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Guest Message by DevFuse

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05 forester front seats into an 85 gl wagon


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6 replies to this topic

#1 shoebee2


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 08:32 AM

Total newb here as far as subarus go.  My dad left me an 85 gl wagon with 245.000 on the odo. He loved that car and drove it for 25 years. I used to kid him about being stuck in 85 with billy idol.

He had a sense of humor and wrote that I was the only one of his sons who would appreciate that car. lol.

 She is in pretty good shape considering the miles. I have been crawling the forums and reading the manuals for about 2 weeks now.  Its amazing how much knowledge and good advice is stored in here.


Ive got my subie torn down and ready for rebuilding.  Body is sharp and solid.  Good paint, rust free and never dented. Interior is pretty decent ......again....considering the miles. The exception is the front seats. Looks like a squirrel or t-rex got inside and chewed a home for the winter.

I was browsing the local craigslist and ran across 2 brand new seats for an 05 forester a guy was selling for 100 bucks.  Elect, leather heated seats with airbags. LLBean edition I think.  So I snapped em up. Still had dust covers on them.


They are 3 inches longer in the seat and 2 inches taller. Width is the same as far as I can tell. Rails are quite different as one would expect. will post some pics soon.  I am thinking that I need to replace the rails off the new seats with the ones off the old seats.


Has anyone done this before?  Any advice? Better ideas?

#2 Dinky26



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Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:02 AM

Haven't done exactly what you are proposing.

What I have done is, take the seats out of my 86 GL Brat, and replace them with STI seats from a 02 WRX.

Yes you'll definitely have readjust / replace the rails with the original ones from your Gl. Just going to depend on which way is the most convenient / best way to get the task accomplished. It'll be a challenge if it's anything like my conversion.

Better ideas: I've often contemplated (after the fact) if I should have had the original seats recovered and reupholstered. My implanted seats are very comfortable, only thing is that it sits me slightly higher, somewhat close to the ceiling when you are 6'5" 220# like me, you occasionally hit your head, not a deal breaker just slightly annoying. I'm not sure about the length and height difference in my fit either. Certainly more form and support in the seat.

So, you said that your new proposed seats 2" taller and 3" longer, your fitment will depend on your size and ect.

Kind of comes down to trial and error too, IMHO.

Advice: make sure to get your mounting brackets set appropriately before welding them on, that was my hardest task.

Good luck with your restore and upgrades you choose to do. I'm glad you are keeping your dad's favorite vehicle to do this to as well.
Keep us updated on your progress.

#3 l75eya


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:18 AM

I don't have any advice to offer but i wanted to say that that's a pretty cool story and i wish you luck. Also, can we get some pictures? We all like pictures here :)

#4 rdweninger


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 12:56 PM

Man, that hit home.   I bought my first Subaru in 1993.   It was a 1985 EA82 4wd D/R 5mt wagon.   I bought the 4 door wagon to accomodate bringing my first born child home from the hospital - with car seat, diaper bag and Mom.   Then the 2nd and the 3rd child.

I still have the car today and am currently rebuilding the front suspension and steering.  240k, Weberized, and runs like a champ.

I'm not sure who will get my beloved wagon when I pass, but will probably be my son.   He drives an '85 wagon.  My youngest daughter drives an '85 wagon.   You see the pattern?

Yes, your Dad gave you the car because he knew you would take care of it.  And, this forum will take care of you.  Welcome.

By the way... Billy Idol rocks!

#5 shoebee2


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 02:11 PM

WOW, thanks for the warm welcome.


Dinky26, check.....make sure things fit before welding.  :) I will eventually have the original seats recovered but........ Heated power seats man! I like old cars but I try to be civilized! :)


175eya...there will be pictures and in quantity.


rdweninger.....240k is ...like....breakin for these things. And yes Billy Idol rox.


SO a little vehicle Definition.


Totally stock 1985 4x4 DR EA82 wagon (gl?)white on black, its a runner. Comes with a spare ea82 and dr trans that were sitting in the garage. The original engine/trans are in the car.

Functional A/C heat is not so good. Rear defog actually works. 

Dash and interior wiring are a bit funky but everything works. Whats with the headlights on these things? They don't produce....ummmmmm.....light!

Car had not been started in 2 years. Put in a new battery,  got in, pumped the gas, started right up. A little smoke, a few stutters and then purred like a kitten.

Drove it from Seattle to Ames Iowa. Slow......god awful slow......but steady. 

DR shifts as it should. Main shifter is a bit sloppy but I see from the forums that's common.

Car runs a bit hot but not bad.  Small coolant leak looks like the w/pump.

Shocks and struts are gone man. Darn thing bounced all the way to Iowa.

I think I read that the engine is 85-90 hp? Doesn't feel that strong! No low end acceleration to speak of. Will know more after I tear the engine down.

I did have an opportunity to do a little off-roading on my trip home. Nothing radical, didn't want to walk.....but that thing is a beast. 45 deg incline in soft rough ground was nothing. Not fast, but it just felt like it could pull for days like that.


Ok, gota work a little or I wont have any cash to put into what is now the scoobydo.

#6 bratman2


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Posted 18 March 2014 - 07:14 PM

I installed 03 RS seats in my Brat. Did not switch rails, I just tabbed it over 1-inch with a 1/4" piece of flat steel for the outside bolt holes. The seat sets maybe an inch higher than stock.  At 5' 10" I clear the ceiling by a couple of inches. The inside bolt holes lined up inside my Brat. Been maybe 9 years ago I installed them but that is how I did mine to the best of my memory. On an EA82 car it might be different. Good luck on your restore. I have owned my 87 Brat going on 17 years now and don't see it going for sale ever!  

#7 bratman18



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Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:30 AM

Forester seats sit high in an impreza, so chances are they're going to be pretty tall in a GL. Might have to mod the rails some.

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