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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Buying 83 Brat with automatic

1983 Brat Transmission Offroading wheeling

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3 replies to this topic

#1 BBerry4430


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Posted 08 August 2013 - 04:41 PM

Good evening folks, 

I've owned an 82 and 86 Brat, both with manual transmissions, and am naturally blown away with how good it is off road.  Naturally some of that is because of the low range that comes with the 4 speed.  

I'm about to buy an 83 with an automatic in pretty nice shape for a good price.  Is the Brat with the 3 speed auto as good wheeling as the 4 speed with low range?  Is it essentially like running in 4-hi?  I'm not expecting it to be as good as my old Jeep Wrangler, but how well will it compare to the manual Brats I've had in the past?

Thanks in advance.


*Naturally I will post pics as soon as I pick it up tomorrow.  

#2 BratRod


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Posted 08 August 2013 - 05:43 PM

Huh, funny... I've been researching this like crazy, lately. My consensus is: The 3AT that came with the Brat is garbage. It was problematic and few are left due to the common (almost inevitable) failure. While that is the majority of what people think, there are some people that stand by them with over 200k miles. The general rule seems to be fluid changes RELIGIOUSLY at a 20k mile interval. That being said; for offroad purposes, the D/R is king! IMO, you will not be happy with the automatic if you loved your other Brats. The mileage is worse, too.

#3 BBerry4430


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Posted 08 August 2013 - 06:00 PM

Reading all the same stuff now.  I'm doing the research now for an eventual conversion to the 4 speed.  My girlfriend won't be happy.  One of the selling points on my buying this one is that she can drive it in bad weather.  Ohhhhh well.  Hopefully the auto will last the winter and I'll do the conversion in the Spring.  

#4 NorthWet


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Posted 08 August 2013 - 06:12 PM

There is nothing particularly bad about the "3AT".  Since it has torque multiplication in its torque converter, it might do as well or better than a D/R manual.  The 3AT has 2 faults, and they are related.  They can overheat their ATF in harsh usage, and the overheated ATF gums up the governor valve.  Think about putting a tranny cooler on it, and make sure that the ATF is clean and properly filled.  It would also be a good idea to remove and clean/debur the governor valve parts.


The same JATCO M41/M41A transmission core was used in millions of other cars that weren't Subaru (can't recall if it was Toyota or Nissan that uses the same core).  It is a decent design for its era.

Edited by NorthWet, 08 August 2013 - 06:13 PM.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: 1983, Brat, Transmission, Offroading, wheeling

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