1985 Subaru GL Wagon 1.8 liter from North America


An unreliable, new part hungry, aggravating piece of junk


What didn't? I am 69 years old and I have spent more money fixing this pig than all the other cars I've owned in my lifetime.

At 160k the oil pump shaft was binding and stripped the teeth off the 35,000 mile timing belts.

At 165k the impeller came off the water pump shaft and totaled the radiator and the engine overheated and was destroyed.

Moral of this story: Always replace both the oil pump and the water pump at the 120k timing belt replacement even if they are fine. I've had a total of 6 tows and they are horribly expensive.

Starter motor went at 170k.

The clutch cable went at 173k.

The new clutch failed at 135k. And was again worn out at the 165k engine replacement.

The exhaust manifold rear pipe was broken in two when I got the car.

The carburettor would not allow the engine to idle at all, replaced. Also at time of purchase.

And I will replace the RF CV shaft in the morning.

General Comments:

In spite of what I've written above, the car looks really great and was very well cared for when I bought it.

The gas mileage, city & hwy is 23+ mpg.

Upholstery has held up perfectly., and also the paint. Very comfortable.

It is fun to drive and has all the extras that I want which is why I've put up with it for so long.

On the other hand, hill climbing ability is very poor, much worse than the Volvo 122s.

And tight quarters make it very difficult to work on and I have normal size hands.

I ran my Volvo 122s wagon for 290k miles (174k mine) and it was a prince compared to my Subaru.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th April, 2004

8th Apr 2004, 01:21

OK, So why did`nt you sell this POS at 110k?...

7th Dec 2004, 12:21

All the problems with this vehicle sound like fair wear and tear on a very old car with a very high mileage.

23rd Apr 2005, 11:31

Adding to my original posting.

At 176.5k the tranny failed and that was the last straw. I offered it for FREE on Craigs List and gave it to the first person who asked for it.

This person repaired the tranny and has been using the car without re-registering it so the local towns keep sending me notices for unpaid parking tickets even though I immediately notified DMV of the new ownership.

Moral of this story: Never give a car away EXCEPT to a recognized charity!

1985 Subaru GL wagon 4x4 1.8 from North America


It's $400 bargain!


Replaced front axles at 110,000 miles.

Rear fenders are starting to rot out.

Changed coil and coil wire.

Rear latch broke just recently.

General Comments:

This wagon goes through the snow better than most other 4-wheel drives.

It has absolutely no power, but it is very reliable.

Engine makes a "ticking" sound at times, I believe it's a lifter that's sticking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th December, 2003

3rd Jul 2005, 10:17

I was given a 85 GL 4x4 wagon in Oct. of 2004. This was my first Japanese car, and I have to say that I am very pleased.

It has 175K and other than a tune-up and a very badly needed bath and wax, it hasn't required a thing! I commute once a week and only use it once a week, but always starts and everything works, including the A/C. Had it just once in 4 wheel drive on light snow, but handled fine. It too clicks and clacks a bit when first started, but the sounds disapears once warm. The only problem is that it likes to be warmed up prior to driving, but still drives acceptably, if not.

26th Sep 2005, 17:43

I had a 1985 4x4 GL wagon from 1990-1995. I absolutely loved that car. It was functional, would start every time, and handled great in the snow (I had a five speed-have no experience with the automatic). The only problems I had with it was the rack and pinion going at around 120,000 and a odd motor knock at certain RPM in 3rd gear. I understand this is common in these cars if you don't use high octane fuel. I am currently buying a Baja after 20 yrs of good results buying Chevy's (light pickups). I'm gonna try Subaru again based on my experience with the wagon. If they wouldn't have stopped the Brat maybe I wouldn't have left. I just would have taken the back seats out.