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My New Project - '87 Subaru GL Wagon


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37 replies to this topic

#1 SubaruGL

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:06 AM

Picked up an '87 Subaru GL Wagon that has been sitting in a carport for about 3-4 years. About 75k miles.

Haven't been able to tow it home yet as I discovered a flat. Going to try and remedy that today but managed to take some photos. (below)

Still trying to figure out my game plan. I know the owner said the radiator was bad. But looking quickly at the engine there are other issues, such as the loose peice in photo 3, and and part of the exhaust missing :) Any advice/suggestions are appreciated! (As I posted before, my last Subaru ('86 Brat) was owned some years ago and I am trying to re-familiarize myself with the Subaru engines. Going to look into trying to get a service manual for starters! :D

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#2 MilesFox

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 10:22 AM

That canister pieceinphoto 3 mounts behind the head. You can see the metl clip where the hose rests just below the spare tire

#3 SubaruGL

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 08:59 AM

That canister pieceinphoto 3 mounts behind the head. You can see the metl clip where the hose rests just below the spare tire


Thanks Miles!

#4 SubaruGL

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 08:31 PM

That canister pieceinphoto 3 mounts behind the head. You can see the metl clip where the hose rests just below the spare tire


I see the clip, but it looks like it is a hose from the catalytic converter up to the intake??

#5 SubaruGL

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 08:46 PM

* UPDATE 11/20/2010 *

Changed oil and got the girl running! For a bit!

OK, so I've been lazy and crazy busy with work, but I finally got my wagon towed home after inflating the tire, and pulled the battery and charged it back up. Even though all the pieces Pep Boys pulled for me were incorrect, at least I had bought my own oil and filter previously.

So the first oil change in 5 years... Need your guys advice on how, and whether, to proceed..

Drained the oil as much as possible and ran an extra quart or so through to help get out brown (like coffee with milk!) sludge. It was the yuckiest oil I've ever seen. What scares me is I must have got a good 5 quarts out of it. There was some signs of a little water too. After cleaning everything I filled the new filter with fresh oil and then filled it up until the dipstick was happy. Took about 3 or so more quarts.

Got in and pumped the gas and she fired up on the second try! Running rough of course, great when I gave it some gas, but would die if I let the rpms drop. On the second round of running it my neighbor was scared he saw smoke, but it appears to only be coming from the open connection down off the catalytic converter. Should be easy enough to but some hose tomorrow at the auto store.

Now my main questions are.

1.) Does it sound like I have a cracked head or head gasket leak based on the condition of the oil? I keep fearing that but also am trying to balance that it has sat for a good 4-4.5 years. The radiator reservoir is empty. Tomorrow I'll drain anything in the radiator. The previous owner is an elderly lady who told me she thought it needed a radiator. I noticed a crack in the upper return line to the radiator however. So I'm not sure if the rad is bad, but assume at this age I will have to change it. I also noticed the two lines to the heater core are disconnected and the feed & return line to the radiator have been capped (see image at end of post).

2.) What would be the next steps you would take and check? I don't mind putting money into a car that will drive, but if the engine is shot I would be real mad to buy new tires, radiator, hoses, and so forth.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Tomorrow is Subaru day for me, finally get one day off so I'd like to make as much progress as possible! :D

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#6 SubaruGL

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 11:35 AM

Just fired it up and she started first try! Idles ok but when I rev it up and let off the gas she dies. Also I notice a crackling type noise from the exhaust manifold I think, when I let off the gas. Maybe that is due to the missing hose from the cat that looks likes it runs back up to the intake?

Off to the auto store now to pick up some supplies and maybe some beer too lol.

#7 SubaruGL

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 06:30 PM

Worked a bit today between rain and here is what I am up to... specific questions are boldfaced. I did locate a service manual, but it is for an 1989 fuel injected model and I have the 2 barrel carb system. Sorry for so many questions in advance!

