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Slightly Modified L series Subaru - Ruby Scoo

Ruby-Scoo offroad 4wd conversion lifted EJ22

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#1 El_Freddo


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 01:23 AM

I though it time to share my L series build here - in the short version ;)

I purchased Ruby Scoo from Yackandandah a in 2004 or 2005 for $500.  What we didn't know was that the engine was toast - over heated to the point that one cylinder was cracked about halfway down.

After some research I found that the EA82 engine came in EFI format, so went with one of these and had a steep learning curve into the operations of EFI systems.  Pick a part became my best friend here!  Problem was I lived over 1 hour away.

After a year in the shed she was ready for rego.  This is me learning some 4wd'n with a mate in Spring Gully, Bendigo:



From here I had a few mods done - welded rear diff.  This was a good and bad mod as it gave the vehicle awesome point and shoot abilities but with the lack of lift I managed some damage to the underside of the body, I inverted my floor pans and didn't realise this for some time.

In 2007 I roadtripped to WA with my brother with a "fresh" 9 month old rebuild that was going really well:

SA/WA boarder:






Hit a new milestone while I was there:




And we had some fun too:




On the way home we (read: my brother!) blew the side out of the plastic radiator end tank on a hot day drive home.  We were stuck in Tintanara and were trucked home the next day.  After sorting a temporary radiator it turned out that the engine was severely cooked.

For 18 months I put up with a jerry-rigged carb engine over the MPFI wiring.  It got me around while I sorted all the bits for my EJ22 conversion - again pick a part played a huge role in this conversion - this time I got all the bits I needed the before getting into the conversion.  Cutting down the wiring was another steep learning curve and in hindsight quite easy to do, just need to know what you actually need and go from there.

I didn't do the HG's on the EJ as I bench tested the engine and was happy with how it operated.  When pulled from the yard it had 127xxxkms on the clock.  Turned out the clutch was completely fried.  All oil seals were replaced, cam belt replaced and I should have replaced the water pump - did it about a week after the conversion hit the road.

Easiest way to do the Engine and gearbox - out from under:



I cased an L series gearbox in a set of EJ front cases to avoid an adaptor plate and an EA clutch.  This conversion is all EJ clutch and bolts straight up without issues:




The initial test was a bit of fun in the paddock - I should've put the bonnet on though, it wasn't fun to clean!



All fits in like it should be there.  The L series should've come with the EJ from the factory, it's a great combination!




Out at Robe, SA:





After a chance purchase of a lifted L series, in one weekend the swap was done and Ruby Scoo grew to this:



More fun, Otways, VIC:




A few years down the track and a lot of searching I managed to track down a set of the infamous Scorpion 14 inch rims, these ones with the awesome general all rounder Wild Conqueror Super Trippers (can't get them anymore :():



Robe, SA:


Wyperfeld NP, VIC:



Lerderderg SF, VIC:



After two seasons at Mt Hotham and a 4wd'n trip with a "rally section" on the Dinner Plain Track south of the township I got Ruby Scoo airborne unintentionally.  Not realising for some time but I did some extensive damage to the suspension mount on the LHS.  Not ready to part with her I stripped her out and went to work between other things:





While everything was reinstalled I added power windows, mirrors and central locking.  That took a pot load more time than I anticipated and blew out the build time.  I would say this took me 6 months over the summer period to sort out and get back on the road.

Return to the road:







Getting back into the thick of it:  Mt Cole:




Getting out in the High Country with the Subaru Club of Qld (offroad club, can't remember their official title) - most of these guys are online mates from ausubi:







Current Avatar pic:




Back at Mt Hotham for another visit (Love this place!)



I added a snorkel for added confidence during water crossings:



New "trick" gearbox - L series AWD locking centre diff, front OBX (cheap!) LSD, 1.59:1 low range, low range oil feeders and 4.111:1 diff ratio (old box 3.7:1 stock ratio):







Diff locking mechanism:



This was an awesome mod - the diff ratio change has transformed the drive for the better.  The ratio matches the tyre size the same as the foresters run so it's a tried and tested setup, just not really done in an L series in this fashion on a regular basis.

This was 2013.  For the christmas period we were planning another road trip to WA to catch up with some mates I made over there on the cruise in 2007.  Unfortunately after finally getting my AC sorted the Head Gaskets let go.  Not a bad run so I shouldn't complain - just the timing over the silly season slowed down the new parts arriving in a timely manner.  But she's sorted again and running very well.  First time I've had an EJ stripped down like this:




Where I think the HGs let go, wasn't major but enough to run hot on a warm day.  No damage resulted, money saved there :D


Back together sporting a new radiator conversion (N14 pulsar) and new thermo fans - a good setup so far:




Over Easter 2014 we ventured into new territory out at Walhalla in the foothills of the Vic Alps:


First real good use of snorkel - Fulton's Creek Tk, Walhalla:



Messing around, Fulton's Creek:



Trig Track - 12 switchbacks!



