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Previous Next Up Topic Engines / Subbug - Subaru Power / Hi everyone, new here and some questions. (13464 hits)
By darcy k 2131 Date 2010-04-15 18:41
Hi everyone, so I am new here obviously.

I read through almost every article before I decided to ask questions. however I am sure I have missed some things. so forgive me if it has already been answered somewhere else.

So I am thinking of switching out my 1835 in my type 002 bus trans for my sand rail to a subbby. it looks like it may be a pretty managable job minus the wiring. and with the cost of a rebuild on vw motors, not to mention to make it into a stroker type motor,  seems like it might cost close to as much. then once the initial things are in place, is way cheaper down the road if a motor goes bad. at least for a baseline type motor, does this seem pretty accurate? I know, open ended question, sorry :-(

However some of my questions are.

1: can you use the stock computer for sand rail type use? would you advise it? and can a place like outfront wire it for you?

2: does a company like nippon offer the full motor? intake, computer and all?

3: is there any threads, websites, or videos that someone does a full walk through on it?

that is all I can think of right off the top of my head, so ill ask more later if I get them.

Thanks everyone!
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2010-04-16 02:44
lets see if I can help answer some things for you.

1. I believe a stock computer can be used and is probably advisable to use in a swap. There will be things NOT used on your rail. Like the Cat Converter, so your O2 sensor will not be used and will not be able to provide input to the stock computer.

There is a company out there who can both wire or shorten your stock Subaru wiring harness as well as fake out the needed lost inputs so the stock computer won't throw a code. I believe his web site is Engine Wiring (it's on the random scrolling ads on this site I believe.

2. There are companies out there who offer turnkey full engines as well as computers. is the one that comes to mind at the moment. I believe I recall a figure of 17K for a complete turnkey through them. There is also Dune Engines owned by Paul Moran. He can accomplish a swap to Subi power for you should you decide to go that route. He is a great resource.

3: I don't know of any ALL INCLUSIVE web sites out there that cover a subi swap into VW. Obviously this is one site. I'm not sure what others are out there.

I think cost will be comparable as far as accomplishing an entire swap -vs- building a high HP VW engine. The Subi will be more reliable HP to HP than the VW, especially when you get up there in HP.

Hope that helps.

By Bryan G 2023 Date 2010-04-16 14:46
Not to be argumentative or anything but $17K is a pretty high figure for a turnkey subby package. The outfront website lists turnkey packages starting at $7000 complete with EMS etc. I'm sure you can easily spend $17,000 on a subby but I'm not sure that is what the OP is asking for. I would think a basic turboed 2.5L subby would replace that 1835cc air cooler and then some! 
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2010-04-16 15:18 Edited 2010-04-16 15:27
Bryan, you are absolutely right.... 17K is high. I went back and researched it.... The comment was 14k not 17 as I had posted. Sorry for the confusion (I suck at remembering numbers). If Outfront lists 7K complete... I wonder if the 14K Tom stated included install or dyno time.

Yes, 14K is still high (for my wallet anyway)... but here is the post (which should line up at the top of your screen):;hl=#pid15975  I know Tom engineered and installed their own radiators. If you have a look on their picture site (Australian manx club web site) You will see how involved it was to go with dual radiators in the side pods. It looks beautiful, and they deserve all the trophies they continue to win at shows.

While I agree you can go with an inexpensive Subi engine and do the swap yourself if you know how to fabricate and weld.... You'll pay a little more to have someone do all that for you.

I chose to go with a hybrid if you will. I contacted Paul at dune engines (rotating baner ad at the bottom) and he sourced my engine, worked out all the technical parts of the swap including all the detail bits I wouldn't have known about until I was in the middle of the project, and we both worked together to fabricate and do the swap. Could I have done it all myself? Yes, but it would have taken me 3 to 4 times as long. It was great having someone who has gone through a complete swap before. He knew the pitfalls of the swap and was able to advise me on things I wouldn't have thought of until I got to that part of the build. He is a great asset if you are going to be swapping a Subi engine into a buggy.

