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alexbuoy

1982 Brat Wheeler Build

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Got this car for free it's extremely rusty, but I think it'll be a great trail rig. I'm already a couple months into the build and it should be ready for the trails real soon. 

A little background of where i'm coming from : First car I owned was a 1998 4runner 2WD. Got stuck really bad in mud, and thats when I made the decision to buy a 4X4. My first subaru was a 1991 Loyale 5 Speed 4x4 I picked up for $675. The two following years it received a 2" lift, 29 inch tires, a 5 speed dualrange swap, a welded rear diff and an EJ22 swap. The entire driveline was donated to the brat. I'm hoping to get the loyale running again with the stock EA82 and 5 speed pushbutton 4WD.

EDIT : I forgot I had another red 1991 Loyale which ended up being sold.

What's been done to the BRAT

4/3 inch homebrew lift

EA82 Front crossmember, arms, hubs, axles, struts etc. (whole EA82 front end)

Front to back tube chassis

Ej22 Swap

5 Speed Dualrange

Welded Rear Diff

Rock Sliders

Rear shock hoops

Fuel Cell

EA81/EA82 hybrid rear axles

to name a few...

This is it's current condition. Updated as of October 26 2018

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This whole build was done with just an angle grinder, bandsaw, and a welder in the garage.

 

My Loyale (RIP it will be back)

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Pictures from the previous owner. Originally a New Mexico car. Rusted to spoob and the pictures don't do justice (look at how crooked the seats are). I had to drive 2 hours to San Diego to pick it up and used 2 triple A tows to get it home (that was fun). At least it had a clean title.

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Engine ran, but only on 3 cylinders. No power. I think that engine was toast. Mileage was unknown.

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Finally got it home, at least he left the cyclops light grille and a fairly complete interior. Exterior wise everything was missing

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Flat towed it to the crooks at the DMV. It was illegal towing it like that which I was not aware of. The lady thought it was an El Camino hahaha. She said it was an incomplete car, pointed to the carb and said "The oil pan is missing." lmfao i had to start it in front of her to show it was complete.

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Over the next few months I started to collect all the missing exterior parts. That was a mission. Here is what it looked like after I got all the parts.

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MINT jump seats and headrests!!!

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Registration was up on my Loyale (yay California) and there was no way that thing was gonna pass smog with an EJ swap. AND they made me have to do a STAR smog which wasn't gonna happen. I believe registration was up 2018 of April, so I decided to transplant all the driveline into the brat and make the best trail beater possible. Don't be sad about me destroying the brat, it was too far gone.

Stole the EJ22/Harness, 5 Speed dualrange, driveshaft, and welded rear diff courtesy of the Loyale (I really miss that thing)

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But before I could put any of those parts in, I wanted to change over to EA82 front suspension as it is superior, wider track, and has power steering. The EA82 front crossmember was wider, so I had to offset the holes on the lift blocks. Then the blocks got linked together with DOM tubing. Finally the EA82 front suspension was on minus the front lift blocks. The whole front suspension was scavenged from an 85 GL (thanks Vic from MTNROO)!

It's a hover craft. All the EA81 front suspension was ripped out.

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I was doing a 4/3 Inch lift and the subframe for the front was dropped 4 inches. You can see here how the subframe block holes are offset. I think around an inch each hole was offset

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Here are my designs for the EA81 to EA82 subframe blocks. On the subframe blocks on the engine crossmember closest to the cab, the holes were offset about 1.25 inches. On the subframe blocks on the engine xmember closest to the front clip, the holes were offset 1 inch. See the pictures to get what i'm saying.

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Blocks on the crossmember and blocks on the radius rod/transmission mount. 

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Then linked all the blocks. Front xmember, trans xmember. Some sick notching. Done by hand

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I also decided it would be best to extend the radius rods. I extended them 1.5" to help clear my 29's. Note : you need to notch the holes in the control arms. 1.5" imo was a little to much.

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Now onto making the front strut lift blocks. There was ZERO info on what angle cuts should be made for EA81 to EA82 lift blocks (the struts being further spaced out meant that the angle was weird). It was completely eyeballed and I think the blocks were cut at SIX degrees. Camber turned out better than I can ask for (ok maybe a little negative camber). 4 inch lift blocks in the front. I think 4" piping was used along with 1/4" plate. The top hats were cut out by hand with an angle grinder and a hole saw which massively sucked.

