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Old 08-04-2018, 01:47 PM   #26
constantinus
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holy crap that's really yellow!
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:02 PM   #27
ObewanKenobi
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Venetian Red Pearl

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LOVE stores like this! First question that nobody has asked; why are you doing this project under a tent in the wilderness?

Second question; have you ever hear of Jalopnik? You should post your story and photos there, they would love it! https://jalopnik.com/
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:23 PM   #28
LateralG
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that's the coolest Subaru I've seen in a while
good work
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Old 08-05-2018, 06:42 AM   #29
jasona
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Custom Dirt/Snow twotone

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObewanKenobi View Post
First question that nobody has asked; why are you doing this project under a tent in the wilderness?
LOL. This is what 'driveway mechanic' looks like when you live at the end of a dirt road outside of Fairbanks Alaska. It beats last summer when my BRAT threw a wheel bearing and I spent a day replacing it in a powerline clearing on the side of the road.

And yeah, I read Jalopnik daily I've posted a few pics on their #drivefreeordie instagram hashtag. I put build videos on YouTube for my BRAT and I'm planning to do a series with this car too, the first one will cover the cosmetics.
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Old 08-06-2018, 06:39 PM   #30
Handsdown
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Was this always an Alaska car? Or was it imported from Canada, or come up from the lower 48?
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:55 PM   #31
jasona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handsdown View Post
Was this always an Alaska car? Or was it imported from Canada, or come up from the lower 48?
I was under the impression that it was bought new in Alaska but I don't actually know the history. It has a 1984 University of Alaska parking sticker on the windshield, so it's been in Alaska since then. The old tags on the car are from 1984 so that, combined with the parking pass and the fact that it hasn't been to the DMV since they started computerizing their records, makes me believe it hasn't really been used for the past 30+ years. That leaves an 8 year window from 1977 to 1984 that is pretty much a mystery to me; it's possible it was bought somewhere else and the owner moved to Alaska in that time.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:15 PM   #32
JohnnyWas
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This is shaping up to be something VERY cool
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:18 PM   #33
jasona
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Minor update: Got the paint buffed and the front bumper, roof rack, emblems and trim installed. I wish I had a back bumper. Also I sprayed some metallic gunmetal gray accents on the B, C, and D pillars to enhance the 'longroofiness' of the wagon. That's hard to see in these pictures but it'll be obvious next time I post a side view. No pictures but I also pulled all the carpet out of the interior to clean and vacuum under the carpet.

Wagon Build Log 26 by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

Wagon Build Log 27 by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

Wagon Build Log 28 by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:40 PM   #34
jasona
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Here's a more exciting update: We got it started last night!

To recap, the previous owner sold it to me with the diagnosis that the fuel pump wouldn't pump when the key is turned to 'on', and it wouldn't crank. He had checked all the fuses in the main fuse box and they were good, so he wasn't sure where to go, he suspected a bad wire somewhere. After reading a bit, I found the fuel pump thing was normal; it's not supposed to pump until the engine is rotating, the fuel for startup is supposed to come from fuel left over in the carb float bowl from the last time it started. So I set to looking into the not-cranking issue. I removed the sheath from the engine bay wiring so I could look for a bad wire, and I found three fuses hidden inside the sheath, two of which were blown. I replaced those plus put a new starter in it - the old starter wouldn't turn even when I hotwired it directly - and that was enough to get it to crank. I noted that the fuel pump does pump while cranking, so that's fine.

Next I did an oil/filter change and refreshed the ignition system with new spark plugs, wires, distributor cap, coil, voltage regulator, and alternator. I manually filled the carb float bowl with fuel and, with the help of a friend spraying starting fluid, got it to fire up!


It's hard to crank and won't stay running - and notably it's NOT hard to crank when the coil is disconnected, so adding spark makes it harder to crank. I think that means the timing is too far advanced, although I guess it was like that when I bought it since I haven't touched it. But with some tweaking of the timing and carb I think it'll come around well.

After that it just needs brakes and tires, then it's ready for the road. I've got all the brake parts sitting here already; it'll be getting a nice little brake upgrade. I was originally just going to throw on new rotors/pads up front and drums/shoes in the rear, but it turns out it's hard to find new rotors/drums for a Subaru this old. So in the front it's going to get a set of 2nd gen Leone brakes; I have new 2nd gen rotors, pads, and calipers. This is a minor upgrade because they're vented rotors which should be more fade resistant than the original non-vented rotors, but I'll probably never drive the car in a way that would make a difference so the real upgrade is just that 2nd gen parts are still readily available which will make it easy to find replacement parts in the future.

