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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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First new car in years. I want a subaru!

GL GL-10 build

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14 replies to this topic

#1 chrisR

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 02:33 PM

Hello,

 

I'm finnaly buying a car after being carless for years and I'm looking for advise on what to get, what to considerater, and what mods to look in to.  I've been doing some research, mostly in these forums, and I'm thinking a 88 or 89 GL or Gl-10 wagon might be for me.  This car will be a daily driver but also used for weekend and week long trips to the desert in eastern oregon and Idaho.  I don't plan on any hardcore off-roading but I'd like to be able to go out into the country without worry.

 

Specific questions are 88/89 GL a good choice or should I think about a newer Loyale?  GL or GL-10?  Largest wheel/tire size unlifted or go for a slight lift?  Are the turbos reliable and worth it?  Bare bones or all the options (are the options prone to breaking)?  I'm sure there are plenty other considerations I should make that I don't know about.

 

I'm very excited to become a Subaru owner as I've wanted one for years. Thanks for any advise!



#2 old sub freak

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 03:39 PM

My fav is a 1988 gl wagon with single point fuel injection and 4x4 w/ Hi /Lo range.i think that 88's were the last year for hi/lo  right? Not sure how big of tires you can go with.I like tall skinny road tires, esespesily in dry terain (man i can't spell) turbo's are frail and are not too reliable..  I like cruze control for road trips...Do a compression test if you can so u will be sure the heads arn't cracked,that happens...anyway WELCOM to the tribe...You picked a good machine and they will do you well,just keep her full of oil and don't overheat it and it will last you for YEARS !!!! have fun over on the east side I love it over there ,Todd  Ps Putting on a lift will just cause trouble down the road.....Just some good tall 13's will be fine...Hey I know lots of folks like to lift there Subarus and thats cool but I always say"the more you modifi ,The more you have to modifi....Keep her stock and you will have one less thing to worry about



#3 subnz

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 03:41 PM

Have had two of these and the best to go for are the most simple ones ( non ecu) ie with carburettor / traditional distributor/coil  ignition rather than fuel injection and ecu managed ignition and non turbo  and with manual transmission dual ratio,

Because these cars are getting on in age the more simple they are the less problems you have with them.



#4 old sub freak

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 03:52 PM

Hey wait a minute now..... haha...I say Amen to all that but the single piont fuel injection is spossed to be one of the best made.I have had more than a few and never had one go bad...ever.  But then again the hitachi's are a good carb if all is working and a weber is a easy swap as well...I agree with you that simple is better...I honestly think the 88's are the last of the good ones. take your time and get a good one..u will be happy.. ..Hey  good to hear from New Zealand....



#5 grossgary

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 07:25 PM

the EA82 can be great, don't run them out of oil or coolant and they'll run a lot of inexpensive miles. starting with a known good vehicle is helpful - with 25 years of history that gets tricky particularly if you're looking at cheap, non-running craigslist specials. replacing coolant hoses, seals, valve cover gaskets etc is important due to age.

 

guess it depends on the person but carburetors to me are antiquated junk and the lack of them for decades makes the world a better place. my lawn mower doesn't have a carb and that was 100% intentional.

 

the SPFI is simple and widely used.  MPFI isn't a big deal either.  but i can understand in the same way i hate carbs there's people that hate the wires.

 

if you like simple and reliable then an EA81 might be an option to look into.  older wagons or up to 1988 GL hatches.



#6 djellum

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:44 AM

there all fine, the highlights in them imo are...

 

older gen 2's - cable driven heater controls and easier replacement of heater cores (often kills a gen 3 due to cost).  timing gear instead of belt.  bit more style imo.

 

gen 3 (loyale style) - much more common so easier to find parts in yards, fuel injection stock on later models, 5pd D/R trans.

 

id say if your going to shop for a loyale style like the ones I have, make sure that the heater works to absolute perfection.  a bad heater core is a big chore or about $500 to have replaced.  id avoid turbos, mainly cause they just really don't benefit enough from them to warrant the extra maintenance and complication.  fun cars for projects and play, not for daily driver.  

 

best bet though, imo, is to get an early 90's legacy or whatever flavor of sub you like in those years.  easier to find parts, double the power, all options available, AWD stock.  they are a bit more expensive to fix if you blow a gasket or something, but they are very reliable.



#7 86 Wonder Wedge

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:28 PM

Your best bang for the buck are going to be the loyales/gl/gl10s.

Excepting the DLs, most of them cane with power locks/windows and are very reliable. Chassis/engine/cooling/body stuff is mostly interchangeable from 85-94.

Try to find a SPFI, manual car. The SPFI is dead simple and the 5MT are hard to kill. Autos and turbos are just more maintenance but not deal killers. Push-button (single range 4WD) is really all you need unless you're going rock climbing.

But by far these are the easiest to maintain. Everything is accessible, can be repaired or tested, and are like Legos. Got some rust? Weld a patch. Engine blows? Any EA82 will drop in. Or EJ (from the newer legacies) will drop in, albeit with some modifications.

All in all, a fine machine to save yourself some money, have loads of fun in and will keep you on the road for years to come.

Edited by 86 Wonder Wedge, 10 January 2014 - 12:29 PM.


#8 chrisR

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:25 PM

Thank you, this is all great information.  It looks like my target will be an 88 GL with little options.  SPFI.  5 speed manual.  4wd with d/r.  Non turbo.  No lift as it sounds like 13"s will be fine for cruising down the dirt roads in the high desert. 

 

When looking at cars I'll be sure to check the compression if I can (I'll have to look up how to do that) and I'll make sure the heat is working properly.

