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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Engine Compatability for 84 subaru...

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11 replies to this topic

#1 2Hawks


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:05 AM


I recently aquired a subaru in excellent condition except for an engine knock above 2K. The more the engine warms up the more the oil pressure will drop. with my experience with other engines this indicates a bad main bearing in the block.

I had first thought I would just drop the oil pan with the engine in the car and tap out the old bearings with the new until I discovered the engine is a Horizonally apposed 4 Banger that looks for all the world like what I would find in a Volkswagon beetle.

The question I have for everyone here:

Are VW Engines and the engine for an 84 Subaru GL Compatable? Will a VW Engine at least mate with the transmission?

If not, then what lkind of price range am I looking at for repairs if I pulled the engine and did the work / swap myself?

Hope someone can tell me VW would work. Tons of VW Aftermarket vendors exist and would be awsome to Mod.

Thanks in Advance for any response.

#2 GLCraig



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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:24 AM

Sorry but a VW engine will not bolt-up. Some people have bought adapter plates to mount a Subaru engine up to a VW transaxle not the other way around. Your best bet is to find a good used engine or Japanese import.

You might try driving it around some more. I say this because a friend of mine did a swap a few months back, the engine he put in had sat for a few years and it had a knock when he got it up and running. After a couple of weeks, the knock was gone.

#3 bushbasher


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:28 AM

A volkswagen motor is definitely not bolt in, the basic configuration is basically all that is in common. You'd be putting an older, less powerful motor in anyways, and the ea81 subaru engine is just as reliable. New rod bearings would be no more expensive or tough to do than any other car, you're gonna want to pull the engine. If your gonna swap engines, find another subaru motor. Getting a turbo F.I. setup off of a turbo sube, with an intercooler is a good way to get more power, but upgrading to a weber carb and a bigger exhaust will help alot as well.

#4 2Hawks


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:43 AM

I understand about the bolt up being different and the VW being an older engine.

Just few more more questions to clarify my understanding...

Will VW Head, intake, exaust and Distributor mods work at all for Subaru, or is it a vastly different beast with nothing in common at all to Volkswagon besides being horizontally opposed?

In looking for someting turbo, what years am I looking for that will interchange?

And the knock came when the engine was on the highway... Think Driving it might still make it go away? Oil Pressure Drop not-withstanding?

#5 calebz


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:49 AM

Its NOT a VW.. there is nothing even remotely VW that will interchange.. the only thing they have in common is that the engines are flat. Thank god it doesn't sound like a VW either.

Your best bet for turbocharging is to find an original turbo car.. I believe turbone has an 84 or so turbo coupe for sale.

Your next best bet would be to find a weber for it

The EA81 motors are strong, reliable and fairly easy to find.. look around in the marketplace.. I'll bet you can find someone that has one for sale

#6 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:55 AM

No mods for a VW will work on the EA81, and frankly the EA81 is more reliable than the beetle engine, and more powerful. The car barely goes down the road as it is with 85 HP - putting a less powerful engine in (that's not watercooled) would be BAD. You wouldn't move, and it would overheat more than likely.

In your words - it's a vastly different beast. And a better one in my opinion - I just sold an 84 with 315,000 on it - ran like a top, and had HP like new - never been rebuilt, never been replaced. I would suspect something else unless you can verify the knock is a main bearing - it's probably just bad timing, or something. I've never seen a soob motor knock because of bad main's - I've heard of people pulling engines that ran perfectly, and finding the mains were chewed, but the engine ran fine, and outward appearances wouldn't have sugested the problem. If you do have to replace it, then just get another EA81 - they are pretty cheap - I've seen em go for like $150


#7 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:56 AM

Oh - and if your interested, I have a turbo wagon I want to get rid of cheap. Runs good too. Needs a water pump, and a Power steering pump, but otherwise is fine.


#8 2Hawks


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 03:57 AM

Thanks for all the responses.

The information is very well received, and greatly appreciated. It's hard to find much information about modding on the web for most of the cars I presently have. I was thinking of fixing this car up and passing it on but considering the resources and user groups for Subaru's I think I might just have a keeper.

I am curios tho, what your opinions on the knock are.

It doesn't appear until about 2K, and is more pronounced on the deceleration. If I rev it slowly to 2K, it begins to sound, then letting off the gas suddenly makes the knock a tad louder until it gets below 2k again. -- I will try playing with the timing tho. As I type this I remember Chevy's having a knock on a fouled plug.

Thanks for the Suggestions, and I will take a new look at this problem. any thoughts on the Oil Pressure Dropping with Temp?

And how much is cheap on that Wagon?

#9 Skip


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 06:09 AM

first and foremost change the oil to
20w/50 Casrtol GTX
The thiscker oil will get your oil pressure back up.
8 oz of the magic MMO (Mavel Mystry Oil) May help to.
The oil pump may be wanting changed, it is a realitivly simple job on this engine. Easier than swapping the entire lump.
A low milage used one could probably be had, atleast a reseal of the pump is worth a shot.
BTW your engine designation is EA81
And this problem is NOT common, unless it is a hydraulic lifter model (auto tranny) and we are mistaking lifter clack for rod/main knock.
A swap to a turbo engine/wiring/plumbing is quite an undertaking for a novice, but you sound like you have some grease under them finger nails.
Welcome to our Suby world
Hope this helps

#10 JonOfScio



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Posted 04 September 2003 - 07:48 AM

Hey, you live in Glendale. Groovy, add another Oregonian to the list. If you should ever need some help from a board member or two, you've got some people in portland, eugene, albany, and some other places.

I say your best bet is that the knock may possibly be something to do with your oil pump. is there any driveability that changes when the knock comes around?

So yeah, I say change plugs, and if that doesn't work, maybe get a new oil pump. They're like $65 to $75 depending, and you might be able to steal a decent one from a PAP or something for less.

#11 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 02:34 PM

I second the oil pump - bad oil pressure can cause nasty noises. If it's a auto tranny, then it could have hydraulic lifters, and they can make noise if not properly maintained, and will REALLY make noise with no oil pressure, since they won't fully pump up.

On the turbo wagon - I would sell the whole car for $500, Just the engine and assosiated wireing, dash, ECU, ect, and all the other stuff to convert yours to a turbo for like $300 - you pull it. I would help you of course - I might even be able to borrow my neighbors cherry picker.... he said I could anyway. The car is virgin as far as wireing and all that - I've pulled some interior stuff, but that can be put back easy enough. The turbo motors make maybe 110 HP compared to the non-turbo's at like 85 HP or so.


#12 MilesFox


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Posted 04 September 2003 - 05:14 PM

if it does turn out to be a rod knock, any ea81 or ea71 motor will fit under hood, and share a lot of the same components, pick and chose the best of the bunch

you can also go with an ea82 motor (85 and up-timing belts) it will bolt up the same to the tranny, and use the flywheel and pressure plate to the ea82 motor, and the clutch disc from the trans. or you can use the fly wheel from the 4spd 4wd/5spd 2wd if you drill the holes out larger. you will have to unbolt the hill holder and move it back an inch or two, and the distributor cap will be close to the master cylinder. i would suggest removing the distributor to get it down in there.

this is assuming its a manual

if its an auto, just use the existing torque converter and flex plate, but you might have to drill the holes out on it(not sure)
you can use an ea82 flexplate if the ea81 torque converter bolts to it there is no hill holder in automatics, and the master cylinder from an automatic will clear the distributor better(for an ea82 motor)

but if your ride is an automatic, and you want to swap motors, you might as well throw a manual trans under it!

the conversion has been done either way many of times in many of combinationd by many on the board. stick around and you will see!

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