In this blog post we talk about the differences between the 98-01 Impreza and 98-01 Forester wiring harnesses. When swapping either the Impreza or Forester people mistakenly think that the wiring harnesses are interchangeable, but they are not. Although the interiors and engines of the cars are the same, the wiring harnesses are different just due to Subaru's design.
Some of the differences in the Impreza and Forester wiring harnesses include:
- Door harness plugs
- Front harness connections to bulkhead
- Rear harness connections to bulkhead
- Gauge cluster harness
- Forester has hatch components while Impreza has standard trunk components
While the basic functions, suspension, and many interior pieces are similar, the wiring is not the same. So if you are doing an engine swap into the 98-01 Impreza or the 98-01 Forester you need the bulkhead harness that matches the chassis. (ex: Impreza harness for Impreza chassis).
Additional note for 98s - For both Impreza and Forester, 98s are unique harnesses to those models. To replace a 98 Forester harness, another 98 Forester harness would be needed and same for the 98 Impreza. 99-01 Impreza can be interchanged within Impreza models and 99-01 Forester can be interchanged. Also keep in mind that the 02 Forester still uses the older interior, but the harness is also unique to that model and year.
Additional note for 98-01 Impreza - Bulkhead and front harnesses that are from the same year can be interchanged because the only difference is in the rear harness for sedan and coupe. Just be careful not to mix up auto and manual options because those are different as well as "L" models compared to "RS" since the RS has a sunroof and ABS while the L's don't and they aren't provisioned for those features.