WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Any thing and every thing ever asked about how to do an EJ conversion to an L series and MY. Includes Brumby and Coupe.
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L-Rex
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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by L-Rex » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:53 am

IT'S ALIVE 8)

Got all the wiring done, but have a few detail items to finish. I have to splice the VSS wire from the L speedo into the WRX loom, and I have 2 wires on the WRX speed sensor plug to choose from. 1 goes to the cruise control, and the other "might" go to the ECU. Still thinking about that one. Was also expecting a +12V signal from the ECU to trigger the fans, but that's not the case. I currently have the engine fans running all the time, but will investigate the trigger from the ECU. It's probably a switched ground. Was quite an effort to find space for all the various cables, relays, plugs and modules that are required for this conversion. The immobiliser caused some serious head scratching to get operational, until I suddenly realised that it's not good enough to just have the antenna and key, the WHOLE ignition barrel needs to be fitted under the dash :evil: The ECU ended up being secured inside the glovebox :lol:

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Ran all the cables through the L cable gland, and used a crapload of white Sikaflex to ensure that they stay there, and no water gets in.

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Ran all the cables along the inner guard, just like OEM.

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Had to extend the wiring for the cruise control, trailer flex offered the perfect solution in the one cable.

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Cruise control unit mounts up next to the WAIC.

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Engine bay fully completed. Ran a check valve in the vacuum supply to the vent controls to prevent boost pressure getting into the system. Used the L charcoal canister vent line as the return line, and repurposed the tiny carby return line as the vent. I used the original carby fuel pump to supply the surge tank, with a check valve to prevent head pressure against the pump from the fuel return. Bosch 040 is the main pump, regulated by the WRX fuel controller. I forgot to remove the pressure regulator from the L pump output, so that's a project to complete over the next few days.

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Bumper cutouts for the WAIC cooling system. They are set up to run all the time, and the WAIC remains quite cold to touch. Very happy with this result.

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(Almost) finished product!

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Still have detail stuff to finish; I'm trying to source a factory L console for the manual gearshift. The reverse lights are not yet connected, and The aforementioned VSS wiring. Still have to integrate the cruise control switches, but I have misplaced the master switch somewhere in the garage.

Exhaust is just dumping near the diff at the moment, with a dodgy extension pointing it down. It's fairly quiet, but I need to sort that out ASAP.

Speedo reads 10kph quicker than actual speed, but the new 14" wheels/tyres will sort that out (probably 185/70 or 75-14).

The tailshaft is a modified L, fitted with a GTR rear flange to suit the WRX diff flange. This also gives me a replaceable uni in the rear.

Test drive was awesome, this thing is seriously fast, and handles really well with the new Kings/KYB suspension. I converted it to manual steering (FYI has a different steering shaft extension to the power steer) and it feels much better to steer. Unfortunately, it developed some heavy hesitation and misfire under load; typical AFM failure symptoms, so I have to fit another one of those before I continue :cry:
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by El_Freddo » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:14 pm

Good stuff L Rex!

The ecu earth switches the thermo fans ;) so you’re on the right track there.

And yes, as you’ve found out, the manual rack uses a different steering extension to the power steering rack. I don’t know why they didn’t just make one rack’s output to be the same as the other for reduced production costs...

With my little EJ22 conversion I found ample space around the steering column for the ECU, factory power and fuel pump relays. My fuse panel that connects the EJ harness to the L’s loom is mounted behind the glovebox. And the aftermarket immobiliser is tucked up high well out of the way in the event that I flood the car (again - it was close last time!).

Keep up the good work!

Cheers

Bennie

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L-Rex
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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by L-Rex » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:06 am

I mounted the fuel pump relay, main relay, the (large-heatsinked) fuel pump controller, fuse box and WAIC relay behind the glovebox. The OEM immobiliser controller, cruise control module, 2 x ECU power relays, and the (large) complete ignition barrel went above the column. There was literally no other place to mount the ECU other than the glovebox. I was actually getting worried that I would run out of room for all the stuff :lol:

I'll be sorting out the fan relay setup today, possibly the VSS wiring, and my new AFM should arrive on Monday. Then I can get the exhaust done.
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1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by Bumpty » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:24 am

Nice job indeed!
Wouldn’t suspect a thing looking at that L.

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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by L-Rex » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:34 pm

Just about finished!

Got quite a few detail things sorted today;
  • The flywheel was occasionally touching the dust cover, because it was sitting slightly on the crossmember. Spaced it up by 6mm with some stainless steel shims.
  • The VSS wire from the L speedo has now been connected for the ECU and cruise control. It connects to the green/yellow wire on the loom plug to the speed sensor (not to the small separate loom for the sensor itself. I left the speed sensor connected for the ground and the data link wire, and it just tucks up under the dash.
  • The VSS wiring led to an interesting discovery; if the speed sensor is not connected, the ECU throws code P500, and sets the fans to run constantly. This was the issue that I was having with the fans not working as I expected. I need to buy another relay, which will allow me to wire the fans to run of the ECU trigger.
  • Was having some top end misfiring, which I suspected was the usual AFM issue that WRX's get. Turns out that the speed sensor disconnected puts the car into limp mode. Also had a bung O2 sensor on the pre-cat pipe, which will also cause limp mode (codeP0031). Fixed both those issues.
  • Surge tank kept running out of fuel. I had previously heard the the L electric pump running for a short period, so I thought that it was fine. After going through the wiring, I discovered the L has an engine revolution sensor, which takes a signal from the coil and uses this to run the fuel pump.

