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1994 Loyale - Upgrades for snow season and reliability


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14 replies to this topic

#1 scotteverett

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 04:20 PM

Hey all,

 

I am the proud owner of a 94 Loyale, previously taken care of by another USMB forum member. He was an engineer, I am not, but he did a lot of work to optimize gas mileage, so the engine is in better shape than I would imagine most Loyale's at 260K mileage would be. See all details of previous work here:  

 

http://www.ultimates...on-first-subie/

 

So now I have the summer to get used to her and begin restoring some interior components that need a little love. But I also am planning ahead to next winter, where I intend to take her to Mt. Baker 3 out of 4 weekends a month. So thats about 3 hours driving, mostly highway, but then sitting in a cold parking lot with often 1 foot of new snow when you return. As I am not a mechanic or car tech, for all I know this vehicle may be perfectly fine for all of the above conditions, but I wanted to see if there were certain upgrades worth pursuing.

 

Specifically what I am thinking about is having the engine run reliably when it's super cold (although it never really gets east coast cold in WA). Being able to reliably heat up the car and defrost the windows (do people upgrade defrost components?). Wipers, making sure they are top notch, and the engine runs fine (is this a simple upgrade beyond quality wiper blades?). 

 

The car already has a new set of snow tires and a 1 inch lift, so I'm thinking ground clearance is decent. 

 

Lastly, and this is a long shot, but has anyone ever made an effort to decrease highway noise on a loyale? I saw the Safariwagon thread where the car was completely stripped to its metal frame and some sort of sound insulation added. Wondering if this is likely the only way to achieve this. 

 

I also had hopes of even working with a mechanic to swap in an EJ22, but given all the work the previous owner put into her, I feel I should roll with the EA82 for a while. :)

 

Thanks in advance for any tips and experiences from you other snow and mountain lovers out there.

 

-Scott



#2 scoobiedubie

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:11 PM

Some people attemp to to build a 3.9  limited slip rear differential by robbing specific parts out of a 3.7 differential, and putting it into their 3.9 differential.



#3 djellum

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 02:12 AM

of true mods the limited slip is a great one for snow, but a little involved I think for what your looking at.  

 

nothing beats a nice set of chains.  studded tires are great for the ice, but deep snow is a different beast.  made sure whatever tires you buy leave enough room to clear your chains.  and I mean chains, don't buy cables.

 

whenever you get out of the car in cold weather prop your wiper blades up.  if you do that then any old blades will do fine, though you nicer ones do a better job.

 

also if your planning for cold weather change you antifreeze.  not talking a system flush though you can do that as well, but antifreeze is actually supposed to be drained and replaced about 10x more often than people actually do it.  same goes for all the other fluids, make sure they are fresh and rated for the temperature zone.

 

shocks and struts allow a lot of road noise in when they are worn, might try replacing them if they are suspect.  also lookup sound deadening kits online.  its very common in the old resto trade since the old batting sucks and often has mice living in it if the car was in the barn.  fairly major job, but the good stuff is kevlar or some fancy material sandwiched in rubber and goes down under the carpet.  also they make sound deadening undercoat that you pain on the inner wheel wells and such, but its pretty nasty stuff to use and you have to make sure you treat any metal that its going on or it will help it rust underneath it.  done well and fully cured its tough as nails and stops a lot of sound.



#4 scotteverett

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 01:10 PM

Thnx Scoobie, I'll look into the 3.9 differential.

 

With any of these mods, I'll be looking to work with a local mechanic, simply not knowledgeable enough to try any of this myself without a mentor of some kind. I also have zero tools.  :)

 

DJellum, thnx for the practical advice on winterizing. I do have chains, and a new set of non-studded snow tires. The fluids are pretty fresh, aside from the transmission fluid, which I will have looked at in the next few weeks.

 

Regarding road noise, it had new stiffer KYB struts & shocks installed in 2013, along with spring helpers in the rear, and urethane rear suspension bushings. I'll do some research on sound deadening. ALthough I know nothing about engines, perhaps I could be successfull at un-installing the seats and removing the carpeting (at least that sounds more realistic, maybe naive of me). The undercoat I'll look into also.

 

Thanks again guys. Also, below is a list of all work done on the car, for reference:

 

Upgrades & Modifications
Rear disk brake swap (came with drums).
Manual steering (removed power steering pump), feels great, still easy to park, and it frees up power. This increased the gas mileage by 2mpg.
Removed mechanical radiator fan, added second electric fan (more power & higher mileage)
LED Dome Lights and rear hatch light
Cupholders
Stereo (Aux, CD, MP3), 6x9 speakers, iphone mount
Fog lights
Vacuum gauge
Stiffer KYB struts & shocks (2013)
Spring helpers in the rear, rides great with 4 people + overnight gear
Urethane rear suspension bushings

Repairs & Maintenance

Prior owner - new clutch at 130,000 miles, 2006.  
New hatch struts 2007, the first of many fixes!

