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Whats the 'best' Subie to start with??


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27 replies to this topic

#1 4RnrRick

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:25 PM

This question probably has been asked over and over but I can't seem to find anything on it using the search button.

So what year and options should I look for if I was going to build up a "standard issue" or best donor subie to buildup? You know the vehicle that everyone wants....

For me I need a hatch back wagon for the addition family room and interior cargo room. Also for now say a manual Dual Range transmission.

Is a turbo really worth it?
What about digital dashes?
What about Power steering?
Do rear disc brakes make that much of a difference?
EA81 or EA82?

The end goal that I would like to get to is a Subie with 3" of lift, 27-28" tall tires and LSD's front & rear.....

Can you guys help me out?

#2 stngllhm

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:34 PM

if you are wanting low end tourque don't go turbo and i would defintly go with an ea82 preferably spfi or mpfi so you don't have to worry about the card running out of gas and for the disk brakes i like mine my gl-10 has disk brakes and it stops a lot better than my wagons with rear drum

#3 SubSandRail

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:46 PM

Here is my list. I got 70% done when a bad driver rear-ended me and totaled it. Insurance is done so I am looking again, and this is my plan:

Start with the body style you want.

-----I picked a post-1982 wagon. I can fit a canoe on top and Cub Scouts in the back seat.

Choose between a more reliable EA-81 or a higher horse power EA82

-----I went with reliability (no timing belt)

For offroad, you will have more fun if you stay away from the turbo.

Get the dual range manual tranny.

Go for the torsion rear suspension. I use one on my sand rail, and spend a lot of time with all four wheels in the air. No breakage yet. I do, however, have a pile of bent coil-overs from the rear end of the non-torsion Soobs. I am abusing the coil-overs in a non-stock setup, but have broken enough to want to stay away from them.

For me, that narrowed the search to 83 and 84. If you are looking for a Brat, they kept the torsion so you could go with the later models as well. The Brats are more popular, so the prices and availability for spare body parts is not so good.

After you buy it:

KEEP IT COOL
----- new radiator & water pump
----- oil cooler (talk to WJM if he still has access)

6 lug hub conversion, after you do a rear disk conversion

3 inch lift

28" mud tires

a little fender trimming to improve approach angles.

#4 s'ko

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:58 PM

[quote name='SubSandRail']6 lug hub conversion, after you do a rear disk conversion

/QUOTE]

that is a great idea since you already have a 4 runner. 6 lug conversions would let you use your toy rims.

IIRC you can put an EA82 tranny onto an EA81. engine. That should give you more options in terms of tranny if you go w/the EA81.

The beauty of a subaru rig is that they are like Legos. Pieces all fit together.

Have fun on your build up.

BW

#5 archemitis

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 06:28 PM

i love ea81 bodies, but hate the underpowerd nature of those cars.
i like dual range, with big tires26inch, and bigger, i dont see any need for a 5th speed so the 4 speed is good for me.
the big 8 7/8 clutch flywheel is better than the little clutch, that was on the earlier models.
its more common for the ea81 bodies, to have less options, like power steering, ac, power locks, and windows... all the luxuries.

theres just so much to think about, but if you start with any ea81 body style, with the 1.8 or bigger motor, and a dual range manual, its a great bullet proof starting point.

but if you want more room, you may want an ea82 body style, slightly larger, usually loaded with all the options.

rear disc brakes are a huge increase in braking power, especially when the car is loaded down.

efi is the best, unless you like going aftermarket, with something like a weber, or efi swap.

spfi is very powerfull, and simple to work on.

HATCHBACK FOR THE WIN!

#6 archemitis

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 06:40 PM

and lsd in the front, i dont think you are gonna be able to do that with a dual range tranny.
and its easier to fit bigger tires, on the ea82s, with a basic lift kit... till you get all crazy like the divorced transfer case guys.

#7 Rooinater

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 07:05 PM

there is a differance between the 5 speed and the 4 speed. that makes it worth trading it. saying you won't use the 5th gear... that's not the only reason to change to the 5 speed. the 4 speed has a 1.6:1 low range while the 5 speed has a 1.8:1 low range. final crawl of about 20:1 with the 4 speed and about 22 point something to one with the 5 speed. not a lot but definately a little. and every little bit counts on a subaru. also if you are doing the 5 speed conversion you don't have to worry about the clutch size. cause you use a ea82 clutch and flywheel set. the 5 speed also has a closer gear set. 4th gear in the 4 speed is a taller overdrive than the 5th gear in the 5 speed. so there's more inbetween gears for better up and go.


