View original topic: Building 2.2 wbx performance motor Page: 1, 2  Next
iceracer Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:36 am

The plan is to build a 2.2 wbx. I saw a post sometime ago whereby a member built his own and had specifics on the cam he used etc. I did a search but can't find the post. I think it was buried inside another post. Anyway, Anybody recall where I can find that info? Thanks.

D Clymer Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:16 pm

I think this is what you're looking for:

iceracer Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:12 pm

That's exactly the one. Thanks.

tencentlife Wed Nov 01, 2006 4:00 pm

Feel free to ask any questions that come up. The engine has 5000mi. on it and it's going strong, VERY strong.

D Clymer Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:06 pm

tencentlife wrote: Feel free to ask any questions that come up. The engine has 5000mi. on it and it's going strong, VERY strong.

Reading through your post, it sounds like the Eagle cam definitely woke up your engine above the 4000 rpm range. Does the engine pull strongly up to 5000 rpms now? I'm also curious if the engine has lost any of its flexibility at low rpms.

Also, can you tell me a little more about how you eliminated the idle speed control module? I always assumed that module was the control unit for the idle stabilizer valve. Is this not the case? Does the idle stabilizer valve still function with the module eliminated, or did you eliminate that also?

Thanks. It sounds like you've created a very good wasserboxer. I've already converted several vans to Subaru, but have always wondered if it would be possible to build the wasserboxer for a bit more power and reliability. After reading your posts, I'm thinking of building a similar engine.


tencentlife Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:08 pm

The cam I used is really pretty mild, but not having much experience with aftermarket cams, I didn't want to go too far. There is no sacrifice of torque at all that I can sense in the lower range, and idle is good and stable. The torque peak seems to be about 3200rpm (it seemed like the old engine had a torque peak at about 2800), but she pulls real nice right up to redline. If I'm in top gear and climbing a long steep grade, revs may fall off slowly, but once they get to 3200 it holds steady. On the big highway grades around here that used to make me downshift, I'm cruising along with traffic now, and downshifting is a distant memory.

Bear in mind that I'm using a 1 3/8" S&S 4into1 header system, no cat. A larger runner size would move the torque peak higher.

I think I would actually go with a little wilder cam next time, but in the CB-Eagle hydro product line, it's a big jump in duration to the next one. I'm not sure I'd want to go that far. Maybe get one custom ground for hydro lifters. If you want to go solid lifters, there's dozens of T1 cams you could use. Me, I got sick of having to adjust valves about 25 years ago.

The idle stabilizer valve is normally operated by the idle speed control module with a PWM signal. The valve itself is just a large-bore solenoid valve, and will hold open with a steady 12v signal. I'm using it in its original location as a simple idle boost valve. Right now it opens when the AC clutch is powered. I inserted a plastic disc in the air hose next to the valve with a small hole, about 9/64" if I remember right, to limit the amount of boost air so idle speed stays stable as the AC cycles. I don't have a cold warmup boost yet, but actually I was going to work on that today. I have a CIS thermo-time switch that I'll use to activate the valve when the engine is cold. That's all the idle correction that's really needed with a standard trans car, unless you're in the habit of sitting in traffic with your steering at full lock. The PS pressure switch could be wired in to open the boost valve at full lock, too, but I don't drive that way.

The original idle speed control system is flexible and works fine when everything is in order, but my control unit had failed and I didn't see the need to spend $250 (I wouldn't risk any money on a used one) when I could accomplish the same goals for a few dollars. I haven't modified the OEM wire harness so it's easily switchable back to the stock setup. The Digifant ECU does a fine job of idling at the speed you set with the TB bypass screw. The OEM idle speed control system wasn't responsible for the idle itself, it was there to modify idle air volume to maintain speed under different conditions. I always wonder if this was even put on cars sent to some other markets. It was definitely an add-on, needlessly complicated, and should have been integrated into the ECU.


iceracer Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:10 pm

Hey tencentlife, Did you get the pistons and cyl from gowesty??? I talked to them yesterday and they said they would email me a list of everything I would need but have yet to hear from them. Apparently, they are will ing to sell new parts like that. I have always built my own motors (aircooled) (high perf type4's) and I have done heads on wbx's before so I am up to the challenge. Seems to me the most important item will be the cam choice. Other than the S&S header you used stock fuel injection and all is well. No tweeking???? Thanks.

tencentlife Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:44 pm

Yeah, ice, I used the GW Wiseco 96mm P&L set. My build list is at the link above. My set didn't have the ceramic tops and moly skirt coatings, which are now included at the same price, last time I checked.

Lucas emailed me a list of parts that he thought I should use. In the end, for performance parts I only used their P&L set. Make sure to get their copper combustion seal rings (they're included in the P&L set). He has his own cam, which I couldn't get the specs for from him. He prefers to have the lift at the cam, and discourages using higher-ratio rockers than 1.1, but I differ on that account. There's a lot of inertial losses to that approach that are reduced by achieving more of the total lift with the rockers, and wear at the cam and lifters should be reduced that way as well. You get better tracking out of your stock springs as well. See this article by Gene Berg:

The physics is definitely in favor of this approach, if you stop and think about it. I think 1.4's could be run with no problem, but I haven't tested where the springs would bind to be absolutely sure. But some European builders have used them.