Synthetic transmission oil 11/2008 170,000 (might be time for a change)

New left halfshaft 4/2009, 177,500
New right halfshaft 10/2010, 208,000
New alternator 6/2010, 200,500

New rear differential oil, synthetic, 211,000
New front brake calipers, rotors, & pads 5/2011, 220,400 (might be time for new front brake pads)
New radiator & hoses 6/2011, 222,222
New windshield 8/2011
New starter contacts 11/2011, 228,600
New water pump & thermostat 1/2012, 232,000
New exhaust (complete) 7/2012, 241,500
New wheel bearings, tie rods, ball joints 11/2012 246,000
New timing belts, valve cover gaskets, pcv valve & hoses, spark plugs & wires 12/2012 248,000

New fuel injector 3/2013 252,000
New battery 7/2013, 257,400

New rear brake pads 12/2013 261,400
Oil change 3/2014 265,400 miles.  Burns 1 quart every 3000 miles.
New coolant temperature sensor 5/2014 265,400 

Extra parts not installed
Dual-range transmission ($150 extra), bought it for when I replaced the clutch, never had to.
Hatch-mount 3-bike rack ($150 extra)
Power steering pump
Hubcaps
Second set of wheels with 25% remaining snow tires
Manuals - factory (partial 1990 set)
Ski/Snowboard rack with key on factory roof rack
Block heater 

Little problems
Power door locks haven't worked since I owned it, but they work just fine manually.
Intermittent wipers work intermittently - probably corrosion at connector.
New heater blower motor clicks (old one squeaked). Easy to replace.
Heater controls worn but still work.
Windshield is growing a crack from the bottom up.
The body is in decent shape, with very little rust, and only one dent where a small piece of the Viaduct fell on it.



#5 djellum

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 12:10 AM

to do the sound deadening is a huge project.  you will need the entire dash out of the car (the sound deadening goes all the way up behind the dash to block motor noise).  the carpet is its own sound deadening so theres not much to be gained pulling it up, most comes from the front firewall.   if you do the paint on it will go on the outside of the car.  it adds a ton of weight and makes it hard to work on some things if you paint them over.  these cars are a bit noisy and theres only so much you can do realistically.  id just turn the radio up.



#6 grossgary

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 09:27 AM

i'd want it reliable first - the timing belt components definitely need replaced - all the pulleys.  kits on ebay are only $60-$100 and provide everything.  the pulleys are all and devoid of grease by now.

 

road noise - it's not simply the snow tires is it?  snow tires are loud.

 

a rear LSD is a nice upgrade.  it'll need assembled and built - have the mechanic do it or buy one ready to go.



#7 rdweninger

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 11:14 AM

Good one... turn the radio up!    But I agree.  Most important is making sure the engine, cooling, brakes and all fluids are maintained.   Then maybe how it looks... do some body and paint.    I recently replaced all shocks (struts), ball joints, tie rods wheel bearings, rebooted my torn axles, turned the rotors and new pads.  The wagon is WAY quieter now.   So quiet... I now hear some noise from either my rear bearings or drum brakes.   So that is my next project.    Then, maybe my first auto paint job.   I may default to the "rattle, rattle... pshifff... pshifff... rattle, rattle".   But it would be hard to do... as I want to do the job with some pride... and not disgrace the car I have owned for 22 years.



#8 scotteverett

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for the input guys. Starting to research the LSD option.

 

Regarding repairs, the belts were replaced 20K miles ago, so I think I'm good on that front. Specifically, have had these pieces address:

 

New hatch struts 2007

New left halfshaft 4/2009, 177,500
New right halfshaft 10/2010, 208,000

New front brake calipers, rotors, & pads 5/2011, 220,400 
New exhaust (complete) 7/2012, 241,500
New wheel bearings, tie rods, ball joints 11/2012 246,000
New timing belts, valve cover gaskets, pcv valve & hoses, spark plugs & wires 12/2012 248,000

New fuel injector 3/2013 252,000

New rear brake pads 12/2013 261,400

 

Sounds system is good also, so the loud radio option will be utilized.  ;)



#9 grossgary

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 03:06 PM

Regarding repairs, the belts were replaced 20K miles ago. 

 

Doesn't matter.  The ***pulleys*** need replaced, not the belts.

