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Motor swap


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16 replies to this topic

#1 regularman

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 09:50 PM

Hello, this is my first post. My nephew has an 89 Subaru RX (turbo) automatic AWD EA82 motor, the motor has all kinds of problems and the head had been put back on 3 times and its blown another had gasket. IMHO, the motor is trashed and I don't want to fool with it. I have an 82 Subaru wagon with the EA81 motor in it that runs like a champ but the car is eat up with rust in the back end. My question is this. Will the EA81 motor bolt up to the lat EA82 transmission. They look real similar, but I don't want to even start on it unless it will fit. I would appreciate any info you folks can give me.

#2 BobBrumby

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 09:54 PM

Welcome to the Board,

yeh they should as heaps of people use the ea82 5spd in ea81s. but in the manual conversion u have to use the ea81 flywheel n clutch so i duno what you would need for an auto.

#3 regularman

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 10:18 PM

Welcome to the Board,

yeh they should as heaps of people use the ea82 5spd in ea81s. but in the manual conversion u have to use the ea81 flywheel n clutch so i duno what you would need for an auto.

Hey, thanks. it looks like I gotta plan now. Its a cool little car and the body is in good shape. I just want it for basic winter time transport and don't really need the extra HP from a turbo. He wants $200 dollar for it from me and I think I'll buy it.

#4 MilesFox

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 10:19 PM

you can use the ea81 flexplate, the ea81 and ea82 auto trannies are the same.

i think you r problem with the turbo lies in with the cooling system or something related to keep it blowing hg

#5 regularman

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 10:32 PM

you can use the ea81 flexplate, the ea81 and ea82 auto trannies are the same.

i think you r problem with the turbo lies in with the cooling system or something related to keep it blowing hg

Well, there has been all kinds of problems with threads stripping out in the block and I think the head on the passenger side has a problem. The wagon that I have with the E81 in it is a 4 speed manual. So I need to find an E81 flexpalte for it to bolt up then.

#6 MilesFox

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 11:11 PM

really if you took the effort you can throw the whole 4spd in the rx with the ea81, its a little more involved say tou will need a tranny mount and a pedal assembly, but its all bolt on from there.

you would be better to find an ea81 flexplate with the right bolts, since ea81 bolts are skinnier and automatic bolts are shorter.

aside from the flexplate, you can use the existing one if you find the right bolts(hardware may have them). the holes on the ea82 flex plate are bigger then the bolts for ea81, but the 'plate will center on the crank anyway, and the bolts will torque it still.

#7 NorthWet

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 11:26 PM

Hello, this is my first post. My nephew has an 89 Subaru RX (turbo) automatic AWD EA82 motor, the motor has all kinds of problems and the head had been put back on 3 times and its blown another had gasket. IMHO, the motor is trashed and I don't want to fool with it...

Are you sure that your problem is not just the infamous exhaust port crack in the passenger-side head? Might look like an blown HG, but replacing the HG won't fix it.

#8 MilesFox

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 12:42 AM

Well, there has been all kinds of problems with threads stripping out in the block and I think the head on the passenger side has a problem. The wagon that I have with the E81 in it is a 4 speed manual. So I need to find an E81 flexpalte for it to bolt up then.


sorry i didnt think of the cracked head, the threads stripping out means the block has probable been overheated as aluminum will turn granular if its heat damaged.

i myself have an rx with a carb motor, but its ea82. but still, the ign you can use the same coil, and leave all the mpfi harness alone and hanging. you may one day in the future come across another turbo motor, and you can go back to that with all the wiring still there

you will have to mix and match with radiator hoses, you will want the ea81 hose for the top and the ea82 hose for the bottom. you can even use the ea82 water pump so you can keep the upper radiator hose and water pipe, and use the clutch fan. doing this will also allow you to use the ea82 alt and ac bracketry, it will bolt up enough to work, you will need the dual pulley alt(non ac) and use the outer belt, with the crank pulley being offset slightly behind..

you could swap in either radiartor, i believe the ea81's will be 2 row

#9 regularman

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 11:55 PM

really if you took the effort you can throw the whole 4spd in the rx with the ea81, its a little more involved say tou will need a tranny mount and a pedal assembly, but its all bolt on from there.

you would be better to find an ea81 flexplate with the right bolts, since ea81 bolts are skinnier and automatic bolts are shorter.

aside from the flexplate, you can use the existing one if you find the right bolts(hardware may have them). the holes on the ea82 flex plate are bigger then the bolts for ea81, but the 'plate will center on the crank anyway, and the bolts will torque it still.

