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By Paul Moran (DBA Architect) Date 2006-11-08 13:53 Edited 2007-01-11 14:38
Hello - If you'd like to join us in this board, please start a new topic (or if that's intimidating, reply to this message) to introduce yourself.  This is not a requirement, but we have found a lot of synergy between members (ex. living nearby, own the same buggy, are using the same unusual Subaru motor, etc).

Please format the topic similar to "Intro: Paul Moran - EMPI Imp Buggy - EJ20T - Winfield, IL".  If you have 15 buggies and 5 of them are Subaru powered, do the best you can...

Do you currently have a Subaru powered buggy or are you interested in installing a Subaru engine into your existing buggy?

What part of the country (or what country) are you in?

What do you use your buggy for? Off road, sand, street, or racing?

Thank you!
Subbug Moderators (Bob, Jeff, and Paul)
Chicago, IL
EMPI Imp 1002 ('69)/Subaru EJ20 Turbo/LinkPlus ECU
By Rod D 573 Date 2007-08-12 18:30 Edited 2007-08-12 18:44

New here, Looking for Subaru turbo info for my Manx.  Hoping to find some tips on the best way to do the conversion. 

My car is an original Myers Manx confirmed by the Manx Club,  My dad bought it in 1968 from someone who made a mould from the body.  My dad left it hanging from the rafters of his garage untill he gave it to me 3 years ago, and I put the car together and have been driving it ever since. Still has nice original gel coat.  Where do I start? The tranny and cvc's are built for a turbo motor, and I want to use MSII.  I will be building a tube frame when I do the conversion. 

By @Jeff GS Date 2007-08-20 16:01
That's a great looking Manx Rod!
I thought Paul might move your post into the main forum areas (under Subbug) - the New introduction/welcome message area is a little unclear.  Feel free to post in the main Subbug area.

Save for adding an additional engine mount (somewhere towards the rear), the engine is a basic engine swap bolt-in.  I think the jury is still out on best location for the radiator, and the install of that piece is all custom.  I'm guessing you will not want to do much if any cutting on your super-nice Manx body - so likely behind the engine or above the transaxle will probably be the only lcoations available.
The rest is adapting the electronics/ECU which can be the biggest hurdle, since the rest is all "mechanical" work and easier to understand!
Keep us posted on your progress!
By Ross C 356 Date 2007-08-21 14:44 Edited 2008-02-21 18:45
That sure is a clean looking original Manx.  I like the functional Yakima on top.  I agree with Jeff that the jury is still out on the best radiator location especially with your clean compact look.  First determine and fit the radiator before doing anything since that will be your biggest challenge.  I like how Bruce Myers red Manxter has the radiators in the side pods.  I understand that was a plumbing nightmare and I don't think it has been done on an original Manx yet.  For exhaust and oil pans check out Outback Motorsports.  Also consider mounting your transaxle at an angle to provide better engine clearance since the Subaru hangs down lower.

By Sandsurfer Date 2007-08-21 21:28 Edited 2007-08-23 00:30
Mounting the radiator over the transaxle is not an option on a Manx. There is a battery box on one side of the trans and a spare tire well on the otherside.
Radiators in the side pods is an option if you are up to all the work.
By the way, You have a great looking Manx.
By @Jeff GS Date 2007-08-22 23:42
In the FWIW dept:  In his old technical articles Gene Berg stated that on a VW Beetle there was a definite high pressure area under the car at speed.  This area is just aft of the main body, at the forward edge of the engine and transaxle bay - basically between the axles and the torsion tube.  Berg determined this by manometer testing and stated it would be an excellent place to locate rear brake ducts or an oil cooler (or additional cooling scoops and ducts to the engine bay).  In fact, this is a popular location for a cooler, in particula the large Mesa coolers with a fan.  The natural airflow was from the underside of the car and up, up and around the transaxle - and I guess out and around the sides of the engine and out the back, or out the wheelwells?

