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So I'm a Subaru owner....

Discussion in 'Microvans' started by Krieger-san, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Greetings to you all!
    About a week and a half ago, I bought this awesome 1992 Subaru Libero and I want to restore it. Love the van, can't wait to drive across the Universe in it.
    Has some problems though:
    Sitting for like 5 years;
    Needs engine service;
    Needs carburetor vacuum lines fixed. Got 2 of them unplugged, don't know if the others are in their right position. Choke is not working, neither does the idle(must be kept by gas pedal);
    Alternator won't charge;
    Needs hand brake cable(broken);
    Needs replacement left side rear corner window(broken by vandals) ;
    Needs rust prevention;
    Needs new tires;
    Needs electric contacts checked/cleaned of corrosion.
    This is my Introductions thread: http://minitrucktalk.com/showthread.php?t=11801 , you can see my van and it's problems in detail there. I would really appreciate the help, I seriously need info, 'cuz I want to get it up and running ASAP. Not just because I love it so damn much, but I also need it 'cuz all of our cars are down for the moment and for an active commuter family like us, this little van is gold.

    About me: I'm just your average Joe, nothing special. I'm 20 and I'm currently in my 3rd year of college.
    I live in Bucharest, Romania, I'm a total car freak, total Ford freak(and owner of a 1987 Merkur XR4Ti which I want to restore/tune, but I am pausing the project until I finish the van) and a total Japan freak. I'm fascinated by everything Jap, especially Jap cars.. First love will always be Ford, then come the Japinators. Also, I only trust the Germans, the Japanese and the Korean to make good cars.
    Money doesn't push me out of the house, so I'm trying to do all the things that I can by myself, I'm only calling specialists for serious stuff that need professional training.

    I hope we'll get along just fine and I hope I learn something from you all. Best wishes!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2011
  2. anthill

    anthill Member

    Welcome Krieger, sorry to say there's not many folks here with carb-ed KJ8-type microvans here. Most of us have EFI FA8s (1994+).

    I don't have any photos of the engine compartment or vacuum line diagrams.

    Glad to hear the van's not so far from running condition though! Lots of shops re-build alternators, so hopefully between that and a German junkyard you can find the stuff you need!
  3. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Yeah, so I've got some time today and I thought I'll work on me little van. I installed brand new 15A fuses which I purchased this morning and I took some time cleaning in the back. Apparently, there were still glass shards all over the place.
    I also took time to inspect and study the car, especially the engine bay and the undercarriage. I must say, I was quite amazed. It's a small tank this thing. Looks so damn solid with it's ladder frame and it's re-enforcements :) . It even has a kind of special protection for the front axle so you don't damage the drive shafts when you chuck it about in the hedges. So cool :) .
    The engine bay is a mess. Dust, spider webs, bits of rust here and there, lots of lines and wires going in any direction possible. I found a third loose vacuum hose(looks like it was severed). I THINK I found where one of the first two should, but that's only a guess made by the line's length.
    It's really a shame the carb doesn't work and there are not so many people with carbed Liberos. I'm definitely an EFI kind of guy, I never liked carbs(my XR Ford has multi port EFI and it's much better), but now I roll with what I've got. I'll keep this engine until it completely dies(it's Jap, it was well looked after so it's very likely to die well after I do).
    I must say, I know little about this particular carb. It's supposed to be a Hitachi double barrel with an automatic choke. That's all I know. I'm quite nervous actually. I took off the air duct to the carb to look inside and clean(w/ carburetor cleaning spray) and it didn't looked like a double barrel to me. I made some pictures, if any of the people who know these carbs recognizes it, please tell me if it's the original Hitachi or something else.
    Spark plug wires look new, so do the spark plugs so I'll check them off my purchase list(for now).

    Gonna tinker some more on the van tomorrow, maybe give it a little wash.
    Thanks a lot! Cheers!
  4. Glasstech

