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Subaru MV284 ongoing toil.

Joey spud

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With the YRV more or less finished i think its about time i got my arse in gear and sort out my Subaru.

I have owned this since 2012 when it was a beige truck with grot in all the usual places.


I spent an age welding it up and swapping panels over from my other totally rotted out one before prepping the body to the best of my ability.


Before paying to get it painted in vw corrida red 2pack.



Once put back together it did look quite tidy.

Fast forward to 2019,the mot has long since expired,the expensive paint job has faded and rust has burst through the rear arches and sills.





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So bonnet up,let the fun commence.


The 1800cc boxer engine has always burnt oil and its big end bearings really knock while waiting for the oil pressure to rise so that is a good a place as any to start.








It's an oily old bugger but even the down pipes unbolted without any complaint.


Last year i bought a cheap engine crane just for pulling the motor out but the quality of some of its welds were so piss poor i had to beef them up before using it in anger.






Obviously being a flat four it's only half the length of a common engine so is a doddle to get out.

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That's a real shame. How come it got so bad so quickly?

Towards the end i started to rush things.

I should have put fresh metal in the arches rather than just treating the rust and using filler.

As for the sills these have rotted from the inside and i think at some point the screen seal was allowing rain water to run down the A post and soak them.


It also lives outside all year round.


I have new sill panels for it but the floor where it joins them is going to need help too.

I plan to make a template of the rear arch profile then go down the scrappy and cut the arches out of something similar.

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While the motor is out i am going to change the gearbox.
It all works ok 2wd,4wd and hi and low ratio is all good but it whines and marks it spot with a few drops of ep80.


I have a spare from my long since scrapped one but its been stored behind the shed for six years and the bin bags i had wrapped it in had long since rotted away and it wasn't looking too great.

So i got it into the shed today and gave it a good clean and freed up the sticky high/low linkage then removed a little inspection plate and had a peep inside.

My big fear was that water has got into it but the inside is still oily with no sign of corrosion.


I sack barrowed the engine up the garden to the shed today where i sat it next to one i started to prepare earlier.

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I was curious why the old engine has always burnt oil so i popped the heads off.

These EA81 engines are similar in design to a Beetle unit with a gear driven camshaft and push rod operated valves,they produce 85 bhp from their 1781cc's.




The carbon/oil deposits seemed similar across all the cylinders with maybe no4 being the most coked up.


Looking down bore no4 there is some light scoring and right at the top of it there is a crack about the size of a little finger nail.
Most strange.

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I took the dog out for a walk earlier and it started raining so the Hound (Boggy the Beagle) and i sheltered in the pub (as you do) and i decided to pull the valves out of a head when i got back home.


Well there's a fair bit of oil on the backs of the inlet valves but their guides and seals still seemed in good nick.
Unlike the exhaust guides that are really baggy.


So that have i learnt from all this ?

Well a couple of pints of "Proper job" Cornish ale at three in the afternoon didn't help with the diagnosing process one bit.

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Time to get the incontinent,noisey gearbox out today.

The driveshafts are secured with a roll pin and because the gearbox was loose i was able to yank it left and right to release and remove them without having to drop the bottom balljoints which was a result.

Everything came undone ok except the speedo cable which is plastic and screws into the alloy box but 29 years later it was not moving so i had to release the cable from the back of the dash and pull it through the bulkhead instead.



I was hoping i could drop the box downwards and drag it out from below but it's a heavy bugger and my backs not as good as it once was so i hooked the crane on it and pulled it up and out instead.



Blue rope and my best Granny knot,proper shitting right there..



That's err better ??

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With the gearboxes side by side i tired to to unscrew the speedo cable but i was just chewing up the hexagon bit.

I dont have a spare cable and getting one would be a bit of a hunt so i reluctantly ended up using a cutting disc and slicing into the gearbox where the threads are allowing me to hit it with lots of plusgas which eventually got it moving without totally wrecking it.

But doing this has make a bit of a mess of the old gearbox but if i ever need to use it again i reckon some chemical metal would bodge it up ok.

I had ordered a new release bearing from Rock auto in the U.S last year but it was the wrong one.


The bearing was correct but the carrier it was pressed onto wasn't but i was able to swap it over onto my old carrier.

I had also bought some gearbox mounts at the same time and these did fit.



So that'll do it can go back in again now.

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Straight forward service parts are easy enough to get from most motor factors but anything more model specific can eventually found on Ebay.


A guy called Giles up near Halifax is a bit of a hero and has remanufactured stuff like wings and tailgate skins in fibreglass and recently imported a shipping container brimmed full of bits back from Oz.


