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#1 supradan2001

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 02:12 PM

Hello there. About 3 years ago I came across this 86 GL SW, for which I paid $300. It was running rough and shaking a lot, and it sat in my garage until I turned my attention to it very recently. It only has 70K miles, automatic, fwd, non turbo. Although the paint was faded by the sun, it has no rust at all, and the interior is almost like new. It even has the original Subaru radio and Subaru floor mats, plus all the original glass (even the "Inexpensive and built to stay that way" stickers are there). A friend of mine got it timed right for me after the distribuitor went bad, and it runs much, much better now. Here are the issues, as I remember them, plus what I have done to correct them:
A)Blinkers and hazzard lights don't flash. Fuses under the driver side dashboard are all good. Where are the flasher relays at?
B)Timing is set about 20 btdc. Car is still very sluggish, and goes tap-tap-tap a lot, specially when cold. I realize it's no sports car, but it should be able to stay with most traffic. It loses power when it shifts into second gear. It still gets to 50 mph, after a while. If pushed hard it will start to run hot. I've flushed the coolant, installed new t-stat, adjusted drive belts. Maybe related to..
C) After if failed emissions, I replaced the PVC valve, plugs, plug wires, EGR valve. What else should I check? A shop told me the car has two cats, I only see one. Who is right? What else should I do before spending $$ on new cat(s)?
D) There's the strangest rapping noise coming from under the driver's feet. Imagine a pipe full of water, and the pipe starts to repeatedy slam against the car. The sound then quickly moves to the back of the car. I have not determined what triggers this event. Of course, this only happens with engine running. I've crawled under the car, and have heard the noise loud and clear, but can't see what's causing it. Anyone ever heard of this?

Sorry about the long post, and feel free to take a stab at any of these 4 issues. Great board, and thanks to all who reply.

#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 02:19 PM

The tap-tap-tap you hear is most likely the hydro lifters. They aren't getting enough oil pressure. This is quite common. Doesn't hurt anything - just makes noise.

The car won't be a speed demon. And the Auto's are renown for have next to no power. With an 90 HP engine (in good tune), and the inneficient tourqe converter, you have maybe a 25 HP car. I recently had a 78 wagon with a 63 HP EA71, and a 3 spd auto. That car couldn't get out of it's own way with a running start! But it did do 80 on the freeway, so if you get your carb tuned right, it will be fine.

Also - with 70k on it, the cat's should be just fine. You need a carb tune - probably a rebuild for it to pass emmisions. The Hitachi's are notorious for that...

20 degrees sounds a bit much.... I should think around 10 would be normal.... unless this is a turbo car??

As for overheating - bad juju - headgaskets will let go if you do that too often. Maybe your radiator needs replacing.

GD

#3 Wrench Princess

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 02:31 PM

Ok, he already said NON turbo. Also, I have a friend that pulled an auto XT (also non turbo) out of the bushes after sitting there over a year and that thing was zippy. It was a lot faster than most other Subarus I have seen which are mostly all manual. Auto doesn't mean slow, you just need to get the thing tuned better. I agree that at least cleaning the carb if not rebuilding it would be a good idea though if you are having emissions issues.

#4 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 02:36 PM

XT's are lighter by a goodly amount. The XT, being a sports car, would also have some other differences I'm sure. Maybe even a more effecient torqe converter. Those wagons are heavy, and not designed for speed - aerodynamics count for something too. It's the whole package you have to consider, not just the tranny. Not to mention everyones opinion of "fast" or "zippy" is different. The XT will even *seem* faster since your closer to the ground.

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#5 Wrench Princess

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 03:01 PM

Zippy means that it had no problem getting to 80+ mph. And it was smoking Austin's turbo XT (manual).