Loved this area and seriously cannot wait to get back out there!


Last trip most recently was to McKillop's Bridge (very speccie!) and the general Snowy River NP, VIC:



^ Pics do not do this bridge justice, it's very high, very long and has been flooded over several times!

I was with a "different" cohort for this trip with some mates in larger, "real" 4wds:



Ruby Scoo held her own:



Until I managed to blow 2nd gear coming off throttle on a down shift from third.  Nothing harsh about it.  From here it was a tow job, not fun!






Once back on a decent track - logging truck track - we decided to see if I could manage third, using low range as another gear.  This was done to avoid time delays, rocks flicking up and damaging the front of my vehicle and my newish windscreen.  It was noisy in the box but it kept going, at the time I was kind of past the point of caring.  After stopping for the others to catch up (I was rally style, they weren't!) we continued but I think it was too much, once the oil settled in the gearbox bits had moved.  At walking pace I ended up locking up all four wheels.  We were trailered from there, trailer came from Orbost. 

Then another type of towing occurred a week later:



^ These guys were great, they let me park up for a week in their yard very cheaply!  Near M&D's, not quite "home" though:




The gearbox came out at M&D's before I took the car home as I was itching to get it started.

Once the box was stripped we found this damage:



I've since sourced an SG forester gearbox for it's stronger internals as Subaru did a big overhaul on the 1st and 2nd gearsets in these boxes along with a few other things.  My bench looks like this as I work through the little hurdles that are thrown my way:



I've had to modify a few things along the way, the low range synchro hub being one of them:



Latest modification hurdle is the woodruff key for the 5th gear as I want to use the 0.87 ratio I've got in the shed, not the SG's 0.78 as that's what I used to have and I wasn't too keen on it at cruise:



That's where I'm at.  Using Redback as the daily which is what I got her for, but I can't wait to have Ruby Scoo back on the road and 4wd'n again.  I'm also working on some surface rust I've found since removing the gearbox, this is a slow process itself and work/family/social life is getting in the way too.  Weekends are not at home at the moment :(

I hope you've enjoyed reading and viewing the pics.  While writing this and looking at the large number of pics I've got I've surprised myself just how many places I've been with Ruby Scoo.  She's currently knocking on 500k kms...  I've had many great times out bush in this vehicle and I'm hoping there will be a number of years of more good times to come!



"The lounge room is not a workshop..."

#2 Niko


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 07:00 AM

Awesome build mate, these were/are such a great little machine.


Shame about the box, but looks like you're slowly rectifying it.


#3 Matt



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Posted 11 February 2015 - 07:06 AM

This is awesome!!

#4 Liberty



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Posted 11 February 2015 - 08:24 AM

Epic build topic. Kudos to you for sticking with it after all the hurdles and unfortunate issues you've encountered along the way. It's a little beast!


I thought that pic said Bargo, not Dargo (lol 'dam).

Wanting to buy/looking for: single genuine STi rim, genuine STi front lip, Corazon or Zero/Sports grille and another OEM grille

Can you hook a brother up? Please contact me now. I have cash ready.




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#5 aekOne


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 08:57 AM

wow so cool and what a journey. i want a lifted L-Series now :)

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#6 Barbbachello


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 10:39 AM

That is awesome. The offroading side of subaru cars and forums seems to foreign to me haha

#7 Morgan


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:14 AM

This. Is. Epic.


Props to you and your persistance, Bennie!


#8 Shiv


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:25 AM

Awesome pictures, looks like you've had a great run with it! 


#9 Adam


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:32 AM


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#10 duncanm


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:35 AM

this is awesome... talk about grandpa's axe!

#11 LPM_B4



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Posted 11 February 2015 - 03:26 PM


#12 KONG


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 05:20 PM

fork yeah Dude!



What a legend car. 

#13 El_Freddo


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 06:34 PM

Wow - this is a reception I wasn't expecting!

It's been pretty epic, the best part of 10 years and it's still going on...  I've got many hours into this vehicle both with the build and the driving.  I've put over 200k kms on her.  

It's funny that some of you find this foreign.  The amount of lowered, boosted, road hugging subarus on this site is foreign to me!  But at the end of the day a subi is a subi!

I also must say that even though she looks good in the pics she's pretty rough inside and out.  But still comfortable enough for me.  Tinted windows are lined up and waiting to go in too.

Thanks for all the replies people.  I am looking forward to meeting some of you some day ;)



"The lounge room is not a workshop..."

#14 zahmad


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 09:03 PM

Most offroad action a Subaru will ever see!

Kudo's to you mate B)

#15 duncanm


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Posted 11 February 2015 - 10:44 PM

It's funny that some of you find this foreign.  The amount of lowered, boosted, road hugging subarus on this site is foreign to me!  But at the end of the day a subi is a subi!


yeh - there's a fair bit of that around!