The rear, however, will get a good upgrade because I found a 1987 GL-10 turbo in my local junkyard. For those who don't know, all three generations of these cars had rear drums brakes - except the turbo models, which had rear discs, and they bolt on to the non-turbo models. So I grabbed the disc brake hubs and backing plates from the junkyard and sand-blasted and painted them to look nice, and I'll match them with new rotors, pads, and calipers.

So it's going to be a 4-wheel disc converted 1st gen wagon. At least I hope so... I'm about 85% sure these parts will bolt up but I won't know for sure until I get my hands dirty.

Last edited by jasona; 08-21-2018 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:36 PM   #35
CreepyCrawl
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Killer!!!!!!! Looks like a rewarding project to bring this one back to life
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Old 08-23-2018, 01:10 PM   #36
car_freak85
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EA63 , EA81T, EJ20G,
EJ205

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasona View Post
So it's going to be a 4-wheel disc converted 1st gen wagon. At least I hope so... I'm about 85% sure these parts will bolt up but I won't know for sure until I get my hands dirty.
IIRC you're going to have to do some grinding on the backing plate. It will interfere with the semi-trailing arm. Rear brake hoses will need to be modified. (I like to use SS braided hoses from a WRX. Works on EA81/82, but have never tried it on a Gen 1.)

Other than that (and a proportioning valve to get the correct brake pressure to the rear wheels) everything is bolt in.

On the proportioning valve: I've done this swap on an EA81T wagon and while you can live with the increased rear brake bias, it can make for some interesting handling characteristics, especially at high speeds or in slick conditions. The rears will lock up first, which makes the rear end very unstable.
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Old 08-23-2018, 06:47 PM   #37
jasona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car_freak85 View Post
IIRC you're going to have to do some grinding on the backing plate. It will interfere with the semi-trailing arm. Rear brake hoses will need to be modified. (I like to use SS braided hoses from a WRX. Works on EA81/82, but have never tried it on a Gen 1.)

Other than that (and a proportioning valve to get the correct brake pressure to the rear wheels) everything is bolt in.

On the proportioning valve: I've done this swap on an EA81T wagon and while you can live with the increased rear brake bias, it can make for some interesting handling characteristics, especially at high speeds or in slick conditions. The rears will lock up first, which makes the rear end very unstable.
I do have the stock proportioning valve from the junkyard GL-10, I just didn't mention it. But last night I started fitting the front brakes and found they won't bolt on because the spacing of the bolts that hold the front caliper to the hubs was apparently different on the Gen 1. I guess I'll throw them on my BRAT instead, where I know they'll fit (I've already converted that car to complete 3rd gen crossmember and front suspension). I can still try the rear discs on the wagon, and in the front I guess I'll have to go with normal 1st gen calipers and rotors.
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Old 08-23-2018, 06:48 PM   #38
jasona
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Well I dialed back something like 15-20 degrees of timing and now it starts and idles easily. I moved it back and forth about 5 feet just to see if it would:

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Old 08-23-2018, 08:39 PM   #39
cyrenus
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Very, very cool, nice work! I remember rolling around in a two-door like that a buddy had when I was a teenager. Love your wilderness 'garage' also -- just goes to show you don't need a high dollar shop to do some nice work. Keep it coming!
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:38 AM   #40
car_freak85
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EA63 , EA81T, EJ20G,
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasona View Post
I do have the stock proportioning valve from the junkyard GL-10, I just didn't mention it. But last night I started fitting the front brakes and found they won't bolt on because the spacing of the bolts that hold the front caliper to the hubs was apparently different on the Gen 1. I guess I'll throw them on my BRAT instead, where I know they'll fit (I've already converted that car to complete 3rd gen crossmember and front suspension). I can still try the rear discs on the wagon, and in the front I guess I'll have to go with normal 1st gen calipers and rotors.
I think the EA81 knuckle will swap in, that's how you get the vented rotors on a Gen 1. (Don't take my word for it, research first).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrenus View Post
Very, very cool, nice work! I remember rolling around in a two-door like that a buddy had when I was a teenager. Love your wilderness 'garage' also -- just goes to show you don't need a high dollar shop to do some nice work. Keep it coming!
True, but he's not going to be out there in December working...
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:43 PM   #41
Shanaru242
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Stuff like this is why I even NASIOC.

Good work, sir!
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:21 PM   #42
jasona
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Custom Dirt/Snow twotone

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Quote:
Originally Posted by car_freak85 View Post
I think the EA81 knuckle will swap in, that's how you get the vented rotors on a Gen 1. (Don't take my word for it, research first).
Ohh... I'll definitely try to find some more info about that, I know a guy with a few EA81 parts cars I could grab some knuckles from.

