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Subaru Justy

billybreathesbillybreathes Posts: 14
edited March 10 in Subaru
Upon looking for a new Honda Civic hatchback, I
was set to buy one until I saw this 1991 Subaru
Justy GL on the lot. I drove it and was amazed- it
was $1500, compared to $12,000 for the Civic, and
it drove just as good, not to mention it has a
tach, rear wiper, cargo cover, and a stereo. The
interior even looks better. It has 89k, no a/c,
but here in NH, it's only hot for a month or so.
So I bought it instead, much to the dealer's
chagrin, and I love it so far. I have owned
Subarus in the past and they have always had great
fit and finish and good reliability.

However, it does burn a bit of oil (1/2 qt. every
500 miles) at 90k, which my old prelude didn't burn
at 161k. Also I have heard that 3-cylinders are
not as long lasting as a four cylinder. A mechanic
told me a 4-cylinder could get 150k average, but I
shouldn't expect more than 100k out of a 3
cylinder. Logically, it seems that doesn't make
sense, but has anyone else known this to be true?
I like this car a lot and hope to keep it a while.
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Comments

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    There is no real truth in that a 3 cylinder won't last as long as a four. 3 cylinder cars are just more prone to overheating damage and being strained more because they have to work harder to pull the car around than does a more powerful 4 cylinder. They also are more sensitive to infrequent oil changes. The fact your car burns quite a bit of oil does show it has been worked hard or was not taken care of in the oil change department. However, if the car still runs smooth and does not smoke, you have plenty of miles left in the car (probably another 50k before the engine needs to be rebuilt). One good thing about a 3 cylinder is that it is a lot cheaper to rebuild it to stop the oil burning and get another 100-150k miles out of it. My friend knew someone who owned a Justy (I think 1988 model) and he said that car was very reliable and took him anywhere on a gallon of gas. He said it was a neat little car and that he wouldn't mind owning one himself.
    3 cylinder Metros are often used as around town delivery cars. These cars are abused and worked very hard and they often last 150k-200k before needing an engine overhaul. So, I don't think you need to worry about your small little engine :) Just be glad Subaru offered a larger 3 cylinder than the Metro and actually gave it some respectable horsepower numbers. I think the Subaru has 1.2 liters with either 66 or 70 hp, whereas the Metro only has a 1.0 liter engine with 55 hp. By the way, what kind of fuel economy are you getting?
  • Logically, it didn't seem to make sense that a 3 cylinder would be built less sturdy than a 4- then my mechanic told me "how often have you seen a 100,000 mile motorcycle", which did seem to make some sense.
    I'm glad that you said a 3-cylinder will last as long as a 4. The engine really doesn't seem to work hard to move the car- it's only 1700 lbs. Mine has 76 horsepower in the fuel injection model, the carbuerated version has 66 I believe. I am getting 41 mpg on the highway, 36 around town, but I don't push the car over 60 mph to keep the revs under 3000. Surprisingly, the car is about as peppy as the new Civic I drove, which has 106 hp, but more weight to move.

