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1989 GL 4WD 1.8L VIN 5 Issues and questions

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Ok I recently purchased a 1989 GL With a 1.8L vin 5 Fuel injected, non-turbo,  and I'm having some issues as it was very poorly taken care of Mechanically. It has been a very long time since I've dealt with these old computers :P

When I first recieved it I bet it only had 45HP as it ran very poorly, and the throttle cable was so far out of adjustment it could only open the throttle half way. The day I got it I found that...... and I found that both Differentials were almost empty, so I flushed them and the trans, and the radiator for preventitive mainteneance.

Next thing I found was the Service plug and code read plug were both plugged in the entire time, after unplugging I found codes 32, 33, 34, 35, 45, 51, 61.  O2 sensor was bad by measurements, VSS was good code never returned, EGR Soloniod was open, found 3 vacuum lines effecting the EVAP and transmission, kick down relay was bad and replaced, Nuetral and park switch codes never returned.

Shortly after that my Grandmother died and I had to drive 500 miles from NC to Ohio, so no more time to play with it for that two weeks, but I got there just fine to find it snowing a about an inch an hour, and the temperature dropped to -11f car ran fine (still lacking in power) but 4x4 worked like a charm, and it started every time in the deep cold.  On the way back I got stuck driving through an average of 3" of snow the entire way (tires are at 3/32) and managed just fine except a few exceptions as I had to stop several times to knock the snow out of my wheel wells, as well as it was pouring out white smoke behind me, the first two times it was due to snow build up on the Catalyst :P But the third time it was because the upper RAD hose let go (glad I stopped) Left the cap loose and made it home just fine.

Day After I got home I was on my way to work and lost both of my heater hoses and got my engine steam cleaned for free, needless to say the cold took it's toll on it and I replaced all remaining coolant hoses.

Anyway, recently I fianlly had a chance at tuning it up and testing everything else. I found the spark plugs Gapped at .75 they were so worn out, replace the cap and rotor ran probably 5 tanks of dry gas threw it since it sat for so long, (still need tires), Found the fuel filter clogged and replace it, Cleaned the throttle body, replaced the clogged PCV Valve, Measure fuel pressure at 22 PSI, no change if I unplug the regulator, but can stall the engine if I spray into the vacuume line to the engine so I know it is free and clear.

So that is what I did, my questions are..............

I have a light surging at partial throttle, and an engine light for code 32 (O2 Sensor) .... is my fuel pressure still to low?  If I clamp the return line the fuel pressure will spike to 55 PSI.

I don't remember these cars that well from my years past so I hope you guys do......... what can cause that in these if not fuel pressure, I't's pretty close to specs.   I was not able to ge the throttle to open 100% by adjusting it (maybe 90%) so maybe I have the wrong TB unit?  

The engine Compression tests as new, and looks like it has been done minus a leaking cam seal (probably have to be sleaved) unless god forbid it is the oil pump leaking.

My main question is what all can throw a code 32 (O2) and what are your insights on everything else like the surging. I'm a 20 year veteran of the field, have had my ASE Master for al of them, but I am by no means a 1989 Subaru expert.

I still have a lot of work to do to it, 4 struts, 2 axles, cam seal, tires.  Bought it for $800..........



Edited by Gmscool
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The only time I've had the o2 sensor code was from a bad o2 sensor. That never effected driveability. Mid 20psi sounds ok for fuel pump. TPS maybe for the surging? Ph, also the coolant temperature sensor can cause random idle rpm and varation at low speeds. Without causing am error code.

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Thanks dave, I'll pull my PICO out and map out the TPS. Might hook it up to the fuel pump as well, I finally found specs on it, 26-30 PSI

Is the CTS a standard Negative Coefficient type sensor? ot Positive?  (does resistance go up or down with temperature increase?) CTS would make sense as it's mostly doing it cold at light throttle.

Sorry if it takes me a while to get back to you on it, now that the weather is finally warming up a bit my shop is getting very busy. I quoted enough work today to keep me busy most of the week, and still have 2 more to look at in the AM.

I appreciate the advise.  

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I did get the TPS tested and it is fine, and replaced the O2 sensor, all good there, but the light surge remains.

But I suppose it doesn't matter as I was slowing sown to pull into my driveway yesterday I started hearing a tick, almost a knock. Comming from below the Alternator area and it's kind of a double knock, so I'm pretty sure I'm loosing a wrist pin. Front seals do leak a bit do you think it migh be the tick of death? Or do you think rebulding the oil pump will help it??

I hate to pull this thing down It's not even due for the first oil change yet :\

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yup, was the tick of death, I did all the front seals including Oil Pump, belts, tensioners valve covers and the left bank's lifters.

The surge ended up being the Fuel Pump, after two days of driving with a fuel guage taped to my windsheild I finally caught it in action, was dropping to 12PSI randomly when it was cold.

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