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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Moving into the 21st century.

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#1 Subaru Scott

Subaru Scott

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 08:02 AM

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 naughty.gif
More to come, so stay tuned!

#2 idosubaru


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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:50 PM

Oh yeah, you know that's easily repairable.


#3 Subaru Scott

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 08:59 PM

OK, So I got the new radiator installed and the engine and trans seem to be fine. The A/C condenser was bowed in like a pringle, but wasn't leaking. So I figured I had nothing to lose, and with some 2x4's braced behind it, got it pretty flat again. At least good enough to fasten to the mounts. Miraculously, it's still not leaking. After that, I snuck it over to the local car wash, a couple blocks away, to try and blast most of the mud that was pretty thoroughly PACKED under the whole underside, in every nook and cranny! I mean like solid, on TOP of the exhaust heat shields, etc. Pretty fortunate for me though, that all the mud this thing plowed through took most of the impact. Very little metal parts were bent at all, just mostly broken plastic pieces. No idea where this woman went off the road but sure wish I had a video of it. rolleyes.gif 
Got the r. front control arm changed. Couldn't find one of those used either. Just as well, cause the new one came with a ball joint, which it already had needed, and Looks to me like the rear bushing was already separated for some time. I guess that must be an issue with these cars? 
Took for a little longer ride, since the wheel wasn't rubbing anymore cool.gif
What a smooth, quiet, luxurious ride!!! I Love it! banana.gif
Other than at least one bent wheel, I think the mechanicals are OK at this point, so I'm onto putting the body back together. Rear bumper cover looks ok, other than some torn fastener points. Front cover is pretty rough and the grills are gone. It has a hole and a couple of rips I'm going to try and patch up.
First order of business before the rear bumper cover goes on : SUPERHITCH!!

Got a bare receiver tube from Harbor Freight, and some 1/4" plate from the local metal supply, along with some 1 1/2" angle. Pulled out the ol' Lincoln "tombstone," and went to work.
I did shop around for a ready made hitch, but didn't like the way the aftermarket ones were made. Didn't look strong enough. I really liked the way the factory hitch was made, and how it tied into the car much better, but 1 1/4" ? Can't do it... not with what I plan to tow. 
Love how these cars have actual bumpers, without shock absorbers! But I just couldn't leave the 8mm mounting bolts. Probably would be ok, but they are only designed to perform well in an impact situation, IMO. Nuts didn't even have complete thread circles, just intended for cutting through any slag or heavy paint globs at factory assembly. So, I knocked 'em out, drilled and replaced with 7/16" grade 8 cool.gif
Underside view:
Extra detail of angle iron tied into tube and running 24" up into frame rails:
All with grade 8 fasteners. That aint goin' nowhere!!

Edited by Subaru Scott, 18 June 2017 - 09:00 PM.

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