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Awesome Loyale test-drive and some serious questions


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21 replies to this topic

#1 p1driftfiend

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 06:44 PM

<long post, but incredible experience for me>

My friend and I are fans of older Subaru's, and we've been keeping an eye out for them. I've always wanted a manual, and over the years I've had another friend test drive a couple of older subaru's for me. A few months ago though, I picked up a 90 Civic Si to learn stick on.
A few days ago I saw an ad in the local classified area of our paper for a 1990 Loyale 4wd. The car is a 5spd wagon. So I called and talked to the father of the son who owned the wagon this morning. He was a real nice guy and told me to come on down and I could check out the car and drive it around. So I picked up my Subaru loving friend and drove on over.
The wagon looked good, there was rust over the rear wheels that the son had patched up and painted. The paint matches the stock silver very well. The engine bay looked slightly corroded, but I'm in CT, so salt basically covers the roads all winter long. The inside was very clean and in great shape.
The father gave me the keys and told me to go for a drive:) . The car started up well, maybe a little rough though. The idle seemed fine. The clutch felt like it has 1/2 inch of travel and the gas pedal had maybe 1/4 of travel, and I'm being serious. I thought maybe I would stall the car, but WOW, this transmission had to be one of the most simplt and easy 5spd's I have ever driven. Ther shifter did feel very sticky and was slightly difficult to get into gear. My on road impression of the car was that it had to be one of the easy 5spd to drive. I don't think the car would have even stalled if I let off the clutch without giving it gas. The car did feel very very slow though, but even though I was accelerating up one hill very slowly the car felt like it was really pulling hard.

***Best part is below****
---The wagon has push-button 4wd---
When I got back to the house, the man told me to drive through the yard:eek: . He said his son does it all the time. Feeling a little uneasy about it I drove down a gravel driveway that belonged to the neighbors and then back up. The father was halfway down his lawn, and was waving me down it, so I looked over to my friend and decided what the heck. I drove onto the grass, and pushed the 4wd button. The dash lit up with the 4wd engaged sign, and I took off. I went down the side of the yard, into the backyard. Down a little hill, going between two trees, and then around the back yard, back up the hill, going between two trees again and back onto the front lawn. WOW, this thing kicks but, I thought. Going through the back yard, I had the car in 1st gear the whole time, yet the car almost felt like an auto. It never felt like it would stall and never once rev-ed too high. The way the wagon went up the slight hill was just incredible. With old, cheap looking tires, the Loyale just powered up the hill without the slightest slip or sign of trouble. To make it even more impressive the backyard was moist, soft dirt/grass.
This was my first ever experience with a 5spd Subaru and I got to go "off-roading".

<<<Cliff notes>>>>

Went off-roading on the owner's lawn with a 4wd loyale wagon that I was testdriving.

<<<End Cliff notes>>>


Now, I need a little advice about Loyales. The wagon is a 1990 5spd, with push-button 4wd. The miles are around 96k, I was so excited driving it, I didn't even get the exact mileage.
I talked to the son over the phone and learned that he had the car since June of this year. He has no records of any serivce and doesn't know anything about the seals or timing belt(my biggest worry). I guess the transmission did feel rough, the clutch pedal travel being so short was odd. The 4wd definately works though.
The asking price is $1,050. What would you do?


(If the owner of the car is on this forum, then Hi and thanks for the awesome test drive. I say this because the owner had a first gen legacy and another newer subaru I did not see.)

#2 NorseKode

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 08:34 PM

I picked up a '91 Loyale 4WD wagon about a month ago for $1200. Very clean interior (except where the previous owner's dog had chewed on the seatbelts), a couple of minor dings, and a handful of odd mechanical quirks. It had 142k on it. I have fixed most of the mechanical stuff and put 3k on it in the past month. I have taken round trips over Donner summit twice. Basically, the engine feels a little underpowered on hills. I intend to make an intake (and possibly exhaust) change to see if I can squeeze some balls out of the top end. I have driven over several inches of slush and snow on I-80 and have yet to slip or skid. Underpowered or not, I feel entirely in control of my new ride at all times.

If it were me, I'd buy the car. I'd certainly buy this one again.