So its just that the bolt holes are bigger on the EA82 flex plate then? I have a lot of stuff so I can probably make that work then. The old 4 speed in the wagon was really low geared for the highway. I think the auto is higher and might give better milage as well. Thanks for all the info guys. I haven't even given much thought to the electrical part yet. I know I will have to put the older fuel pump on it too. This going to be a spring project. I have had the old wagon setting around for years and was going to junk it, but last week we wrecked our other 4wd car(rollover on black ice)and so I am in the process of putting the wagon back on the road. I am just trying to figure out what I am going to do with it. I have alwaya thought the that old wagon was the best vehicle I have ever owned for traveling in the ice and snow. I need a good winter car here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I am hoping that the RX will do just as well when I get this swap done. I have one more question. The E81 motor isn't exactly perfect. It starts ok and leaks no oil and doesn't smoke or anything, but it seems to have a kind of miss at an idle and on up to about 2000 rpms, the it revs up fine. I have checked all the plugs and stuff and they seem to be getting fire and its hard to tell with that engine even when I unplug one spark plug boot at a time while its running. It makes it kind of a pain in the rump roast on take off. Do you guys think it might be a valve problem?

#10 JWX

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 12:05 AM

I'd say your problem is warped heads and block take a straght edge to them and see what you come up with.

#11 regularman

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 12:09 AM

I'd say your problem is warped heads and block take a straght edge to them and see what you come up with.

I take it you are talking about the EA82 motor, when you say this.

#12 MilesFox

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 04:18 AM

you can adjust the valve lash i believe your motor for 82 and a MT it would be a solid lifter motor

the old hitachi carbs like to develop dead spots in the power curve, i know things like exhaust leaks and vacuum routing can play tricks with the carb

#13 Vanislru

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 11:49 AM

I'd say your problem is warped heads and block take a straght edge to them and see what you come up with.

I think this is it too. Stick with the turbo. a bit more time spent finding the root of the problem might be better than the swapping motors/trannie.

#14 MilesFox

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 12:04 PM

well condidering this guy wnats to get something driveable, if i were him i would go ahead and swap in the ea81, and then as the car is driveable i would tear into the turbo motor and see if i could locate the problem. if it turns out bad the car is driveable and you could always go back to turbo once you found a good part/motor

#15 JWX

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 12:09 PM

I am talking about the EA82, these are tough engines but you CAN NOT over heat them. I would stick with it, just get a JDM engine off of Ebay and reseal it before you put it in. it will be fine at stock levels.

#16 MorganM

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 03:44 PM

The E81 motor isn't exactly perfect. It starts ok and leaks no oil and doesn't smoke or anything, but it seems to have a kind of miss at an idle and on up to about 2000 rpms, the it revs up fine. I have checked all the plugs and stuff and they seem to be getting fire and its hard to tell with that engine even when I unplug one spark plug boot at a time while its running. It makes it kind of a pain in the rump roast on take off. Do you guys think it might be a valve problem?


Timing or other ignition components (coil, wires, cap, rotor) are a good start with a miss fire.

#17 regularman

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 04:58 AM

Timing or other ignition components (coil, wires, cap, rotor) are a good start with a miss fire.

Ok, guys thanks for the suggestions. I'm gonna check the electrical stuff and the valve lash this week end. Hopefully that will solve it, but I seem to remember already doing this a few years back when I parked it and it didn't help. I remember thinking it was a valve problem. If I do norrw it down to one cylinder and have to pull that head off. Is it a big pain to do? I would thing the EA81 would be easier with pushrods and no belt. I may do a compression check and look for it that way. I'm still thinking valve. I had another car that missed until it got some rpms up and it was a cracked exhaust valve. At high rpms the cylinder would hit because the pressure did not have time to leak by the crack. I might just drive it like it is for a while. It would be better than my little ranger pickup I have now. Its horrible in bad weather, so light in the rear.




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