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TAC_Rx New Reader
7/7/21 12:32 p.m.

Allow me to be the first to recommend a STi -style hoodscoop as a potential hood clearance fixer.  Or would it not be in the right place for your needs? 

newrider3 Reader
7/7/21 2:17 p.m.
TAC_Rx said:

Allow me to be the first to recommend a STi -style hoodscoop as a potential hood clearance fixer.  Or would it not be in the right place for your needs? 

Not really the right spot, but I am keeping an eye out for an affordable STi scoop and/or Forester XT hood so I can use a top mount intercooler.

I'm in the process of adding another lift spacer to the existing lift spacer that the Forester comes with, it looks like this will fix the hood and crossmember clearance as well as get the transmission back to the correct angle. Luckily I already have a bunch of these things floating around.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/7/21 3:03 p.m.

In reply to newrider3 :

FWIW, the cam belt timing on the ALH is pretty easy to set and it makes sense if you think about it:

1. Disconnect the pulley from the camshaft; loosen the bolts (don't remove) holding the injection pump pulley to the pump.

2. Lock the camshaft at TDC with a plate tool on the vacuum pump end.

3. Lock the crankshaft pulley at TDC with the appropriate tool.

4. Lock the injection pump at TDC with the pin tool.

5. Set the Cam belt tensioner and lock it down. The cam pulley will spin a bit on the camshaft while tensioning the belt - this is what you want.

6. Tighten the cam pulley to the camshaft and injection pump pulley. 

7. Remove all of TDC holding tools.

That will get the timing close enough so the engine will run. Then you can fine-tune the injection timing with VAG-COM and doing micro-adjustments at the injection pump.

(yeah... I've done this job a few times on my TDI).

Back when I bought my timing tools in 2005, they weren't cheap so a lot of folks tried to come up with work-arounds, but these days you can buy a basic ALH timing tool set from Amazon for less than $25 and it makes the job so much easier.

newrider3 Reader
7/8/21 11:45 a.m.

Double stacked stock 30mm lift blocks; I've done sketchier things before; with some new longer grade8 hardware I won't be worried about it. This does mean I need to fabricate spacers for the front control arm rear bushings. I was worried I would need to do a complete body lift throughout the car, but just the crossmember spaced gets the transmission into correct level and gets me better clearance both top and bottom. Hood closes!



newrider3 Reader
7/8/21 11:46 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

Got the timing belt installed a few months back; wasn't difficult with a cheap tool set, just new to me. Thanks for the tips though.

buzzboy Dork
7/9/21 3:08 p.m.

Seeing your fitment in the forester is giving me really good feelings about my own swap project. Loving this project. Excited for every turn!

singleslammer PowerDork
7/10/21 8:52 p.m.

Super cool. Thanks for sharing and making my brain go into bench building mode for like the 8th time today!

TheExtractor New Reader
1/6/22 12:28 a.m.

Awesome work so far!  Any updates? 

GasTungstenArc Reader
1/6/22 8:43 a.m.

Neat.  That's an almost watercooled Vanagon lean angle! 

This project is interesting to me not from the TDI angle, but from the "any other VW I4 and possibly 07K if there is space" angle.  Not only that, but early Subaru (pre-EJ engined cars) owners can swap in an EJ transmission, then have access to VW engines.  

So, what is the plan with the oil pan and pickup?

1/24/22 5:06 p.m.

I'm working on a similar project mating a VW TDI diesel to a Subaru transaxle with the Subaru Gears adapter. Mine is going in the back of a 1989 VW Tristar double cab though. I've been watching your progress over the last few months and I'm interested in how you'll solve the clutch assembly. Is there a friction disc from Subaru with the correct friction area to mate to the VW flywheel? Is it possible to attach the Subaru center spline to the VW friction disc? What pilot bearing will you go with. I'm a couple months away from needing this info so if I solve it first I'll let you know what I come up with. 

WillG80 GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/25/22 8:12 p.m.

I haven't been this excited about a thread in a long time! What a great idea! And a fellow Colorado member too. I'll be following along. 

Also curious about your plans for the oil pan. I hacked the flange off a steel oil pan and flipped it 180 to change from front to rear sump when I put a 440 in my Jag. But luckily a rear sump pickup was cheap and readily available. 

newrider3 HalfDork
1/26/22 10:35 p.m.

No updates right now unfortunately, it's been sitting outside collecting snow while the garage is otherwise occupied. 

The engine mounting angle (50 degrees) looks like a Vanagon because that's exactly what the adapter plate is generally intended to be used in. 