This "might" also be a good location to slot in some small radiators, one on either side.  An IRS wouls certainly give some limitations in thas area - but a swingaxle has some rather large holes there as I recall.  Or maybe you could use the area to fit some air scoops and ducting to a radiator loacted nearby?  Just thinking out loud here, and some type of manometer or other means of testing the airflow would definitely be in order to verify the required pressure zone on a buggy - but certainly something to consider if you've got the room back there.

The only other option without cutting the body would seem to be behind the engine like Ross's car?

By Ross C 356 Date 2007-08-23 14:50 Edited 2007-08-26 16:50
I can verify high pressure under the luggage area (above the transaxle).  I have this area cut out of my ManxII body for access to my battery, ECU and fuse boxes with a removable panel that is 1/8" aluminum covered in carpet.  This cover is somewhat heavy so I was amazed that air pressure lifted it off at only 30mph when it wasn't fastened down. 

My current attempt to get air through the rear mounted radiator so the fans don't come on is I am fabricating side panels around the engine and a skid plate to try and direct this air pressure back to my rear mounted radiator.  I had planned to add side panels to keep flying rocks from the radiator but now I added a little detail to direct air to the radiator.  I will let you know if it make a difference.

8/26/07 Update rear mounted radiator.
The side panels and bottom plate did make a significant improvement.  At 70mph the fans run continues and at 60mph they cycle on and off but run more often than not.

By john c 605 Date 2007-09-10 14:43
hello....i have a bradley gt that id like to power with a subaru engine...any advice on how to start would be awesome..thank you   john
By @Jeff GS Date 2007-09-14 12:05
How to start would be researching and reading everything you can get on Subaru engines and adapting to VW chassis'.  There's plenty of material to absorb!
Start with this forum, and when you're done reading all the posts, do a Google search for Subaru VW and see what pops up.
A Bradley might be difficult due to the super low nose - not much room to locate a radiator?  It would take some pretty creative engineering and testing to locate the radiator elsewhere on the car.

Take a look at the old Subbug Yahoo site - that has several links, files and photos you can check out - with a pretty good primer on adapting the new engine:

By robby r 679 Date 2007-11-14 19:54
intro       robby robinson 5 vws total  south alabama us.   starting ej25 dohc   rear mount in bug   and also awd forward mount set up in another hoping for tips from others to make it easier , sold manx a while back (mistake) and looking for replacement ,my questions at this time are selecting ecu and engine wiring harness ,not my first time with repower and injection im new to subarus and forums so forgive the mistakes ill surley make
By Mel Adjusted Date 2007-11-20 05:06
The biggest buggaboo I see is everyone is looking for wiring diagrams for the Subaru's. Well I just happen to have a lot of them. 1995 to 2000 Legacy service manuals including JDM and ADM...  1993 to 2004 Impreza WRX and STi's. There very large files with lots of pictures and wiring diagrams. I'm loking for a place to post them for all to have.
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By robby r 679 Date 2007-11-21 14:02
hi lilgeico,are the files too large to put in photobucket acct with a link,im itching to look at some of that info and thats cool of you to share that info ,im sure you dont want to be bothered with a million questions so posting that info somewhere is  a good idea ,but i sure want to look at some of it and if you have a few minutes i would like to pick your brain for a few minutes,i have a few questions to get me started in the right direction
By Mel Adjusted Date 2007-11-21 16:37
Their is a lot of files here... about 1 gig worth... I might be wrong but I might be the only person outside Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru) Who has all these in 1 place. Most of these are the Subaru service tech. manuals which include every part of the car along with the complete wiring diagrams for JDM and ADM auto's.
I sure any forum who had these would get lots of hits as a lot of people are always looking for wiring diagrams and information.
Photo bucket can't or won't handle them.. Any other suggestion?
I was going to have them printed but the cost would be too much. I sure some Subaru forum would like them. !st come.. gets it all..
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By Terry F Date 2007-11-21 22:37
If you don't have any other takers, I can try, I have a gmail photo account that is one gig, and it can be upgraded to five gigs.

By Paul Moran (DBA Architect) Date 2007-11-21 23:56
Dumb question - are these files protected by copyright laws? If they are public domain, I'd be happy to host them here.  I'm sure I could find a place to tuck them away in the DBA/Subbug site.

