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Need help please; 1992 Subaru Loyale Wagon w/various issues

Subaru Loyale 1992 Wagon 4x4 stuck loss of power transfer case issue backfiring

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#1 Helios 1

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:04 AM

Greetings to all here in the Ultimate Subaru Message Boards, I recently purchased a Subaru wagon and am having various issues with which I hope some of you can help address. To begin, I purchased the wagon off of Craigs List in the Skagit area of WA. It was originally advertised for $500 and the ad was verbatim:

"Its white got the roof rack won't go over 40 mph 4x4 push button stuck on..have title in hand and it runs but i will tow for maybe alittle extra..call me up...not a daily driver project for mechanic...probally a quick fix and flip..."

Here's the link:  http://skagit.craigs...3871124465.html

After asking about the 4WD issue and what else is wrong with the car, I managed to talk the seller down to $400 vice the original $500 price tag. I shelled out an extra $50 for him to tow it to my place and that was about 2 weeks ago. To clarify, it's a 1992 Subaru Loyale Wagon 5-Speed SPFI 4x4 non-turbo (VIN 5). Considering the condition of the body, interior and engine from what I could tell, the car's a decent enough deal. The car starts, runs, drives, and stops, but not as well as it should.

Before I get too much into the issues and what's been done thus far, please keep in mind I don't have much automotive experience. It wasn't until last year when I purchased my 1st Dodge Ramcharger that I  started tinkering. Since then I've worked on another Ramcharger, an '87 CRX, and a '90 Civic. I can manage air filters, fuel filters, spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor caps/rotors, ignition coils, bulbs, headlights, lift supports (hatches), fluid checks/changes, and things of that nature. Basic stuff. I also try to utilize the proper terminology so that I know what I'm referring to when at an auto part store or when getting insight from my mechanic buddies.

So, on to the laundry list...

- Engine backfiring,
- 4x4 won't disengage
- Loss of power
- Grinding/"whirring" noise in front tires when slowing down
- Stalling
- Worn bearings/brake rotors?

When I first got the car, I started it up and tried reversing. The car stalled out in the clutch-to-accelerator transition. I started it back up, cranked the RPMs to 3k and pulled back into the parking spot it was in. So far I've replaced the spark plugs, plug wires, distributor cap/rotor, and fuel filter as well as giving the car some love with a wipe down and bath. As of last night, my mechanic buddy took out the rear driveline after realizing the lever for the 4x4 (underneath the car) wouldn't budge. I think my transfer case is screwed up, but I don't know for certain. My buddy told me we'd need a lift or floor jack to get the car up high enough to diagnose it better. After he took out the rear driveline, I took the car around the block and it did in fact drive as if it was in FWD vice 4WD. However, there's an odd "whirring"/grinding noise coming from the front tires. It doesn't happen when I apply the brakes, but instead when I coast and am slowing down-thus why I thought it to be bad bearings. Also, the car backfires, has loss of power (RPMs surge, but acceleration is slow), it hates hills with a passion and will stall out easily on inclines.

I personally think I either need a new fuel filter and/or intake manifold gasket, wheel bearings, timing redone, and a general tune up, especially with the SPFI.

Again, I never claimed to know what in the wide world of sports I'm talking about when it comes to automotive, but I do follow the repair/owner's manuals step by step and to a "t". Any advice is greatly appreciated. More pics will come soon.

Andrew

Attached Files


Edited by Helios 1, 16 July 2013 - 03:08 AM.


#2 NorthWet

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:59 AM

Ok, I think we might need some better explanation regarding the 4WD.  The system works by an electric button in the shifter, and this actuates/deactuates a pair of vacuum solenoids (I think they are located near the spare tire/top-of-tranny-tunnel).  A pair of vacuum hoses go back to a double-acting diaphragm that pushes and pulls on the lever on the tranny.

