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Road trip, trying to plan in advance. '92 AWD, 5 speed

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My wife and I are obligated to take a trip about the end of February, early-mid March, and trying to decide best option. Current thought is to take 'The Chicken', our '92 Legacy wagon. I'd like to be sure it's in good order though, and we're on a shoe-string budget. Which is to say, about $500 to work with for vehicle. Fix up The Chicken (the car came with a little plastic chicken in the console, now glued to the dashboard :) ), or use that $500 to rent a car.


I do most of the driving, and would rather drive our own car.


Items on the list to do so far:

-tires (I have a good set, just need to get them mounted)

-brakes (I figure parts should be pretty cheap, can do the work myself)

-windshield (we'd just pay to have this done)


While doing tires and brakes, I'll check out bushings, ball joints, etc. It feels pretty tight though.


Question is, other issues. Things I should look for, check, replace preemptively, etc. I'm a pretty experienced shade tree mechanic, but as my user name would suggest, I'm a Volvo guy, not a Subaru guy.


The car has about 180k miles, runs fine. Drives fine. But, were it a Volvo, I'd pack a box of spare parts... fuel pump, distributor, alternator brush pack, belts/hoses... stuff like that.


No maintenance records came with this car, so.. no clue on timing belt (don't even know if it's got a belt or a chain), no clue on longevity of fuel pumps, or whatever.


that's where I seek advice... Dare we fix up the car and take it? Or would we be better off to just rent something? Problem is, if we start spending on the Legacy, that's our rental car money gone.


But, if we can get the Legacy in good order, then we've got a good car when we return. We do have AAA, so roadside issues are minimal. We will be on a schedule, but we'll be allowing a couple days extra between all commitments.


Route will be northern CO -> S Indiana -> Ohio -> N Indiana -> Chicago area -> home (maybe a bit of Michigan in there too)... so, potential lake affect storms, etc. Hence the want for the AWD.


So, beside obvious issues... any thoughts?


Appreciate any and all insights!


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