    It's up above the bonnet release, on this bracket, above where it has "R" stamped. I have already removed it for this pic.

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    You need to jump the Black/Red wire on the plug to the Blue/Red wire. The locations on the revolution sensor relay are shown, but obviously you jump the pins on the plug. Then throw the relay into the bin, it does nothing else in this setup.

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    This allows the L pump to run continuously, as soon as you turn on the ignition. No more fuel starvation!

Last things to do before engineering;

  • Fit the rear section of the exhaust. I was going to do this myself, but I decided to book it in to a muffler place instead, as I'm a bit time-poor at the moment, and I really want to get this project finished.
  • Fit the 14" Scorpion wheels with some 195/70-14 or 185/70-14 rubber, and get them on. This will also make the speedo read correctly (required for engineering)
  • Reverse lights; I need to map out the 4 pin switch on the gearbox, and run a relay to the L's reverse lights
  • The aforementioned fan issue. Not a legal requirement, but I want the motor to actually heat up
I did take it for a spin today, and it goes REALLY well :twisted: Gave it a bit of stick on the freeway, and when I pulled up the WAIC was cool to the touch, which made me quite pleased, given that I took a bit of a punt with the sizing of the heat exchanger radiator. After it's engineered, I will attend to the cruise control, as I still can't find the wretched switch :evil:
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by El_Freddo » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:49 pm

Good work L-Rex!

With the L series pump, you should be able to reference the tacho wire from the ecu to trigger the revolution relay. Then it will work as it should and happy days - plus it keeps the factory safety factor in your conversion. I would’ve thought a hard wired fuel pump that runs all the time would be a bust in a conversion.

But I could be wrong too.

Cheers

Bennie
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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by pitrack_1 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:58 pm

Awesome stuff. Great diagnosis and problem solving.

One thing I could suggest- is it possible to take a signal from e.g. the crank angle sensor to that fuel relay you just removed? I suspect it's there to save you in a crash as it will stop the fuel pumping when the engine stops.
Patrick
Ex- 2010 Forester Diesel

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L-Rex
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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by L-Rex » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:33 am

El_Freddo wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:49 pm
Good work L-Rex!

With the L series pump, you should be able to reference the tacho wire from the ecu to trigger the revolution relay. Then it will work as it should and happy days - plus it keeps the factory safety factor in your conversion. I would’ve thought a hard wired fuel pump that runs all the time would be a bust in a conversion.
Both you and Pitrack are correct, it's not ideal to have the car pumping fuel in a crash...

I looked at using the tach for a signal to the relay, but it doesn't seem to be that straightforward. When I connected the tach output to the coil trigger on the relay, the pump doesn't work :cry: It could be that my relay is a dud, but I will pull one from another one of my cars, and check it out. The circuit inside is quite basic, so it might just be a dud resistor or similar.

Reflecting on it during the evening, I also realised that I can possibly trigger the L pump from the WRX fuel pump controller, but as it runs a variable voltage, I just need to check the lower end of the scale to make sure it will latch a relay.

Failing that, I also have the option to knock up a simple circuit to trigger it from the crank sensor.

Added to the list... :lol:
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by L-Rex » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:45 pm

*UPDATE*

Exhaust rear section done today, the car is nice and quiet now, especially on the freeway. 3" stainless over the diff. Took a bit of effort to fit a muffler and pipe up there, but it worked out (pics to follow).

Took it for a good long run after the exhaust went on, with Torque monitoring all the engine vitals. The engine cooling fans are still set up to run permanently, at this stage, but the thermostat controls the temp well, settling on ~86* in traffic, and cooling down to ~80* on cruise.

Interestingly, the fan switching is no straightforward deal. As we know, the ECU uses negative switching, however, the WRX twin fan setup also has a high and low setting. If the ECU isn't seeing a certain resistance value on the switched output, it goes into fault. I sat down with the OEM fan to work it all out, and decided to just use the spare threaded port in the radiator inlet tank to run an thermo switch. I have a couple sitting around, and will select the most appropriate one and wire it into the existing fan relay setup.

I also neglected to mention in the tailshaft mods, an automatic tailshaft needs the front section lengthened by 50mm - 55mm, and the centre bearing needs to be lowered by ~10mm to allow the shaft to safely clear the gearshift (not required if you have fitted a lift kit that uses gearbox spacers).

Also not mentioned earlier, the hole that is used for the clutch master is the one that the speedo cable goes through. Since the speedo cable gets re-routed to clear the exhaust anyway, there is a convenient grommet lower down that does the trick.

Made a centre console out of alloy chequerplate to get it through engineering (pics to follow).