 

So, your buddy says that this lever will not budge (with wheels, front or rear, off of the ground)?  (The 4WD system is designed for low-traction conditions only, as it does not have a center differential:  Front and rear wheels are locked together.  The sytsem gets bound-up on pavement, making disengagement very difficult unless you can cause a wheel to slip and release the bind.)

 

Noise at the front could be lots of things, but common things are worn pads (it will be more of a scree-ing noise), front axle nut not properly torqued-down (common after an axle or bearing replacement), or it could be bearings.  Check the first 2 before assuming bearings.

 

Power/backfiring issues:  Is the "backfiring" in the exhaust or intake?  Any idea of what work was done on the car recently?  First thing to check is to see if someone connected the 2 green, single-wire connectors next to the windshield-wiper motor.  These should NOT be connected for normal use; only when doing diagnostics or setting the ignition timing.  If they are connected, the computer locks the ignition timing at a static setting (20deg???)  If you have a timing light, check the timing (green connectors hooked up, timing marks are viewed through a rubber-plug covered opening on the top side of the bellhousing).

 

Other possibilities are leaky intake gaskets (diagnosable by spraying carb cleaner around the intake-to-head junctions and listening for engine speed-up) or timing-belts improperly installed (VERY common on craigslist cars).



#3 Helios 1

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:29 AM

Regarding the 4x4, theoretically, if I were to put the rear driveline back in and drive the car onto a patch of dirt or something that is not pavement and fiddle with the 4x4 button, could that possibly fix it? I tried the reversing and coasting tricks stated in these forums somewhere but they didn't do anything. i tried the incline idea too to try to pop it out of 4x4. My buddy did NOT have the car off the ground btw. He went in through the engine compartment and under the spare tire area to get to the lever. Maybe that's why he couldn't budge it. Hmm...before any of this work was done by my buddy, I did try the switch itself (the orange button in the shifter knob) and the solenoid would click. Maybe the 4WD was just locked up and needed some off road terrain to fix it?

 

Also, yes, the green connecters are together. I will unconenct them ASAP. As for what was done on the car, I have no idea. The guy who sold it to me stated the car sat for about 9 months before he drove it once jsut to see if it started and ran. From personal experience, I've owned 2 Hondas (87 CRX and 90 Civic) so Subaru is a whole nother world to me. Took some getting used to for a few days of listening to the engine and the fact that it's a "flat 4". Odd, but it's different for me.

 

I'll see about taking the car to Les Schwab and having them do the brakes unless my buddy has time to do them and/or the bearings. The noise I referred to is kind of like hearing water travel through pipes. That hollow rushing sound...if that makes sense.

 

All in all I like the car and don't plan on taking it offroading (have my 84 RC for that), but for daily instead. It's a decent enough ride for $400,I just want to get it in order is all. If Subarus are great cars and worth keeping for 20+ yrs, then I won't mind this one at all.


Edited by Helios 1, 16 July 2013 - 02:50 AM.


#4 MilesFox

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 09:44 AM

The 4wd may not be working due to a vacuum leak.

Test this---  Turn on the heat and select different vents. If all the selections blow out the dash, you have a loose vac line between the intake and the vacuum canister on the firewall. This vacuum supplies the 4wd solenoids and the heat position. This vacuum hose is easy to knock loose doing something simple like spark plug wires. With vacuum, if the solenoids failed electrically, you can still manipulate the 4wd by reversing the vacuum lines to the diaphragm alternately.

 

Spark plugs wires may be reversed if you get backfires in the intake. Rotation is counter clockwise 1-3-2-4. @ 20 deg BTDC. The green connectors mentioned would be plugged in to hold the timing static to set with a light, then un plug them for normal operation.Timing may be off. please refer to the 'ea82 timing belt procedure' to verify the timing marks. Search will find it. I wrote the book on it.

 

The brakes are probably just worn and down to the metal. Going ot a 'les schwab' mat as well replace with all new calipers and rotors as that is what they are going to sell you. Unless you have a lot of rust, you can prpbably do it yourself with new rotors, pads, and the existing calipers with plenty of slide grease.

