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First car owner + first Subaru owner says hello


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Phaedras

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 10:05 PM

Now, this isn't my first post, I've already asked advice on a few things before, but I thought I'd formally introduce myself (or rather my car). I just got around to buying my first car (at 21, no less), since I'd been living in Germany for the last decade (driving age 18, license costs 'round $2000).

I currently go to college in Orlando, FL (more necessity than will) and I finally bowed to Orlando's utter lack of public transport. I picked up this funky looking car (1992 Loyale Sedan 4WD - Blue/Metallic) at a small used car dealership for $800. Sounded alright to me and BAM, I had a Subaru. Did a Carfax on it and had had only two owners to date, at 70000 miles. Spent most of it's life in Pennsylvania, then came down here a year ago. From the information I could gather from the dealer, Carfax and my own two eyes, the first driver was the classic old lady, who obviously kept it in a garage, or else the paint would never look this good after 12 years. Yet she also knew nothing about cars, since the fuel filter looked either stock or very old (had Sube logo on it) plus distributor cap was Hitachi and plugs were NGK. Plugs had definetley been in for a WHILE since the electrode was almost worn away. Next owner was apparently a younger lady who had stashed a small bag of weed behind the lower console (Sadly, completely dried out) and (thank Jebus) installed a Pioneer stereo and 4 aftermarket Pioneer speakers with which I can blast Heavy Metal all day long :-)

I have now just finished up the basics, like Bosch plugs/wires plus new fuel/air filter plus oil/filter change, etc. I'm intent on letting this car at least last me through college, which at my 20 miles a day looks very likely. I will be taking it on a road trip to Boston eventually (where I will be moving in 6 months), where I'm going to try to transport my meager possessions in a small UHaul trailer. (I wonder if 4WD helps any with that)

I am also wondering if you as a whole could give me any advice on what sort of tools I should be buying (what brands are also durable). I am also trying to get a good working knowledge of my car and others in general, so I'd like to know if there are parts of the car that are good for newbies to work on, or other ways in which I can start to know my cars mechanics inside and out.

Also, does 4WD mode do anything for me on roads and level ground? Florida has no hills :-)

#2 maximumBRAT

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 10:42 PM

If you can afford it; Snap-on are always the best. always. I have 2 sets of snap on in my shop.. home/work set but dad doesn't wrench monkey anymore, so i'm set.

You can use 4wd on wet pavement, but for FL, it's kind of overkill, but it won't do anything to your car as long as the wheels can slip a little bit. Find a loose gravel road for some 4wd.

Newbie mechanics: if you know a tech, that's better than a manual, but if you're like me, i can learn off manuals. Take apart simple stuff and put it back together; ignitors and air cleaners, manifolds.. etc.

#3 Vegablade

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 10:52 PM

if that car only has 70k on it, it should last you way more than through college mine was driven 200 miles a day one way for a guy to get to work and mine has 276k really nice car though and welcome to the board.

#4 WJM

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 11:47 PM

A basic metric tool set it best to have. Others have covered it all.

#5 DerFahrer

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 11:58 PM

Hey Phaedras, glad to see another old-school Subie owner in Orlando, we should definitely meet up sometime.

First off, hate to tell you this after you've already gone and done it, but ditch those Bosch plugs. They get along with Subarus as well as Shannon Dougherty does with Paris Hilton. You will have decreased performance and gas mileage, and may experience hesitation. Go back to the NGK plugs that were in it before.

Is it an AT or MT? The 4WD is pushbutton I presume? It will give you ungodly amounts of traction in a fast corner, but don't make a habit of that. It's good for off-road use and that's about it. Frequent on-road use will just tear your transmission and axles apart.

Like they said, just a halfway decent set of metric sockets and a good ratcheting wrench will allow you to take this car almost completely to pieces and put it back together.

#6 Scoobywagon

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 12:08 AM

Don't get stuck on a particular brand of tools unless you intend to make living off of those tools. I've got a mishmash of Craftsman, Snap-on and Pittsburgh. No difference in the way the brands work, only real difference is the price. If I was gonna try to earn a living off my tools, they'd all be Snap-on. I'm not, so I get what works. As someone else mentioned, a good set of basic metric tools will get you started nicely. Sears has a nice set for not much money, so that's a good place to start. Really all I'd recommend is a basic mechanics tool set with wrench and socket sizes ranging from 6mm to 19mm, a set of decent pliers, wire cutters, phillips head screwdriver and flat screwdriver.

Invest in a Factory Service Manual (FSM) if you can afford one. Chiltons and Haynes are ok for basic stuff, but you'll quickly learn where they come up short. If you can't afford the FSM, then try to get both the Chilton's and Haynes manuals. They both are rather incomplete, but they tend to be incomplete in different places.

#7 Phaedras

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 01:55 AM

Thanks, people, this is some really good stuff. No more trying to loosen the transmission fluid pan with a screw wrench from Walmart that has "chrome" flaking off after the first use...

