Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

Mechanics think my Subbie is junk-HELP

1986 Subaru Gl troubles

  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 10 October 2013 - 05:28 PM

I need some Subbie big brains help on this.
I've got a straight, beeutiful interior, 4x4 1986 Subaru GL Wagon. I want to keep her. Everybody thinks I'm nuts ( well, maybe not everybody)

  OK. Some dirt mechanic was messing with her: her name's Lulu. He changed the water pump on her after she’d redlined. He got a little sloppy. The timing belts were squishy and I said I thought they needed to be changed ( which they did) but he couldn’t do it.

  See, I’ve lost my regular mechanic who used to keep track of things like that and I don’t work on cars anymore due to unfortunate physical issues.

  Well, all seemed fine until the engine seemed to blow up after I plugged the AC harness back together. Fried the new alternator I’d put on her, blew off two plug wires and a wire off the alternator and still made it home. Need to check the fuses

   Talk about ROCKING OUT!!!!! That engine looked like it was trying to climb out and run off. .. The dirt mechanic tried to diagnose by part and used up all my money THEN told me to take it her and have her diagnosed. I drove her as little as possible like that all summer,(due to financial embarrassment) then found out this guy hadn’t even gotten two sparkplugs in right, so, she was running for about 4 months on two cylinders! WITH the vacuum leak getting worse and worse.
Anyway, it turned out all the shaking had destroyed the intake manifold gasket and she was getting coolant into her crankcase. Not good.  Giant vacuum leak. So I took her and got that fixed and then brought her home and did an engine clean and changed the oil again. It looks clear of gunk now.
Please bear with me.
  I then took her in to a hoity toity shop that SAYS they work on SUBARU… well, not THAT old…too greasy and too much thinking involved I guess, when they can’t just take a machine, clip it on, and it tells them how an internal combustion engine works.

 They tell me she’s leaking oil AND coolant at the headgasket and the oil pump ( very probable) oil pan, etc ( Not bearings tho) and has cylinder blow-by and is shot. The older guy said he’d looked for a used engine and couldn’t find one.

  So I called a place named “Reincarnation”; told them what the other place had said. They were nice and didn’t mock the old Subaru afflicted; said that as long as there isn’t internal damage in the engine they could seal her all back up. Well. Who knows about THAT? The overheating bothers me the most as far as that issue
     BUT! I have an intuition that the first shop didn’t do much of a job checking Lulu out and saw the coolant left over from the intake gasket failure and maybe assumed she was leaking there.
    No smoke of either color coming out the tailpipe; pretty good pickup or maybe I’m used to her running bad…she has some missing/hestiation esp when coming off the gas pedal, some dieseling when shut off, not bad, which I think is screwed up timing. The carb is OK, I’m told.

  My main question is: do you people think the engine is done for and I should have a rebuild put in? Or degrease the engine and take her to somebody, if I can even FIND anybody, who knows these engines (EA 82) and get them to really scope her out?

PS: I love this car. Not into street racing anymore, never had issue with her perfromance before either.
She's got a little over 200k on her odometer and way less on the block I had put in her in '05
So, what do you think?

 

Attached Files



#2 86 Wonder Wedge

86 Wonder Wedge

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • 374 posts
  • Akron, OH

Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:55 PM

Glad to see someone trying to keep an old girl on the road! Welcome!

 

How about an fuel setup? Carb/SPFI/MFI/Turbo?

 

And while it's difficult to just "shotgun" parts and pray it fixes it, the bottom end on these are VERY difficult to kill. And for the non-turbo setups, rarely blow headgaskets (external leaks, maybe, but not a critical internal failure).. There is hope! 



#3 MilesFox

MilesFox

    Catch this Fox!

  • Members
  • 10,611 posts
  • Madison/Milwaukee, WI

Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:27 PM

I doubt the engine is trashed, other than it has been molested by non soob familiar mechanics.  The best thing to do is do all the cam, cank, and valve cover gaskets, as well as the intake gaskets.

 

This engine is easy to work on, but can be confusing to a machanic that is not used to them. One example is someone removing allt he fuel rails on an intake piece by piece, not knowing the intake comes off as one whole asembly tied together with 6 bolts and an egr tube.

 

How did you determone blowby problems? If it's il consumption, it may be PCV valve related. If it is bad compression, the maybe one of the timing belts is a notch off.



#4 jono

jono

    New User

  • Members
  • 628 posts
  • Southern Hemisphere - AUS

Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

I note no mention of the tick of death hydraulic lifters ?