 

The parking brake engages on the front wheels, so make sure the parking brake is off. The piston on the caliper has to be turned in to make room for new pads, do not force them in with a c-clamp!

 

you may find this car easy to work on compared to other models.



#5 Cougar

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

Make sure the tires are matched up and have equal wear on them. Mismatched tires can cause very bad things to the drive system, including locking up the shifter for the 4X4.



#6 NorthWet

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 10:28 AM

The transmission lever for engaging 4WD is near the back end of the transmission and fairly high up.  I do not think that it is reachable from the engine bay.  

 

Removing the driveline would have removed any binding force on the transmission.  Please follow MilesFox's suggestions.

 

Brake shops, for liability reasons as much as wanting to make money, will often offer only a complete (expensive) service as Miles mentioned.  Replacing the front brake pads (if that is what is needed) is pretty simple.  There are a couple of quirks associated with the front emergency brake, but they are straightforward.  IIRC, all that is needed to access the pads is to remove the wheel, use a 14mm (9/16") box-end wrench or socket to remove one bolt, and the caliper swings free of the pads.  If you go this route, ASK about the quirks (turning in the brake piston and proper rotational position of the piston to accept the pad).

 

Your car is pretty simple to work on, parts are generally easy to get at and work on, and the engine will last forever if decently maintained.  It does, however, have quirks. (Have you discovered the "virgin switch" yet?)


Edited by NorthWet, 16 July 2013 - 10:29 AM.


#7 Dee2

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:48 PM

Good list, I would try to attack these in some sort of logical order.

 

First, attack the locked up 4x4.  If that isn't fixed it hard to test the other fixes.

Second, I would attack the brakes / front-end noise, these may be related

Third, attack the engine performance, stalling; lack of power; backfiring

 

Just my 2 cents.


Edited by Dee2, 16 July 2013 - 12:48 PM.


#8 86BRATMAN

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:07 PM

On my push button 4wd XT I had to lay under the car about halfway back to get to the 4wd lever when mine was stuck.  I had ran it as a rwd for a while when I was broke and had a bad axle. 



#9 Helios 1

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:22 PM

The 4wd may not be working due to a vacuum leak.

Test this---  Turn on the heat and select different vents. If all the selections blow out the dash, you have a loose vac line between the intake and the vacuum canister on the firewall. This vacuum supplies the 4wd solenoids and the heat position. This vacuum hose is easy to knock loose doing something simple like spark plug wires. With vacuum, if the solenoids failed electrically, you can still manipulate the 4wd by reversing the vacuum lines to the diaphragm alternately.

 

Spark plugs wires may be reversed if you get backfires in the intake. Rotation is counter clockwise 1-3-2-4. @ 20 deg BTDC. The green connectors mentioned would be plugged in to hold the timing static to set with a light, then un plug them for normal operation.Timing may be off. please refer to the 'ea82 timing belt procedure' to verify the timing marks. Search will find it. I wrote the book on it.

 

The brakes are probably just worn and down to the metal. Going ot a 'les schwab' mat as well replace with all new calipers and rotors as that is what they are going to sell you. Unless you have a lot of rust, you can prpbably do it yourself with new rotors, pads, and the existing calipers with plenty of slide grease.

 

The parking brake engages on the front wheels, so make sure the parking brake is off. The piston on the caliper has to be turned in to make room for new pads, do not force them in with a c-clamp!

 

you may find this car easy to work on compared to other models.

 

I checked the vacuum lines in that area, but didn't go all the way down to the intake itself, I'll give that a go. The firing order is correct, now anyways. I referenced the Chiltons Manual for it and set it straight the first week I had it. Brake components are in the forseeable future with my buddy doing the work (he owes me money anyway so I'm having him work it off). I've noticed thus far this car isn't complicated as it is just unique in it's own right.

 

Make sure the tires are matched up and have equal ware on them. Mismatched tires can cause very bad things to the drive system, including locking up the shifter for the 4X4.

 

Tires all appear to be the same with equal wear.

