The boxer engine in this Subaru WRX scares Hagerty’s mechanic

Although some enthusiasts may argue, there aren’t many production cars with better rally pedigree than this Subaru Impreza WRX. The critically acclaimed 1992 recipe “World Rally eXperimental” proved a hit for Subaru as one of the original “turbocharged pocket rockets”.

Subaru won a spate of rally stages and a few world championships and constructors’ cups, and was one of the most successful rally teams of the ’90s. With the first generation already certified classics, it’s no surprise that the second generation of the WRX, better known as the pre-facelift ‘Bugeye’, post-facelift ‘Blobeye’ is starting to garner serious attention.

As one of the leading figures in the classic car space, it’s no shock to see Hagerty starting to shift his focus to the WRX, particularly with this hatchback. Where mechanic Davin will attempt to remove the engine of a car he’s never worked on before – but of course not before gathering the wooded area near the shop.

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But first… let’s collect ourselves

As mentioned, while Davin is a fantastic mechanic, he admits he’s never tackled an engine failure on a Subaru because of his scary looks. Those unfamiliar with the Impreza should know that the engine bay looks cramped to the point where it seems Subaru built the car around the flat-four boxer engine.

With his game plan consisting of “pulling stuff out ’til it falls out,” Davin begins to confront every Subaru owner’s nemesis: rust. Because for those who deal with snow on a regular basis, you understand that Subarus practically falls apart after a handful of winters of sloshing around salt-melted snow. Luckily, those headaches are “future” Davin’s problem as his focus is solely on getting the engine out.

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The result of a lot of patience

After sharing some valuable information in the form of placing fasteners in their original positions when removing components, Davin shows us how the entire front assembly – including the engine – can be removed without the use of an engine jack. While it’s certainly not an OSHA-approved system, Davin places a workbench under the front end and carefully drops the entire assembly onto the table. This gives him enough space to easily remove the suspension components, gearbox and clutch.


With the success of removing an engine without breaking an ankle, Davin is confident the worst is over. He looks forward to down-taring the engine and rebuilding the boxer engine to handle rallying duties for years to come.

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