Still can't get this "assembly" to use the clamp under the spare tire. One of the hoses are likely shorter than they should be. Also, it would be helpful to see a picture of where the bracket attaches if anyone has a picture!
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Changed the capped off heater core bypass to a gradual connection. The "tee" assembly is just to assist with flushing the rad, which proved unnecessary (see below).
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Found an electrical connector just floating around near the battery. It would be great to know where it fastens to! Also, I am guessing these are fusible links? The leftmost wire appears to have just been twisted together. What is this wire for? I'm thinking it might help me determine the past of the vehicle.
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Now the most important question!... Made sure the radiator was plugged and ran some water and some coolant into the rad through the filler neck... I see coolant dripping out of the plastic housing behind the fans, on the passenger side, in front of the oil filter. What does this "problem" point to? Cracked radiator, or worse?
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Despite the dying upon quickly letting off the accelerator and a possible battery not up to par (I occasionally get all the lights on the dash coming on when the car drops below 12v.), my oil pressure is about in the middle at idle and goes up about 3/4's of the way upon revving up to 4000 rpm's. Is this correct? Trying to figure out of the oil system is good.
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Thanks!

#8 Indrid cold

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:08 AM

Nice wagon... I love those years. Mine was an 88 SPFI (Single point fuel injection-throttle body) but will try and throw some info your way.

First, I would do a compression check on the engine. Disconnect battery, wedge open carberator and do a pressure check on each head. Head gaskets aren't that bad to do.. just a bit time consuming.

Your capped off lines to a heater core... yea.. sounds like a bad heater core and that would suck.

Leak behind plastic.. possibly water pump, (can't remember if there is a front freeze seal under belt covers) or leaking down from above. Look around the carberator there is a 3/8" line on each side of the carb. sometimes those will split and dump coolant on top of engine and it will work it's way down etc..
also, I had a leak I couldn't find so I took a radiator cap and soldered a 1/4" copper line to the top and put it on the radiator, then I fed 10 psi air to the coolant system that way engine wasn't hot. During the pressure check I could touch, snoop and listen for the leak till I found the leak. You could make a connection at the capped heater core feed line and do the same thing, find a reliable air source that you can assure to control and an accurate pressure gauge... believe the radiator caps relieve at 16 psi so wouldn't go above that.

Your funny electrical issue.. a bad battery does funny things to the roo's, also a failed resistor in the alternator... sounds like either one of them...

The dieing thing could be a combination of sitting for years, bad gas, timing etc.. so don't worry on that yet.

If your oil pump wasn't working then your engine would be making lots of ticking noises etc...


There are others on the site with alot more experience then myself but saw you post so hoping some of this helps but the big thing to remember is and I have made this comment in the past is your on the learning curve side.. takes longer, seems to cost more but once you get past that then it becomes easier and these rigs become funner!
So far it just sounds like it has been mistreated a bit... if there is a bad motor or what ever that is the way it goes sometimes. You put money in and hope for the best.... so far I wouldn't undo anything I have learned or spent on my roo's.

good luck..

Edited by Indrid cold, 22 November 2010 - 05:19 AM.


#9 SubaruGL

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:33 AM

Thanks very much Indrid!

Your advice was helpful. I realized I posted a bit too much. I'm just anxious to get this car driveable! :) My first concern is of course holding coolant or at least water. I'll check that hoses by the carb, but I'm fairly certain the leak is right from that area I indicated as the fluid drained out almost immediately after filling the rad. Coming out from the plastic shroud though I'm also aware it could be coming out from a number of places and getting diverted out the lowest point.

I guess I'm wondering if I should just replace the rad first or if there is the water pump in there that should require me to tear it apart more fully before ordering a part (stupid auto stores here have nothing in stock for older subarus :()

Thanks again!

Nice wagon... I love those years. Mine was an 88 SPFI (Single point fuel injection-throttle body) but will try and throw some info your way.

First, I would do a compression check on the engine. Disconnect battery, wedge open carberator and do a pressure check on each head. Head gaskets aren't that bad to do.. just a bit time consuming.

Your capped off lines to a heater core... yea.. sounds like a bad heater core and that would suck.

Leak behind plastic.. possibly water pump, (can't remember if there is a front freeze seal under belt covers) or leaking down from above. Look around the carberator there is a 3/8" line on each side of the carb. sometimes those will split and dump coolant on top of engine and it will work it's way down etc..
also, I had a leak I couldn't find so I took a radiator cap and soldered a 1/4" copper line to the top and put it on the radiator, then I fed 10 psi air to the coolant system that way engine wasn't hot. During the pressure check I could touch, snoop and listen for the leak till I found the leak. You could make a connection at the capped heater core feed line and do the same thing, find a reliable air source that you can assure to control and an accurate pressure gauge... believe the radiator caps relieve at 16 psi so wouldn't go above that.

