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Al Zhiemer

Bed Time Story... Third time lucky... I hope

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Ok, first off, this is a long read. Like the title says, its a bedtime story on the patience and frustration required to keep these old girls on the road or any older vehicle for that fact and how sometimes, doing what we do by keeping these fantastic old cars on the road and running can at times leave you feeling demoralized and defeated but I think in part, that makes up a little of who we are as individuals and the type of people we really are. We are attatched to our little out dated and dying platform but no matter what, we will do everything we can to keep it going for as long as we can and this afternoon, all you want to do is burn it to the ground but at the crack of dawn tomorrow, you'll be out there throwing spanners around the shed, whistling a tune and happily working away on the old girl again. And I love this about car enthusiasts. After all, isn't this why we gather here? To share information, tips and the stories involved and the lessons learned along the way? If nothing else, I hope this inspires someone else to persist with their project at a time when they feel its kicking their arse and they just want to give up on it. All I have to say to that is, don't! The struggle and battle will be so much more worth it when its done and dusted. So yeah, this afternoon I was feeling like I was a one legged man in an arse kicking competition and my arse was the number one target.

 

Not sure if I'm a good story teller or not but I hope you enjoy the read.

 

If it wasn't for s@#t luck, I wouldn't have any at all.

 

I'd just like to say that in my defence, up until recently, Ruby had been getting a little neglected. My job involved me working away from home for weeks on end and when I did get home, it could be for 2 hrs as I passed through and did some washing or I might have been lucky and got 2 days off. Ruby had taken a back seat and it was really starting to tell and now with time on my hands, I could show her the TLC she deserved.

 

A few months ago little Ruby (1992 Subaru Brumby EA81 with 4 speed dual range), decided to start giving me some issues in the way of an intermittent vibration, most of the time it was barely noticeable but others... My god it was bad!!! Very nerve racking at 100 km/h coming into a bend over the crest of a hill and she decides to start shaking the crap out of you, let me tell you, my arse was puckered so tight that I could have rolled the car and my arse would have held me to the seat. No fancy racing seats or harnesses required. After that little exercise, I decided it was time to do something about it. Previous investigation revealed nothing and not being able to find anything visible from the outside or under neath, I settled on it being the old 4 speed transmission finally giving death throws. After all, 12 months and 6,000 km's ago, I was changing the gearbox oil in her and one of the little tabs that go with the syncro's fell out as well. I always check my oils for signs of metal but damn, that was a pretty visible sized piece of metal and definitely not something you want to see when changing the oil and a pretty sure sign that an imminent failure was approaching soon.

 

Having a wagon sitting up the back for the last 18 months with a good motor, 4 speed manual and the power steering in it that was bought to go into Ruby, I thought this was an appropriate time to just do the complete change over and problem solved. Knowing in the future that an EJ conversion is on the cards, I really wasn't intending on going to to much effort on the swap over and with life commitments, that could still be 6 to 12 months before the EJ project is finished. I pulled the old wagon out and got the old girl running, blew a bit of crude out of the exhaust, coughed, farted and smoked for a little but cleared up within a couple of minutes and sat there idling away beautifully (I would go and start it every few months, well, when ever I got the opportunity and it wasn't an easy thing to do, I had rigged up a external fuel pump and 5L container as the fuel pump in the car had died and it was being used as my parts storage shed both inside and on top of). Great, looking good so far. Grab the compression tester out, checked 3 out of the 4 cylinders, not great but it'll serve its purpose. In the process of doing this, I came across one spark plug that just did not want to come undone, oh well, no biggy, all the other cylinders have tested good enough to get me out of having to swap engines and Ruby's engine has more leaks than a sieve at the moment so I didn't really want to put it back in. Plus, this one is running beautifully and only has to last me 6 to 12 months. Lets just rip that sucker out as one complete package on the sub-frame and we'll get that plug out later. Got all new hoses and belts, new sump gaskets, rocker cover gaskets and the usual blah blah blah. Motor and gearbox is in and running, sweet, jobs done. Drove up the road and back to make sure everything was working as it should be, parked her up and put her back up on jack stands to finish off some other odd jobs.

