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Thread: EJ205 AVCS swap into 97 outback / parts ordered — couple questions

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    EJ205 AVCS swap into 97 outback / parts ordered — couple questions

    Hey guys. I have been planning my ej205 swap into my 97 outback for a while now.

    I just today ordered:

    EJ205 AVCS long block with all the engine wiring in tact; not cut.
    USDM 2003 bugeye bulkhead wiring harness
    USDM 2003 bugeye fuel pump controller
    USDM EJ205 intake manifold
    TD04 Exhaust flange with v-band so I can run a hood exit

    What I still need to order:

    JDM EJ205 AVCS ECU
    Send all wiring to i-wire to merge harnesses and add AVCS wiring
    Radiator
    AEM wideband

    BUT I STILL HAVE A FEW QUESTIONS!!!

    Ok, Drive by wire or drive by cable? I can run drive by cable still since I am getting the USDM WRX intake manifold. In fact, I'm not even sure I could run drive by wire because I don't have the necessary JDM bulk harness. I also think it would be easier to run drive by cable because I already have the pedal and cable

    Second: ECU choice. It's super hard to find the EJ205 AVCS ECU. Will any other ECUs work AND allow me to still run AVCS? I know if I use the USDM ECU it will default to open the valves up all the way so I still get all the top end benefits but none of the middle power and the tune can't be nearly as good.

    Third: Sensors? Cranks? What do I need to switch to USDM or JDM in order to make the swap work? I assume anyone that has experience dropping the EJ205 AVCS into any USDM car would be able to know.

    Fourth: I'm pretty sure this isn't an issue at all, but the trans I'm using is the stock 5MT from the 97 outback. It's sturdy. There shouldn't be an issues mating them, right? I just need a clutch that will work with the ej205?

    Fifth: ECU. If I flash the JDM AVCS ECU, and use carberry, can I use an automatic ECU? Or does it have to be a manual ECU? The manual AVCS ECU costs almost double from my source so I'd like to scrape by on the automatic one if I can since it's going to be flashed and running a custom rom anyways.

    Any other information I need to know? Engine bay is currently gutted, wiring/dash is pulled and I'm paining the engine bay this week. Sending the wiring to iwire as soon as my wiring arrives.

    Thanks for reading my long ass post... hope anyone has some insight.


    EDIT:

    Tags for people like me who are googling for more information

    EJ205 AVCS JDM swap into 2nd gen legacy outback

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    SLi nOOb Alphius's Avatar
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    1. Easy. Drive by cable. No benefits to DBW really. The long WRX throttle cable is useful, but the short Legacy one will still reach. You would need a 32-bit ECU and different heads as well as a different wiring harness in order to run DBW.

    2. EJ207 or AVCS EJ205 ECUs are your only options. You could block the AVCS ports and run non-AVCS cam gears for proper timing, but you lose the benefits of AVCS. If you did that, you could use any old 02-05 USDM WRX ECU. The 02-05 USDM ECU lacks the control circuitry for the AVCS solenoids.

    3. Crank gear and cam gear need to match the ECU you use. The sensors are the same. The JDM AVCS EJ205 will likely already have the 36-tooth crank gear necessary to work with a USDM WRX ECU.

    4. Transmission should be OK if you don't beat on it. No launching, no powershifting, no launch control. Shift completely and release the clutch fully before applying power after shifting. A cost effective clutch setup is to convert to the 06+ WRX push clutch. The clutch generally needs to match the transmission style, pull vs push. 02-05 USDM WRX clutches are pull style, and will not work with your push style transmission.

    Clutch setup, I used this on my car before I swapped in a 6-speed:
    06+ WRX flywheel, clutch disk and pressure plate
    06+ WRX clutch fork, pivot pin and throwout bearing
    You can use stock master and slave cylinders with this setup, and your stock starter will work as well.
    You have to use a grinder and clearance one of the ribs on the transmission for pressure plate clearance, as the WRX parts are significantly bigger than stock.

    Your other clutch option is an ACT heavy duty clutch and pressure plate for the 99-01 Impreza 2.5RS, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend that since you'll break your stock clutch fork unless you reinforce it, it doesn't hold any more power than the OEM 06+ WRX clutch and it costs significantly more.

    5. USDM 02-05 WRX ECUs are cross-compatible between manual and auto. Not sure at all on the JDM stuff, but my thought would be that it'll likely work if you flash a manual calibration onto it.

    Other stuff:

    Use your stock radiator, gut a rad cap to put on it, and use the overflow nipple on the rad as the straight through connection to the coolant tank on the engine. Run a stock cap on the tank, and route that to the overflow bottle on the radiator. A GD WRX radiator will not fit in a BD/BG/BK without modifying the radiator support. If you do that, stock rad hoses with a little trimming will fit perfectly.