Finished product, thanks Gianluca for the help.

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Blocks tacked together

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Now onto the rear end. Very simple I used 4 pieces of 3x2x2" square tubing to lift the rear torsion bars.

I also dropped the rear Diff the same amount which required 4 blocks of the same 3x2x2" tubing. And MAKE SURE YOU LINK THE BLOCKS. I've seen people blow out parts of their frame, which linking the blocks would've prevented.

Rear lift blocks in. And I know this thing is rusty.

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Rear lift blocks got linked as well. I don't have pics ATM.

Threw in the Ej22 along with the 5 speed transmission, rear diff and driveshaft.

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To make the 5 Speed dualrange fit, I used the 4 speed mounting brackets which were modified. The holes in the bracket were elongated. Than the 4 speed transmission bracket and mounts were able to be used, to bolt to the 4 speed trans crossmember. The trans crossmember holes had to be notched.

Wiring I went with a different approach than in the loyale. Everything power related was hooked to a switch panel like the on, start, fuel pump, and acc. I believe I only spliced the harness to two wires, the tachometer and the VSS. 

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Well it finally ran and drove! I also made a quick front bumper for it. First time out of the garage. Drove ok but had no rear shocks, and the steering was sloppy. The steering I had in was a manual EA82 rack, and I had like 3 u-joints which made for ultra sloppy steering.

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First time driving it far. Drove it 10 minutes to Agoura Hills. Had some extreme issues with it dying when coming to a stop. I still haven't fixed it but I do believe its because of my broken Speedo cable tripping up my VSS.

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Driving it with no shocks was sketch. Back end was wayyy to soft and hopped all over the place driving down the road. Had to hit a trail on the way home. No rear axles. Camber isn't off.

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I really had to do something about the rear end and steering. It was too dangerous to drive.

So I started working on welding in shock hoops for the rear. Used 3/16 plate to weld to the frame rails along the pinch welds, and generic shock hoops bought offline. Eventually this will also be linked to the tube chassis.

Here is the drivers side welded in

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Both hoops welded in. Yes the passenger side hoop had to be angled (Sucks).

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Linked the two hoops together for uber strength. I'd like to see how this holds up as the frame rails are super thin. And this is my fuel cell I mentioned. It's plastic I know but i'm just gonna send it.

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The whole front end was finished being tubed, so it got hit with a coat of paint.

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Got around to swapping in a blown power steering rack from my loyale. I had to extend my current (90-94 legacy) steering knuckle a couple inches to make it work. 

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The new steering joint and blown power steering rack cured the sloppy steering. Eventually I'll have power steering in it. I have a whole new power steering rack and tie rods in the garage but I need to find lines to make it work with the EJ.

The tube chassis was nearing completion, so I took it 45 minutes away to a trail in Malibu. Despite it being FWD I was able to make it up most obstacles. My friend in his first gen 4runner was spinning tires (open/open diffs). I struggled but bumping it I made it up more obstacles than I expected.
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Stay tuned. In my next post the rock sliders will be fished and i'll show some pictures of the tube chassis. Here's a teaser

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Edited by alexbuoy
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About a week ago I picked up some mint seats to replace my worn, torn seats.

I was able to score 2 rear axles, 2 seats, headlight bezels from a 1980 hatch, and an antenna for $110 from the Junkyard. That antenna was hard to find, I think only 3 years were made with it being on the drivers side.

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And I was finally able to wrap up my ditch lights. Made with 1/8 steel, no drilling or modifications required. If interested PM me or check out my post in the vendor forums under buiMFG, they sell for $55 shipped (shameless plug).

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I'm planning to take a trip to Gorman this Friday and go to Subiefest on the 21st. After my test on Tuesday i'll be trying to wrap up my tube chassis, sliders, and make some more hybrid rear axles. The tube chassis is almost complete, I just need to fully finish welding a couple spots. The passenger side sliders are completely welded on and they look bad @ss. The drivers side still needs tubing to be notched and welded on.

Edited by alexbuoy

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Epic build!

Do you have a tube bender for the sliders and tube chassis?

Fromthe rust in those pics I can see why you need a tube chassis!

