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kegomatix

2009 WRX drivetrain to 280z

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So I have a 2009 WRX here that I'm contemplating swapping into my 77. Currently the car has a 350 in it.

 

Has anyone tried this before? I want to attempt to move it all over, including AWD. I have everything, motor, trans, wiring harness, all computers axles and anything else I'll need. Would be cool if there's write up if it's been done already.

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Depends how much money you have and what your experience level is. 

 

Just recently someone who had first gone about this and even got to mocking up the engine they had sold off their parts. Generally these sorts of projects are the sort that "If you have to ask..." you're probably in over your head. Especially if you're expecting a write up.

 

If you have the know-how, tools, and money though... anything can be done. 

 

Watch this entire series before you decide what you want to do. At the very least it's informative and entertaining. They initially thought they'd have the car running in about a year and a half. It's been more than twice that and the car only got back on the ground on it's own wheels in the last episode. 

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Generally these sorts of projects are the sort that "If you have to ask..." you're probably in over your head. Especially if you're expecting a write up.

This.

 

We recently had a thread here about a kid wanting to do the same, but with a Skyline donor. I don't think the non-supportive responses sunk in. Everything in that thread would apply here though, so I'll just link it for you to read through. http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/127705-500whp-awd-rb25det-s2-in-76-280/

 

Unless the car is very rusty, and the Subaru is wrecked, I think you would most likely end up with two cars that have now been ruined, and are now only worth parts + scrap value. If you had the skills to do this, I doubt you'd have to ask if it's doable. There's a reason why practically no one has done it. Only one I know of (done with a Skyline), done by a guy somewhere in Asia, basically ruined the car since he positioned the engine/ front wheels where they are in the Skyline, which results in the wheels being pushed back maybe half a foot in the Z. Looks bad, probably doesn't handle well. To do it properly would likely mean doing a full tube frame. In the case of the Subaru's flat four, you also need to consider engine width. I think a few here have pondered that swap, and found the engine to be too wide for the engine bay.

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Posted (edited)

There's a thread on here somewhere with somebody a similar subaru engine swap. It is FAR from drop in, FAR from easy, almost 100% custom, and this attempt ended as badly as anybody could expect, with the donor Z rusting to death in a ditch. 

 

If you have everything out of the car, and want to embark on a multi year project, I'd love to see you have some success! Project Binky is a great resource for what problems you can expect to encounter. Ken Blocks Hoonicorn build is another great example of trying to jam an AWD driveline into a non AWD car. http://www.speedhunters.com/2014/12/the-hoonicorn-rtr-build-story/ The Fast and Furious guys did a similar treatment with the AWD charger in the most recent film. 

 

Also remember that all these examples are being built by PRO shops with a lot of $$$ behind them. They have lots of time, lots of expertise and lots of planning!

 

I'd advocate drawing it up in CAD first, before you ever set torch to steel. 

Edited by Ben280

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Thanks for the info guys. That's the reasonable back to Earth kind of stuff I expected to see here, and it's appreciated. I'm pretty capable, have lots of time and decent know-how. If it has been done before though it's always nice to see any general quick tips or suggestions.

 

I found the one where the car ended up a parts rig, very unfortunate. I would really like to see this done but the list to get it done keeps growing as I'm going through it all on my head haha.

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You're better off swapping that drivetrain in a Karman Ghia or some sort of other VW product.

 

There are actual kits out there for those with a decent amount of info on what to do.

 

https://portland.craigslist.org/clc/cto/d/1969-karmann-ghia-huge-price/6229001736.html

 

That car could REALLY use that WRX drivetrain.

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The block is too wide to sit between the shock tower. The subaru engine usually sits in front in a subaru doing the same in the datsun you end up with the transmission stick sticking up in the engine bay pretty much due to the long engine bay. At that point cutting out the shock towers and grafting in the subaru shock towers and stuff would be the route to go, that requires a lot of alignment, welding, reinforcement. Indeed one of those things where if you have to ask...probably not quite there yet.

 

Granted depending on your purpose/goal/motivation/finances it wouldn't be all that difficult. Stretch or shrink the wheel base as needed, cut the body off the car, cut the datsun unibody off the floor and mate. If it needs to sit wide, flare the wheels, cut the body down the middle and stretch it. Not all that hard if your goal is just a fun, not road legal, frankenstein's monster type deal, there was a guy that did that with an SC400 and a volvo amazon and it turned out really nice. Unless you have a real artists eye, get really lucky with a lot of placement, and such probably not going to be quite aesthetically pleasing though.

