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Old 01-05-2007, 01:29 AM   #1
HamFist
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Default Oont her name is Helga, yah!

1.) What's that mysterious knock?
2.) Do the door locks rust or stick internally at all?
3.) Wanna see an E85 converted old school leggy ?
4.) Where do I start looking for performance suspension parts?
5.) If the Subaru 5 spd, AWD platform has been around soooo long...won't WRX turbo stuff transplant right into it with a new crossmember? As far as I know, the stock WRX turbo parts are the same stretching clear back to this chassis. It's really not that different from swapping an RS.

I have this habit of naming my old cars with old Russian lady names. They're sturdy enough to hold up a long time . "Helga" is the latest edition to my stable. She's a 1990 N/A 2.2 Legacy wagon. It's got AWD and I paid quite the low price of $250 this afternoon. Considering she hasn't blown up yet, I've probably gotten my money's worth out of her already . She flies really well in the top of 3rd on the interstate and has plenty of oomph to move.

Mechanically, the car is in very good shape for 275k. Well, it's more sound than the body at least. It's got rust in the lower panel areas and a slight mysterious knock that could be an old timing belt or tensioner? It's a quick knocking sound about 3-4 times on cold startup and then it goes away immediately. If it idles for a while, then the sound comes back only when revved hard. Drive it some more, and it goes away. That's normal from what I hear. Even with the knock, it's still very quiet compared to my RS . Most of the time it doesn't make any noise at all. It burns no oil and runs really quick compared to my expecations. It's been well maintained for 275k the best I can tell. The owner I bought it from, and the one before him, were both car guys. Some dents and rust really don't bug me on a car like this. If anything, I need to fix the doorlocks and the rear tailgate. They're a little finnicky.

I'll hopefully convert this car to run on ethanol fuel, just like my RS. Hotrod has done 2 Subarus older than this on 50% blends with good results. I'll look under her hood further once this snow passes. A WRX swap into something like this is just tooooooooo tempting. Supposedly it fits and the factory turbo underpinnings really haven't changed much since this very chassis. Ohhh would I love to find out... Where else do I start looking for performance stuff for this car? I love the old school stuff that I see here.
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:19 AM   #2
Jonathan
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Mechanically speaking, as long as you use a turbo cross member for the engine, the WRX peices should bolt on with out difficulties. getting a larger exhaust set up that fits (maybe from an older turbo Legacy SS ?) would be the only obvious issue. The challenges are in adapting a WRX ECU, which requires a WRX style gauge cluster and a fair amount of changes to your wireing harness. A better bet for a car like Helga (which doesnt need to be OBD II compliant) would be to "piggy back" a 3rd party boost controller/knock sensor on to your existing ECU.

My guess is the knock you are hearing might be a mild case of "piston slap".

Sometimes the finicky key behaviour is do simply to wear from an older key... if you can locate a spare un-used newer key (and make a decent copy of it, so you dont wear it out) the finicky-ness issues might go away. If you have an original worn out key, a Subaru dealer might be able to cut you a new key based on a key code on that key ? (I am not entirely sure on this). At any rate door lock de-icer/lubricant should help some, although not as much as warm weather will.
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:31 AM   #3
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Sorry to dissapoint you but Helga is not a Russian name (to the best of my knowledge.)
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:33 AM   #4
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What about Olga? That was my other beater . Is Helga her Bulgarian cousin?
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Old 01-05-2007, 01:28 PM   #5
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The "knocking" sound (as long as it isn't actually engine knock, which is more of a pinging sound) is pretty normal.
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Old 01-05-2007, 02:12 PM   #6
Matt Monson
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Gary, Gary, Gary,
Welcome to the club. If you bothered to call me back, I would have answered all your questions in person.

Don't bother with a modern WRX swap. What you want is a '94-96 WRX swap. Why, you might ask? Because you only have to add about half a dozen wires and repin half a dozen more. If you ever got off your couch and came up to my place, I'd even show you how. If you are really nice, I may even tell you where to find a swap for really cheap. Currently all 4 of mine are spoken for...
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Monson View Post
Gary, Gary, Gary,
Welcome to the club. If you bothered to call me back, I would have answered all your questions in person.