 

That being said it sounds like I dont need to limit my car to this one exactly as it sounds like there are great options beyond this.

 

If I cant find an 88 will I be able to find this setup on say and 86-89? any downside to any of those years?  Just chose 88 from what Old Sub Freak had to say.

 

Any other particular things I should look out for when taking cars out for test drives?



#9 86 Wonder Wedge

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 03:27 PM

The SPFI after 87 are mostly identical. Turbos and MPFI get messy before 88, mid-year changes, ect...

 

The Loyales are pretty identical after 90, with options really only ranging between Auto, or 2wd/4wd (A/C was standard by then, really)

 

Anything after 87 really is going to be the same, Loyales after 91 only have the SPFI and the wagons are the dominating survivors.

 

Good luck!



#10 BoostedBoxer421

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:03 PM

idk about turbos being a downfall, cuz i have a 100% stock '87 GL turbo with push button awd and its got 235,000 miles. 

 

only thing i've had to fix so far is a timing belt broke and rebuilding the driveline yoke cuz it twisted pulling a ford :-p

 

and it definitely has more power than the non turbo ea82's



#11 old sub freak

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:32 PM

One of the things I have seen go bad with turbo's is the vacuume hoses get hard and break causing trouble.Now I heard that the hoses get bad cause the Turbo's run so hot they cook the hoses..True/False ??   I'm sure there are some good Turbo's out there its just I haven't seen too many of them.. Anyway Chris ,keep doing your homework and be paient.You know as soon as you buy one you will  see them all over... Oh compression tests aren't too hard.You just have to remove the spark plugs and insert the compression tester.Then while a friend turnes the engine over you mark down the compression  after say 6-10 revolutions.I'd like to hear if I'm doing it wrong...could be...anyway once you get all 4 readings.they should all be close to the same..One low,burn't valve,2 low on the same side...head gasket... all low...worn engine...I don't know for sure how high it should read ..150 psi  seems to ring a bell.Its been a while... Read up on it ..You'll get it figured out....have fun Todd OSF



#12 djellum

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 06:12 AM

I would prioritize current tags and emissions inspection over all.  I've gotten 2 good deals on subs from oregon cause I don't have to emission things out here and they were junk in oregon due to cost to fix.

 

compression check is as described, plug it in, turn over the motor, check the gauge.  theres also something called a leak down test which will tell you other information.  not a terrible tool to have if your going to be purchasing some, not sure what they cost anymore.

 

another check is to spray starter fluid on the hoses manifold gaskets.  if the rpm changes there may be a leak there since its sucking in the fluid.

 

make sure they let you start it cold.  don't ever buy a car where the owner "warmed it up for you".  for a fuel injected car just get in it and turn the key.  don't press the gas pedal.  if it fires right away and maintains smooth running between 1k-2k rpms until its warmed up, then its pretty stable.  make sure that it will start easily, maintain high idle while it warms, reduces its idle as the engine temps get up to running speed, and keeps itself cool enough at idle without any help from you at any stage.  do all of this before you ever drive it.  I've let cars sit and idle for 30-40 minutes before just to make sure it will.  I generally start it and then check underneath and the body while it warms up.  if the seller starts to get nervous just let it ride, he might be trying to get you to drive it before it overheats.

 

you can get some 14 inch wheels that are the same pattern as our subaru's.  you can drill toyota wheels, use peugeot wheels, etc.  I run 14 inch peugeot alloys and 2 inch oversized tires without a lift or a care.  if your just looking for a better tire or a cooler look your not stuck to 13's, even stock. 



#13 BoostedBoxer421

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 01:43 PM

very true on the turbo issue of cracking or bursting rubber lines

 

never happened with my car, but I wrapped all of the cooling lines and nearby wires with thermal wrap

 

no problems if you take proper precautions

 

and lots of fun to go with



#14 old sub freak

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 09:22 PM

Hey Djell,Good advice to anyone lookin to get a "new" Subaru. The only other tip I can pass along is....Ask why they are selling it? and be lookin at there eyes when you ask....Do they look down or away or do they look you in the eye as they explane why they don't want it any more..That has always helped me when lookin at any car.. So good luck and let us know what u got..have fun Chris.... c ya OSF



#15 subnz

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 03:16 AM

Have had two of these and the best to go for are the most simple ones ( non ecu) ie with carburettor / traditional distributor/coil ignition rather than fuel injection and ecu managed ignition and non turbo and with manual transmission dual ratio,
Because these cars are getting on in age the more simple they are the less problems you have with them.


The 86 wagon 5MT D/R(manual choke hitachi carburettor + breakerless electronic distrubutor/coil - no ecu/sensors) was better than the 88 (that i owned) because it was more simple and trouble free.
In fact the 86 was probably the best car I've ever owned (purchaed in 95 with 90K miles) for low cost to run / maintenance / lack of any problems.
the only thing in the drive train replaced was the clutch at 150 K miles and the odd CV boot in the 15 years l had it. the motor never had a spanner inside it. never had to touch the ignition system apart from checking the ignition timing out of curiousity twice and replacing spark plugs when necessary.
Carburettor apart once to clean and tyres batteries light bulbs cambelts filters when necessary.
Oil / filter @ 3 - 5 K miles and flushed cooling system 2 yearly.
Rust around windscreen ( structural) in 09 put it off the road, in 6 monthly road worthiness inspections here.
Car had done trouble free 240k miles and was probably good for another 60K+ but car was worthless now but still a sound runner so gave it to neighbour.

6533_1030570381198_4050791_n.jpg


Edited by subnz, 14 January 2014 - 03:34 AM.






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