Thursday, December 30, 2010

My new speaker! Also, tail gate trim!

The stock 1982 Subaru Brat GL (deluxe model!) came with no power steering, no power windows, no power locks, and an AM FM radio with one speaker. That's right, it's mono-time. The speaker in this Brat sounded awful, but if you turned the bass all the way off, and listened to talk radio at a quiet volume, it sounded okay. I pulled out the factory 4x6 speaker and here it is. A little on the shot side. I replaced it with a 4x6 Sony speaker. You can see, it sits right in the dash pointed directly at the passenger hidden between the two vents. The old speaker had a bit of cloth between the speaker and cabin so it was hidden better. I'm not sure if I like having the speaker visible or not. I might put a cloth back in there. Either way, it sounds much better than the old one. It even has a bit of bass now. I'll bet I could even listen to the radio going highway speeds.

I also got in the mail a few plastic clips that hold the tail gate trim onto the bed. Mine were all busted and so I pulled the trim off as to not lose it. The new clips were pretty cheap and I got them from the Subaru dealership, plus a few extra.
It looks much better with the chrome trim. I need to paint up my bed though, it's starting to look pretty bad, where the seats go the paint has been rubbed through and was primed, but it's not holding very well. I can't decide between black, red or white bed liner. Black is classic, white might get dirty real fast, and red might just look weird. I'll decide soon enough.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Interior & Trunk Space

I got my new seat covers on. I had pulled the seats out and disassembled them for a better installation of the covers, but they went on pretty easy, and I'm pleased with them. I got them from

They are custom fit for the brat seats and seem to fit real snug, I also got the pockets on the back for maps and what not. The interior has been vacuumed out and I got some navy blue floor mats which work well, were cheap, and also cover the big tear in the drivers side carpet. I put on a sweet lace up steering wheel cover, as I had decided to use only "old" accessories in this car. The heat is a little bit lacking when I'm going 75 down the interstate, it just can't keep up with the cold weather. I might try giving the old unit a flush once it warms up above freezing. I took the Brat to Ohio the other day, making 360 miles total, mostly highway at 60mph. This car was made to cruise the state roads of Indiana. It grips the road well and loves to go 60 and haul mopeds. I got 27mpg on that trip even with a truck load of mopeds and my wife riding shotgun.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Forward Progress

The Brat towed behind the moving truck without too much fuss. You could hardly tell it was behind, this little truck is wonderful. I got a few scratches and a heck of a lot of dirt on the car from the trip, but not too bad. I pulled the passenger seat out today and installed a new horseblanket seat cover, I'll get some pictures up shortly. I also installed my new lock in the drivers door, reattached the lever for the exterior handle which had come loose in transit, and lubricated all the linkage in the door and the regulator. That window goes up and down so easy, and the door practically falls open when you just look at the handle. It made me realize that I can actually get this car into very clean and functional condition. I'm excited to have a car that doesn't drive like a 30 year old one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Subaru Cool

Did you ever realize how awesome the late 70's and early 80's were? There are many things I would do to earn one of those amazing Subaru Brat t-shirts and awesome athletic jacket.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brat Rear Disc conversion

Subaru Brat's came with front disc and rear drum brakes, as did most of the Subaru's of the time. I picked up a set of backing plates, rotors and calipers from a member of the Ultimate Subaru message board. They are complete and in good shape, but boy are they ugly. These cast iron parts from Japan seem to work well and last, but man are they simple and ugly and beautiful. I took the backing plates, sand blasted them, and then shot 'em in wrinkle black powder coat. I did the hubs as well, and they look sharp. I also split down the calipers. Two seals, a few bolts, and the two part caliper came apart for blasting and then it got shot in wrinkle red. I'm glad I decided to clean them up, I'm going to the other one tomorrow. Wrinkle is always a good choice for components on the Brat. It's not going to be a show car, I want it to look nice but easy to clean.
I'm looking forward to putting these discs on the back of the Brat so I can stop that little guy better, and then I'm going to get me one of these.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Subaru XT

Matt Smith and I went to the pull a part today to go look for some new parts for my brat. Sadly, the legacy wagons they had were pretty picked over, and there was only 3 subaru in the whole junk yard. I guess that is a good sign, compared to the plethora of fords and GM vehicles. I really do love the 80's Subaru, its like they couldn't have built anything better. Take for example, the XT, XT Turbo and XT6. One of the most aerodynamic cars of all time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jump Seats & Tune up

I put in new plugs and wires in the Brat. I love NGK products, and Japanese made things love NGK. Also of note, Brat plugs are almost identical to most moped plugs. It really is a big moped. So my jump seats where not installed when I got the brat. Apparently they are welded in from the factory, and the head rests are bolted to the back of the cab, independent of the seats. I wanted to be able to pull the seats in and out easily, and after thinking about some quick release pins, I decided that bolts down would be best so they could pull out and leave everything flush. I drilled the frame and the bed, then welded two nuts onto a piece of flat steel, so that they wouldn't pull through the bed, which is kind of on the thin side. I also attached the head rests to the seat brackets, so they come out with the seats at the same time. The flat steel gets tack welded to the bottom of the bed, so one guy can turn the bolts in and out easily. The seats are in and look great. I need to get some seat belts in there now, I think I might go for airplane style quick release latches.

I didn't realize how many people know about Subaru Brat. I keep getting thumbs up and "that's my dream car" from people. That's right. I'm living the dream.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1982 Subaru Brat GL

Greetings Subaru Brat fans. Welcome to my blog devoted to my 1982 Subaru Brat. If you've found this page, you must be somewhat aware of how wonderful this vehicle is. It's a car, it's a truck, it's a brat! The most thoughtfully designed car of the 80's, the Subaru Brat is a great example of why Japan is awesome. It had the highest rating for fuel economy of any 4x4 ever sold in America at the time of it's introduction, but faced an overwhelming tariff on imported trucks. Creative thinkers thus installed jump seats into the bed making it a passenger vehicle and beat the letter of the law, and in doing so, multiplied it's awesomeness by 2.3, and still kept it's price in the value category of cars. I realized I needed a Brat, so I searched far and wide for months to find this beauty. A rust free Arizona Brat caught my attention and after some persistence with a less than reluctant seller for an out of state buyer, I got a ticket and bought the car. I spent the next 3 days driving from Tempe AZ up through California all the way back to Seattle. As this blog serves it purpose, it will chronicle the transformation of the Brat in it's current state to one of jaw dropping utility and comfort. While the exterior and drive train are in exceptional shape, it is a 30 year old car and in need of attention. The interior got baked pretty good and the seats need some recovering.
I'll take pictures of the work that I'm doing and plop them in here and try to write funny things to go along with them.