Chicago, IL
EMPI Imp 1002 ('69)/Subaru EJ20 Turbo/LinkPlus ECU
By Mel Adjusted Date 2007-11-22 00:08
Just tell me how to transfer them... I'm sure it will take some time but lets do it

There not being sold or used for any monies gained only for public viewing and information
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By Paul Moran (DBA Architect) Date 2007-11-22 05:20
I hate to say this, but I won't be able to get to this until after Thanksgiving weekend.  Let's talk on Monday.  I will try to give you a call and I can set up scp or ftp access to the server for you.  I'm sure it will take a while, but we'll figure out a way.

Chicago, IL
EMPI Imp 1002 ('69)/Subaru EJ20 Turbo/LinkPlus ECU
By Mel Adjusted Date 2007-11-22 06:12 Edited 2007-11-22 06:15
Great cause I have a FTP service... I live in Mexico but have a Yahoo/ with voice phone 801-335-9494
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By ian h 817 Date 2008-03-09 15:23
right here goes :-)
i have 3 subaru conversions in vw`s

2.2 nat asp legacy in a single cab vanagon t3
2.0l legacy turbo in a vanagon caravelle
and a 2.0l legacy turbo in a beetle drag car
the specs are rjes busbox bell housing conversion allowing me to use all the subaru clutch inc starter (except friction plate but soon as new input shafts are in it will be grrrreat)
floorpan converted to irs using porsche trailing arms and running 944 shafts

im running 11.23@127mph with 50 shot of gas at mo,with totally stock engine.
the 091 busbox has a locked syncro diff other than that its stock internals at moment

and i in england

stock legacy turbo in a beetle 11.23@127mph qtr mile
By Paul Moran (DBA Architect) Date 2008-03-11 16:43
Very nice, Ian!  How much boost are you running in the 2.0L to get 11.23 quarter mile times?  Do you have pictures of your other builds that you can share?

Where did you hide the radiator on the drag bug?

Chicago, IL
EMPI Imp 1002 ('69)/Subaru EJ20 Turbo/LinkPlus ECU
By Mel Adjusted Date 2008-03-12 03:18 Edited 2008-03-12 03:22
Now thats one hauling bug.. Nice. I see alot of people from Denmark, England and downunder doing conversions. How often you see a bug with it's front wheels off the ground?
Did I hear you right... stock with a 50 shot of spray? How many stock VW can claim that?
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By Tom V 842 Date 2008-03-18 18:52 Edited 2008-03-18 18:57
Hi there, I'm a new member from Belgium and have an EJ20TT engine on a '69 automatic chassis with a Mexican 1200 body on it which I'm restoring at the moment.

first pic is with the original body on it, lots of stuff left to do...

By Mel Adjusted Date 2008-03-18 18:56 Edited 2008-03-18 19:03
Welcome to DBA Tom, Glad to see you made it. Now you can ask and all can benefit from your building. Your car is looking good even if it's a Mexican VW. I want to see it running.
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By Terry F Date 2008-03-19 17:04
Excellent job of documenting your build with pictures.