I’m looking forward to the next instalment ;) 

Cheers 

Bennie

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On 10/20/2018 at 1:36 AM, el_freddo said:

Epic build!

Do you have a tube bender for the sliders and tube chassis?

Fromthe rust in those pics I can see why you need a tube chassis!

I’m looking forward to the next instalment ;) 

Cheers 

Bennie

Thanks! Unfortunately I do not have a tube bender. The tube chassis was done with some pretty unconventional angles but should work. The sliders were for a toyota but were cut down to make it work.

 

The pictures don’t do it justice how rusty it is. I’m still driving with half my floor pans missing haha.

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Fred Flintstone style!!

So the end game will be sheet metal replacement once the strength is in the tube chassis?

Makes for a wicked looking Brat!

Cheers

Bennie

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On 10/22/2018 at 10:38 PM, el_freddo said:

Fred Flintstone style!!

So the end game will be sheet metal replacement once the strength is in the tube chassis?

Makes for a wicked looking Brat!

Cheers

Bennie

Hopefully I will have floorpans that are solid and not have any gaping holes in it. I've got almost an entire rust free floorpan that I need to weld in, I just need to find the time. People always get tripped up when they see the floorpan behind the seats are just a gaping hole. But the mounts for the drivers seat I welded in reinforcements... so I got that going for the car haha.

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The tube chassis is about 90% done now. I'd like to eventually link the front/rear bumpers and the shock hoops to it. And I finally welded in my drivers side rock sliders. It's kind of crooked and annoying, but oh well, can't do anything about it now. The passenger side turned out amazing though. 

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And here is a crappy picture of my tube chassis. I'll need to get a better picture eventually. 

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This was the first weekend I was really able to hit some dirt in the Brat. I finally got the power steering in too :headbang:. The PS took a dump driving home but I haven't been able to diagnose it. Drove 1.5 hours to Gorman, CA to test it out. Something is clunking in my front end extremely bad now, but I was going pretty hard hitting big dips and bouncing the rev limiter. Here is my favorite shot from the trip

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Me with my friend Jason and his 1982 Brat. 

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Of course there had to be carnage. My temperature gauge broke on the way. And worse my rear stub axle shaft sheared in half. Took me like 30 minutes to put a rear axle in and 5 minutes later snapped the stub axle shaft. 

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The day after Gorman I went to Subiefest out in Arcadia, California. Shame I don't take photos, I always forget. Thank you to Pedro for this shot of me rolling in 

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Very weak selection of old school subarus out there. I think in total there were 4 Brats, 1 Loyale, 1 GL, and 1 XT6. That was the first time i've seen an xt6 and that thing was cool. Should've taken a picture of it.

83 Subaru GL, 300k+ miles AND it drove from Reno, Nevada down to Los Angeles. That is far as f!!

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91? Loyale. No lift, 27's. Possibly one of my favorite cars there

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Love that fitment

Edited by alexbuoy

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Really haven't done much to the brat recently nor do I really drive it anymore. About a month ago I had two coolant hoses fail. Replaced a majority of the coolant hoses so it should be good to go. Still need to burp the coolant system. Need to fix my heat controls asap as it's getting cold here in southern california lol.

It's been a rough past two months with all the things going down with the recent shootings and fires. Our house was literally almost burnt to the ground with the Woosley fire. Thought I was never going to see the loyale again. Ever since then I have mainly focused on getting the loyale running and driving in case of another emergency. 

Here were a couple pictures of the fire if any of you care to see.

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Our backyard. thank god for a chainsaw

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A couple blocks away from us

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Edited by alexbuoy

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Got the loyale out of the garage finally. Under it's own power too. 

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I'm out of school and work for the rest of the year so hopefully I can pay more attention to my subarus. I want to get the Brat reliably running and trail worthy soon. I also will have 4WD for the brat again soon.

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Past couple weeks i’ve just been preparing the car for King if the Hammers. Got almost everything I wanted done. Didn’t get around to a skidplate but I guess just pick good lines.

Replaced my master cylinder, tucked my wiring, got a pitch bar mount made, made a poly diff bushing and trans bushings and replaced just about every hose on the engine/car. Should be pretty reliable now.

And also i’m working on another front lift. 4.5 inches and i’m going to try a straight cut. Should fix my insane negative camber and rake.

