81-84 ea81 Engine and D/R 4WD tranny

into an 77 4WD wagon...

Submitted by Andrew Bowers

I put a 1.8L and a dual range 4 speed in my 1977 DL 4x4. It is not as hard as one might think. The only mods I had to do were as follows: The engine was out of a 1984 GL 2 door sedan (4WD) and the tranny was out of an 84 4x4 wagon.

1) 4WD lever and bracked from original tranny had to be mounted onto newer tranny; bracked must be spaced off of tranny by appx. 1-2MM; I just used 4 washers between the bracket and tranny(one over each bolt hole). I had to cut the bottom part of the center console (where the radio goes) off so that the lever would clear when in 2WD. This was just so I could have the lever in the same place and not have to mount the newer style lever.

1.5) Tranny mounts off the original tranny must be used and bolted on to the new tranny. The bolt holes are there and in the correct place!

2) Harness must be re-wired at the tranny, simply swap wires between the reverse light switch and the 4WD light switch (I haven't done this yet, so my 4WD light comes on when I put it in reverse, and my back-up lights come on when I put it into 4Lo)

3) I had to use the original shift lever, since the JY tranny I got didn't have one. With the original lever, the lever is about 1" farther back in the hole in the floorboards than stock, so the boot doesn't work unless you either glue or screw it in place.

4) I had to use the 1.8L Y-Pipe, since the 1.8L engine is wider than the 1.6L. Yes, I know it has a catalytic converter, but since the car was not originally equipped with one it is legal to remove (cut case open, remove catalyst, weld back shut). This does not QUITE mate up with the rest of the exhaust system (where it comes apart just after the Y) but it does seal. If it doesn't seal for you, just use the whole 1.8L exhaust system, or run dual exhaust.

5) As for the engine, I couldn't use the feedback carburetor that was originally on the 1.8L (Without the computer connected, the duty solenoids are always open, so it gets 20MPG and backfires -- real fun at the gas station!), but the original carb fits the manifold. If you don't want to fuss with this, you can get a 32/36 downdraft Weber kit for about $300-400 [Or get the adaptor plate for $50, the carb from a JY for $30, and spend $30 for the rebuild kit] these atomize the fuel better than the stock carb, plus the larger barrels (32MM pri, 36MM sec vs: 22/27 on the HItachi) will give you more power

6) Clutch cable -- the original clutch cable was too short, but you can easily replace it with a cable from an 80s Subaru. Make sure it is the kind that is held in place with the clamp around the cable, like the original cable. Grab the pedal too, it''ll fit and it's easier than drilling the end of the clutch cable to fit the original pedal. This puts the clutch pedal a bit closer to the brake pedal, but it's not too close.

That's about all I can think of, everything else should work fine. I've put several hundred miles on my wagon since the upgrade and it has performed flawlessly. Goes through a foot and a half of snow no problem, handles mud just fine, and yes that low-range is VERY handy! Just needs LSD!
(I only say 77 DL since the earlier ones were 1400cc instead of 1600cc, and I don;t know if the engine mounts are different. --Andrew

Albany, Oregon