 

The transmission lever for engaging 4WD is near the back end of the transmission and fairly high up.  I do not think that it is reachable from the engine bay.  

 

Removing the driveline would have removed any binding force on the transmission.  Please follow MilesFox's suggestions.

 

Brake shops, for liability reasons as much as wanting to make money, will often offer only a complete (expensive) service as Miles mentioned.  Replacing the front brake pads (if that is what is needed) is pretty simple.  There are a couple of quirks associated with the front emergency brake, but they are straightforward.  IIRC, all that is needed to access the pads is to remove the wheel, use a 14mm (9/16") box-end wrench or socket to remove one bolt, and the caliper swings free of the pads.  If you go this route, ASK about the quirks (turning in the brake piston and proper rotational position of the piston to accept the pad).

 

Your car is pretty simple to work on, parts are generally easy to get at and work on, and the engine will last forever if decently maintained.  It does, however, have quirks. (Have you discovered the "virgin switch" yet?)

 

Virgin switch? Would that be the electro lock device located under the dash/steering wheel area? The one that if remove the fuse/key/plastic tab thing, the car won't start? That one?

 

Good list, I would try to attack these in some sort of logical order.

 

First, attack the locked up 4x4.  If that isn't fixed it hard to test the other fixes.

Second, I would attack the brakes / front-end noise, these may be related

Third, attack the engine performance, stalling; lack of power; backfiring

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

I'm gonna have my buddy put the rear driveline back in, then the brakes or bearings (I'll have him have a look first). Afterwards, I'll see about the lack of power. Clutch seems fine so I dont think that's it.

 

On my push button 4wd XT I had to lay under the car about halfway back to get to the 4wd lever when mine was stuck.  I had ran it as a rwd for a while when I was broke and had a bad axle. 

 

I tried that, but couldn't find the lever.

 

I appreciate all the input. Idon't know if there's anything else I'm missing. Actually, yes...the white connectors located directly next to the green connectors, are those supposed to be connected or are those part of timing diagnosis as well?


Edited by Helios 1, 16 July 2013 - 02:34 PM.


#10 MilesFox

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 03:10 PM

The white connectors are part of the code retrieval/clear code. They should remain unplugged for normal operation

 

The 4wd mechanism on the trans is a big diaphragm thingee on the side with a cable going to the actuation rod, which is towards the rear of the trans on the top side of it.

 

Tthe 'virgin switch' is the one people are not aware of when they can't figure out why the parking lights stay on. Since the headlights turn off with the key, there is a switch on top of the steering column to operate the parking lights. It's easy to miss and easy to bump into and turn it on without knowing it was there.

 

If you never noticed it there until reading this, that makes you a virgin to subaru


Edited by MilesFox, 16 July 2013 - 03:11 PM.


#11 Helios 1

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 03:41 PM

The white connectors are part of the code retrieval/clear code. They should remain unplugged for normal operation

 

The 4wd mechanism on the trans is a big diaphragm thingee on the side with a cable going to the actuation rod, which is towards the rear of the trans on the top side of it.

 

Tthe 'virgin switch' is the one people are not aware of when they can't figure out why the parking lights stay on. Since the headlights turn off with the key, there is a switch on top of the steering column to operate the parking lights. It's easy to miss and easy to bump into and turn it on without knowing it was there.

 

If you never noticed it there until reading this, that makes you a virgin to subaru

 

Ok, I'll disconnect the white connecters then. I'll hold off on the 4x4 since I have to wait for my buddy to put the rear driveline back in. As for the "virgin switch", I found that the 2nd day I had the car. Couldn't figure out why the heck my parking lights were on even when I shut the car off. Thought about it and I had toggled a bunch of switches, so I flipped the switch on the steering column back and forth...had a "face palm" moment.

 

Note: I completely forgot to mention that I cleaned the MAF sensor the other day. Yes, I used MAF cleaner...even though I was tempted to use carb or brake cleaner.