Don't bother with a modern WRX swap. What you want is a '94-96 WRX swap. Why, you might ask? Because you only have to add about half a dozen wires and repin half a dozen more. If you ever got off your couch and came up to my place, I'd even show you how. If you are really nice, I may even tell you where to find a swap for really cheap. Currently all 4 of mine are spoken for...


I wish I had neighbors like you....:P
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Old 01-07-2007, 09:48 PM   #8
Wiscon_Mark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvdrt View Post
I wish I had neighbors like you....:P
12345

I'm thinking I need to move to Colorado for the ghetto garage alone.
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Old 01-08-2007, 02:24 AM   #9
Plays_With_toys
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Subscribed! I want to know all the details of getting e85 to work on a 2.2 here at altitude!

Unless this 94-96 WRX swap is really that easy, maybe on my car as well? Though, I think the 90 is OBD I and mine is OBD II, so maybe it is more work for me...?

Helga is definately German/Dutch. What about something like Svetlana?
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Old 01-08-2007, 03:07 PM   #10
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Svetlana...sounds slutty.

I like it!

I'll probably add more of the E85 info to the existing thread. I'm trying to get her to pass emissions first. If she doesn't pass, I 'll throwin some ethanol and see what she does. With that leaky head gasket, I don't know if it will pass.
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Old 01-08-2007, 04:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodik View Post
Sorry to dissapoint you but Helga is not a Russian name (to the best of my knowledge.)
I think thats Polish.
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:11 PM   #12
Matt Monson
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Originally Posted by Plays_With_toys View Post
Subscribed! I want to know all the details of getting e85 to work on a 2.2 here at altitude!

Unless this 94-96 WRX swap is really that easy, maybe on my car as well? Though, I think the 90 is OBD I and mine is OBD II, so maybe it is more work for me...?

Helga is definately German/Dutch. What about something like Svetlana?
Unfortunately,
Yours is a bit more of a challenge to swap. It's that whole OBD-II thing. It's the next generation of wiring and is more akin to the '97-98 EJ20K wiring than the earlier wiring. To do yours would be really similar to doing a '98 LGT...
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:14 PM   #13
Matt Monson
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BTW,
Helga has simultaneous origins in Old German and Norse cultures. It means holy or sacred...
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:17 PM   #14
pmbassist
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Nice, I've got the same car + setup as you (for $100) , they're great wagons. They're quick bbecause they're light. 2900lbs stock, not bad for a wagon! I've got the same problem with the key, damn it's annoying. I keep thinking i'm going to snap the key off in the lock even though the key is new!
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Old 01-08-2007, 09:54 PM   #15
HamFist
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The back latch won't even open right now. I haven't introduced it to my crowbar yet, though. I've sprayed all the locks with bike lube since I don't have any WD40 at the moment. It didn't really make a difference.

I've GOT three different blocks I can use. The noe in it, the one out of my RS, or rebuild the spare 2.5 P2 block. The RS is good, the spare 2.5 needs a wrist pin, and this 2.2 has a subtle knock. I can listen for it and hear it. Even then it's still subtle. Machines don't forgive, though. We'll tempt fate and see how long she lets us go :P.

I topped it off with 3 gallons of ethanol today. I tried it this afternoon. I expect to have to change the fuel filter and pump both purely from 275k of use, now with more detergent ethanol in the fuel. It should pick up plenty of gunk. Right now, I'll just see how long it takes. Since there's no back seat, the fuel pump is easy to get at . It's making that scraping noise that my walbro did before it died. However with the ethanol mix, it went away shortly after. We'll see if it comes back. The idle is smoother and there's more pickup. We have E10 around here at all the pumps anyway. You can't get gas without 10% ethanol up here. The previous owner also replaced the fuel filter a while ago. We'll see what happens. So far it really likes it. I expect the same 50/50 ratio for the cutoff point of ethanol.