    The car does still run smooth and does not smoke. Is there an oil that I should use that will prevent the car from burning oil? Right now I am using regular 10W-30 for the summer. I am reluctant to use synthetic or a thicker oil. I wonder if that Valvoline Max Life is worth the extra money?
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    How stupid to even compare a motorcycle to a 3 cylinder used in a car! A motorcycle is a completely different animal. It utilizes either a 4 cylinder watercooled engine or a 2 stroke 1-2 cylinder aircooled engine that are capable of rpms in excess of 10,000. Thats well north of the max 6000 rpms your Justy will ever see. Those high rpms is why a motorcycle engine tends to be less durable. Besides, I don't think I have ever heard of a motorcycle with a 3 cylinder. I think the mechanic was trying to scare you or something.
    Definitely do not use synthetic on a car that has accumulated as much mileage as yours already has. It would only accelerate the oil burning and lead to leaks from what I have heard. However, why are you reluctant to use thicker weight oils? I live in Florida, so it gets much hotter here than where you are, but I have found straight 30W oil works best in my 84 VW Rabbit GTI during most of the year. I switch to 10W-30 for the 3 coldest months of the year to aid in starting. When using the 30W, the engine stays quieter for a longer period of time, runs noticeably smoother, and appears to use less oil (only 1/4-1/2 of a quart disappears between oil changes, mostly due to a small leak around the valve cover).
    I know there are mixed reviews about oil additives, but I have been using one specific one for almost 2 years now and believe it really makes a difference. I use a product called Lucas oil stabilizer. It claims to reduce wear on the engine during startup by keeping the oil from draining down into the pan, protects the oil from thermal breakdown so that it lasts longer, and seals up worn out valve guides and other internal seals so that the engine burns less oil. Since my engine really didn't burn oil before I started using it, I cannot say for sure whether it would slow down your oil burning problem. But, it does make my engine run smoother on startup and keeps the engine running smooth and quiet longer than just using regular oil. You might want to give that a try and see what happens. It can't hurt to try. It costs $8 a bottle and is good for 2 oil changes.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    Hoo hoo, motorcycles, my favorite subject. There are three cylinder cycles, triumph makes quite a few of them. Inline 3's. But it efinitely isn't the most common cycle setup. Most common would be 4 stroke water cooled inline 4's and 4 stroke air cooled V-twins. Ya also got inline 3's, inline 2's, singles, horizontally opposed twins and HO 6 cylinders, v-4's (One of my personal faves), etc, etc. Ingtonge is right, the reasons most cycles don't get close to 100K is that the rev so high and often get abused more than cars. BMW's have a reputation for longevity, I know a couple people that have over 200k on their BMW cycles without any major engine problems, and those are only boxer twins. There aren't many two stroke cycles left out there, most of the twins you see are 4 strokes.
  • I'm reluctant to use thicker than 10W-30 here in NH because it is so cold here most of the year. I used 0W-30 Mobil 1 in my prelude with absolutely no problem for all but 4 months here. I'll probably stick wth 10W-30 all year with this Justy because it's burning already, and maybe try that Max Life oil or the Lucas. But I think 20W-50 will turn to sludge during our -10F winters.

    I'm still confused about the high revs meaning quicker engine failure. Some VTEC Hondas have 8500 redlines, yet these cars easily last 200k or more. After all, the oil prevents metal to metal contact, except when the car is started. Those old Caviliers rev to about 4500 and often fail after 100k.

    Also it seems that I should trust the car manual since the manual suggests oil viscosity based on the tolerances within the engine. In todays engines, I hear it's important to use thinner oil because of the tight tolerances in the engine, the thin oil can wedge in between the metal.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    There's a pretty big difference between the materials and the technology between a new VTEC Honda and an old Cavalier. There's also a pretty big difference between the 7500 RPM redlines of most of the VTEC's and the 15,000 RPM redlines of some motorcycles. I think the YZF-R6 has a redline of 15,500 rpm, it's also got a stroke of 44mm. That means it's pistons are travelling back and forth, at redline, 1.364 kilometers every minute, if my math is right, or about 23 meters a second.
  • rsabakarsabaka Posts: 8
    I have a 90 Justy 4WD, 4 door, 5 speed. The body is in excellent condition. At 153,000 miles, the transmission had to be replaced. The shaft that connected to the front axle broke. It still drove in 4WD so I was able to get it to the shop.

    Since I absolutely love this little car, I went ahead and put in a new transmission, or I should say they rebuilt the transmission, because there were no "new" ones. Approximately $1,800 and 3,000 miles later, a valve burned up on the engine. Now I'm really sick. Unless I want to spend anywhere from $4,000 to $4,900, I have a car body in excellent shape and a transmission with only 3,000 miles---but, not engine.

    I have religiously changed the oil EVERY 3,000 miles and performed ALL recommended maintenance. It has been using (mentioned I didn't say burning because there has never been any smoke) 1 qt. of oil ever 1,000 miles or so, but the dealer (I still take it back to the dealer I bought it from because my whole family has been doing business with them for years) said that was normal for an older car. Anyway, I religiously checked the oil level and added when necessary. I've even used Slick 50 in it and recently had the engine cleaned internally. Gee! Maybe that's what went wrong. Anyway, I am heartsick.

    I guess I could come to terms with this if the body had cancer but there is absolutely no rust.
    "Ruby", as she was affectionately named, would go in all kinds of weather. She even climbed ice covered steep hills the Christmas the Baltimore Beltway came to a stand still. We were one of the few cars moving about.