 

I also forgot to mention that when I lock all doors using the power lock on the driver's door and then shut the door, the locks will lock when I flip the switch, but all pop back open as soon as I shut the door. That and the key hole on the driver's door is messed up. It's like the lock cylinder and the actual ring around it separated or something.


Edited by Helios 1, 16 July 2013 - 05:12 PM.


#12 AKghandi

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 09:29 PM

two things, I have never had a good expirience cleaning mafs on these, two you have to lift up on the outside handle when you close the door with it locked to lock it. its harder to lock these cars than it is to break in lol



#13 Helios 1

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 10:48 PM

two things, I have never had a good expirience cleaning mafs on these, two you have to lift up on the outside handle when you close the door with it locked to lock it. its harder to lock these cars than it is to break in lol

 

The MAF seemed simple enough. I took out the 2 screws, lifted the sensor up, spritzed the 2 wires in it about 9 times, and replaced it. Waited 20 minutes before starting the car again. Didn't really notice a difference. Then again, the MAF wasn't that dirty to begin with.

 

As for the locks, I'll try that. I'll take a pic of the driver's door lock cylinder to better explain what I'm referring to.

 

Miles, are those 2 antennaes on your wagon (I saw your pic and asked)?



#14 AKghandi

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:41 PM

the maf on these doesn't get dirty, its a hot wire system so it cleans itself.



#15 Helios 1

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:43 PM

So, something else I forgot to mention. I literally just drove the Subaru around the block and noticed when i went to accelerate or after shifting, it wanted to jerk while accelerating. It seems to happen while accelerating. Perhaps it's a fuel delivery issue? I hope not because the fuel pumps on these are not cheap.



#16 Helios 1

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:43 PM

the maf on these doesn't get dirty, its a hot wire system so it cleans itself.

 

If the MAF doesn't get dirty then how come auto parts stores sell MAF sensor cleaner?



#17 NorthWet

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:59 PM

The responder was implying that the MAFs on your model is self-cleaning.  (It has a burn-off cycle, but I do not know if this means it doesn't need cleaning.  Regarding fuel pumps, there are tons of used ones available, they are pretty reliable, and there are also alternatives from other makes (most frequently cited is a common Ford pump that is around US$50 new).

 

Do you know that you have more than a 2-3 gallons of fuel in the tank?  (Thinking tank surge.)



#18 Helios 1

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:05 AM

The responder was implying that the MAFs on your model is self-cleaning.  (It has a burn-off cycle, but I do not know if this means it doesn't need cleaning.  Regarding fuel pumps, there are tons of used ones available, they are pretty reliable, and there are also alternatives from other makes (most frequently cited is a common Ford pump that is around US$50 new).

 

Do you know that you have more than a 2-3 gallons of fuel in the tank?  (Thinking tank surge.)

 

Self cleaning? Nice.

 

As for the fuel pump, which Ford fuel pump works for a 1992 Subaru Loyale Wagon?

 

Gas wise, I think there's a little over or under 3 gallons. I know the tank is just under 12 gallon capacity thus about half is 6 gallons and I'm sitting at about just a quarter full. I'll try putting more fuel in and seeing if that helps. My buddy said the bearings might be bad though so driving the car could cause more issues. That or its the brakes.



#19 Helios 1

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:17 AM

By the way there Miles, I did some digging and saw your "Catch This Fox" trailer. Got a good chuckle out of it. Even inspired me a bit more to keep my Loyale and get crafty with it once all this other stuff is done.



#20 NorthWet

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:42 AM

"Typically", there is about 2 gallons left in the tank when it is on E, and it is supposed to have a low fuel warning light that should come on when it gets to this point.  (On my DD, the gauge and warning light are no longer reliable.  It starts having problems on anything other than straight and level driving when below 3 gallons.) 

 

Regarding the fuel pump, try doing a SEARCH on "ford fuel pump" or some variation.  There has been discussion pretty recently about it.  They came on many large Ford cars and trucks in the 90's.  It is not an exact fit, but it has comparable specs and is cheap and available.

