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I am in need of a VW beetle bug (classic) but thought of putting in a modern engine. When I searched that, I found alot of hits for early and mid 2000s on Subugrus and Bugarus-how tos, interest. Not so much in recent years. I'd like to know more about them...performance, repairs typically needed/upkeep. I realize the performance far outdoes the orig beetle, but is that true long term? If it was a winning transplant, why are there not more of them posted- did the fad run out, or were their mechanical problems? I am interested in getting one if its stable and I could handle the repairs. I commute about 20 to 25 miles for my job daily. I don't have a big background in repairs, but strong interest and have a few mechanic resources here in BR, LA. Love tinkering and fixing. Resources, info and ideas Appreciated!!! Thanks

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90-96 EJ22 would be the engine you want for durability, not so much for all out power (130 hp, still more than peppy in a bug)


I would find one that seems well cared for (i.e. had regular oil changes) but is perhaps leaky now, and do a full reseal and maybe even new rings before the install.  Use a new timing belt set and a good alternator, and you will never have to worry about anything.


If you source a donor car and pull the harness, I can thin it down for you for a small fee.  

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Depends on what you are looking for.

For a drop in stock for stock the subaru is advantageous. To benefit, you will need to be able to install the water cooling (radiator, run tubing, ensure air to fans, etc).

The EJ is a good engine. But it is fuel injected, and runs with a computer that you will need the wiring and harness for as well. You can install an older carbed engine, but will still be doing adjustments there, and not much power over vw (~87hp total).

Other than that, you can start modifying the subaru to get more power, but...

In all honesty, compaired to a properly done VW it Almost isn't worth it. Almost.

You can get the electronic ignition and fuel injection for a vw cheaper than the whole swap, and is just as reliable. Heavy mods to a VW are notably cheaper than to a subaru, and more proven to last. To get the 200hp in a vw, its an easy to find jug swap and a hot cam, maybe an intake change. A subaru needs a tear down and a mix and match of engine parts as well as computer tuning (if applicable) and heavy head machining work.

The biggest factors to me were heat, because the Vw is aircooled, so stop and go traffic is a stinker, but you can run oil collers and upgrade fans, And for the older subarus, it is finding the parts. They exist, but are not as cheap, or readily available. Hit up google and start looking at price tags. Dont forget switching to a water boxer means cutting your car, Include that in your accounting process.

Either is a good choice, dont get me wrong. I love my subarus, and they can run just as long as a VW, and take a damn good beating and still run. but if you just want reliability and easy to find parts, for the money, modernization of your existing VW might be a better choice.

Thats just my opinion, as someone who drives both cars regularly.

Edited by charles_thomas

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