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At 35 years old and 250,000 miles, I know there will always be something on my 87 DL wagon that needs some attention but it sure gets old fixing the new stuff I just installed. I don't mind repairing old, worn out parts but it is so irritating when new parts fail after only a few months. I went through at least 3 electric fuel pumps before I found one that was reliable. Now this week it was my 4 month old plastic/aluminum radiator that puked its guts. It cooled better than the very old, leaky brass radiator that came with the car so I was happy I changed it out. Unfortunately, the compression seal on the passenger side tank let go and it opened up a seam about 5'' long and dumped plenty of antifreeze down my driveway. It wasn't an over-pressure issue as the relief cap was new and also tested properly on the bench. I suspect that the rubber seal is low quality and it slowly squeezed out of the joint over time. It could also be that the compression seal was not up to snuff. I ended up repairing the old brass radiator that came with the car and so far, so good. It had 3 small tank leaks that I was able to silver-solder. It passed an overnight pressure test at 15 PSI. The winter season here should be no challenge for any radiator but we'll see in the summer how it does(if it makes it that far). The aftermarket radiator did seem much better at running cooler.

My other repair this week was the driver's window crank. I recently became that guy at the drive-through who has to open the door to order and pick up food. I suddenly could not get the window up or down and the crank handle was now at a suspicious angle. That kind of failure is not unexpected with old cars. I was able to remove the window regulator assembly and repair the bushing on the back side of the crank housing with a small steel bushing cap I turned out on the lathe. I was not able to crank the window at all because the coiled spring hidden inside the crank (which helps holds the window in the desired position) had slipped and become wedged tightly between the housing and the crank. I got it all repaired, cleaned, greased and back together late last night. I'll bet the window mechanism hasn't work that well in many years. I'm back to daily driving it to work so we'll see how long until the next adventure begins. 

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2 hours ago, 88SubGL said:

Any possibility of having a new core put in the original radiator?

That will be my next move if this one leaks to the point where I can't repair it or if it can't handle the A/C heat load next summer. I have no idea if modern tube and fin cores would match up or cause fitment issues. I have a shop down the street that builds them but they aren't cheap. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/15/2022 at 3:03 PM, 1 Lucky Texan said:

what brand was the replacement? any warranty ?

It was a Rock Auto deal. I think most of them are from the same vendor with different labels added by the sellers. It had a warranty until I was carrying it into the garage and snapped off the overflow tube when I hit it on the door frame. :(   I was able to fix the overflow tube and then un-crimp, reset the gasket and re-crimp the tank tabs and it has held 15 PSI for over a week so I'll have it as a spare for now.

 

On 12/23/2022 at 8:56 AM, newmexguy said:

I have a Replacement Copper / Brass radiator.  Near new, but some cosmetic defects.  $40.  PM if interested.   

Good price! I appreciate the offer but with my solder repairs holding after several hundred miles and the new "defective" radiator seemingly repaired, I'll go with what I have for now but thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pretty much driving this everyday now and have gone almost one month with no new surprise repairs needed! Woohoo! Maybe it's finally getting sorted out a bit. I did add this rooftop carrier box last week but not sure I like the added wind resistance. I might swap to a 45" rooftop basket. 

BTW...In case you noticed, I added the "SUBARU" stickers myself. That cargo box was originally sold by Sears.

 

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Edited by azdave
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Why do you need to have a pod or basket up top all the time? Isn’t the wagon big enough in its cargo space?? 

And don’t go making posts about stuff not going wrong, Murphy will take it for a spin and it’ll return with a list of stuff for you to find and resolve!! 

And I agree with @88SubGL - she’s a beautiful example of the L series! 

Cheers 

Bennie

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I don't use the carrier box that often but don't like taking it on and off and then storing it some place. I actually have filled the back of the wagon several times recently doing supply runs for work (bulky, lightweight stuff) and needed more room. I think a rack would better serve me and can stay there when it is empty with little effect. It won't need stored off-season and also is easier to load the top since what I put up there doesn't really need rain or theft protection. 

I'm ordering one of these and giving it a try. The cargo box is up for sale locally for about what it will cost to buy a rack.

 

 

Amazon.com MaxxHaul 70115 46 x 36 x 4-12 Roof Rack Rooftop Cargo Carrier Steel Basket, Car Top Luggage Holder for SUV and Pick Up Trucks - 150 lb. Capacity  Automotive - Google Chrome 1162023 81644 AM.jpg

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To keep the off-road 4WD theme consistent, I always thought the side of my wagon should display an OEM looking "4WD" logo that matched the ones on the tail gate and the mud flaps. It's been raining here so I spent some time indoors on my cheap eBay laser cutter and came up with this graphic for the left and right rear doors. I also made one to go over the rear logo as it was very sun bleached. It's not perfect but neither am I. :)

 

 

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Got the new roof rack installed and digging it so far. I did a test run on the freeway last night to see if there were any wind whistles or other distracting noises and I didn't hear anything so it probably will stay there most of the time.

 

I was "rewarded" for my work when I turned on the heater last night after the wife and I were retuning home from dinner and got a blast of humidity and antifreeze odor from the outlets. Really?  As expected, I found an area of antifreeze dripping under the dash at the bottom of the heater box so time to research how hard that's going to be to repair. I took a quick look online this morning and don't see anyone selling replacement heater cores either. I'm guessing it is all brass so maybe there is hope I can repair it.

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Edited by azdave
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Plastic end tank on the heater core is leaking. Don’t drive it as they can completely let go (not fun!). 

Don’t get second hand units, they’ll just do the same, been there done that twice! 

I managed to get an all copper unit about ten years ago now and haven’t looked back since. 

To do the swap the whole dashboard has to come out to then pull out the heater box to remove the leaking heater core. 

Not a hard task, just fiddly then heavy when removing the dash board from the car via the passenger’s side. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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9 hours ago, el_freddo said:

Plastic end tank on the heater core is leaking. Don’t drive it as they can completely let go (not fun!). 

Don’t get second hand units, they’ll just do the same, been there done that twice!

Thanks for the insight on the repairs and cores. I haven't seen any heater cores available, let alone an all-metal solution. I find them listed for sale many places but when I actually move the part to the shopping cart it becomes "unavailable". I figure I will do a bypass for now so I can keep driving while I search for a solution. I might have to create my own with help from the local radiator shop.

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