SUBARU LIBERO

Second generation (FA) | 1993- 1999

The second generation of the Libero (the FA) was introduced in 1993 and replaced the first generation Libero (the KJ), which was in production for 10 years.

Putting both generations side by side, the look is immediately striking: the angularity of the KJ was gone for good. With many rounded corners and few sharp lines, the second generation was a typical 90s design.

As big as the optical differences are, so are the technical ones. For the new Libero, Subaru developed a completely new chassis, for example. All that was still used from the KJ were the base of the engine block and internal parts of the gearbox.

So the FA is technically a completely different car, but the concept remained the same.

Table of contents

What makes the Libero unique?

1. Small outside, spacious inside
The Libero is 3.5m long and only 1.4m wide. However, by making the van rectangular and heigh, it makes the best use of the available space.

As a result, you can still transport 6 people with a van that is shorter and narrower than a Toyota Yaris. There are few means of transport that imitate 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 need to go somewhere with 6 people, help with a move or want to sleep in the van, the Libero can do it all!

3. Sun-sunroof: the panoramic roof (option)
Besides the multi-purpose seats, the Libero has another unique thing in some cases: the panoramic roof that covers two-thirds of the roof.

The panoramic roof consists of two parts:

  • The middle section can slide fully open. This allows it to ventilate nicely, ideal if you have to wait in the sun in front of a bridge.
  • The front section can tilt. This is ideal for quick ventilation of the interior.

This combination Subaru called the sun-sunroof.

Sun-sunroof clearly indicates the presence of two sunroofs. However, there is another deeper meaning in 'sun-sun'. For this is a play on words deriving from the Japanese word 'sansan'.

'Sansan' translates into something like 'shine bright' and you pronounce it as 'sunsun' in English.

So a sun-sunroof is 'a two-piece panoramic roof where the light shines trough brightly'.Appropriate right?

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

Four-wheel drive, of course, could not be missing in good Subaru fashion.

In the more expensive versions, the Libero features engageable four-wheel drive. This means that only the rear wheels are driven continuously. Only when you press a red 4WD button, the front wheels are engaged and you have 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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