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Bostig Zetec Review: Install and after 2000 miles
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Conant.D
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject: Bostig Zetec Review: Install and after 2000 miles Reply with quote

Bostig Syncro Westy: Review of install and after 2000 miles:

I bought my Syncro last July and drove it for about 2 months and quickly realized a new engine was necessary. I read nearly every review on The Samba about conversions and always thought I would go with a SmallCar conversion 2.5L or possibly the 3.3L. In my mind I imagined I would drive my van from Portland, leave it at SmallCar, take the train home to Portland, wait two weeks, then go pick up my van with new engine and drive home happy. I added up some numbers, presented then to my wife and quickly got laughed out of the kitchen.

I am not a “mechanical” person so I did not consider doing this engine conversion myself. I had read about Bostig engineering, but thought no way I could manage to do that conversion and actually have a reliable van when finished, however the price tag was appealing. I did some more research and Bostig tech support sounded second to none. I presented the 5.5K option to my wife and this price tag was received a little better. I called a mechanical buddy and he said, “Just do it, I will help you out with the project.” 4 glasses of wine later I hit “Buy” on the Google checkout screen to buy into the Bostig 4th install group.

Many people that have done the conversion would say it is very easy, I am not one of these people. I had no previous experience with vanagons, I was scared of car batteries (wont this thing shock me?), could barely tell the difference between an alternator and a AC unit, and I did not have many tools. So I spent a lot of time watching the videos, rewatching the videos, then actually doing the project. The beauty of this is, there ARE ACTUAL VIDEOS TO WATCH and they are fantastic. Following along with these videos made this conversion possible for me. If I got stuck, I would call Bostig and Brady or Jim would answer every time (most of the time it was 9pm east coast time!). All in all, it probably took me 40 hours from the first wrench turn of dropping the WBX to driving the Zetec on the highway. I had some vacuum leaks I had to diagnose at the end of the project that took some time. Brady/ Jim helped troubleshoot the whole way. 40 hours is much longer than most people. My mechanical buddy never helped and I did the whole thing alone. I am very proud of this and I now know my van much better.

So now to the driving. I can barely remember what it was like to drive with the WBX, but I certainly love my Zetec. It is by no means “Overpowered” but it definitely gets the job done. I still have to shift to 3rd gear going over the Cascades (Mt. Hood) but I still keep it above 60 mph even on the steepest parts without thinking my engine is going to blow. I could cruise at 80 all day long on the highway and it runs smooth. I would like to have more power, but for now this is a huge improvement. Maybe it is bad, but I have not even opened my deck lid in 800 miles. I should probably take a look, but I honestly forget to as it runs so well. The acceleration is awesome and I get a kick out of beating regular cars off the line at stop lights, I never even thought of doing that with my WBX. All in all, I am very happy that I made this decision and as far as I am concerned the conversion package and customer service is top notch. Hats off to Jim and Brady for putting this together, refining their product, and sticking to a very time consuming venture.

There are a couple guys here in Portland that want to take a look at my new Zetec and our schedules have not lined up yet. But if anybody has any questions, worries, or thoughts about this project feel free to drop me a line. I am about as far away from Boston as one can be in the continental USA, but it felt like I always had support via the web or phone.

Hope this helps somebody with their upcoming conversion decision. I think if I can do it just about anybody can.

Regards,

Drew
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DougR
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way to go! You ROCK! (Better at least peek under the hood soon!)

Doug
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campism
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, if I had done that swap by myself I'd drive around with a plexi engine cover and an angled mirror over the engine compartment so I could look at the thing (carefully) while driving. Congratulations!
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whafalia
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang California Air Resources Board.

Congratulations!
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drew,

Well, I am one of those Portland guys, and it sounds like you have done a fine job. Thanks for the write-up. I am sure we can meet up soon.
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Steelhead
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the write-up. good job.
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GWTWTLW
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to see too! Sounds like another "Lab" outing is in order!
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Williamtaylor33
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Bostig Zetec Review: Install and after 2000 miles Reply with quote

Conant.D wrote:
I added up some numbers, presented then to my wife and quickly got laughed out of the kitchen.

I bought into the 2nd install group. And asked my wife if i could a day later.
A wise man once said "Its much easier to ask for forgiveness than it is permission"
Conant.D wrote:
4 glasses of wine later I hit “Buy” on the Google checkout screen to buy into the Bostig 4th install group.

