Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

Best bang for buck Subaru...


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 idahohay

idahohay

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts
  • Pacific northwest

Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:54 AM

Since working on my daughters 84 GL wagon I have come across many older Subarus for sale in all different configurations. I'm thinking older generation wagon for running around, going fishing, hunting, and my wife likes berry picking,etc. which involves the miles of logging roads in north Idaho.

Is there a year or range of years, engine type (EA81 or EA82) that is more trouble free, fuel injection vs. carb, turbo vs. non turbo, full time vs. selectable 4wd. , etc.?

I would like to keep the initial investment to 1200.00 not including tires as I would plan to put the best all season radials on whatever I end up with.

I'm thinking the most bang would be the best condition car with the least miles at the best price but thought I would check first with those who really know the cars.
hr

#2 hatchsub

hatchsub

    Currently Subaru-less :(

  • Members
  • 2,620 posts
  • Guilford

Posted 06 May 2010 - 09:05 AM

There are pros and cons of each model year but my personal opinion is EA81. They have no timing belts to worry about and do not have the head gasket issues of the EA82/EA82T. They do however have carb issues which can be remedied with either a weber 32/36 and keep it simple...or do GDs SPFI swap off a EA82 and get better drive-ability and fuel economy but a bit more involved install.

If you want to go newer than that anything from around 90-97 with a EJ22 is a good choice as well. After 97 however your looking at head gasket issues.

#3 grossgary

grossgary

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 19,891 posts
  • WV

Posted 06 May 2010 - 09:11 AM

The EA81 no timing belts. Don't overheat/run out of oil and it'll last as long as you care to maintain it probably.

EA82 wagons can be equally nice, just with the added work of timing beltt maintenance. I leave the covers off and replace everything with ebay timing belt kits, belts, all pulleys, for $80.

Legacy and Impreza's are options as well. Early gen or one needing some work will fall in that price range. EJ18 and EJ22 are fantastic motors.

In your shoes I would look for an Impreza Wagon from the early 90's. I prefer the older locking diffs to the EJ viscous style but they're great cars. The suspension of the EJ's is nicer and EJ stuff is very easy to upgrade and buy parts for - like larger brakes, struts, wheels off all sorts of other Subaru's. You can take a set of wheels off any legacy from 1990 to 2010 and bolt it up to an Impreza for instance. Makes it easy to pick up take-off wheels/tires for cheap.

#4 grossgary

grossgary

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 19,891 posts
  • WV

Posted 06 May 2010 - 09:21 AM

with a EJ22 is a good choice as well. After 97 however your looking at head gasket issues.

headgasket issues are on the EJ25, not the EJ22. the EJ25 is in general more labor too - harder to change plugs wires, valve covers, DOHC timing belts. they're still okay motors, but for what he's after the other motors seem like a much better fit.

#5 lkindred

lkindred

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 140 posts
  • Portland

Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:39 AM

Big vote for EA81 - we have 3 cars with them and not a lot can go wrong. They just keep running & running.

#6 Gloyale

Gloyale

    It's a sickness

  • Members
  • 9,243 posts
  • Corvallis, OR PNW

Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:02 AM

Big vote for EA81 - we have 3 cars with them and not a lot can go wrong. They just keep running & running.


Really?

cause I got 3 of em on the shop floor.

One with a bad rod knock, shot oil pump (cracked, came out in pieces)

And two with headgaskets blown so bad that adding water to them filled the crankcases with coolant and now they are sludged up something fierce.


Unless you want a project car.......get a 90's Legacy or impreza.

EA81's are no longer the ideal "starter" subaru. To much stuff is old, outdated, and obscure. You have to really have alot of love for em and you need at least 2 extras for parts.:rolleyes:

#7 hatchsub

hatchsub

    Currently Subaru-less :(

  • Members
  • 2,620 posts
  • Guilford

Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:10 AM

headgasket issues are on the EJ25, not the EJ22. the EJ25 is in general more labor too - harder to change plugs wires, valve covers, DOHC timing belts. they're still okay motors, but for what he's after the other motors seem like a much better fit.


Right. Knew something didnt sound right when i was saying that.

#8 grossgary

grossgary

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 19,891 posts
  • WV

Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:38 PM

Right. Knew something didnt sound right when i was saying that.

Good you brought it up though since he'll see those for sale too.

#9 zyewdall

zyewdall

    Subaru Master

  • Members
  • 2,132 posts
  • Ward, CO

Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:58 PM

I'd vote EA81 all the way. The older EJ22's are pretty nice too (1 gen legacies and imps) and are a bit more modern and faster, more amenities, etc, but they are more expensive and not as simple to fix stuff on. For just getting from point A to point B and not complaining about being treated like a jeep, the EA81's are hard to beat.