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Also picked up a bunch of stuff and a Datsun 720 transfer case from board member czny. I’m excited to see where this goes but it won’t be until the summer till I start planning the divorced tcase

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alexbuoy,

You mentioned you wanted to mount your Toyota 31 inch tires on your Brat while I was there Saturday.

You may want to rethink going that tall a tire because you've already snapped one rear axle stub with smaller tires. Larger the tire the higher the reverse torque has to be overcome when you land after getting airborne. Of course if you air down to 10-15 psi it could help alot. 

Just a suggestion.

czny

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13 hours ago, czny said:

Larger the tire the higher the reverse torque has to be overcome when you land after getting airborne. Of course if you air down to 10-15 psi it could help alot. 

Here’s a suggestion... don’t get airborne!!

There’s no traction when airborne and to me (maybe a few others too), traction is what off-roading is all about! :P 

Cheers 

Bennie

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On 2/4/2019 at 1:28 PM, czny said:

alexbuoy,

You mentioned you wanted to mount your Toyota 31 inch tires on your Brat while I was there Saturday.

You may want to rethink going that tall a tire because you've already snapped one rear axle stub with smaller tires. Larger the tire the higher the reverse torque has to be overcome when you land after getting airborne. Of course if you air down to 10-15 psi it could help alot. 

Just a suggestion.

czny

Finally had a chance to take it out and do some wheeling. You're right, with the 31's I would break a lot more axles and stubs, and probably make the car slow as piss. Love the setup I have right now, probably going to keep it for a while. I'm thinking about getting another brat, and swapping everything from my red brat into the new one. Then throw a transfer case and some solid axles under mine. Won't be anytime soon though.

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On 2/5/2019 at 2:58 AM, el_freddo said:

Here’s a suggestion... don’t get airborne!!

There’s no traction when airborne and to me (maybe a few others too), traction is what off-roading is all about! :P 

Cheers 

Bennie

But it's fun to get airborne :headbang:. Although getting airborne too much may have broken my frame on the last trip haha. Haven't had the chance to take it on any technical trails yet, would love to see how it does with the new poormans "front lsd". 

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Wow man, your work is beyond excellent. I am truly impressed with the brat.

I need to come to that big West coast Subaru show. I will bring my 85 xt turbo.

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On 2/13/2019 at 9:31 AM, sparkyboy said:

Wow man, your work is beyond excellent. I am truly impressed with the brat.

I need to come to that big West coast Subaru show. I will bring my 85 xt turbo.

Thanks man! I want to go to the WCSS show one year too, but it's about a 17 hour drive from me. I was planning on road tripping the brat up this year but I may have school.

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Brat hasn't changed much. Did the rear bearings not too long ago. I think about every bushing/bearing/moving part has been replaced on the car by now.

Also got a datsun 720 transfer case from a board member but I don't think i'll be going that direction. I enjoy driving fast and a huge lifted subaru isn't really my thing. I like how i'm still able to take corners fast and have a low center of gravity.

I was planning on getting a toyota pickup soon, but I think it's time to get serious about the brat and start dumping money into it. Here are my plans for now:

Gut frame rails weld it solid with square tubing. Plate the unibody

For the rear:

King 2.0 or Fox 2.0 coilover shocks for the rear

Hydraulic bump stops 

For the front:

Fit EJ knuckles. I heard this can be done with reaming out the control arm ball joint holes.

Hot bit coilovers

My main goal for the brat is to be able to jump it and go through whoops comfortably. 

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On 3/14/2019 at 11:44 AM, alexbuoy said:

My main goal for the brat is to be able to jump it and go through whoops comfortably. 

You should do a google image search for “Settlement Creek Racing”

Scroll down to see the pic:

https://allevents.in/griffith/subaru-brumby-race-car-on-show/169638510505561

In action:

Epic build!

Cheers 

Bennie

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On 3/15/2019 at 1:14 AM, el_freddo said:

You should do a google image search for “Settlement Creek Racing”

Scroll down to see the pic:

https://allevents.in/griffith/subaru-brumby-race-car-on-show/169638510505561

In action:

Epic build!

Cheers 

Bennie

Yea that has been my dream car since day one! I wonder what front suspension he's running, looks to be a beefed up control arm and maybe a double A-arm setup, I'll have to dig more into that build.

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