I think I sit in-between. Stock Outback susp/lift. with a power upgrade.


I'm leaning towards some raised kings + KYB shocks when I get around to replacement time, as although I'm no serious off-roader, I find I scrape more than I want when loaded up for camping.


How's that front LSD working out?  They're available pretty cheap.

#16 SSIKness666


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Posted 12 February 2015 - 10:09 PM

At the end of the day, a subi is a subi.
Wise words ;)

Breathtaking photos/landscapes.
Detailed build photos and write-up.
Saved many photos to my phone they were that good.
Lifted Suby FTW.

Top marks Bennie!

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#17 El_Freddo


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Posted 14 February 2015 - 02:24 PM

The combination of lift that I'm running - 3 inch with 27 inch tyres is an old tried and trusted setup.  Like anything you build, if you drive it for what it's built for it will last the long haul.  Unfortunately I know of several L's with this setup that were stripped out and scrapped due to the "fun" of jumping it over dunes on the beach one too many times.  The effort of replacing busted captive nuts scares too many off from doing it so they flog the parts worth anything and scrap the rest.

My damage came from an unintentional jump under brakes, I'm glad I wiped off 15-20km before that occurred otherwise the story could be different.

This is the most I've intentionally jumped my vehicle, it was a very smooth landing:


The EJ22 addition just rounds everything off nicely - and getting the gearbox diff ratio "matched" to the wheel size was the icing on the cake.

I would say that this L series takes it to another level with the gearbox, snorkel, dual battery and camping gear setup in the back.  I still cannot bring myself to thinking about a "real 4wd" as mates keep telling me about...
Here's the build of the rear cargo camp gear setup - made from a broken torry rotisserie, an old table frame and some of my time:

First trip. This has since been refined to a series of storage containers:


The trick is to use every little bit of space available (battery now in a battery box):


^ That's under the bonnet.  The turfor winch lives in a bag so it's not always subjected to crap getting into it.  Under here i also fit my recovery gear for easy access.

More pics offroad to wet your appetite:
Cassilis (spelling??) out near Omeo:
Otways (Same sesh as the covered in mud pic in the first post), this is actually near Anglesea:
Struggling up a dune at Robe - rear end was looked at after this!

How to look after a split CV boot while out bush.  Only works if you're staying away from water crossings!

The day after I fitted the new Scorpions:
Cobaw Forest - my backyard as a kid!

^ Drove out of that one after reversing up 2m or so
Pretty good ramp over angles for a subi!
Cobaw, different session:

Bendigo 4wd "park" - water obsticle:


After doing the above twice I was on cloud nine with confidence to boot, then I did this:


Walhalla (posing!):
Rebuilding the front calipers and replacing discs at the Walhalla camp ground prior to hitting the tracks:
Dargo Rd from the Mt Hotham-Harrietville Rd:
Anyone manage to do this to a clutch plate?

While driving off Hotham to Lakes Entrance the clutch got harder and harder to use until pushing the pedal met a great resistance and no clutch disengagement.  A quick stop at the local mechanics for a check by a friend as I couldn't see anything that was causing the issue.  He told me it's internal and most likely an issue with the clutch itself - so we kept going.  Managed about 150km of driving with rev matching down to Lakes and back up about halfway on the windy tambo river stretch where it let go with quite a few rattling noises.  Irony was that the mechanic mate was the one who picked us up!

Out the back of Hotham/Dinner Plain:
Mt Cole:

An epic touring trip we did was following the Wimmera River from its headwaters to its terminal lake system in the Wyperfeld NP (vic desert):
Both of the other vehicles are "H6 equipped".  I was the only H4 to represent!
Wimmera River close to flowing over the floodway:
Ooh yeah, we like it deep!

It's not often that you see signs like this!

Our roof top tent at the time wasn't the most water proof form of shelter getting around, this is our "opera house" style fix for that - and it works a treat.  This also allows you to get in and out without getting wet at the same time.  Very important!


This is one of the reasons I love getting out bush:


I'll leave it here for now ;)


"The lounge room is not a workshop..."

#18 nickknack


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Posted 14 February 2015 - 11:37 PM

:fork: yeah 5 star post! Driving over things us lowered subies could only dream of  :rolleyes:

#19 Hypnotic


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Posted 14 February 2015 - 11:40 PM

Ah so there is a build thread for this. I was hoping there was there was one after seeing it in the Brumby build.


Anyway, sick build, I love it.

As soon as she hands it to you, slowly take of your pants, then, while staring her straight in the eyes rub it against the tip of you penis, while continuing your painfully intense gaze whisper to her;
"My eye is watering, this might be a bit hot"

I should just convert to single, right?
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#20 Barbbachello


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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:09 PM

Lifted gen 2 with H6??

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Ruby-Scoo, offroad, 4wd, conversion, lifted, EJ22

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