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Few problems w/ 91 Legacy Wagon


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14 replies to this topic

#1 drewjohnson

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:15 PM

Hi all, during my search for an 80's roo, I stumbled upon a 91 Legacy L Wagon, 178K, AWD, that was basically given to me. I was able to drive it home, no problems. The engine, manual tranny, brakes all seem good.

Here is a short list of problems:
-CV Joints bad (front, both, pop a lot during turns while accelerating)
-Front passenger door dash open-door indicator light stays on (even when door shut)
-3" round hole in muffler
-CEL constantly on

Again the car runs good, no miss, no smoke, etc (cruised it up to 70+ mph on the freeway for about half an hour yesterday). The previous owner just changed the timing belts, then decided not to keep it (should've changed water pump also, but didn't). I live in Milwaukee, so it will have to pass an emissions inspection after registration. I have read some posts on how to check and clear CEL codes, so I will take care of that to see if the light represents a past or current issue. My main questions are:

1. How hard is it - what special things do I need to know to change the front CV shafts (looking at reman'ed ones)?
2. Would muffler tape/patch work just to get it through emissions (assuming that everything else is OK)?
3. If the passenger door close/indicator switch is bad, can I short the circuit, just so it doesn't run the battery down?

Thanks in advance for all the help and great knowledge/expertise!

Drew

#2 DerFahrer

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 11:21 PM

Nice catch. Assuming the engine has had even half-good maintenance, it should last another 100k.

The CV axles on any 5-lug Subaru are a snap, as any 80's Subie owner will tell you. The axle simply slides into the hub smooth as glass; it does not have to be pressed in like the 80's Scoobs. The only thing tricky to n00b's is the spring pin on the inner joint. For that, you will need a punch and good hammer. And contrary to popular opinion, you can hammer the old one out either way you like, or hammer the new pin (you should replace it) in either way you like. It doesn't matter which way you put the axle on; I've done it both ways...

Go to Legacy777's site for pulling CEL codes, go to Notes and Tips, Engine Related. The 1st-gen Legacies are blessed with the home-mechanic-friendly OBD1 diagnostic system.

As for the muffler, I guess you could patch it, but I would just recommend going to Midas and get a new one for $100. Exhaust rust is and has always been the older Subarus' weakness.

I'm not a behind-the-dash expert, so someone else can point you in the right direction for that :-\

Congrats on the find!

#3 WagonsOnly

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 11:35 PM

With 178K on the clock, the CEL is probably indicating an O2 sensor problem. Pull the code first, if it's the 02 sensor it's an easy (and relatively inexpensive) fix.

As for the indicator switch, you should be able to replace the whole switch for less than $10 for a junkyard part. Try squirting some WD40 in the existing switch first (take the rubber nub off, blast it with contact cleaner and then WD40) and see if that does the trick. Do NOT use graphite.

Good luck, and congrats on your purchase!

#4 drewjohnson

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 07:22 AM

Thanks for the input. Subluvr, do you know if that Midas muffler comes with the connecting tube, hangars and flange, or if it just the muffler. For $100, I agree, go new. I called the local parts store today, and they said they could order a Bosal for $80, but he didn't know if it were just the muffler (No welder here, need unit).

Wagon, I will definietely try your trick for the sensor. I'm going to try to pull those codes tonight. I'll post my results here. Thanks again,

Drew

#5 ScoobySchmitty

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 08:18 AM

Hey Drew! That wagon would not happen to be WHITE would it? It sounds like a carbon copy of my car! same bad CV's (replaced), same hole in the muffler (still there :madder: ), and a similar door problem. Though, if I shut it hard enough, it will stay off, but if I lean on the door in a turn, the light will flicker. I'm assuming a bad door sensor for this, but I haven't had the time to pull it and replace it. I've had to replace the clutch in my 91 wagon, so I replaced the CV's while I was at it. subyluvr2212 is right, replacing them is a snap. Also you might want to consider checking your ball joints while you are under there. They are not hard to pop out and replace yourself, but if you are going to be under there, might as well. Good to hear you found a most excellent example of Subaru engineering! Enjoy!

ScoobySchmitty:brow:

#6 frag

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 08:53 AM

About your front axles, I dont know what price are reman axles for your car, but taking into account the fact that they are often badly remaned, maybe a new axle at 153$ (1stSubaruparts) could be an option.
Just a tought.
Always nice to lay hands on a nice car for cheap. Same thing happened to me with my former Loyale, but it was stolen just as I had finished fixing all the little things that needed to be...
Good luck with your new car.

#7 drewjohnson

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 11:11 AM

Started collecting for the almost-free beast today.

