My former 1993 Subaru Impreza LS

My 1993 Subaru Impreza LS (Amethyst/Grey)

This was my 1993 Subaru Impreza LS. USDM MY1993-94 Imprezas all have the 1.8 liter H4; Like all MY93-94 LSes, it's got an automatic transmission, but also AWD and ABS. The L model is available with AWD and a 5 speed, but not with ABS. The base model is always FWD, and always a 5 speed. I sold this car to a friend and the water pump promptly failed, fun times. At least I sold it cheap (less than I paid, with more stuff than I got it with...)


After bashing up my 1981 Mercedes 300SD (W126) I needed another car. It needed to be cheap and get decent mileage. This Impreza was there in the paper for $1,500; how can you go wrong unless it's beat down hard? It turned out to have been owned by a little old lady who always drove it nice and slow. It had few dings and was generally in excellent condition.


The body is pretty straight, although the bumper cover does not match up to the fenders ideally. This is possibly because of my driving; with the stock shocks/springs I've squatted so low on high-G turns that I've scraped both of the driver's side mud flaps (though not at the same time) and once even scraped the front bumper cover left corner going through a turn like this - not because the road dipped hard, but because it dipped a little bit and I was going through at WOT, and the AWD gives you amazing traction.


This car is, as mentioned, incredibly gutless. However, it has some advantages which make it potentially a better performance car than later models of Impreza. The '07 WRX, for example, has a 3,351lb curb weight. The 1993 Impreza LS weighs 2,750lb. I could add a full rollcage and still have a lighter car, which would be more rigid as well. We're talking a car that is six hundred pounds lighter. At the same power level, that's (approximately) over half a second in the quarter mile due to weight alone. If I could get about 200 horsepower to the wheels I'd still have a credible chance against an STi.

Pumped 1.8 liter

I started a thread on EJ18S performance upgrades on the NASIOC forums and got this comment back. I won't copy the whole thing here but I'll summarize. The poster has the following:

EJ22 heads (pretty sure they are ej22e not ej22t heads)
EJ18S block (very strong block, cylinder walls are thickest of all subie motors)
EJ22 headgaskets

Overall a 9.1:1 CR

WRX exhuast manifold.
WRX waterpump (needed to clear the manifold)
ERZ catless uppipe
TD04 turbo (anything bigger wont spool till after 4k)
Custom FMIC (buy an ebay fmic kit...its like 250 shipped!)
4:1 FMU
Stock injectors (cringe!)
HKS downpipe
wrx midpipe
Custom Axleback
Greddy Emanage w/ timing and injector harness and 2 bar map sensor.
Blow through maf

And is running a 13.65 in the quarter. A 2.5RS gets maybe 15 seconds, which is about what it takes my 1989 Nissan 240SX, which has about 5 HP and 50lb less. Feasible.

Putting the 2.2 liter heads on the 1.8 liter engine (direct swap) gives you as above about a 9.1:1 compression ratio which is still high for turbo, but a hell of a lot lower than the 9.5:1 that comes stock on most of these motors, including the 1.8. I'd probably run all the WRX turbo equipment (pipes, turbo, etc) at first to save money.

Legacy Blitzen

While it has only recently come here, Subaru has long produced a "Blitzen" model based on the Legacy which includes a turbo motor and a Porsche tiptronic transmission. This is the only sequential transmission which has appeared in a Subaru, and the only stock AWD vehicle to come with a sequential transmission (though the Lancer Evo IX does have a very nice dual-clutch six speed manual.) While I have no proof that it will work, in general one Subaru is much like another and engines and transmissions will swap with relative impunity, leaving aside the SVX's 3.3 liter flat six. Even the 3.0 liter "H6" motor will fit into any Impreza, although certain elements like the AWD pump might need to be relocated.

Perhaps a better plan than pumping the 1.8 liter engine, then (which would also require me to either stick with the slush box or install a clutch pedal and a manual transmission) is to get a Blitzen motor and transmission and swap that into the car. Early Blitzens can be had in running condition for $5,000 plus shipping (another thousand or so) although they cannot be made legal in the USA. My plan is to lift the engine, trans, harness, ECU, and related equipment from the legacy, and transfer all of that over to the Impreza, probably also including the gauge cluster. This would get me a ~220hp 2.0 liter four cylinder and an excellent transmission.

So far

While the car is abjectly gutless, it does have excellent handling. I have added a tiny bit of power and a great deal of handling through the two upgrades I have made so far; I upgraded the intake with a modified MY1997+ 3" aftermarket aluminum intake, and I mounted MY2003 Impreza WRX wheels, which you can see in this picture. Some asshat did a terrible job of painting them black so I'll have to do that over again later.

Unfortunately, going from a wheel/tire combo about 3% undersize to these WRX wheels, which are about 1-2% oversize, has really hurt acceleration, especially uphill. The car has to work some 4-5% harder, which in a vehicle with 110 peak brake horsepower, is a big deal.

Mostly though I just want to not have to go up hills at 50 mph, 5000 rpm (out of 6000) in second gear.

Maintenance and Upgrades

Rather than buying a car on credit, I usually buy a cheap car and make it into the car I want (or abandon it... or something...) This one also has considerable miles on it.



Upcoming Maintenance

  • Assorted bushings failing; replace with polyurethane


Hey bro I recently got a 93 subaru impreza 1.8 liter Stick shift I'm new to this type of car so don't really know any timing about them...the motor strong but doesn't pull like I want to...what can I do to the motor without swapping it out or should I do a swap if a swap what swap would u recommend me...

I can't find the URL right now but there was a whole thread where a guy used takeoff parts to build up a badass 1.8 liter. The 2.2 liter heads fit the 1.8 liter and bring the compression down just right for turbo. Then you put turbo piping from the WRX and injectors from an STi, they fit right into the 1.8 and you can get takeoffs on eBay cheap. You will need a custom ECU for that, though. And whatever turbo you can find cheap that will fit a WRX

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