 

Everything depends on your budget - especially at reception :D

What is your budget ?

I like EA82 . Overheating is your first issue to deal with - could be as simple as removing/replacing the thermostat - two 12mm head bolts, and a new 75c gasket.

 

 

Oil leaks can be addressed with some quality oil seal rejuvenator additives - sometimes

 

Those inlet manifold gaskets have to be renewed at some stage - you've done that- good start.

 

Number one turn off after an empty wallet is a mouthful of candy apple - to a dentist ! A greasy engine bay is same to mechanics - YUCK

 

A $5 oil pressure switch can solve some heavy oil leaks up front near the oil filter.i

I resolved oily residue in the wrong places with a catch can in between rocker breather hose out let and carby/air filter with a vent I think

 

Lots of little fixe$ can be done to revive LuLu



#5 nobangmycar

nobangmycar

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts
  • Edendale, New Zealand

Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:07 AM

Stick with it!  Lovely old bus!



#6 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 11 October 2013 - 07:59 AM

Glad to see someone trying to keep an old girl on the road! Welcome!
 
How about an fuel setup? Carb/SPFI/MFI/Turbo?
 
And while it's difficult to just "shotgun" parts and pray it fixes it, the bottom end on these are VERY difficult to kill. And for the non-turbo setups, rarely blow headgaskets (external leaks, maybe, but not a critical internal failure).. There is hope!

Lulu has the standard Carter carb.
That seems fine

#7 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:27 AM

I doubt the engine is trashed, other than it has been molested by non soob familiar mechanics.  The best thing to do is do all the cam, cank, and valve cover gaskets, as well as the intake gaskets.
 
This engine is easy to work on, but can be confusing to a machanic that is not used to them. One example is someone removing allt he fuel rails on an intake piece by piece, not knowing the intake comes off as one whole asembly tied together with 6 bolts and an egr tube.
 
How did you determone blowby problems? If it's il consumption, it may be PCV valve related. If it is bad compression, the maybe one of the timing belts is a notch off.

The dude at Hoity Toity determined that. But Reincarnation said they ALL have some blowby, it depends whether the PCV can handle it.
If it was oil consumption wouldn't it be blowing blcak smoke? I'm sure there's some but.....

I think her compression was down becuse of that terrilbe vacuum leak from the intake manifold. You could HEAR it hissing!
The wierd thing is that I'd just gotten the radiator flushed, rodded, new thermostat...then the water pump went!
And all proceeded from there.
I've made up my so-called mind that I would rather have THIS car than a succession of beaters I have to replace or put $1000s into because they're pieces of junk that were built to be peices of junk.

I have supected the timing belt of jumping since she started this, but replacing the intake gaskets seems to have quieted her tremendously. I still think it's possible it may be the timing, at least part of it. As I said that belt had way too much give in it.

WEll. I guess the best bet will be to tke her in and see what Reincarnation says and then decide whether it's cheaper to put a rebulid in her or just fix her. I have a feeling the rebuild is the way to go.
I've found ones online for a couple thou; less if you dont' count the core.

But I've got to clean that oil junk off that engine! There's a car wash across the river taht ahs a degreaser bay.

What should I cover up besides the alternator? Seems like the carb is pretty sealed as it is.


As far as the budget goes..... nearly everything for Lulu now. I'm serial, I love this car. I PRAYED for this car.....some Subaru God dropped her by the side of the road 18 years ago just as I was about to buy an awful Hyundai which was a tin can with a strong motor attached! BBbbbbRrrrrrrrrr! A narrow escape!

Business has been so awful this year that I'm just saving. I may buy the engine and put it in the backyard until I can get it installed....anybody ought to be able to do that, shouldn't they? I mean if they're conversant with Subbies, that is.

PS: Say, isn't there a spell checker on this thing? I'm a terrible typist!

#8 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:47 AM

I note no mention of the tick of death hydraulic lifters ?
 
Everything depends on your budget - especially at reception :D
What is your budget ?
I like EA82 . Overheating is your first issue to deal with - could be as simple as removing/replacing the thermostat - two 12mm head bolts, and a new 75c gasket.
 
 
Oil leaks can be addressed with some quality oil seal rejuvenator additives - sometimes
 
Those inlet manifold gaskets have to be renewed at some stage - you've done that- good start.
 
