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1978 4x4 wagon build thread


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51 replies to this topic

#1 noblesablepuma

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 02:20 PM

Hi everyone. I've been lurking on here for a while and I'm going to be starting a build project soon. As such, I'm looking for some input and advice for the resident experts and generally anyone who has been down this road before. I hope to update this thread with pictures and progress notes as I move forward. Right now I'm in the planning stage, but I hope to start wrenching by mid to late April.

Here's what I've got. I recently bought at 1978 4x4 wagon that is in great shape aside for a driver fender ding. Here is a link to one that looks just like it (same color, brush guard, dent and everything)

http://www.oldparked...agon-first.html

I bought the car in WA and am having it shipped home to CO later this month. So I'll get some more pictures up when that happens.

I really just want to make this a fun car to take camping and mild off roading while keeping it on the daily driver side of things. I'm planning on an engine swap to replace the anemic EA71. I've found that at 6000ft+ elevation, hp ratings get de-rated quite a bit. I think I'd like somewhere north of 100hp so I can get up the mountain passes around here. I'm open to suggestions on what should go in this thing though. I'm willing/able to do minor body/frame mods, however the easier and cheaper the better. So, what do you think for the power plant? EA82, EJ18, EJ20, EJ22? turbo? For the tranny, I was looking at the 5sp d/r from a Loyale. Pros, cons or other recommendations?

I've poked around enough on here to know generally what fits together and can fit in an gen1, so I'm looking on advice on the difficulty of the project, driveability of final product and cost, as well as general opinions, preferences and whims.

Alright, that's it. Thanks in advance for the help.

#2 tailgatewagon

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 11:15 PM

sounds like a fun build i think if i i was looking to build what your going to build i would

ej22 it (yes they fit with a little work. with a 4eat trany should work nicely for mild offroading and with the grey wire mod it would be awsome....... you could even distributer and carb the ej22 if you wanted........

#3 1982gl4

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 07:41 AM

Looks like an awesome project! Keep us posted with pics and progress, I agree with tailgatewagon, an ej22 is a great engine to swap. I would probably go for the five speed d/r over the auto, they both have great off roading abilities, I just prefer manuals.

#4 noblesablepuma

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 12:06 PM

I'm partial to the manuals as well, so i'll probably stick with that.

Tailgatewagon, what did you mean by a "grey wire mod"?

Also, if I put an EJ22 in, will I need to beef up the suspension or rear diff?

Also, also, what are your thoughts on an EJ22T? i know they are super hard to come by, but would it still fit? is it worth the trouble and expense to track one down?

#5 subaholic79

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 06:41 PM

please post pics, i have wanted to do this to my 1975 wagon for some time , but not sure how much frame rail mods i will need to do

#6 tailgatewagon

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 04:33 PM

more thoughts


as for 5speed vs auto... i had a 98 impreza with ej22/5speed set up on 29in ssr's
here is a vid of it. while the 5speed was fun going quickly (top of 1st gear or 2nd gear) it left alot to be desired when it came to slow going i had to hammer the car to do the fun stuff.
i kinda wanted an auto so i could use the torque converter as my gearing you can crawl with it , i doubt you will want to hammer your car once its done.
as for the grey wire mod it makes the center diff of the auto locked so its kinda like center diff lock. read more on it here http://forums.nasioc...p/t-692680.html
not a very good page but a start

Pro of going auto you can crawl.
cons wiring
either way your going to have to do some customness to get the trany in the tunnel and lift ect......

as for the engine ej22 all the way, i would find a 97 or 98 22 as they make a bit more power. yes they are interferance but just change your belt and you will be fine...
as for the turbo NOOOOOOOOOOO, i have a turbo car(ej257) and unless you want to spend lots of money to make this work forget it....

cons of ej22t, custom engine mannagment, crossmember fitment issues, only 35 more hp if you leave it stock if you boost the power up to lets say 300bhp then you need brakes axles wheels tires that can handle the power and suspension pluse here you go again spending lots of money,



on another note i had a
1979 wagon 4wd with a ea81 in it plues the dual range from a 81 brat so from the interior it looked stock everything fit. it had lots of power (enough for its size) didint take much custom work as everything bolted in and it didnt destroy the car if you wanted to put it back to stock. now finding a gen one dual range can be kinda hard but now that i think of it this is the way i would go....... here is a vid of my ea81/79 wagon now this is when i was young and dumb so forgive me for the abuse the car took. it had some rust in the frame so it was doomed anyway but still kinda sad to look back at its beating. anyway the thing is still one of my favorite cars ive had....