BTW, where did those flared fenders come from?
By Tom V 842 Date 2008-03-19 17:13
the fenders come from Custom Speed Shop (CSP) in Germany and I must say they are excellent quality
By Larry L 971 Date 2008-06-14 10:49
Man, glad i stumbeled on this site, you guys seem to know what your talking about. I have two, well me and my father, have to suby conversions going. The first and foremost important is his. He has a older bugpack style sandrail  with a 69 bug body fitted on it. Beautiful, but besides that, he's running a turbo pinto right now. He picked up my buddies totalled 05 wrx and after getting the heads fixed (couple valves smacked the piston in the wreck) he has a nice 05 2.0 turbo motor sitting there. Now, his only thing is ecu and wiring. Obviously, we've talked to outback and paying 1500 for an ecu and harness is not going to work. We're trying to figure out how to use the stock ecu and trim down the wiring for it. Or, is this MS going to be his best bet? I loked a little on the diy website and i'm confused if the MS IS an ecu, or seperate. Cause in the FAQ's it says what you need is a ecu? so, any help on this would be awesome. As far as the second project, i won't go into that much detail as of now since i already wrote so much but i have a 64 bug that i want to put a early 90's ej22 or ej22t. My dad is amazing with cars and fabbing so i know we can do it, my only concern will be the same things. Ecu and wiring. well, and fitting it.
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-14 11:22
Hi Larry and welcome to the DBA.
The DIY is an ECU, but there is a lot to figuring it out. Paul (who is the webmaster of the DBA and also owner of Dune Engines LLC) and myself just went through this on my '02 2.0 WRX motor. Mine is controlled by the MS2extra... but I can tell you that I don't have it nearly close to being tuned, as the G-Tech computer says I'm only pulling 116 HP. I'm still running rich. The software is supposed to tune itself (as long as you have a laptop hooked up to it as you drive) but for some reason mine kept showing "Outside of parameters" for auto tuning. MS2extra DID do some corrections as I drove, but a lot of the fuel map was manually trimmed by Paul while I was driving.

You'll need a trigger wheel other than the stock trigger wheel if you go the MS route. Paul has a machine shop in FL who already has the auto cad program to cut a trigger wheel into your pulley as long as you don't want to run whatever it is that runs off the closest pulley to the block... AC or PS maybe? I don't know if Paul would sell you just the trigger wheel, but you never know.

The last thing is the wiring. It looks like you'll need to strip the harness down in either route you go, so there isn't a lot I can tell you about that other than there is a guy out there Tom i believe his name is at who can build you up a stripped down harness in the length you want for $500.00

Good luck which ever route you choose.
By Paul Moran (DBA Architect) Date 2008-06-14 13:47
Jay has it correct.  "The DIY" he is referring to is a MegaSquirt.  MS is a bit confusing. Jay is running the MS V3.57 motherboard (3.57 means it has the circuits soldered to the top layer for easier automated assembly and is equivalent to the V3.00 home assembled board).  He has an MS-2 daughter board installed in place of the standard MS-1 CPU.  And he is running MS2Extra for the software which we had hoped could read the stock Subaru crank trigger wheel.  I could not get it to read the stock wheel so I switched over to the 36-1 wheel that is recommended for the MS.  There are some other customizations we ordered for the MS from

Tom at charges $495 last I looked to convert a stock harness over using the stock computer.  If you have all the parts, this is the best and cheapest way to go since you'll have great stock performance without any tuning required.  It will feel like your driving a regular car.  Jay's didn't have the computer or harness so trying to find those and modify the harness would have been much more expensive than running the MS set-up.

Chicago, IL
EMPI Imp 1002 ('69)/Subaru EJ20 Turbo/LinkPlus ECU
By Larry L 971 Date 2008-06-17 21:50
Thanks a bunch for the info. That guy is exactly what we have been looking for. I emailed them and he said due to it being so new (extenssive anti theft device) it will be a little harder but can be done. thanks again.
By Jeremy O 1030 Date 2008-07-10 16:36
Hello. My name is Jeremy and I have worked at Outfront Motorsports for 5+ years and have a lot of experience with both Subaru engines and conversions/installs in buggies. We specialize in subaru engines and also in stand alone ECU systems and wiring. If you have questions or need advice I can help. I also am planning on doing a bug conversion myself over this summer.

I am located in Orange County, CA

see you in the forums

714-994-5222 (714)994-5222
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-07-11 01:26
Welcome Jeremy.

Thanks for offering up your knowledge to others on this board. You'll have to document your own conversion for us all! :-)

By Glenn G 653 Date 2008-07-22 13:53
Hello Im new to the whole scene. I am looking into a project with a subi motor either a 67 beetle or a sandrail that has a vw in it already...possible switch to a mid engine with subie engine and trans? Anyway i am here to get all the info I can. Also info on how to build a buget N/A subie with plenty of honda smokin power....
By max r 1066 Date 2008-07-22 18:59
Hi All this is my buggy its bast on a 1972 bug. At the mo Ive got a beetle 1300cc with twin webbers but Im thinking of going the ej22 route.