    Glasstech New Member

    Welcome Freiger-San
    So nice that someone is a newer newbie than me.
    Love the colour scheme on your van.
    Re your carb problem.
    My problem with carbs is the opposite of yours.
    Having delt with motorcycle carbs most of my life I'm very comfortable with slide valves. My current bike has vacuum carbs that I'm still coming to terms with.
    I'm not even going to look at the Domingo's.
    I have a fiend who restores old bikes, many sitting for years before he gets them.
    On any old bike he pulls the carbs and soaks them in white gas to help disolve the old gas varnish.
    Be very careful if you do it that way, no smoking while you wirk.
    Good luck.
  5. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Thanks, Glasstech for the advice. I will take that puppy out, strip it down and clean it, but only with supervision from someone who knows what's he's doing. 'Till then, it's just intake cleaning spray and clean rags. Will most likely buy a rebuild kit also.
    There's no prob with the smoking while working, 'cuz I'm not a smoker. Let's just say that highschool is over for a few years now ;) .
    I'm glad you like the color scheme on my van, I like it too(a lot). That's why I'm gonna keep it original(unlike the XR4Ti, which I'm planning on customizing in the future). I will have to custom make one of the blue stripes on the passenger side sliding door though because it's missing. Also, I wouldn't mind one or 2 SUBARU writings.
    Last night I've spent a couple of hours staring at the pics of my carb and at this pic( http://imageshack.us/f/690/carburateurspruitst.jpg/ ) which I found on a thread here and I'm now a little bit calmer since they both look similar.
    Well, I'm off now. Gonna give my van a little wash today. Cheers!
  6. Ironraven

    Ironraven Active Member

    Have you tried Seafoam? Welcome to the forum!
  7. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    No, I never have. I saw plenty of videos on the Interweb on how to use it and what it should do, but I never tried it. I'm not sure I like it actually. In every video I saw, it made shedloads of really nasty smoke. I'm sure there are cleaner ways of cleaning an engine.
    I'll talk to a dude I know who's a sort of an automotive Chuck Norris, maybe he can help. Two things are for sure: 1) I'm not taking the thing apart by myself and 2), plugging in a cable in a connector and doing a laptop scan to get error codes is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay cooler.
  8. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Yeah, Sunday yesterday, no work so that can only mean one thing: little van time.
    Unfortunately, I had no idea I was going to stay home and tinker with the van, so I didn't took my socket wrench kit from the ranch and I had to loosen/tighten nuts with a pair of pliers :| .
    Since I said I'm not gonna do any major work all by myself, I took the time to inspect and clean electrical connections. I took just about every connector I saw in the engine compartment, pry it open and cleaned it with http://www.temad.ro/images/produse/img_462c8a926610c.jpg . Same for the terminals on the starter motor and on the alternator. Must say that those were especially corroded. I used sandpaper to clean the bulk of the oxide, then a quick spray before I put the back where they were.
    Hopefully, this will resolve my sticky starter motor problem and hopefully it will resolve the battery charging problem.
    Will do the rest of the connectors next time, along with those from under the dash. Also saw some corroded and broken ground wires in the back of the car, will fix those too.
    This morning I went and registered the car for taxes and paid the tax for this year. Now I only need to get it up and running, get the technical inspection and to register my name for the license plates.
    I'll seek help from one of my friend's dad, who is in the automotive business. He already told me he'll help me, I only need to get 10 liters of gas in the tank and a new battery. He said I should go for a Daewoo Matiz battery. What do you guys think?
  9. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Can anyone help me order parts from abroad? Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria.... wherever parts are available. Need side window and carb rebuild kit ASAP.
  10. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Sunday today(again) so I got out to my little van. Former owner ringed yesterday, called me to his place to give me some parts he had from this van and from the other one that he had. Gave me a few bags of really cool stuff including brand new boxed parts(2 Roadstar speakers, oil filter, drive shaft rubber boots, water pump, gaskets, clutch cable, etc.), original antenna, (pristine)front logo and rear SUBARU label, used rear lights, used spark plugs(and leads), used distributor caps(lots), the seat belts for the rear and middle seats, used light bulbs(lots), used timing belt, used piston rings, used valve springs and other bits, wheel center bore plastic caps(7X SUBARU, 4X Daewoo), original Streag AG documentation(no service manual sadly) and lots more. I will throw away(for recycling) the used stuff that can't be used again, but this definitely made my day. God bless the family who owned the van before me :) .
    I got a couple of mates and pushed the van down on level ground and tried to fill the cooling circuit, but we were not able to do it. For some reason, the coolant just won't go down. It filled to the brim with like a liter an 3/4 of water. I'll be checking on this next Sunday. I still need clarification on that.

    I got under the car to check that faulty handbrake cable. Turns out that the cable is there, it's intact, but it's loose at one end. Where the cable splits in two for the rear wheels, it has a small rod that I think it should be attached to the rear axle. That rod is not attached, getting out freely. Need some reference on that too. Please help me. A pic of how it should look like would be PERFECT.

    I fixed the broken driver seat. It had the screw onto which the back rest pivots de-threaded so I took threading tools(for the screw and for it's counterpart) and fixed it. Now I can sit properly in my van.

