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The Desert Fox. My `84 DL Wagon


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120 replies to this topic

#1 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 07:19 AM

Thought I would throw up a more focused build and restoration thread here.

Introducing The Desert Fox. It's a 1984 Subaru DL. I searched long and hard to get my hands on a workable ea81 wagon for a long time, and was able to pick this one up at a decent price.

When I picked it up.

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After a good buffing, waxing, and cleaning.

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Added some trim on the wheels

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Took it on the dunes.

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Then It became the Desert Fox.

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It spends some of its time on the dunes with other Subies

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I still have a ton of work to do, but I'm getting there more and more every day. I'll use this thread to keep everyone updated on it.

My long term goals for this are an eventual FrankenMotor and an awd 5MT.

For now I'm going to be driving it as my everyday car and keeping it mostly stock. Either way I'm super stoked to have finally gotten my hands on this one.

#2 sosubeme

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:14 AM

Very nice! Did you find it in the desert? 'cause that's mighty clean for a MI Subie. Cheers! :drunk:

#3 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:07 AM

I scored some front mudflaps from a usmb member. Super happy with them

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Edited by Mechanical_misfit, 10 June 2012 - 10:12 AM.


#4 Rust

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:47 AM

Did you make the side decals? looks good. The gen 2 cars with single headlamps look better than the quad set-ups, in my opinion. Good score on the raised white letter 13 inch tires, hard to find these days.

#5 1982gl4

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:52 AM

Digging the flaps! Thing is looking great. What's next for it?

#6 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:08 AM

Did you make the side decals? looks good. The gen 2 cars with single headlamps look better than the quad set-ups, in my opinion. Good score on the raised white letter 13 inch tires, hard to find these days.


The stripes were made from an old school aftermarket set. Pooparu made them for me. I have only ever seen two other old subies with these decals. One was the mountain grizzly wagon that mcbrat had, then a very rusty hatch that sat in a drive way near my childhood home. I always thought it was pretty sweet.

I agree on the single headlight look. The quad set ups are kinda goofy.

As for the rwl 13s, I painted them with a white paint marker. They hold quite well as long as I stay off the dunes. The sand rubs the paint off

#7 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:17 AM

Digging the flaps! Thing is looking great. What's next for it?


Thanks dude.

My current plans are to keep pimpin' around with it. I have a 4 speed dual range trans that I want to swap in place of the leaky single range. I'm also waiting on funds to do the third light grill set up. I want to go five lug soon but I'm still waiting to hear from a machinist friend who thinks he can make me some front hub adapters.

All of those plans are on hold until I find another dd for winter. I couldn't stand rusting this thing out more than it is. Plus having an extra car would help so I could have it not running for more than a weekend. I am hoping to get my hands on a loyale sedan that has a bad engine, but still havn't heard from the owner.

#8 TomRhere

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:30 PM

Yeah, the front mud-flaps are great. Been wanting some ever since the 1st BRAT I bought.

The '92 parts Wagon I bought had a set for it in the storage tub that was in the back. :)

Can't remeber if that D/R had the range shifter on it. If not, I know I have atleast 3 here. One of them be yours, if you should need it.

Hope you can make it back down here weekend after the 4th.

#9 AdventureSubaru

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 07:43 PM

Did I see this on Ebay somewhere in Ohio? There was a tan GL similar to this one not that long ago.

Looks great by the way. Love the look of this car!

#10 TheLoyale

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:35 PM

Is that a Silver Toyota Hi-Ace in one of your pictures? Sooo jealous, most of ours rotted away.

#11 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:22 AM

Did I see this on Ebay somewhere in Ohio? There was a tan GL similar to this one not that long ago.

Looks great by the way. Love the look of this car!


Nope. This one has been a Michigan car for a while now I was told. Thanks though dude, glad you dig it!

#12 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:40 AM

Is that a Silver Toyota Hi-Ace in one of your pictures? Sooo jealous, most of ours rotted away.


Sorta, Its a base model `87 Toyota VanWagon. It was hands down my favorite vehicle I have ever owned. I have gone everywhere in that van. I had a lot of high highs and low lows in there. I actually wound up living in it for 9 months when I was on rough times. Hauled a lot of equipment to a ton of shows, even made it down to Chicago, and as far as the Keewenaw for some good old U.P. partying. I had to eventually give it up due to lack of space and to help fund my DL project, but I'll never take for granted all it gave me. It was more than just an old van to me.

I know this is a Subaru forum, but I'll share a couple pics for anyone who is interested. These vans don't get the same respect our old Subies do.

Loaded up for some paddle boarding one cold spring morning

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I also made it down some dirt roads today with the Desert Fox, I swear this car wishes it would grow up to be a WRX.

