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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a 98 Legacy outback and its a 5 speed, however I would prefer it to be an automatic because I am a storm chaser and would rather not have to shift so i can focus on the storm.

Basically what I am asking is, what would it take to swap in an auto transmission? Just the trans and ecu?

Any advice is appreciated.
 

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1996 Legacy Outback 2.2, 5sp
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37 Posts
That's not as easy as you'd think, imho.

Yes...trans, ecu, console, linkage ( then properly connecting/aligning the auto linkage ). Then properly configuring the pedals. I don't think it's just removing the clutch pedal. Brake pedals are typically a big larger on automatic cars.

Have you considered selling your car and buying an automatic?
 

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'18 OB 3.6R
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64 Posts
Auto pedal box, auto transmission subframe mount, auto console/shift knob, transmission control unit, and retune the engine ECU to the auto version of software, or just swap for an already loaded ECU.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,382 Posts
You should just buy an automatic vehicle. if you've got the skills and resources to swap transmissions then you can also change vehicles.

The main issue is the wiring. You'll get hung up there. It's not all mechanical, plug and play easy. It'll be a lot of wire parsing and merging.

Parts required:
Transmission, rear driveshaft, shifter assembly/linkages, complete transmission and engine wiring harness and TCU, transmission cooler (either snag the radiator or add an aftermarket radiator) and pedal cluster - they just unbolt as an assembly but aren't the funnest thing in the world to remove.

Parts that make it nicer, but aren't necessary:
Interior trim/console to trim up the shifter, instrument cluster so it's got PRND and appropriate stuff (but it's not necessary), and the cruise control computer if you want that to work

ECU's are not transmission specific so they don't need swapped. they'll need the appropriate identifier pin modified or just install the body side wiring harness for an auto then you'll have the correct pin/wiring and ease your merging pains.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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25,769 Posts
agreed going manual to automatic is harder then the other way around in most vehicles.
(I would think such would be easier in 94 and earlier when things were simpler,)

and if swapping get something newer.
EJ251 automatics of legacy outbacks 2000-2004 are nicer to drive and ride in. then earlier ones.
(trans and engine react a lot nicer in the midrange, and the rear suspension stays planted better).

if you want some more speed. think of a 2001-2004 6 cylinder subaru.
(maybe find one that is listed as needing head gaskets and drop in a $700 JDM 212 hp EZ30D).

40 more hp/torque. = a little more to get after and get away from that tornado.

_______

alternatively:

you could buy a 1996-99 EJ25D powered LGT or legacy outback with a automatic in it, zero rust and a dead engine. .
..such might cost $600. and you swap your good engine into that. (those things are just laying around all over the place from getting melted head gaskets,...so find one with zero rust and pass up the ones with a little rust).
 

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I agree with the others the wiring will be the biggest issue. It's not impossible, but probably not worth the aggravation. The manual cars are generally more desirable. A manual first gen outback shouldn't be hard to sell.
 

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Auto pedal box, auto transmission subframe mount, auto console/shift knob, transmission control unit, and retune the engine ECU to the auto version of software, or just swap for an already loaded ECU.
So my question is a little different. I already have an auto, but I wanted to put a performance Subie motor into my OB. Problem is almost every performance motor available was mounted to a 5 speed trans. Can I put like a ej20T on the 6 speed that comes with my OB?
 

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130 Posts
HI, Welcome.
You're 'hijacking' this old thread. Please start another one...likely an Admin will move it.

You're asking something covered a lot on many different Subaru forums. Please search as you'll find it's not a simple matter of just swapping engines. Short answer is, yes, the EJ20T will connect (in fact all EJ-series engines are swappable) but doesn't mean it's easy. Wiring is a HUGE hurdle, ECU, x-members, types of clutches,etc.
 
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