    I also continued my quest for cleaning all connectors and terminals from bad oxides. Broken a couple of rusty screws(ground terminals) in the process, but I'll find a way to re-attach them. Took the ignition coil out to be cleaned and painted.
    I'll prepare everything for next Sunday, when I shall continue my work.

    Please help me with some pics or advices on the coolant and handbrake cable problems.
    Best wishes from Bucharest!
  11. anthill

    anthill Member

  12. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Been looking at that pic for a while, I don't seem to remember that 010008160 screw being a screw, but more of a tiny rod. I'm going to take a picture of it in like 30 mins. Right now my cellphone is charging.
  13. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Made a little video of that rod I was talking about earlier(last thumbnail in my Subaru Libero set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12052190@N04/sets/72157627347666359/ ). I think that's supposed to be attached there and secured on the other side with a pin or something. It doesn't look threaded, so a nut on the other side is pretty much out of the question. Haven't seen any grooves either.
    The cable moves freely by hand pull, the locking mechanism on the brake lever works.
    Please help me on this. The handbrake is essential.
    Thanks a lot!
    PS: Please excuse my lousy speech. First time I make a video from under a car. And it was mighty cold too, caught me by surprise.
  14. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Got my ignition coil cleaned and painted(along with it's brackets), I think I'll put them back on the car today.
    Problem is, the screw that holds them on the car was really rusty and despite me spraying it with penetrating oil, it kinda broke when I undid the nut. That(and the fact that I kinda' forgot the bracket, nut order on the screw) makes me want to reposition the coil without one of the brackets(that held a small black relay which I don't think is a factory part 'cause it has Made in Germany written on it and 4 small wires next to it, but not actually connected). I would like to put the coil on the same screw(still there, but a bit shorter), with it's original bracket, but vertically. Will I face any problems if I do that? I mean, I've shaken the coil and it sounds like it has some sort of liquid in it(most likely an oil that acts as an isolator). Will installing the coil upwards fry it or something?
    Also, I've just noticed that the video I uploaded is not complete. Should have like 3 mins, it only has like 1. Will reupload. Handbrake cable question still open.
  15. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Went to the van, fitted the coil, didn't install it. Will fit perfectly in original horizontal position if I loose the relay bracket. Will do that some time this week.

    To be perfectly honest, I'm kinda' disappointed. I really don't want to offend anyone or upset anyone, but I get the feeling I'm talking to myself here. No responses, man? What's the deal with that?

    In the meantime, I'll try to sort out my cooling problem. I'll try to open the circuit, see if it's any coolant in it.
    Dude who's to tune my carb and other stuff said that the system may also be clogged with rust. I don't know.....
    If it is, what would be the appropriate course of actions? Got myself a bottle of [​IMG] , but it needs a system full of coolant and I can't quite get that with the rust plug. Please help.
  16. Sambarmon92

    Sambarmon92 Member

    That's because some of us here know, that you are the head of ISIS research department and the creator of Fister Roboto. :p :D

    Seriously, I wouldn't take it personally. My guess, is that 99.9 % of people here (myself included), know as much about your model of the Libero, as we do about the Dacia 1310, Wartburg 353, or a Skoda 1203, and can't be of much help. :eek:

    It's good to see that you're making progress in getting your van in order and trying to get it running. An awesome source of info for the Libero is:


    Last time I checked, ( it's been a while ) they had a German version of the service manual, for your Libero, available for download.

    Welcome to the forum BTW, and keep us posted on your progress. Oh ya... say hi to Cheryl/Carol for me. :D ;)
  17. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Ok, man, I understand, it's just a little weird. Maybe it's just me. And if it is, I sincerely apologize. I'm used to the fast response time of the Romanian Club Ford forum. I post and post and post and they reply and reply and reply.
    My Libero ain't that much different from the second generation ones, the only two differences are the body(which I like waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than the other one 'cuz it has awesome that late '80s-early '90s feel to it) and the fact that the engine is carbed, not fuel injected. The rest I hear is pretty much the same. My van is a late 1992 model, one of the last built with this body and the KJ8 engine.
    I already seen that Czech forum you've showed me, hell, I probably already seen them all. Problem with them(the German ones, the Czech ones, the Hungarian ones, etc) is that I can't understand a word. I only speak Romanian, English and French. So yeah, that would be a little difficult to follow.
    Anyways, I'm gonna continue posting here, I'm gonna continue my quest of restoring the car and I'll try to be a wee more patient waiting for replies.

    Good luck! Best of wishes!
  18. Sambarmon92

    Sambarmon92 Member

    I hear you man. It does get a bit frustrating, but keep plugging away. I use the Google translator on the foreign sites, it's not perfect, but good enough for me.

