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03 legacy l sep automatic to manual conversion inquiry


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Hi I have an 03 legacy l special edition package that had the timing belt snap on it on the interstate 7 months ago and due to it being an interference engine the event ruined the motor on my car. Ive tried having it repaired by a well recommended aand reputable mechanic but it just won't fire up. It wants to but it won't. Ive already sunk close to a grand into repairs and parts this far and just can't keep throwing money into something that isn't running. So my husband and I have decided to just have the engine rebuilt. However I said if we are going to rebuild it then why don't we rebuild it like I want it instead of how it came since we are investing the money and time into a rebuild anyways...? So i want to know if it's possible to convert my 03 legacy automatic into a manual transmission? If so how would it have to be done or what is the easiest way to do it and still have a quality job done and vehicle when finished? What essential parts or components would i have to have to successfully convert it? What sort of price range would we be looking at if we completely built it and couldn't do something more simple like using a motor and tranny from a different subaru that is the same year but manual like a 03 wrx? Could we just use the engine and tranny from a WRX and just simply put it in my car with some sort of converter and different pedal assembly or something? Any information or schematics and or walkthroughs and references are greatly appreciated!! Thanks everyone...


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  • 2 weeks later...

To swap to a manual from automatic can be a bit of work. You will need to find a good subaru 5 speed transmission with a good clutch, flywheel, and pressure plate (or better yet, but a new set since your in there), the driveshaft and rear differential. Dont quote me on this but I believe the rear half shafts can be reused as long as they are in good condition. You also will need a 3 pedal assembly from a subaru that was manual as well as all the little bits that go with it like hydraulic line, master cylinder, and clutch fork if it doesn't come with the transmission. Whats going to get you here though is the labor; your very likely to pay more than the car is worth to do the conversion. Even doing this yourself and negating the labor costs, it is just about not affordably worth it in my opinion. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for this kind of work. Also note you will likely throw engine lights related to the automatic transmission because it will not be there anymore. This does not factor in the cost of the motor rebuild as well.

To have someone take the motor out of your car and rebuild it typically can go for around the 1300 to 1700 (in my area) cost depending on labor costs and whats needed to be replaced. Keep in mind it can save some money if you buy a used good engine and just have the mechanic swap it in. Although you will have a like new motor if you go the rebuild route, keep in mind everything around the motor is still over 16 years old.


Doing a 2003 WRX swap would be even more expensive as you would need to swap over the wiring harness and ECU on top of what was already discussed above.


Not that you probably want to hear it, but as a more reasonable recommendation, I recommend picking up an early model (2005-2009) 2.5GT Legacy or WRX. In my area a legacy GT or WRX can be bought for around 4-5,000 dollars and has a 5 speed in it already. But this is just my opinion.

Edited by Warlock
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