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KiwiGL

Gertie (the L series touring wagon)

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Thought I'd make a thread for my new Subaru. Gertie has the honour of being the second L series touring wagon I've owned. She was named by the previous owner, and is a 1989 NZ new Subaru Omega GL touring wagon, 5 speed dual-range. My first was an NZ new 1987 Leone GTX Turbo, 3AT pt4wd. Unfortunately she rusted out back in 2014, terminal firewall cancer. Since then I've had a Forester, a Vitara and I currently also own an r50 JDM Nissan Terrano. 

I saw this car in person several months ago, and strongly considered asking the owner if they'd be willing to sell. 

When it popped up on Facebook marketplace at an extremely reasonable price, I had to buy it, especially considering I was heading down to Queenstown that weekend regardless. So I made contact with the owner, and they arranged to take it for a wof, which it clean sheeted! They also kindly put 6 months registration on for me. 

I went to pick it up, and lo and behold the seller is a nurse that I was working with only several months ago! She and her husband (who is sadly terminally ill) had owned it since 1992, when they purchased it off a banker in Mosgiel. Only sold it because he couldn't drive it anymore and it had been sitting for a year. 

 

Condition is generally good. The metalwork is near perfect, no rust whatsoever besides a few minor stone chips. Interior is pretty average, dash is good but seats, door trims and headliner need recovering. Mechanically it's great, little bit of hesitation around 2500 rpm under moderate throttle but better with WOT and above 3000. Slight lifter tick from time to time, not too bad. Third has a somewhat worn synchro. Suspension, brakes, steering, tyres etc all great. Smallish oil leaks. You wouldn't know it has done 443,000 km... Regular maintenance is key I suppose! Full service history for the last 30 years, oil and filter every 5000 km etc. 

Overall extremely pleased for the price I paid. I could sell it tomorrow for half what I paid again. Only thing I've done is replaced the battery as it was from 2011 and couldn't hold a charge. 

1r438g.jpg

Edited by KiwiGL
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Wow bro, Gertie is extra clean! Cool that you kept the name. Congrats my friend i am quite envious that high roof is a rare bird! And on the 86 motion alloys? Extra dope! Touring wagon is turbo yeah?

The dual range is the best 4wd box of the ones i have tried, including the b3 audi quattro with diff lock (amazing) and the awd in the e30 bmw 325ix (Great). Subaru awd (meh) and bmw e53 awd (awful)

Of course the ej swap i did helps some, or can be absolutely critical, but a 3rd gen L body with enough power in 4hi is faster than those high end german sports cars in the snow. And on pavement or gravel these cars are just light enough to do a proper Scandinavian flick if you leave her in 2wd. Hankook makes excellent 13" snow tires.

Enjoy man! Oh and subarus are supposed to tick when cold. It's called the tick of death!:P

Gertie us certain to draw a crowd at the next car show!

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1 hour ago, sparkyboy said:

Wow bro, Gertie is extra clean! Cool that you kept the name. Congrats my friend i am quite envious that high roof is a rare bird! And on the 86 motion alloys? Extra dope! Touring wagon is turbo yeah?

That is one clean L series! Sparkyboy, those are hubcaps and generally the touring wagon is NA. The GT is the turbo variant, that’s a JDM model that might be found in NZ with their import policies. 

Kiwi GL: love that colour, although I’m a biased with my DL L series being the same if not a little lighter in colour.  I’d go a touring wagon but it’d interfere with my flat roof rack setup I run with offroad - plus I’ve got all the touring wagon features in my L except the carpet floor. 

Kms are like age - just a number!

Enjoy the L ;) 

Cheers 

Bennie

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Cheers for the replies guys! I've always liked that shade of blue and have always been a fan of ruby scoo, I remember watching your first videos almost ten years ago Bennie - the ones with the Urthboy soundtrack. 

At this point my general aim for the vehicle is keep it standard and slowly restore it back to a clean, original condition wagon. I'd like to keep the EA series engine for originality. Unfortunately I suspect it needs a headgasket done, but that's okay. My flatmate and his mate are also big Subaru guys and have plenty of expertise pulling down EJs and the odd EA, so will be a learning curve. 