 

Oh, and the wheel bearings are pretty big and sturdy,  They are unlikely to do anything dramatic or damage anything.  Usual reason for failure is failed grease seals.  All in all, noise from brake-pad wear-tabs or noise from an axle loose in the hub is more likely.


Edited by NorthWet, 17 July 2013 - 01:48 AM.


#21 MilesFox

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:44 AM

The anennae on my car were from a box truck, CB antennay, hose clamped to the roof rails. The car is long gone, but that roof rail has been swapped along for so many years before it finally got donated to another member's car.

 

The ford pump would be the in-line unit for any f-series with dual tanks to the rear tank.

 

If you are only filling 12 gallons at the pump, that means you are leaving more gas in the tank when you go to fill it. Overall capacity is 15.9 gallons. The low fuel warning light comes on at about 2.5 gallons. You can still get 30-40 miles of driving after the light stays steady on before you risk running out of fuel. My car takes on average 13 gallons when i fill because i stretc the gauge and live in an urban environment. But only because I trust the gauge. My other car i never let go below 1/4 because the car runs out of gas at 1/8 fuel (i think the sock fell off the fuel pump leaving that last gallon un-pumpable)

 

 

In regards to 'catch this fox', that was a movie project by a guy in film school who fancied my trashwagons. and some 8 years later we still have no movie as ddude had no direction with where he was going with it or what kind of story to tell. Basically pont shoot, and then try to make an outline from that. 

 

I ended up in a large city 300 miles away from where i am from to be subject of a movie that never happened. Hopefully he will finish it one day, as there are over 100 hours of tape and it is half edited already. But until then, i have my own videos online to fill the gap if you want to torture yourself about 165 10 minute episodes on the 'tube.



#22 Helios 1

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 11:32 AM

Ok, recap...

 

So far I've come to realize that I need to:

 

- jack the car off the ground and check brake components/bearings

- test the fuel pump

- put the rear driveline back in, ensure equal air pressure on all tires, and keep trying to disengage 4WD

- take apart the driver's door panel to fix the lock cylinder

- attempt to diagnose the timing

- possibly replace my ignition coil (test first)

- test all vacuum connections for leaks

- have the SPFI diagnosed

 

Good plan. Thank you guys for the help and insight. I'll keep at it.

 

And Miles, I'm sure that movie will see the light of day eventually. Video editing isn't that hard. Just a matter of finding someone who's experienced with it.



#23 MilesFox

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 11:44 AM

Dude is talented, but intellectually lazy. dude is some sort of eccentric with not so much a work ethic. He comes of as being heir to higher social economic status, but yet hasn't contributed to or earned any of it, other than being a product of it. Hopefully we will see it, if he gets on the mode of those types of ventures being of a professional carreer rather than an eccentric hobby. I am impressed with his talent, but am disappointed by his motivation. 

 

As far as being stuck in 4wd, you can reverse the vacuum lines to actuate the diaphragm to the 4wd.

 

You can jack up the side of the car, and having oe front wheel, and one rear wheel off the ground at the same time, will release any bind int he driveline and allows the open diffs to spin freely.



#24 Helios 1

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:13 PM

Talent minus the driving force huh? That's unfortunate. Your film could portray you as a modern day Steve McQueen-esque type.

 

I'll try that on the car. The rear driveline appears symmetrical so perhaps I can just put it back in myself. It's just a metal shaft and like 8 retaining bolts, not rocket science, yea?

 

You talked about baja'ing on your Fox pages and such. Is there certain things you wouldn't try again in a Subi?


Edited by Helios 1, 17 July 2013 - 03:01 PM.


#25 NorthWet

NorthWet

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:13 PM

The driveline does not need to go on to do any testing.  At this point, there is no binding force on the drivetrain.  It sounds like your friend just removed the back part of the 2-piece driveline, so the car can be driven that way.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Subaru, Loyale, 1992, Wagon, 4x4 stuck, loss of power, transfer case issue, backfiring

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