I used to have a good little Subaru / Suzuki / TVR dealer in Ditton (sort of Maidstone area) that would always search for stuff and if it was still available order it for me but they closed down a while back and i don't know where the next nearest dealer is.


Rockauto in the U.S are the go to supplier and are really good,their website is excellent and prices are very cheap (complete new driveshaft just £28) but obviously the killer is the cost of shipping so it pays to do one big shop and try and order everything from one warehouse and not different ones scattered around the country that way you only pay for postage from one location.



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I swapped all the good bits from the old engine to the lower mileage spare one today.

This one is very quiet and doesn't seem to burn oil but i did pull the heads off last summer and give it a bit of a once over anyway.




I lightly reground the valves although they didn't really need it and checked the bores/replaced the stem seals and gaskets as required.

I also replaced all the O rings in the oil pump as these always go hard and leak.


Ahh fuck it !!


I had aquired a sump gasket years ago and thought i may as well change it while the engine is hanging in mid air so unbolted it only to find i hadn't drained the old oil out of the engine (muppet).

It so nearly ended in tears as i scrabbled to find something to collect four litres of dirty oil in.


Pleasingly it is nice and clean inside the sump and the block has a nice golden sheen to it.


Ahh fuck it again.

Far less pleasing is my sump gasket has either shrunk or (more likely) not suitable for an EA81.

Cork gaskets are so yesterday anyway and with zero chance of getting the correct one locally i resorted to Tiger seal instead.

If it leaks (i'm sure it wont) i can drop the sump easily enough when the engine is in situ.

Finally for today (everyone cheers) i decided to remove the Egr valve and its plumbing.
I only needed to pull its vac pipe off it to render it useless but i made a blanking plate out of ally to cover the valves orifice on the inlet manifold and also welded up the ends of the pipework to keep it tidy.





So there you have it.

Right i am off down The Chequers as it's 80's night tonight.

Tomorrow i am going to fanny about with the exhaust maybe.



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That cork gasket will probably return to size ok if you soak it in water overnight. Glue it to the sump with your favourite sealing goop and then leave to set with the sump gasket pressed down on a flat thing by a heavy weight. Bit of grease on the block-side of the gasket and it'll come of undamaged next time the sump is removed. (Probably)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Manflu (may even have been Ebola) and constant rain kept me indoors all last week.
I had planned on cleaning the oil from the front cross member and popping the gearbox and driveshafts back in but not a chance.

But i had shiny bits up the shed.
I got these nice new (not recononditioned) driveshafts from Rockauto last Summer so thought it best to make sure they matched the spline pattern of my gearbox and drive hubs which thankfully they did.



Hopefully these shafts will last longer than the reconditioned ones previously fitted to the truck.

I think the problem is the old units used for remanufacturing them are just too worn out now days to allow them to be successfully rebuilt yet again.

My exhaust system needed help too it wasn't that old but was suffering with much surface rust and my Cherry Bomb rear silencer had snapped above the rear axle.

Heat proof paint seems awfully expensive,doesn't prevent rust starting and it usually has the covering ability of Ribena.

I had dig about on the net and wondered if cold galvanised Zinc paint would be any good instead.

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So i took a punt and spent £19 on a can of this stuff.


I wasn't sure if it could take the high temperatures created by a rorty Subaru flat4 so i tested it first by painting the Daihatsu down pipe with some,leaving it overnight to dry then going for a brisk drive the next day to see how it performed.

Initially it got a bit smokey but the stuff has mostly stayed put and has baked on nice and hard so i decided to use it on the Subaru's pipework.


Here's the distressed looking genuine Subaru front and centre pipes.

I used the rust deox stuff on the front two pipes then gave them two thick coats of the Rust-Anode paint.
This stuff dries with a grey primer top layer but this can be gently rubbed away with a blunt scotch pad to reveal the thick zinc coating below.




This is my old once red Cherry Bomb.


Digging around down the side of the shed i found the spare single tail pipe from the YRV and after a bit of measuring and cutting i was able to biff it back to its former glory again.






I have no idea if this coating will prolong the life of the hard to find genuine exhaust but it surely can't hurt either.

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That's a lovely old thing, looks like a great (If a little daunting) project to get stuck into.


RE exhausts. I've always promised myself one of the stainless bespoke 'lifetime guarantee' jobbies, in reality I'm far too mean to part with the cash for one but if this car's a keeper it might be worth thinking about?

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Good progress, mine recently passed its mot with a couple of advisories for brakes, ball joint and play in the steering. I've found a ball joint from a local motor factors but they don't seem to stock discs or pads. Any tips for finding some that aren't hideously expensive?

I've spotted a couple of reconditioned steering racks on ebay but can't decide if it's really worth the effort in changing it.

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