Your funny electrical issue.. a bad battery does funny things to the roo's, also a failed resistor in the alternator... sounds like either one of them...

The dieing thing could be a combination of sitting for years, bad gas, timing etc.. so don't worry on that yet.

If your oil pump wasn't working then your engine would be making lots of ticking noises etc...


There are others on the site with alot more experience then myself but saw you post so hoping some of this helps but the big thing to remember is and I have made this comment in the past is your on the learning curve side.. takes longer, seems to cost more but once you get past that then it becomes easier and these rigs become funner!
So far it just sounds like it has been mistreated a bit... if there is a bad motor or what ever that is the way it goes sometimes. You put money in and hope for the best.... so far I wouldn't undo anything I have learned or spent on my roo's.

good luck..



#10 Ricearu

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:27 AM

that water leaking is most likely from the water pump shaft seal. It probobly dried out in the 5 years it sat. moisture in the oil is to be expected as long as it doesn't happen again. The headgaskets on these motors USUALLY (not ALWAYS) blow between cylinder and water jacket. rarely do they mix water and oil. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE THIS CAR WITH A WATER LEAK!!! If your headgaskets are good, and you overheat the car, they won't be good anymore. All it took was one overheat for my car... I would look at doing the timing belts, oil pump reseal, new seals on the front of the motor while doing the water pump.

timing belt kit most people use is here
http://cgi.ebay.com/...emZ400174420915

the seal and gasket kit i used is here (just dont use the intake gaskets oem only on those)
http://cgi.ebay.com/...sQ5fAccessories

#11 ivantruckman

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 01:53 PM

does water freeze in browerd county..do you see any of those sexy ."police woman of browerd county" sheriff deputy's ???

you may want to fill the radiator and leave the cap off. than look for bubbles

#12 SubaruGL

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:10 PM

Thanks Ricearu! Very helpful information. I'm busting out of work early and will look further into the source of the leak. The water in the oil was the biggest fear of mine and all my friends were telling me to drive it and blow the crap out. As for the shaft being the source of the leak I'll keep this thread posted. That sounds very feasible but I know the lady knew it had a problem and hence why she stopped driving it. I'm worried she drove it and caused more damage.... only time will tell. Timing belt and seals will definitely get changed once I determine if the engine is salvageable. Trying not to dump a bunch of money into something that will still be broke :/

Thanks again.

that water leaking is most likely from the water pump shaft seal. It probobly dried out in the 5 years it sat. moisture in the oil is to be expected as long as it doesn't happen again. The headgaskets on these motors USUALLY (not ALWAYS) blow between cylinder and water jacket. rarely do they mix water and oil. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE THIS CAR WITH A WATER LEAK!!! If your headgaskets are good, and you overheat the car, they won't be good anymore. All it took was one overheat for my car... I would look at doing the timing belts, oil pump reseal, new seals on the front of the motor while doing the water pump.

timing belt kit most people use is here
http://cgi.ebay.com/...emZ400174420915

the seal and gasket kit i used is here (just dont use the intake gaskets oem only on those)
http://cgi.ebay.com/...sQ5fAccessories



#13 SubaruGL

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:52 PM

does water freeze in browerd county..do you see any of those sexy ."police woman of browerd county" sheriff deputy's ???

you may want to fill the radiator and leave the cap off. than look for bubbles



No to water freezing and to seeing them women! Lol

I will check for bubbles once I get the thing to hold fluid. Got home too late to investigate the leak in the dark tonight :(

---edit---
Did decide it best to just do the timing and all the gaskets now tho as Ricearu suggested. I hate having to wait for the parts but its all good in the long run LOL... where is the best Subaru online site to purchase OEM gaskets in the USA? Want to get intake gaskets and probably a new thermostat while I'm at it.

Edited by SubaruGL, 22 November 2010 - 11:40 PM.


#14 SubaruGL

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:15 AM

Update 02.24.2011...

FINALLY got some time off work and started to service the wagon and see what I could do to resurrect her.

