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Thread: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

  1. #1
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    Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    I've got a Subaru legacy, and have always been intrigued by the engines. They are easy to work on, and they last forever. With forced induction they can make a good bit of power, and have a nice low center of gravity. I think that they're pretty light too. The downside of the Subaru powerplant seems that the tranny is built for AWD. However, I think that with a little modification, this could be a valid and popular mid engine powerplant. I'm wondering what you all think.

    I've found a post on wrxclub.net that outlines how to lock up the center differential. The intent there was to create a RWD car by locking the diff and removing the halfshafts to the front wheels. However, I think that locking the diff, then removing the driveshaft that would go to the rear differential, you have effectively created a transaxle. If you are not familiar with the Subaru drivetrain, it has the engine oriented like a RWD engine with the tranny behind it in the tranny tunnel. The back of the transmission has an output shaft that connects to a driveshaft that powers the rear differential. On each side of the front of the transmission are shafts that connect to the front wheels.

    Removing the power to the rear wheels leaves you with a transaxle that locates the weight of the engine forward of the rear wheels and leaves the relatively lighter transmission behind the rear wheels. That is relative to the engine-not other transmissions. The subaru box is heavier than other transmissions, but I think that the engine is lighter, and I konw that good examples of a complete drivetrain can be had for what one would pay for just a porsche transaxle without the engine.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MunkyKing's Avatar
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    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    It's not quite where your going but I do know that a number of VW bug and bus guys have been fitting scooby water pumpers into their rides. There are even people doing the wiring harness for these. Not easy - looks like spaghetti!!!

    The Gearbox of choice is a Porsche G50 though a 901 box will work (but they complain that the throw is really long so quick changes are painful)

    There are quite a few forums that discuss this sort of swap. Conversion Perversion being one.

    Try searching for VW engine swaps.

    There is an excellent build blog by one of the guys who logs onto this site that built a 356 speedster rep with a scooby STI engine. It was and still is one of my all-time fave cars. http://www.ricola.co.uk/

    He is currently putting one into his bug cabrio I think.

    He basically goes through all of the steps to put the engine into almost anything as not only does he get an adaptor plate (available off the shelf) but has to plumb cooling and mount a radiator in the front of his car.

  3. #3
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    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    The direction that I was going with it is that I think it would be viable, and even an attractive option to use an all Subaru drivetrain for a mid-engine car. You mention that people have been mating the subie engines up to porsche and VW gearboxes, but I'm saying that I think that by locking the center diff and leaving the rear ouput shaft spinning in the breeze you could create a transaxle that is already made to mount up to the subie engine, and can handle the torque of the engine. I know the Porsche trannies can do it, but I don't know about old VW transmissions. I would think that pulling the subaru ECu, engine and transmission all together woudl ease the wiring harness headache also.


  4. #4
    Senior Member LarryG's Avatar
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    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    I think it would be a good set-up except it seems to be long... what part can we drop?

    The attached photo shows the set-up... I was wondering back then if we could loose the front section
    and mate the transmission directly to the engine and use it in a front engine rear wheel drive setup.

    http://img517.imageshack.us/my.php?i...utransasq8.jpg

    Your idea is fine if it can be done.... Turbo subaru engines with 3-4-500 hp are available.

    Keep smiling !

    LarryG

  5. #5

    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    There are a few companies that do kits to blank off the rear drive of the AWD trans and lock drive to the front, this effectively turns it into FWD only, or mid-mount and RWD. Saker sportscars is one of the companies, a few people are building one off cars and also Porsche 550 spyder replicas with this drivetrain.
    Rich
    http://www.ricola.co.uk

  6. #6
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    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    Larry G,

    That would be great to shorten it up, ut that part that you circle is where the differential that you would be using(front diff in stock form) and teh ouput shafts that you would be using live. You need that part.

    Ricola,

    So I guess this means that I'm not quite as innovative as I thought. This is just like the time that I thought it would be great to have a turbocharger that is driven by the engine so you could reduce turbo lag. Too bad someone had thought of that many decades before. But I was only about 12 then.

    Bill

  7. #7
    Senior Member LarryG's Avatar
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    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    KeepItLight...

    I completely understand what you meant... If you read my post, you'll see that I was wondering if the
    front differential could be dropped off,, and mate the transmission directly to the engine and use it
    in a FRONT ENGINE Rear Wheel Drive set-up? Any knowledge of that?

    Thanks.

    LarryG

  8. #8

    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryG
    KeepItLight...

    I completely understand what you meant... If you read my post, you'll see that I was wondering if the
    front differential could be dropped off,, and mate the transmission directly to the engine and use it
    in a FRONT ENGINE Rear Wheel Drive set-up? Any knowledge of that?

    Thanks.

    LarryG
    That has been done too, I saw some videos on youtube (or one of the others) of one doing donuts around an industrial park..
    http://www.ricola.co.uk

  9. #9
    Senior Member LarryG's Avatar
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    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    Ricola,

    In order to do this with a subaru, let's say a WRX, you don't have to drop the front transaxle and mate the
    transmission directly to the engine.
    Some companies supply a by-pass mechanism that simply disables the front differential and sends all the power
    to the rear wheels. When you want to bring it back to 4WD, you just remove the by-bass and you're back where you were.

    What I was aiming at was to shorten the engine/transmission combo by removing the front differential and use it
    in a front engined rear wheel drive kit car. So I am trying to find if there are adapers out there for that of if the
    subie engine could be mated to something like a Mustang T5... again to use in a front engined rear wheel drive setup.

    LarryG

  10. #10
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    Re: Subaru engine and AWD tranny converted to RWD

    LarryG,

    Sorry about that. I didn't read your post carefully enough.

    Everyone else,

    Does anyone know what the actual weight/ CG height above the oilpan these engines have? Or even those numbers for other engines? I know that the engines are short, which makes for a lower CG height, but I'm curious how much lower it is. I'm also curious how much weight savings there would be over a chevy shortblock or just a FWD V6 setup. The Subie engines seem like they would be relatively heavy for a 4 cylinder, but lighter than a 6, and much lighter than an 8. The transmissions are definitely heavier than other manuals though, but from this thread it looks like they are configrable for just about any drivetrain, and I know from experience that they are fairly durable. Or at least they are with reasonable amounts of power.


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