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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Exhaust bubbles in radiator. Worst case + more questions

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4 replies to this topic

#1 211


    Eat, Live, Breath Subaru

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  • Bellingham

Posted 06 November 2005 - 04:07 PM

First off I'd like to say hello and thanks in advance for helping me!

I have a 1985 GL 4WD 1.8 carbed; (EA82) with over 120k mi.
Since I've had it (4mos) I've noticed an exhaust smell coming through the heater vents, particularly when I'd excellerate from a stop. Never paid much attention to it until I started overheating in traffic one day. Pulled over, sure enough bubbles in the radiator and exhaust smell in the coolant. Head gasket time right???

Well these symptoms are the only signs; there is no water in the oil/oil in the water.

My concern is, is this typical of something more major like a cracked head, or exhaust port?

And I'm wondering, with this many miles is it even worth it to have repaired or should I find a used/rebuilt one? My local subie mech said $700 min for the repair, that's a phone quote and assuming there is nothing else wrong with it.

My other question is, will a EA82T drop into this car, because I've been seeing these on ebay for less than it would cost to have the heads done (these are 40-70,000 mile imports from Japan).

Also from a scale of 1-10 (10 being total pain it the butt, take it to the shop), how difficult is it to replace the head gaskets on these things?
Assume my mechanical aptitude is moderate to semi-advanced (mostly in GM and domestics).


#2 Numbchux


    EJ conversion addict

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 04:16 PM

sounds alot like a head gasket, just the part between the compression chamber, and the coolant, that would explain the lack of oil/coolant crossover....any white smoke out the tailpipe?

I suppose it could be a cracked head or something, but I've honestly never heard of that happening (doesn't mean it doesn't happen...), but head gaskets are rather common...

that many miles?! that's funny....my '88 GL's got 225k, and I plan to drive it for years, as long as I don't get in an accident of some sort.

EA82t....will bolt right up, need some exhaust stuff, probably the ECU....I'm not sure exactly

these are some of the easiest motors to work on, if you've got moderate to advanced experience, I wouldn't even think about paying someone to do it!

#3 211


    Eat, Live, Breath Subaru

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 04:28 PM

No white smoke out of the tailpipe either.
BTW Edit= 160k mi, 120 is my P.O.S. '95 Dodge Decrepid (that's a whole other post on a whole different forum:banghead: ).

The other thing is EGR. The EGR light has been on since I've had the car and from the looks of it has been on for a long time prior. There are signs of tape residue over the light that indicates someone has tried to cover up the thing up; lol
Anyway, could this be anything related to my problems? Or is this problem #2.

So semi-easy fix huh?
Looking at it it's a spaghetti farm of vacuum hoses in there (gives me a migrane just to take off the air cleaner).
Any special tools I'd need?

#4 Numbchux


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Posted 06 November 2005 - 04:49 PM

yea, the vacuum lines on the EA82 carbed motors are a nightmare...this is true.

the EGR light was on in my '85 too...never bothered with it, and it never seemed to care. I think the tape is a perfectly acceptable solution.

#5 Subarian


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Posted 07 November 2005 - 03:41 PM

The EGR light is a scheduled maintenance reminder- it doesn't really have anything to do with whether your EGR is working or not. The reset procedure is pretty easy. There's a connector under the dash to the left of the steering column. There are two connectors, but I don't remember the colors- maybe blue and brown. You disconnect one and connect the other, and it goes away. You can block off the EGR port- your engine will actually run better without it.

As far as the head gasket goes, it's not a tough job. If you've done one on a Chevy, you can do one on a Subaru. Just remember you're working with aluminum instead of cast iron, and be a little more careful when you scrape and torque.

And I'm at 252,000 and still going strong. That motor will last you a long time.

On the other hand, putting in a turbo motor means you have to rewire everything and put in the ECM. It's a lot more work.

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