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O.C.D.

O.C.D.'s 1980 Brat - "The Squirrel"

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Ok, my 1980 Brat GL which I affectionately call "The Squirrel". I was rocking a 2011 WRX that I was modding the heck out of when I started working on my Brothers '81 GL Wagon one night. I enjoyed the old car so much I realized that it was the right time to buy a Subaru I have always wanted. I located the Brat about 5 hours away in Colbran Colorado. After some negotiation she was mine. Not the prettiest nor the best candidate for a runner but she was what I had to have.

 

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Snagged her up for $500 and never looked back.

Day I picked her up. Ran and moved under her own power. Looked a mess and had me wondering if I should have bought a different one. But, it was too late and she was mine.

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Word of advice, don't use a Jeep Wrangler to tow, lol. But my truck fell through and that was all I could do. So I towed her the three hours home.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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First few pics of what I got myself into.

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So, the parts list started that night. All lenses and front signal housings, front valance, tons of interior parts, new tires, engine leaks, bent this and dented that. This is exactly what I was after.

Edited by O.C.D.

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Found some bed seats on Craiglist the next day for a song.

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Decided to keep the exhaust and spare wheels as well.

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Hacked off the 50 pound bumper.

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Started tearing the bed panels off to clean them out and check for rust.

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Not too bad if I say so.

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Found about 20 nests though. Some rat, some hornet/bees. A couple dead mice as well, that was a fun thing in the garage.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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Only snapped one bolt and replaced them all with new hardware.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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Said good bye to the fender chrome. Should have sold them, lol

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And the fenders looked pretty good as well. Some rusted out areas but nothing I can't handle.

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Engine bay. I am stoked as the cowl is not rusted at all.

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But this thing leaks fluids like there is no tomorrow.

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Edited by O.C.D.
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Like all of us I soon became bitten by the parts bug. I have spent tons of money and time on Ebay, Craigslist and internet searches. Some personal people on here have also been very helpful as well and I thank you too. During the hunt for fenders I came across the fiberglass option and bought them. I will not go into why I am not using them but I am not.

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About this time I decided that the nonexistent exhaust was an issue I needed to address. The little boxer sounded like a Harley. So I looked over the exhaust parts and saw what I had.

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The pipe had broken off at the flange.

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The break was clean and I thought about trashing it but then wanted to give it a go. So I thought and thought. The rusted nuts would bolts would never give. So I cut the nut and bolt off at the remaining part of the flange.

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Then the two flanges separated and the dusty gasket fell apart.

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I then welded the cleaned up pipe back to the flange and then mounted it back with two grade 8 bolts/nuts.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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Now though I needed a rear hanger. As I did not have anything at 10pm I decided to use some flat bar and a piece off of my motorcycle.

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I then proceeded to do the output stub seals when I realized that those were not the source of the leaks.

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Found the original Brat plate in the glovebox!!!

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So I mounted it again.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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So I thought maybe the oil pump was the culprit?

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So I rebuilt it with a Beck Arnely kit I actually found local.

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New filter.

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Cleaned up the block and replaced the front main.

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Pump shaft looked good.

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And installed.

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But guess what, that didn't help...

Edited by O.C.D.

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Did the PCV valve and cleaned the filter and the air filter.

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Then I decided a power wash was needed.

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I was worried as that pressure would reek havoc on the old seals. But she did not leak. As I was looking for leaks I realized that the interior was completely trashed and needed help.

 

So I tore the entire carpet and surrounds out. Everything was cleaned and detailed as best I could with 32 years of crap and animals calling The Squirrel home.

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I had sold the WRX that day but I kept the brand new mats and the shifter from COBB, lol. I also finally mounted that 8-Ball I snagged from that bar 10 years ago. That made a nice 4WD selector knob.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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So, she was kind of coming together. Many parts were on order as well as having some fun driving.

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Now I love the Subaru wheels and think that they make the late 70's-late 80's Subaru's what they are. Unmistakeable trademark in my book. But I hate the 13" and small tires. After weeks of searching I decided that my only option was the 6-lug swap. So I decided what was needed and drew up a sketch based on my math. From what I came up with I could comfortably run 15" wheels with 205 50 R15 tires.

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Some 8-spokes to pay homage to the history of the Wagon Wheels. Kuhmo Ecsta's for the grip. Yes, she is going to be a street Brat and used in winter.

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I freakin love the look!!!

Edited by O.C.D.

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So, word of advice kiddos - be EXTRA careful when you drill rotor and drums!!! After a few broken bits, a hole in my wall at work, and a broken drum lip, I had drilled out all the holes and installed the new studs.

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I couldn't wait to get the new wheels/tires on!!!

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Way different compared to the Wagons and WEIGH different too.

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Moment of glory......

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They stick out about 3/4" from the fenders and there is zero rubbing. All my math worked and I love the way it looks.

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Hands down the best mod I can think of for this old girl.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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Brand new NOS rear tail light lenses.

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Ripped off the bad fenders.

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Mainly surface rust all over!!!!

 

Hinge was rusted on hood so I tried to free it up and sheared the bolt. Realized shortly after that the hinge was the reason the hood wouldn't close right. The hinge had almost broken free of the cowl. So I lubed it up and welded her back into place. Works like butter now.

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Inner cowl is dry and rust free!!!

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Fiberglass fender mounted and the realization that they will not work. Too many issues and again, I am not going to say much.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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Ok, so my fenders, valance, lights, signals, radiator support and other goodies were all mangled from a front end collision (or 3). That is why she had that huge 'ol cattle bumper on her. One of my first parts was a new front valance. Seeing as how they are hard to locate I was very thankful to source a DL valance that needed some work.