As for bigger tires not fitting well under an ea81... that's poposterous. cause he's only looking for 27 to 28 inch tall tires. which easily fit under the ea81's. i have owned a setup with them and no too many people with them to say it's harder. either way you have to trim the fenders. no crazy 30 inch tires either. you'll have no gearing left, without an extra tcase.

the rear disc brakes are an extreme amount of help especially with the 27" tires. when the drums get wet they don't like to stop as well as when you have rear discs. not to mention a combo of big tires and a weber carb, you'll want the extra braking power.

if you add a weber carb you gain a lot of power. you'll be right up there if not higher than a stock ea82. plus the dependibility of of gear driven timing over a belt... it's a lot more dependable and forgiving. a weber carb definately helps out for the loss of power.

No LSD in the front unless you do the dual tcase mod.

power steering is a blessing even with those 27" tires! they do make power steering for the EA81's. i have it in my little beast.



Just my personal choice on dependability and looks. I love the EA81 body styles. i really don't like the boxier bodies of the EA82's. the ea 82's are a few inches wider and a little longer also.


also john mudrat (Mudrat79 on the board) mtsfabman can interduce you to him. he can help find all the necissary parts, and he does some really good fab work too! he's done a lot on my car! the whole 8 inch lift, subframe and tcase mod.

#8 bushbasher

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 08:04 PM

mudrat recently announced that he can put phantom grips in the front diffs of trannies, so it is possible.

I'm biased towards the fuel injected '87-88 ea82 models, they have the best off-road motors as far as performance goes (FI, OHC, 9.5:1 pistons) a lower low range ratio, power steering, more luxurious interior than ea81s. 4x4ing in style in a car is cool :brow: To me the power is well worth the timing belts. I don't know why people get so upset about having to replace them every 100k, its really not much of a challenge, and the motor doesnt get damaged when they break. Really deep mud apparently can mess with the t-belt tensioner I hear but it never happened to me.

As far as ability goes, the differences are not really that great. Maybe a difference of 20hp, a 10% lower low range, an inch more overhang here or slightly bigger wheelwells there, basically the same suspension travel. Basically you want fuel injection, or a weber, and a 4 or 5spd DR tranny. If you can get a carbed car cheaper and throw a weber on, you'll be happy enough without FI.

I had a turbo car, it was fun off road but with 28" tires and no low range on the stock tranny, it was a dog at low rpm. It was good at higher speed off-road stuff though. A turbo car with a DR tranny swapped in might be a fun beast. I bet even a turbo car will still have close to the power of a stock carb ea81 at low rpm, but it really takes off in the mid-high range. midrange torque is good at 134lb, pull strong to the redline.

#9 carfreak85

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 09:07 PM

Late model 4WD hatch. You get the bigger valves, vented front rotors, hydro lifters, smallest and lightest body with the least rear overhang. Best starting point, period.

#10 4RnrRick

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 09:31 PM

Thanks for the opinons and keep them coming......


First question ?

You guys say the Turbo isn't very good offroad but according to:
http://www.ultimates...gine-specs.html

year, Size, Horsepower, Torque, Designation
83-84, 1800, 73@4800, 94@2400, EA-81, 1800 cr 8.7
83-84, 1800, 95@4200, 123@2800, EA-81T, 1800 turbo cr 7.7

85-86, 1800, 94@5200, 101@2800, EA-82 GL-10 MPFI & XT
85-86, 1800, 111@4800, 134@2800, EA-82T turbo

87-91, 1800, 97@5200, 103@3200, EA-82 XT MPFI
87-90, 1800, 115@5200 134@2800, EA-82T turbo

The max torque and horsepower happen at a lower RPM???




Next question ?

Are Turbo models the only ones that come with factory rear disc brakes?




Next question ?

Is there a noticable difference between SPFI and MPFI?




Next question ?

Since LSD's are optional how do you detrime if a car has one say if you just looking at it?




Are there any other opinoins on torsion bars vs struts?