Number one turn off after an empty wallet is a mouthful of candy apple - to a dentist ! A greasy engine bay is same to mechanics - YUCK
 
A $5 oil pressure switch can solve some heavy oil leaks up front near the oil filter.i
I resolved oily residue in the wrong places with a catch can in between rocker breather hose out let and carby/air filter with a vent I think
 
Lots of little fixe$ can be done to revive LuLu

She DOES ahve some valve noise when I start her in the cold mornings.but that resloves when the oil gets to her upper chamber. I don't like it, suspect a weak oil pump.

She's not overheating anymore. But there for awhile, I had to put about a half gallon of antifreeze into her before I took her ANYWHERE. expensivo!

The guy who did god knows what to her told me to put WATER into her. Sure glad I didn't listen to THAT little piece of "advice".
At least the anitfreeze has some lubricating properties.
Her oil is clean now after the intake gasket was replaced

Edited by southvalley, 11 October 2013 - 08:50 AM.


#9 scoobiedubie

scoobiedubie

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 476 posts
  • Aloha, Oregon

Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:43 AM

You can probably buy another used Subaru of the same year, for less money than you are about to spend to get your car running correctly. Reason being is that you don't do the work yourself. Ordinarily, 85 to 94 GL/Loyales are too expensive to repair, if you are hiring a auto mechanic to do the work every time. They are totalled before you bring them into the mechanic, due to what he is about to charge you.

Either learn how to tighten cylinder head bolts, check timing belt installation, check timing, install spark plugs, check spark plug wires, clean distributor cap electrodes, and check vacuum lines by yourself, or sell it and find an 89 Loyale or later that runs right, because they get much better gas mileage.

#10 MilesFox

MilesFox

    Catch this Fox!

  • Members
  • 10,611 posts
  • Madison/Milwaukee, WI

Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:32 PM

What you need is a mechanic that is fond of this car who will work on it because it will make him feel good to have preserved another one. Like me.



#11 ferox

ferox

    King of the Echo People

  • Members
  • 853 posts
  • Portland, Oregon

Posted 11 October 2013 - 02:16 PM

It sounds like you are a bit or a purist so I don't mean to blaspheme, but based on the amount you are willing to spend, you could do an EJ swap or pay someone to do the swap and have the benefits of the increased power and fuel injection.  You also get the benefit of having neo-mechanics be able to work on it.  Since your current ea82 is carbed you basically have to learn how to work on it or as others mentioned, the price to have it "professionally maintained" is too high...if you can even find someone that will work on a carbed engine.  It's easy to say EJ it, I know, but it would be well worth it.  Especially if you ever go north into the mountains, the carbs just don't adjust to the elevation like fuel injection and you will definitely like the added horsepower if you are trying to go uphill anywhere higher than 6000 ft elevation.



#12 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:42 PM

It sounds like you are a bit or a purist so I don't mean to blaspheme, but based on the amount you are willing to spend, you could do an EJ swap or pay someone to do the swap and have the benefits of the increased power and fuel injection.  You also get the benefit of having neo-mechanics be able to work on it.  Since your current ea82 is carbed you basically have to learn how to work on it or as others mentioned, the price to have it "professionally maintained" is too high...if you can even find someone that will work on a carbed engine.  It's easy to say EJ it, I know, but it would be well worth it.  Especially if you ever go north into the mountains, the carbs just don't adjust to the elevation like fuel injection and you will definitely like the added horsepower if you are trying to go uphill anywhere higher than 6000 ft elevation.

I'll look into the EJ.
I took this car up to Denver when she was 15 yrs old, back and forth quite a bit adn I never had any trouble as we set our carbs for high altitude here. She ran like a champ.

But it's not a matter of me "learning how to fix" it or any other car. I'm too bunged up to work on them anymore.

Nothing like having your car go POOF to really learn it anyway.
I used to work on my '65 chevy Impala SS's quite a bit.
I want to fix this car, learn the maintanece schecule and have her run 'til I croak or can't see to drive (or other unforeseen contingencies). OK?

#13 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 11 October 2013 - 05:44 PM

You can probably buy another used Subaru of the same year, for less money than you are about to spend to get your car running correctly. Reason being is that you don't do the work yourself. Ordinarily, 85 to 94 GL/Loyales are too expensive to repair, if you are hiring a auto mechanic to do the work every time. They are totalled before you bring them into the mechanic, due to what he is about to charge you.

Either learn how to tighten cylinder head bolts, check timing belt installation, check timing, install spark plugs, check spark plug wires, clean distributor cap electrodes, and check vacuum lines by yourself, or sell it and find an 89 Loyale or later that runs right, because they get much better gas mileage.