One oil change later, I'm using Valvoline high mileage oil and Lucas oil treatment. The knock is virtually gone except for startup and high throttle loads. I'll put new plugs and an air filter in it before the emissions test tomorrow. Getting it to pass was my goal, then I'll worry about getting another block. It needs struts, too. Lift kit or not, it needs struts. That probably can't wait if I want my tires to last . The motor will hold, but these struts are shot and I don't need struts to pass emissions .

With 275k on the odo, it should get a senior citizen discount on emissions...
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Old 01-08-2007, 11:37 PM   #16
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That in tank fuel filter sock is shot for sure. you wont believe how bad!
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:09 AM   #17
HamFist
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Hmph...

It likes 20% ethanol. This thing has 275k miles. I feel like I found another posessed Subaru. If I had one of these before my RS, I'd know so much more about it already. Helga also needs a new right front axle. I don't want to use the axle out of my RS, but it's an option supposedly. She still feels like she wants another round, even after 275,899 miles. That oil leak seems to have stopped, or old crud just burnt off. It doesn't stink anymore except for the trunk carpet. Tomorrows emissions test should be interesting. It didn't run like this until I tuned it up a bit, rod knock or not. You have to really be listening to hear it. Hopefully it'll pass tomorrow. I've seen far worse on the roads.
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:27 AM   #18
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These older heads are famous for valve train noise....
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:37 AM   #19
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:50 AM   #20
Plays_With_toys
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So you were running a 50/50 blend in your RS? Is this the blue RS that had e85 in big white letters on awdpirates? What did you have to do to support the 50/50 blend? And where do you get the ethanol?
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:30 AM   #21
HamFist
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The RS was a full E85 retune with WRX 440 injectors. 50/50 seems to be the limit for stock parts. Helga idled a little rough last night getting use to it. That's why I'm feeding it in slowly. Supposedly it uses 280cc injectors. My stockers in the RS handled them fine. There's 275k worth of gunk in this fuel system to clean out. It's getting all of that out of there in addition to retuning itself. The older ECU's are indeed slower about it, but the power increase was pretty immediate. It actually pulls above 3500 now. Low end torque was a nice improvement, too. It's cool to see ethanol wake up an old car like this, but freshening things up a bit probably is more directly responsible. For an engine that needs a head gasket, the motor and the coolant aren't milky at all. In fact, the oil looked fine when I changed it (no shavings), and the coolant was bright green when I added the Subaru coolant conditioner. The engine is literally held together by glue now . The coolant conditioner is the stuff used in the RS recall, and Lucas oil treatment looks like that sticky drool from Aliens .

New plugs before the emissions test today should make it pass with flying colors. I changed the PCV valve a few days ago and the CEL flashed on startup 2 or 3 different times after I changed it. It's gone away, thankfully. It revs and runs like butter . I love being able to tune up cars like this. It simply refuses to die . I expect it will pass, but I'm curious what the real numbers are. This will be one of two warm enough days in the middle of all this snow to get it done.

Last edited by HamFist; 01-09-2007 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:50 AM   #22
Matt Monson
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Oh Noes! You put that garbage coolant conditioner in there? There's almost as many documented failures related to that additive as to the head gasket problems on their own!!!
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:18 PM   #23
HamFist
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If it passes emissions, for the next years, it can do whatever it wants .

BTW, will it take bkr6 ngks? I have an extra set for my SOHC and wasn't sure if it took the same plugs.
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Old 01-09-2007, 01:34 PM   #24
Matt Monson
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Yep. You can throw those in there.

I am interested to follow the EA85 thing. I might be getting similar vehicle and will want to tinker on a car that's not my daily...
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Old 01-09-2007, 03:23 PM   #25
HamFist
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I'll run it on that 50% blend for a while after it gets used to this in it. A new o2 sensor might not be a bad idea either.
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