My FI, other than my idle speed boost system, is stock. Lately I've been running the AFM with the return spring relaxed 3 notches. I tried it as an experiment, and marked the difference in flap positions with the mod vs. stock setting. There's a small advancement of the flap at a given steady rpm, but under load the flap advances much further, giving a richer mixture under load. I've road-tested this for a good 1k miles so far, and I think I'll keep it this way. There is a definite power increase, especially for hard hill climbing, but mileage hasn't suffered a bit.

If you've built T1's and T4's before, you'll have no problem doing a wbx. The hardest job is getting the wrist pin clips into the Wiseco pistons thru the small access holes. Wiseco uses a plain wire clip which has no grip ears. They were a real test of patience to get them in. The other thing I'd urge you to do is to put a thin, continuous bead of the water jacket gasket sealer on the end of the water jacket itself, then fit up the seal and put a second bead on the gasket face like the book shows. I had a gasket leak around the back side once.

Also, don't waste your time trying to withdraw the wrist pins thru the holes when you tear it down. Just use a long wobble extension and undo the rod nuts, then remove the piston and rod as a unit. It'll be easier to drive the pins out on the bench.

I had some leaky pushrod tube seals after the rebuild, and used the collapsible repair tubes, which I had around, to fix them. The 3 repair tubes all leaked at the telescoping joint. The wbx tubes have the inboard end bigger than the outboard, so you can't use T1 tubes as replacements. I did some research and found out that the Jaycee tubes that CB sells can be used in a wbx if you reverse them. They have one end bigger for ratio rockers. For the cost of 2 or 3 of those cheesy repair tubes, you can get a full set of nice anodized collapsible tubes, in the color of your choice. These haven't leaked a bit, and there's still good pushrod clearance at the outboard end:

There's several parts on the wbx that are the same size as a T1, so you can shop for some upgrades on the T1 aftermarket:
Cam, cam gears, cam bearings. Lifters are T4
Oil pump
Connecting rod bearings. The rods are the same length, but the wrist pin is 24mm, rather than a T1 22mm.
Rocker parts and valve covers
In a 1.9 case, main bearings #2, 3, 4. The #1 thrust bearing is the same as a T4.
If your 1.9 case is oversize, Boston Bob can supply a #1 if you can't locate a wbx set.

2.1 cases have a different type of bearing, tang-located, and embedded thrust shims on the #1. No interchangeability with any other VW boxer.

klucz Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:47 pm

This should be called the Tencent engine! (or the 200,000-cent motor!) :wink:
Since ECU's and FI components are being discussed as well as cams, I thought I'd throw this in. A friend pointed this out in the Bay forum regarding Megasquirt. good links)
Also from this forum;start=20

If you went with a more radical cam, wouldn't the FI need to be upgraded as well? Seems a nice option to be able to do away with all the Digi-components anyway.
BTW, this months issue of Grass Roots Motorsports features a DIY MegaSquirt/MegaSpark article.

tencentlife Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:06 pm

I think the Digifant would still be OK with a hotter cam than I've got. Mine is pretty mild, as I said. The engine doesn't sound like it's "cammed" at all, nor does it drive that way. But to get into serious camming, yes I think having a mappable EFI would be the way to go. Frankly, it would be a great improvement even with a stock engine, mainly because VW designed its FI's to run really lean to meet EPA. If you could customise the datamap to your altitude, you could surely get a lot more power out of one of these engines.

That said, I also think that Digifant is a pretty good system for a production vehicle, within its limitations. I've come to believe that its biggest shortcoming isn't the concept, but the wiring harness. Most of the complaints we read about here would be history if the system had been better wired, I think. Oh, and if they had done a different TBS setup. Oh, and if the idle speed cotrol had been integrated.

But I've long been interested in the SDS injection, and lately the Megasquirt. An open source system is really the ultimate. I'm considering getting a MS when budget allows. But I think big brakes and a paint job should come first.

iceracer Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:22 am

Hey tencentlife, Got the heads off and #1 and #2 exhaust valves were burned out with pie shapes cut in them, even burned away the seats. I was driving that motor in an 87 van a few winters back I used for towing my bug to races. Always knew it was low on power but didn't think 2 cyls were kaput. Anyway, was able to get 3 out of 4 wrist pins out last night and took your advice on the 4th - removed the connecting rod. Amazingly, the conn rod bearing looked great, no real visible wear and odometer broke at 169k but knew the van was driven for years after that so possibly close to 200k on it. If time permits this weekend, I will tear down the rest of it. QUESTION: When installing the gowesty 96mm P and L's must one use different rods or can I go with stock rods and get correct deckheight???????????

tencentlife Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:54 pm

Oooh, way overcooked valves. You're gonna need extensive head work, or new ones. I had Rimco do some remanufacturing on my heads, but had some trouble with their work. I could have had a better job done at my local machinist's, and he ended up finishing the job anyway. There's nothing fancy about these heads, they're just a T1 in almost every serviceable respect, but most shops hear "waterboxer" and don't want to touch it.