 

What I had.

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What I bought.

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For those paying attention, yes, there is the two concave recesses for the DL lights as they are bigger. As I have a quad-GL those recesses needed to go. The only two salvageable parts off the original valance were removed.

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And what was left of the old one.

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Grille was in great shape except for the bend from the bumper. It sat like that for decades possibly and I have since mounted flat bar inside the front lip and it is straight now.

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Edited by O.C.D.

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But first.......

 

Those awful DL holes for the shock bumper. They are massive. Even the GL ones were big but neither looked right as I am going bumper-less. So, what to do???? I decided to fill them.

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Metal to be used and the form, a pipe.

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Template out of thin cardboard.

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Sheet metal fitted.

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Some spots from behind.

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And.....

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Hands down the 2nd best mod to the Brat.

Edited by O.C.D.

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So, the DL to GL mod. Had to save as much of the GL valance(s) as I could.

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Marked the new valance to remove the DL cutouts.

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And a couple hours later....

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Nothing but welds so far.

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Hours and hours of reshaping and welding took place/

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Edited by O.C.D.

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Straightened the radiator support.

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Got the hood pin release straight too. Didn't realize how bad it was. Opens like a charm now.

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Bondo time!!! Stuff is super fast curing in 100 degree weather, lol. Learned that lesson the hard way.

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Got it squared away though and the valance is now smooth and ready for primer and paint.

 

So, rear shocks are hard to come by. After much research I found some Monroe's that did the trick.

 

Rock auto has the cross pin Monroe 5914 for the gen 1 Brat and that is wrong.

 

To add to this thread, the Monroe Matics # 33097 fits in the gen 1 Brat.

 

I found some Monroe Matics # 33097 locally and thought I would try them out.

 

5914 is closest to stock:

Compressed length - 12.75"

Extended length - 17.5"

Travel - 4.75"

 

33097 is longer but meets and exceeds the 5914 stats:

Compressed length - 12.25"

Extended length - 20.375"

Travel - 8.125"

 

Installed they are the same. The piston resides more in the middle of the tube though. I am not certain if this is a benefit or a hindrance but it reality that allows for more up-travel and down-travel as well. So will I hit a bumpstop on a hard bounce, probably. SO would any shock I guess. Would the wheel drop more if fully drooped, can't say yet. It could in theory if the torsion bar allows for it.

 

As my Brat is parked for a while I cannot corroborate the drive. Will hopefully soon.

 

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Now look closely at the Mustache Bar. It was bent to ____!!!

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So I took it out and had some fun with a 20-ton press. 1 Came out and one wouldn't.

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What to do?

Edited by O.C.D.

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I cut out the rubber and the pin. Then I took apart my hacksaw and mounted the blade in reverse inside the bushing sleeve. Then patience and time.

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Pressing the new one in was a complete bear!!! A sledge and a lot of anger finally got her set in. So I cleaned up the bar. Bending it back was a real loud experience in the garage, lol.

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Straight as ca be.

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New bushings and some paint and voila!

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Notice the sanded valance as well.

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I just don't have a pick of it in the rear. ;(

Edited by O.C.D.

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The passenger side of the hood had the front edge bent in pretty badly. I couldn't get to it from the inside so I used an old trick. I made a series of small hols in the crease and then use a screw and hammer to pry them out.

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Just need to decide if Bondo or weld is going to fill the holes?

 

With all this front end work I needed to see where I was. Damn am I happy!

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My money shot!

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So, lets sand the hood down and see what we get.

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Only three small dents and the rest is perfect. Saved another piece for the finished project.

Edited by O.C.D.

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Last thing I did before I headed to Canada for business again were the front ball joints and tie-rods. I apparently got the last two tie-rods that Rock Auto had!!! The ball joints and tie-rods are Beck Arnley. I am pretty pleased with the pieces but not the grease inside. They were opened and I repacked them with high grade "Japanese" grease.

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The old ball joint boots were torn and the grease was the 20-grit variety. Glad I replaced them.

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The passenger's side E-Brake cable protector was mounted backwards and because of this it has been worn to the cable. As it is not fluid actuated I am not worried but I still swapped the protector to fit right.

Edited by O.C.D.

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So, now that I am rocking and rolling I still have tons to complete. I have about 50 parts still needing to go in and I still have to source metal fenders as well.

 

I appreciate you taking the time to read through this and if you have any advice or concerns please speak your mind. I always like to learn and this is a great place to learn!

 

Thanks.

Jon

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Forgot to mention the overall plan. I am going to make her stock aside from some cosmetic mods and the 6-lug conversion. The engine is going to be pulled and re-sealed this fall. I will mount the rear seats to be removable and line the bed. The paint will be a metallic grey with Reagan decals. When all is said and done she might go for sale as I build something else but who knows. Of all my projects "The Squirrel" has been the most fun so far.

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wow looks good:clap: better paint that bare metal or it will start rusting in like a week, u going to do bed liner in the bed? did it in by dads 79 and the bed liner looks great and i did it to the whole bed:Dim going to but it in my 85's bed and undercarriage, i see those fiberglass fenders are warped try using a heat gun to get them back into shape to fit properly or let them sit outside in the heat so they get flexible to bend on the brat properly

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glad to see you found the right shocks, ya my wagon is defiantly different. your struts look the same as mine did though i had the adjusters untill i changed to the gr2s now they are set at the max height permanently its kinda nice gives me way better clearance. i didn't see your whole thread so i am not sure what you did with your struts to many pics for my slow internet to load lol

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Well, I tried to make it shorter but I had months of photos. Took me 4 hours to post it all. Hope you get to see it all.

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