I'd like to know why the Bosch plugs are so bad, though. I realize the benefit of using plugs that the manufacturer specified, but that was 12 years ago. Don't you think newer plugs could have a more beneficial effect? I could have sworn my performance and idle both became much better, but that could just be because the old plugs were worn the hell out :-) Does this also effect the plug wires as well? I thought I'd splurge and got Bosch wires also.

Oh, and so 4WD doesn't technically help with acceleration? Should I use it sparingly, for wear & tear and fuel economy reasons?

#8 DerFahrer

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 02:00 AM

The Bosch plugs are the wrong heat range, whereas the NGK's are the right heat range.

Plus, if you bought platinum plugs, you just sacrificed performance and fuel economy for plug longevity. The platinum plugs will last longer, but the engine will prefer the copper plugs.

If that doesn't concern you a whole bunch, then leave em in and they'll at least last a while. But I'd rather change them more often and have the best plugs I could.

4WD actually hurts acceleration, since physics dictate that you lose more power through the mechanical inefficiencies of the rear drivetrain. It's only good for traction off the line, which only matters on slick surfaces.

#9 Caboobaroo

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 02:03 AM

I also would recommend the NGK plugs. They tend to be more fit for our cars. The Bosch I have found made more carbon build up and didn't efficently burn all of the fuel thus creating a carbon buildup in about 500 miles. They also foul very easily compared to the NGKs.

Tools are tools, brands don't matter since they all break when you don't use them properly;) I tend to stick to Craftsman since they don't ask questions about how your broke it like the Crap-On people do and then not warranty it. Granted Craftsman is a bit more expensive compared to Harbor Freight, you get the "walk in, hey its broken, get a new one, walk out" type of warranty from them, no questions asked.

4wd is great in the snow, gravel, and even in the mud. It is also good on road IF you're not going around in corners but more like racing Hondas off the line since you have no tire slip. I love using it when I race, its the best!

#10 grossgary

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 02:31 AM

4wd won't help with accleration. it will help with traction, so if you're on a slippery surface or have loads of power to put to the ground it will help. but normally, no advantage.

#11 bajavwnsoobnut

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 03:59 AM

I am agreeing with caboobaru on the craftsman if you can afford it get it in fact I just watched a "american hotrod" episode in which bluebear heated and bent a wrench to do a specific job on a mustang and when he was done he took it back to sears and when they asked he just told them it bent when he used it lol

and as for the Bosch I was one of those too but in a bug but the NGK's won't ruin your heads either cause I found out after I sold the car that the bosch plugs I put in stripped the threads cause of electrolitic action so do get NGK's they are also better

#12 singletrack

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 04:13 AM

Next owner was apparently a younger lady who had stashed a small bag of weed behind the lower console

Your Subie came with WEED? Dammit, I knew I got ripped off.

#13 Caboobaroo

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 05:03 AM

Your Subie came with WEED? Dammit, I knew I got ripped off.


my Brat came with an empty condom wrapper.........

#14 Phaedras

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 08:14 AM

Now if I HAVE to use NGK, does that also mean I need the exact OEM plugs or can I try their more exotic stuff, like platinum and iridium plugs?

#15 thealleyboy

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 09:10 AM

Sounds like a very good car for a 1st timer, and do-it-yourselfer. I always tell people to learn as much as possible about the history of a car to get a feel for what has been done, and what needs done to make it reliable. You are off to an excellent start!!

I agree that Bosch Plats are not the best choice for this car, but they'll last a year before you'll notice a drop-off in performance. NGK's are OEM and inexpensive, which makes them the only logical choice for these cars. I would also consider replacing your plug wires with NGK's, for the same reason as the plugs.

Hopefully, you'll want to stick with Subes for the long haul, but incase you don't, I would reccommend general repair manuals instead of FSM's at this point. You need to learn the fundamentals first. The best general repair book of all time (IMO) is the long out of print "Readers Digest Complete Car Repair Manual". You can find copies on Ebay, secondhand stores and yard sales. The Haynes is ok for basic Sube maintenace.

You do not need a "professional" set of tools, but I would still be careful to buy good quality imports. Harbor Frieght is decent for the price. K-Marts Benchtop brand used to outstanding and is still pretty good. Also, discount car parts chains carry quality tools at good prices. Car Quest is the best of these stores for tools.

Your Sube will be a great car to learn on, and you'll carry this knowlege on even if you decide to go with another make down the road. Might be awhile though, cause that car could easily last a decade if you take care of it.

good luck, John



#16 kingbobdole

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 02:22 AM

I would 32nd the use of NGKs. When I first got my 6, I put some new bosch plats in and took it to the track..... got two runs before it fouled #5 so bad it was missing. Bleh. I got some basic NGK (strapped for cash at that point and "other" mishaps) and they are still in the car. I use craftsman tools and are great when you break them. I've used every excuse when I return 3/8s drives. Everything from "wouldn't you like to know" to "I put a 6' breaker bar on it, and it didn't hold for some reason", they still take it back. The down side to craftsman vs like maac or snap on is (I think) the wrenches, they flex real bad when you really get on them. A bud of mine in a shop showed me the difference getting the front axle nuts off. Used the craftsman on one side with its tons of flex, I used lots of power just flexing the wrench, the snap on had no flex, lots easier. The rachets are good as long as you use them right, even through light abuse they are great. Their sets are also rather cheaply priced.
I'm done. ohh, and welcome

#17 FirstSubaruGLwagon

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 10:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by singletrack
Your Subie came with WEED? Dammit, I knew I got ripped off.



my Brat came with an empty condom wrapper.........