I found an extremely corroded thermostat housing, which is not cheap nor do I have. I fixed it temporarily and plugged a pinhole in it with some metal epoxy. The tube where the upper radiator hose attaches to was corroded, and the house had cracked underneath I couldn't see. This appeared to be the blatant source of my radiator fluid leak. (pictures at end of post.)

I also found 3 interesting things...

1.) NO THERMOSTAT at all! Someone was messing with this car and just took out the thermo. So, I was forced to buy a non-oem stant at the local auto store for now.

2.) No clutch fan on the water pump. There was a second electrical fan on the driver's side of the radiator (which actually didn't look terrible but I already have a new one. The 2nd fan was held in with some sort of plastic cord that went through the radiator and had a disc lock on the outside face of the radiator. I'm sure I'll have to order a new clutch fan, but for now I'll still start it up for testing after I finish the seals and timing belt.

3.) the upper pulley (sorry, I'm not thinking of the name atm, picture below) was being held on with only 3, not 4 bolts, which had seen better days. They were only on loosely and I had to use pliers to get them off as the hex heads had been scraped and badly deformed. The shafts were also totally bent and flexed. NO IDEA what the heck happened here.

BAD THERMOSTAT HOUSING:
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MESSED UP PULLEY/BOLTS:
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#15 The Dude Abides

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:56 AM

If you have a subaru with a/c you have 2 fans. All subarus came factory with a electric fan, if you had ac you had a water pump fan also. There shouldnt be any clutch fan to it it should just be a fan. You only needed 2 fans if you had a/c but if you have 2 electrical fans id say go with that. Less power robbing from a waterpump fan.

The No Thermostat worries me as to think maybe there was overheating problems in the past and they took it out just to get buy. Do what you need to do to get buy but for sure get the oem t stat when you get a chance.

Make sure not to tighten the t stat housing it up to much, aluminum strips easily. Ask me how i know.

Something that helped me out was get everything straightned out and try to put the vehicle on some car ramps or at an angle with the rad cap off and let the system burp the air out of it. It improved my heat a bit and definately got rid of some air in the system.

If the heatercore is plugged your kinda in a bad spot. There not easy to get to (never are really in any car). If you can tear it apart to get to it while not needing to drive it your good to go. Your 89 manual will be able to help you with this.

Good Luck.
Ben

#16 SubaruGL

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 11:20 AM

Thanks Ben,

Very helpful information.! I'll have to find a way to mount the drivers side fan again, but good to know it wasn't supposed to have a clutch fan. I only assumed that because the mounting holes on the water pump are there.

I'm out working on the car now and having a break. The water pump pulley was the messed up one I posted. As for the stripping bolts, I know that all too well. Just cleaned out the bay a bit to get rid of the grime some.

As for the heater core, it's bypassed ATM. Not sure if it was bad or they were trying to eliminate possible leaks.

Going to go change the seals and other timing belt stuff now. Will report back and thanks again.

Brian

#17 SubaruGL

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 01:37 PM

Alright, totally DUMB question but I need to ask....

I previously posted a picture of the water pump pulley (in lieu of what I thought was a missing clutch fan! LOL) where they used 3 of the four bolts and they were completely loose and messed up. I've replaced the water pump and this one has 4 studs coming out. I assume the pulley will go on those and I attach it with 4 nuts?

I'm going to the hardware store to get nuts, but was wondering if anyone has a picture of it installed correctly? It looks to me like it comes awfully close to the flywheel and that was one picture I didn't take before disassembly. :/ All the pictures I find on here seem to not have a pulley on the waterpump, I'm assuming that is because they have a clutch fan setup.

#18 SubaruGL

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:47 AM

Update: timing belts, cam seals, water pump, new radiator, and thermostat housing repaired. Now when I add coolant, after about a 1/2 gallon (too fill the radiator), coolant comes streaming out from above the water pump. I removed the metal outlet pipe, checked it's oring and for rust holes; I've also ensured the water pump bolts and clamp around rubber tube on the top of it are OK. It seems the fluid is coming from above those things. I can't seem to find where that little rubber hose connects to, I'm guessing to one of the steel heater core tubes? Can anyone verify this and or tell me if this seems right? I'm thinking I have to remove the a/c compressort to get to where I'm thinking, and I'm dreading that. Thanks

Edited by SubaruGL, 28 February 2011 - 11:53 AM.


