Lawson's 818C

The Complete 818 Coupe Documentation

Donor Teardown

Purchasing the 2004 Subaru WRX Donor

The donor I purchased was a 2004 Subaru WRX sedan. It was a poorly maintained project car, with a rough “hybrid” swap engine build. To sum up the donor, even at $2300, I should have avoided it. It was a hunk of junk. Literally everything as I dug through it had some form of issue, poor repair, or was missing entirely. Thankfully, some of the items were not too bad and I was able to sell parts off the car for $1000. That however was much less than the cost of engine and transmission replacements not even counting the labor involved in both of those.

Removing the Donor Car Engine

I quickly began disassembling the car and figuring out what I had gotten myself into.

  • Discovered leaking fuel injector o-rings
  • TONS of stripped engine bolts
  • I dropped the whole front cradle as an assembly because I had a lift. This was super easy! Definitely recommended if you have access to a hoist.
  • Everything was covered in oil, fuel, and grime. A messy job for sure.

Stripping the Donor Car for Parts

Before I received my kit, I worked on stripping all the parts of the donor. Selling what I didn’t need for the 818. Keeping and labeling/organizing what I did need.

  • The build manual lists all of the required parts for the kit. Read this! Also think through anything that you might want to keep for some other reason as an add-on (cupholders, door panels, etc).
  • Label all hardware in ziploc baggies. This was critical to reassembling when building the kit. Lots of miscellaneous factory bolts are used so if you even sort of think it might be important, then bag and label it.
  • This part isn’t too hard. Just keep working at it slowly. It is fun even to strip it all down.
  • Subaru FB groups are great places to offload parts on. The parts go for pretty good money.

Picking Up My Factory Five 818C Kit

In May 2018, I took the road trip over to Factory Five. I started the journey in Michigan which is where I had been doing all the donor work on weekends at my brother’s house. I was a co-op student with General Motors so I spent a 4 month spring rotation doing all the donor teardown items. My 818 build however, would be happening in Georgia. So this total road trip was 1800 miles Michigan-Massachusetts-Georgia and required some planning even before that to get my dad’s truck and trailer from Georgia to Michigan. I paid for a 1 way ticket for a friend to accompany me as a co-driver for the trip. I fit the entire donor parts pile in the bed of the truck- barely! The truck was certainly at max payload between the trailer and the load in the bed so I used a weight distributing hitch, even with a relatively light trailer load, so that the truck wouldn’t be so rear loaded.

A few days later, I had the kit and all the donor parts in Georgia ready to start to putting together!


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