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  View original topic: Tiico? Vanaru? GEX Rebuild? Which one is best for us? Page: 1, 2, 3  Next
woundedknee Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:19 am

We have a 1985 Vanagon GL Country Homes Camper conversion that is Automatic. Unfortunately we have developed an engine problem that has us in the market for a new/rebuilt engine. We really don't know what the best choice is, and would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has experience with any of the above three (or one that we have not heard of yet). We are tempted to go with the most cost-effective (GEX Rebuild) but are unsure as to the longevity...we don't want to end up in the same boat, engine-wise, in a few short years.

Randy in Maine Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:41 am

GEX is junk so stay away from those. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=92079&highlight=gex

My suggestion would either to go for a Boston Engine http://www.bostonengine.com/ 2.1L which will set you back about $3K +/-.

or a TIICO conversion http://tiico.com/Vanagon%20Conversion.htm that will set you back about $6500 +/-. Best to have someone that actually knows how to, install those, but they are new and actually have a warranty. I think they are about 135 HP and it is a nice install.

Call those guys and see what they have to say.

[email protected] Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:16 am

I like the Tiico conversion! It takes a little while to ship in from S Africa but it is a new factory motor with new fuel injection, you can't beat that. Better fuel economy, longer engine life, good performance, and it bolts rite into your vanagon.

ChesterKV Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:29 am

woundedknee wrote: We have a 1985 Vanagon GL Country Homes Camper conversion that is Automatic. Unfortunately we have developed an engine problem that has us in the market for a new/rebuilt engine. We really don't know what the best choice is, and would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has experience with any of the above three (or one that we have not heard of yet). We are tempted to go with the most cost-effective (GEX Rebuild) but are unsure as to the longevity...we don't want to end up in the same boat, engine-wise, in a few short years.

Which state (South Dakota might be a possibility) are you in? If you're outside of California you can pretty much do whatever you want. A lot of the conversions will give you great power/reliability/fuel economy but with an automatic it's not a great fit due to the limited gears available. Unless you're willing to spend a lot of money on upgrading your automatic transmission then I'd recommend sticking with a stock motor. Boston Bob or GoWesty come to mind.


Good luck

D Clymer Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:21 pm

There's nothing wrong with going with an updated wasserboxer. A well built one has a bottom end that will go for over 150K. Not all rebuilds are the same though, and GEX would not be the company to get one from. (do a search on here for GEX). Even though the GoWesty engines seem expensive, they really aren't when you take into account the quality of the components they use. I think Boston Bob knows how to do a top quality rebuild, but his engines are stock displacement. It would be nice to add a little displacement. You can also get a factory rebuilt from the VW dealer for less than $3000, and from what I've heard on here they are good rebuilt engines - sometimes new, and not the crummy VW of Canada remanufactured units that were available for a while.

David

ChesterKV Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:28 pm

By the way, I meant to say, stick with the stock WBX motor but by all means go up in displacement. GoWesty offers the 2200 cc engine which I think is their best engine for long term reliability. It'll give your automatic some extra muscle when trying to merge on the freeway or powering out of a drift in the corners..... :roll: -------- well, not exactly

Good luck

woundedknee Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:09 pm

Thanks to all! I keep changing my mind with each post :wink: but am heavily looking at Go Westy & Boston Bob. We live in Connecticut & the vanagon spent most of its life in Hawaii and California (with a side trip to Guatemala!) We'd like to get the longest life that we can out of this vehicle as the current engine is the second engine she has had (we bought her with the second 1.9L installed) We have had her for 3 years and have taken her camping and had tons of fun with her & hope to have tons more.

singlewc Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:00 pm

Is AVP that bad, that no one mentions them? I read that they are decent, and about $1000 less than the ones recommended here.

I agree that you get what you pay for, but not everyone has $3K+ for an engine.

I haven't used or seen one, but I don't hear bad things about them, so I just wonder if they are taboo in the waterboxer world?

vwlovr Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:32 pm

drop the cash and get the bostig. i just installed mine and i love it. the kit is top notch and their tech support is outstanding. the motor is much nicer than my old wasserleaker.

i'm a bit behind on my pic posting and blog post, but i started with one blog post here...
http://planetpayne.com/home/?p=11

and here's two galleries showing the install....
http://www.planetpayne.com/photos.cgi?/cars/current_cars/1986_syncro_vanagon/zetec_arrival_n_prep
http://www.planetpayne.com/photos.cgi?/cars/current_cars/1986_syncro_vanagon/zetec_install

i have a few more pics to post up that i'll be blogging. the install went pretty smooth, most bumps were caused by me not reading instructions or just crusty stuff that i decided to fix or replace along the way.

sure, it's a ford motor, and the kit aint cheap, but it's a high quality kit and about as turnkey as it could possibly be if you want to install it yourself. plus the tunable ECU is a sweet addition. you can set it up for power or milage, or even for e85 if you have it in your area. or even drop another 2k and supercharge it.



ps. for CA folks they're still working on CARB approval, i'm in CA, but i'm moving to Hawaii, so i'll just have to avoid johnny law while i'm still here.

singlewc Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:13 pm

vwlovr wrote: drop the cash and get the bostig. i just installed mine and i love it. the kit is top notch and their tech support is outstanding. the motor is much nicer than my old wasserleaker.