#10 idahohay

idahohay

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts
  • Pacific northwest

Posted 06 May 2010 - 05:52 PM

Thanks for the replies. I guess it is EA81 simplicity or 90's Legacy or Impreza. I think I understand the concerns and of course the price vs. condition will come into play. So I guess my original thoughts were right but thanks to you guys I am more up to speed.
hr

#11 hatchsub

hatchsub

    Currently Subaru-less :(

  • Members
  • 2,620 posts
  • Guilford

Posted 06 May 2010 - 07:28 PM

Thanks for the replies. I guess it is EA81 simplicity or 90's Legacy or Impreza. I think I understand the concerns and of course the price vs. condition will come into play. So I guess my original thoughts were right but thanks to you guys I am more up to speed.
hr


Since your in the pacific northwest you can still find a decent EA81 vehicle for a good price. I mean..if u look hard enough u can find one anywhere like in connecticut but its a lot more work.

#12 Markus56

Markus56

    Whup tee do

  • Members
  • 794 posts
  • Wolf Point, Montana

Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:11 PM

Dont listen to these jokers, they don't know what they are talking about :grin:

Try to find an 88 or 89 wagon with a dual range. the timing belts are almost a non issue after that ebay kit. and the heater will work, unlike an EA81 :lol:

That vintage has a really reliable fuel injection system which has slightly more power than the older, carbed versions.

plus the 5 speed dual range is much more reliable than the 4 speed found in the EA81. and there are a LOT more of them in junkyards, so when something breaks, you can easily source parts for cheap.

And that brings up another point, the dual range. It is AWESOME for going anywhere you want to regardless of the weather. That will take you places a legacy could never dream of going. :burnout:

Edited by Markus56, 06 May 2010 - 11:16 PM.


#13 subaruguru

subaruguru

    Scammer

  • Members
  • 1,642 posts
  • Yakima Wa,

Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:16 PM

i say EA82T that should get you a good BANG :)

JK for shure something EJ or EA81.

Rob.

#14 subiemech85

subiemech85

    SIX STAR SERVICE

  • Members
  • 2,710 posts
  • down by the river

Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:36 PM

for $1200 and a bit of patience and labor, one can come up with a nice rig

for example:
buy '85 wagon for $75, drive for a while
buy '84 BRAT for $ 100, drive for a while, transmission goes out, swap transmission and driveshaft from wagon to BRAT, in process of re-installing engine the carb is damaged, swap in intake manifold and carb from wagon
drive until scary to drive any more due to severe rusting
buy '86 GL-10 TURBOWAGON with bad engine for $100, install engine, radiator from BRAT and fuel pump from wagon
fuel tank is internally bad, cheat with 5 gallon tank in trunk area on way to buy fuel tank from j/y, have assistant help install at j/y parking lot :eek:
use the opportunity to install LSD $100
later back 1/2 of driveshaft goes bad, rear U-joint, install same from BRAT

nice wagon for about $500 by the time all is done!

lots of little incidental parts and work went into this wagon

I had vw's between the BRAT and wagon, then added a '78 BRAT and '96 SVX

#15 kiwi subbie

kiwi subbie

    Certified Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 932 posts
  • Christchurch, New Zealand

Posted 07 May 2010 - 02:47 AM

A EA71 1600cc wagon... Cheap as chips to run. Reliable.. only prob is rust I found on my old one.
My one was a 1982 Leone. Heater worked very well so did all the other electrical equipment :)

#16 Myxalplyx

Myxalplyx

    Old Wise and Dumb

  • Members
  • 1,834 posts
  • New Castle

Posted 09 May 2010 - 11:04 PM

Lots of votes for EA81s out there. How about EA81Ts? I'm all for boost so I'm curious. I need something to put my Techworks turbo and header on. :mad:

#17 baccaruda

baccaruda

    YOUR FAVORITE MOD

  • Moderator
  • 6,942 posts
  • SpoVegas, WA

Posted 09 May 2010 - 11:49 PM

EA81Ts can be problematic when you're trying to find parts. I love the way they run smooth, though :burnout:

#18 monstaru

monstaru

    wow, relevance....

  • Members
  • 4,411 posts
  • OlyWa

Posted 10 May 2010 - 01:38 AM

get ahold of me. i may have some options for you. thanks brian

#19 asis

asis

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 151 posts
  • La Center

Posted 10 May 2010 - 02:55 PM

Since working on my daughters 84 GL wagon I have come across many older Subarus for sale in all different configurations. I'm thinking older generation wagon for running around, going fishing, hunting, and my wife likes berry picking,etc. which involves the miles of logging roads in north Idaho.

Is there a year or range of years, engine type (EA81 or EA82) that is more trouble free, fuel injection vs. carb, turbo vs. non turbo, full time vs. selectable 4wd. , etc.?

I would like to keep the initial investment to 1200.00 not including tires as I would plan to put the best all season radials on whatever I end up with.