It wouldn't matter right now anyway because Rockauto sent me the wrong rotors
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Old 09-01-2018, 09:36 PM   #43
jasona
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Custom Dirt/Snow twotone

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It's on the road now! Since the tires that came with it were pretty cracked and dryrotted, I borrowed a set of 4x140 spokes from a friend as a temporary solution to get on the road. Yesterday I went by the DMV to get plates and tags, then called up my insurance company and added it to my policy. Street legal now! It was still quite rough under load. I tried to check the timing with a timing light and it was so far off the timing mark wasn't even visible in the window on the flywheel. I had the distributor cranked all the way over as far as it would go to the retard direction just to get it running, so I guessed that someone in the past removed the distributor and reinstalled it wrong. I pulled it out and re-clocked it by one tooth and it made a huge improvement in both power and smoothness. I still need to put a timing light on it to fine tune it. I also found the carb adjustment screw was three full turns out when the factory specifies around 1.5 turns, and again there was a noticeable improvement in driveability once I brought it back close to factory spec.

With yesterday being its first time out on the road, I took it to the usual Friday night local car meet spot and found a few folks who were pretty excited to finally check it out. @thewanderingfoz on instagram took these shots:

First time on the road by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

First time on the road by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

First time on the road by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

First time on the road by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

It still has a little roughness under load and is possibly misfiring a cylinder at times. Once that's worked out - probably just more carb and timing/ignition weaknesses - it's going to be really smooth and driveable. Yesterday I put in an order for a Weber 32/36 carb and an MSD 6AL ignition box, I think that should put it in a really good place.

It also has a major exhaust leak that makes it a really smelly experience to ride around in. I think I can get my buddy with a welder and tube bender and we can build a simple exhaust in a couple of hours.

The brakes still need work. I placed a new order for Gen 2 front calipers and rotors (apparently I derped on my previous order and ordered all gen 3 stuff, that's why it wouldn't fit). The rear will probably stay drums. Right now the rears aren't working at all; I think there must be a clog or a pinch in the hard lines somewhere. But I have a roll of brake line and a flare tool so I can run new lines some afternoon.

I plan to lower it a little, but that's going to wait until after I get the permanent wheel/tire setup so I know how much room I have to work with.

The ride and handling are really surprisingly good. My BRAT is a bouncy mess, so I'm amazed at how good this thing drives. Once the last few issues are worked out it'll be a good roadtrip machine.
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:43 PM   #44
jasona
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I installed a new Weber 32/36 carb and an MSD ignition and it's fixed about 80% of the roughness and misfiring. I'm thinking the remaining 20% will be fixed through a new exhaust, a vigorous search for vacuum leaks, and tuning the carb and timing. I've noticed oil dripping off the block somewhere, so I'll soon be pulling the engine to replace all the old oil seals and gaskets, and since I've noticed the clutch slipping occasionally, a new clutch kit will go in at the same time.

But it's smooth enough now that I'm happy driving it a bit further out of town. Yesterday I went out to a spot around 20 miles outside of town to some scenic rock formations. The last mile to this spot is a very rocky ATV trail with a few deep-ish muddy ruts and potholes. The car handled it no problem (small enough to weave around the bad ruts) and looked great out at the rocks. Some other folks showed up who parked their SUV back at the trailhead and walked out here, and they seemed surprised to see this thing.

Wagon at Murphy Dome by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

Wagon at Murphy Dome by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr

Wagon at Murphy Dome by Jason Ahrns, on Flickr
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:15 PM   #45
CreepyCrawl
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Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!!!!!

Made my evening, thank you
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Old 09-13-2018, 08:21 PM   #46
jasona
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Custom Dirt/Snow twotone

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CreepyCrawl View Post
Now thatís what Iím talking about!!!!!!!

Made my evening, thank you
Thanks. It made my month

I know I promised those Drag mesh wheels back on page 1, but the look of these white spoke loaners has really grown on me, so I just ordered a set of these instead. 15x7, 35mm offset, white with machined lip. I'll use 15mm spacers in the rear to get clearance from the trailing arm, and that should set the outer edge of the wheel pretty close to flush with the fender.

JR6 | White - 18x10,5 by JR-Wheels, on Flickr
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:42 PM   #47
jasona
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Custom Dirt/Snow twotone

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And here's a 10 minute video showing most of the work done so far.

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Old 09-17-2018, 07:49 PM   #48
EvoXtoWRX
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Crystal Black Silica

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I really love that project car! Great work! Definitely brought it back to life.
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Old 09-19-2018, 12:47 PM   #49
subyrally
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17 Crosstrek 85 brat

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I love it!
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:00 AM   #50
MihaiFlorescu
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2001 Wagon WRX

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Congrats! Really inspires us, those that spend thousands and are still not happy with their mods or restorations.
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