 

In the process of waiting for some parts to turn up, I decided to investigate if Ruby's original motor had the 225mm flywheel to do the 5 speed conversion, after all, I've got everything I need stashed out back and wouldn't you know it, its the right flywheel. WooHoooo :banana: Jumps of joy and excitement :D :banana: After all, power steering, 2" lift plus all the other little things I've done and a 5 speed gearbox, it is definitely happy days at Al's place. That's it, pulling that motor and gearbox out again (Second time in 2 weeks) so I can put the 5 speed behind it while I get ready to do the EJ swap. Now, I know when I originally pulled Ruby's engine that it would have made sense to check it then rather than go to all the extra trouble of having to remove the engine and gearbox again but at the time, I was on a bit of a dead line and with that missed I could take my time and do it now. Conversion went like clock work, got everything in and wired up, started it breifly (I still had no exhaust attached after the conversion and it was dumping straight out of the header pipes and just a garden hose plugged into the radiator hose for a cooling system. Yeah I know, I was trained at Dog Auto's because we're ruff ;)), cycled it through the gears and the range box, everything is functioning perfectly, I have all gears and they are selecting smoothly and the clutch seems to be doing what its meant to. Now keeping in mind, this whole process is going on over the course of the last month in between life and other commitments and other work that is being performed on Ruby herself.

 

Now is when it all just turns to a large steaming pile of warm crapolla...

 

After slaving away and tidying up all manner of little odd jobs that needed to be taken care of, I finally got to the stage of filling Ruby up with water and firing her up and give her a little shack down on the jack stands and running her up to operating temperature. At first, everything seemed fine, motor just fired straight on up. No choke, the usual two pumps on the accelerator pedal and straight to life, very little throttle input to clear her throat and she just sat there idling away as nice as can be. The gearbox is changing nicely and the clutch is all good. Happy Days :banana: Feeling pretty chuffed with myself after the huge amount of work I had put in to her and to hear Ruby-Doo sitting there after a little fine tuning sounding better than she has ever done was music to my ears and the sign that I was almost at completion and Ruby and I could drive off into the sunset and life was just perfect :D :wub:  :banana:

 

 Oh crap... Hang on... WTF?? Why is there so much smoke pouring out of the exhaust still?? Hhmmmm... That doesn't look good... Ok, take a moment, breath and settle Al. You've just put a different exhaust on it and it really hasn't been run up to operating temperature before now, maybe there is oil in the exhaust from the previous engine, with all the rain we've had over the last couple of days, maybe its moisture in the system. Who knows?? Just give it a few minutes. Oh s@#t... Nope, that is definitely not something you want to see. Wander around to the back of the vehicle and pays closer attention to the smoke... Hhmmmm... Bubbles in the radiator, smoke having a sweet smell to it and upon closer examination it was actually massive amounts of steam and not the usual smell of burning oil. And when I say massive amounts of steam, I would have given a coal powered electricity plant a run for their money. Never in my 35 yr history of being around some form of engine have I seen something produce so much steam, to be honest, I never even thought it was possible :o BUGGER!!! (Not the actual word I used but you get my drift). And to top it off, in the hunt to try and find which cylinder may have blown through the gasket, I decided in my wisdom (And right here was where I went wrong, thinking I had any sort of wisdom) that now was a good time to get that pesky spark plug out and have a look at it as well. After soaking it in all manner of lubricants for several hours and running the engine up to almost operating temperature, I went to work on the plug. After much grunting and groaning to the point of feeling like I'd just turned my freckle inside out annnnnnd CRACK!!! Yeah, that loosened it... Oh... Wait... Maybe that loosened it a little to much... Just stripped the thread out of the head trying to undo the bloody plug :banghead: :mad: . 

 

So the bloody thing has now done a head gasket, stripped number 3 spark plug  and now with the power steering pump in place, number three is a real pain in the arse to get at. Am starting to get the feeling of one of two things, either Ruby wants to die peacefully and left be or that she is rejecting the temporary heart transplant and wants her old engine back. Have already ordered a complete gasket set, will start stripping down Ruby's original engine tomorrow, re-seal it and for the third time I will remove the engine and put it back on there and see if I can have a bit better luck this time around. Yeah, she is testing my patience a little, well, lets be honest, a lot lately but I love my little s@#tbox... Ruby-Doo for life!!! I've got three motors sitting here, I'm damn sure I can piece together one good motor to keep you going you little b@#%h!!! You ain't quitting on me now, I'll tell you when you can die Ruby and it won't be happening on my watch.