#11 carfreak85

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 09:40 PM

On the turbo engines, do you really want to run a hot turbo through water? There are people who use turbos offroad. You might want to question them about how it feels with the turbo. only EA82 ('85+) came with rear discs unless they were swapped to an EA81. MPFI should have more accurate metering of the fuel so better mileage and a better mixture to all cylinders resulting in more power in theory. Look at the sticker on the rear diff. If it says LSD then its an LSD. Pretty simple huh? Think of the torsion bar as leaving your rear anti-roll bar on while offroading. In theory the struts will have more travel, but I can't imagine that without making the rear softer because as it sits, the torsion bar and struts have about the same spring rate.

#12 stngllhm

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 09:45 PM

speaking as someone who has turbo(which i love) and N/A soobs the turbo has much less low end till about 2000 rpm when the turbo kicks in.

the power rating between spfi and mpfi is not very much plus they are harder to find

you can look at the back of the diff and it will say lsd on on the tag

#13 thealleyboy

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 07:24 AM

Thanks for the opinons and keep them coming......


First question ?

You guys say the Turbo isn't very good offroad but according to:
http://www.ultimates...gine-specs.html

year, Size, Horsepower, Torque, Designation
83-84, 1800, 73@4800, 94@2400, EA-81, 1800 cr 8.7
83-84, 1800, 95@4200, 123@2800, EA-81T, 1800 turbo cr 7.7

85-86, 1800, 94@5200, 101@2800, EA-82 GL-10 MPFI & XT
85-86, 1800, 111@4800, 134@2800, EA-82T turbo

87-91, 1800, 97@5200, 103@3200, EA-82 XT MPFI
87-90, 1800, 115@5200 134@2800, EA-82T turbo

The max torque and horsepower happen at a lower RPM???

Problem with turbos is that they run too hot. EA82's are more reliable for the ruff stuff.


Next question ?

Are Turbo models the only ones that come with factory rear disc brakes?

Yes, but you can convert drums to discs fairly easily



Next question ?

Is there a noticable difference between SPFI and MPFI?

SPFI is an excellent system, and much more common than MPFI.


Next question ?

Since LSD's are optional how do you detrime if a c...ar has one say if you just looking at it?

ID tag on the differential lists gear ratio, and "LSD" . These are kinda rare, so if you don't find one quickly, don't be dissapointed.


Are there any other opinoins on torsion bars vs struts?

.


Possibly swaps from newer Subes, or aftermarket.


Good luck, John

#14 VaporTrail

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:20 AM

a lot of the swap procedures are in the USRM - Repair & Mod section now...

disk brake conversion
5 speed conversion into a ea81 vehicle
making a 3.90 LSD

#15 4RnrRick

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:36 AM

What gear ratios where available? and/or What ratios came on what vehicles/models?

#16 stngllhm

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:41 AM

as far as i know there are only 3.7 and 3.9 and i believe that all turbos came with the 3.7. stock lsd are 3.7.

#17 VaporTrail

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:59 AM

all factory turbos were 3.70 final

85-87 Turbo w/D/R 5 spd (RX and special orders) 3.70 final ratio (low range 1.2)
85-89 NA D/R 5 spd vehicles w/ a 3.90 final ratio (wagons) low range 1.592)
(I seem to recall that some 3 door coupes non-RX having the 1.196 low range as well.... but don't have any concrete evidence of that)

83-84 Wagons w/D/R 4 speed 3.90 final, low range 1.462)
84-87 Brats D/R 4 speed 3.90 final, low range 1.462)

all above trans used a 225 mm clutch

80-82 D/R 4 speeds had the 200 mm clutch
83 Brat D/R had the 200 mm clutch

the 81-82 D/R had lower 3rd and 4th gears than 83-84 so are a little better on the highway in maintaining power.

#18 MorganM

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 09:32 AM

I'm a huge fan of the SPFI; more power, very reliable, and easy to work on. Also at those extreem angles youll be climbing up EFI rules... carbs wuss out! :D

Tough call; start with the running gear you want or start with the engine you want... I started with the engine and converted the drivetrain. That's a lot easier than converting a carbed to EFI. Drivetrain conversion is all bolt on... EFI conversion is a lot of wires and hard think'n. I don't think you could get SPFI with a dual range tranny or am I mistaken? That would be the sperior combo IMHO! Maybe I'm bias tho cuz thats what I built :lol:

Honestly tho just get what you want. Everything mixes and matches between these old goats. You can MAKE it what you want by swaping parts from many different generations. Gotta love the junkyard upgrades! :)

