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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean had a rear bearing go out a few months back.

Long story short, I have only gotten to it in the last few weeks because I can't get anyone to work on it here.

The hubs are rusted into the trailing arms on top of that.

When I was removing the trailing arms to try to press them out with a hydraulic press I noticed I have multiple bad bushings and two damaged upper control arms. One looks like it was hit with a hammer and knocked the bushing out of round. The others look like they were torqued hard. I suspect this vehicle was in an accident before I got it.

I also have no splash shield on the driver's side because it rusted off.

On top of a sunroof leak, a leak in the rear hatch, and an exhaust leak at the O-ring seal that all developed this year.

Not to mention the rust throughout the underside; I have found 1 frozen bolt and snapped off 2 10mm bolts under the vehicle. Also, I just discovered all the nuts on my brake lines are frozen.

This was a vehicle from PA and I now live in OK.

I am starting to think this vehicle is a wash. However, I love station wagons and the engine/transmission still run great. It has 280k miles on it.

I have found a 2003 Outback H4 for sale for a reasonable price and I was wondering if it would be possible to swap out the H4 for my H6.

I assume I would also have to switch the ECU over, too?
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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Lots and lots of posts about this topic.

The short answer is yes you can, the longer answer is that to do this you need a lot of parts from a H6 vehicle so the best option would be to have a wrecked H6 vehicle to get all the required parts from (which you have).

@Brucey did this in the last 18 months so he may have some pointers to help you avoid the many problems you will encounter along the way.

Seagrass
 

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Outbacks, SVXs, XT6, 4Runner, Celica, Brat, E150s
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Yep, I think I've answered a version of this at least twice in the last couple weeks.


The metal is all the same, so all the parts will bolt in.

The electronics are all very different. Meaning basically every inch of wiring has to be swapped from one car to the other. Meaning the dash has to come out. All H6s have automatic temperature control, so you'll have to swap the HVAC system. Most H6s have side airbags, so you have to swap seats, or install resistors so the rest of the system will still work. It's a very large job.


So yea, possible. People do it (or some variation of it) every day, but they're almost always building something you can't buy (generally a more modern drivetrain into a classic body). But cost/time effective? No. Just buy the one you want.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Thank you!
cheaper and saner

find another 2001-2004 H6 car, that does not run but is unrusted, and put your engine in it.

(vs. changing: engine, transmission, axles, ecu, wiring harness, gauge cluster....)

best would be to find one that overheats, but can still test drive great. so you know it is the engine only that is the trouble, inside what is a great car other wise.
(beware that your Bean's trans, is not exactly the same as the VDC trans)

edit: and @Brucey how much time did you have into the EZ30D to Baja swap,...without the fancy VDC goodies ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So yea, possible. People do it (or some variation of it) every day, but they're almost always building something you can't buy (generally a more modern drivetrain into a classic body). But cost/time effective? No. Just buy the one you want.
Well, I was planning overhauling the H6 engine and transmission before putting it into the vehicle with the H4.

I prefer the automatic transmission the CTV because I ultimately want to make it more offroad capable; as I live in an very rural area. We are 3.5hrs from a metro area in any direction.

I have a 2" lift for it and I was pricing 15" wheels.

I don't trust the H4 not to have a bad head gasket. It's a few hours away so I haven't been able to get a ride out there yet.

$2500 is about as much as I could afford to buy a car and that is the price of the H4.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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I have over a hundred hours in the VDC Baja.

It could probably be cut down to 60-70 hours if you don't want to deal the VDC system.

There is no way you could convince me to do it if I could go buy the car that came with that motor.

Even if both cars were free and I had a garage with a lift it still wouldn't make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
best would be to find one that overheats, but can still test drive great. so you know it is the engine only that is the trouble, inside what is a great car other wise.
(beware that your Bean's trans, is not exactly the same as the VDC trans) l
I don't care of I have VDC. I don't rally. I mostly just need to get down old logging roads.

In theory, could getting an ECU from a H6 Subaru model without VDC or the Bean's uniqueness, work instead of worrying about moving parts over and whatnot?

An engine is totally mechanical; it's the software that is the issue.

@Brucey what are your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For reference, this is my first project car.

So far, I have replaced motor mounts,
control arms (fwd and back), brakes, patched the exhaust, starter, alternator, and refurbished the air conditioning system.

I was getting ready to refurb the rear suspension and replace the rear struts and coils, & hubs and bearings.

I typically watch a video online and then do it.

I am mechanically inclined and I have access a lot of tools.

I don't have a lathe or CNC machine. I would REALLY like to, though.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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I don't care of I have VDC. I don't rally. I mostly just need to get down old logging roads.

In theory, could getting an ECU from a H6 Subaru model without VDC or the Bean's uniqueness, work instead of worrying about moving parts over and whatnot?

An engine is totally mechanical; it's the software that is the issue.

@Brucey what are your thoughts?
The harness itself is different. You'll have to swap or merge.

ABS and Cruise Control is different I think so too.

Exhaust and intake is different.

Fuel pump is different although I just ran the 4 cylinder model and never had fuel or emissions issues.

AC is complicated but doable. The pump itself is different so you'll have to exchange it plus recharging the system.

The harness for it is different too. I think you can have manual H6 AC with enough merging though.

If you want to get an idea for how involved it is I (poorly) documented my swap.

Here's the playlist.

 
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