#6 Meeky Moose

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 03:19 PM

the above mentioned tapping noise is due to air in the oil system.. thus making the hydraulic lifters not pump up they way they should.. this doesn't hurt anything, but it is a good idea to reseal the oil pump.. the parts are about $13 at napa..

as for it being sluggish.. i have an 88 gl auto 4wd wagon single port fuel injected.. the car is slow period.. takes forever to get to 65, then if you wanna get to 80.. well you gotta florr it to get it to 80 in about 5 minutes, lol..

the automatic 80's subaru's that were non turbo were just plain slow to begin with..

there are 2 catylitic converters on the car.. one is in the y-pipe that comes off the heads.. this cat is right in the part where the 2 sides merge together into 1 pipe... then there is another one about 3 feet farther down the exhaust line..

if yours is carb'ed then i would recomend getting a weber and tossing the stock carb in the dumpster.. this will help a little with your acceleration/power issue..

the other thing that is/was wrong with my wagon was the front passenger side brake was locking up a little bit.. caused the car to run hotter than normal and it was naturally slower than normal.. if your cats are plugged or semi plugged it will make the car feel like it has no power, and possibly overheat when worked hard.. just cuse it has low mileage doesn't mean that they aren't bad..

#7 supradan2001

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 03:32 PM

Yeah, I realize a zippy car is a very subjective thing. But it seems I'm always slowing other people down (perhaps I can find a GL that runs perfectly, and compare to mine). That's their problem, but I want to get my lil' beast running properly, to its full potential. By the way, above the carb it says PG-FI. Isn't that a fuel injected car? If so, there's no carb to rebuild, right?
As for emissions, I got the failing results right here (the applicable standard value in parenthesis). It passed Hydrocarbons with 0.32 (1.60), Carbon Monoxide with 6.11 (15), and it failed Nitrogen Oxides with 3.21 (2.50). By the way, oil pressure is very high, always near the 80 psi mark.

Comments, anyone?

#8 Meeky Moose

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 04:09 PM

well the PG-FI would make me think you have a single port fule injected car..

one sure way to tell, is this..

if its carb'ed there will be a huge sky blue air cleaner right on top of the carb.. if its fuel injected its going to have a black rectangular boot that runs down to the black air box that sits right behind the pass side headlight..

have ya changed the O2 sensor yet? if not they are about $30 or less at any parts store.. i'd change it then run it back through and see what she does..

your oil pressure sounds a bit odd.. prolly a bad sending unit causing this.. although the gauges have been known to be funny and not very accurate.. every subaru i have had runs between 45-55 psi when warm.. 65-75 when cold..

O2 sensor is cheaper than a cat by alot.. worth the try..

the oem exhaust on these cars is outrageous at a shop.. i put a flowmaster muffler on my car cause it was cheaper than just buying the stock muffler, lol..

#9 torxxx

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 04:46 PM

That oil pressure is high. You could be low on oil (mine goes up when I'm down more than half a quart). The oil pressure gauges in the dash are not accurate. I spend an hour last week talking to a Subaru of American mechanic about the problems with oil pressure.

Run a bottle of Chevron Fuel Injection cleaner through a tank of fuel. This will help clean the injectors if there is anything clogging them

I have an 86 GL wagon and there isnt two cats. 1 cat and a resonator, so I doubt yours has two cats. The resonator looks like a small oval replacement muffler, but its about 6 to 8 inches wide, 2 inches tall and about 10 inches long.

Loose motor mount could me making that knocking sound on the body. Does it knock harder when you are on the gas compared to idling. Also does it sound like its coming from inside the engine or outside?

#10 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 04:49 PM

Carbed EA82's have a black air cleaner houseing......

GD

#11 The Scooby

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 05:03 PM

off topic but, supradan2001, where in arizona are you located, im moving to glendale in july, be there the first of auguest, maybe we can meet up and if you need help give me a call.

#12 supradan2001

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 05:41 PM

It definitely doesn't have the blue air cleaner on top. It's got the small black boot and the hose coming from the air cleaner. FI'd car?

I had forgotten all about the 02 sensor. Just called the store, and it's only $40. I'll have to take a look at it, make sure the connector matches.

The oil pressure goes very high (near the 80, or 85 psi, iirc), but it comes down some after the engine warms up. Is this high oil pressure dangerous to the engine? The engine oil is fresh, less than 100 miles on it, and I always keep a close eye on the level.
The motor doesn't shake much anymore, but the tapping continues. It taps louder when it's cold, and when the engine is under heavy load. The tapping is definitely coming from the engine, perhaps louder from around the back of the block (towards the tranny).

