Subaru Conversion... Ready, Set, Go!

Discussion in 'Modified Shizzle' started by Kruger, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Been wanting to start this thread for a while but it’s taken a while to get the ball rolling.. almost 6 months! Apologies as some of the photos are being recycled.

    The strip down of my original tired and asthmatic 1600 engine confirmed I ideally needed a different engine, or a full recon unit as my case had been previously align bored and I was advised there was not enough material to go again, and was now just good for scrap.


    Pricing up the various options had me thinking I can do a Subaru swap for similar/less money and get more power/drive-ability.

    Loads of reading Subaru related conversion sites and forum threads ensued, spoke to a few people who’d had experience of Subaru swaps and they recommended it based on the position I was in, and is if by fate a cheap 2.5 Auto Legacy turned up on eBay less than 10 miles away! £375 later, and with a healthy folder of history I drove it back to the workshop without any issues.



    More research followed, for what additional parts etc I’d be needing, @pkrboo ’s Subaru conversion thread was helpful and is well detailed with what’s required etc... but the more I read it, the idea of using the Subaru gearbox seemed like a tremendous option - cue: loads more reading, research etc.

    Enough reading, more doing, it was almost a shame to break it, it was in tidy condition.



    So, ripped the heart out of it along with anything potentially useful, along with all the wiring harness from the front seats forwards.
    Wiring sent to Nick Tune to convert into something simpler and useable. Plan is to give it a freshen up before putting it in, new gaskets, head gaskets, oils seals, timing belt, water pump, etc.


    Shell weighed in for £130 scrap, £80 clawed back in other parts sold from it so far, and about £20’s worth of fuel drained.

    To be continued...

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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  2. After a lot of reading I decided to go with the Subarugears conversion allowing use of a Subaru gearbox, after reading a few on here had sourced new factory gearboxes, I found one on eBay, a slightly later box, but one that was still suitable to convert with some older model drive flanges.

    Went up to West Brom to collect, and it was Subaru’s part distribution warehouse, selling off old stock cheap on eBay otherwise it gets skipped. That was £375 well spent!


    Bought another earlier gearbox off eBay for the drive flanges - £130.

    Bought the Subarugears kit from Nick who’s doing the harness conversion - another £1900...

    Then started ordering the rest of conversion bits, spent just shy of£200 and ordered from RJES; solid flywheel, flywheel bolts, spigot bearing, exhaust flanges and accelerator cable, skipped on his really nice radiator pack and engine cradle mount though - as I’m tight and have already spent enough, and thought I’ve got the tools, the time, and plenty of photos fron guides to refer to - so decided I can make my own!

    Nearly everything else for this conversion has been bought on eBay!

    Coolant bottle £12
    T25 water pipes to cut up as required £20
    Manual starter motor £30
    Single mass flywheel clutch kit £100
    Subaru clutch master cylinder £30
    Kunifer line for hydraulic clutch
    Range Rover P38 4.0 V8 twin core alloy radiator £140
    Silicone hose angles/joiners and heater hose £100
    Foam cone air filter £25
    Hose clips/cable clips etc

    Chino Specials from eBay,
    2x 12” slimline radiator fans £30
    Heater matrix/combined fan unit £60
    Dashboard telltale lights ecu/immob £5
    Water temp gauge £6

    Super beetle universal steering joint for offsetting the gear linkage from GSF £45

    All engine service/overhaul bits have been bought from Import Car Parts (ICP) in Geordieland somewhere. Spent towards £400

    Aluminium sheet 2mm 2x1 metre, and 5m of angle for building the scoop/ radiator pack - £75

    5mm steel plate for engine cradle mounts £30

    Got most of the bits, so time to start doing...

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Lord Congi, Merlin Cat, art b and 7 others like this.
  3. For the underslung radiator mount I wanted to replicate something similar to the setup offered by RJES as it apparently works well, It uses a horizontally mounted Range Rover V8 radiator fed with a scoop, and 2 cooling fans on top which draw air through it.

    Looked at lots of photos and also looked at @Razzyh radiator pack to confirm, as concerned about ground clearance as my van is quite low, decided to make it from 2mm aluminium sheet, and 3mm angle.

    Rays setup,






    Still some work to finish on the the scoop, Im making it breakawayable in the event of an impact as don’t want the radiator itself being ripped out, and will also be putting wire rope restraints on the scoop to prevent it flying into the path of following vehicles, also undecided at the moment as whether to powder coat or leave it natural.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  4. awesome!

    Good luck & keep the pics coming :D
    Kruger likes this.
  5. Excellent - bit of a result on the gearbox !!
    Kruger likes this.
  6. Opted to use and modify the original engine cradle/support to save some money, as opposed to using the off the shelf RJES mount.

    Used a plasma cutter remove all the attached suspension mounts, then set about increasing the ground clearance of the cradle by about 80mm, I’ll be fitting a shortened sump, so wanted the mount to sit level with it, I’ve added some box section to reinforce where I’ve removed some of the original as the shortened sump needs more clearance and as is designed to work with the RJES setup.


    Need to remove all the material below the steel rule,


    Trial fitted on the engine, enough clearance now so that the sump bolts can be got at without removing the cradle.

    With 2x 50x20mm box section welded in for reinforcement.

    Finished, just needs powder coating.

    Want to get on and finish the chassis leg mounts, where this cradle will bolt to, but ideally need to wait until I’ve got the front gearbox mount, converted the gearbox to 2wd and then offer it all up, to gauge where the engine mounts need to be.

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    Lord Congi, art b, paradox and 2 others like this.
  7. Got one of those gearboxes from the same place - its now converted and sat in my bus!
    They were an awesome deal at the time
    art b and Kruger like this.
  8. great project, keep the pics coming :)
    Kruger likes this.
  9. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    Supply seems to have dried up now.
    art b and Kruger like this.
  10. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    art b and Kruger like this.
  11. Subscribed
    Kruger and womball like this.
  12. I have an empty gearbox and engine block I used for mock up if you want to borrow it? Loads lighter for shifting in and out a few times when messing with mounts etc
    Kruger and Lasty like this.
  13. Yes very annoying
    StuF likes this.
  14. No you don’t

    Unless you have a spare engine block....
    Kruger likes this.
  15. Did you not get one?

    I found one on eBay but is for later MY06/07 I think.
  16. I do, it just isnt in my exact location right now
    Razzyh likes this.
  17. No I didn't. I was being tight at the time.
  18. And he’s only just up the road from me as well.
    pkrboo likes this.
  19. There’s loads of second hand boxes on eBay of the type you need. Just not new.
    art b likes this.
  20. The box I got was a later 758 - think it’s an 08/09, and is without the drive output stubs, but apparently the earlier stubs can be fitted to allow the cv flanges in the Subarugears kit to be used, he lists the 758 as being suitable to convert.

    Top offer from Matt @pkrboo for use of the bare engine block to offer up for mount making, let me know Ray @Razzyh when you need it out your way.

    Done a little bit on it the last couple of days, just stripping out the old gearbox, old cables, drained the fuel, and the pig of a job - cutting out the over the torsion tube heater pipe - I think VW built that van around that 1 piece!

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