Kalo

#3 Partsman

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Posted 29 December 2003 - 10:12 PM

I don't know - if it was me, I'd like one with better records and less cancer. Check prices in your area - there are plenty of these wagons out there, and they all come standard with the :D factor!

#4 baccaruda

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Posted 30 December 2003 - 02:10 AM

yeah, or if you can't find another one with a better body.
i'd say that you might start researching timing belt/ front end of engine service, in case it comes in handy soon..

#5 Tom63050

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 11:45 PM

Kalo, just drill a bunch of holes on the underside of the airbox and you will notice a dramatic increase in power over 4000 rpm.

#6 Qman

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 12:13 AM

$1050 for a '90 in Ct.(east coast) We all know the story from the east coast. Salt water or salted roads = bad mojo. Even if you have to do the belts and some other major maintenace. It still sounds like a decent investment.

#7 viceversa

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 12:14 AM

I would not worry about rust, it has zero impact on driving. Unless you cannot pass inspection.

4wd adds something to the price.

Stick takes something from the price because nobody wants it.


The car did feel very very slow though, but even though I was accelerating up one hill very slowly the car felt like it was really pulling hard.

EA82 engine is succeptible to cracked heads if overheated. Check compression on all 4 cylinders before you buy it. They should all be around 150 psi and not less than 125 psi. This will tell you more than anything.

My Loyale runs very fast with the newer engine I got in it, with 95K miles. (190 on the body). Never "slow". Something is wrong. Are all cylinders working? All sensors?

I would offer somewhere between 500 and $1000, I think. Even despite lower miles. If compression pulls okay, you can drive it for another 100K miles, if the body can take it.

These things are a dime a dozen - although a manual + 4wd + wagon is a difficult combo to find. I have 92 wagon with 2wd and auto.

I also got a 92 wagon which was 4wd auto with under 100K for $200, but its tranny wasn't working so I used it as a parts car. It was also from North and rusty.

#8 MilesFox

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 12:08 PM

subaru motor s love higher rpms, such as cruising at 3500 rpm, take it to 5400 between shifts. you dont want to lug the motor below 2500 rpms.

3500 roms is ideal for whatever gear you are in

if the shifting feels sticky as you mentioned, with the clutch pedal that you mention,,,,the clutch pedal might need tightened up

so tighten the nut on the fork end of the clutch cable a few turns, that should fix your cluth pedal probelm. with 92k on the odo, a new clutch is somethig you should consider down the road.

but dont worry, working on a soob is rather simple once you get your hands dirty

#9 bushbasher

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 09:08 PM

Inspect the rocker ends, and inner fenderwells more carefully. Further rust can be hard to see especially when you are excited, but the fenderwells can be completely rusted through with only the undercoating making it look nice. The patched rust might look okay for a few years, but it will come back, and the bondo will start to chunk off. Look for rust through the side compartments in the rear corners of the trunk floor. Also check the "frame rails" that run under the front floorpan up towards the engine. Rust here is a structural problem. If it is good in these areas then 1000 is a reasonable price around where I live. If you see more rust point it out and try to bring him down some more. Or you can always find another one. A number of things can cause sluggishness, but at 93k I would say it is likely something small. If you can find the time do a compression test. It could be somethign as simple as timing or a dirty air filter though. Also do some tests on the clutch, like put it in 4th gear and try to go forward, by riding the clutch. If you can't get it to go far without stalling then the clutch is good. To see if the clutch is rubbing, put the car in 1st gear with the ebrake on, with the clutch pushed down, and see if the revs increase at all when you put it in neutral.

#10 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 09:19 PM

Only thing I can say is that I wouldn't personally want the push button 4WD. You could always swap in a 5 speed D/R though. The push button ones are only high - no low range. And I don't like the vacuum actuated 4WD systems - I like a regular stick to shift in and out of 4WD - there's nothing like that satisfying clunk when you go in and out of 4WD - and the vacuum ones tend to have more problems with shifting in and out of 4WD. Least ways I've never heard of any problems with the manual shift style....

You should also know that the loyale's were a lot more stripped down than the older GL and GL-10 models that were around before the legacy line started. The loyale was a budget ride..... not a bad car - just lacking in some of the nicer features of the older GL's. I'm guessing they are somewhere between a DL and a GL for feature level....

