The Truth About Cars » 1985 Subaru XT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 1985 Subaru XT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Don’t Try This At Home: How Could Anyone Resist a Subaru XT Turbo Digital Dash? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/dont-try-this-at-home-how-could-anyone-resist-a-subaru-xt-turbo-digital-dash/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/dont-try-this-at-home-how-could-anyone-resist-a-subaru-xt-turbo-digital-dash/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 15:30:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=466967 After I photographed today’s Junkyard Find in a Colorado self-service wrecking yard, I agonized over that digital instrument cluster. I have this crazy idea that I can hack old digital instrument clusters and operate them with an Arduino microcontroller, so that I can have a display on my office wall to go with my collection […]

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After I photographed today’s Junkyard Find in a Colorado self-service wrecking yard, I agonized over that digital instrument cluster. I have this crazy idea that I can hack old digital instrument clusters and operate them with an Arduino microcontroller, so that I can have a display on my office wall to go with my collection of weird diecast toy cars. It started out innocently enough, with this 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia cluster, and then I got the digital cluster out of a 50th Anniversary Nissan 300ZX. Once you have two 1980s Japanese digital dashes, you have a problem collection, right? That was my logic when I bought the digital dash out of this 1984 Toyota Cressida. Even though I’m getting too ambitious with this Arduino-ized-digital-dash project, I felt I had no choice but to go back the next day and grab the XT Turbo’s cluster. So I did.
Someone had already torn up the driver’s-side door-latch mechanism, so I had to climb in through the passenger side and dismantle the latches enough to open the driver’s door.
That’s when I noticed this odd “Speed Alarm” feature, which used a key switch to lock the speed alarm in and out. Oh, Subaru, when did you lose your weirdness?
The instrument cluster in the XT moves up and down with the tilt wheel, which adds immense complexity but is totally worth it for the coolness. It took me quite a while to figure out how to detach the cluster from this Rube Goldberg rig.
Toyotas and Hondas of this era are ridiculously easy when it comes to this kind of job; you can yank an 80s Civic or Corolla cluster in about 25 seconds with just a screwdriver. Subaru had a different philosophy, and so I started removing every 10mm and 12mm fastener I could find.
There’s a hinged bezel above the cluster that resisted all attempts to release the cluster (I could have just smashed the hell out of everything in the way, but I do my best to leave all the parts I don’t want in usable condition for the next parts shopper), and the connectors on the dash harness were fiendishly inaccessible and frozen solid (Subaru went with a much cheaper electrical-parts supplier than did Honda, Toyota, or even Mitsubishi). In the 35-degree weather of a November morning in Denver, my hands took a real beating during the cluster-removal process.
Leaking a little of the red stuff is no big deal, however, when your struggles end with a beautiful 1980s Japanese digital cluster for your collection.
While I was shopping, I also picked up a nice Weber DGV 32/36 carburetor from a car with a strange-yet-familiar engine swap. More on that in a future Junkyard Find!

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Subaru XT 4WD Turbo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1985-subaru-xt-4wd-turbo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1985-subaru-xt-4wd-turbo/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=466944 The junkyards of Colorado don’t have quite the selection of the ones I grew up crawling around in California, but they do have more Subarus than I ever imagined possible. I’ve been a fan of the Subaru XT since it was new— in fact, I’m half-assedly shopping for one now— and so it’s reassuring to […]

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The junkyards of Colorado don’t have quite the selection of the ones I grew up crawling around in California, but they do have more Subarus than I ever imagined possible. I’ve been a fan of the Subaru XT since it was new— in fact, I’m half-assedly shopping for one now— and so it’s reassuring to find them during my junkyard visits and know that I’ll be able to get parts. Today’s find is a rare turbocharged four-wheel-drive version from the XT’s first model year.
The XT Turbo had a cockpit that was wild even by the crazed standards of mid-80s Japanese cars. The instrument cluster moved along with the tilt wheel, so that no steering-wheel setting could obscure your view of the gauges. Wait a minute— the XT didn’t have lowly gauges! When you bought an XT, you got the most video-game-ish digital display of them all, and that includes the Mitsubishi Cordia digital dash.
I didn’t have any tools on me when I found this car, so I didn’t pull the cluster for my collection. Should I go back for it?
“TURBO” was the magic word of the 1980s, but you had to be a special flavor of weird to think that the XT Turbo was as mainstream cool as something like the 300ZX Turbo or even the Starion.
These things weren’t cheap. The list price for the ’85 XT 4WD Turbo was $13,589, which was close to 30 grand in 2012 bucks. That was about $1,200 more than the Nissan 200SX Turbo, nearly $1,500 more than a factory-hot-rod Mazda RX-7 GSL, and close to $2,000 more than a Chevy Camaro IROC-Z.
This one is a bit rusty and generally used-up-looking, but it still has a lot of good parts.
The engine in this car made 111 horsepower, which is 27 fewer than the base engine in the 2013 Kia Rio. Yes, we are living in the Golden Age of Horsepower.
We’re also living in the Not-So-Golden Age of computer nannies; rather than a quaint sticker advising the driver to slow down when the slushbox overheats, today’s cars just go into limp mode.

Alcyone!

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