In this blog post we discuss the difficulties in converting a Left Hand Drive Subaru to Right Hand Drive or vice versa.
We get this question a lot “I have a left hand drive car (LHD), I want to convert it to right hand drive (RHD), can you convert or modify the harness?” Or "I have a RHD car, can you convert the harness to a LHD setup?"
The simple answer is no. The reason we can not convert the harness is that even though the cars are looked to be mirrored with steering rack and column, there are many parts that are not mirrored. An example is the fuse box in the engine bay is still on the LHD driver side for both LHD and RHD cars. The engine plugs are on the same side. So while some parts flip, other do not so the harness can’t just be flipped and the amount of modification required to get it to work is going to be too extensive to make it worth while.
The #1 rule of iWire for any swap is that the harness must match the dash. As a byproduct, the LHD harness is not going to match with the RHD parts. Ex: the LHD doesn’t have auto climate control but the RHD cars do. So there are a lot of times where the basic equipment does not match even if they could be flipped.
What Does iWire Recommend?
For any conversion of this type the best thing to do is get a harness with the dash you are putting into the car and put that in it’s entirety in the car. Headlights to taillights, doors, get every wiring harness as complete as you can. Once that is done, we can use the new chassis harness that matches the dash and merge it with the new engine harness that you want to swap into the car. For instance a LHD 99 RS to RHD V5/6 but a V7 engine is desired in the car. You will put in the RHD V5/6 harness headlights to taillights into the chassis and then we can merge the V5/6 harness to the engine of your choice.
Small Exception - Rear Harness
If a parts car or clip is purchased, make sure to get the rear harness as well. This can be difficult for JDM dashes because the front clips are generally cut at the A pillar which means there is no rear wiring harness. The upside is that the harness running to the rear is on the same side of the car for RHD and LHD applications so you can splice the original rear harness to the new bulkhead harness. This can be difficult though because these wires will be empty leads so you'll have to multimeter check them to their original points to figure out which is which then splice it to the original rear harness. This is not a service we provide.