Jump to content
Ultimate Subaru Message Board
Sign in to follow this  

EA81 swap to EJ22

Recommended Posts

I just bought a 1984 Subaru GL wagon and wanted to swap the engine for more power.  It has an EA81 currently and I wanted to put an EJ22 into it.  I'm new to engine swaps and wonder if it's worth the time and what all I will need to change to make the conversion.  Any thoughts would be very helpful.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Those EA81s are awesome engines for the following reasons. 


A) They don't have a timing belt or chain, they have internal gears. Will never jump time.

B/ Super easy to work on. Water pump and oil pump is super easy to get to, not to mention

    there's a ton of room on all sides of the motor.

C) They're pretty darn bulletproof and pretty peppy with a Weber carb. You could also take the

     the time and money you were going to put towards an engine swap and put it towards

     swapping throttle body fuel injection into that car, also known as SPFI. That engine with

     the proper higher compression pistons from a SPFI car and of course the fuel injection

     system itself is a strong engine.


Of course, an EJ22 swap has it's advantages as well.


A) MOAR POWAH!!! An EJ22 in an EA81 body makes for a seriously quick car. Also has way better

     low end torque which is great for lifted rig applications.

B/ More readily available parts because there's more EJ22s still around than there are EA81s.

C) Fuel injection is really nice in cold weather. Of course, this point only holds its own if the EA81

     it's being compared to is carbed.

D) The ignition system in the EJ22 is far superior to the EA81. Coil pack and igniter instead of distributor

     and ignition module. Far more reliable.


I am going to guess the EA81 will get better fuel economy than an EJ22. I'm consistently getting 35mpg hwy out of my Weberized EA81 '84 DL hardtop (2 door without B-pillars). Also, if the EA81 that's in the car is super worn out and you can't find a good replacement EA81, that's another reason to go EJ.


Edit: Because B with ) makes a stupid little sunglasses face.

Edited by Subaru_dude

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Scottrae3, 


If you don't need it for awhile, have the time and money, it sounds like a good time.  


If this is a working mans car, (point A to b, screwing with that may not be the best idea. These cars are incredibly reliable once you figure them out and cheap transportation, why screw with that?  A bit slow off the starting line, but that isn't a terrible thing. 


If you have the option to make this a fun rig.. , EJ implant, DO IT!  You have some great back roads over there!


Search for a wrecked subie, talk to the wrecking yards, some will deliver a whole car, let you salvage what you want and come back and pick the carcass up.  I found a farmer with a rolled 93 subie in Burbank County and took most everything from that for a reasonable price and kept watching the local Craigs list for tranny's or other engines.  


Sad to say, but this is life, I got about half-way into my swap into my 82 wagon, and had to bail which didn't hurt me one way or another.  Sold everything except radiator. If you can bail out of the project and it doesn't hurt you than that is easier then losing your work car, is all that I am saying.   It is unlikely you will re-coup the money put into a project like this but the skills learned and challenge can out way the financial end.  


My cautionary stance is that I have seen several kids here in the Tri-Cities try and do a swap thinking it is a no brainer project, get in too deep financially, and now with a garage full of parts, and no way to get to work, have to dump the project.  They gained nothing but a cluster of loss's, first is financially as they now have a garage full of parts and not a running Subie.  Second, no transportation to get to and from work and third was the mental stress (Loser) in what could have been a positive experience.  Having everything purchased, standing by, and extra cash available before diving in is the smart way.  If you have the resources of tools, cash and equipment, already available, then that works too!  As our government has shown us, given enough cash and resources, they can get a brick to fly.  So it all depends upon your needs, wants and resources.


Keep us updated with pics if you decide to do it.  There are a lot of older posts on this subject and people on here who will do what they can for you.  


Good luck!  Oh,  I was eyeing that 84 wagon, is that the Blue? I-think, on Craigslist?   Looked good from what I saw. 

Edited by Indrid cold
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am still interested in the EA/EJ swap.  I just purchased an 81 wagon with a Weber carburetor.  While it does provide more power I am still interested in the swap.  I appreciate the feedback and realize that this will be a large investment.  To help fund the project I'm looking at selling both my 84 wagon and my 86 sedan.  I want to find good homes for them.  Either way I don't have the time or finances to keep all three subies.  

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this