#7 noblesablepuma

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 11:34 PM

Those videos were great. That impreza is pretty impressive and the gen1 wagon tearing it up is both awesome and sad. It looks like it was taking a beating. I'm excited to get mine rocking and rolling. But i'll probably stick to more benign gravel roads.

So it sounds like the phase 2 ej22 is the way to go. I had a gen 2 hatch with the ea81 and it couldnt handle the mountains here. It's just hard for a carb to go from 5200ft to 9000ft and not be all outta whack. I'm thinking the FI system will allay those issues. Because I wont be really rock crawling with it, I'll probably go with the d/r 5spd.

Here's my current game plan: Buy a wrecked late 90s legacy for an engine donor and snag the engine, wiring and whatnot from that. Then I have found some salvage yards from the area (denver CO) that have the d/r tranny. And I will buy the adapter plate and drilled flywheel. Will the axles from the old s/r 4spd work or do I need something else for that? also, are there any other hiccups I should look out for?

I just found out that I wont be able to get the car shipped for two weeks. So I wont be making any progress for a bit. But I'll be updating this as soon as I can with pictures.

#8 biffanyus

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 11:36 PM

I say keep it stock.... :lol: JK. I do love to see that some people keep them stock but have fun with your subie anyway you feel!!!

#9 Free Range

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:49 PM

Note: The green and gold '78 hooligan wagon still lives!

the 1800/dr swap in a gen 1 wagon is a sweet swap if you have a donor 80 or '81 brat. a 2.2 in front of a 5spd d/r in that frame is a sweet sleeper, i have a '79 brat setup like that.


any way you go, do it!

#10 tailgatewagon

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:17 PM

Realy?? thats cool im glad someone is still driving it. thats one car i wish i still had


free rang i know youguys are doing some cool stuff up your way how about post some pix some time....

#11 noblesablepuma

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 06:17 PM

Note: The green and gold '78 hooligan wagon still lives!

the 1800/dr swap in a gen 1 wagon is a sweet swap if you have a donor 80 or '81 brat. a 2.2 in front of a 5spd d/r in that frame is a sweet sleeper, i have a '79 brat setup like that.


any way you go, do it!


Free Range, Are there pictures of your '79 with the ej22 and d/r 5sp on here somewhere? I'd like to see some pictures of a couple things before I start cutting into stuff. mostly frame rails and engine mounting, radiator space and tranny tunnel.

I'm getting the car shipped next week, so pics and progress will speed up after that :banana:

#12 noblesablepuma

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 10:53 AM

The wagon showed up yesterday. I'm trying to figure out how photobucket works so I can get some pictures up. Stay tuned for them soon.

Also, anyone have a EJ22 with ECU or 5sp d/r trans that they want to get rid of? I'm in the market for some parts....

#13 noblesablepuma

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 02:40 PM

Here are the pictures.

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#14 biffanyus

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 05:18 PM

Very very nice!!!!!:slobber:

#15 noblesablepuma

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 11:14 AM

Hey all, I have a transmission question.

I found a 5sp D/R tranny with 160K on it that is still in a car at the junk yard. According to them, it "worked well" before they parked it. They are asking $250 for it. Is this a good deal? Should I try to find one with lower miles? If I have them pull it, what else should I have them get? clutch stuff? front axles? rear driveline?

Thanks.

#16 Legacy RallyGuy

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 01:52 PM

It's a manual, so it's likely to be in good-dandy shape, the issues could be:

if the seals leaked, you might need to have it rebuilt, but at $250, that's not a bad deal... I paid $500 for mine and an additional $250 for the pedal set/axles and rear subframe...

Depending where you are, you could likely find a shop to give it a once over and clean/polish things and inspect everything internally and fresh seals for around $300. And depending on your patience, you could do it. :D Or if it's in good enough shape, drain the lube and if there's very little gone or it's fairly clean, you could have found a gem!