Haven't picked up yet, but reman'ed shafts
- Half Shafts $59.99 + 50.00 core, ea, (Autozone, actually in stock)
- O2 sensor - ~$100 after shipping (Autozone online)
- Muffler ~$100 + tax, installed, assuming I need no extra parts (Made an appointment with Midas, they wouldn't sell me just the muffler, I can't find one that cheap, and they will install. I just won't let them touch the rest of the car).

I haven't taken a look at the codes yet, but I figured I'd rather have the o2 snensor and not need it, than need it and have to wait some days for it to get here.

Do you guys know if that door switch is plugged at the door? Thanks again,

Drew

#8 99obw

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 11:24 AM

Did you buy that stuff yet?

I don't know that I will ever buy another remanned half shaft, every one I have bought has been terrible. I would go new on this.

You might check http://www.oxygensensors.com to see if you can get a better price.

#9 frag

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 11:27 AM

I you really want to cut cost and are handy at soldering you can buy a universal 02 sensor for half the price. You only have to splice in the existing connector.
Mine is Bosch but many companies make them.

#10 drewjohnson

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 12:29 PM

They make these things the same? Only a different connector? I'm assuming 2-wire connector. If that is the case, then I will definitely get the standard and solder the connectors. They actually have the universal listed "in stock" at my local Autozone.

Details appreciated,

Drew

#11 ScoobySchmitty

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 02:15 PM

Originally posted by 99obw
Did you buy that stuff yet?

I don't know that I will ever buy another remanned half shaft, every one I have bought has been terrible. I would go new on this.



Actually, I have a remanufactured shaft in my 91, and it has not hiccuped or caused any problems at all. The only problem I did have was in which I received the right BOX, but not the right PART in said box. A quick sprint back to Autozone, some desk finaggling (the guy didn't believe it was the wrong part), and I got the right one. Other than that, no problems!

#12 drewjohnson

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 10:38 PM

:D :D :D

I can't believe it! I went to get tags for the wagon today, and figured I would run it through emissions right away. In WI, if you fail and provide $450 worth of receipts, they will waiver the car for 2 years, after you pay a fine. I assumed when it failed, I could at least count the receipts for the O2 sensor and shafts for this.

IT PASSED! I checked the oil before I left, 1 1/2 quarts low. Put in some 10w30, and dropped in $3 worth of premium on the way. I could actually hear the CV shafts popping when the DMV guy drove the car in the stall! After it was over, I showed him the huge hole in the muffler, and he said he had never seen a car pass with a hole like that. He said it usually caused the readings to be way off, and the computer failed it automatically. He told me to hold onto the car, it may be posessed.

Check the pic, I have no idea how to read the report, but am estatic (sp?) that it passed. Now I'm not replacing the muffler or 02 sensor! Sweet! Thanks again for everyone's help,

Drew

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#13 DerFahrer

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 11:58 PM

Forgot to post the link for my favorite CV axle shop at www.cvaxles.com. They have sold me front sets of axles for both my Legacy and XT for the very reasonable price of $55 apiece, with a lifetime warranty. I also like their fast shipping, but that's coz they're in Ocala, FL and I'm in Orlando :D

I did have one of my axles start leaking grease from the outer boot once, but I called them, they sent me a replacement the next day without question, and I have had not one problem with the XT's axles...

The Midas muffler was simply the canister and installation. They had to do some fabwork to fit my old axle-back pipe to the new muffler, and as a result, it doesn't sit exactly right. It's even getting old already, and I think I will probably have a more quality (but OEM-spec) muffler installed with a new axle-back...

#14 drewjohnson

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 07:44 PM

I ended up going with the reman'ed shafts from Autozone. They, also, have a lifetime warranty. I also like the fact that they both came with new spindle nuts and tension pins.

I ended up getting 80W-90 dino for the tranny and diff. Picked up a PVC valve and plugs also.

QUESTION...since parking it in my garage, I have noticed a few drops of oil from the front of the engine. Is this normally the front crank seal? How easy is that to replace? Any suggestions. The engine is so dirty, it could also be the cam/valve seals just seeping and running to the front. Any ideas?

Regardless, the guy at A-zone was cool, and gave me discount on everything he could. Saved me a few bucks. Thanks again,

Drew

#15 avk

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 09:08 AM

That the roll pin should be driven from the chamfered side of the hole is actually mentioned in the service manual. But if it's an old pin being put back in, it may go either way because it's already compressed. With a new one, you'd feel more difference. Anyway, the easier it goes in, the better for the bearings and seals in the differential.




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