How difficult would it be to do my own turbo swap?
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This is a discussion on How difficult would it be to do my own turbo swap? within the Engine Modifications forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hey everyone, I'm looking to swap a VF43 into my 03 WRX (currently protuned stage 2) -- sounds like I'll ...

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    Registered User Monk_Knight's Avatar
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    How difficult would it be to do my own turbo swap?

    Hey everyone,

    I'm looking to swap a VF43 into my 03 WRX (currently protuned stage 2) -- sounds like I'll be installing the turbo, bigger injectors, bigger fuel pump, and possibly a bigger TMIC. I like the idea of doing the work myself... but I don't have much experience. Changing my oil is about the most I've done with a car. I have a couple friends up for helping who have a bit more know-how, but haven't done anything of this sort before.

    Anyone have any advice? I half want to just jump in and go for it, and half worried I'm gonna mess it all up and have to get it towed to the shop to fix my errors.

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    Both turbo and injectors are easy, but injectors are more difficult than turbo.

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    Registered User Monk_Knight's Avatar
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    Thanks! That was really helpful actually. Fuel pump looks easy... rather intimidated by the injectors but I think we could probably manage. Mostly intimidated as I don't know what half the things you referenced are, but it looks like it would probably become a lot clearer during the process.

    I know my exhaust is welded to the car in the back (by the muffler), so I'm not sure how I would drop that out to get to the turbo.

    Did you have a lot of experience with this sort of stuff when you attempted this?

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    "Easy" is a relative thing. Due to your location and simply time gone by, some of the bolts may be stubborn and the turbo is not easy to access, plus it has both oil and water lines. Two determined friends could sort it all out in a weekend unless the luck runs out. Your car, your call, but have a Plan B ready.
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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monk_Knight View Post

    I know my exhaust is welded to the car in the back (by the muffler), so I'm not sure how I would drop that out to get to the turbo.

    Did you have a lot of experience with this sort of stuff when you attempted this?
    You just remove the downpipe. It's pretty obvious once you look at the exhaust.
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    Registered User Monk_Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    "Easy" is a relative thing. Due to your location and simply time gone by, some of the bolts may be stubborn and the turbo is not easy to access, plus it has both oil and water lines. Two determined friends could sort it all out in a weekend unless the luck runs out. Your car, your call, but have a Plan B ready.
    True. The thing that has me most worried is my overall lack of knowledge. Though how is one supposed to learn without trying? Plan B would not be pleasant... probably towing it to a shop in pieces. I feel like a lot of it would simply be keeping track of where everything is supposed to bolt together, correct?

    Not sure what kind of bolts are holding the turbo on, but the downpipe was replaced pretty recently (about a year ago or so), so I would imagine the bolts on that side would be less likely to be stuck... though I imagine a lack of any powered tools could certainly make this a lot harder.

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    Registered User Monk_Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
    You just remove the downpipe. It's pretty obvious once you look at the exhaust.
    Gotcha. Could you remove the downpipe and remove the turbo from below? Seems easier than removing everything above it.

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monk_Knight View Post
    Gotcha. Could you remove the downpipe and remove the turbo from below? Seems easier than removing everything above it.
    I think you need to have a good look at your car. You still have the up-pipe. The turbo has to come out the top. The TMIC has to come off,the downpipe has to come off and the turbo unbolted from the up-pipe. And if you are still using the stock turbo inlet,now would be a good time to upgrade. Trying to reattach the inlet is a PITA.
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    While your in there to , you should consider changing your catted up pipe for a cat less one. Try and snag up a used Sti up pipe for 50-60 bucks and protect your "newer" turbo from the possibilities of the catted up pipe coming apart and destroying it. Plus it'll help with spool up. Since the turbo will be out it'll make it a lot easier to since that's one of those parts that's def a PITA to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by v6mx6ls36 View Post
    While your in there to , you should consider changing your catted up pipe for a cat less one. Try and snag up a used Sti up pipe for 50-60 bucks and protect your "newer" turbo from the possibilities of the catted up pipe coming apart and destroying it. Plus it'll help with spool up. Since the turbo will be out it'll make it a lot easier to since that's one of those parts that's def a PITA to do.
    This shouldn't be a consideration, it should be a requirement.
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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    "Easy" is a relative thing. Due to your location and simply time gone by, some of the bolts may be stubborn and the turbo is not easy to access, plus it has both oil and water lines. Two determined friends could sort it all out in a weekend unless the luck runs out. Your car, your call, but have a Plan B ready.
    +1
    I thought that the injectors were a pain to get out, the first time I did it, but probably wouldn't have as hard a time doing it again.
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    Gold Member lokey's Avatar
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    Is this your daily driver? In other words, do you need it up and running every day? If so, and as advised previously, I would not recommend taking this on....considering your experience level. Also, you'll need a protune after the installs anyway.
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