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2008 USDM Outback 3.0R 6MT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've swapped my USDM 2008 Outback 3.0R LL Bean from a 5EAT to a 6 speed manual. I think I'm the first one fully working with US emissions and cruise control?

Why? Because I want to.

How?
Swap in the drivetrain (Trans, rear diff, etc) from a 2007 JDM Legacy 3.0R Spec B.
Remove the TCM and replace it with an EVTVdue to replicate the Canbus signals the other modules look for.
Wire up misc things like reverse lights, clutch switch, key lock solenoid, etc.
The vehicle will look and drive like it came from the factory with a 6-speed manual and be fully factory emissions compliant.

How much?
Parts: $5733.23
Labor: $2360 (Shop installed swap)
Rental car: $1346
Tuning: $687
R&D Costs: $300
Total to date: $10396.46

What about ABS/VDC/Cruise control?
As of 3/25/21 - TCM is replaced with an arduino that sends out the CANBUS signals the TCM used to send. Everything seems to be running as it should be and I'm just building drive cycles now to verify everything works right. The ECU and rest of the car thinks everything is pretty much normal and has no clue the automatic is missing. The only visible sign anything is amiss is the PNDRM indicator on the dash is dark - no letters displayed. 3000 miles so far and all good except for some slight tuning work to be done.

This thread is to provide some documentation for that and help everyone else who wants to do it. Mitch Siegel and several others are doing this swap with me and helping immensely with the R&D. I would have never started this swap on my own. We are building connector kits and whatnot to simplify the swap. There is a separate writeup planned with a detailed walkthrough as well as parts lists and decoded canbus information. If you need access to it right now please let me know and we can share the information in process.

Please join our facebook group EZ30R MT Swappers

More to come...
-Peter

506454
 

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2005 Outback VDC limited 3.0r
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1,083 Posts
I definitely plan on this swap in the next year or 2. Although I will be doing the labor myself so that will definitely help.
 

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2002 Outback VDC
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254 Posts
I will definitely be following this, mostly just for fun, but sounds like you did a good job!
 

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2008 USDM Outback 3.0R 6MT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Update - Getting Canbus dialed in still. I've found if I send it TCM signals from an old WOT run it has a lot more power. It feels like an XT in boost but it's all the time and the power is instant. Will need to compare at partial throttle to make sure timing, mixture, lift, etc is consistent with prior engine behavior - Basically it will need to be tuned to match the Spec B 3.0R.

Also, ABS/VDC/Cruise cuts out after about 5-15 minutes. I can power the car up and let it sit and it still cuts off after 15 minutes even just sitting with the engine off, so it doesn't have anything to do with driving, and there's no handshake traffic from anything else. Not sure why it cuts out, but suspect it may have to do with the EVTVdue getting out of sync with the rest of the modules due to time drift.

More to come...
 

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05 GT wagon, 09 Spec B, 18 3.6R Outback
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1,123 Posts
There was a guy a few years back on legacyGT.com that I think had all that figured out. Sorry I don't know where that thread is because it wasn't something I was going to do. I'm sure if you ask around over there someone will have an answer.

I do remember people had issues getting CC to work when going 5eat to 5mt or 6mt. You may reach out to Dave Brady at Home He was one of the first to do the 5eat to 5mt swap.

 

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2008 USDM Outback 3.0R 6MT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There was a guy a few years back on legacyGT.com that I think had all that figured out. Sorry I don't know where that thread is because it wasn't something I was going to do. I'm sure if you ask around over there someone will have an answer.

I do remember people had issues getting CC to work when going 5eat to 5mt or 6mt. You may reach out to Dave Brady at Home He was one of the first to do the 5eat to 5mt swap.

Yes - I found that too. Unfortunately I think that guy lives in Australia and just flashed a manual ROM from Throttlehappy to his australian ECU and changed the manual/automatic identifier pin. We don't have a manual rom or pin for the US.

Thanks for the rec - I'll look him up.
 

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2008 USDM Outback 3.0R 6MT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hero status! So, it runs but still has CANBus gremlins? Is it as amazing as I'm imagining listening to the engine going through the gears?
Yep! It runs all day with P0600 (Serial communication fault) flashed out of the ECU and the tcm removed, but it's down on power (Feels like an H4 manual) and the ABS/VDC/Canbus doesn't work. - So I'm daily driving it like that right now.