So I need to order a gasket set, timing belt kit, and also a set of front CV boots. I might just get a reman axle as they're $37 on rockauto with $17 US shipping, which isn't a huge amount more than just ordering boots. Might ring Subaru and see if they have genuine boots in stock - does anyone know if later model Subaru CV boots fit a Leone? I need the front inner and outer boots. 

Also for headgaskets - anyone recommend an aftermarket brand or should I get genuine if possible? 

 

So far I've changed oil and filter, flushed coolant, changed gearbox oil, vaccumed the interior, put seat covers on the front and hosed the worst of the leaves off (was parked under a pine tree for 6 months). Still need to take the front fender liners off and hose out the base of the fender, so many needles... 

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33 minutes ago, KiwiGL said:

and have always been a fan of ruby scoo, I remember watching your first videos almost ten years ago Bennie - the ones with the Urthboy soundtrack.

That’s awesome and a blast from the past! Ruby Scoo is still kicking, there’s some new pics around the forum of her doing her thing. She’s no where near the tidyness of your touring wagon! I say she’s “good from afar, but far from good” which is mostly true. Not bad for over 500k km and the amount of off-roading she’s done in the time I’ve had her. 

Is Gertie carb fed or MPFI?

As for gaskets etc, have you checked out partsouq.com? They’re pretty good for genuine parts. I don’t play much with the EAs anymore. I think the last set of head gaskets I did on the EA81 in my brumby were felpro or torquepro - it was a few years ago now so I’m a bit hazy as to what I used ;) 

Cheers 

Bennie

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Gertie is probably also best viewed from 10 metres haha, the body is clean but the interior needs work. New seats, door trims and headliner. 

She clicked over 444,444.4 on the way down to Timaru today, not bad for an unopened ea82. 

Definitely needs the head gaskets done though, got a little warm going up the hill on the Subaru offroad nz 4wd trip today. Has also fouled its plugs and isn't idling well. Ok once you rev it and get a better spark. 

All up she did well, kept up with the newer metal and outperformed in some regards. Especially economy 

Edited by KiwiGL

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Have now picked up a low mileage ea82 for a good price. I'll be swapping that in sometime over the next couple of weeks, then rebuilding the heads and doing gaskets on the original engine, which has now clicked over 445,000 kms!

Have also located a set of good seats, purchased some vinyl for the door trims and got a contact who can redo the headliner. The  I just need to find a set of good alloy wheels, and repaint the bootlid and she's done!

Looking forward to getting my first (mild) restoration done.

Edited by KiwiGL
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So, spent the weekend working on Gertie. 

Swapped the lower-mileage engine in, using the clutch (near-new Excedy), flywheel, pressure plate, carb, dizzy, alternator & powersteer setup from the old engine. Tried using the carb from the replacement engine but it seemed pretty blocked up & didn't spray fuel well so I just swapped them over (new gaskets & new vac lines).

She cranks - but won't catch or fire.

Have tested spark by grounding to the block - sparks ok. Earths good. Choke setup all works. Has oil pressure when cranking as light goes out. Has fuel. Doesn't want to run with extra easystart either.

At this point I'm thinking we screwed up the dizzy timing - currently it points to lead 1 at 0 deg on the flywheel - this is correct right?

This is my first time playing with an old school carby + dizzy car, all my others (except my old GTX turbo, but that was MPFI turbo with a dizzy I never touched) have been coils with no dizzy or diesels haha.

Anyone have any ideas as to why it won't run? I figure out of compression, timing, spark, fuel and air it has compression (haven't tested it but has resistance to manual turnover), spark, fuel & air. Therefore it surely must be timing, given it ran okay with the same ancillaries on the old longblock.

Pic of the carbie in bits:
2yx0ksp.jpg

Looking sad in the driveway:
35mqf7c.jpg

And on a better day up the Port Hills:
ay25u8.jpg

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Don't worry guys, got it going tonight!!

Turns out the timing was about 50 degrees before top dead centre. Started first pop after that.

Has a bit of lifter tick but that's clearing. Way more power than before and runs cooler

Edited by KiwiGL

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