1986 Subaru Wagon Reviews

1986 Subaru Wagon GL-10 1.8 turbo from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.8 turbo Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired102000 miles
Most recent distance125000 miles
Previous carAcura Vigor

Summary:

It's unstoppable, but expect some maintenance costs as the miles accumulate

Faults:

Turbo bearings went out.

Coolant tempature sensor.

Fuel pressure regulator.

Left CV joint.

Rust around wheel wells.

General Comments:

This is a four wheel drive turbo GL-10 wagon.

I love this car in spite of what's gone wrong! It's got over 100,000 miles and is 20 years old after all and things are expected to have to be replaced.

The turbo bearings went out and it started blowing huge amounts of smoke. Found a used turbo on eBay for about $50 and replaced it myself.

The left front CV joint started rattling and needed replacement. Bought a new axle/joint at the parts store and replaced it myself.

The fuel pressure regulator also went bad. This is a pretty standard replacement item for these cars. I replaced this myself too.

I live in the upper mid west (Iowa) so there is some rust around some of the wheel wells because of the salt used on the roads during the winter.

The only odd thing that went wrong was the coolant temperature sensor went out which caused the car to die as soon as it reached operating temperature. It cost $50 for the part and I replaced that myself.

It helps keep maintenace/repair costs down being able to do all the work myself. So I have no real complaints about this car.

I bought it as a cheap winter car (paid $900 5 years ago).

This is my second Subaru, had an '84 four wheel drive with 175,000 on it previously. The rear wheel bearing support rusted through and became un drivable. Still sold it for $100 to someone who wanted the engine!

The GL-10 has about electric everything. Well, that's an exaggeration, but it does have a digital dash, electric windows, locks, mirrors, sunroof, cruise with trip meter and a relatively comfortable interior.

It doesn't have the adjustable ride height which I've heard is problematic.

It has good carrying ability. The rear seats fold down in such a way that the entire cargo area is flat.

With fuel injection and the turbo I can smoke the front tires if I want to so it has very usable power in traffic.

I get around 25mpg in the city.

In the snow, this thing is about unstoppable! It has a push button on the shifter to engage/dis-engage the four wheel drive.

It may not be real pretty now, but man is it fun to drive. It is 20 years old and has over 125,000 miles on it so I don't expect perfection. I plan on driving it until it dies for good.

Would I buy another Subaru? In a heartbeat. In fact talking to other Subaru owners, they seem to have a cult following. I've even had people offer to buy it from me. There's nothing special about it except that it's a Subaru!

If you're looking at one to buy, watch for rust in the front frame supports under the firewall.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th May, 2006

28th Oct 2008, 20:31

Im a subaru lover.. have 4 86 xt's turbo and 2 81 brats.. easy to work on and cheap to keep going.. good in the mountains.

1st Dec 2008, 07:15

Love this car, got the car for nothing, have about 400 into it and it is a dream.. Easy to maintain and easy to drive!!!

7th Aug 2011, 00:23

How did you know it was your temperature sensor that was going? What was the car doing?

1986 Subaru Wagon 1.8L from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.8L Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired174000 kilometres
Most recent distance175000 kilometres

Summary:

Light 4wd

Faults:

My head gasket blew at 174000 km.

General Comments:

My friend has a car just like mine and he swears by it and from what I have seen of his car it was great. We do a lot of camping etc. I decided to buy one and on the first day of having the car I blew the head gasket which cost me $1,200 to fix. The car is great in comfort and all, but this problem really made me upset and makes me think twice about that make. I will just have to see what the car is like when I get it back from the mechanic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st May, 2003

Average review marks: 7.2 / 10, based on 3 reviews