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Hesitation in 86' 5ktq

-My 86' 5ktq (138k mi.) cuts out at odd times.  It seems to be a combination of throttle position, rpm, and turbo spool.  Regardless, when at heavy load, such as when passing on the freeway, running up a long hill in 5th, or brisk acceleration from a stop, the engine cuts out as if loosing spark, but will then run if I back off or downshift.  I am a poor graduate student living in rural Virginia and the local guy wants to start by installing a new ecu!  
Please give me leads,  my wife wants to replace it with a Subaru, she doesn't quite understand!  I need to keep this thing doing OK until I score the big job this summer.  My dad bought this car new and it was very well maintained until I went back to school.Kartikey