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What to do with the existing IAG block after installing the closed deck in the STi?

  • Keep it, spares are great

  • Sell it as a whole

  • Sell it in parts

  • Scrap the RA build, put it in the BAJA!

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2007 UGM STi
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Hello All,

If you're from the Northeast and you're into whatever the car scene is, you obviously know someone with a Subaru or someone that knows someone with one. So, I'm that guy now.

I come from the speed community with Mazda, and owned both at some point since 2010. Most recently, it was a MS6, which unfortunately rusted away and was given away to a local mechanic as a project car. I still have the motor though, which made 531 with a forged internals and a 6268 Borg Warner, so she boogied. I'm planning to come back to the platform, but it's getting tougher and tougher to find these without deal breaking rust. Definitely not my top priority, but I'm lowkey searching.....

For now, I went west coast shopping and have 2(!) to welcome to the family; an 06 Silver Baja Turbo and an 07 Hawkeye.

Funny story, the Mazda is the entire reason all of this has even happened. If you want the full story, it's long, but I feel like sharing so you can keep reading. Otherwise, I appreciate you taking a look and hopefully I'll see you around.



So, I'm currently paying a healthy amount monthly for storing that motor mentioned earlier. It's a waste of cash, so I decided I was going to store it in my own garage. Problem is, when I pulled the motor I was in another state, plus the install would be in that state, so my buddy with a shop agreed to store it for a couple weeks until I found a clean shell to swap to.

Yes, there are 2 MS6's involved in this. Both the car the motor was pulled from was completely rusted, and somehow the donor shell I bought was clean up top, but had some nasty frame rust issues that were hidden when taken apart, so point blank I never found a donor shell to swap the motor into. It's been close to a year now, still paying motor storage; I can save that cash, there's just those 100 miles or so in between to deal with. I don't have a truck, a friend with a truck and a rental would be outrageous for that distance, so I further decide maybe it's about time, I might as well just buy a new truck, be done with impractical cars and call it a day.

I start shopping for trucks, but I realize I really don't have the utility needs to justify spending top dollar on one, so I start looking at "weird" cross trucks, like the Ridgeline, Santa Cruz and eventually, the Baja. The motor will definitely fit in all 3. Fell in love with the quirkiness (call Doug Demuro lol) of the thing, then found out they're super, stupid rare. I shopped it for months, tried to find the HG, a 5 spd turbo, but I did some homework, and the drivetrain is basically the same as a Legacy GT or Forester XT, with the EJ255 block. That 5 spd is garbage, so I'd definitely STi 6 spd swap it, plus apparently the manual Baja driveshaft won't fit as well as the auto does, so I start looking for auto Bajas with the turbo motor.

Success, I find one, super clean, well loved, reasonable miles for the age and again, outrageously, eat-off-the-motor clean, like no hint of rust. Kind of incredible. Talk to the dealer, they say because of Covid and fraud, I have to physically fly down to sign the paperwork.....GTFO. It's what I really want though, so I agree, and schedule my flight. In the interim, I start researching Subaru transmissions, and what I find is it's a bitch to get exactly the one you want, as some are JDM, some are USDM, and there's a lot of jackasses out there that don't know their facts, and think an STi is an STi is an STi.

I find out, nah, not at all; there's turbo, internals, fueling, differential, transmission, etc. differences for virtually all of them, some more consequential than others. Mainly, I wanted the 2007 USDM 6 spd, primarily because of the longer 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears and better differentials still present before they downgraded from 2008 on. Then I see these are super rare, they're snapped up almost instantly and they're expensive. I've seen some full kits (axles, diffs, tranny, brembos, hubs, etc) for north of $7000....I mean that's halfway to a car to me. Plus, some sites list the trannys for 04-07 together as the same, which they are not. I decide I'm just going to buy an entire car and cut what I need out of it. I know for a fact what I'm getting in that case, plus I'll part the rest out, make a few dollars back.

I do my homework, confirm 07 is definitely the year to buy, and then find a clean 07, days before I'm about to head out. It's also on the west coast, and roughly 2 hrs away from the Baja. Talk to both people, set everything up, fly out, do the deals, land, get Covid. Unbelievable. Either way it somewhat works out, as I used a truck to transport both cars, and it's going to take north of a week for them to arrive. I'm feeling better, and both cars show up around that time.

I now dig deep into Subaru, literally everything; the history of the company, the leadership, engines from 205s to 255s to 257s, the DCCD system (please no one mention "torque split" or this thread will never end), that NA head gasket issue they had early on that could've bankrupted them, the cylinder 4 cooling issues, the need for equal length headers (sue me), TMIC vs FMIC, maintenance, open deck vs closed deck, the oil pickup issue, etc. At this point, I'm not a guru, but I can hold my own if someone tried to blow smoke up my ass, esp with regards to the 2007 STi in particular.

Either way, I shop shops to do the swap, and find one within reasonable distance that sounds competent. They actually advise cutting up a fairly pristine 07 is a bad move and physically cringe lol; the car will hold more value, is more desirable and is more rare by the day. To have a good example with a clean body is worth preserving, but I still want to 6 spd swap the Baja. Legit, 2 days later, I drive out to IKEA in the Baja, buy something I can't pronounce or put together competently, overheat and stall out. Turns out the head gasket is toast, milky residue everywhere, so that's now a motor rebuild. :-/

Car was purchased as is, no warranty for the record. I thought of that.

As it stands, the Baja will be getting a type RA block installed rather than another 255, though power is still being determined as I don't know much about the 4 spd auto unit or it's upper limits. Either way I'm advised the block should comfortably hold between 350-400 whp.

The Hawk is slightly built, but I am now planning to rebuild with a closed deck. For now, it has a stage 2 tuff IAG block, VF43, full bolt-ons, injectors, fuel pump and runs full e85. Makes a healthy 386 whp, 478 wtq. No drag passes thus far; I putter around town and enjoy the noises. I'm not going to list out everything I'm planning, as I've built a few motors at this point; plans can, do and will change during your build, so you never know if what you originally wanted to do is what actually comes to fruition, so don't set it in stone. Goals also change, so who knows, a 700 hp block may end up becoming a 900 hp block.

Considering I bought the Baja mainly to transport a motor, and bought an STi to build a better Baja, and now, the Baja getting a rebuild, the donor car actually serving as my daily and still paying the storage fee for the motor.....lol....I can find the humor in life for this one.

That's my story to becoming a member of this family. Thanks for your time if you actually read this entire thing.

Take care, and be well.
 
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