    Any suggestions or consolations?
  • I love my justy too, it's a 2wd 1991 Justy GL, 2 door. It only has 90k, and it does burn oil (though no smoke and no leaks). But the fit and finish is great- no rust (and I live near the beach, and they oversalt the roads come winter here in NH), paint looks new, and there are no squeaks or rattles. My old Honda even had rattles and the windows leaked. This car is quieter and looks better on the inside.

    The only thing I don't like is the size- here in NH, everyone has SUV's and this car demands no respect from SUV's- they cut me off, flash me when I can't pull away from a stoplight quick (hey, it's a 3 cylinder), etc. So as much as I like the car, it's not too safe here and I'll be moving on to something bigger in a few months.

    It's too bad, I love spending $10 to fill it for 2 weeks.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    In addition to the help you get here, I encourage you to look through the Maintenance & Repair conference for more assistance.

    carlady/host
  • I love my Justy it is a 89 GL FWD model 5 speed

    it has 116K on it and it takes me any place. This is important since this is my driver for a daily basis I also have a 2000 Blazer and a 2000 Lexus
    you can see why I would rather park the justy on the streets of philly. It does however use about 1 quart of oil between oil changes 3000K. I have opted to use Pennzoil 10W40 and it has helped a bit. I get about 40mpg on the hwy and love this car. It is my little HONDA KILLER''''''
  • In searching for performance upgrades for my Justy I found that there just is not any. So I made my own a Monza exhaust from a 1.5 litre civic 89 will fit like a glove 14inch 4x100 mm american racing type 51 wheels with 185/55vr/14 tires and a modified tokico suspension. the interior has full carbon fiber dash and momo seats and harness belts the intake has been upgraded using k&N components. it has about 110 HP this little car rocks. if you need info EMAIL
    me on how to do this it is not very expensive.
  • I would have never thought to upgrade this car- I'm afraid I'll blow up that little 3-cylinder. Any really cheap upgrades (like special spark plugs or wires, air filters) that will give me a few more horses?

    Mine uses a bit of oil too. I also use 10w40. How hard do you drive yours? I baby this car....
  • My son, Mike, and I have joked about upgrades to the Just before (adding a blower, etc.), but I never thought it really possible. Would you please send me all information you can on the upgrades you did and any others that you're aware of?

    Mine, a 1988 AL 4WD and affectionately named SooBeRoo (pronounced as if Scooby-Doo were saying it!), bit the dust about 2 years ago. I had taken it back to the dealer (where I had had all maintenance done in the past) for replacement of the struts and some other maintenance that totalled ~$1400, and I think that someone must have loosened something that they weren't supposed to loosen. What resulted was the car running unusually rough after that. Mike had been driving the car 96 miles ONE WAY to school in Indianapolis every day and told me that the running problem was getting worse. When I finally drove it one weekend, I immediately made an appointment to take it in! By the time I had gotten it to the nearest mechanic, it was a gonner. The harmonic balancer wheel had become loose and, with all of Mike's driving, had actually worn a groove in the block. Anyway, the keyed camshaft finally gave way and the whole works blew. The car, running on battery power only (since the harmonic balancer also controls the belt to the alternator) and with NO OIL in it (because when the camshaft blew, it all leaked out), got us to the mechanic, but didn't make it any further. The real killer is that the motor was still running. That blew my mind. The car sat (almost 1 1/2 years) until this fall when I finally located a new (used) motor.

    The new motor (had 80K miles on it) has been installed, not without considerable difficulty since the car sat for so long (my mechanic and his crew are affectionately referring to it as the "Rusty") and now the car runs like a top. However, since the car sat so long (and probably since, at 157K miles, it was overdue) the entire brake system has to be replaced. The cost will run about $800 which, when added to the $495 for the motor and the $500 for motor replacement and other work, almost doesn't seem worth it. You'll note that I say ALMOST. This car has been so GREAT! It has had the power to dart in and out of traffic on I465 (Mike calls this "playing in traffic") and you can literally park it ANYWHERE!

    The exhaust upgrade you mentioned caught my attention. Mine was recalled early for an exhaust problem and the dealership had a really tough time working on it. I was told that if the exhaust ever had to be replaced, I'd best just trash the car. NOT ON YOUR LIFE!! And the added performance you got from this upgrade is appealing.

