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EJ20X swap issues!!!


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Hey everyone, first time posting and could really use some help. I’ve made a mess hahaha. So long story ahead of us here.. I bought my wife a wrecked 2006 Outback about a decade ago. We fixed all the damage, wasn’t too much. The car was originally a naturally aspirated 2.5 with a 4 speed auto. A few years ago, we decided to turbo swap the car. So we did.. took me a month to do the whole swap. We used two different donor cars for the swap. A 2005 legacy GT sedan (manual trans) for the engine, brakes, engine harness, seats, etc. and a 2005 legacy GT wagon for the drivetrain. (Tranny, rear diff, gauge cluster, fuel lines, ECM, PCM, etc) In short, the swap went well. Got it running “reliably” and then I joined the army. My wife drove it daily for a solid year with little to no issues. Until disaster struck. The used mystery turbo engine popped. Big surprise, I know. With me going on back to back deployments for the next couple of years, the car sat. It’s been two years since the engine failed and my wife began to lose faith in the fact that I would be able to return her baby to her. So, I decided to just drop a new (newer) engine into it. Problem is, these engines have went way up in price and soldiers are anything but wealthy lol. So I found a cheaper option.. In comes the EJ20X. I’m sure at this point, many of you are shaking your heads.. now stick with me here.. I did extensive research on these swap and felt confident in my abilities and experience with these cars to handle this job. I arrived home a few months ago from overseas to my wife having already putting the donor engine on an engine stand in the middle of our living room. She’s a very special woman. I did the routine checks on the engine, pulled the pan, timing components, etc, etc. Prepped and painted, did the necessary changes to make it work in the USDM car, bought her a few go fast bits for good measure and swapped it into the car. Now, I’m not making this thread for a “how to” on the EJ20X swap.. though I’m happy to share the steps I took to make it work. The purpose behind my being here is this.. and this is gonna sound like a novice mistake.. but when I cranked the new engine up…… it sounded like the torque converter was going to blast through the transmission tunnel. Ok. Let me give you an explanation on how I got to this point. When installed the engine, everything went very smoothly, almost too smoothly. Until it came time to bolt the flex plate to the torque converter. For some reason, the flex plate didn’t reach the torque converter the way it should have. There was about 5/8” gap between them. Now it had been a few years since I had done a swap in this car and though my gut was telling me there was something wrong.. I bolted them together anyway. When doing so, obviously the torque converter slid forward to meet the flex plate.. not good. I know. And yet, I continued with the installation with the heavy dark cloud of fear and doubt looming in the back of my head. Confident that the engine would run.. well, I’m sure you have lost whatever small amount of faith in my abilities you might have been developing up to this point by now. I screwed up. I knew it wasn’t right, yet I did it anyways. I’ll explain why. I live on base in Fort Knox KY. Now my housing development doesn’t allow you to work on your vehicles in the parking area.. like, not even oil changes y’all. So imagine my fear rolling a cherry picker passed my neighbors houses knowing that any one of them could make a phone call and have my ass fined by Monday morning.. I needed to get this swap done quickly.. like old engine out, new engine in and running in two days max. I had Saturday and Sunday to do everything since housing doesn’t work on the weekends lol. I was successful in that. It runs. Well, for at least the three seconds I allowed it to run before I shut it off. Ok, so that’s why I continued to install the engine even though I knew there might be an issue. I just figured, if something’s wrong, I’ll drive it a few miles down the road to the on post hobby shop and fix it there where I could take my time with it. Nope, not an option lol. I can’t drive it like it is. So now, I need to diagnose the issue and make a plan of attack, order necessarily parts and minimize the time I have it at the hobby shop so I don’t end up spending a fortune on storage fees. Phew.. alright now everyone.. here’s my theory.. so I used the NA flex plate from the original 4 speed auto.. the torque converter from the GT wagon and with the EJ25DET.. it all worked fine. But now we have downgraded to a 2.0L.. my theory is that the JDM torque converter is different and reaches further forward to meet the flex plate because (maybe) the 2.0L block is deeper where the engine meets the bell housing? So if I swap in a JDM torque converter.. it should close the gap and fix the issue? I just don’t know and don’t want to go through the work and money to do this on a hunch. Do any of you have any ideas, theories, experience with something like this? I’ll post a bunch of pics of the swap so that you didn’t read this book for nothing lol. Thanks for any help you can lend and for sticking it out to this point.

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Put a ej20x in my coworkers 2005 LGT the other weekend.  initially hooked it up with a vf52, he said it pulled real good up top but was gutless from a standstill, like... couldn't go up hills gutless.

we put the twinscroll on it this weekend and he says it's much happier but he misses the top end power, next up is seeing if we can up the rev limit since these ej20x's went up to 8k or something and keep making power to like 7500-7700.

I've done this swap about six times and haven't had an issue with any of them.

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Sorry I finally had time to read the thing... Your initial swap with donor cars has me kind of confused.  is the car still an automatic? I'm assuming yes since you're still talking about a torque converter. You should have swapped the flex plate from your original 2.5 to the EJ20. Though I will say that's not something I have had to do, as the visual and side-by-side comparison are identical, in my cases at least. Beyond that, I'm not really sure.  a phase 2 EJ is a phase 2 EJ, they're not different in the bell housing area.

Edited by silverton
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Yeah I’m still using the automatic from the LGT wagon donor. The flex plate I’m using is from the original NA engine, current torque converter is from the LGT wagon donor. I have no clue why this set up isn’t working with the EJ20X when it worked just fine with the EJ255. I’m lost in the sauce lol.

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