With a laptop telling the EVTVdue (Arduino for canbus) simulating the Canbus signals the Canbus used to send out (All constant signals and one counter, pretty simple) everything works great and the engine has tons of power. I'd say 10% more than it ever put down with the AT. That only lasts for 5-15 minutes though, then the ABS/VDC/Cruise cuts out and it goes back to somewhat weak. Restart the car and it goes back to being awesome again for another 5-15 minutes. I think the EVTVdue is just getting out of sync with the other systems since the transmit times aren't locked together and the other systems detect the drift and throw a flag. Just a theory at this point but that's what I'm working on next. It will be good to remove the dependance on a running laptop in the passenger seat also.

Yes, it has a very nice whine in 1st and 2nd and a very quiet whine in the other gears. Not the greatest sound clip but it's all I have so far:
 

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2005 LL Bean 3.0
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91 Posts
Nice! Hope you get the canbus issues worked out - I wouldn't want to run around with it being down on power like that for too long. Do you think it's doing something to ignition timing/fuel (or even VVT) to cut power? Seems unsustainable.

Doesn't the Spec B 6MT have steeper gearing than the 5EAT in 3.0s? I kind of remember coming across that - that might be one of the reasons it feels torquier.

I personally would run Haltech if I 6MT swapped mine, but I totally applaud your efforts to keep the factory USDM ECU - keep working!
 

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2008 USDM Outback 3.0R 6MT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nice! Hope you get the canbus issues worked out - I wouldn't want to run around with it being down on power like that for too long. Do you think it's doing something to ignition timing/fuel (or even VVT) to cut power? Seems unsustainable.

Doesn't the Spec B 6MT have steeper gearing than the 5EAT in 3.0s? I kind of remember coming across that - that might be one of the reasons it feels torquier.

I personally would run Haltech if I 6MT swapped mine, but I totally applaud your efforts to keep the factory USDM ECU - keep working!
Haltech won't pass emissions.

I think there's a couple of things - I think the transmission sends an "Ok I'm good, give me power" signal that permits the engine to really open it up. I still need to verify this as I get into the tuning. Without that signal, the engine just reverts to a "This should be safe for whatever is going on" setting. It runs super smooth and doesn't sound or act funny at all, it just doesn't give as much as normal. So I'm guessing it does change timing, vvt, vvl, the lot. But the engine controls all that and nothing is changed there, the only thing that is changed is what the transmission is asking for.
And you bet I will definitely go through all the Openport stuff and make sure it's running at 100% at all rpms and throttle levels.

The gearing is a little steeper - but not even that, I get a ton of torque even at low RPMs. It will just cruise right up a big hill at 1600 rpm or 2000 rpm. At 70 mph in 6th gear I'm at 2600 rpm.

I've lost about 1 mpg since the swap (Been a week, from 23.7 to 22.8), I think mostly due to me spending more time at 2000-3000 rpm when the AT would upshift to 5th and try to get down to 1000 rpm if it could.
 

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2005 Outback VDC limited 3.0r
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1,083 Posts
The 6mt is lighter and a lot less drivetrain loss, if you look at dyno graphs from a 6mt vs 5eat it is roughly 10 percent more power to the wheels iirc.
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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1,607 Posts
You are likely dumping into the "limp mode" with the P0600 and CANBUS issues (TCM, VDC, etc). Even though the CEL is disabled, it still throws the codes (since you don't actually "delete" the subroutine from the ECU). You can verify with AVCS and ignition timing differences vs. your baseline.

The ECU is also looking for torque-reduction and in-gear signals from the TCU. You can likely fool it by monitoring the NSS switch and cloning to an Arduino to send the "in-gear" canbus data. Same with the upper clutch switch for the "torque reduction" signal (when activated, send signal).

The common option for the 20X/Y people (for the dual AVCS) is to clone the immo to the non-USDM ECU (so it plays nicely with the cluster and BIU) and just swap to the correct ECU to pass emissions when testing occurs. You can likely do this with the AUDM/JDM specB ECU so it's operating on the MT calibration while still leaving the extra sensors, like fuel tank pressure and charcoal purge, pinned and ready for USDM action.
 

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You are likely dumping into the "limp mode" with the P0600 and CANBUS issues (TCM, VDC, etc). Even though the CEL is disabled, it still throws the codes (since you don't actually "delete" the subroutine from the ECU). You can verify with AVCS and ignition timing differences vs. your baseline.

