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newbie with a 1984 Subaru Wagon GL?


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18 replies to this topic

#1 1stsubbyever

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 12:28 PM

I am new to this site, but have spent some time looking through this forum and have found many answers to my questions, but here's the lowdown. I am buying a 1984 Subaru Wagon this weekend, I'm pretty sure it's a GL, but wouldn't swear on it. This vehicle had an issue with the engine at 60k, and the engine got replaced. The new engine has 30k on it...I know, not even close to being broken in, however, the vehicle has been garaged for at least the last 5 years. The only owner (bought new, not willing to let it go until now) drives the vehicle around the block once a week. This is the question...I'm going to replace the battery, oils (gear box also), flush the radiator, change out the distributor and spark plugs, replace all hoses and belts, change out the filters (air and oil), O2 sensor, and replace the rotor...which will be interesting since I haven't worked on a car in 15 years...and that was limited to changing out the distributor and plugs. I was wondering if there's anything else that time has affected negatively that I'll need to replace...I was thinking along the line of the brakes. Any information would be greatly appreciated on other things that will need replacement.

#2 [HTi]Johnson

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 02:33 PM

How many miles are on the car itself? That will let you decide what needs to be replaced.

#3 1stsubbyever

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 03:53 PM

I understand there are 90k total.

#4 Sweet82

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 03:58 PM

90k :lol: I think your still under warrantee

Take it to the dealer for the 90k breakin adjustments! :grin:

I wouldn't change anything else unless it needs it...

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#5 1stsubbyever

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 04:10 PM

I know...it's a heck of a bargain. From all the research I've done, I shouldn't have major problems with it for another 100k or so (and maybe not even then). The guy can't believe I want to buy it because it's "ugly"...I'm more interested in reliable, and shadetree mechanic ability. So in your opinion, do you think the brakes haven't deteriorated over the last 20 years?

#6 [HTi]Johnson

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 04:55 PM

They would deteriate badly, if it was in a humid area...heck you could replace them anyways...what is it $30 for a set?...which reminds me..i need to do my brakes.

#7 KStretch55

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 05:00 PM

Well, I can say I learned something new today. Not being from a humid area, I had no idea that brake linings would deteriorate like that.

#8 NorthWet

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 05:01 PM

If the car was driven regularly and frequently, even for short distances, most things should be in pretty decent shape. That driving is a little rough on oil, bearings, and rings, but not too bad on other things.

#9 Ross

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 05:45 PM

You shouldn't need to replace the distributer if its got that few miles on it. Should be fine.

#10 1stsubbyever

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 06:02 PM

Thanks, the distributer info is good to know..it'll save me time (and $). I'm in the Dallas area, so I'm not really sure if that would be considered humid or not...guess I'll err (sp?) on the side of caution and go ahead and replace the brake pads.

#11 ShawnW

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 07:10 PM

just inspect the brake pads.

Not being driven over 30 mph it probably will burn oil for a while, go get it going on the freeway after a 20-30 min around town drive....let things free up first, and the rings should come back I would think. THen change the oil, probably 2 more times in the next 500 miles just to free up all the sludge.

Sounds like a nice deal to me.

#12 TomRhere

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 07:16 PM

Ummm, Humidity itself does not have an effect on brake linings, be they pads or shoes, other than if the said vehicle hasn't been driven in awhile, rust may take effect and bond them to the rotor/drum, no real biggy there - just drive it.

Moisture will have an effect on the brake fluid itself, so it's always a good idea to flush the system with fresh.

No need to change the distributor itself, just cap/rotor/wires/plugs. Also change all other fluids in said vehicle, oil - tranny lube/fluid - differential lube - coolant. Change the gas filter(s), along with the air filter including the one for the PCV system along with the PCV valave itself.

Would recommend new accessory drive belt(s), along with new radiator and heater hoses, as well as replacing the vacuum hoses.

Don't need to do this all at once, just soon after you get the car, that way you know when things were done last. And after sitting for that long, it will need most of this done to it.