GD

#11 incognito

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 11:09 PM

Yeh... I have an interesting Loyale...

It does mobb. Could use D/R tranny though IMO.

#12 StormTrooper

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 11:38 PM

Yup, got one those, pretty much the same one you're looking at. Had it since 64k, amd due to my lack of care or knowledge at the time, ignored the timing belts till they popped when I was on the highway. Thankfully subaru timing belts are a non-interference belt! That was around 100k, so if that one has been timing-belt neglected, it'll let ya know about it real soon, im guessing.

i concur about running a compression test, because even running it hot for a few minutes can damage the gaskets or crack a head quickly, and if they're not on top of changing timing belts, chances are they weren't too good at keeping the cooling system in tip-top shape either...

#13 thealleyboy

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:11 AM

Lots of good comments, I agree with just about everything said...

I have essentially the same car you are talking about, except mine is a 93. A lot of the "lack-of-power" problem is a matter of learning to shift the gears to suit your needs. Remember, this was intended to be an economy car, so you are going to have to trick it sometimes. Don't worry about stalling. This car is fuel injected.

If you do buy it, I would get the maintenance schedule caught up immediately. Since there are no records, that means all items should be checked/replaced as needed.

Once this is done you will have a great reliable, economical package. This particular model gives you a lot of bang for the buck, IMO.

good luck, John

#14 viceversa

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 02:42 PM

Yeah, it is the best in its class.

I would assume more stuff is broken on it than you are aware of and adjust the price accordingly. That's not Loyale specific - true with any used car you buy.

I personally believe in full disclosure. When I sell my old cars, I disclose as much as I can. It sets a good trend and if others follow it, you benefit as well.

#15 p1driftfiend

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 01:33 AM

Wow! Thanks for all the replies and excellent replies they are too. Seriously, Subaru owners and fans are the most educated and helpful people in the world.

To update the situation: I think I'm going to pass on the car seeing as I don't like not having any records, the guy only had the car for not more than 6 months, and also the fact that I'm almost positive it's registered in Mass.

Two questions though: Looking at other Loyales, I see some have a smooth roof line, others have a bulge. This Loyale has the extended, bulged roof: can anyone explain this?

And about the compression test: Is that something someone would do at the seller's house? I understand how to do the test, sort of, but is it that easy?

Thanks again.

#16 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 01:38 AM

A compression test will tell you a lot IF the test says the engine is good.... if there's a problem, you have to move to a wet/dry compression test to really see if the problem is severe..

The bulge in the roof is a "touring" version - nothing more.

Also - look for a GL or GL-10. They look the same as a Loyale - but they have more features...

GD

#17 thealleyboy

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 11:11 AM

A Loyale Touring Wagon??

TW's are VERY rare around here (OH). The only touring wagon I've ever seen up close and personal is the 89 GL10 I own. GD, are those common where you live?

The compression test is something that can be done at the sellers house. A quality guage should cost you less than $30, and is well worth the expense. You'll also need to fabricate a jumper wire to ground the coil while you are cranking the engine.
Just make sure the battery is fully charged to get an accurate reading.

good luck, John

#18 MilesFox

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 01:41 PM

dont pass up on a soob over minor things or what features it has. my point is any soob is better than no soob.

touring wagons are rare, and i f i got one myself, i would get one with the mind of putting the trans that i want in int. but i like to getmy hands dirty, too.

#19 NorseKode

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 02:16 PM

Ground the coil? Why? I've always just let the coil wire hang. Without a completed circuit, the field should never collapse. Right?

Kalo

#20 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 03:37 PM

Touring wagons aren't real common - but they aren't terribly rare here - remember - this is Oregon - we have soobs everywhere.... I've seen quite a number of them - both GL's, Loyale's and even some legacy's

GD

#21 WoodsWagon

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 08:53 PM

The problem with an ungrounded coil is that the voltage is produced, but has nowhere to go, so it puts a lot of stress on the insulation inside the coil and can blow it.

#22 MilesFox

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 10:51 AM

if youre in the market to buy a soob, and off roading is what charmed you, then you should consider looking for a dual range model.

but if its scarce, might as well take whats there, any soob is better than no soob, and you could always put whatever soob pieces on whatever subaru. you could put a dual range trans in there if you know how to operate a wrench with no problem




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