The ECU is also looking for torque-reduction and in-gear signals from the TCU. You can likely fool it by monitoring the NSS switch and cloning to an Arduino to send the "in-gear" canbus data. Same with the upper clutch switch for the "torque reduction" signal (when activated, send signal).

The common option for the 20X/Y people (for the dual AVCS) is to clone the immo to the non-USDM ECU (so it plays nicely with the cluster and BIU) and just swap to the correct ECU to pass emissions when testing occurs. You can likely do this with the AUDM/JDM specB ECU so it's operating on the MT calibration while still leaving the extra sensors, like fuel tank pressure and charcoal purge, pinned and ready for USDM action.
Hi everyone and thanks for the interest! I'm working with Peter, as well as developing a hardware kit to replace the TCM as a plug-and-play solution. We've prettymuch done everything we can with sending "stupid" data at this point and I'm now moving towards writing some more complex code. Peter having been able to get cruise control, full power unlocked, and datalogging all the while has been absolutely instrumental to these efforts. Interestingly the "limp" behavior is present even without any codes, indicating a slightly higher level of intelligence from the ECU. The "happy AT" values Peter's been experimenting with were small time periods or single frames looped onto the bus.
RoughDiamond, what exactly are you referring to by "torque reduction" coming from upper clutch switch? Would love to hear more about this as a data parameter and what mechanical behavior it is indicating. Not sure if you're referring to the switch on the clutch pedal or a clutch/solenoid pack in the AT. Forgive me if that's a stupid question, both Peter and I have learned a lot but still have a lot left to learn!
End goal is for me to be able to get the programming nailed down enough that the AT ECU is none the wiser, can pass inspection as a "drive-in and drive out" factory-like car. Any insight on limpmode parameters is much appreciated.
(edit for grammar)
 

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2008 USDM Outback 3.0R 6MT
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think you're dead-on with the limp mode. I'll check out the AVCS/VVT and see what it's doing if I disable the EVTVdue.

Update: Running and driving normally now with the onboard arduino emulating tcm signals. Three drive cycles down now and no issues. All is as it should be so far. The ECU and rest of the car thinks it's just driving around normally at this point. Only a few items left to check and verify and some wiring to wrap up (reverse lights and clutch switches) - then my swap will basically be done and the focus will be on building a reliable and robust swap system, code, and connector set with Mitch and the others.
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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Hi everyone and thanks for the interest! I'm working with Peter, as well as developing a hardware kit to replace the TCM as a plug-and-play solution. We've prettymuch done everything we can with sending "stupid" data at this point and I'm now moving towards writing some more complex code. Peter having been able to get cruise control, full power unlocked, and datalogging all the while has been absolutely instrumental to these efforts. Interestingly the "limp" behavior is present even without any codes, indicating a slightly higher level of intelligence from the ECU. The "happy AT" values Peter's been experimenting with were small time periods or single frames looped onto the bus.
RoughDiamond, what exactly are you referring to by "torque reduction" coming from upper clutch switch? Would love to hear more about this as a data parameter and what mechanical behavior it is indicating. Not sure if you're referring to the switch on the clutch pedal or a clutch/solenoid pack in the AT. Forgive me if that's a stupid question, both Peter and I have learned a lot but still have a lot left to learn!
End goal is for me to be able to get the programming nailed down enough that the AT ECU is none the wiser, can pass inspection as a "drive-in and drive out" factory-like car. Any insight on limpmode parameters is much appreciated.
(edit for grammar)
During an upshift, the TCU sends a "torque reduction" signal back to the ECU to retard the timing during shifting. If the ECU is expecting this value, especially if the calculated gear and/or engine load changes, and doesn't see it, the ECU will think there's an issue and modify the timing and/or throw a misfire code (as the misfire monitor watches changes in cam/crank speed, relative to ignition events, calculated to omega (angular velocity)).

You can simulate the "gear change" by employing the cruise control disengage switch on the clutch pedal (not the starter interlock one at the bottom), which does essentially the same thing that the TCU does: cuts power during "shifts". Granted, you won't be on the throttle during these shifts (unlike an auto), but the ECU doesn't know that. So if you emulate the torque reduction signal, the auto ECU would be happier.

Plus, ABS/VDC utilize the TCU to disengage the TCC in an ABS/VDC-triggered event (like a skid stop or slide). If the other modules can't talk (as there's still an underlying serial ISO protocol PLUS the CANBUS protocol up till 2008), it will likely result in a reduced power mode.
 
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