    CarBerry is awesome, no doubts there. In my case, I'm still running MAF instead of Speed Density, and it is still much smoother than the factory WRX tune. The other major feature I'm using that I really love is the per-gear WGDC compensation, which means I can hit my boost target spot-on in every gear, instead of compromising the low gears to keep the high gears safe and spike-free. I also use the CEL-as-knock-indicator feature, which I enjoy but which also means that if I set a code I don't get any notification.

    Exhaust: Hood exit is dumb as hell. GD fitment exhaust is close to correct. The midpipe needs about a 4" extension, but fits the body hanger like stock. The axleback needs no piping mods, but all three hangers have to be redone. I bent up and welded some 3/8" steel rod into hangers. I have an OEM '06 STI exhaust on my car and love it. Nice and quiet, with good tone. Stealthy.

    If you're having someone else do the wiring, it's completely straightforward to get it back and just plug it all in. I did mine myself because I can't stomach paying that much for what amounts to a few hours of work.

    Have you thought about the crossmember? A 91-94 Legacy Turbo crossmember fits like stock but gives you clearance for your uppipe. A GD+ crossmember fits, but you have to shim your control arms or use WRX wagon control arms as they're different width than the earlier stuff. JDM GC crossmembers work the same as 91-94 Legacy Turbo ones, direct fit. You also have to use a turbo swaybar with the turbo crossmember.

    You can use your stock alternator and A/C compressor along with A/C lines. One A/C line off of the compressor needs to be bent an inch or two upwards to clear the intake manifold, and the A/C compressor bracket needs some grinding on the back corner to fit as well. The power steering system needs to be from a remote reservoir system in order to clear the turbo inlet. That'll be an 02+ WRX for best fitment, and the WRX PS lines will bolt right to your factory steering rack. Another option which may work is the 00-04 Legacy PS pump and lines, but that's untested by me.

    You'll probably have to relocate your cruise control actuator, since it most likely occupies the space behind the turbo where the downpipe goes. I've seen a few OEM cruise actuators that mount tight to the strut tower, but I haven't been able to pin down what cars that style comes on. The normal one is way the hell out in the middle of the downpipe space behind the turbo for some reason. I ended up bolting mine to the intercooler bracket.

    That's all for now. If I think of anything else I'll be back.
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    YES YES YES Thank you so much!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alphius View Post
    2. EJ207 or AVCS EJ205 ECUs are your only options. You could block the AVCS ports and run non-AVCS cam gears for proper timing, but you lose the benefits of AVCS. If you did that, you could use any old 02-05 USDM WRX ECU. The 02-05 USDM ECU lacks the control circuitry for the AVCS solenoids.

    OK cool. The same company I bought my swap from can get me AVCS ECU in automatic for fairly cheap so I'll go that route

    4. Transmission should be OK if you don't beat on it. No launching, no powershifting, no launch control. Shift completely and release the clutch fully before applying power after shifting. A cost effective clutch setup is to convert to the 06+ WRX push clutch. The clutch generally needs to match the transmission style, pull vs push. 02-05 USDM WRX clutches are pull style, and will not work with your push style transmission.

    Clutch setup, I used this on my car before I swapped in a 6-speed:
    06+ WRX flywheel, clutch disk and pressure plate
    06+ WRX clutch fork, pivot pin and throwout bearing
    You can use stock master and slave cylinders with this setup, and your stock starter will work as well.
    You have to use a grinder and clearance one of the ribs on the transmission for pressure plate clearance, as the WRX parts are significantly bigger than stock.

    Your other clutch option is an ACT heavy duty clutch and pressure plate for the 99-01 Impreza 2.5RS, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend that since you'll break your stock clutch fork unless you reinforce it, it doesn't hold any more power than the OEM 06+ WRX clutch and it costs significantly more.

    Thanks a lot for this! I'll have to do a bit of research and see what is more cost effective. Would you recommend just buying the 06 parts from eBay?


    Use your stock radiator, gut a rad cap to put on it, and use the overflow nipple on the rad as the straight through connection to the coolant tank on the engine. Run a stock cap on the tank, and route that to the overflow bottle on the radiator. A GD WRX radiator will not fit in a BD/BG/BK without modifying the radiator support. If you do that, stock rad hoses with a little trimming will fit perfectly.

    Can you go through this a bit more? I could've sword I saw this on your build thread but now I'm coming up empty handed. I get the part of running the overflow nipple straight into the coolant tank, but it sounds like you are running two caps?

    Exhaust: Hood exit is dumb as hell.

    Exactly :walk:

    Have you thought about the crossmember? A 91-94 Legacy Turbo crossmember fits like stock but gives you clearance for your uppipe. A GD+ crossmember fits, but you have to shim your control arms or use WRX wagon control arms as they're different width than the earlier stuff. JDM GC crossmembers work the same as 91-94 Legacy Turbo ones, direct fit. You also have to use a turbo swaybar with the turbo crossmember.

