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JRusk

Hello USMB, It's good to finally meet you :)

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I'm excited to be writing this post. I'm one of those many hundreds or even thousands of people who have been lurking on the USMB for years but have never posted ANYTHING, I just hope I'm not too late. I've been a Subaru fanboy ever since I bought my silver 92 Loyale wagon back in 2014 with a vague notion that an old subaru might look cool lifted. I quickly found the USMB and the information here was instrumental in the building of my first 2" lift, which I did by hand, in the driveway, with little real mechanical experience. As I got to know my car better I delved deeper into the forums, chasing electrical bugs, basic disty tuning on the ea82, and then the headgasket blew and I was really out of my element. At my time of greatest need the USMB has my back and I was able to rebuild my blown daily, in my parents back yard, on weekends, commuting 100 miles by train and ferry to get there. :rolleyes:

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Sometime around then I convinced my little brother to buy an 88 GL Wagon for $300 for he and I to work on. It was the first carbureted car I had ever worked on and his first car period, so we had fun. Deleted all the emissions junk and put on a Weber carb. Coudn't have done it without Loyale 2.7 Turbo and his excellent and detailed writeups on the process. He is my hero. I hope the Bumble Beast is still ripping the roads of Honduras.

(No pictures :()

I went through a few sets of tires on the Loyale, did a six lug swap, eventually complimented my 2" strut lift with a 2" engine drop. Had to replace a main bearing seal. Sadly, I ended up selling my lifted Loyale before I ever really got it dirty. I was in school and broke and I needed a more reliable daily driver. This guy wanted to trade for a 98 Chevy Astro and I was down. The Astro turned out to be an awesome work truck and is built like a tractor. So I was subaruless.

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At some point I did an engine swap for a friend with a blown ej25. Warped heads or something. We put in a JDM 2.2 with low miles. It was a little green Outback Sport and handled the minor loss of power with ease. She is still loving the car today with no major problems last I heard.

My little brother upgraded from the weberized GL to an 03 Golf GTI (kind of a leap). But barely a year later he rolled the GTI and was back in a Subaru. He picked up a straight piped black 98 Forester S with 300K on the body but supposedly 140K on the engine. With a straight pipe, a resonator aaaand unequel length headers this was easily the craziest sounding subaru I had ever heard (at the time). It came with a worn out set of cheap Raceland coil-overs and was stanced in a way that just looks amazing on a forester. When he got it it was fully blacked out with pasti-dip, but over time he restored the original goldish accent color on the cladding and added a sweet set of custom fender flares to fit massive three piece wheels. The wheels came and went but he continued to break necks with that sexy sexy forester, slammed about as low as he could manage (way lower than I was comfortable with #liftedlife). He and I lived together so I ended up doing a lot of mechanical work on the car, most of which was had to do with suspension. I did do a clutch job on it, which went off without a hitch. He recently sold the Forester, mostly just because he had a good opportunity to sell for a great price. We all miss it terribly. Now he drives a 2003 Lexus IS300 :blink:

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Anyway, I came here to say I'm back in the subie game. I got maybe my dream car, except I didn't know it existed until I saw it. An '88 RX sedan. Turbocharged 1.8L making 120 whp running on subaru's first (and only?) fulltime AWD system with a locking diff and hi/low transfer case. A bright white rally shark car in a classic 80s 4 door sedan body with oh so alluring ground effects and crazy grid pattern hubcaps. It was love at first sight. It was obviously a project, likely a blown headgasket and a fair amount of rust in (hopefully) non-critical places. Worn interior, crap paint, a bit of body damage. But I had a lot of respect for the guy I was buying it from and when he told me that it was a unicorn and that I was the perfect owner for this car, I believed him. (The the guy was Scott In Bellingham, a USMB OG and now a good friend).

I have spent a lot of time with the RX since I bought it in November. Cleaned it up pretty nice, tore down the engine thinking I was going to pull it then found a torn coolant hose and put it back together thinking maybe I had found the issue. Did a compression test and didn't like what I saw but decided to try to get it running anyway. I was already so close. This thing hadn't been run in at least 4 years and I really just wanted to hear it growl a bit before I separated it into boxes in my shop. I did get it running and even had it warmed up to a purr at one point, but then it started blowing out coolant and I knew that I had had my fun. The headgasket was definitely blown. I did another compression test and read 30 and 70 psi on the right side cylinders (the turbo side, go figure).

