EJ20(3) SOHC Swap | Subaru Outback Forums

Finally have the EJ203 in my car and running at this point, this won’t be a step by step process as I did not have the time for this. I just took some pictures of the issues I came across, and just want to get this out there for anyone who has their motor blow as I did, and add to the megathread over on the 2.5RS forum located doing a Google search of EJ20 swap megathread.

Many different EJ20s
I have learned there are many different EJ20s that are out there, the ones that swap into our cars are EJ201, EJ202, and EJ203 (If I’m not mistaken.) Mine seems to be an EJ203 out of a 2006 Subaru Forester SF that is stupid clean, in my opinion. I will post pictures when I’m allowed. JDM of California claims there are 40-60k miles on the motor, which I think there may be less, or it was taken care of very well. I think this because it is throttle by wire, and the placement of the coil pack on the intake manifold. I didn’t want to just trust this though, so when I ordered the motor I ordered a water pump, head gaskets, new head bolts, valve cover gaskets, timing belt, tensioners, seals, basically the whole works without touching the oil pump or heads. I strongly recommend resurfacing the heads, I did not because of time and money constraints.

Where did I find these parts?
I got most of my parts off of eBay and some from a Subaru dealership. I got Six Star MLS head gaskets(Apparently EJ205 head gaskets are the upgrade over any EJ20 head gasket, says sixstarbernie on eBay. Mine had MLS head gaskets from factory and mine works perfectly with no leaks. The kit had cam seals, a crank seal, intake and exhaust gaskets, and how to instructions with procedure for traditional bolts.) black head bolts(Different torque procedure, shipped with torque procedure. I don’t want to post here to avoid people using the wrong torque specs if they have the traditional silver bolts.), valve cover gaskets, a timing belt kit for Forester SF 98-02 (Still works with my EJ203 though.), and rear main seals, and timing covers (The gaskets on the EJ203 were bloated with oil from the power steering when they cut the lines to the pump.).

What issues did I have?
First the PCV valves are different, I made a thread that I will also post links when I can on here but I did not know how to get them swapped over. I ended up using a wrench on the one on my Outback, which had grooves on the side of the adapter for the PCV valve and wiggled it back and forth to get it out. The one on the EJ203 had no grooves on the side so I had to grip it with locking pliers and grip those locking pliers with locking pliers so I could turn it and do the same thing. The adaptor from the EJ251 fit perfectly into the EJ203, making this not much of a problem at all. This is I think the most detail we have about differing PCV valves, I couldn’t even find one on the EJ203. Just a straight shot to the intake manifold from what I could tell.

The water pump on the EJ203 uses a different thermostat housing than the EJ251, so I swapped that over. Same with the crossover pipe, because I didn’t want to stretch the wiring from the EJ251 intake manifold over to the opposite side where the coolant temperature sender is on the EJ203 crossover pipe. I swapped the weird connector near the transmission side of the motor, I can post pictures of all the sensors I swapped.

My crank sensor and cam sensor were stuck in the EJ251 so I took a gamble and used the JDM ones as they looked exactly the same. They ended up working fine in my car, there is no need to swap them if yours are old or if they are stuck, no need to buy new ones.

The cams were a little tricky for me to torque, we tried everything we had until I wrapped an old timing belt on the cam gears and crank gear and used locking pliers on the timing belt. Make sure you position it correctly or it will skip teeth, if you’re doing the driver side cam gear then position the locking pliers as close as you can to the top of the gear to prevent it from moving as you turn your torque wrench. Passenger side bottom of the cam gear.

I used the EJ251 AC bracket because the EJ203 bracket was completely different. The alternator looks almost the exact same though, will confirm later.

The EJ203 didn’t have a flywheel on it, so I used mine and my clutch. Take one of the gold bolts from the intake and use it to stop the flywheel from turning while torquing.

How different is it?
I only just got the swap done today. It’s very smooth and linear power, quieter than it was before with my aftermarket exhaust, and there’s not too much of a noticeable power loss. I’m sure you would feel it with an automatic though. It should have a redline of about 6800RPM, if there’s a way of tuning these cars. It pulls nicely all the way to the top of the tach. I’m not too sure about mileage, will let you guys know after I can drive it once this snowstorm has passed. I have summer tires on and a certain shipping company has the four tires I ordered, so I decide to call them off-track. If you know them you know them.

If you guys have any questions or things you want to know, please let me know! It’s a very simple swap. Hopefully it will be good to me on the track as well.

By the way, my old school is getting a dyno so let’s see what this thing makes when it’s done and I visit.

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