 

On a side note, I scored what appears to be a 2 and 5/16th of an inch or just under a 60mm in real lingo inside diameter exhaust system that was made for an EJ converted Brumby. I was just going to cut it up and use it to relocate the cat but decided to fit the whole system in prep for the EJ conversion. Made a huge difference to note and performance, thinking maybe my old cat converter may have been on the way out and starting to block up. But the moral of the story is that at the moment while testing I'm not running the rear muffler box (modifying the brackets to get it to sit a bit nicer and fitting a joint for easy removal), it's running through the cat and exiting straight out of the mid section pipe just before the rear axle and god DAMN it'd be nice to leave it like that for awhile. I wouldn't like to drive far in her but she sure does make some beautiful music under revs and when you back it off :D LOL Hhmmmm, Now that I think about it. Probably not such a good idea, probably already upset the neighbours :D

 

Any way, I'm off to bed, I got to be up at daylight to pull an engine out. Have a great Sunday everybody :drunk:

 

Cheers,

Al

  • Haha 1

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I hope you had a proper keyboard to punch that story out. Beside my Brumby in the shed floor is rebuilt EA82T, EA82 NA Mongrel and finally a sick EA81 that needs autopsy.

Hopeyou fixed vi bration

 

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26 minutes ago, jono said:

I hope you had a proper keyboard to punch that story out. Beside my Brumby in the shed floor is rebuilt EA82T, EA82 NA Mongrel and finally a sick EA81 that needs autopsy.

Hopeyou fixed vi bration

 

Yeah, done on a proper keyboard. To do on a phone/tablet, it probably would have been put in the to hard basket LOL

Hope I've fixed the viabration as well, haven't been able to give it a descent spin up to tell for sure so at the moment, it's a case of still having all my appendages crossed that this hasn't been for nothing.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Cheers,

Al

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Top story, and yes, been there before too... several times no doubt!

I kind of did the same with my last gearbox rebuild. Starting with the reassembly of the box... three times - until I worked out that phase two internals physically fit in phase one cases, but reverse will never work - the MUST be in a phase two case. Bugger. 

Then once back in the car it was running really well - until I went to select low range on the day of a 4wd trip. Locked in high range. %*#^!!!

Pulled box, modified low range selection lever as I thought this was the issue, put the box back together (now at my parent’s) low range lever still jammed in high range. Strip box down again, removed washer from low range selector fork’s pivot shaft. Reassemble, almost drop a bolt back into the box when putting the rear housing on (rookie mistake!).

Gearbox back in car and haven’t looked back since... oh, wait, that was until I broke it when in Perth on the other side of the continent a few years later. That was a sickening feeling. Glad there’s an awesome Subi community over there that I had a link to.

Now I actually WANT to pull the box to swap fifth ratio, and if I have to pull the whole box down due to the longer EA AWD pinion shaft to do this, then I’ll rebuild the obx front diff with the spring and washer kit that I’ve heard about since building this box. 

That’s one example. When in Perth with the box in bits I felt physically sick. That’s not happened before!

If you want a better bed time story (or lunch break story) with lots of picks you can read our last Vic desert trip [url=https://ausubaru.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=38100]here[/url].  There are ALOT of pics, 49 if I’ve counted correctly!

Al, you’ll get it sorted. EJ is the way to go. You’ll be looking for AWD next ;)

Also, on the PS pump, remove belt, rear nut and two front bolts, it’ll just lift away now for good access to that spark plug ;) 

Im keen to see how you did your gearbox xmem for the 5 speed box - there are a couple of ways to do this from what I’ve seen!

Keep up the good fight!

Cheers 

Bennie

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I'd like to go all wheel drive oneday, even went and checked out what was supposedly a vortex 5 speed with a lockable center diff, which turned out to be FWD only, rather disappointing to say the least ☹ But to be honest, far to much work involved for me at the moment with my limited resources... Unless of course you are offering to build me a box Beanie?? LOL

Yes... EJ will be great! Have been looking for awhile now for one, it has pretty much come to the point of having to rebuild one before installation. Nothing but high mileage vehicles around here. For other reasons, I was hoping to do it the other way, get the fabrication side of things done and then rebuild it while the engine bay gets painted. I had a plan to paint her the new (10 yr old now probably) Mazda red with factory style AgQuip stickers but done in a charcoal, grey and black colour scheme. These days I'm leaning toward painting her back to original. Still not sure which way to go there yet either.

