I started my rally car project about a year and a half ago. I had always wanted to do an STi swap since the day I got my 99 RS.
I bought my RS in 2010. I had been looking for a replacement to my 96 Taurus that was my first car and was beginning to fall apart at the seams. At the time I didn't know much about cars, but I knew I wanted a Subaru because it snowed where I lived and had the model narrowed down to either a Legacy or Baja, and was leaning towards Baja. I was browsing through craigslist one day when I stumbled across an add for a 2.5RS and I fell in love with the car immediately, so I made the call and my dad and I ended up picking up the car the next day. It wasn't in the greatest condition, it had 2 previous owners and the first owner treated it poorly there were a few tears in the seats the bumper had what looked like cigarette burns in a few places, and it was an automatic but I loved that car.
Fast forward to 2012 and the engine was starting to have issues. It would lag and misfire or refuse to go sometimes and other times it was fine. It wasn't the head gaskets, I had just changed them and the compression was still good, and then one day it refused to go. My girlfriend at the times dad worked as a tech at the local Subaru dealership so he had me bring it in to the shop to take a look. He had helped walk me through repairs before and I had done the head gaskets and timing belt myself. Taking off the timing belt cover it was discovered that the timing gear on the crankshaft had become loose and took a decent size chunk out of the keyway, and the car would need the engine pulled and then rebuilt with a new crank. I was pretty bummed, but then I thought that this would give me a chance to do what I had been planning for a long while now.
I started doing some research in the next few months looking at all the possible engines I could swap in to my RS. I really wanted the twin turbo from the Legacy Touring, but it would require extensive modifications to get clearance for the turbos. I settled on an EJ20K that I found on Ebay, because it would fit without any modifications to the engine bay other than the front cross-member so I made the order. The engine came with the transmission, front cross-member, driveshaft, ECU, all 4 axels and the rear diff.
With my order placed and all the customs paperwork filled out I got to work on removing the old drive-train from the car. I didn't have much room to work with because my parents' definition for a garage has nothing about having any actual room for cars to be inside and instead ours is filled with animal stuff and product samples for my dads work, leaving me with enough room for my car and two feet on each side to get around. I got the car up on jack stands and removed the wheels, then the nuts that hold the axles in the wheel hubs. Then with much cursing cuts, bruises and a smashed thumb nail I got to removing the old drive-train. First I removed all the brakes then undid the suspension in the rear leaving the struts attached to the towers but the linkage was disconnected so I could pull out he hubs and have the axels slide out. The front was a bigger pain to deal with the passenger side front strut didn't want to detach from the steering knuckle on the A-arm and I ended up breaking a pry bar trying to get it off. Once all the axles were out I removed the rear diff and driveshaft with it. After the driveshaft was out I undid the exhaust manifold and the engine and transmission mounts. With some help from my dad and my cousin who was visiting the weekend and really didn't want to help but I made him anyways we pulled the engine and transmission as one unit from the car. I then went about removing the old cross-member and prepping the new one for instillation. I had to swap out the steering rack from the new cross-member with the one from my old one because the one that came with was from a right hand drive car. With the new cross-member in place I called my dad and cousin back out to drop the new engine into place. I realized that I needed to remove the intercooler from the top of the engine after it was halfway in the bay, so I got that out of the way and then we guided it the rest of the way into place. It only took three tries to get it right, and once it was in my dad and cousin left to go watch football or something I didn't really care.
Summer was coming to an end and I got offered a job that I couldn't turn down in Portland. So the project got put on hold. Over the course of about four or five months I managed to slowly get the new axels and diff in place and start stripping out the interior to remove the wiring harness, to have it merged with the harness for the new engine.
As of right now the car is still sitting in my parents garage under a cover, with the interior halfway removed. The new axles are all in and the suspension is partially reattached I just need a few new nuts and bolts because the old ones stripped. I still need to remove the old harness and send it off for merging. Then once it's running it's off to a shop in bend to be fitted with a roll cage and rally suspension.
Some specs on the new engine: 280 hp claimed from the factory about 315hp actually, redline is at 8k, and has a close ratio hardened 5 speed gearbox with 4.44 final drive, top speed is around 155mph