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rallybru310

??? ULTIMATE GL BUILD??? What questions don’t I know to ask???

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Ok, I finally scraped together some cash and am ready to move forward with my 81 wagon build. Before I do, I want to know of any questions that I don’t know to ask. As a newbie to building my old gl please help guide me away from any pitfalls I may face, I’ve driven them all my life but this is my first build! My highest priority is building a daily driver that is super reliable and maintains a stock look and feel aside from lift, wheels, and tires.
My quiver for the build consists of:

-81’ wagon which has a great body and interior. Has bad engine and bad 4spd d/r transmission.

-86’ wagon that has a great body, interior, and 5spd d/r. Engine has low compression

-90’ Loyale with good body, interior, and 5spd push button transmission. Bad engine. 

-96’ Legacy (not pictured) good 2.2 drivetrain. 
 

I’ve been planning on starting with the 81’ and using the 5spd d/r from the 86’ and the 2.2 from the 96’ along with a 4” lift. 
What are the downfalls of this combination for a super reliable daily driver? Are there better options? Are there any obsolete parts in this combo that would render it useless(ea81 oil pump)? Power steering or not, I love the feel of the manual steering with original sized tires but am concerned about 27”/28” tires. How does the a/c adapt? Which cross members should I use? Which axles will be best to use 81/86? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

I plan on driving this car for a long time, I want to get close to right the first go around. All input is welcome!!! 
 

Thanks

 

 

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Those are all reliable components. The reliability will be most effected by the build itself. In this project, you will be removing almost every mechanical component in the car...so it'll be on you to make it reliable. The biggest thing will be the engine wiring, make sure it's clean, all connections are moisture and vibration-proof (I use only Molex Perma-seal butt splices), that nothing can chafe. You will also have to replumb the fuel system, so again, make sure it's done right, and you're not going to have problems down the road.

Do not assume it'll be a completely reliable car right out of the gate. Don't take it on a road trip a week after getting it running. Issues will present themselves, you will have to limp it home, maybe towed.

If the 81 has A/C, it'll just be a matter of making custom lines to plumb the EJ22 compressor into the EA81 system. If not, you'll have to retrofit an evaporator and stuff into it.....I don't know.

Easiest is to just use the EA81 crossmember, front suspension, and axles. You could build your lift blocks to adapt the wider EA82 crossmember onto it, and then use those components, but IMHO that's more work than it's worth for a lifted build.

I don't find the EA81 manual rack to be a problem with big tires. I have 29" tires on my Brat, and it seems to work well (not street worthy, don't think I've ever had it over 15mph). I had an EA82 with 29" tires that had a power steering rack that someone had deleted the pump, that was annoying. This would be the only reason to use the EA82 crossmember, as getting an EA81 power steering rack is very difficult.

EA81 fuel tank doesn't have the same baffling as a fuel injection tank would. So you'll probably have occasional fuel starve when the tank gets low and starts sloshing around. The correct fix is to add a surge tank, but I just would fill up a bit sooner.

There are a couple hurtles of using the EA82 5-speed transmission in the EA81 body. Custom/modified crossmember and driveshaft, IIRC. I haven't done it, but it's been discussed here many many times.

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This starts the question ...will an EA82 EFI fuel tank fit to EA81 body in order to get tank internal baffling?

Or possible to find a turbo brat fuel tank? If it is baffled for EFI turbo would make life easier

If the DR 5 sp is out of a carb donor the axle stubs should be 23 spline so allows you to use standard 4 WD EA81 shafts. MPFI manual boxes have 25 splines if you have this, ask more questions

The EA82 box conversion is easy to do, Easy to walk you through it. I have done three.

Never finished an EJ conversion

Edited by Steptoe
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EA81 turbo fuel tank will certainly have the internal baffles. 

Your ingredients for your build have been done time and time again (MY body, EJ22, EA82 5speed box). The trick in your build will be choosing a lift and tyre size that isn’t too tall (tyres mainly), then doing the wiring right as Numbchux mentioned. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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I haven’t been around much, but is it really possible to get an EJ22 engine into this thing? Or am I misunderstanding the swap?

Very curious how this turns out. I’ll probably be wanting to do something similar before too long. 

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4 hours ago, heymulderitsme said:

I haven’t been around much, but is it really possible to get an EJ22 engine into this thing? Or am I misunderstanding the swap?

Very curious how this turns out. I’ll probably be wanting to do something similar before too long. 

Yes. SOHC EJ fits no worries. 

DOHC EJ requires a chassis rail mod forward of the engine crossmember. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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8 hours ago, heymulderitsme said:

I haven’t been around much, but is it really possible to get an EJ22 engine into this thing? Or am I misunderstanding the swap?

Very curious how this turns out. I’ll probably be wanting to do something similar before too long. 

Yep, been done hundreds, maybe thousands, of times.

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Thanks for the confirmation!

Can’t wait to do the same thing someday. 
 

Looking forward to seeing more progress pics, rallybru!

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Hello again,

In prepping for the EJ swap which electrical components can I remove from the engine bay? Should I remove all components and wiring including ecu and just leave the wiring for lights and accessories (wipers,horn,etc)?

Thanks

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Looking at some of those pics you have one very clean and tidy MY wagon! I’m kind of wishing you had something a bit more ratty to off-road in! 

For the EJ conversion, if not running AC, remove the wiring associated with the AC system. Otherwise it all stays where it is. 