I'm thinking the most bang would be the best condition car with the least miles at the best price but thought I would check first with those who really know the cars.
hr


Not sure of how much elevation change you go through on your logging roads but if anything like SW Washington, I can go from 200' ASL to 4000' ASL in less than 45 miles and the last climb can get drastic. I have had my 86' GL wagon Carbed EA82 up those road many times in the last 15yrs. It does just fine in winter or cool temps but in July or August...loaded with camping and fishing and survival gear....etc, I have had to run the heater full bore or stop for cooling. Timing belts are also an issue that give no warning and will leave you dead with no chance of field repair UNLESS, you have belts and the covers removed already.
EA81 do not have a coolant recovery, but is easy enuff to add, no belts, and even with no recovery, I have not had any overheating issues with my EA81 in my 80' BRAT.
Also realize that these rigs, were not designed for off pavement travel so, those wash board fire roads will beat the P out of em at any speed above crawl. Bigger tires would help smooth the ride but also make more work for the motor.
I can't advise this from experience of driving one but, I believe the newer rigs, with an EJ and larger tires, would be more suitable for a lasting rig for what you mention using it for.

#20 zyewdall

zyewdall

    Subaru Master

  • Members
  • 2,132 posts
  • Ward, CO

Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:02 PM

I can't advise this from experience of driving one but, I believe the newer rigs, with an EJ and larger tires, would be more suitable for a lasting rig for what you mention using it for.


I'm not sure that I agree with that. On really bad roads (two track, not washboard gravel), the EJ's don't have the low range to crawl over bumps, and are a bit heavier cars. I saw my neighbor beat her 1990 legacy to bits on her driveway (which most people would call a mild jeep trail), while my old EA cars never had problems. Her struts went out, then the car proceeded to beat the exhaust and transmission up, bouncing off rocks. And the clutch got burned out doing that in the winter snow. Now... some of that could also be the difference in drivers... (I bought her old legacy, and was able to make it up, with the shot struts, without bottoming out at all.....)

On more maintained dirt roads, the EJ's definitely ride better though.

#21 Uberoo

Uberoo

    Subaru Wheeler

  • Members
  • 3,419 posts
  • lewiston,ID

Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:03 PM

how about this:
buy an 87-89 wagon with 4wd and fuel injection with a dead engine.Put EA81 engine in place with 87-89 fuel injection installed on it.Then you will have a roomy (relative) subaru,with a bomb proof engine,a strong transmission,and a robust fuel injection set up.

#22 asis

asis

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 151 posts
  • La Center

Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:10 PM

I'm not sure that I agree with that. On really bad roads (two track, not washboard gravel), the EJ's don't have the low range to crawl over bumps, and are a bit heavier cars. I saw my neighbor beat her 1990 legacy to bits on her driveway (which most people would call a mild jeep trail), while my old EA cars never had problems. Her struts went out, then the car proceeded to beat the exhaust and transmission up, bouncing off rocks. And the clutch got burned out doing that in the winter snow. Now... some of that could also be the difference in drivers... (I bought her old legacy, and was able to make it up, with the shot struts, without bottoming out at all.....)

On more maintained dirt roads, the EJ's definitely ride better though.


Well it was an estimation on my part and I will not disagree with you. Just thought perhaps the AWD over the FWD/4wd with larger tires might better handle it.
At any rate non of them are "designed" for that type of road use. If they were, they would weigh in at nearly what a Land Cruiser does at 4k :)

Roads I am talking about are gaining from 1.5k ASL to 4kASL in less than 5 miles of travel.
Drivers do make a difference also. Bring what ya got and I can get to most places you can, maybe not the same path or time, but I will meet ya before the beer gets warm :lol:

Not to mention, I just noticed your in Co. I used to live in Wy, and I can tell you the fire roads out here wash board MUCH worse than they did there. Hell I used to take my 73' Poitiac Grand Am out to the Vedavoo rocks and down to the beaver ponds heheheheh. Not even close to the same terrain. IMO. Both are awesome, but just not the same.

Edited by asis, 10 May 2010 - 07:15 PM.


#23 asis

asis

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 151 posts
  • La Center

Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:17 PM

how about this:
buy an 87-89 wagon with 4wd and fuel injection with a dead engine.Put EA81 engine in place with 87-89 fuel injection installed on it.Then you will have a roomy (relative) subaru,with a bomb proof engine,a strong transmission,and a robust fuel injection set up.



If this EA82 with 267k ever dies on me in my 86' GL...I would love ta do that ;) if not ej it....but then GD don't love me much so not likely the ej will happen. :-\

#24 newsoobdude

newsoobdude

    Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 642 posts
  • helL A/ NorCal Foothills

Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:56 PM

Living on a dirt road with wash board and pot holes bigger than basketballs, it depends on you. My 98 Outback is wonderful in the wetness and all, but I wish it had a Low Range for it. My 86 is slower but even more fun (for me atleast) because it's a rusty POS that I can beat. I have yet to get it stuck and the Low is rather nice for steep inclines and declines and has gotten me farther than my Single Range. If the Outback had a Dual Range I'd be set.

#25 Markus56

Markus56

    Whup tee do

  • Members
  • 794 posts
  • Wolf Point, Montana

Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:21 AM

The big thing here is the dual range. A GL wagon will perform better off road than anything that comes with an EJ stock. For the EA82's, as long as you maintain them, the timing belts will not be an issue. Without preventive maintenance, no engine will last long. We take EA82's places where lifted jeeps have trouble going.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users