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New guy: Should I buy this '82 GL 4x4 Wagon


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11 replies to this topic

#1 strokestroke

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 09:51 PM

Hello!
I'm on the cusp of buying yet another Subaru. As much as I consider myself an old Toyota Corolla guy, I've had my share of old 4x4 Subarus (2 '83 GL Wagons, an '84 GL Turbo Wagon, an '85 GL wagon and a '91 Justy). The poor Justy has severe rod knock so I'd like to replace it with this new one, which is 5 hours including a ferry ride away. The seller is very honest, but doesn't know why it is "overheating". I'm a little concerned the head might be cracked.

The price: $500
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Should I spend the money and time on the road trip for a car that can't make it back on it's own legs?
Thanks for any input!

(p.s. it is from N.M. USA, so rust free by Canadian standards!)

#2 edrach

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:09 PM

Depending on the severity of the overheating, the head gaskets are the last thing I would look at. Could be a simple as low coolant, an air bubble in the coolent, a stuck thermostat, bad water pump or bad radiator. Depending on the price, this wagon certainly looks like it could be a keeper after the overheating is squared away.

#3 Ionlyhave3suubs

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:20 PM

That's a nice looking wagon. If it was close to me and you weren't already looking to buy it, I would. I had an 88 hatchback that overheated on a summer day due to water pump failure. I was young and dumb and didn't shut it down right away. Ended up warping a head. I fortunately had a parts car with a good engine (all but the weber carb that needed a rebuild). Anywho, I ended up fixing the car myself, loved that car.

#4 bheinen74

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:39 PM

its a nice one

#5 strokestroke

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:41 PM

That's my main dilemma - if it was driven too long while overheating. It's the time and money I have to spend to check it out that I'm not into, but here on vancouver Island there aren't many nice old Subarus left. Lots of 90's wagons, but not much for pre '85's (I have something to do with that - 4 of mine were scrapped in the end).

Now another thing. . .

Is there a way to prolong the overheating factor? I will squeeze the air out of the rad, crank the heater, and was thinking of removing the thermostat. . . well I guess I could just put in a new one. I need to drive it 20kms to the ferry, and then am trailering it home from there, as it is REALLY expensive for a truck/trailer on the boat!
How can I check if the waterpump is working, and will a quick compression test tell me if one of the HGs is blown?

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#6 1982gl4

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:43 PM

I would pay that for it! (probably more) I hate how rare these things are in the north east! I'd say it's most likely a simple fix as edrach has already said.

#7 bheinen74

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:46 PM

might be as simple as a corroded electical connecotr to the radiator fan.
maybe the single wire for thermoswitch has popped off the radiator, maybe the ground wire came loose on the radiator, etc.
...etc.

#8 strokestroke

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:47 PM

Hmm. . . that would be killer if it was a basic fix. I suppose one could put a toggle on the fan and just run it full time until I can go over it proper.

#9 Yo'J

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:33 PM

I would do it. Thats one of the coolest years. I got mine for a tad less yrs ago and I wouldn't trade it for a thing. Its worth the body for sure. Tow it to the ferry and drive it across, to tow it back home, but check all the above conditionals. My 82' has a blown head now and its not dead yet but shows all the signs to tell me not to go any farther. I would not make 20kilometers more in a trip without destroying the motor. The front brakes are 82 specific as is the wiring in a few select spots, the trim is specific, like bumpers but that third eye.......Mmmm!

The water pump has weep holes that seep, for a water pump starter, the wire going to the radiator thermosensor when grounded turns on the fan, and your radiator fluid should look green not like a milkshake or smelling really burnt (whats the smell, its not sulfury but like hydrocarbons....?) or having bubbles in the radiator while running. Those aren't certain signs but they are starters. My motor now leaks coolant from the head on the top of the block and is just now running warm, coolants fine, but will suck oil just sometimes after a good trip. Well anyway, I'd buy it regardless.

#10 strokestroke

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:44 PM

Well I think I'll just have to go for it then! I'll update my progress. I'm glad I found this site! My other Subarus I just thrashed or crashed, but this one looks to be in much better shape than they were.

#11 Ionlyhave3suubs

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:52 PM

Compression check you say? If you have a cylinder(or two) that is much lower than the rest, I would definitely suspect a head gasket seal has been compromised. The current owner has not tried to have the problem diagnosed at all?

#12 strokestroke

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:19 PM

Not that it matters now. . . it sold! I told the buyer not to hold it for me, as I couldn't guarantee the purchase but now I regret it.

But no, the seller did not even care to pop the hood, just wanted it gone.

Oh well, saved me an expensive day of travelling. Maybe we'll see more of the car on this board!




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