I do see the occasional Honda K-series into Subaru swap online, and I always wonder why none of them have tried a slant engine mount to improve hood clearance. Most of those are drag racers though so I suppose they don't mind being hoodless. I kind of want to try a K24 Subaru swap one of these days.


The MK4 VW clutch disc is nearly identical in diameter to an EJ Subaru. I picked up a generic single-mass flywheel conversion for the TDI, and an Exedy clutch disc spec'd for the 2003 Forester. Haven't gotten around to measuring up the pilot bushing situation yet though.


I picked up a cheap steel-bottomed oil pan from Amazon; they're listed for a 1.8t but it fits the TDI just fine. The steel bottom segment will allow me to fabricate a sheetmetal sump and weld it on. 

WillG80 GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/26/22 10:45 p.m.

I saw the Vanagon diesel 50 degree aluminum oil pans are only $135 on eBay. I wonder if it's not cheaper to buy one of those and weld it to your old oil pan flange? Do you know how different the oil pickups are from the Vanagon versions?

newrider3 HalfDork
1/26/22 11:09 p.m.

If I'm remembering correctly, this pan was something like $38. Plus, welding new steel is going to be way more pleasant than welding thin oil soaked aluminum (and these pans feel a lot more like diecast pot metal than good aluminum anyway).


I'm planning a small sump extension rather than extending the entire pan bottom. I've done a few oil pump pickup tube cut and splice jobs for other engine swaps, so I'm going to let it tell me what it wants to be.

obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/9/22 2:46 p.m.

Love this project. Any updates?

newrider3 HalfDork
6/12/22 11:38 p.m.

Ok, I'll admit - the TDI has been sitting in the corner gathering dust while the Forester sat outside getting dirtier. Been busy with race cars, box truck, and house stuff. I bought a different cute ute to daily, and it ended up needing a bunch of work too. But this evening seemed like a good time to shove the Forester inside and see if I could get the engine actually mounted.

Used the other cute-ute I mentioned to tug and shove it on around.


Swung the engine in once again and got it blocked up into a workable position so I could disconnect the engine hoist.


A few months(?) back I had started on plates for the block side of the engine mounts. Just now realized the PS one isn't going to work if I ever want to install a starter. But I also still don't know which starter I need because emails to SubaruGears don't seem to go through and calling Australia with questions is a pain in the dick.


newrider3 HalfDork
6/15/22 9:47 a.m.

Engine is sitting on it's mounts in the car with no more wood blocks!



Those are hydraulic engine mounts for a Ford pickup with a 4.9 I6, should be nice and squidgy for the diesel vibes. You can probably see that I completely redid the passenger side mount plate to move it forward of the starter. Much more gusset-ing and triangulation to come.

2002maniac Dork
6/15/22 7:37 p.m.

Nice work. This should be a very cool combo!

newrider3 HalfDork
6/16/22 2:25 p.m.

These days I bounce back and forth between both types of CAD (computer- and cardboard-) for building parts. Sometimes I'll cut, drill, and shape stuff the old fashioned way, but often I find it easier on myself and on my tools to scan the template in, sketch the picture in Solidworks, do the cam, and take it back out to the plasma table.

Here's an example with one of the engine mount segments.



Here's the mockup for the oil pan sump; this one will probably be done by hand.


Ah, the ol' permanent washer trick *facepalm*


Adding some stiffeners back to the original Subaru engine mount locations.


For anyone who is keeping track, earlier in the thread I mentioned the double stack of OE engine crossmember lift blocks. I ended up replacing that with 2x2" square tubing, which is a little bit shorter than two lift blocks and also less scary.



obsolete GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/16/22 2:53 p.m.

Man, I asked for an update, and you freakin' delivered! Awesome to see all the progress on this. Thanks for sharing.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/16/22 4:01 p.m.

SheetCam!  I use that program to do toolpaths on my CNC plasma cutter.  What a great, simple program.

WillG80 GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/16/22 4:04 p.m.

This swap definitely crossed my mind a month ago when I bought a 2012 Forester to flip. I didn't want to deal with the CANBUS to it got a replacement FB25 engine. 

newrider3 HalfDork
6/16/22 6:36 p.m.

Took the turbo apart to clock it - found out that the compressor housing is clockable but the center section is not due to the VNT monkey-motion; then also found out that I apparently will be replacing the center cartridge assembly rather than running it as-is.


Well, beans.

Gambit New Reader
6/16/22 9:55 p.m.

This is a certified beans moment

Run_Away GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/16/22 10:27 p.m.

This is such a cool swap!


How difficult are the VW electrics to pare down? Will you be using the stock cluster?

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