Decided on 195/60-14 Michelin tyres to go on the Scorpion rims, and it looks good (pics to follow). It brings the speedo up to an acceptable margin (speedo reads 5kph fast). Also compensates for the 3.9 diff ratio. Next time I will probably go for 4.11, although this thing is plenty fast for a daily drive. I had a the opportunity to surprise a few young contenders on my travels today, when my Nanna-spec wagon (complete with dusty paint and Kayak rack) totally annihilated them at the traffic light drags :lol:

My next project will be a strut brace; you can now feel the flex when under hard acceleration :shock: However, the car feels really well balanced, and the difference between the FWD EA82 3 speed auto, and the 5 speed manual AWD, is simply awesome.

In all honesty, this is the best one of these that I have built, probably because this one was for me :lol: It also strikes me that no matter how many times I do this, you still learn things along the way, and still find things to do better next time.

For those bold enough to undertake this job I kept a running tally of costs; For parts and external jobs like the tailshaft, the cost is somewhere between $11K - $12K, but this includes all new suspension, wheels, tyres, new heater core, and other "nice-to-have" things. Take away all that, and you're probably looking at ~$9K. Don't bother trying to buy a separate motor and gearbox to fit, you will need a hell of a lot of stuff that can only come from a complete donor vehicle. Brackets, pedal box, hydraulics, wiring loom, electronic components, fasteners, mounts, etc. You would spend far more on individual parts. I would strongly suggest that if you are buying a donor vehicle BUY A PRE-BUGEYE DONOR :!: . I went for the Bugeye this time, simply because I got the whole car for a very good price, but it did add some complexities; the air intake is better suited to this conversion on the GC8 WRX, as is the power steer, and the lack of an immobiliser.

Given that all the fabrication and other labour was mine, I didn't bother to factor that in as a cost, but I kept a rough track of time. It's north of 1000 hours of work :shock:

Everything has to be measured, designed, made, trial fitted, modified, tested, etc. Even a simple job like fully reconditioning the heater box, takes a lot of time. The wiring on this is not trivial (especially when also fitting a tach dash), and there is a lot more to consider than a standard EJ swap. There is still a gremlin on the dash conversion; the park brake lamp is either dull or bright, not off, and I went from having a functioning charge light to not. There is something backfeeding a voltage, or a partial ground that is causing an issue, so I'll be sitting down with the multimeter again :cry: There is also staggering amount of extra electronic stuff that is specific to the WRX, that you have to find space for, and sacrifices have to be made; no A/C being one of them.

I'll update this thread with final pics over the weekend...
L-Rex

1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by El_Freddo » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:48 pm

L-Rex wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:45 pm
Made a centre console out of alloy chequerplate to get it through engineering (pics to follow).

Decided on 195/60-14 Michelin tyres to go on the Scorpion rims, and it looks good (pics to follow).

[edit]..........

I'll update this thread with final pics over the weekend...
Updates?

I also need to update a box with some contents and send it your way - I found the first piece in the shed last week, I haven't found the second one yet.

I'll get that first one on it's way though!

Cheers

Bennie
"The lounge room is not a workshop..."
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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by L-Rex » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:39 pm

El_Freddo wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:48 pm
Updates?

I also need to update a box with some contents and send it your way - I found the first piece in the shed last week, I haven't found the second one yet.

I'll get that first one on it's way though!

Cheers

Bennie
Car is going really well, no issues at all. The power gives me a big grin every time I take it out. I'm really impressed by the upgraded brakes and suspension, it handles very well, and stops on a dime. The exhaust is stealth, but has a healthy bark when you give it a bit of right boot.

There have been more than a few drivers of Japanese and European "sports" cars that have had to get used to the sight of my tail lights :lol:

Unfortunately, I had the car booked in for RMS testing, and someone drove into the passenger side front whilst I was turning a corner, on the very day it was due to be tested! :evil: Luckily, I had the car insured for a healthy sum with Shannons, and I chose a very good repairer to fix the car. Have just got it back, so I need to book it in with the RMS engineer again...

Have found some parts to start on the strut brace, which I will fit in the near future.


I've had a couple of people approach me to help them with the same conversion on their cars. I'll probably end up giving someone a hand, but I don't want too many of them getting around :lol:
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1992 L-Series Wagon, which used to be EA82 auto.

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Re: WRX EJ20 Turbo into L-Series Wagon

Post by El_Freddo » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:50 pm

L-Rex wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:39 pm
Car is going really well, no issues at all. The power gives me a big grin every time I take it out. I'm really impressed by the upgraded brakes and suspension, it handles very well, and stops on a dime. The exhaust is stealth, but has a healthy bark when you give it a bit of right boot.
That's awesome!
L-Rex wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:39 pm
I had the car booked in for RMS testing, and someone drove into the passenger side front whilst I was turning a corner, on the very day it was due to be tested!
That's not :mad:
L-Rex wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:39 pm
... I chose a very good repairer to fix the car. Have just got it back, so I need to book it in with the RMS engineer again...
All the best with it, but really, I don't think you need well - wishes for the engineering side of things!

I'm looking forward to some pics - but you might be waiting until engineering is done ;)

And you don't want to be helping too many people in their builds - when would you ever get to drive it? :twisted:

Cheers

Bennie
"The lounge room is not a workshop..."
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