    This car will be handed down to my next son this next year. My mechanic (no longer the dealership!) has been instructed to make sure that the car is mechanically sound and safe for driving before I take it home. He is capable of doing the exhaust upgrade you mentioned, and I'd really like to take him some specifics if you can provide them.
  • My 88' FW drive has been totally gutted in an out to lightin and make it quicker. I have a completly fabricated exaust system. On the intake since Im' working with a carburater I just got rid of all the bull [non-permissible content removed] restrictors and made a high flow intake, it worked and made the car faster and made it sound meaner. I also bored out the stock headers, knocked out the precat, and completly eliminated the main cat with my 2 1/2 exaust which runs up the middle of th car and is hooked up to a cherry bomb :) I was running off of just the headers and the down pipe but I didint have enough back presser and my car was having trouble idleing, but this cured the problem. I also have fabricated a rear strut tie bar seeing as there is no performance market out there for our cars. I have a sparco seat and four point harness. Right now i mostly go rally crossing in it but as soon as I find out an efficent way to drop the car, I will. I havent made a front tie bar because I have the carburated 1.2 engine, I say this because Im looking for a new engine of greater size, of course moveing the firewall back and readustment of the body is in hand and of corse a roll cage!! but all in all the justy will make for a very fast car.

    I was wondering ,chilno29, if that 110 is from the turbo engine model, and if you could post some info on what you did with your suspension, but I'm gussing all you did was put in stiffer struts and cut the springs and do some body work to the wheel wells. This is what I'm concidering doing based on the fact that custom ordering lowprofile tires is too expeinsive for 14x6 inch rims.
  • Hey you motorheads, this is suppose to a forum dedicated to the Subaru Justy. Let me all tell you about my little Justy. I got her for $180 and recently looked at her VIN records and Yes, she only has 72K. Her name is Little Sue and even though she tends to misbehave (I think she has AWD envy) she is still a great little car. She is a 2WD. One day I unknowingly drove her with only 2 cylinders and she still ran like a champ.

    What is it about the Justy that has us all gushy and acting irrationally? Why are they so irresistably cute and lovable? I see a lot of you out there who, like me, have fallen for these little angels who are sometimes devils and who we love anyway.

    --l.b.
  • I just purchased a 1988 justy and it needs a new exhaust. I was noticing that chileno29 had used a honda civic exhaust. I was wondering if that was from a civic 2 door/hatch or if it was from a civic crx or?? My car seems to run fine, but I have been thinking of stepping up to 14 inch wheels also, I wonder if 185/60/14 would be an ok size? I also wonder if honda civic wheels would fit since they use the same bolt pattern, or if the offset is different? Any suggestions would help. Thank you!! p.s. my email is listed in the user profile if any of you would like to drop me a line.
  • My 4 WD, four door Subaru Justy used to get mid to high 30's mileage. Now it gets 28-30 mpg. Has anyone else seen this problem? Suggestions on driving habits to increase mileage? Mechanical or electrical problems which contribute? I do 3000 mile oil changes, recently fixed an oil leak. Car has 80,000 miles on it. I THINK I have a decent mechanic and he doesn't find anything wrong. Any help is much appreciated.
  • joffficerjoffficer Posts: 169
    I've been looking for a little beater (festiva/metro/justy) and found this board. One thing I have to say (with a lot of work on cars behind me) NO ONE has pushed a justy engine from 75hsp to 110 with just a exhuast and tires!! It's impossible! With the K&N you may have picked up 2-3... the exhaust (with headers) maybe another 5. Going to 2 1/2 inch pipes would hurt your performance.... you need back pressure (some). Good luck
  • tc3remotc3remo Posts: 1
    Hi all,

    I own a Subaru J10 1992 Model. I did some mods to it. I fitted 175/50/13 Dunlops SP2000. I have fitted a Peco Back Box, K&N Filter with an Aluminium pipe to get cool air from the external. I have fitted a lower tailgate spoiler at the back. Now what I intend to do is fit a Subaru Impresa scoop on the bonnet. I would like to know more on mods that you did.

    Chileno29 I couldn't find your address.
    My e-mail is raymond.a.muscat@magnet.mt

    N.B: I am from Malta.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    This discussion has just been moved back from our Archived discussions and re-opened. Hope this is helpful.


    Revka

    Host

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

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