My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

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My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby ASheep1891 on Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:41 am

Hi everyone,

Great forum here, lots of awesome info! It's great to see such a dedicated group of XT enthusiasts!

Last weekend I made a slightly irresponsible decision to buy a 1986 Subaru Vortex XT Turbo. My missus and I drove out to have a look at it, and then I proceeded to buy it and drive it 2.5 hours home on the highway with my missus following behind in our Outback in case anything went seriously wrong!

Mechanically it's in really good condition, it's a NZ new delivered RHD Turbo, with a 5 speed, coil suspension, FWD and digidash. It only has 135,000kms (84k miles) on it!
Now the bad news: at some point in its past it was rear ended, and had the center light assembly replaced with an unlit Subaru badge assembly from another car. There is also a fair bit of dodgy welding and bad panel beating under the rear right of the car. At some point I'm going to have to do some major surgery and cut out the rusty, poorly welded panels, and replace it with new metal, but for now some zinc spray will keep it on the road!

Here are a couple of pics of it with our Outback, built exactly 20 years apart! Both are daily drivers now.

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It also has a couple of niggly electrical issues, which I'm hoping somebody here can help me with:

1) The FM Radio only outputs sound from the right hand speakers, yet when I put a cassette in the tape deck, sound only comes out the left side. Both sides are equally loud, but only work one at a time.

2) The rear window defogger doesn't work. The dash light comes on, I can hear the relay click, but my back window stays foggy. I can't seem to find a break in continuity with my multimeter, so I'm not sure where the issue is...

3) The brake light indicator light is always on when I brake. I assume this is due to the accident damage. I have tried connecting bulbs to the harness where the center lights used to be, and the indicator lamp still comes on. I presume the sensor has been damaged in some way. It's not really that big of an issue, but I'd like to eventually find a fix!

I'm hoping with some TLC that this car will live on for a long time to come! I've always wanted an XT ever since I first saw one as a kid, and now I finally have one!

I hope with time I can contribute to this great community, I look forward to getting to know everyone here!

Cheers,
Alex
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Re: My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby john in KY on Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:27 pm

Welcome to the forum. May be wrong but thinking you are the 1st member from NZ. Nice looking XT. I'd recommend using a synthetic oil and allow the engine to idle for a minute or so before shutting it off. The turbo gets hot and can and will cook the oil. Can't help with the radio problem. Are the speakers stock looking? Previous owner may have swapped them out and screwed up some in the installation. Rear defroster could be a broken wire embedded in the glass but I'd check the fuses and check to see if power is making back to the window. There should be a wiring harness in the boot that can be disconnected to verify.


The brake light problem may just be the master cylinder on the firewall is low.
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Re: My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby ASheep1891 on Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:20 am

Thanks for the reply John, I'm pretty sure there's some other members from NZ here, I saw some posts when searching for info a few days ago! Thanks for the tip about letting it idle to cool down, I guess you'd get a similar effect by driving gently for the last couple of minutes before stopping?

Speakers and head unit are factory original, I pulled the stereo out the other day to have a look at the harness, and all the wiring is good, the issue must be inside the stereo unit itself, which is quite annoying.

I got the rear defroster working, the issue was a bad ground connection at the rear, nothing a bit of emery and contact cleaner wouldn't fix!

Did an oil change, coolant flush, gearbox flush, new accessory belts and some other bits and pieces over the weekend, now she runs really well! I went for a drive today up the Port Hills near town, took a couple of pics as the sun was setting.

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Not bad for a 30 year old car! It's an absolute blast to drive on the mountain roads here, handles like a big go-kart. My missus thinks I'm mad when I come home with a huge grin on my face after every trip!

Cheers,
Alex
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Location: CHCH, New Zealand

Re: My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby Huck369 on Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:42 am

Welcome Aboard!
Good looking Turbo XT you have there!
We did have another NZ member "Dima" I think was his name, and he had one of the only Vortec H-6's in NZ....
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Re: My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby Giggs on Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:28 am

Asheep. I'm a newbie so can't offer much assistance with your troubleshooting. A few guys here have been loads of help to me though. I have to say your car looks grand and I especially like the second picture. Almost like an advertisement. Only thing missing is a kiwi. See what you can do for us next time. Cheers
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Re: My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby Giggs on Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:28 am

Asheep. I'm a newbie so I can't offer much assistance with your troubleshooting. A few guys here have been loads of help to me though. I have to say your car looks grand and I especially like the second picture. Almost like an advertisement. Only thing missing is a kiwi. See what you can do for us next time. Cheers
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Re: My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby subbie on Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:40 pm

Im in ChCH too. Hows your Vortex going?
49cc 1965 Victa MkII aka Fuji Rabbit Scooter
1400 GSR coupe (Restoration on hold)
Vortex 6 1989 maroon Tikky FOR SALE

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Re: My "New" 1986 Vortex Turbo

Postby ASheep1891 on Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:52 am

Well, it's been a few months and my Vortex has a nice garage to live in now, time's kind of gotten away from me! The car spent most of the winter in the garage, and now the days are getting longer I'm hoping to get it out for some nice spring drives!
I've done a fair bit of gentle rust/underbody cleaning. Thankfully the rust isn't as bad as it looked, most of it cleaned up pretty well with a flapper disc/wire brush, nothing structural.

I hit one of CHCH's famous potholes recently when out for a drive, and after I stopped cringing, I realised the stereo was now coming from all 4 speakers! A few bumps later it dropped back to 2 again, so I'm thinking there's a broken/bad contact somewhere in the wiring loom...

@Giggs, It might be a little hard to get a Kiwi bird in the picture, they're pretty shy! Plenty of sheep around though! :shock:

@subbie - good to meet a local on here! There's not many wedge owners around here, mostly Imprezas and Legacies... I'm easy to spot, look for the noisy red wedge with the old-school black plates! How's the 6 going?

Cheers,
Alex
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