Attachment: buggy.bmp (900.1k)
By Don L 1157 Date 2008-09-07 19:59
Hi All,

I'm born, raised and live in West Virginia.  I'm in a little town up in the mountains where there are only seven traffic lights in  the whole county.  I teach high school math, and am only a day or two younger than Mel-adjusted.

I have no previous buggy experience outside riding with a buddy who built one about 1970.

My ambition would be to have a street legal buggy that would be a daily driver.  We do get signifcant snow coverage here 10-12 weeks in the middle of the winter, but my 1989 Jeep Cherokee takes care of that.  Yeah, I'm not much into new/newer cars, and usually drive them until the wheels fall off.

I'm hoping to be able to buy a frame/kit (ala Barrien), and use a FWD 'Baru mounted mid-ship, using as much of the suspension as possible.   I'd be more likely to buy it and bolt it on, rather than fabricate a part, and am hoping this forum can provide links to the exotic things that might be needed.

Thanks much,
Don Lohr
Don in the Mountains of West Virginia
By Mel Adjusted Date 2008-09-08 07:00
Welcome to DBA... still a snot nose kid I see... Sounds like you want to build a killer buggy.. Mid-engine is the way to go if you starting from scratch.
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By Paul Moran (DBA Architect) Date 2008-09-12 14:35
Hi Don - Your at the right place.  I have yet to find a FWD 'baru, but I know they are out there.  Do you want to go with an automatic and make it a paddle shifter or start with a manual?  Spectrum Sandsports (just north of Berrien) builds custom rails and might be able to assist with the "buy it" part of setting up a mid-engined rail.  Good luck on your new project.  Paul...
Chicago, IL
EMPI Imp 1002 ('69)/Subaru EJ20 Turbo/LinkPlus ECU
By jared s 1188 Date 2008-10-20 23:08 Edited 2008-10-20 23:29
Hi. my name is Jared. I am thinking about putting a Subaru engine in my new/ old buggy since i need a new source of power anyway. Although it does looks complicated and expensive. Can anyone give me some idea of what it can cost (to sway me in a direction). The buggy i am building is for the street. I would like it to be fast and reliable with the least amount of maintenance . Can i have all of that in one engine?. Also is it possible to install it with out cutting the body?  Finally is there anyone in the ct area that is known for this conversion ?  THANKS
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-10-21 11:11
You came to the right spot. Kathleen of Tom/Kathleen screen name on here have done the Subaru motor swap from Outfront Motorsports into Kathleen's Manxter. They are from CT. I'm sure they'll notice this post. I'm also from CT and have done the conversion, although not the Outfront swap myself. My buggy is going to hibernate in Mass this year, but I'm usually all over New England when the buggy weather hits.

Personally, if you are looking for high reliable HP, I think the Subaru motor is the way to go. I know that's going to open the floor for discussion and the tried and true VW guys will disagree, but when you look at what it costs to get a VW motor close to the Starting Point of the Subaru motor, you'll be surprised.

I asked the $ question on here within the last year probably. I don't have time to search and hyperlink it for you, but if you go back a few pages or search you'll probably find it.