I figured now was a good time to take a break from working on the car and tell my story here on the USMB. I'm a journalist (kinda) and a filmmaker (working on it) so documenting my projects is second nature and actually a really productive way for me to stay sharp. I went and made a video about my RX that you can see on youtube: 

 

 

I hope to keep on making videos on my RX build and whatever other car stuff catches my interest. I've got some footage of my brother's departed foz that I'm pumped to edit into something and share. I can't wait to get the RX up and running and explore some of the PNW back roads I've been hearing about my whole life. I hope to get it dirty on the regular but also to be able to drive it to work when I don't feel like taking the van (which I hope to be most of the time). I don't have plans to ej swap it anytime soon, but the desire is definitely there. I do have a soft spot for the ea82 just because it was the engine that I learned to wrench on. 

So that's me and my entire Subaru history. Lot's more posts to come, I think. Thanks for reading. It's nice to meet you :D

- Jared

 

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G’day Jared,

”Welcome” to the forum! Cool looking RX you have there. 

And yes, if it’s got the dual range awd box, this is the only AWD gearbox Subaru produced with a locking centre diff ;) 

Look after that centre diff, they wear out easy if you don’t run tyres of the same make, model and mileage.  As soon as you hit anything that’s a loose surface, lock the diff! You don’t want to be spinning wheels with this box. 

One trick I’ve heard with maintaining these EA82t engines is to put a small radiator, such as a motorbike radiator, in the turbo coolant return line. The idea behind this is to waste some heat from the returning coolant before it goes back to the engine then to the radiator.  I’ve seen this done on two EA82t converted L series over here.

Cheers 

Bennie

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4 hours ago, el_freddo said:

 

And yes, if it’s got the dual range awd box, this is the only AWD gearbox Subaru produced with a locking centre diff ;) 

some XTs and all XT6s are AWD with locking center diffs as well, but no dual range. 

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Welcome aboard JRusk!  Good to see another fellow journalist in the fold, that RX sedan looks tasty!  Is that the one that was for sale around Bellingham for such a long time?

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15 hours ago, idosubaru said:

some XTs and all XT6s are AWD with locking center diffs as well, but no dual range. 

Yeah sorry, I should’ve been more specific about the series of vehicle it came from - basically the L series platform as such in the models mentioned above. 

Awesome box if you look after them. Mine goes very well off-road and it does what I want it to do onroad. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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19 hours ago, el_freddo said:

Look after that centre diff, they wear out easy if you don’t run tyres of the same make, model and mileage.  As soon as you hit anything that’s a loose surface, lock the diff! You don’t want to be spinning wheels with this box. 

One trick I’ve heard with maintaining these EA82t engines is to put a small radiator, such as a motorbike radiator, in the turbo coolant return line. The idea behind this is to waste some heat from the returning coolant before it goes back to the engine then to the radiator.  I’ve seen this done on two EA82t converted L series over here.

Cheers 

Bennie

Thanks, Bennie!

Good to know about about the center diff. I had a very similar idea about the small radiator on the turbo return. Good to know that is viable. 

This car is so freaking unique and weird, I can't get over it. The fact that the only people who seem to appreciate that are strangers on an internet forum is exactly why I wanted to make that video. Really I made it just so I didn't have to have that conversation with all my friends and family. "You bought a rusty, 30 year old car that doesn't work... cause why again?" "Just watch my video gramma, you'll get it". :rolleyes: (actually my gramma thinks the RX is pretty cool).

13 hours ago, carfreak85 said:

Welcome aboard JRusk!  Good to see another fellow journalist in the fold, that RX sedan looks tasty!  Is that the one that was for sale around Bellingham for such a long time?

carfreak85, It is probably the same one that you are thinking of. Scott of SJRlifts.com sold it to me. He's a cool guy. I've been helping him fix up his shop a bit. A good friend to have as a worshiper at the temple of fuji ;)

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10 hours ago, JRusk said:

carfreak85, It is probably the same one that you are thinking of. Scott of SJRlifts.com sold it to me. He's a cool guy. I've been helping him fix up his shop a bit. A good friend to have as a worshiper at the temple of fuji ;)

I thought it might be that car.  It was for sale for a long time before Scott bought it, but the original seller wanted an arm and a leg for a non-op EA82T...

Edited by carfreak85

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9 hours ago, carfreak85 said:

I thought it might be that car.  It was for sale for a long time before Scott bought it, but the original seller wanted an arm and a leg for a non-op EA82T...

