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#1 Flint

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 08:55 PM

Hi there... We have been driving a Subaru for 2 years now. My wife's father gave us his old 88 GL wagon when we needed cheaper transportation. We are full size jeep fanatics but needed a economical car for making the 80 mile round trips to work. The 88 was great on gas and made about 28-30 mpg. It was already pretty wore out when we got it and I did repairs when it broke something but was leaking oil badly, radio was fubar and seats wore out bad at 220K miles so we traded it in last month for a 93 Legacy wagon with 5 speed and about 150K miles. The speedo was replaced by original owner and shows 83K miles. We like this car a lot and wow, what a difference in power, comfort and ride!

So, now the question. Today, we were coming home from our weekly trip to town for groceries and stuff. The left side of the engine is ticking, which I would guess is a lifter. I have thought about adding some MMO or something but thought I would check and see what info was available this forum. We want to keep this one nice since we have real money invested and need it reliable especially for the winter drives to Mesa Verde National Park where we work.

Oh yeah, another question: The GL had a shifter for 2wd, 4hi and 4lo which was great for getting out the driveway on mornings we had 6" or more snow in the driveway. We live in the country at about 7500 feet and need the 4WD. So, the Legacy is full time 4WD I am pretty sure. The seller told me it was 2WD until the transfer case felt tire slippage. This makes me think it is really a limited slip type arrangement and is actually full time 4WD? YES?

Thanks, in advance, for any info...

#2 rweddy

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 09:18 PM

Hi there... We have been driving a Subaru for 2 years now. My wife's father gave us his old 88 GL wagon when we needed cheaper transportation. We are full size jeep fanatics but needed a economical car for making the 80 mile round trips to work. The 88 was great on gas and made about 28-30 mpg. It was already pretty wore out when we got it and I did repairs when it broke something but was leaking oil badly, radio was fubar and seats wore out bad at 220K miles so we traded it in last month for a 93 Legacy wagon with 5 speed and about 150K miles. The speedo was replaced by original owner and shows 83K miles. We like this car a lot and wow, what a difference in power, comfort and ride!

Yes there is quite a difference in the legacy from the older gls for sure.


So, now the question. Today, we were coming home from our weekly trip to town for groceries and stuff. The left side of the engine is ticking, which I would guess is a lifter. I have thought about adding some MMO or something but thought I would check and see what info was available this forum. We want to keep this one nice since we have real money invested and need it reliable especially for the winter drives to Mesa Verde National Park where we work.

How old is the oil? This motor is the 2.2 which is one of the best subaru has ever made so they generally do not have issues. But lifter would be my guess.


Oh yeah, another question: The GL had a shifter for 2wd, 4hi and 4lo which was great for getting out the driveway on mornings we had 6" or more snow in the driveway. We live in the country at about 7500 feet and need the 4WD. So, the Legacy is full time 4WD I am pretty sure. The seller told me it was 2WD until the transfer case felt tire slippage. This makes me think it is really a limited slip type arrangement and is actually full time 4WD? YES?
Thanks, in advance, for any info...

Does the car have a AWD badges on the rear or dash?
Subaru did make front wheel drive only in the early 90's.
If is AWD there is a center diff. and the car is full time AWD.
Power is split 50/50 front and rear, until there is a slip and then it sends power to the front or rear. So you could end up with all power to the rear or all power front.

#3 Flint

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 09:39 PM

Yes there is quite a difference in the legacy from the older gls for sure. How old is the oil? This motor is the 2.2 which is one of the best subaru has ever made so they generally do not have issues. But lifter would be my guess.

Does the car have a AWD badges on the rear or dash? Subaru did make front wheel drive only in the early 90's. If is AWD there is a center diff. and the car is full time AWD. Power is split 50/50 front and rear, until there is a slip and then it sends power to the front or rear. So you could end up with all power to the rear or all power front.


It is AWD for sure. Thanks for the explanation. The oil has about 2000 miles on it. Would you recommend MMO or some ATF to try and "clean" out anything that may be making the lifter(s) chatter?

#4 rweddy

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 10:34 PM

It is AWD for sure. Thanks for the explanation. The oil has about 2000 miles on it. Would you recommend MMO or some ATF to try and "clean" out anything that may be making the lifter(s) chatter?

It could also be the valves need adjustment?

#5 Gnuman

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 10:58 PM

No they did not go to adjustable valves until the 2.5L engine (95 or so?), all the ej22 engines are hydraulic lifter types. Are you running particularly thick oil in the Sube? On my first oil change, I put 20w50 oil in the case, and now that it is getting to be time to change it I'm getting clatter as well. I may throw a can of engine cleaner in to thin the old stuff a bit before changing the oil this time, and I'll be putting a thinner oil in the case this time. The rest of my fleet likes thick oil, but the Subarus (as I have found) like thinner oil in them. I'll be posting again after the oil change if this fixes things. Mine is the Normaly Aspirated 2.2L and I have to say I do not miss the Turbo at all, but as you are at a higher elevation (I'm at sea level), it has been said that the Turbos tend to run better. . .

#6 canajun2eh

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 05:59 AM

Noisy lifters aren't a serious problem.