#17 noblesablepuma

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 08:54 AM

Hi all,

the project got sidelined for a while, but I'm back at it now. Here are some pictures of where I'm at.

5sp D/R trans from an '89 Loyale
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Modified bolt pattern for Flywheel
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Engine and Trans all hooked together
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Empty Engine Bay
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Frame Rail mods... these ugly holes will be fixed up with some welded plates to restore some structure to them...
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Going in....
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It fits!.... sort of...
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This is the trans bell housing and the steering rag-joint... they are trying to occupy the same space... ideas?
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So now where i'm at:

- I need to modify the cross member to accept the engine mount bolts. The EA71 holes are a bit narrow for the EJ22. So a little grinding on the slots should do the trick...

- I need to figure out something for the trans mount. Ideas?

- The steering and Trans bellhousing are trying to occupy the same place (see picture above). Is there a good way to modify the bellhousing or steering linkage to get this to work? some of the other threads on here mentioned grinding the bellhousing down, anyone know how much grinding is necessary? or if that will remove the bolt that holds the engine/trans together at that spot? is there another way?

That's all for now. any ideas are appreciated.

-Dirk

#18 bonvo

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 09:28 PM

sweet looking wagon man im picking one up myself in a week or 2 as for your question about the steering/ bell housing how many other bell housing bolts are in this thing? if there are not alot i would think about going u joints and adapting the collom if its alot just grind down the one mount and call it done

#19 noblesablepuma

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 02:21 PM

sweet looking wagon man im picking one up myself in a week or 2 as for your question about the steering/ bell housing how many other bell housing bolts are in this thing? if there are not alot i would think about going u joints and adapting the collom if its alot just grind down the one mount and call it done


There are 4 bolts total holding the bellhousing to the engine. I think the u-joint option might be best. I had someone else mention grinding it down, but that seems like it would weaken things too much if you get rid of that mounting bolt. Has anyone on here done the grinding method? did it work? for u-joints, I'm just planning on cutting off the bracket for the rubber coupling and welding the u-joint right to the pinion assembly. hopefully the welds are strong enough...

#20 cmill189

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 04:38 PM

My god, those older wagons are so cool looking.

#21 Kostamojen

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 08:19 PM

Try maybe a taller engine mount or a stiffer engine mount to give more clearance for the steering system.

If not, probably have to modify that linkage so its higher up away from the bellhousing...

BTW, have you tried test fitting an EJ transmission at all?

#22 noblesablepuma

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:57 AM

Try maybe a taller engine mount or a stiffer engine mount to give more clearance for the steering system.

If not, probably have to modify that linkage so its higher up away from the bellhousing...

BTW, have you tried test fitting an EJ transmission at all?


I dont have an EJ trans to play with :( I thought the 5sp d/r would be cool so I just went that route.

I think the taller engine mounts would give me issues fitting the trans into the tunnel. It's super snug as it is. (ie, I've used a hammer in places to make room for it...) I'll be working on modifying the linkage this week and I'll post some pictures of how is goes... I've got a few extra u-joints floating around, so i'm sure I can hack something together.

#23 noblesablepuma

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:01 AM

Here are some pictures of the solution to the steering linkage issues.

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The next issues is mounting the transmission. Does anyone know if I can keep the stock sway bar? It looks like i'm going to have to cut the old trans bracket out so that the trans will clear the tunnel, but i'm not sure if I can leave the sway bar. Then also, I'm going to use the trans mount from an 89 loyale and weld it to the old crossmember after I cut it to fit. Any recommendations there?

#24 noblesablepuma

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:41 AM

Saturday was very productive... finally... Here are some pictures of the trans mount mods.

First here is the cross member from the 78 (black) and the trans mount from an 89 (brown)

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Here is the top view of the final mount

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Just needs some cosmetic work and a paint job...

And the bottom view

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#25 bonvo

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 06:30 PM

im not seeing any pics

edit now i am looks good man let me know how much better it preforms i might want to do the same swap in my wagon

Edited by bonvo, 26 September 2011 - 06:35 PM.





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