    I was just planning on just cutting a C notch into the crossmember and closing it up with some plate welded on. I've heard that works.

    You'll probably have to relocate your cruise control actuator, since it most likely occupies the space behind the turbo where the downpipe goes. I've seen a few OEM cruise actuators that mount tight to the strut tower, but I haven't been able to pin down what cars that style comes on. The normal one is way the hell out in the middle of the downpipe space behind the turbo for some reason. I ended up bolting mine to the intercooler bracket.

    Good info to know! I currently have the engine bay gutted to paint it so I'll move it when I reassemble.

    That's all for now. If I think of anything else I'll be back.

    Thank you so much, man!

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    SLi Lurker meepers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alphius View Post
    1. Easy. Drive by cable. No benefits to DBW really. The long WRX throttle cable is useful, but the short Legacy one will still reach. You would need a 32-bit ECU and different heads as well as a different wiring harness in order to run DBW.

    2. EJ207 or AVCS EJ205 ECUs are your only options. You could block the AVCS ports and run non-AVCS cam gears for proper timing, but you lose the benefits of AVCS. If you did that, you could use any old 02-05 USDM WRX ECU. The 02-05 USDM ECU lacks the control circuitry for the AVCS solenoids.

    3. Crank gear and cam gear need to match the ECU you use. The sensors are the same. The JDM AVCS EJ205 will likely already have the 36-tooth crank gear necessary to work with a USDM WRX ECU.

    4. Transmission should be OK if you don't beat on it. No launching, no powershifting, no launch control. Shift completely and release the clutch fully before applying power after shifting. A cost effective clutch setup is to convert to the 06+ WRX push clutch. The clutch generally needs to match the transmission style, pull vs push. 02-05 USDM WRX clutches are pull style, and will not work with your push style transmission.

    Clutch setup, I used this on my car before I swapped in a 6-speed:
    06+ WRX flywheel, clutch disk and pressure plate
    06+ WRX clutch fork, pivot pin and throwout bearing
    You can use stock master and slave cylinders with this setup, and your stock starter will work as well.
    You have to use a grinder and clearance one of the ribs on the transmission for pressure plate clearance, as the WRX parts are significantly bigger than stock.

    Your other clutch option is an ACT heavy duty clutch and pressure plate for the 99-01 Impreza 2.5RS, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend that since you'll break your stock clutch fork unless you reinforce it, it doesn't hold any more power than the OEM 06+ WRX clutch and it costs significantly more.

    5. USDM 02-05 WRX ECUs are cross-compatible between manual and auto. Not sure at all on the JDM stuff, but my thought would be that it'll likely work if you flash a manual calibration onto it.

    Other stuff:

    Use your stock radiator, gut a rad cap to put on it, and use the overflow nipple on the rad as the straight through connection to the coolant tank on the engine. Run a stock cap on the tank, and route that to the overflow bottle on the radiator. A GD WRX radiator will not fit in a BD/BG/BK without modifying the radiator support. If you do that, stock rad hoses with a little trimming will fit perfectly.

    CarBerry is awesome, no doubts there. In my case, I'm still running MAF instead of Speed Density, and it is still much smoother than the factory WRX tune. The other major feature I'm using that I really love is the per-gear WGDC compensation, which means I can hit my boost target spot-on in every gear, instead of compromising the low gears to keep the high gears safe and spike-free. I also use the CEL-as-knock-indicator feature, which I enjoy but which also means that if I set a code I don't get any notification.

    Exhaust: Hood exit is dumb as hell. GD fitment exhaust is close to correct. The midpipe needs about a 4" extension, but fits the body hanger like stock. The axleback needs no piping mods, but all three hangers have to be redone. I bent up and welded some 3/8" steel rod into hangers. I have an OEM '06 STI exhaust on my car and love it. Nice and quiet, with good tone. Stealthy.

    If you're having someone else do the wiring, it's completely straightforward to get it back and just plug it all in. I did mine myself because I can't stomach paying that much for what amounts to a few hours of work.

    Have you thought about the crossmember? A 91-94 Legacy Turbo crossmember fits like stock but gives you clearance for your uppipe. A GD+ crossmember fits, but you have to shim your control arms or use WRX wagon control arms as they're different width than the earlier stuff. JDM GC crossmembers work the same as 91-94 Legacy Turbo ones, direct fit. You also have to use a turbo swaybar with the turbo crossmember.

    You can use your stock alternator and A/C compressor along with A/C lines. One A/C line off of the compressor needs to be bent an inch or two upwards to clear the intake manifold, and the A/C compressor bracket needs some grinding on the back corner to fit as well. The power steering system needs to be from a remote reservoir system in order to clear the turbo inlet. That'll be an 02+ WRX for best fitment, and the WRX PS lines will bolt right to your factory steering rack. Another option which may work is the 00-04 Legacy PS pump and lines, but that's untested by me.