If you decide to repair them, the work can be done while the engine is in the car. You just need to remove the valve cover and then unbolt the rocker arm assembly. The lifters can be removed easily.

Pull out the lifters one at a time, and inspect for a collapsed lifter. Check the shiny part that pushes on the rocker arm. There should be no pitting. Replace collapsed or pitted lifters. The ones that aren't being replaced should have the O-ring replaced. The O-rings cost about $3 each from the dealer. Lifters are quite a lot more costly.

Be sure to replace the old lifters into their original locations.

It should take less than 2 hours to do the lifters on both sides.

#7 Flint

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 10:18 AM

I was wondering if these were solid or hydraulic... Thanks. I ran 10-30 in the GL in the summer and 20/50 in the winter and it never complained. It did not like the lower octane fuel and had to run 91 octane to keep it from pinging. The 2.2 runs well on 86, does not seem to have lost any power as a result of the clatter and has been running 10/30 oil. The seller has a small shop in Durango that takes in late 80's thru mid 90s Roos and fixes them up for resale. He told me 10/30 was fine. I saw cases of Exxon brand in his shop. He had not done anything serious with this one, changed fluids and filters is about all. It had not been detailed either, so we feel we got to see the car pretty much straight on when we test drove it. He was trying to sell us one of two that had been gone through pretty well. For example, a 95 that was very nice, new hood, bumper and grill from a collision. It was just very plain tho and did not even have a tach. The other was a 93 turbo with a 60K mile replacement engine. I am not that fond of turbos and the additional maintenance. He has been in business there for a while and was not pushy about sales, so we felt pretty comfortable with him. So we ask him about this one and he said he had been using it as a daily driver for about 1000 miles. It has run like a top up until the noise. It is definately noisy on the left side only. Used a long screwdriver to "listen" to the motor. Gonna try to find a manual today. With the Jeeps we found that Chiltons is much better than Haynes. Any opinions with this for the Roos? I am OK with wrenching on it, just don't have much metric in my tool box from years of Jeep wrenching.

While I am at it, a couple more ?s if y'all don't mind...

The shoulder harnesses for the front are the automatic type and lap belt separate. The shoulder straps don't seem to "lock" when on the brakes and feels like it really won't hold you in if you needed it. Is that right? Seems they should "lock". Has drivers side air bag.

Also took it to a friend to listen to last night. He also thinks it is lifters from the sound. He mentioned that you can adjust the suspension in these for lift in the winter for better clearance of snow, etc. Is this true?

Also - does the tranny/xfr case take special fluid for the clutch pack? Is the fluid shared between them or separate for each unit?

Thanks for all the feedback for this noob! :cool:

#8 canajun2eh

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 04:58 PM

I'm not going to answer any of your questions. I'm sure that others are better qualified.

I just want to reassure you that you're better with the Legacy you bought. The "plain Jane" one is a "Brighton" model. I had one of these, and I hated it. What a let-down from the next-step-up model I had previously. It was noisy and was lacking in a lot of comfort features.

I much prefer the three-point harness belts we Canadians have, over those stupid automatic belts some of you Americans are saddled with. Can you leave the lap belt attached to the automatic shoulder belt, so that you end up with an automatic three-point belt? It seems to me that that's possible on an American XT6 I saw.

#9 Gnuman

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 09:13 PM

On the '92 Legacy I have, the automatic part is retracted from the top (shoulder) anchor point, so no, the lap belt could not be permanently attached. This design was done away with in later years as it tended to lull people into a false sense of security. When the shoulder part of the harness moves to the engaged position (from in front of the person, to the position behind the shoulder), people will tend to think that the seat belt is actually attached, when in fact only half of it is. Unless the lap belt is also used, the shoulder part of the harness is actually more dangerous than no seatbelt at all. It only restrains the upper part of the body, and if you get into a collision, there is a real chance that you will simply slide out from under the shoulder belt. This makes for a very real possability of strangulation or worse. With the lap portion in place your lower body mass is also held in place and it gives you decent protection. This system is unduely complicated (a moving attachment point instead of a simple bolt attachment), and also a weaker design than standard seatbelts ( the moving attachment point does not look very sturdy, anyway), both of which give significant opurtunities for failure in a system that should have no such openings. I'm very glad that they went back to standard seatbelt configurations.

#10 rweddy

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 01:09 AM

He mentioned that you can adjust the suspension in these for lift in the winter for better clearance of snow, etc. Is this true?

This was on EA81/82 not on legacies.

Also - does the tranny/xfr case take special fluid for the clutch pack? Is the fluid shared between them or separate for each unit?

Is this auto or manual?
Manual the VC is sealed, the tranny and front axle share fluid.
If auto the AWD is via clutch packs in the tranny, and the front diff has seperate fluid.

#11 Flint

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 09:04 AM

Thanks... Well, the clatter in the left side is now compounded by an oil leak. We lost a qt of oil in about 30 miles yesterday. Now this is getting frustrating... Looks like the leak is coming from the right side where about 1/2" hose comes up and into throttle body. Now we are really wondering about this... I ordered a Haynes manual at Napa yesterday. Gonna call the seller about looking at this thing to see what the heck is going on. :banghead:




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