#19 MilesFox

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:09 PM

if your original WP has bolts, you will need the same style, the short shaft 105mm pump. The one you got, with studs, is the long shaft 110 mm pump, which has a slide on pulley over the studs.

the radiator pupe at the water pump, and the o-ring, should somewhat snap into place. if it leaks, shove it in more, or move it around till it seats.

Replace the elbow hose with any pre-molded 90 deg bend, and cut to lenght. this elbow goes to the steep water pupe that runs along the top of the motor to the heater core hoses. The other heater hose pipe runs alog the intake to the thermostat.

I have seen these steel tubes rust out and leak. the mounting bolt is behind the intake, and may be rusted at the mounting tab.

good luck, let us know how it comes.

#20 MilesFox

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:12 PM

going back and looking at your pics in ghe first post, it looks like you have the correct 110 mm water pump based on the AC/alt arrangement. The short shafts were on turbo and mpfi with the inboard alternator and square compressor.

the pulley goes on the studs, and then the fan, and then the nuts. there is a flat spot on the fan shaft to hold it still with a 7/8 wrench. or you can use a screwdriver between the studs to tighten the nuts.

#21 SubaruGL

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:21 PM

Thanks Miles... I do feel comfortable with the pulley on the water pump and everything seems to line up great. I think the previous hack mechanic pounded out the studs and tried using nuts it their place, hence why they weren't holding.

I've taken off the belts now and am trying to find this leak, it just pours out. I can't see where the rubber hose connects to the metal tube, but I can see rust on the metal pipe indicative of a leak for awhile, maybe like you said at the mouting tab. Does checking this require removal of the A/C compressor?

I'll try to snap a picture and do it from this phone.

#22 SubaruGL

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:30 PM

Hose running back over engine looking toasted front of car
Posted Image

Water pump pulley installed with new nuts, 2nd electric fan not installed ATM
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Just tried refilling it and that rusted pipe stays dry. Yet water cuts out quickly from behind where that rubber hose connects to the pump.

Edited by SubaruGL, 28 February 2011 - 12:35 PM.


#23 SubaruGL

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:48 PM

Confirmed the leaking is coming from where that little rubber hose goes from the water pump to the metal tube. I must have pulled it loose making sure I secured the end to the water pump. I can get my finger in there enough to feel the water coming out, but can't get in there to loosing the clamp and reseat it :/

Idea/question: since I have the heater core bypassed, what do you think about me just bypassing the metal pipe with a long piece of hose? The tightening screw is facing the passenger side of the car and there is no way I can see getting in there with a wrench without major removal, possibly of the intake.

Edited by SubaruGL, 28 February 2011 - 01:03 PM.


#24 SubaruGL

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:08 PM

Is there any simple way to remove the damn hitachi AC compressor? Par steering pump removed to no avail.

#25 kanurys

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:09 PM

that water leaking is most likely from the water pump shaft seal. It probobly dried out in the 5 years it sat. moisture in the oil is to be expected as long as it doesn't happen again. The headgaskets on these motors USUALLY (not ALWAYS) blow between cylinder and water jacket. rarely do they mix water and oil. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE THIS CAR WITH A WATER LEAK!!! If your headgaskets are good, and you overheat the car, they won't be good anymore. All it took was one overheat for my car... I would look at doing the timing belts, oil pump reseal, new seals on the front of the motor while doing the water pump.

timing belt kit most people use is here
http://cgi.ebay.com/...emZ400174420915

the seal and gasket kit i used is here (just dont use the intake gaskets oem only on those)
http://cgi.ebay.com/...sQ5fAccessories


That's the same stuff I used. the seal kit is great except all of the paper gaskets are absolute crap. I'd order the kit and then get the substitute gaskets (er, the correct ones) from the dealer - they're plastic and some synthetic material. Those stopped a bunch of my leaks. Also the water pump gasket from the dealer - no question.

The anti-after-burn valve in your picture 3 on first post is probably worthless now. The check valve in them rusts and becomes faulty. I'd remove it and plug the hole at the EGR valve. EGR still functions great and it will run more smooth through throttle positions.

Yeah, those damn coolant hoses leak easily everywhere they have a hose clamp. You have to warm it up and cool it down several times and then re-tighten them.




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