#19 VaporTrail

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 09:54 AM

I'm a huge fan of the SPFI; more power, very reliable, and easy to work on. Also at those extreem angles youll be climbing up EFI rules... carbs wuss out! :D

Tough call; start with the running gear you want or start with the engine you want... I started with the engine and converted the drivetrain. That's a lot easier than converting a carbed to EFI. Drivetrain conversion is all bolt on... EFI conversion is a lot of wires and hard think'n. I don't think you could get SPFI with a dual range tranny or am I mistaken? That would be the sperior combo IMHO! Maybe I'm bias tho cuz thats what I built :lol:

Honestly tho just get what you want. Everything mixes and matches between these old goats. You can MAKE it what you want by swaping parts from many different generations. Gotta love the junkyard upgrades! :)


yes, you could get a D/R with SPFI. my 5 speed D/R an my brat came from a '89 SPFI wagon....

no more carbs in US after '87. D/R was available through '89.

#20 mtsfabman

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 09:55 AM

Rick,

I'm pretty sure I have MudRat commited to comming to the meeting tonight. I'll try to get him there a little early so you can pick his brain before hand.

My two cents:
I recommend a Hatchback, still enough room for a family plus extra large stuff can go on the roof.

I would love to shoehorn my XT6 motor into a Hatch but I think an EJ swap makes more sense.

However, if you do the transfer case lift and use R180 differentials you can get lower gears. Then the stock motor should be fine.

The Hatch simply has a better departcher angle than the other cars. I had an '84 wagon and was constantly droping my rear (low profile) bumper on obsitcles as I went over them because of how long the rear of the wagon was. Plus the shorter wheelbase of the hatch makes it like a jeep compared to your 4Runner when it comes to turning radius.

Mike

#21 dustyrider

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 09:57 AM

lets not forget how much cheaper rotors are than drums!:)

#22 4RnrRick

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 10:07 AM

So from everything I've read so far, basically there is not 1 perfect car to start with
but since they are made like "legos" I can just put the car together that I want.
Well for me I think I want the EA82 for more horsepower and struts suspension.
I also want it a more modern interior and lots of room inside.
It also sounds like a Turbo is not for me... so NA is what I need.
I also want a dual range tranny and the 3.90 diff gears.
So that pretty much leaves me with the 85-89 D/R NA Wagons with SPFI.
Then the things to find are:
Rear disc brakes from a Turbo model.
Get some 14" or 15" Rims.
Then install some 27-28" Tires.
Then look around for a rear LSD - I don't like the idea of welding the diff and then
having to drive around without a axle installed.
Not sure on bolt pattern conversion yet but thats looks real easy.
A 3" lift I will either purchase or make myself.

So does that sound correct???? Or did I miss something?

#23 Hodaka Rider

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 10:45 AM

FYI: Rear disks were available on some N/A wagons.

#24 ezapar

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 10:54 AM

So that pretty much leaves me with the 85-89 D/R NA Wagons with SPFI.



I think that's the perfect car for you. You said you wanted to have room for family and stuff. It will make a good daily driver. As for SPFI, I can't comment, everybody in the HP runs carb'd Soobs with Webers. (except Austin with his 2.2 conversion.) As for no power with the Weber up a hill. . . I'd like to see that person say that after seeing me tackle upper 311 at Evans Creek. (or see attached below as Austin makes it up the gnarly hill with plentyof poop to spare) They usually only cut out on radical sideways tilts, or down hill.
You also said you don't need it to be super baddass off road cuz you have your 4runner. There you go. The wagons don't measure up as well offroad as the hatchbacks or brats. They're just plain heavier, so you'll go thru clutches. Add a family and gear for all and it will be overloaded. Ask Austin about that.
And like a few folks said, the rump roast end is a mile long past the rear tires. No departure.
As for a modern interior, what do you need, a tach, radio, and heater? The older ea81s have oil pressure, temp, and voltage gauges stock. Add some GL10 seats to a hatch if you want it modern. :)

The rear axle takes about 5 minutes to swap in or out on a hatch, go with the welded diff, it will make the LSD seem like an open diff. No shnit.

Aaaanndd. Hatches can climb up on bigass stumps, we just look funny doing it. :brow:

#25 MorganM

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 11:23 AM

Sounds like you got a plan man; rage it!




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