From AWD to 2WD: How to Modify Your Subaru Legacy for Increased Performance

Are you seeking improved performance from your Subaru Legacy? While the Legacy is a great car in its original form, if you’re searching for something with a little more kick, you may want to consider converting it from all-wheel-drive (AWD) to a two-wheel-drive (2WD) drivetrain.

This modification can deliver increased acceleration and better fuel efficiency, making it perfect for those who enjoy performance driving, or just want a more engaging driving experience. In this article, we’ll go over the benefits and drawbacks of converting your Legacy, the tools and equipment required, and the step-by-step process needed to make the change safely and effectively.

Benefits and Drawbacks of 2WD Conversion

Let’s start by examining why you might want to convert your Legacy to 2WD. First and foremost, a 2WD Legacy is lighter than an AWD version, which results in better fuel economy. Additionally, removing the front differential, axles, and driveshaft frees up weight and can result in improved acceleration and handling. Plus, when you remove the front differential and axles, this reduces the maintenance costs associated with the AWD system.

On the other hand, removing the AWD system may negatively impact the resale value of your vehicle if done improperly, and if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, such as snow or ice, a 2WD Legacy may not be the best choice. Always weigh the benefits and drawbacks before deciding to make the switch.

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Tools and Equipment

Before we dive into the conversion process, make sure you have all the tools and equipment necessary for the job. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Jack stands and a hydraulic floor jack
  • Combination wrenches and sockets
  • Torque wrench
  • Screwdrivers
  • A drill and drill bits
  • Pliers
  • A hammer
  • A hydraulic press
  • A new rear differential

You should also have access to a factory service manual for your Legacy, which will provide specific details on the process of removing the AWD components.

Conversion Process

Now, let’s take a look at the process of converting your Subaru Legacy to 2WD.

Step 1: Drain and Remove the AWD System

Start by safely securing your vehicle using jack stands and a hydraulic floor jack. Next, remove the front and rear driveshaft by disassembling the driveshaft from the center support bearing. Then, remove the rear AWD differential from the car and begin to disassemble it.

Step 2: Disassemble the Rear Differential and Prepare for the New Differential

Remove the old ring gear by heating it up with a torch and pulling it off with the hydraulic press. After the old differential housing is stripped down, clean it thoroughly and prepare the new differential for installation.

Step 3: Install the New Differential

Install the new LSD (limited slip differential) unit into the cleaned AWD differential housing. To ensure proper installation, torque all fasteners to factory specifications.

Step 4: Install the Rear Axles

Install the new rear axles, making sure to torque all fasteners as noted in the factory service manual.

Step 5: Test and Adjust

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With the new LSD and rear differential in place, reinstall your wheels and tires. Start your engine and take your car for a test drive on a flat, straight surface. If there are any vibrations or strange noises, take your car to an auto repair shop for further diagnosis.

Precautions and Tips

Before you get started, keep these precautions and tips in mind:

  • Always maintain a safe working space and safely secure your vehicle before starting work.
  • Make sure to torque all fasteners according to the factory service manual.
  • Be sure to recheck your work and conduct a test drive before getting on the road.
  • Your mileage may vary. Although converting a Legacy to 2WD can result in increased performance, this modification may not be suitable for everyone. Consider your driving habits, environment, and needs to determine whether this modification is right for you.


Can my Subaru Legacy still be driven in the snow if converted to 2WD?
While the 2WD Legacy should not be driven in deep snow, it can still be driven in mild snow conditions with appropriate tires and careful driving.

Can I still use my stock transmission if I convert to 2WD?
Yes, you can still use your stock transmission after converting your Legacy to 2WD.

What kind of LSD (limited slip differential) should I use for my 2WD conversion?
We recommend purchasing a high-quality and well-reviewed LSD such as the Subaru STI LSD.

Wrapping Up

Converting your Subaru Legacy to 2WD may seem like a daunting task, but it can bring a new level of excitement and performance to your driving experience. Just make sure to weigh the benefits and drawbacks, gather all necessary tools and equipment, and follow the steps carefully to ensure a safe and effective conversion. Happy driving!

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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