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  View original topic: SVX Saga: Installing a Subaru EG33 in an '87 Wolfsburg Page: 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
westy81 Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:39 am

SVX SAGA POST #1

After deliberating for a while, reading a bunch, and driving some Subie-powered Vanagons, the Craigslist gods shone down on me with these simple words in all caps:

Craigslist Los Angeles gods wrote: I HAVE AN SUBARA SVX DRIVES FINE ENGINE IN GREAT CONDITION 160000 MILES CALL 818 XXXX XXXX
I called up Mr. "Subara" and drove up to look at his subara-dirty car.






The motor sounded really nice, and it went like hell. The car had transmission problems and had no brake pads (good ol' metal-on-metal) but that really didn't concern me. The guy wanted to sell the entire car, and I only wanted the engine compartment goods. I left without buying the car, and did some research on how I'd get rid of the hulk.

I phoned him back later that night, and told him I'd take it. I got the cash together ($1700) and started to write an ad for the non-motored car ($1100) and joined as many SVX-fanclub-sites as possible to prepare the car's exodus after the engine and harness were pulled.

I went the next day and picked up the car, took it to a car wash, and drove it over to Leon Korkin's place. Leon professionally does conversions, and I figured he might get a kick out of driving the SVX. We drove around, chatted, and looked at his vans.





Leon approved of the motor and said it sounded like "a sewing machine." When initially opening the hood with the motor running, he thought that only the radiator fan was on and that the motor was off... I think that's a good sign.



I got home, went and bought an engine hoist at Pep Boys, and then cruised over to a self-serve car wash to wash the motor, engine compartment, tranny and undercarriage as thoroughly as possible.



As a context, this is my target vehicle - an 87 Wolfsburg:



...and this is my desired end product (Photoshop mock-up, having little to do with the Subaru motor and more to do with wheels, paint and blingyness):



I'm on a very tight budget, and am hoping to do all of this (including the van, Subaru motor, conversion, paint, wheels, everything) for under $8K. I'll post stuff here as things progress in the spirit of ChesterKV's http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=237938 thread.

Let's see how this goes...

(NOTE: there are a mountain of pictures of this project at http://www.flickr.com/photos/youraccount/sets/72157601996325738/
and more notes at http://www.conceptlab.com/vw/1987wolfsburg/)

ChesterKV Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:19 am

Quote:
I'm on a very tight budget, and am hoping to do all of this (including the van, Subaru motor, conversion, paint, wheels, everything) for under $8K.




Dude......sweeet.


An SVX will be my next conversion if I'm motivated to do another van. Having said that I would say your budget is completely possible IF you do 99 percent of the work yourself and that includes all the paint prep and spraying. I'm only guessing at this point but I think my conversion WITH an O.K. repaint on the interior and exterior (by me alone) will end up costing me around $ 5,000. Having said that, that figure doesn't include my own labor. I don't even want to THINK about how much of my labor is going into the van because it would probably scare me away... :wink:

Best of luck with this and allow me to suggest one thing.......farm out the wiring harness work. =; It really was a stumbling block in my own work and the knowledge gained was minimal.

- Chester

westy81 Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:26 am

ChesterKV wrote: Best of luck with this and allow me to suggest one thing.......farm out the wiring harness work.
I'm silly enough at this point to think that I can do this myself. I hack together custom electronics, though:




I'll undoubtedly regret doing the harness myself, but not $700 worth of regret, I think...

ChesterKV Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:45 am

westy81 wrote:
I'm silly enough at this point to think that I can do this myself.



Then let me suggest a radical approach which I will attempt IF I ever do another conversion. With the harness on the ground and all the necessary diodes, sensors, and plugs identified and labeled..............cut them off. Build the harness up one solder connection at a time rather than trying to endlessly fish out the necessary wires from the mostly "garbage" main pile. Having said that, it's an EJ33 harness so things may be not as bad for you....but I wouldn't hold my breath. :-&

rs4-380 Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:54 am

the complexity of building your own harness is overrated. Yes it's probably difficult if you've never had any wiring experience, but if you are familar with 12v, it's not impossible. Get the factory subaru wiring diagrams and just go through every wire coming from the ecu wire by wire.

you can get 3 days of access to techinfo.subaru.com for 35 bucks and use it to download all the wiring diargrams and service manuals for your donor, best 35 bucks I spent on my conversion.

pete000 Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:07 am

I am tuned in. You got a great deal on that doner car ! I want to do this conversion on my bus too.

How do you plan on dealing with the old Smog issues ? This is my biggest concern at the moment.

funagon Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:54 am

Westy81: Yeah, I'm watching too. I've wanted to put in an SVX for a while now but my new living situation has me parking on the street without a workspace for my projects. Still, I lurk on craigslist looking for SVX's for sale! Keep us updated.

Pete000: You can get an engine swap registered and smogged in CA but you have to jump through hoops. The EJ22 that Freakness, uh, I mean Chester is doing has been pre-approved by the state beauracracy so it's easy (-er) to get smogged.