By Steve P 1712 Date 2010-04-16 15:30
Hi Darcy
There are some good forums out there, [url=][]  I ended up doing all work myself.  Hardest was radiator and wiring, I studied a lot of these sites on line.  I was lucky to find a 2003 Forester engine in wrecking yard, in vehicle running.  I took all of the wiring harness, ECU and more stuff I needed.  Engine was removed for me and I had to remove wiring harness from car.  $800.00 and 4 hours later I loaded truck and drove home.  I was able to download Subaru Forester shop manual for free.  Wiring diagrams were all there and very needed.  My buggy is not a show car, and is used for a grocery getter and autocross, Fun Fun Fun.  Total $'s invested in conversion +or- $1800.00.  Hours and hours are countless but enjoyable. 


By Tom & Kathleen I 639 Date 2010-04-16 16:03
Jay - the $14K I quoted was for all the parts to make the conversion.  This includes turn key engine, new fuel cell, new radiators, beefing the transaxle & all the other "crip crap".  I did most of the labor for the install & fabrication.  We have spent @ $500 on dyno time so far.  Outfront offered free dyno time which we may use later this year.  I know these figures will sound outragous to some, but this is a high end install with mostly new parts and Kathleen needs her "bling".  Tom
Tom & Kathleen Manxter #16, Kick-Out SS #16 & FiberFab Buggy
Manx Club #1030, CVA, RBC, SCCA
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2010-04-16 20:16
Tom, I figured it was all inclusive and I did see where it was for all new parts, so it isn't outrageous I suppose.

After the original cost of conversion (about 6K), rebuilding my used engine (about 1K there), buying a transaxle that can handle the power properly from Rancho (5K), upgrading the turbo (1K), adding methanol injection (450.00), upgrading to the dual stage clutch set up (800.00), and the few stock transaxles I went through before I spent the dough for the rancho unit, I'm REAL close to that 14K you just happen to spend all at once, while I did it over time... essentially financing. :-) (A little easier on the wallet)

I'd rather give someone an idea of total cost and have them be prepared, than to say, yah... it can be done for 5K.  that 5K won't be very reliable once you feel the turbo throw you back in the seat and tear the tranny apart.

I cringe now to think what I have into the buggy (original cost, Interior, Gauges, carpet, Paint, Mahogany steering wheel, etc etc etc plus the pending Nitrous install) but then again.... it really IS one of a kind.

By @Jeff GS Date 2010-04-16 23:43
Jay - at least you've gotten some seat time for your troubles and $$$!!
And of course Tom and Kathleen's Manxter is just top of the line everything!  It shows and I'd be very proud to have such a buggy!

I work and work and work on mine, sometimes it seem like it's never going to get done!  That and the constant flow of monthly "budget" getting thrown at it!  I definitely make progress, but it still seems a long way off.

And Steve P - that is a GREAT looking buggy!  Just what a N/A Subaru conversion should look like.  I especially like the tucked in radiator behind the rear seat and fiberglass.  You should detail this installation for others to check out and possibly emulate!

I'll stick to my "standard" about $5K swap price, sourcing a used engine, Kennedy adapter kit, probably an Outfront ECU, plus all the details for a N/A installation like Steve's.  You can easily spend more, and "maybe" less with some frugal shopping - but definitely plan for unexpected expenses!  It's funny, as "normal" as a Suby swap sounds these days, there is still no comprehensive "kit" to do an install.  It's almost a custom engine swap and up to the builder to decide what components to use from months of research.

By darcy k 2131 Date 2010-04-20 16:49
hey everyone,

thanks for your responses, I am still up in the air with what I am going to do as of right now. But if I decide to go for it I will let you all know.

Thanks again!
By Tom & Kathleen I 639 Date 2010-04-22 20:13
We had some more tuning work done to the Manxter yesterday.  It now has a working intake manifold temp sensor and narrow band O2 sensor.  I haven't driven it yet, but I know the cold start is working well and Kathleen says it is much smoother on the road.  Rabe Motorsports knows the Stinger ECU very well.  For a total of $800 + a wide band tuning O2 sensor, the car runs much better.  Tom
Tom & Kathleen Manxter #16, Kick-Out SS #16 & FiberFab Buggy
Manx Club #1030, CVA, RBC, SCCA
Previous Next Up Topic Engines / Subbug - Subaru Power / Hi everyone, new here and some questions. (13464 hits)

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