#13 1stsubbyever

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 07:55 AM

Thanks, this is all great info. Good to know and I'll follow all ya'lls advice. I have a mechanic friend that was totally flabbergasted when I told him the EA81 doesn't have timing belts. Now he's on a mission to find out how car can run without timing belts. I'm kind of curious also. I won't have the vehicle for another day or two, and I know it's a silly question, but if anyone could explain in laymen's terms how the system can work without timing belts...or chains from what I gathered, I'd appreciate it. I plan on doing all the work on this vehicle myself (very few mechanics that I trust) so I'm trying to learn the technicalities on this vehicle. I will be buying a book on the subject also.

#14 gbrand

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 08:29 AM

Couldn't help but chuckle at the mechanic who can't figure out how an engine can run without timing belts or chains. Oh how technology changes so fast....I am not familiar with the EA81 but am with the EA71-it (and many other older american engines) used gears, that directly meshed, no chain required. Timing chains used to be considered weak links, now are looked upon by some as superior to belts.

One of my hobbies is to find objects/procedures that were common 20-30 years ago and show them to my kids or young adults and see if they can figure out what thier purpose was. One example I remember I would like to find a picture of is the first auto reverse cassette deck i saw circa 1975-actually had a mechanical arm that would come up, pick the tape up, turn it over and place it back in the deck just like you would do by hand.

Just my opinions, good luck on the car!

#15 1stsubbyever

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 07:43 AM

update - I picked up the car last night. It's in excellent shape, no chewed on wires, interior is as close to immaculate as a 20 yr old car can have. The paint job doesn't have any major issues, just a little oxidization...looks a liitle orange, but should be red. It starts, but squeals loud enough for neighbors to complain. I'll be changing out belts and hoses tonight hopefully. I'm looking forward to playing with grease! The brakes are somewhat rusted and feel loose, so I'll have to take a look at those a little closer. Thanks for all the advice!

#16 [HTi]Johnson

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 06:39 PM

EA81s use push rods. With a central cam. The cam pushes the rod...which hits a rocker arm that pushes down on the valve, which in turn opens the valve.

#17 Turbone

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 07:23 PM

Couldn't help but chuckle at the mechanic who can't figure out how an engine can run without timing belts or chains. Oh how technology changes so fast....I am not familiar with the EA81 but am with the EA71-it (and many other older american engines) used gears, that directly meshed, no chain required. Timing chains used to be considered weak links, now are looked upon by some as superior to belts.

One of my hobbies is to find objects/procedures that were common 20-30 years ago and show them to my kids or young adults and see if they can figure out what thier purpose was. One example I remember I would like to find a picture of is the first auto reverse cassette deck i saw circa 1975-actually had a mechanical arm that would come up, pick the tape up, turn it over and place it back in the deck just like you would do by hand.

Just my opinions, good luck on the car!


I saw that tape deck in Japan in 74, I think it was a Teac or Akai. I thought it was to complicated to work for long.

The EA series are overhead valves, with the above explanations correct also. Thats why EAA builders like to use them in their planes. I dont know if you mentioned if the car was a manual or auto? If its a auto, there may be issues down the road with it. The govenors like to strip out and the vac modulators will leak too.
Nice score on a Classic.

#18 Bucky92

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 07:35 PM

Good Luck with your score!! You are lucky to have it.. My 82 wasnt garage kept or driven for at least a year or two and everytime I fix one thing something else pops up...I am about to change her name to The Money Pit:grin: .


Keep us informed on how things go..I know I want to know what works for you since I have alot of the same issues with my GLF

#19 1stsubbyever

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 01:22 PM

She's a manual transmission (4 speed, 4wd), and almost ready to get inspected. All the fluids have been replaced, new belts and hoses, new battery and tires. The most expensive thing to replace is going to be my ignition. The key is so worn down, that I can't turn off the ignition and end up pulling the fuse out to shut it off. Effective, but not convenient. Subaru is quoting me $200 for that piece. Guess it'll have to wait until next payday. I just have to replace the windshield wipers and she'll be inspectable! She's a lot more zippy than I first expected, and the gears are interesting to navigate through, but I am very pleased with my purchase.




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