It was definitely the most expensive 88 subie that I've seen. But I've never really seen anything like it. I also haven't been looking all that long, I guess. Regardless, it was the right price in the right place at the right time and I'm happy.

I'll do a more detailed write-up in the Member's Rides forum, but suffice it to say it was complete (except for one 80s-tastic hubcap and a fuse box cover), the paint is savable, the body is fairly straight, the rust is... conveniently located (?) (mostly in the trunk and a little around the back fenders).  The head gasket is blown, hopefully nothing is cracked or warped.The rust is my biggest concern, but from a the little I know about metal working and paint I'm hoping the rust can be cut or ground back to clean metal and the holes glassed and bondo-ed. There are a few spots under the trunk where a little plate might need welded in. I might take a wack at it with my little Mig welder but if that doesn't work I'll have a friend weld it in for me. It's almost completely hidden under the bumper and the rear skirt. There is also some corrosion visible under the dash, which is a bit worrisome, especially as I have no power to any of the gauges in the cluster. :huh:

carfreak85, you have the red RX coupe with the wicked hood vents, am I right? I've been following @templeoffuji for a bit. Love your stuff. Car looks really great. Wait, do you have a white one too? I have lots of questions for you, good sir. :) For now just one important one: will they let me in to The Old School Ruinion with an '88?? 

Also, who are some of the other RX people around here? 

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Rust issues? Bugger!

Definitely pull the windscreen as I’d bet my right nut there’s rust under there. 

Also check behind the spare wheel, there’s a seam there that typically rusts out, especially if it’s been sealed over. In Oz some are sealed and some aren’t. I got an unsealed one by chance and don’t have an issue. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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12 hours ago, JRusk said:

carfreak85, you have the red RX coupe with the wicked hood vents, am I right? I've been following @templeoffuji for a bit. Love your stuff. Car looks really great. Wait, do you have a white one too? I have lots of questions for you, good sir. :) For now just one important one: will they let me in to The Old School Ruinion with an '88?? 

Also, who are some of the other RX people around here? 

Yup, that's me.  I've also got an '87 RX.

The Old School Reunion is getting pretty flexible, they want to be more like Radwood I think, so they're starting to let early 90's jellybean cars into the show.  Their basic rule is that if some version of the body style was in production in '88 or earlier, you're good.  The EA82 chassis started production in 1985, so we're good, and they SHOULD even let in a 1994 Loyale based on the rule.

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22 hours ago, el_freddo said:

Rust issues? Bugger!

Definitely pull the windscreen as I’d bet my right nut there’s rust under there. 

There is a bit in the lower corner of the rear windshield that could go deeper than I can see. And now that I'm looking, you're totally right, there are small bubbles in the paint in various areas around the front windshield. The windshield is cracked pretty good so it will have to come out anyway. This thing is going to need a full paint job by the time I'm done hacking out the rust. It needs it anyway. Anybody have any luck matching the color on these white RX/ii's before? A question for another post, probably. I'll most likely end up borrowing some gear and painting it myself. I've got resources and I've sprayed a few things before. 

My hope of having it show ready by June is slowly fading. But that's ok. With this lil' cougar I can get my kicks out in the woods where nobody can see my crappy paint. (Cougar? Because it is a fiesty offroad animal at home in the Cascadian mountain wilderness? Or, assuming my car is female, because it is a hot older lady who seduced a starry-eyed young man into spending all his money on her and... the metaphor gets a bit out of hand here... Moving on.)

Still, it's a good goal to set for myself. Without going into a detailed accounting of my income and living expenses(:P)... I can get er done if I just keep up momentum and stay focused. Thanks for all the good vibes, gang!

Edited by JRusk
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11 hours ago, JRusk said:

There is a bit in the lower corner of the rear windshield that could go deeper than I can see. And now that I'm looking, you're totally right, there are small bubbles in the paint in various areas around the front windshield. The windshield is cracked pretty good so it will have to come out anyway.

Expect to be shocked when you remove the glass. Bubbles or any hint of rust means is much worse under/behind the glass.

Prepare to see rust holes once the windscreen is removed. It’s best to remove the dashboard before attempting to weld up any holes etc. This way you can protect all the wiring by covering it before you start any welding.

Dad tried repairing my sister’s L sedan and almost set all the wiring behind the dash on fire! He was very lucky it didn’t go up good and proper!! 

Cheers 

Bennie

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