    Here is a link to a site from Mother Russia. They have all the service diagrams you'll ever need. They also get parts directly from Japan, you might find what you need there.


    Cheers, and good luck :pop:
  19. anthill

    anthill Member

    Don't know your van, haven't done similar work, can't give any useful advice... Keep on posting, though! :pop:
  20. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Will do ;) . As a matter of fact, here's a post right now.

    Got new filters today(air and fuel). Will install them shortly.
    Got out to the van a couple of days ago, in the morning(cold as hell), with the intention of taking the cooling lines out. Reason: they need to be inspected(there might be a rust plug somewhere) cleaned and painted(on the exterior). Didn't get to actually do it 'cuz it was too damn cold and there was not enough time to do it anyway.
    Did greased the sticky driver side sliding door handle. Plenty of penetrating spray, now it works SMOOTHLY. This was the last one un-sprayed and therefore sticky.
    Also inspected the passenger side sliding door light switch, cleaned it with contact spray and properly attached it's rubber gasket. Driver side sliding door switch has no gasket, will install one Sunday.

    Made some pics of the van, this time on the driver side and interior.
    Beware! Exterior pics may be frightful to some.
    It's not the cleanest libero around and it's definitely not the prettiest with that window hole wrapped in duct tape, but it's on the right path. Waiting for a replacement window from sashusambar. CHEERS, MATE!.
    Interior looks kinda' shabby too. Needs cleaning, vacuuming, refreshing(smells like ebonite) and it needs me to install the stereo and the speakers back.






    Plans for Sunday:
    - put ignition coil back on the car
    - replace damaged door switches rubber gaskets(1 that I know of)
    - install new fuel filter
    - take cooling lines out for inspection, cleaning and painting

    That's it for now. Have a good evening, dudes!
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  21. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Alright, so it's been about 200 years since my last post, so I shall make one right now :) .

    First of all, I've got the window from sashusambar installed. Really completes the car, it looks much much better without that duct tape there. Still haven't cleaned all the duct tape on the car, anyone who's ever tried to peel some of metal would know what I mean.

    I had all the filters replaced. Two fuel filters, one air filter. Also replaced some of the fuel rubber lines, secured the junctions with new braces. Bought new battery( http://www.zap.pl/UserFiles/Image/45Ah-wwwzappl.jpg ) and made booster cables from old booster cable clamps and old heavy duty welding unit copper cable.

    Put some gas in(also bought a really kick ass communist made gas canister), fired up the engine.
    Engine runs rather well as long as current is provided by another car. Battery warning light is on, multimeter alternator test indicates no charge. As a result, I spent the day yesterday taking the alternator off the car.
    Will be rebuilt. Will try to rebuild it with my dad, since it will be cheaper. Trying to find replacement rectifier bridge(most likely to be the culprit m'here, will be tested) as we speak. Will also inspect and clean the other parts of the alternator, maybe spray the housing with some zinc spray paint. If not possible, I'll send it to a specialized company.

    Another problem my van has is the carburetor. It won't idle correctly and it won't close choke. Vacuum lines are messed up, loose lines and, according to the engineer who inspected it, missing choke plate spring and really dirty. Must be taken apart and cleaned with Decarburol.
    Apart from this, the engine runs fine. A bit smoky(and stinky IMHO), but I think it's normal after all that time sitting and with badly adjusted carburetor.

    Didn't had the time to check all the electrics. Made a mistake yesterday, I tried to take the negative terminal wire off the van to clean and re-solder and I broke the bolt that attached it to the body. Used penetrating oil, had it spinning for two or three socket turns, but on the forth one, it broke. Will bring a drilling machine from the countryside next weekend and drill the thing right out of there. Just to be sure, there is nothing else I can damage there, the bolt is just screwed into the van body, right?
    Just had an idea, I should pop the whole battery holder off the van, clean it and paint it with thick insulating paint :D . Must makeshift a new plastic battery tray as well. Will probably build one from an old TV casing.

    Will change the oil and oil filter soon. The oil that's in the engine at the time is light brown in color, but it's been in there for 5 or so years so I don't think it's all that good.

    Still haven't fixed my handbrake problem, still looking for pics or reference on how it should be. I'll bring my dad into this, maybe he'll have a solution. He always has.
    Also in the lookout for some steel rims for a winter set. Anyone got some ideas? I mean, would it be a problem if the cb hole on the wheel is bigger than 59mm? Hmmmmmm?
    Another problem I have, the radiator flush screw is locked in tight. It's a hex type head, somewhat striped. Last owner warned me about this. I tried giving it a few hammer blows, I tried penetrating oil, I'll try heating it up with a candle or something. Mind you, it's rather cold outside(5-6-10degrees Centigrade, even less at night). Must put antifreeze in. Got a liter of glico-something antifreeze that's supposed to hold up to -35 degrees Centigrade when mixed with distilled water in 50/50 ratio.