If I can find one with as striaght abody and interior, I might do that. thanks

It's not a matter of wanting to learn how, it's a matter a totalled body (mine) and a million other things to do.
Besides, value is in the eye of the beholder a lot of the time, esp if you're not dealing in cars one after the other

Edited by southvalley, 11 October 2013 - 05:47 PM.


#14 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 11 October 2013 - 06:04 PM

What you need is a mechanic that is fond of this car who will work on it because it will make him feel good to have preserved another one. Like me.

Yes, I do.
I wonder what kind of thing I could get for what I'm willing to pay to have THIS car fixed?
Like I said, I don't want one set of other people's problems after the other.

#15 MilesFox

MilesFox

    Catch this Fox!

  • Members
  • 10,611 posts
  • Madison/Milwaukee, WI

Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:04 PM

Yeah, its best to have the smae guy do all the work so no one is compromising anything vs the other. This is the kind of thing i used to go on road trips for to put someones soob together in another state. My circumstances today don't allow for that (i have settled with family) as i was the travelling subaru mechanic years ago.

 

One thing to consider if you lwish to keep your existing ea82 engine is either convert the carb to a weber so you ont have to dal with all the solenoids and vacuum to the hitacjhi. Even better yet, an SPFI fuel injection manifold and distributor would bolt right onto the engine if you had the spfi engine harness and ECU, cut down to work.

 

This would be the same idea as using an ej engine, having to use the trimmed harness and ecu, but with SPFI it saves you havieng to come up with a whole engine, and a custom flywheel and bellhousing to make it fit.

 

You will want to have the seals done if it is leaking. Swapping woth another motor defeats its own purpose as any old subaru engine will leak, and if you use another engine and re-seal it, you may as well re-seal the one you already have. These engine blocks are good for better than 300,000 mi. Even refreshing a 250,000 mi engine would buy you another 100,000 mi of life.

 

It is more often than not a poorly running subaru engine is a result of someone screwing with (attempted maintenance) it than it acting up on its own(lack of service)

 

I had the luxury of working on an ea82 engine that was supposedly had new internals(which was not necessary) and was built by some russian dude who managed to remove the oil pressure relief valve, and ACTUALLY INSTALLED THE HEADS BACKWARDS. This was a running engine. I repaired the head gaskets and resealed it. Then the engine knocked.

 

And the engine only knocked because someone split the case and got inside when it absolutely was not necessary.



#16 southvalley

southvalley

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Albquerque

Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:09 AM

Yeah. Lulu was running like a dream before this guy who was blind in one eye and couldn't see out of the other messed with her.
To be fair, he worked his azz off trying to fix her, but just didn't know what to do. Heck, I've got as many/more tools than he does. Why he thought that changing the timing belts was sucha big deal when teh covers wer already off is beyond me. but I guess I'm kinda glad now he didnt' do it ;^)

I just dont' think it's a good idea to press my luck and try to find the mechanic who worked on her before..he's WAY up in the mountains and my rides, well, I dont' want to push them THAT far.
I HAD found an older guy who really knew these engines, but he didn't LOVE them. I took her out there over this and he had gone stark staring MAD....wanted $5000.00 to rebuild the engine!!!!!! AND was rude while talking to me.
Too bad, he was real good.

I have to say, I regard thIS engine as the closest thing I've HAd to my CHEVY 283's for just plain no quit guts.

I DEFINITELY DON'T want to put anohter used in her. But after what you've just said about backwards heads, etc, at least this was MADE at the factory, (I'm sure you take my drift) and has maybe 80K on it. Maybe resealing really IS the way to go
I was going to go degrease her this morning, then relaized it was Saturday...too bad. Maybe Monday.

I'm leery of doing too much change to this engine, esp since so few can even work on what's there...you know what I mean?. but I DO long for a Weber. I'll ask them about it when I take it in.

And thanks for not stomping on my dream!
Once my heart is given it stays given. THANK YOU. wish you were HERE!

Edited by southvalley, 12 October 2013 - 11:10 AM.


#17 Cougar

Cougar

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 6,342 posts
  • Anchorage

Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:28 AM

I suggest you have the engine compression checked since that will tell you a lot about the condition of the engine. These engines have a head gasket issue usually in their lifetime so it might be a good thing to replace the heads with the newest version if the engine checks out okay. Resealing the engine is the way to go if you want to keep it going along with the timing belts and other normally replaced parts while in the front of the engine. The work will most likely cost you several thousand dollars to have done but the engine will be good for a long time. Body rust around the wheels was another issue these cars have also.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users