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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Best stock year/model/specs to start with?

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7 replies to this topic

#1 blinkibus


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Posted 21 March 2004 - 08:36 PM


I have been dreaming about getting another subaru, and trying to do some research on the web, but I still have some questions, and would really appreciate some expert advice.

I want to put together a wagon for a daily driver, AND an off road cruiser for logging roads and exploring. What would be the right stock subie to look for? On what models were LSD's to be had. (the open diffs in my suburban are useless) Dual range tranny? (I still haven't figured out what that means yet). 3.9 vs. 3.7 etc. Are some models more durable or easier to work on/modify than other? I tend toward 80's models personally, but any thoughts and opinions would be appreciated.


Former Subarus: 86 hatchback, 91 loyale.

#2 subarubrat


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Posted 21 March 2004 - 08:43 PM

Get a BRAT, 4 inch lift, and some 27 inch micky thompsons on a 6 lug conversion. That will get you managable mods on a stock driveline. Then of course you have the option of any subaru 4cyl slipping right in. Need that occasional extra seat or storage? Camper top and the bed seats take care of that.

#3 WJM



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Posted 21 March 2004 - 09:36 PM

he wants a wagon....although a brat would be ideal for logging roads...

I am thinking, for more luxuary, a 1989 GL-10 turbo wagon, with FT4WD. Its got a LSD, Full Time 4WD, and a locking center diff for the 5spd versions. The autos are pretty good as well.

Otherwise, id go with a GL, or GL-10 5spd 4wd model. Definatly between the years of 1985 and 1989. You just cant beat the SPFI Dual range 5spd GL's tho....unless you've got an RX :headbang:

#4 blinkibus


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Posted 21 March 2004 - 11:15 PM


Thanks for the replies.

My neighbor has an 87 or so brat sitting in his front yard collecting leaves, and he would probably let it go for cheap, considering it has some issues. BRATs are very cool, but I failed to mention that I have a couple kids and a wife that need to fit in the car as well. Thing is we are a one car family, with my wife commuting to work and me blazing trails with the kids in the afternoons, in the same vehicle.

There is also a 102 year old lady up the street with what looks like a mid 80's baby blue GL wagon, in granny garage condition complete with factory push bar. I was thinking about asking her about whether she was thinking about replacing that old thing, and that I would be happy to dispose of the wagon for her ;)

I want a 5 spd, the power of a turbo would be good, but turbo always seemed like something volitile to me, are they reliable? Locking center diff sounds grippy.

The two subarus I had in the past were tons of fun to drive, especially in the snow (read power slide). My brother had a 98 or so outback, and I hated it. Which means I tend to favor 4wd over Awd.

How do I recognize a dual range tranny?! (be patient I'm still learning) Can I identify whether a vehicle has LSD's without crawling under it? i.e from the VIN or option codes, or number of bolts or something?

thanks again,


#5 speedbump


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Posted 21 March 2004 - 11:27 PM

turbos are good in any vehicle period.remember,its only an air pump.the only difference is,ya gotta let er run for a few minutes after driving to cool the bearing journal to a reasonable temp,and change the oil a bit more often.

#6 bushbasher


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Posted 22 March 2004 - 12:36 AM

dual range has a high and low range. The low range provides extra gear reduction in the drivetrain, giving you more power to climb obstacles and extreme grades without bogging down the engine or stalling. It also reduces your speed, making it easier to control the car to slowly navigate rocks etc without riding the clutch or rocking back and forth etc. This reduction of speed also makes it a blast to drive on tight or small dirt roads etc because of the effectively increased torque, allowing you to burnout, slide and accelerate faster, at the expense of top speed (which on narrow dirt road you don't need anyways) The 3.9:1 diff ratios also give added low end power and acceleration.

A dual range 4wd has a permanently locked "center diff" which means that it cannot be driven on dry pavement in 4wd without drivetrain binding due to speed differences between front and rear axles.

An rx or turbowagon full-time 4wd tranny will have a lockable center diff so that it can be driven on pavement without binding, then locked for the same traction as a dual range transmission when off-road. However rx dual range ft4wd trannys have very little reduction in low range, and also have 3.7:1 diffs. This makes them very suited to rallying and all-weather pavement driving, at the expense of 4x4ing ability.

There is also the pushbutton 4wd which engages 4wd with a switch. It has no low range, and is the least versatile 4wd transmission. Works fine for snow and gravel roads, but 4wd cannot be used on dry pavement and the lack of low range makes it useless for serious off-roading. It can be destinguished by a 4wd button on the shifter.

The dual range transmission has a lever on the center console beside the handbrake, which says "4wd" There will be a sticker beside the lever showing positions "fwd", "4HI", and "4LO". They are found on wagons and sedans from 1980? to 1988.

My suggestion is to find an ea82 ft4wd turbowagon from 1985 on. The 1989 model is the only wagon model with a rear LSD. A GL wagon from 1987-88 with fuel injection and a dual range is probably easier to find, with a good range of options, and great versatility. Wagons from 80-85 have less options, and the less powerful but more reliable ea81 motors. They can be had with 4spd dual range transmissions.

#7 calebz


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Posted 22 March 2004 - 01:23 AM

Originally posted by bushbasher
The 1989 model is the only wagon model with a rear LSD.

I wish people would dispense with passing this rumor around.

Its just not true.

other than that, the above is a pretty decent breakdown of the EA82 line



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Posted 22 March 2004 - 11:42 AM

I would recomend a 1984 Gl hatchback or wagon with 4spd. manual and dual-range transmission, lift it, put 25-27's on it and have fun, carry around the family too.

good times, -AK

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