Mine came with baby poop

#18 jeffast

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 08:16 PM

my Brat came with an empty condom wrapper.........

my xt-6 came with a quick release for a bycycle seat
and a coolant leak

#19 jeffast

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 08:18 PM

oh ya welcomePosted Image

#20 hatchsub

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 09:03 PM

Quote: Your Subie came with WEED? Dammit, I knew I got ripped off.[/i]

Originally Posted by Caboobaroo
my Brat came with an empty condom wrapper.......


Mine came with baby poop



LOL i almost fell out of my chair when i saw the baby poop one. Mine came with more hornets nest than i could count...dog hair on everything and a nasty throwup smell that never fully went away...and oh..a leaky rear window. And this was my first car that got me loving subarus...go figure :)

#21 singletrack

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 10:05 PM

Mine came with more hornets nest than i could count...

Ya know, I've had a lot of cars that sat undriven for months and none attract as many Yellow Jackets as a Subaru.

I won't touch my parts car without a can of raid in hand. :-\

#22 bulwnkl

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 10:18 AM

Welcome! I'll 64th the NGK plug advice. It's funny but some cars (entire makes, actually) just prefer a certain brand of plug.

As for wrenches, I have a set of Craftsman, a set of Husky, a set of Pittsburgh Professional, various S-K, and a Napa socket set and 15" adjustable wrench (crescent wrench). The OLD Craftsman wrenches that Dad got 30 or more years ago are quite good. Newer ones (in the last 10-15 years or so at least) like mine flex quite a lot and don't fit nuts and bolts that tightly. At least some of their rachet mechanisms are also fairly low quality now. I don't buy them any more. The Husky wrenches (Home Depot) are extremely strong. The only actual test I've seen they are as strong against flexing as Snap-On. They also have just as good a warranty as Sears, and are roughly the same price as Craftsman. The Napa stuff is pretty good, but the 15" crescent I have now is not as good as the older one I had. Pittsburgh Professional (Harbor Freight's best line) is about the best value for a home mechanic. I don't buy them because I buy American-made tools. They're pretty darn good, though. The S-K tools are the best I have or have used. Equal or better in absolutely every respect to the Snap-On, Mac, and Proto tools I've used. They're pretty expensive, though. Not Snap-On priced, but more than the other brands I've owned.

Okay, I'm done. :)

#23 zyewdall

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 10:20 AM

Ya know, I've had a lot of cars that sat undriven for months and none attract as many Yellow Jackets as a Subaru.

I won't touch my parts car without a can of raid in hand. :-\


Yeah -- I had three nests in mine when I parked it for two months to rebuild the engine. But none in the other two non-running cars... funny.

#24 bajavwnsoobnut

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 12:01 PM

Welcome! I'll 64th the NGK plug advice. It's funny but some cars (entire makes, actually) just prefer a certain brand of plug.

As for wrenches, I have a set of Craftsman, a set of Husky, a set of Pittsburgh Professional, various S-K, and a Napa socket set and 15" adjustable wrench (crescent wrench). The OLD Craftsman wrenches that Dad got 30 or more years ago are quite good. Newer ones (in the last 10-15 years or so at least) like mine flex quite a lot and don't fit nuts and bolts that tightly. At least some of their rachet mechanisms are also fairly low quality now. I don't buy them any more. The Husky wrenches (Home Depot) are extremely strong. The only actual test I've seen they are as strong against flexing as Snap-On. They also have just as good a warranty as Sears, and are roughly the same price as Craftsman. The Napa stuff is pretty good, but the 15" crescent I have now is not as good as the older one I had. Pittsburgh Professional (Harbor Freight's best line) is about the best value for a home mechanic. I don't buy them because I buy American-made tools. They're pretty darn good, though. The S-K tools are the best I have or have used. Equal or better in absolutely every respect to the Snap-On, Mac, and Proto tools I've used. They're pretty expensive, though. Not Snap-On priced, but more than the other brands I've owned.

Okay, I'm done. :)


might start buying Kobalt cause home depot is looking like it's gonna be the next home base (I know cause I work for a company that used to supply them with goods but now have gone wal-mart style) Lowes still buys from us though :) and they also sell american

also Kobalt (lowes brand) is pretty good too and they have the no questions asked guarrantee like Craftsman has and is a wee bit cheaper I have notice oh and another thing is no reciept is required unlike husky IIRC

#25 DaveT

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 10:15 PM

For tools, also check www.mscdirect.com. Don't break like craftsman, don't cost like Snap-on. I have a mixture of all, but no "no-names" Had a set of Kobalt screwdrivers - the chrome chipped off on the first screw I turned, they went back, never again. The Snap on screwdrivers I have are far outlasting any others I have had, mostly Sears.

I tride the platinum plugs in my fleet of loyales- made them PING like mad. Even with 93 octane.

Dave




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