Last week I finally took possession of a 1989 RX coupe with 74,270 miles on the odometer. I have decided to name her Ruth after her original owner. The car was purchased new in New Hampshire, and I bought her from the original owner's granddaughter in Washington, DC. Ruth is pretty solid overall, and the interior is immaculate but for two holes in the driver's side headrest and a bit of wear to the trunk carpet. I've decided to get her back on the road and clean her up to the extent I can without going broke.
I wanted to take Ruth to Carlisle, PA this past weekend, so I launched into a flurry of activity to make sure she was roadworthy. The front brakes turned out to be completely shot, but the calipers moved easily and worked fine, so all I needed were rotors and pads. The rear pads and rotors need replacement, but they could wait. I ordered a full set of rotors and pads from my local Subaru dealership; apparently I got the last set of NOS rear pads in the country.
While driving home, I noticed that the temp gauge didn't work. When I checked the connector, the terminal popped right off.
Unfortunately, the dealer ordered the wrong temp sensor, so I had to improvise. The copper wire was still lodged in the sensor, and there was just enough length to crimp on a connector from my toolbox. Not ideal, but it worked. Now I can replace the sensor at my leisure.
Next up: the passenger outer CV boot was completely gone, and the bearings were clacking around in the race. When I got home with the replacement drive axle, I discovered that the crown nut had been crossthreaded so badly that it was unusable. I packed grease into the joint and jury-rigged two boots I cut off of old Forester axles, tying them together with twine and reusing the metal clamp near the hub. This somehow lasted 62 miles before disintegrating in spectacular fashion. Surprisingly, it was the metal band that failed - the twine had held together and had to be cut away to remove what was left of the boots. I drove another 200 to Carlisle and back to DC with a completely bare outer joint.
The last thing I checked before taking Ruth on the highway was the timing belt. The belt itself looked good, but it was frighteningly loose. I was about to give up on driving her to the show, but then I discovered that the tensioners on the ea82 are manual, not hydraulic. And there are even access holes to reach the bolts for the pulleys! Ten minutes later, the belts were nice and snug.
I started to feel nervous when I felt some nasty vibration from the outer CV joint around 65mph, but I discovered that it smoothed out above 75. Cruised all the way there and back at 75-80, grinning like a madman the whole way.
Among the highlights at Carlisle was meeting Nipper, whose posts on all these Subaru boards I've been reading for years now. Also loved seeing his CVT-powered Justy.
My biggest problem now is some odd noise from the rear suspension, along with left rear camber that is not exactly within factory specs. I suspect it might have something to do with this:
The worst area of rust is the rear crossmember. If anyone has a replacement in good condition or knows where to find one, please let me know. I'm not terribly keen on the rear suspension falling apart while I'm driving. I also need new bumper beams front and rear, because the front is bent from a small accident, and the rear is more rust than metal. I'm holding out hope that the plastic bumper covers will be reusable.
In the 250-odd miles I've driven, I have fallen completely in love with this car. It's small, sprightly for its age, and like few other cars on the road in my neck of the woods. I am grateful for any assistance I might receive here, and I hope to keep you posted while I return Ruth to her former glory.