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You're better off swapping that drivetrain in a Karman Ghia or some sort of other VW product.

 

There are actual kits out there for those with a decent amount of info on what to do.

 

https://portland.craigslist.org/clc/cto/d/1969-karmann-ghia-huge-price/6229001736.html

 

That car could REALLY use that WRX drivetrain.

 

If I was more experienced and had some proper shop space here in Washington I'd be so tempted to do this haha

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VW swap would be a blast haha. But again, thanks for the info. I'm the type of guy that WILL get something done, I never leave a project once I've started, unless it isn't feasible. That was my biggest concern, the width of the Subaru motor. If I am to attempt this I think I'll end up finding a different Z to chop up as my current 280 I've had for 12 years and built from the ground up, I'd hate to destroy that one needlessly lol.

 

Thanks everyone, I think I'll look around for something else to drop the Subaru drivetrain into, if not a different Z car.

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Z31 does natively fit a V6 with a turbo. I imagine a Z32 would be even better with the allocation of the twins. I mean I had this thought way back in the day, but found the Subaru engine was about 3 inches into the shock tower an an S30. Given you would probably want at least an inch on each side, probably two if you wanted to take the covers off without having a very generous fender access port (still would have to remove the shocks), you would be looking for the width of a subaru engine + 4 inches relative of course to where the front axles leave the transmission, which I think is where you will find that the Z31 may be too short with the the axles lined up to the front wheels. 

 

I would say to take a couple measurements and head off to the junkyard. I have yet to go to one that didn't have a Z31.

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All good points, thanks. I have to pick up an engine at the junkyard on Monday anyway so that'll be a good chance to look for one. I'm pretty sure they had one last time I was there. The Subaru 2.5, last time I did a rough measurement, was 31 or 32" I believe. Couldn't get a great measurement between mounting points on the block though.

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And in case anyone was wondering why I have this setup ready to throw into something, I have a 2009 WRX that was rear ended and I bought it back from the insurance company. It only has 84,000 miles on it and I have to put in something, and I feel putting it in another Subaru would be boring! lol

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And in case anyone was wondering why I have this setup ready to throw into something, I have a 2009 WRX that was rear ended and I bought it back from the insurance company. It only has 84,000 miles on it and I have to put in something, and I feel putting it in another Subaru would be boring! lol

 

Put it in a bugeye wagon :)

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I love these posts. 

I would say this is not a feasible project unless you have the skills to design, fixture and weld tube frame chassis. You would have to tube up the front at minimum. Flat and Inline or V engines require completely different design considerations in the engine bay. GO look at how tight even some of the V6 swaps are, like the VQ.

I would recommend looking at swapping into a 914, if you're just dyyying to put it in something else. 

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I mean boxer has been done before, and AWD has also been implemented before. Doing both I can't say I have seen and there are some logistic points of contention granted those could be solved creatively or via hack job. It is some what feasible compared to some other options, granted not nearly as easy as almost all others.

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I think what project binky showed me the most was that you can fit stuff in the space pretty easily. Getting it all to work properly without killing you is the tough part. What good is all that effort if it handles like a mini van.

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4 hours ago, seattlejester said:

I mean boxer has been done before, and AWD has also been implemented before.

Who did a boxer? As for AWD, I can think of exactly two off the top of my head. One is the 2+2 V8 racer from Australia, the other is some hack job from Thailand or something where they shortened the wheelbase by several inches. I think they basically swapped the Skyline front and rear suspension + driveline in, as is. Looks awful.

IMO, if you want either a boxer or AWD, just get something that has it already. Trying to put them in a Z is like putting a square peg in a round hole.

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The AWD one is the V8 one with I think purple livery. Not much info on it that I have looked for. Haven't seen the one from thailand, not sure I want to with that endorsement lol.

The boxer one wasn't done exactly well, at least the one on here:

 

But he did show it could be done via just moving the whole driveline forward. Not ideal and would probably handle worse than a subaru, but feasible yes.

Agreed, placing an engine in somewhere is not very difficult based on your definition of "in" and how comfortable you are with a sawzall/angle grinder, making it all work together is a completely other matter.

There is a chassis swap that is making some progress on GRM https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/subaru-powered-datsun-240z/128669/page3/

That would be the way I would do it if I was intent on doing it. Just keep the mounting points and graft the body onto it.

I think people have done it do 510's given they have the right "shortness" for it and mods like shock tower removal is a thing that I've seen more on 510's than on Z's (that is still a small number like two 510's to 0 Z's).

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