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Going to look at a '79 DL on Saturday


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8 replies to this topic

#1 sjschlag

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 12:52 PM

Greetings Ultimate Subaru Board! 

 

I recently sold my 2003 Impreza. It was a good car, but I was bored with it (it worked too well)

 

I've been bitten by the old car bug and put an ad on craigslist looking for a gen 1 or gen 2 subaru wagon or BRAT. I got a response from a guy with a '79 DL wagon over in Kansas. Seller claims the vehicle has only 43,000 miles! The interior is immaculate, so it leads me to believe that it really does have that much mileage on it. Seller claims car was parked under a lean to or car port for 20 years or so, and didn't run when he bought it. He ended up rebuilding the top end of the engine, and putting in new fuel lines and a fuel pump. Body looks faded, with some rust holes around the passenger rockers, and the seller says there is some rust in the wheel wells from mud sitting in there for a while. Tires are around 20 years old (will need to be replaced) but hold air and car runs and drives! Exhaust system on this car rusted out, so the seller put a straight pipe on it after the y pipe. Wheels are kinda rusty, so I'm either going to have to sandblast/paint them or get an entire new set of wheels for this car. 

 

So, my question is, what am I in for? where I live they do safety inspections, so in order to get the thing road legal in my state I'm going to at least need to get some new wheels/tires and a new catalytic converter/muffler/entire exhaust system. I've read up a bit on these cars, and it seems like the wheels are pretty hard to find due to odd sizing. I'm not even sure about the exhaust! Seller still has the rusted out catalytic converter (the flanges rusted out on it). do they even sell these anywhere anymore? Would a muffler shop be able to fit some other catalytic converter on there to pass inspection? Seller wants $1700 for the car, which seems reasonable given the condition of the interior, the running engine and the fact that these cars are damn near impossible to find around here!

 

Long term, I'd like to re-paint the car and try to fix the rust. I ride old honda motorcycles most of the year, so this car would only get driven once a week, maybe to shows, and when it gets snowy out. I plan on getting some rust proofing done over the summer before it snows next winter. 

 

So what are your thoughts? Should I pass on this one, or should I take the plunge?

 

thanks, 

 

-Sam

 

Here's a link to some pictures the seller sent me:

https://docs.google....dit?usp=sharing



#2 mikaleda

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 01:07 PM

I know from experience from my 80 gl that low milage doesn't mean much when they have sat for that long. Mine ended up having a broken unibody. Things I would check are undercarriage (check for rust holes and check the molded frame) check the carpet for dampness and pull up a corner on the drivers side and check for rust, take a look at those rear wheel wells, check all the rubber like c.v.s and steering rack, and look under the hood and make sure there hasn't been mice nesting in there. Use any flaw you see to negotiate the price down.

#3 moosens

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:30 AM

Wow , that's a real 43K car !!! Take extremely good care of the decal on the driver's door. Use water only to clean it and don't even look at it the wrong way. That , and the pedals and carpet  are a dead give away you've got a true low mileage car. If that turned over I'd be thinking the original owner was a meticulous one.

 

Yes , the body will suffer if left to sit outside , especially over dirt. But yours looks like an extremely nice base to work with. You've done well !

 

Start with Danny W in TN - goes by "drivesubies" here and on eBay as "dannybreadman". He has a lot of new old stock. If I can get him to get parts out "ctsuba" Charlie has some of his and my old 70's parts including some solid exhaust. Wheels we have. Tires are 155/80 R13 and are tough to find but not impossible. Also fit toyota Tercel among a few others.

 

If you shop with guys like Danny and other board members you can probably have that car in great running shape and able to get through inspection for under $3K , maybe lots less. Price isn't bad but of course we'd all work on it a little. See what you can do. Good luck !!


Edited by moosens, 15 March 2013 - 06:38 AM.


#4 sjschlag

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 01:26 AM

I went and bought the car today!

 

208656_10101253644348639_50675176_n.jpg

 

It runs and drives great! I was expecting it to be swiss cheese, but underneath it looked very solid! Floor boards are great, with some surface rust underneath and occasional really tiny rust spots inside. The only serious rot appeared to be in the passenger side rocker, which will need to be replaced before next winter. The spare tire shelf was in great shape, with only a few very small specks of rust. Wheel wells were solid, with only surface rust (no holes!) This really is a 43k car, and the interior shows it! Paint appears faded, but the previous owner buffed out a spot on the hood. Looked pretty good. I'd be interested to see what happens when the whole car is buffed out!

 

I ended up stopping at NAPA driving the car home, as the fuel pump was going out, and the car wasn't running all that great. A new off the shelf 1-4psi pump made a world of difference! The car cruised at 70 the rest of the way home without much issue! 

 

It appears that the exhaust was removed AFTER the catalytic converter! That makes things much easier! 

 

The tires are in pretty good shape for 20 years old. No cracks and no rot. Plenty of tread left on them! 

 

The only really big issues with the car is that the gas tank has a small leak around where the fuel line goes in. Only leaks when gas tank is filled beyond 7-8 gallons. I know a shop that will re-braze the fuel lines into the tank. Could use a tune up as well. Is there a drop-in electronic ignition module for these cars? I've also heard the Weber carb upgrade is a good route to go. Any thoughts on that?

 

Thanks!



#5 moosens

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:17 AM

What you might want to do is carefully undo the fuel lines and drop the tank. If you live where you get frost and want the tank to last another 20+ years then you might want to do this once and pay a little more. Have it sealed and lined - good for three decades and then some if you clean the area well and garage the car or park it protected and NOT OVER DIRT.

 

See that rust you mentioned? It'll turn really bad really fast if you park it over soil or where it can't drain and dry properly.

 

Good luck with it !



#6 biffanyus

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:16 PM

Looks great More pics please. Lets see it al cleaned up!!



#7 mikaleda

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:21 AM

wow sounds like you got a nice car, its good to see one of theses go to someone who is going to actually take care of it. :grin:



#8 sjschlag

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:28 PM

It's getting a new muffler today. Hopefully they get it done before Thursday! We are expecting 2-3" of snow here in Kansas City. I'm a bit nervous about getting road salt all over it when I drive it to work. Any tips for minimizing exposure post road salt? The car is pretty solid, and I'd like for it to stay that way but I also need to get to work...

#9 mikaleda

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:27 PM

Just keep it washed off, pay special attention to the undercarriage and the rear wheel wells that is where the salt sticks the most.




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