By Terry F Date 2008-10-21 16:37
Welcome to the forum. I spent about $4k building my EJ22T into a "Turn Key" motor including adapter with flywheel plus Stage II pressure plate and 6 puck clutch disc. I used the EMS Stinger ecu from Outfront and sent my stock harness in so they could build a harness with all the unnecessary wiring removed. Next time I will do the harness myself and save a few dollars. Other guys have went with Megasquirt but it isn't a plug and play system like Outfront's.
By Tom & Kathleen I 639 Date 2008-10-22 22:17
Hi Jared, Tom of Tom Kathleen here.  Yes we can give you some advise on Subaru conversions.  However, we used mostly new parts from Outback / Outfront so a price would be very different.  If you want to see what we did, go here .  If you want to see the car in person, that could also be arranged.  Have fun.  Tom
Tom & Kathleen Manxter #16, Kick-Out SS #16 & FiberFab Buggy
Manx Club #1030, CVA, RBC, SCCA
By dewayne b 1137 Date 2009-01-25 08:08
Hello i'm new to the forum but i talked with you Paul back in the summer about my buggy and you gave me lots of good info and i would like to thank you for that. My buggy was built for my 16th birthday by my cousin Billy Carter of Houston Tx. It was one of only three square tubes that he built. It was originally powered by a 1600cc dual port vw. As any teenager I longed for more power but did not have the resources and after college the buggy soon fell into major disrepair. The car sat in my father's acid dipping plant for 25 years so you can imagine the rust and corrosion it suffered. In march of 08 I loaded the car up and brought it home to restore. That's when I decide to go subaru and boy was that the best thing I could have ever done. My only regret is that I was alittle affraid of the idea of jumping from 50hp to over 200hp and chose a 2.5 without the turbo. Don't get me wrong the buggy is super quick but that has only fed my horse power addiction so I'm in the process of ordering a turbo and water meth. injection. Hopefully this will satisfy my craving and give me the killer street rod I've always wanted. Again thanks for your suggestions and I really enjoy reading the forum.

By Paul Moran (DBA Architect) Date 2009-02-05 05:01
Hi Dewayne - That turned out great!  It is definitely a unique rail design and it looks like the Subaru fit right in.  How is it hitting the hills with more power?  Jay has a water/meth set up from  Devils Own on his EJ20T.  He can give you some first hand experience with a set up on a Subaru if you need any.  Paul...
Chicago, IL
EMPI Imp 1002 ('69)/Subaru EJ20 Turbo/LinkPlus ECU
By dewayne b 1137 Date 2009-02-08 07:06
i have not had a chance to even get it off road, we're still to busy here putting things back together from hurricane ike. but on the street it is sweet. i ran a vette z06 and had him by a link until about 60. i think with the turbo i will have a bonafide corvette killer. my second childhood is definitly upon me.
By Mel Adjusted Date 2009-02-11 07:42
I can personally say you'd kill a Vette with a turbo by at least 2 seconds in the 1/4.
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
By Daniel L 1452 Date 2009-03-16 19:26
A good friend and i just started a 1975 Porsche 914 w/ EJ22e project less than a month ago. What we plan to do is:
-EJ22e matted to the 901 sideshift transmission
-Use the small car engine mount
-Source an OBD1 Ej22 harness and then do the wiring ourselves
-Run a single or dual pass radiator in the front trunk

If you wanna see more of our progress check out our project thread on

At moment we're doing bodywork, patching, cleaning and ridding the body of rust.

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-03-17 22:12
Are you going for the 914-6 look? Not enough time to check your link yet.... maybe later on tonight if I'm lucky. Always loved the outcast Porsche.

By Steve B 1481 Date 2009-04-05 15:50
My name is Steve, I am from California and I am also doing a Subaru 914 swap.  I am using the Subaru transmission.  I have developed a custom output flange for the Subaru transmission that allows the use of stock 100MM VW bus axles in the conversion.  I joined this group to promote the use of the Subaru transmission in buggy swaps.

Attachment: Flange.jpg (31.0k)
By Terry F Date 2009-04-05 20:44
Hi Steve, welcome to the forum. What price range are you targeting for the drive flanges?
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2009-04-06 03:54
Hi Steve. unfortunately, the Subaru transmission will only work for a mid-engined buggy. They are fairly rare, but they are out there. This is at least until there is a reverse cut R&P for the Subaru transmission!

By Steve B 1481 Date 2009-04-06 17:00
Hello again,
I have not had time to split a transmission yet, but I think the R&P can be flipped fairly easily. I am hoping to be able to offer a Vanogan swap someday that uses the full suby drivetrain.
The first set of flanges sold for $495 USD, if I can get a larger order the price drops fast.  These are 4340 heat treated and cryo'ed, they are very nice parts that should last forever.
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