    Anyways, I'm off now, must re-solder that terminal cable and must go buy the things I need for the carb cleaning and for the alternator rebuild. Waiting for replies.
  22. fupabox

    fupabox Well-Known Member

    sounds like you're getting a lot done...the ground bolt should just be into the body..drilling it out should hurt nothing unless something is close enough behind to get drilled.....keep up the good work:pop:
  23. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    I bought a bottle of carb cleaner(Decarburol) today and one can of penetrating oil(kind of running out).

    In about 3 hours, I'm buying a set of steel rims( http://piese-auto.anunturi-auto.4tu...et-4-jante-table-iarna-4x100r13-10626256.html) to be used for summer. Will use the ones I have for winter since the ones I'm buying tonight seem to be better looking :p .

    Only thing I'm not 100% certain, the wheels that I'm about to buy have ET 39. I read on this forum that the Libero wheels have ET45. I don't think it would matter. The guy is gonna test fit one before I'm buying them, so, I should be good :) .

    Will keep you guys posted.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  24. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    I bought that set of used 13" VW steel rims. Imported from Germany, nice and straight, little to no rust, in almost mint condition.
    As I expected, they're not fitting 100%, the cb hole must have about 2mm machined off. Apart from that, they are awesome. ET(38mm) seems to clear the calipers and the shock flange just fine(measured by eye).
    A little mark here and there, but they look really fine for the price I payed for them(around 100$ in equivalent, including the price of the machining). I actually intended to buy rims to make a winter set, but, since these are much nicer than the originals, I will use them for summer and use the originals for winter. Probably some wider tires, that should work out fine, just fine. Give the van some cool looks and a wee bit more stability :D .
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  25. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Hello again!

    It's been a while since my last post(again), lots have happened(again) and I feel like posting(again).

    Since the last time I wrote here, I've encountered a guy who is breaking down a 1992 Subaru Libero and I bought some parts from him. Guy is from Romania, found him on the web. Only problem is that he's from a remote part of the country, somewhere near the Danube. That's a problem because I would've liked to buy his van and it needs to be shipped over, adding extra costs.
    So I call this guy, I arrange to buy the alternator and carburetor off his van. He sold them to me with the equivalent of 100$, waaaaay cheaper than the cost of a alternator rebuild. He claims that they are complete and working, but that is to be checked.
    Carb and alternator all dirty and grimy, but look complete(to my square eye). I posted pics on my flickr( http://www.flickr.com/photos/12052190@N04/sets/72157627347666359/ ). Cleaned the alternator, dab of paint on it, it's going on the car today.
    Wish me luck! Be back with updates tonight.
  26. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Also, installed the newly soldered negative lead in the battery compartment, put the battery on and checked the lights.
    Apart from the horn and one rear brake light, everything seems to work. Even the 4WD button seems to work. If I push it, I can hear a click sound somewhere deep down in the front of the car(perhaps that's the electro-valve), but since I did that with the engine off(starter only works with power from another car), the 4WD indicator in the dash won't light.
    Electrics need to be mended.
  27. Stuff99

    Stuff99 Moderator Staff Member

    that click would be the vacuum switch. good to hear that works!
  28. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Hear me out, people.

    I had some free time and nice weather today so I decided to install the replacement alternator on the van.
    Popped it in, took some pics, tried to make sense of the loose vacuum lines in the engine bay, the usual. I fitted one of them in the only free intake nipple that would reach(see pics no. 1 and 2).
    I installed the battery(nice and charged), put the ignition on and.... nothing. Well, almost nothing. When I turn the key(or press the button that the last owner said he modded into a ignition switch), the lights on the dash dim, there's a clicking sound coming from the engine starter followed by a bubbling noise from somewhere in the back. Starter won't turn. It had this problem ever since I first attempted to crank it over.
    The engine WILL start with power from another car, but I don't know why it won't even crank on it's own. I haven't tried to jump start it today, I was bummed. I couldn't even see if the replacement alternator is working or not.
    Made pics and added related questions on them. You can see them right here:

    Awaiting replies(with advices). Thanks!
  29. anthill

    anthill Member

    When you say 'powered from another car', do you mean jumper cables applied to both your battery terminals, or one to positive, the other to body ground?

    The "button the last owner modded as ignition switch" sounds ugly!
  30. Krieger-san

    Krieger-san Member

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011

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