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910GL

86GL EJ25 Swap

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Posted (edited)

I've been lurking these forums for a few years now doing minor tweaks to my car; figured it was time to post a thread about it.

So I got my 86GL about 3 years ago from the original owner with 132k miles. It was bone stock and carbureted (still have the original window sticker). Had been in a couple minor fender benders, and had a disintegrated driver's side head gasket. The owner was just tired of spending money on it, so I bought it for $800.

Only crappy picture I have of it when I bought it:

Screenshot_20171018-182947_2 (2).jpg

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

The whole front end was trashed, and had like 2 inches of play in the steering wheel and wandered all over the place on the road. First thing I did was replace shocks, springs, tie rods, ball joints, did a 6-lug swap, and lifted it 3" with a 1.5" subframe drop. I bought the cheapest 15x7 wheels I could find and some 26"ish Yokohama Geolandars and threw them on (I don't like the stance; too little backspacing but I'll fix that later with some different wheels). I drove it with the destroyed head gasket for a few months until I got tired of going through a quart of oil per week.

I also grabbed a Loyale grille from a JY (the stock one was missing a "tooth") and now she looks like this:

 

 

IMG_20200323_150753_2.jpg

Edited by 910GL
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So I tackled the head gaskets in the car (didn't have a hoist at the time).

This is how thrashed they were.

IMG_20190811_174246.jpg

IMG_20190811_174252.jpg

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Posted (edited)

So it still leaked oil from the rear main seal, but not a quart a week - so I rolled with it. However, since this was the first motor I had even disassembled this far I got extremely overwhelmed with the vacuum line nightmare and trying to get the hitachi carb back on.

So, I just went the lazy route and put a Weber on it. While I was at it, I removed all the emissions junk (EGR etc) and blocked them off. This car is old enough to be emissions exempt in NC so I left off pretty much everything that didn't "need" to go back on.

QslXtdH.jpg

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

I'll pause here and mention that before doing all of this, I had literally no clue what I was doing. I do my own regular maintenance stuff (oil changes and all that) but I am no auto mechanic. I learned enough about mechanics and whatnot from spending 5 years in the Marine Corps as a hydraulics/airframes mechanic; but I will reiterate that I am by no means competent. I take stuff apart, look at manuals and here on USMB to figure it out and do my best to troubleshoot and get it back together.

This is a learning process for me, so if you see anything concerning please let me know; I am all about constructive criticism.

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

Alright so the Weber setup ran well enough, much more throttle response and gas mileage increased (was previously getting 16-17mpg, now up to 21mpg on average - still terrible, but whatever - pretty sure these numbers are skewed as the odometer is way off because of the much larger tires). But it was still going through oil. I had also replaced all of the seals in the AC lines and recharged it with a retrofit kit and the compressor spun right up and blew ice cold. However, it wanted to overheat as my secondary electric fan would never kick on.

I spent about a year driving it after changing the head gaskets, lifting it, and doing the weber swap. So I started researching an EJ swap because if I was going to pull the motor completely to do the rear main seal, an EJ was going to take it's place.

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

I literally looked for a decent EJ22 car here in southeastern NC for MONTHS. They're like unicorns apparently; and I was about to give up and live with the EA82. After some more research I decided to just find an EJ25 and try that as they're much easier to source. So I found a wrecked and thrashed 99 Legacy Outback with an EJ25D and bought the whole car for $200.

Yes, I'm going to use the EA D/R manual transmission. Will it grenade? Possibly, but I'm fortunate enough to have other cars to drive so if I need to do an EJ transmission swap at some point, I'm fine with that.

ynkyaKL.jpg

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

Spent more hours than I care to admit ripping this Legacy apart to get the wiring harness out. To save some time I just boxed the whole thing up and sent it to Scott at SJR to trim down. Also had him make an adapter plate.

I ripped the EJ25 all the way down to the crank, and took the block halves and heads into a local machine shop for some work. Redid the valves, cleaned them up real nice and everything else was in spec. This pic is before the shop work obviously...

Vcn4u1D.jpg

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

So I got the motor back from the machine shop and meticulously reassembled it step-by-step from the FSM (again, first time doing this). Replaced all of the seals, gaskets, o-rings, timing belt, pulleys, oil pump, water pump, and most all of the bolts. I painted the intake manifold in some blue wrinkle and it was about ready to go.

6ysIGOJ.jpg

Edited by 910GL
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Posted (edited)

So this catches the story up to "now."

A couple other minor things I'm doing for the new motor: I'm putting some WRX headers on it (because I like the unequal length header sound), and put an aftermarket aluminum thermostat housing on it because the headers are going to be close. I had to cut the exhaust manifold flanges off the stock headers and weld them to the WRX headers to drop them down another 1/2" or so to clear the thermostat. I had to source some longer threaded rods to mount the thicker manifold flanges. Also put a "T" on the oil pressure sensor to put on an aftermarket sender, and also an aftermarket water temp sender to run some aftermarket gauges.