Any comments on the tapping sounds that move under the car?

I have ordered a new fuel filter, and I'll run the Chevron FI cleaner soon.

I never though this old Sube would be so interesting. Thanks to all who have replied,

Dan

#13 calebz

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 05:46 PM

Sounds like you have one of the late model 86 SPFI cars.. not terribly common. Timing should be 20 btdc I believe.

The sound under your feet could be something like a worn motor, tranny or sway bar bushing.. more info would be helpful. Does it do it when getting on the gas? getting off the gas?

#14 torxxx

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 05:52 PM

if you want to stop the engine tapping (ticking) replace the seals in the oil pump, or run thicker oil in it.. I run 15w40 an my car stopped ticking like it used to.

Yes that high of oil pressure can be bad to an engine.. I believe it can blow out the seals in your engine. But seeing how everyone says thess gauges are off, the only real way to see would be to get a new oil pressure gauge.

I've been driving my car for over a month with the oil pressure gauge goin up to 75 or 80 and nothings gone wrong yet... Thats why I'm pretty sure its the gauge

#15 Ratty2Austin

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 12:36 AM

reasons your car could have high oil pressure- blowby from the rings- you can verify this by seeing if oil or stuff "putts" out of the oil filler neck when the motor is running and the cap off. if it is to high, it could ruin your main seals... otherwise, it could be too thick of oil, and it is not flowing thru to the hydraulic lifters. you can also try adding some Magic Marvel Mystery Oil into your engine oil (per directions on the bottle) it will help clean out the oil passages and make it run quieter. I should know, I put it in my impreza 'cause it made the same tapping noise when it was cold... I added that stuff, and it went away before the next oil change. recommended oil to use- Castrol 10W30. I use it exclusively on all subarus and have had no problems. (and thats what we use in the oil change shop at Carter Subaru)

I am not sure about your timing setting.. I know that carbed ea81 should be at 8deg BTDC and turbo at 25 BTDC but not sure about ea82 SPFI-

the power issue- you have a 3AT, with a SPFI ea82. I have driven such a beast, and I know from experience, the "lack of power" comes from both the spfi (if not tuned just right, it sucks) and the AT.... the 3AT has earned its name "slushomatic" for a good reason!
for those who care, daves XT vrs my XT turbo, he has a MPFI with a spider intake and a FWD-4EAT Heavier tranny!)
and my XT turbo with a 5spd 4wd, was just a little slower on the highway head to head!

and also from what I heard, the XT is the heaviest of the GL bodies... (just what I have heard.. I still want to get a scale and measure)

and, yes there should only be one cat. at the Y pipe... the other thing that most non-subaru people mistake for a cat, is the resonator...

check to see if your exhaust is rubbing on the car, mine is on my wagon and it makes weird noises like you discribe...

#16 NoahDL88

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 09:59 AM

I don't know if anyone mentioned it yet, but the fuel filter could be the culpret. and also try some seafoam top engine cleaner, through a vacuume hose, have it suck in the bottle, and then shut the car off for a half hour, then start her up again and a lot of the carbon and stuff should come out the back of the tailpipe

#17 supradan2001

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 02:41 PM

Yeah, timing on a EA82 SPFI is 20 btdc, according to the underhood sticker. Mine was about 24-25 or so, but I only checked after I could not make it to a 5PM appointment yesterday, because the beast overheated several times. Granted, it was the first time I drove it on the freeway, and apparently the higher speed got the best of the engine.
I went home and retarded the timing to about 16, and the thing would barely run, and it was tapping louder. I set it back to 20 btdc. Will have to try freeway driving agai, to see if timing is what caused it to overheat. Outside temperature was about 65F, and radiator level was full, and the aux. fan works as expected. So it's seating at home, while I decide what to try next.
The loud tapping underneath continues. It always starts up front (driver side), and it moves to the back of the car. Sometimes it's not too loud, and it doesn't "travel", it dies soon. Then, next time it's loud, the tapping goes to the back. It does it while cruising, decelerating, accelerating, idling, etc. This car is possessed.

supradan2001




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