SUBARU LIBERO

SECOND GENERATION (FA) | Build year 1993-1999

The second generation of the Libero (the FA) was introduced in 1993. This all new generation replaced the first generation Libero (the KJ), which was in production since 1983.

The design of the second generation was typical for the nineties. Every corner was rounded off and there were no sharp lines in the design. The typical boxy shape of the KJ was definitely gone. Furthermore, Subaru installed two massive bumpers on the FA, way bigger than they installed on the KJ. 

Compaired to the KJ much seems the same; four-wheel drive was still available and the engine was still intalled in the back. The concept of the Libero was not changed either: as much space as possible with the smallest possible outer dimensions. But Subaru had worked on the second generation, because the technology was different on almost every point. For example, the chassis was new, as was the construction of the cooling system and the location of the windshield washer reservoirs, they changed the front and rear suspension and changed the location of the spare tire.

Table of contents

What makes the Libero unique?

1. Small outside, spacious inside
The Libero is as long, and even smaller, than a Toyota Yaris. However a Libero is way more spacious than a Yaris, thanks to its high roof and boxy shape.

Besides that, with a total length of 3.50m, you can transport 6 people! There are not a lot of vans, let alone cars, that can do that just like the Libero.

2. Versatility
The Libero owes its practicality to the large sliding doors and the adjustable seats. This means that the Libero can be used in almost any situation.

Whether you have to travel with 6 people, help a friend out with a move, move a few bicycles, shelter for the rain and have a lunch while doing so or want to sleep in the bus, with the Libero it's all possible.

3. Sun-sunroof: the panoramic roof (option)
The panoramic roof installed on the Libero consists of two parts. The middle section slides open over a distance of 705 millimeters. This means that there's some nice ventilation during Dutch summers with temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius.
The front part of the roof is a pop-up roof. If you open it together with the sliding roof, you will not be bothered by wind noise while driving. You can also use it separately from the sunroof, thanks to the shape you will hear virtually no wind noise. This is ideal for quick ventilation of the interior without having to turn the blower up or open the side windows.

Subaru did not call this combination ‘sun-sunroof’for nothing. This is a wordplay that comes from the Japanese word 'sansan'. 'Sansan' is pronounced as 'sunsun' in English, and means something like 'shine bright'. So sun-sunroof means something like: 'a roof where the light shines through brightly'. Which is actually quite a good description.

You could also interpret sun-sunroof as a double sunroof, as you got one in the front and one in the middle.

Technology

engine & four-wheel drive

The engine

The only engine Subaru made availbe for the 2nd generation Libero was the EF12: a 1.2L three cylinder with multi point injection.

This little engine delivers 54,4 HP at 4600 rpm. The maximum torque peaks at 3000 rpm with 96 Nm. This pretty high torque is achieved by a high compression ratio of 9,1:1. This was quite an achievement back in the day, only Subaru's turbocharged boxers also had this high compression ratio.

The engine in my van turned out to have an oil pressure problem after purchase. For more information about how this was solved, click on the button below.

Four-wheel drive

As a Subaru, four-wheel drive could of course not be missing. That's why Subaru designed a 4WD system for the Libero, indeed not a full-time system, but a part-time four-wheel drive system

This means that all four wheels are not continuously driven. The rear wheels of the Libero are always driven. Only when you press a red 4WD button the front wheels are coupled to the rear axle to engage four-wheel drive.

The Libero's 4WD system is designed to make driving in snow, slippery conditions and similar conditions easier. It is not designed for continuous use on dry asphalt, that can even break the gearbox.

For a detailed explanation of the technology and its limitations, click on the orange button.

Points of attention

Rust spots and the gear of the panoramic roof

  1. Rust:
    • Rusting seat belt mounting points
      The belts of the rear seat are bolted down in the trunk. Fold up the plastic mat in the trunk and see if these two fixing points are rusting.
    • Rust around wheel arches
      Everything around the wheel arches / mudguards. Look carefully at the edges of the mudguards and take a good look at the wheel arches.
    • Rust above the doors (only occurs with damaged rubbers)
      If you open the front- and sliding door, you will see that there is a rain gutter-like rubber above those doors. Carefully pull these "rain gutter rubbers" off when you are viewing a van. These rain gutters prevent the water from settling between four layers of steel. If these rubbers dry out or are damaged, it is possible that the water has settled between those four layers of steel. That can cause quite a bit of rust in a nasty place.

  2. Panoramic roof
    • Rattling sound from the panoramic roof
      The drive of the electric panoramic roof sometimes makes a rattling noise. Sometimes the roof no longer opens.
      This indicates a worn sprocket. Subaru no longer makes this sprocket, so I plan to produce them. If I have them in stock, there will be a link to that gear here.
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