Drive by Wire to Drive by Cable Subaru Swap

Drive by Wire to Drive by Cable Subaru Swap

Apr 15, '21
In this post we talk about converting your Subaru from Drive by Wire (electronic throttle) to Drive by Cable (cable throttle) as part of an engine swap. A good example would be a 2005 RS swapping to a 2002 WRX engine. For more information on DBW cars, click here. If you are looking for Drive by Cable to Drive by Wire Swaps, click here.


The Drive by Wire (DBW) to Drive by Cable (DBC) swap is possible to do from a wiring and mechanical perspective but there are a few things to consider first.


1. Smog/BAR/Emissions

The DBC engine being swapped in is likely an engine from an older model than the car being swapped like an 2007 RS to 2005 WRX so it would automatically fail an inspectionAlthough your state may not currently check for this more states (Utah for example) are adopting this policy so before you do this swap, you should consider something newer to ensure your car won't become unregisterable.  The exception would be a 2005 non turbo car that came with DBW while the 2005 WRX is DBC. This conversion could pass smog because it just needs to be at minimum the same year.


2. Cruise Control

From a wiring perspective, the biggest issue is that cruise control will be lost. This is because the stock DBW ECU will be removed and it was in charge of the cruise feature. With any NA to Turbo swap, the ECU that matches the new engine gets wired up and the original is removed as a byproduct.


3. Pedal Mounting

To install a DBC pedal into a DBW chassis, a custom bracket needs to be fabricated. Please note we have a bracket for DBC to DBW conversion but this bracket will not work the other in this application.



Starting in approximately 2006, Subaru switched to a return-less fuel system on the NA models. This means that for a turbo engine swap the fuel tank hanger assembly needs to be swapped out for one with a return line and then that line will need to be run to the engine.

Tags: DBW, DIY, Subaru Swap