Something like an SVX has to be from a CA car (not 49 state), later year than your van, use all of the emissions equipment from the donor car, not show error codes or check engine light from the computer, and of course has to burn clean to pass smog. This means going to a smog referee who will interpret those rules as he sees fit and may or may not pass you, after you've done all the hard conversion work. Not impossible but more worry than some people want to go through. If your van is not a daily driver and your heart is set on a specific conversion there it can be done. If you have a deadline, limited funds, and little tolerance for administrative runarounds then the 2.2, or a gowesty motor makes sense.

Christopher Schimke Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:00 pm

Cool beans man! You are going to LOVE the power of the SVX in a Vanagon.

If you haven't seen it yet, here's an installation that I did a while back in a Syncro. It's in a Syncro instead of a 2wd and I used the RJES bellhousing instead of an adapter, but there are lot's of pictures that might be helpful to you.

You can also see more pictures and comments here: http://public.fotki.com/loogy/33-svx-vanagon-conv/james-syncro/

westy81 Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:00 pm

pete000 wrote: How do you plan on dealing with the old Smog issues ? This is my biggest concern at the moment.
I plan on not dealing with it until I have to. My plan (seriously) is to make good friends with someone at a smog shop.

If that doesn't work, the 95 SVX I have is an OBD1 system, so it's easier to get referee approval for it. I can also build circuitry to remove any check engine light peculiarities.

I have the entire car, so I'll be sure to keep everything including the exhaust, charcoal canisters, etc, etc. There are a couple of other SVX vans rolling around with CARB stickers, so will find out what referee they went to and go from there.

If I can't make friends with a smog shop and can't get it through a referee, I'll get it plated in Canada - I'm a Canadian citizen and am still legally a resident there.

Lanval Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:21 pm

The thing I like most about this is that I have a front row seat for the whole thing :twisted:

Unfortunately, this also means that I may be drafted to help. Oh well, it'll come in useful when/if I do a conversion of my own.

Heh, heh, heh.

Lanval

shenan-agon Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:22 pm

ChesterKV wrote:




Okay, I'll bite: what the hell is that thing?

Lanval Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:53 pm

I believe it is the 'roach-bot' ~ in which a roller ball was installed on the top for the roach to walk on - thereby guiding the robot. Video is available, somewhere... Westy81? Got a link?

Heh, Westy81 - beat you to it: Go here

http://www.conceptlab.com/

Lanval

pete000 Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:33 pm

I have been talking to racerx9146 about the conversion and what it takes to make it legal. It is all up to the ref. I hear the guy near Torrance is pretty cool and might be a good guy to talk to.

The biggest pain racerx told me was the exhaust. He had to run the stock exhaust system from the SVX up backwards. They wanted to see the 3 stock cats being used in the stock configuration. He did a Syncro so he had the clearance for that hanging under there. He also mentioned they were not keen on the engine being mounted backwards which he had to argue has nothing to do with emissions !

I might have to stop by for a visit once you are under way with the job.

BTW: I believe the 94-95's are OBD2 which gives the refs more to look for as it is fully traceable software. the old 93's were OBD 1 which is much less traceable.

I am also curious as to the amount of extra weight that six is over the 2.2 Subi...

Here is a link to Johns Syncro with the stock exhaust running up the front...

http://www.primafoundry.com/cars/Images/DSC03441.JPG

rs4-380 Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:59 pm

pete000 wrote:
http://www.primafoundry.com/cars/Images/DSC03441.JPG

yikes.

?Waldo? Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:49 pm

Yeah, that exhaust was permanent...

Andrew

r39o Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:03 am

Andrew A. Libby wrote: Yeah, that exhaust was permanent...

Andrew
Including the sniped off O2 sensor and missing center drive shaft......

vwsyncroguy Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:16 am

pete000 wrote: BTW: I believe the 94-95's are OBD2 which gives the refs more to look for as it is fully traceable software. the old 93's were OBD 1 which is much less traceable.

I am also curious as to the amount of extra weight that six is over the 2.2 Subi...

Correction here.....92-95 SVX engines are OBD-1. 96-97 are OBD-II.

The SVX weighs a little over a 100 lbs more than a 2.2L

Also, FYI, ......theres a Yahoo Group dedicated to this conversion. Most all it's members are also on the main SubaruVanagon Yahoo Group. But you'll find folks who've "been there...done that" on that Group. You may find it helpful.

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/SVXVanagon/


Warren C.

pete000 Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:31 am

That's good to know about the obd 1 only being in such late models. I would stick to obd 1 for a conversion in CA

100 lbs isn't much to pay for 230 hp !

Raynor Shine Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:17 am

I can't tell there is 100 lbs difference with the SVX. I had my Westy up to 105Mph with pedal to spare. Proabably not such a smart move in hind sight but I had to try. I would recommend the ECU tune chip for some of the inherent problems of the conversion.

Alan Brase Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:24 am

pete000 wrote: He had to run the stock exhaust system from the SVX up backwards. They wanted to see the 3 stock cats being used in the stock configuration. He did a Syncro so he had the clearance for that hanging under there.

Here is a link to Johns Syncro with the stock exhaust running up the front...

http://www.primafoundry.com/cars/Images/DSC03441.JPG
Actually, that is quite similar to what VW did on its own with the South Africa 2.6 5 cylinder exhaust. It went half way to the front, then crossed over and went to the rear. One muffler in each section.
Al



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