PS pump is a piece of cake to remove and head gaskets can probably be done in vehicle as well or throw a can of head gasket sealer in her and hope for the best but I guess if I do it this way I can pick the best bits and hopefully get a reliable engine for awhile LOL

 

Cheers,

Al

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Why rebuild a box? If it’s working fine leave it be!  Even better would be if you could test drive the vehicle that the box is coming out of.

Generally I’ve not had an issue buying second hand high mileage boxes - so far!  The age of digi dashboards is making it tricky to work out how far a box has travelled though. 

An EJ AWD box is a little more work to fit into the brumby but not by much. You can split the box and fit the smaller 23 spline diff output stubs. But that’d require busting open two boxes - and I’m not sure that the stubs in a brumbys 4speed box are compatible. 

If you do end up splitting a box, throw a front lsd in there. You’ll thank yourself later for the effort ;) 

Cheers 

Bennie

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I'd like to build a similar box to yours, I could just get away with AWD for what I do but things can get pretty muddy around here pretty bloody quick and Rainbow Beach, Fraser Island are my playgrounds so I think still being able to have the 4WD option could be handy.

And yes, putting in a front LSD is on the cards. A rear LSD would be great as well, will tackle that problem when I work out how to get the R180 rear diff I have sitting here mounted in to Ruby. I haven't had a close inspection of the two diffs side by side yet, there doesn't seem to be to much difference in physical size so hopefully it should fit without to much difficulty.

Oh yeah... I cheated when it came to mounting the centre bearing, not that I ended up having much choice with the wreckers being closed and for some reason the circuit breaker on the house kept throwing out when I tried to weld the "L" series bracket into place. And its definitely not a MIG problem, its a two month old Cigweld 185 Multi-Process welder. Think I might have finally pushed the electricals in this old place to their limits with all the welding and fabrication work that has been going on around here lately. So in the end I fabricated a bracket out 25mm X 50mm box section, I cut the box down the middle of the 25mm side, leaving  50mm X 50mm X 25mm square on one end to bolt the centre bearing to. The other end I left about 300 mm long, drilled and tapped 4 holes into it and bolted it in through the floor. Personally, I can't ever see there being enough twisting force placed on the centre bearing to ever twist the floor or pull the bolts out. I would have preferred to use the "L" series mount but it wasn't to be in the time frame I had and lets face it, its not as though the "L" series is a really strong design either. Maybe when I paint her I might fill the holes in and place the "L" series mounts into her then when she is upside down just to give it a clean finish.

 

Cheers,

Al

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AWD with DCCD is basically the same as what mine does, except that mine’s mechanical and parts are NLA ;(

Using a standard EJ AWD box with the DCCD makes it easy to get replacement parts, and build it in the first place too. 4.44s would be nice but modifying another pinion shaft for this ratio is asking too much of the wallet so I’ll work with the 4.111:1 that I’ve already got.  The L AWD box from factory only has 3.7 or rarer 3.9 diff ratios. 

Diff ratio and tyre sizes should definitely be taken into account if you’re going to split and build a box. This mod alone will make all the difference over the locking centre diff. The factory centre lsd in the EJ boxes will work fine in mud and sand no worries. You can get updated centre LSDs if you really want one. Everyone with the DCCD swears by them. 

Cheers

Bennie

Edit:  the r180 will bolt in, an adaptor maybe be needed on the input flange, or a re-drill might work too.  The hardest part is adapting the output stubs to fit the diff and the stock drive shaft. Or have a custom drive shaft made up to be the adaptor - then have several made :P  Once you’ve got all that sorted, read up on Rally’s and Dedman’s locker conversions of their r180 install on offroadsubarus. It’s on my wish list. But finding one in 4.111:1 ratio is proving difficult - and I don’t want to fork out for new R&P to get the ratio I want. 

Edited by el_freddo

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@el_freddo Are there any other ways to get the EA axles to work with a transplanted AWD ej box? Other than splitting the boxes as mentioned.

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Don't even get me started on bloody tyres!!!

If I had of known what I know now I would have just built a 3" lift and be done with it. It seems that it won't be long until 215/70 or 75X15 is going to be our only choice if we want a descent all terrain or mud tyre. Another reason I'm now glad I grabbed the 4.44's and stuck in the shed for later reference and all the more reason for an EJ swap. It seems the manufacturers at this stage aren't going to bring in any more 27" tyres, in the not to distant future, the Nankang all terrains will be our only choice (how long for is an unknown) and they are nothing more than a glorified road tyre as far as I'm concerned. The Kuhmo's are a very limited stock and reports are, they will no longer be bringing anymore in. We maybe able to do a group buy but I still don't think there would be enough of us wanting them to make it worth their while.