Maybe once I have the time and money to do an EJ swap.

I also found an early picture of it.

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#13 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:19 AM

The 4th was pretty productive for the old fox.

Got some issues taken care of before the trip to Hillsdale this Saturday.

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I also installed some yakima racks so I can haul this ea82 hood with me down there.

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I washed it too, but this camera sure makes this car look a lot nicer than it really is ;)

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Edited by Mechanical_misfit, 05 July 2012 - 11:35 AM.


#14 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:36 AM

I also adjusted the front ride height.

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Why does it have to be 100 degrees out here? I wish this car had A/C

#15 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:04 AM

So I have to do a RF wheel bearing. It's making some noise now, and I can't stand driving it like that. Also, the LF inner axle boot exploded apperantly.

Who has the most economical wheel bearings for this thing? Honestly, I am broke as a joke these days, so who is going to be cheapest? I normally am concerned mainly with quality, but I gotta cheap out this time because of some bills that are going to be due.

In return, here's a fresh pic.

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#16 TheLoyale

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:58 AM

I would say an O'rileys's might be pretty cheap. I blew $101 total for one LR bearing and seals from Parts-Hut, but it was a Moog/National Bearing.

I remember GD saying you can get them for like $30, but I dunno where. Unless you where to order direct from a bearing manufacture.

#17 bratman18

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 06:25 PM

I have front wheel bearings and seals that will fit that I'd let go pretty cheap. PM me if you are interested. Pretty sure I have both sides.

#18 ShawnW

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 07:23 PM

I had a 4wd 5spd Dual Range transfer case one of those vans for a while. Dumbest move I ever made was selling it. It was great off road but had a pucker factor because it felt so tipsy and you were sitting on the front wheels.
Its an absolute shame that we can't get cab forward vans in the USA anymore. Easy to park, easy to drive but also first on the "scene" in a car accident. To me, that is a non issue-just drive defensive with oncoming traffic on 2 lane roads and don't rear end anybody. Oh well.

I sold it to a guy that HOUNDED me for months to sell it and I got a lot of cash for it.

Now I am looking for a Previa that isn't a fortune.

#19 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:47 PM

PM sent Bratman

Shawn, I almost picked up a 4x4 panel van at the same time as I got the DL, but didn't want to take on two projects at once. I really do love these vans, I just wish they were a little bit easier to service. I see my old one cruising around town now and again, but the current owners peeled all the good stickers off it and replaced it with hippie frogs. The interior was in great shape, but they've had the rear seats folded flat and have been hauling scrap metal on them. It's a shame.


On another note, several of my best friends play in a punk band and had their tape release show tonight. I have been waiting for more than a month now to see it. My roommate did the layout for the insert that came with it. Nobody would let me see it until today and now I know why. I really didn't know what to say, other than I was pretty excited to see The Desert Fox and I were on the cover! I have the best friends a guy could ask for :headbang:

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Give it a listen if you're into this kind of stuff. http://courtesy-spit.bandcamp.com/

#20 TheLoyale

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:03 AM

James that is awesome! Cassette cover looks awesome, they sound pretty good as well, I would totally buy a copy of their release!

#21 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:25 AM

It really sucks that I had to go and rip the tape deck out of the fox last weekend too. It was starting to act like it wanted to eat tapes, and it was only hooked to one speaker. I vowed long ago that I would never have a car without a tape deck because cd players seem to turn up missing a lot in this town.

I really want to find a suitable replacement. Were these cars offered with a tape deck from the factory? If so, I need one now.

#22 TheLoyale

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:27 AM

Mine has a Factory tape deck :-p

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#23 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:34 AM

If you ever upgrade, I call dibs. Haha. Does it work? How is the sound? Several of my ea82s had decent sound quality with the stock set up. I listen to a good amount of punk/hardcore, but when I'm driving it's usually more mellow stuff. I don't really have the need for anything to fancy or modern.

#24 TheLoyale

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:37 AM

I have no clue how it works, never used it yet. Only turned the radio on once so far lol (Its a real cranker with these 20w speakers!) ;)

If you have a Slant console, I'll trade you :) I want to put a Pioneer in it with CD and USB port.

#25 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 08:50 AM

So the Desert Fox has been parked for a while now. It needs some more work, and instead of putting it back together with cheap parts, I am going to save up and do some real upgrades. When I get back from tour in Sept. I will be cranking on it again. I picked up a Dodge K car to drive through our salty winters so the fox can stay as rust free as possible for the time being.

Edited by Mechanical_misfit, 26 January 2014 - 04:55 PM.





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