I've been working on, and driving Subarus since 1979. I've had many, many great ones... some I wish I still had. But up until now, I've never owned anything newer than my 94 SVX. I am a former dealership master technician, so keeping my old Soobies running is no big deal. But now I have found myself in need of a larger tow vehicle for a vintage houseboat that my wife and I plan to do some traveling with. My first thoughts had been to modify "Frankencar," a vehicle I put together 16 years ago from scrap. A homemade frame with Subaru Outback suspension, EJ22 engine, and JDM dual-range transmission. I'm on my second body now, first one rusted away in Indiana winters, hence the reason for a heavy-duty reusable chassis. So I'm rockin an 88 XT I picked up in Missouri for 200 bucks. It is capable of towing the houseboat now, but it's a white-knuckle ride. So, I started looking for a heavier suspension from an SVX or Tribeca. Along with adding another EJ22 with a FWD transmission in the rear, driving a 3rd axle, I felt would be more than adequate to tow, and stop, the boat. After locating a donor car for the engine and transmission, I was looking for chassis components when I saw an ad for a complete 07 Tribeca, listed under auto parts, for 1k dollars. A younger guy had listed it there, his wife had gone off the road down a muddy ravine and he didn't think it could be repaired. I drove 2.5 hours to see it, and talked him out of it for 700. (don't hate me) Since he only had it listed under auto parts, he had gotten no calls for it, other than a couple of people looking for a part or two. So, I loaded her on a dolly, disconnected the driveshaft, and towed her home.
First order of business was to assess the condition and damage. 142k miles, pretty clean inside. Engine ran well but the radiator was cracked, so I couldn't run but just a couple minutes. R. lower control arm was bent, as well as at least one wheel. Front and rear bumper covers were torn off, but had been recovered and loaded in the back. Hood was a little bent and the windshield was cracked.
But I got to thinking, maybe, I just might fix her up as my tow vehicle instead of cannibalizing her. I decided I would first get a radiator, so I could make a solid determination on the engine and transmission, then make the call. My first thought was to just adapt a bigger, maybe dual core, radiator out of something else. But after checking out the weird double upper hose setup, which wasn't really a deal breaker, I did take a closer look at the stock replacement and found that the 3.6 used the same radiator, so I figured the stock one was probably more than adequate. And Rock auto sold me a Denso, OE replacement, for about 140 delivered
More to come, so stay tuned!