Laughing Laughing Laughing
Conant.D wrote:
So now to the driving. I can barely remember what it was like to drive with the WBX, but I certainly love my Zetec.

Thanks for that cool write up.
I just got back from a 3000 mile road trip across mexico with my zetec. The way the bostig boys have set up the support for this conversion teaches you how to maintain your van. Its a good feeling.
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swingDB0
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

would this conversion be possible on a subaru engine??
my westy came with a subaru engine
:]
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mtnwater
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swing - I converted my van from an EJ22 to the Bostig V2.0 zetec. Not only is it possible, I believe that in some ways it's easier than converting from the wbx. There are a few nuances that you would need to pay attention to, but as others have noted the support from Bostig guys and the other Bostig customers is fantastic. Go for it!
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markmc90
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are your thoughts after switching for the ej22 to a zetec?
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ftp2leta
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now bring the pictures!!! I have to say that there is not enough Bostig pictures.

Great story! I agree, they did very good with the V2, i'm impress.

It's amazing that a guy that could tell apart an alternator and an AC compressor did the job himself, i big bravo to you.

Bostig is somewhat of a competition, not for me but just generally speaking. But i'm amaze at what they did, hard work and they never stop improving.

Pure passion! I respect that at 150%.

Again, bravo!

Ben
ps.: I'm anti purist, anything that will make those van live for another 20 years of so is good for me, cheers.
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mtnwater
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

markmc90 wrote:
What are your thoughts after switching for the ej22 to a zetec?


Two thumbs up. I'd say power is roughly equal, but I find the zetec to be smoother and quieter than the EJ22. The OBD2 diagnostics are fantastic, the ability to change the ECU programming and log ECU data is amazing at this pricepoint.

I confess that the turbo was my primary motivation for making the switch and I can't wait for the turbo option to be ready for prime time.

For what it's worth, my EJ22 conversion was installed by one of the subaru conversion masters on the west coast - it was as clean and fresh as a EJ22 conversion could be, complete with rebuilt engine, stainless header, speed sensor, etc. It was fine, but for some reason it was never quite right. I blew the head gaskets on a 3k mile road trip and that was the end for me. Selling the EJ22 provided enough resources to fund the zetec project. Regarding the head gaskets - the van never overheated, I simply started to get combustion gasses in my coolant. Still unclear why the gaskets went.
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240Gordy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

how are the noise levels

wbx vs subie vs ford?
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mtnwater
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

240Gordy wrote:
how are the noise levels

wbx vs subie vs ford?




It's been a long time since I had a wbx, so I don't really remember, but I think the zetec sound is on par with the wbx and much quieter than my EJ22 was. That said, I doubt many folks are spending as much time at 5k rpm with the wbx as I do with my zetec, so the sound is undoubtedly different

There's a video floating around with Brady driving a wbx powered van on one frame and a zetec powered on the other. The sound is split so you can hear the wbx in one ear and the zetec in the other.

I spent well over a grand trying to quiet my EJ22 conversion - different mufflers, different headers, and finally sound proofing stuff. For the EJ22, I had a Kennedy air box plumbed into a modified snorkle on the drivers side. For the zetec, I have a modified ford focus airbox plumbed into the stock snorkle on the passenger side.

Noise is subjective, and not all conversions sound the same. I have a buddy with an EJ22 in a syncro westy and it is much quieter than my EJ22 ever was.
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1621
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops, double post.
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Last edited by 1621 on Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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1621
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll show you mine if you show me yours... Razz

Lab this week?
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GWTWTLW
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1621 wrote:
Lab this week?


Monday?
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drew great post I will be starting a Bostig conversion in the coming weeks so it's very cool to here how much your enjoying your conversion
Kevin
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Conant.D
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the positive responses.

ClimberJohn and other Portland folks, Monday evening at the Lucky lab sounds good to me. What lucky lab SE? I am down for any location.

For all you subie guys, I am a huge fan. My first car was a 1986 Impreza DL and my most recent Subie was a 2002 Impreza Outback Sport wagon. I am a big fan of Subaru in general. I am just glad there are a number of options out there for us all to choose from.

Again, thanks for all your support.

Regards,

DC
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