping.  After my arms and legs were numb from pumping, the systems were free of air.

And that was all we had time for that weekend.  Join us next time when we drop in the new heart of the beast and start making it a real WRX swap.

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