Part 2B - Removing the Subaru Wiring Harness

Article Summary

In this article you will learn the basic steps of how to extract the wiring harness from the donor Subaru car.  We show the removal of a 1995 EJ22 harness, but the removal process is very similar to other years and models.  This step can seem challenging at times, but with patience, it is very feasible for a novice mechanic.

Lessons Learned

As you will see in the following steps, the crux of this removal process is removing the dash and structural member behind the dash.  If you study the pictures below, life will be much easier. A key step for removing the dash is to remove the bolts under the windshield from the outside of the car (not necessary on some years).  If a wire connector is giving you problems, review the necessary connectors in the next article and if you feel confident that you don't need the connector, snip the wire and move on. 

Time Needed

You will notice that this part of the Subaru conversion does not have many finite, discrete, steps.  So, I decided not to time every detail of this process.  I can tell you that it took about a day to remove.  Therefore, conservatively speaking, it may take you about 3 days by yourself if you are a novice.

Tools You May Need

  1. Tin snips
  2. Screwdriver (philips and star shaped if possible to obtain) see pic below
  3. Socket set (metric)
  4. Crow-bar (optional)
  5. Wire cutters
  6. Plastic bags to keep screws/bolts/clamps for later use
  7. Masking tape and marker
  8. Flashlight or headlamp (for working under the dash)
  9. Needle-nose pliers (for disconnecting connectors)
1st Stage:  Take a Walk Around the Bay
Step 1:  Make sure your battery is disconnected and your car is in a safe and static position to work on.  Okay, now the first and easiest part is to begin freeing the wiring harness from the engine bay.  The following pictures and captions will help explain.

 Step 2:  Collect the necessary mechanical goodies and some optional parts.

Stage 1.5:  Removing the Driver Side Front Body Panel

We are quickly sailing our way to the cab of the car!  This is a quick and mostly self-explanatory step.  What I have not shown in these photos is cutting the rubber grommet that separates the engine bay from the area behind the front panel.  This can be tedious, but take your time and figure out how to gently push/pull the harness through the engine bay wall as seen in the last photo in this stage.

Stage 2:  In the Cab (Dash Removal)

Step 1:  Drivers’ Side Footwell

Your main objective in this stage is to remove the dash.  Therefore, remove any bolt or screw that you believe is holding the dash to the car.  There will also be wire connectors to disconnect.  If you have trouble with disconnecting a connector and are certain that it is not a needed connector, then cut the wire and don’t worry.  In case you are wrong and the connector is needed, go ahead and cut/keep the connector for good measure.  There are quite a few wires that go to the side doors and rear of the vehicle.  Cut these wires.  They are not necessary.   

Step 2:  Passenger Side Footwell

Go around to the passenger side and begin removing the numerous bolts.  After you have removed all of the bolts you could find, including the ones shown on the following slides, you may have to shake the dash and figure out what is keeping it from being removed.  Search and find all the snags and you will be ready for the next stage.  The key bolts for this 95' Legacy are the ones at the base of the windshield. 

Stage 3:  Dislodging the Structural Bar and Removing the Harness

This is the fun part.  This step is pretty self explanatory.  Use safe methods of prying the structural bar loose.  You may need a buddy to help you with this.


I learned to be patient and take my time on this step of the conversion process.  Finding all of the bolts that keep the dash in place may be challenging but you will succeed.  Have fun and enjoy wrenching!