    You'll probably have to relocate your cruise control actuator, since it most likely occupies the space behind the turbo where the downpipe goes. I've seen a few OEM cruise actuators that mount tight to the strut tower, but I haven't been able to pin down what cars that style comes on. The normal one is way the hell out in the middle of the downpipe space behind the turbo for some reason. I ended up bolting mine to the intercooler bracket.

    That's all for now. If I think of anything else I'll be back.
    That is a pretty Baller post with excellent information all across the board. MY 98 OB CC pump left room for the DP to clear, My 99 OB, has a dumb bracket that puts it pretty much dead in the way.
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    SLi nOOb Alphius's Avatar
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    Aha, I need to go to the junkyard and find the bracket that mounts the cruise actuator closer to the strut tower. Maybe it's only 99s that have the stupid bracket with the actuator hanging out in the middle of nowhere. Mine is a 99 as well, as you know. Anyway, bolting it to the intercooler bracket works fine for now. You can kind of see my "solution" in this picture.

    Also, VolatileBeans, in this picture you can trace my cooling lines to see how they're hooked up to the stock radiator. The cap on the radiator has had the spring and inner seal removed so that what used to be the overflow bottle connection is now a direct pressurized link between the coolant tank and upper radiator. So, the two lines off the coolant tank each travel through the core support to the driver's side of the car. The line from the cap on the tank goes directly to the overflow bottle. The line from the tank itself goes to the old overflow nipple and gutted cap which is now just a link directly into the radiator. Basically I've turned my radiator into a Legacy Turbo or early WRX style rad but with a convenient filling port (the old gutted cap).

    You can also see why the remote reservoir power steering system is required, and why the WRX throttle cable is a much better fit than the stock one.

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    Alphius is the man!
    I'm planning on using a JDM EJ205 with AVCS
    I understand I need to order a wiring kit (IA Performance) and ECU from the doner car.
    Does anybody on here have experience with parts for the engine? I know it's an EJ205 but the timing belt/Watepump and Head Gaskets aret they the same for the JDM Version? I Assume the JDM Version has a different timing belt due to AVCS Cam gear, But no clear info from my little digging. Figured I'd ask you, seeing how knowledgeable you are


    I've got for my build so far
    Walbro 255 Fuel Pump
    AEM Wideband
    04 WRX Wiring harness
    USDM WRX EJ205 Intake manifold
    I need to source the Clutch, Flywheel, Fork and pin yet etc..
    1999 Legacy GT Wagon 5SPD (Stella)" Race Wagon"
    V7 STI Drivetrain, STI 6MT, R180, Brembos, JDM EJ205 "Big port AVCS", Fortune Auto 500 Coilovers, a lot of JDM Parts and much much more...
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    Timing belt, water pump, and head gaskets are the same as the US ej205. As a matter of fact, all gaskets except the valve cover and intake cam seals are the same, the intake cam seals are the same as the ej257, and the valve covers are the same as v7-v9 ej207.

    Unless you get screwed by the seller and get a Forester version of the avcs ej205 you don't need the US intake manifold. The Forester version is drive by wire throttle body, smaller turbo, smaller intercooler, less powerful cams, and less potential overall. Make sure to pay attention to the throttle body when buying one of these, throttle cable means wrx and relatively easy swap, dbw throttle body and you're in for some hard times.
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    SLi Resident Tylerhartman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 86bratman View Post
    Timing belt, water pump, and head gaskets are the same as the US ej205. As a matter of fact, all gaskets except the valve cover and intake cam seals are the same, the intake cam seals are the same as the ej257, and the valve covers are the same as v7-v9 ej207.

    Unless you get screwed by the seller and get a Forester version of the avcs ej205 you don't need the US intake manifold. The Forester version is drive by wire throttle body, smaller turbo, smaller intercooler, less powerful cams, and less potential overall. Make sure to pay attention to the throttle body when buying one of these, throttle cable means wrx and relatively easy swap, dbw throttle body and you're in for some hard times.
    Awesome, I was most worried about the timing belt being different due to AVCS cam gear and there's not many totally clear cut Responses to that so that's big help.
    I know I've noticed some of the JDM Houses selling the JDM Engines with DBW, I better check twice when it's time for the power plant to be ordered.

    Thanks so much for insight, I'll probably end up bothering you guys again when the time get's closer to plop it in.
    1999 Legacy GT Wagon 5SPD (Stella)" Race Wagon"
    V7 STI Drivetrain, STI 6MT, R180, Brembos, JDM EJ205 "Big port AVCS", Fortune Auto 500 Coilovers, a lot of JDM Parts and much much more...
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