I did a lot of research regarding the stock pressure plate/clutch setups and was unable to source an XT6 setup. So I took a risk because I hadn't seen anyone else going this route -- but I got a SPEC stage 2+ clutch/pressure plate setup for an EA82T and we'll see how that works.

I'm also adding power steering -- the GL was manual steering, so I bought a rebuilt EA82 power steering rack and will be getting some hydraulic hoses made up to mate the EJ power steering pump to the EA rack.

I tossed the motor in to the GL yesterday to start test fitting all of the random hoses and whatnot while I wait for my flywheel to come back from the machine shop. And this is where I'm at today (disregard the battery tray - it was a little rusty so I just shot it with some random blue paint I had laying around):

6MtsMyq.jpg

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

Oh yeah, side note: I realize those ADF lift blocks aren't in "correct." I cut and extended them from 2" to 3" and welded the tops back on wrong so they don't face the front anymore. The angles are right.

I also stole the leather seats out of the Legacy which matched the dark blue interior of the GL nicely. Just had to grind/weld the rails from the GL seats to the Legacy ones. Turned out pretty good.

ZnJ7GXu.jpg

Edited by 910GL

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Nice work! I've dropped RS seats into a 2nd gen. civic wagon by welding the civic rails to them, definitely not easy to get straight for sliding seat adjustment. :popcorn:

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2 hours ago, zf2 said:

Nice work! I've dropped RS seats into a 2nd gen. civic wagon by welding the civic rails to them, definitely not easy to get straight for sliding seat adjustment. :popcorn:

Luckily the front bolts lined up, I just had to tweak the rears... But they are still able to slide WAY more forward then would ever be needed.

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3 minutes ago, 910GL said:

Luckily the front bolts lined up, I just had to tweak the rears... But they are still able to slide WAY more forward then would ever be needed.

Just means someone really short can drive your car! I think the left side bolts aligned for my RS seats so I only had to weld the inner rails~ always interesting to see the same dimensions used for different parts across different Japanese makes, and all other markets for that matter.

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On ‎5‎/‎24‎/‎2020 at 9:30 AM, 910GL said:

So this catches the story up to "now."

A couple other minor things I'm doing for the new motor: I'm putting some WRX headers on it (because I like the unequal length header sound), and put an aftermarket aluminum thermostat housing on it because the headers are going to be close. I had to cut the exhaust manifold flanges off the stock headers and weld them to the WRX headers to drop them down another 1/2" or so to clear the thermostat. I had to source some longer threaded rods to mount the thicker manifold flanges. Also put a "T" on the oil pressure sensor to put on an aftermarket sender, and also an aftermarket water temp sender to run some aftermarket gauges.

Your car already had unequal length runners on the exhaust manifold.  Could also install the oil pressure sender on one of the unused ports on the PS side of the block, no need for a "tee" or additional leak point.

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10 hours ago, carfreak85 said:

Your car already had unequal length runners on the exhaust manifold.  Could also install the oil pressure sender on one of the unused ports on the PS side of the block, no need for a "tee" or additional leak point.

Yeah the EA motor did, and I wanted to retain that sound. I wanted the larger diameter pipe of EJ headers, but the ones from the donor car where more equal-length and had funky bends going into the cat that I didn't want to mess with. So I opted for the WRX style that has cyl 2/4 route around the front of the oil pan instead. I just have to hack off the flange that normally connects to the up-pipe and weld a straight pipe to the rear section that I have already put together. It worked out well in my head, we'll see how it goes when I get that far.

And in hindsight you're right, using another stock port for my aftermarket oil pressure would have eliminated another place for a potential leak. I have to pull the EJ out after I get everything mocked up so I may still go that route, good call.

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I’ve used a T piece for oil pressure gauge and idiot oil warning light switch under the alternator. I’d rather this setup and have easy visual access to inspect for leaks and easy access to fix. 

Using other ports will add another leak point anyway, and some of those option can’t easily be seen or accessed. 

You can also use some sealant on the joints. The stuff is aviation grade. I’ll have to look it up - it’s a brown goo and you don’t need much of it on each joint! 

Cheers 

Bennie

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1 hour ago, el_freddo said:

I’ve used a T piece for oil pressure gauge and idiot oil warning light switch under the alternator. I’d rather this setup and have easy visual access to inspect for leaks and easy access to fix. 

Using other ports will add another leak point anyway, and some of those option can’t easily be seen or accessed. 

You can also use some sealant on the joints. The stuff is aviation grade. I’ll have to look it up - it’s a brown goo and you don’t need much of it on each joint! 

Cheers 

Bennie

Yeah after staring at it for awhile with a beer in my hand, I think I'm going to keep the T. I just snagged a brass one from Lowe's and then put the stock idiot light sender on one side and the mechanical pressure gauge line out of the other. I concur that it is easy to see in this spot and pretty easy to get to by just swinging the alternator or removing it. I just threw some teflon tape around the fittings and torqued em down. If it leaks, I'll look into some kind of sealant.

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The sealant I used was Permatex Aviation Form-a-Gasket Sealant Liquid #80019. 

Google that for the exact product etc. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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13 hours ago, el_freddo said:

The sealant I used was Permatex Aviation Form-a-Gasket Sealant Liquid #80019. 

