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Thread: Can I convert a FF '84 GL to AWD (or even RWD?)

  1. #1
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    Can I convert a FF '84 GL to AWD (or even RWD?)

    Well, in my search for another old Toyota or Datsun, I've been repeatedly offered an '84 Subaru GL in fairly good shape. I've toyed back and forth with the idea of buying it, but I just can't get too excited about it. Mostly because I despise driving a FWD car. I really, really do not like driving FWD. I can get past it's awkward looks and horrible bumpers, if only it was AWD or RWD.

    My question is this- If I were to buy this thing, how difficult would it be to convert it to AWD, or, god forbid, RWD? These aren't common cars in this part of the country- I can count the ones I've seen in the past 4 years on one hand. And this one is actually a Canadian car (with amazingly zero rust and low miles). If I could make it RWD or AWD for under a grand, I think I'd probably be willing to purchase it. But I really just can't get into this FWD racket.

    Can I use parts off slightly newer Subarus to make it AWD? The generation after this car, and early '90s Subarus are fairly common in local junkyards, this generation is not however (Though I think I know of a rotted 4wd hatch in northern MI).

  2. #2
    Administrator john's Avatar
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    The easiest way is obviously to swap in the trans, driveshaft, and rear suspension from an AWD of the same chassis (newer stuff will be nowhere close to "bolt-in").

    The path to RWD is a little more serious. Do all the above, plus basically disassemble the trans, weld up the center diff, and remove the front axles.

  3. #3
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    More than likely it will have the captive nuts to mount the rear diff up and then all you need is the rear trailing arm assy with halfshafts and diff from the same generation to bolt up in there and then the 4wd tranny from either a second gen or third gen car with linkage to bolt in place, if it is the third gen tranny then a new driveshaft will be made. If you can get that hatch for a parts car then you will have everything you need to follow through. If the captive nuts are not there in the rear it only takes a little time to fabricate a piece to insert inside the framerails so the rear diff can mount up.


    I have seen it done countless times on many cars to convert them from FWD to 4WD and it is well documented on ultimate subaru's forums.

    If you have any questions otherwise just let me know.

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    Re: Can I convert a FF '84 GL to AWD (or even RWD?)

    remember with the hatch and anything before 87 that 4wd is NOT Awd and 4wd unless it is an 87.5+ "fulltime" car (usually noted on the rocker panel) 4wd cannot be used on the street.

    you will have to use the clutch and flywheel for the fulltime car as well

    it is best to look for a fulltime 4wd tranny as it will bolt in.


    IMHO opinion these little subies handle as well as the awd cars unless it's wet

    they weigh less and get detter gas mileage...

    how much are they asking for it? if nothing else stop by ultimatesuabru.org
    and post it up for one of them to buy this is a harptop coupe yes?

  5. #5
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    Re: Can I convert a FF '84 GL to AWD (or even RWD?)

    Quote Originally Posted by zukiru
    remember with the hatch and anything before 87 that 4wd is NOT Awd and 4wd unless it is an 87.5+ "fulltime" car (usually noted on the rocker panel) 4wd cannot be used on the street.

    you will have to use the clutch and flywheel for the fulltime car as well

    it is best to look for a fulltime 4wd tranny as it will bolt in.


    IMHO opinion these little subies handle as well as the awd cars unless it's wet

    they weigh less and get detter gas mileage...

    how much are they asking for it? if nothing else stop by ultimatesuabru.org
    and post it up for one of them to buy this is a harptop coupe yes?
    OK- Why can't 4wd not be used on the street? I don't understand. 4wd= 2wd sometimes, 4wd othertimes, yes? Or are you saying you can't put it in 4wd when you're on the street?

    I think it's a coupe, it's got windows in the C-pillars reminiscent of '65-'66 Chrysler "Town Sedan" 4-doors. Don't think it has a B-pillar.

    I'm not disclosing the price yet, because I'm not sure what's doing down, and the price I've been given includes a transmission being traded for it.

    Edit- This is the bodystyle.

  6. #6
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    considering your location during the winter you can use the 4wd, just don't use it in rainy/dry conditions due to drivetrain bind

  7. #7
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    exactly the regular 4wd will tear if used on dry pavement because it lacks a center differential

    the fulltime 4wd had a center differential and if fine to use on ANY surface..

    so that is what you want. the RX tranny is the best the XT6 tranny is also a good one.

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