 

the timing belt components definitely need replaced - all the pulleys.

 

timing components - the three pulleys are the most important part:

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item56494e0def

 

they are prone to failure due to age and lack of grease.  the bearings overheat, compromise the belt (or just break it), and they can simpy fail too, bearings coming to pieces, throw a timing belt, etc.  it doesn't really matter that the belt is new, the pulleys are old.

 

there's lots of failure threads like this:

http://www.ultimates...ted-99-outback/

 

an EA82 belt with all it's teeth ripped off due to a seized timing belt:
http://www.ultimates...oke-low-on-oil/

 

i don't consider any older subaru reliable until those pulleys are replaced.



#10 Loyill

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 03:07 PM

I had a 91 loyale that i would drive up to mt hood about 30 to 40 days a season, sometimes more (yeah i like to ride ;) for like 8 years straight. I ended up doing the head gaskets and stuff twice during that time but the car was a BEAST in the snow.. all you have to do is push the 4wd button and go. you find yourself passing cars with 2 times the horsepower regularly. mt hood gets the same kind of crazy dumping deep and sometimes very heavy snow and the car has never been stuck in the snow.. even when i come back to the lot and its surounded by 2 feet of wet snow it pulls right out after just a couple rocking motions.. i always carry chains and i have never once had to use them.. they're over10 years old and still brand new haha. put that dual range in and you'll really love it! but its pretty fun to drift slowly into the snow covered fast lane, push the button, and pretend its an after burner as you start to pass everybody driving slow on the pavement/rock/slush haha.. only on straight aways and where its legal of course ;) in my experience the lsd seemed  abit more unpredictable in the snow.. fun and drifty but kinda easy to end up sideways. the single range just seemed more constant and solid.. if you lost control it seemed easer to correct. just my opinion dont get me wrong.. i love lsd's.. any subaru 4wd system is top notch in my book. you should be fine with the cold temps and snow.. carry chains and ALWAYS bring some jumper cables. I like to put something on the rubber door gaskets so they dont freeze to the body, if not when you finaly get the frozen door open, the rubber sticks to the door jam and rips it right out of the bottom of the door.. seen it multiple times on multiple cars. also some no freeze type key hole lubracant will save you many head aches and quite possibly a broken key.. as far as defrost.. it wont fully clear till you start moving.. gotta love that NW pow. i have a squeegee i use on the inside and it speeds up the process dramatactly.



#11 scotteverett

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 07:04 PM

Thanks Grossgary for clarifying on the pulleys, will look into this coming weekend!

 

Loyill, thats encouraging to hear how well it worked out for you in those conditions. Also, great advice on the rubber sticking, thats actually been happening to me on the hear hatch already in warm conditions, maybe the humidity, so I'll have to look into what I can coat them with to prevent the sticking. The keyhole stuff as well,, good advice.



#12 djellum

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 07:36 PM

saran wrap works on the door rubber.  you will end up replacing it a lot if you actually need it but it tears away rather than the rubber.  not really a daily thing but if you find yourself stuck its available at any store, even small end of the road stores.



#13 scotteverett

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 12:52 PM

Well, before I can worry about winter, I first have to address the fact that the Loyale has decided to stall every block for the first 15-20 minutes of driving now after startup. It idles anywhere from 500-1500 RPM, but is bouncing up and down and stalling within about 15 seconds after startup. I'll make it into 1st and will go about 50-100 feet, with lots of jerking of the car as though the gear hasn't been engaged fully or the acceleration is cutting off intermittently. Then as I slow to a rolling stop at a stop sign and the RPMs decrease to 500 or so it just keeps on going strait to a stall.

 

BTW, I got a fresh tank of gas to be sure it wasn't bad gas.

 

Does anyone have a good Subaru mechanic in Seattle they would recommend I take it to?

 

BTW, the previous owner advised the following:

 

"My first suspicion is the spark plug wires. They're not very old but I had an intermittent stalling problem over the winter. Removing & reinstalling the main wire (from the coil to the center of the distributor) fixed it, but the connection might be flaky. A new set of spark plug wires should be about $50 and you could do it yourself. Just replace them one at a time so the order doesn't get mixed up.


The other possible cause would be the coolant temperature sensor, but I replaced that just before selling the car.

I replaced the fuel injector last winter which didn't fix the problem. The fuel filter is 3 years old, and I think the fuel pump is original."



#14 scotteverett

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 05:01 PM

Bump for Seattle mechanic recommendations, thanks!



#15 mstr_pete

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 11:18 AM

No suggestions on a Seattle wrench, but I'm glad I finally figured out what LSD is in this context  :blink:






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