@pease004Other than splitting the box, your choice would be custom made shafts.

Custom shafts have good points and bad, these are the top of each for me.

Good - You can get them made as strong or as week as you please, your options are only limited by the size of your bank account.

Bad - Something goes wrong, it isn't a simple case of going to the local parts store and ordering an off the shelf unit and if you are in a remote area... That could be an issue. If I went custom shafts, I'd look at getting a spare made up at the same time just for those emergency situations. Especially if you are looking at travelling into remote areas.

 

Cheers,

Al

 

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Also, had a little epiphany this afternoon.

I remembered this afternoon that the adapter plate that sits between the inlet manifold and the weber carbie is dodgey as. Won't mention the reputable company that I bought this from here but let me just say that I have notified them of a crap product, first one the threads stripped out of with minimum tension, second one the stud holes didn't line up and this one is well... Anyway, the problem is that if you don't position the adapter perfectly when fitting and make sure it doesn't shift when fitting the carbie, it leaks water. Pretty sure I got this right but stranger things have happened. The gasket also seems to be awfully moist as well, which is a little unusual and would explain why there is so much steam as its going into all 4 cylinders. Thinking I might need to check this before I go to far, really don't think its the problem but its worth a shot before I pull the motor out (I got side tracked on Sunday tearing down the other 2 motors I have). I dragged out the spark plug thread saver kit and have repaired that this afternoon so I can check the carbie fitment in the morning and give it another go.

Fingers crossed.

 

Cheers,

Al

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3 hours ago, pease004 said:

@el_freddo Are there any other ways to get the EA axles to work with a transplanted AWD ej box? Other than splitting the boxes as mentioned.

If you’ve got an L series just run the manual MPFI or MPFI turbo drive shafts, they have the correct size inner cups for the diff output stubs on the EJ.

If you’ve got a brumby/BRAT/MY model, you could swap the inner DOJ cup from 23 spline to 25 spline. The trick is to make sure the 25 spline cup is for the six ball joint and not the three plastic thingy setup ;) 

@Al Zhiemer - best of luck mate, I hope the issue is in that adaptor plate! 

Cheers 

Bennie

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WOOHOOOO SCORE!!!

 

Since deciding on eventually changing to 15" rims in the future, I decided to give up on the search for tyres for the time being but I did need something a little bit bigger as the 175/65X14 just weren't going to cut it anymore with the lift. Off to the wreckers this morning to find a descent set of tyres on the cheap. After searching the entire yard for anything that may have been suitable and finding nothing, I was about to give up hope of finding anything. Walking back out the gate, I noticed a little shed of to the side with tyres in it, never been in there and figured there probably isn't a thing in there for me, they all looked larger 16"-18" car tyres and 4WD tyres. Now, I'm fairly well known at the wreckers and pretty much well have free access to everywhere, in I went just out of curiosity for later reference more than anything else but low and behold... BINGO!!! Found a nice set of Maxxis 753 in a 185R14 size, almost brand new and manufactured in the 36th week of 2017 so still a new tyre and well with in date. For $150 and access to the tyre changing machine, I handed over my money and said I'll be back a little later.

 

I knew these tyres were out there but avoided them because they are a light truck tyre, makes it a heavy tyre and usually a lot stiffer sidewalls which has its good points and bad but for $150, I'm pretty sure I can make do with them for awhile.

 

Cheers,

Al

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Pro bably came of a hiace van or the like. 

B4 you go for 15"better study tyre size availabavailability

GREMLIN!!

I have 195.50.15 which are almost same NOTD as original 175.75.13

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@jono Have studied tyre sizes until I'm blue in the face.

I'm looking for more of an off road tyre which means having to go bigger, will see how these Maxxis wear and ride like and work it out after that. If they prove to be ok and they keep bringing them into the country, I'll stay with this tyre combination as I really don't want to go any higher in lift or tyre size. Only time will tell.

 

Cheers,

Al

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And yeah, they came of a Toyota Hilux. Apparently they'd only been on there far a couple of weeks, which I could believe seeing the condition they are in but once again, its an unknown.

 

Cheers,

Al

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