You can either run wires from the EA81 engine loom plug to the likes of the oil pressure sender/oil warning light switch or  cut down the small wiring loom to retain these two wires. 

To keep your factory temp gauge accurate as it is now, it’s a good time to have the coolant crossover pipe modified to fit the EA temp sensor in it. The EJ one is smaller and reads very low on the factory temp gauge when used. Alternatively run an aftermarket gauge plumber into the heater hoses on the outlet one. 

Cut down your EJ loom and lay it out over the factory wiring where possible. Parts of the wiring will naturally lay out in other areas. Some thought will need to go into this! 

Cheers 

Bennie

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Thanks for the input and don’t worry, I wont’t really be wheeling this thing. Like I said earlier, my highest priority is building a daily driver that is super reliable and maintains a stock look and feel aside from lift, wheels, and tires. Trust me, it has taken me a very long time to come to a point of divergence from a completely stock refresh. I fully realize how rare it is to come across a wagon this clean, I drove all the way to Arkansas from Florida to purchase it from the original owner more than ten years ago. My move to California from Florida presented some SMOG issues, hence the repower. I don’t plan on modifying body or interior in any way, just upgrading to 5spd from 4spd with a more robust smogable power plant. I see that a 4” lift and A/T’s might be a bit much but then again, why not!

 

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I understand the power plant swap and I’m all for it. 

If you want the sleeper look, don’t lift it! 

An AWD box in there will get the power to the ground and make the car very nice to drive without worrying about spinning front wheels all the time! 

Just throwing ideas out there if you really don’t need the lift. 

Cheers 

Bennie

 

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Thanks to Crazyeights misfortune we now have a second donor vehicle with many fresh components. I look forward to resurrecting what we can from “lil red”. We did let “lil red” stretch it’s legs one more time before we started dismantling it. We had so much fun on our first pass that we drove back down to the bottom of the mountain and went again, such a shame it got smashed!

Thanks for everything Crazyeights!

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I came hone from work to find my son had finished unplumbing things and had totally labeled and removed the wiring harness!!!

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On 3/7/2020 at 12:14 PM, rallybru310 said:

Hello again,

In prepping for the EJ swap which electrical components can I remove from the engine bay? Should I remove all components and wiring including ecu and just leave the wiring for lights and accessories (wipers,horn,etc)?

Thanks

 

The EA81 has very few electrical components that are specific to the engine, so you don't need to remove much. The vast majority of your time will be spent stripping and prepping the EJ harness

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Imo i’d use the ea82 front end. Easier to find parts, better axles, and it gives you the  option to run manual or power steering.

Solid build. Very similar to mine.

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We finally had a little time to work on the wagon. Started cleaning out the engine bay prepping for paint, removed jack holder, battery tray, and a few other miscellaneous tidbits. 

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Are you planning to smooth down the engine bay and tuck the harnesses?

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Yes, I’m definitely going to smooth out the engine bay as much as I can. As far as the wiring goes, I’m thinking of taking the harness outside of the frame rails (like donor legacy) makes sense to me. Are there any drawbacks for doing so that I should be aware of?  

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30 minutes ago, rallybru310 said:

Yes, I’m definitely going to smooth out the engine bay as much as I can. As far as the wiring goes, I’m thinking of taking the harness outside of the frame rails (like donor legacy) makes sense to me. Are there any drawbacks for doing so that I should be aware of?  

Water intrusion if you're routing it in the fender, would need to cut a hole to pass the harness into the cabin if not routing through the firewall.  Where are you planning to mount your battery and jack?  (Larger scissor jacks from, I think, older Nissan trucks are very similar and work on lifted Subarus)

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Cut out the access hole that the harness passes through from the donor vehicle. Use this piece on the MY to help seal the hole - weld the plate into place where you want it. 

From memory it’s very tight as to where you can pull the harness through from the interior to under the front guard. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, carfreak85 said:

Where are you planning to mount your battery and jack? 

I’m planning on moving the battery to the left side to make room for the air cleaner from the 2.2. Everything on the donor vehicle is on the opposite side so I figured it will be easiest to keep things in similar positions. Seeing as how I live in CA and plan on this to be a smoggable swap, I am required to carryover the entire emissions system as well, a clean slate makes it easiest. 
As far as the wiring is concerned, I am thinking of taking all of the body side wiring (lights, horn, temp, ect..) outside of frame rails. I’m thinking of a more radical solution for the engine wiring.... I’m thinking of relocating ALL engine bay wiring and electrical components to the “spare tire shelf” and fabricating a custom cover that will enclose from shelf edge up to cowling allowing for all engine wiring to feed from rear center of engine bay while all other body side wiring is tucked out of sight. 
I plan on waterproofing entire harness as I go so there shouldn’t be any water infiltration issues. 

Edited by rallybru310
Misspelling

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Hello again, 

I have everything setup to start removing all necessary equipment from the 96 Legacy donor vehicle in the morning. This is the 2.2 that will be rebuilt and installed in the 82 wagon. I’m planning on utilizing all factory emissions equipment to meet California smog requirements,  with that said, I’m planning on hauling Legacy body away before swap is complete and I want to make sure that I harvest all necessary equipment before it’s gone. I’m planning on removing entire harness from ECU out, engine, all emissions under hood, fuel pump...Is there anything that I am likely miss?

 

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