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EA81 - help to identify year, make, model

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I'm rebuilding my EA81, and I can't seem to figure out what year it was made so that I can order accurate rebuilt parts (gasket set, bearings, etc)

Its currently part of a VW bus project... I don't have any record of any prior Subaru VIN.

I can try to obtain pictures of the head gasket mating surfaces, and whatever casting codes are present.

I think we tried to find casting codes before, and didn't see anything definitive that linked the case to a year/make/model.

Is there anything else that will help me?

I have a few service manuals, but I don't see a section for "identifying" the engine.



Edited by torpedo51
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There’s not much to identify with these engines other than differences in the heads. The valve covers determine if you have the small or larger valve heads. Black is the later heads with the larger valves, aqua type colour is smaller valves. 

Other than that difference gaskets and bearings etc will all be the same, maybe with exception to the carb if they changed the carb at all during the production run. I’m not 100% on that though. I do know really early EA81s came with a single throat carb, apparently these weren’t produced for long. Someone else will clarify. 



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Thanks for the reply.

I don't trust the valve covers (no stickers, been painted).

I see a few threads here that have some tidbits... the trend that I think that I see is a single break in production 1980-1981, and 1982-1989.  I'm wondering what the change was between 81 and 82.

I think mine has hydraulic lifters.  The intake manifold that I have is custom (its a 1982 GM TBI).




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see any round marks in casting of block halves ? I think EA81 had them and will have a two digit like 84


If you think you have hydraulic lifters .. I seem to recall my hydraulic liftered EA81 imported from Japan had mild steel push rods, whereas our standard in Australia was solid lifters and they used aluminium tube with steel ends capped the alloy tube for push rods.

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There were different standard head castings over the years and the earlier heads used slightly smaller valves.Some had what could be described as flat braces seen on the top side between central area and outer as if to brace where inlet manifold bolts on.  So much of these is so common, it might be your luck to get something different. HGs the same right through EA81 carb models. Can you add a pic of the head spark plug side to a post ?

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