And the total amount of cash "dropped" was?.....

vwlovr Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:25 pm

i think to them it was like $7700 or so, it was before the price bump (they even threw in free shipping for full payment up front). other misc bits i've had to get, are a new starter, coolant bottle, fluids, and various bits here and there. most extra stuff i needed was needed anyway, not needed because of the conversion.

they have a more DIY kit now, that's like 4k or something where you source your own motor. if you wanna save some bucks that might be the way to go. i'm sure zetec motors aren't to hard to find in salvage yards.

everything on the kit is high quality. all stainless bits so they will last a long time. i think the DIY kit has a plain steel cradle, but you can get the stainless one for extra bucks. all their info in on their site.

mine didn't start right away, but only because i first forgot the fatty wire to the starter...duh. then i had wired my fuel pump wrong, but once i figured that out she started right up. i had some troubles getting the coolant system filled so i was going to flush it and get the old crap out, but then my rear aux heater blew a leak! since i'm moving somewhere warm i pulled that out. so today i flushed and filled and now it's all good.

Beetsport Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:36 pm

singlewc wrote: Is AVP that bad, that no one mentions them? I read that they are decent, and about $1000 less than the ones recommended here.

I agree that you get what you pay for, but not everyone has $3K+ for an engine.

I haven't used or seen one, but I don't hear bad things about them, so I just wonder if they are taboo in the waterboxer world?

I have not heard from them in some time. Every time I call there is no answer.....

Randy in Maine Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:25 am

I think the AVP guy has some health issues , so cut them some slack.

Jon_slider Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:12 am

I vote for the Vanaru 2.5 Subaru

unless you need to register in California, in which case I recommend the Vanaru 2.2 Subaru

I would not put another waterboxer in, not even one from GoWesty.. You can have more power with a Subaru.

and, at the risk of being flamed, Tiico gets No Respect, so dont waste your time.

Zetec may be great, its a little new, Subaru is proven, and Vanaru had complete kits and lots of experience doing Subaru installs.

Jonathan

what I drive
99 AWD Subaru impreza with 2.2 engine
85 Westy with 2.1 Waterboxer upgrade (noticeably more power than the 1.9)
86 Syncro Westy with 2.2 Subaru upgrade (more torque and horsepower than a 2.1wbx)
87 Syncro Westy upgrading to 1.9 TDI (more torque, better fuel mileage, biodiesel friendly)

vwlovr Sun Aug 12, 2007 1:39 pm

Jon_slider wrote:
Zetec may be great, its a little new, Subaru is proven, and Vanaru had complete kits and lots of experience doing Subaru installs.


fair enough, but they've sold 40 so far and they definitely know what they are doing. the kit quality is totally top notch. plus the zetec motor is definitely proven and has a healthy aftermarket if you're so incline. to me it's a bit of a toss up. in the end i find the zetec motor form and simplicity a nice fit in the vanagon engine bay. i also really appreciated the included ecu reflasher and data logging abilities that come with every kit.

and if you're one of the lucky people that can get cheap e85, you'd be stupid not to :)

mtac Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:16 pm

woundedknee,
you really need to check out a "modern" engine, unless you are a purist for vw and the waterboxer, in that case boston bob is probably your best choice on the east coast. tencentlife, on the board here, could probably help you out with a quality boxer at a fair price as well.
you are on the right track with thinking about the subie and tiico -good reports from both of these, as well as a vw inline 4 - autobahn society in ga does what looks to be a nice conversion.
you need to look into the bostig zetec, as you are in their neighborhood, no issues with an automatic with this conversion either
i am replacing my very good running boxer with the bostig/zetec. i use my westy alot, often camping way out off the pavement and for me it was all about piece of mind and reliability. i am a part of their first install core group and have sourced my own engine and will be putting it together myself with he bostig install package.
Jon_slider - didnt you have about 40 posts on here and the other site concerning issues with your 2.2 subie? have you gotten that resolved?

Jon_slider Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:46 am

> didnt you have about 40 posts on here and the other site concerning issues with your 2.2 subie

yes,

But, I did not use a Vanaru conversion.

My first mistake was that I drove my conversion 1000 miles away from the installer, the day it left the shop. I then tried to use three other mechanics to debug my throttle problems. 2 out of 3 told me my van was "fine", and none of them could solve my poor acceleration problem.

Now my van is back in the hands of the original installer, he has confirmed there IS a throttle problem, and I will post the outcome when he gets it fixed and I get the van back.. possibly this week.


J

kayakwesty Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:58 am

my 2 cents a ABA 2.0 In-line is really hard to beat...no problems going on 4 years...I love mine

woundedknee Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:35 am

Thanks again, all the info has been a big help and the direction on places to go. We are probably going the subbie-route but haven't made the final decision. Will update when we get this thing back on the road.

outwesty Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:13 pm

kayakwesty wrote: my 2 cents a ABA 2.0 In-line is really hard to beat...no problems going on 4 years...I love mine

I have to agree with kayakwesty. I have a 95 ABA in my westy and its wonderful. My girlfriend and I have put a little over 16,000 miles on it since last summer. The diagnostic system is quite helpful too. The only real problems we've had was cleaning the MAF sensor and an idle control valve. The best part is that if it ever does blow up there are 50 of them sitting in the local junk yard for around $200.00 This one has been in the van for about 45k miles. another 2 cents :)



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