If you got the scratch, GW has nice heads ready to go, but I think Boston Bob deserves the nod. He does a big valve upgrade that would be a real plus, budget allowing, of course.

The bottom ends in these blocks are exceptionally stout, so I'm not surprised you found the rod bearings looking nice.

The big weakness is in the rod big ends and bolts. NEVER re-use the stretch bolts that were stock on 2.1's, and always install rods with the big-end remachined. The OEM straight-shank bolts used in the 1.9 are good, or for a few more bucks you can use a set of the ARP high-tensile bolts. They need to be installed by a machinist because the big ends have to be machined after the bolts are in so everything aligns perfectly. I think the ARP's give some security, but are only really needed for high-rev motors. The Digifant ECU will chop revs at 5600rpm, so it's not an issue with stock FI.

I got a reman rod set from VanCafe, which had the 1.9 bolts installed. Those rods were fine except as a set there was a variance in weight, like 6g. OEM specs are for not more than 10g variance in weight, but I had to remove some metal to get them within 1g. You could also use some of the aftermarket 5.39" T1 rods, if you have the wrist pin bushing remachined for a 24mm pin (remember T1's have 22mm). Make sure there's enough meat at the small end to support the larger bushing. Search around at Shoptalk, there are some threads on this topic.

The GW P&L set works with stock 5.39" rods on a 2.1 76mm crank. Deck is right to the end of the cylinder, the 1mm squish height is then established by the 1mm copper sealing rings.

iceracer Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:15 pm

Thanks tencentlife, I was wondering about the rods and actually am waiting for a call back from Lucas at gowesty. I will buy heads and will look into Boston Bob for that. At least I have cores. I am trying to do this in the most cost effective way for myself, but I see either way it will be costly but if done right it will last. And I will enjoy putting it together!

tencentlife Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:53 pm

Yeah, for what it'll cost you to do this, using top quality parts, you might have bought a long block from someone. But it wouldn't be a high-compression cammed 2.2. It's fun and challenging to do your own rebuild, and there's no satisfaction like knowing it's done right. And the extra power makes the Vanagon a pleasure to drive, out here in the real world.

cone Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:49 am

Hello there!
I'm so happy I've found Your experiances with new camshafts for 2.1 WBX.

I'm during total engine rebuild. I have to decide between making original MV camshaft regeneration (it is not in the best condition) or buy new one.

I see that few of You have great time with CB Eagle 2280 and 2252. The probem is I can't find CB products in Europe, and getting the product from US will kill my wallet (anyway it will be killed by the rebuild :)

A friend of mine in Poland has CB Performance camshaft with:
Adv. Duration: 286 deg
Duration @ 0.05": 248 deg
Lift cam.: 0.419"
Lift with 1.1:1 rocker: 0.461"

I can get it in 2 days and go on with rebuild, but... I'm seriously affraid it is much to sharp and it won't work nicely with my WBX 2.1 Syncro (MV) with 1.25:1 rocker and standard cylinders (94mm / 76 mm stroke).

Anybody - please help. Especially if You know the place where to buy CB's in Europe.

bluebus86 Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:38 am

Give CB a call or email, they should be able to recommend their product or not. alsomcheck out Elgin cams, I have one of theirs in my big bore wasser boxer, they have a wide selection, and do offer good telephone or email advice.

good luck

regis101 Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:41 pm

Which cam might that be? Thanks,

Viva.Sabata Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:15 pm

bluebus86 wrote: Give CB a call or email, they should be able to recommend their product or not. alsomcheck out Elgin cams, I have one of theirs in my big bore wasser boxer, they have a wide selection, and do offer good telephone or email advice.

good luck

IIRC when I called them a month or so back this is the only cam they have that will work in the vanagon without resorting to custom FI

cone Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:49 am

I've just received a one sentence answer from CB Performance...
"I am sorry but we offer no parts for the WBX engine."

So there are 2 options - 1) they are not interested in new client, 2) their customer service doesn't know what they sell.

That's said.

jberger Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:42 am

cone wrote: I've just received a one sentence answer from CB Performance...
"I am sorry but we offer no parts for the WBX engine."

So there are 2 options - 1) they are not interested in new client, 2) their customer service doesn't know what they sell.

That's said.

This is true. They do not offer a WBX camshaft. What they do have are hydraulic Type 1 camshaft grinds that a list member has confirmed work well in a WBX. I have also confirmed this with my own R&D. If you are just replacing a stock camshaft in a stock motor, I would go with the CB 2252 every day of the week. It is smooth, pulls nicely and you can add ratio rockers if you want to change it up a bit more. Remember you will also need a cam gear and oil pump for a flat cam. But it all works great.

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