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1988 Subaru Project: 'Gunther'

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Hello everyone. My name is Will and I own a 1988 Subaru GL. My car is named 'GUNTHER'. I bought this car 260 miles away for $650 in early 2012 and immediately fell in love with it. Regardless of the "TURD" of an engine it has, I have managed to keep it chugging along rather well. A few times I have exceeded 400+ miles on a single tank of fuel across Washington state. This vehicle is currently my daily driver and has a list of modifications/repairs performed as well as some that are very well soon to be. Six months after I bought it, I repaired the original engine and resealed it completely and have been driving it ever since. With the addition of other recent repairs.


Within the first year of ownership (2012) I replaced:

Head gaskets (both heads have bridge stress cracks between the valves. Five years later, no problems so far)

Valve cover and grommet seals

Both cam cases resealed

Full timing belt component kit

Engine mounts

Transmission mounts

Oil pump

Water pump


Intake manifold/Exhaust manifold gaskets

Cap, rotor, plugs, wires


Front CV axles

Thule roof rack




Late 2014 I replaced/installed:


Front brake rotors

Front Calipers/pads

Four new tires


Converted to R134a (blows ICE cold)

LED lights installed on my Thule roof rack



Sorry but there may have been more. It was five years ago, I cannot remember to well.


As of recently I have done some pretty serious maintenance/repairs that I am pleased to say that it is where I want it to be as of now. The way this car drives now is very nice and comfortable. So I intend to drive it every day as long as I can. I want to rack up the miles and see how long it will go. It is currently sitting at apx. 183,000 miles and looking better than ever. And a lot less slop in the 'almost' 30 year old drivability. It will be 30 years old next MARCH 2018.



My recent repairs to my Subaru: 2016-2017


Front/Rear KYB struts w/ bellows

Front KYB strut bearing top hats

(Original coil springs)


'All' Beck Arnley:

Wheel bearings w/ seals

Lower ball joints


Re-manufactured steering rack and pinion

New OEM dealer steering rack bushings

Moog outer tie rods

NGK plugs

NGK wires

New cap, rotor (timing adjustment)

New alternator

New interstate battery (winter/cold weather spec)

New battery cables (improved grounding locations)

New HVAC blower motor resistor (A/C 'blows' ICE COLD...still)

New Subaru OEM hood latch cable (it snapped in half)

New rear lift gate supports (no more vice-grips)

Brand new GATES full timing belt component kit (snapped a T-belt in early January 2017)

Brand new heavy duty CV axles

Brand new tires

4-wheel alignment


And to top it all off!!!


I sent my car to the local body shop to repair the windshield "troff" , "trough" , "troph". I believe my car has very extremely low rust, so I had the body shop repair what is necessary and then I went to SAFELITE for a new windshield. And I also requested brand new chrome moldings, to replace the original chrome moldings. Looks amazing!!


As of now I am very happy with the condition of my Subaru, BUT, however it is not complete... yet!


I have a project that is planned out but also being revised at the same time to establish what will be the most cost effective route of my desired final product. And now is the time for me to share with you my soon to be plans for 'GUNTHER'.


I plan to modify my Subaru in a way that it can become more of a modern reliable vehicle. And here is my current list of modifications:


Complete EJ22 swap mated to my dual range 5-speed transmission

(Including proper working A/C, cruise control, etc.)

Possibly Either a 5-lug conversion for better braking performance


6-lug re-drill conversion (depends on how long I can buy 13 inch tire sizes)

*THIS IS MORE OF A PRIORITY* Replace all rear brake drum components (if I stick with 4x140 wheel bolt pattern)

Source another dual range transmission for me to overhaul/rebuild

'VERY' Light window tint

Replace the majority of all the suspension bushings

Possible REAR LSD (but honestly I don't even think I need this because I am always in FWD)

New stereo component system



This vehicle is my daily driver, and I am 'Not' going to lift it at all. Or else I would buy a pickup truck. I am wanting to keep this car functional, practical, and reliable. And that is why I love the drive train and the FWD with the on demand 4WD Hi/Lo Dual Range 5-speed. I hope by now you understand my interest in vehicles and the thought of keeping them original with subtle modifications that make them more practical and reliable. I understand the EJ22 swap is a little more on the advanced side of things, but for me it is a necessary modification that will provide exceptional performance and further support from OEM and aftermarket vendors.


A big THANK YOU to the Ultimate Subaru Message Board for all of the information you have gathered from many respected auto mechanics, specialists, DIY'ers, experiment'ers, and discover'ers. You know who you are. And so far I have not actually retrofitted anything to my Subaru, I have only repaired/replaced worn parts, but I would like to say thank you to Numbchux and your extensive write-up of the EJ22 swap, along with all the other wisdom on this message board. That was my first search on this forum when I bought my Subaru and to this day I know it like the back of my hand. I cannot wait to do my swap and tear down my wiring harness. Sorry fella's but I love that sorta thing and I am obsessed with quality. 


Sorry it is very late so please stay tuned and expect updates and images very soon.




















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