Google that for the exact product etc. 

Cheers 

Bennie

Thanks, I'll definitely check that out if it leaks!

 

Brett

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Posted (edited)

So today I got most of what I had left to mockup before I pull the EJ back out. I had to tweak the passenger side exhaust manifold section more; the flange for the stock up-pipe (which I won't have) was too much of an upward angle for me to turn down to clear the cross member. So I cut the flange off at a more parallel angle and made up a midsection of exhaust pipe to tie in to my existing system around where the EA cat used to be. Should work out pretty well.

I have a local machine shop filling my stock EA flywheel bolt holes and then milling to the EJ pattern, and then resurfacing and balancing it. Both places I took it to were completely against just oblonging the holes like I've read that a lot of people do... So I just had the guy fill and mill it.

I was able to modify the stock EJ airbox bracket and got the box mounted on the throttle body and got it to sit in a generally "stock" location. But I couldn't get the filter housing section to fit in the EA, so I picked up a MAF adapter/gasket off ebay and attached a generic 3" cone filter to the end in place of the filter box.

I need to find a way to support the MAF/filter section, but here's how it looks.

bhbzDoB.jpg

Edited by 910GL

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Posted (edited)

I have read that a lot of folks who do this swap will ditch their AC, and install electric pusher fans on the front of their radiator in place of the stock ones. I did a bunch of measuring and found that I have just over 2.5" of clearance between the inside of my radiator and the timing belt covers on the EJ in most areas. The power steering pump pulley bolt is the closest point at 2". I decided to get some SPAL low profile, straight blade puller fans for my setup (at the fan motor they are 2.05"). I have an 11" for the driver's side, and I went with a second 9" for the passenger side (it will mount towards the bottom to clear the power steering pulley bolt). I went this route because I need to keep my AC and didn't want to remove my hood latch for pusher fans that would have to blow through the condenser before hitting the radiator. The issue is this: there isn't enough room to get the EJ in with the fans installed on the radiator, and it would be a humongous pain to try and mount them after putting the motor in (there's barely enough room to slide the radiator in and out with the motor in place). So I decided that I will notch out to top section of the front crossmember above the radiator, and then weld some bolts and fab some brackets so I can make this section of the crossmember removable. This way I can install the fans to the radiator, and then place the whole assembly into place with the motor in. Then I can just bolt the top section of the crossmember back in place. I'll be using the EA radiator.

I was planning on wiring both radiator fans to a 3-way SPDT switch (stole this idea from Gloyale that I saw from another post). One "on" position will run both fans with the ECM control, middle will be "off" and the other "on" position will just be a direct ground. I was going to run the second 9" fan on a different relay on a second temp sender so both fans would stagger on and off at different temperatures, but I just decided to keep it more simplified. Anyone have any input on what works and what doesn't for electric fans on an EJ swap? I'm not 100% committed to this idea...

Here's how I have my fans mocked up on my old radiator (I have a new one on the way because this one is pretty beat up)... the green paint spot is where the power steering pulley bolt is, so this is why I went with the smaller 9" fan on the passenger side. Combined, both fans are advertised at around 1400 CFM.

7FgURij.jpg

Edited by 910GL

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I have my fans setup with that three way switch method that you mentioned. Works a treat! 

PS pump bolt - cut the dome off to gain more clearance. It’s hollow and only there for show. 

To pull the EJ22 from my L series, I pull the fans out first, then the radiator then the engine. I’m running the N13 pulsar radiator. Not ideal but it certainly does the job. The BRZ radiator seems to be a better fit - if you fit a filler neck to it. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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On 5/31/2020 at 8:47 AM, el_freddo said:

I have my fans setup with that three way switch method that you mentioned. Works a treat! 

PS pump bolt - cut the dome off to gain more clearance. It’s hollow and only there for show. 

To pull the EJ22 from my L series, I pull the fans out first, then the radiator then the engine. I’m running the N13 pulsar radiator. Not ideal but it certainly does the job. The BRZ radiator seems to be a better fit - if you fit a filler neck to it. 

Cheers 

Bennie

I see now what you're talking about with that PS pump bolt, I could have easily fit another full 11" fan in there after flattening it out... oh well. I think the 9"/11" combo will keep it cool enough. I got my harness tied in to the car this weekend and put the motor back in. Plugged it all up and put it in test mode and all the relays worked (straight blade SPAL fans are LOUD!).

I don't have my alternator wired up yet or the lower radiator hose finished, but I decided to try to crank it just to see if everything was working. After fixing a bad ground at my fuel pump that made me scratch my head for awhile, it turned over and ran for a bit... I don't have any of the sensors plugged in yet so it ran rough, I just wanted to see if it was getting fuel and spark and all that so I'll call it a success.

So I'm on the right track... hopefully I can get the interior wiring all cleaned up this week and then I have a few random things to finish (return power steering line, lower radiator hose, AC lines, tap a new hole for O2 sensors) and take it for a spin!

Then once I get it running and back on the road I'll tackle some body work and do my quad DL headlight swap sometime this fall.

Progress...

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