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ebennett Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:12 am

So I am seriously considering a Tiico conversion;

http://tiico.com/Vanagon%20Conversion.htm

Everything looks good but I wanted to hear if anyone had a negative experience with the conversion.

I heard the following bad;

*Engine are sometimes rebuild/ bored out 1.8L engines
*Exhaust prone to cracking
*Mixture can run too lean

Please give me your feedback, good or bad

bucko Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:20 am

Have you searched on this subject? There have been a few discussions lately on engine swaps, best/worst opinions on what engine to use, and so on.

Search on TICO. I think you'll find what you're looking for.

Randy in Maine Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:44 am

As with any set up, correct installation is what is important to customer satisfaction.

Call these guys and ask the questions http://www.foreignautosupply.com/

They do a fair number of TD installations also.

I was impressed (even though I am an aircooled guy!). I think they did one for "crukab" that posts here.

ebennett Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:27 am

Those are the east coast Tiico supplier/ installer. Not sure if Tiico is the answer or this inline conversion;

http://theautobahnsociety.com/Engine_2L.htm

wolfsburged Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:29 am

My dad did a Tiico installation about 4 years ago, and has logged approx 60k miles on it.

It is in a '91 Carat with the automatic.

My observations, having extensive behind the wheel time in both it, and the 2.2L Subaru swap we did on his 84 Camper...

The Tiico was more "plug and play" to install, however tuning was not very straightforward, and we had a tough time interfacing to the ECU (this was however trying to build a scan tool interface ourselves).

The Tiico has good power, and the van is very responsive around town.

On the highway, especially combined with the 3 speed auto, the tiico becomes very annoying. Running around 4000 RPM at 70, everything in the van is vibrating. The exhaust "tone" at high RPM is not very nice - harsh and droning. It's relatively quiet and refined below about 3500 RPM.

The exhaust has cracked twice, both necessitating repair.

The timing belt tensioner froze at about 35,000 miles, shredded the belt. Luckily no major damage, but a pain.

One of the engine mount brackets broke. Had to get towed back home on trip. It seems that newer Tiico kits require extra welding to fix this issue. This was welded back up and has been fine since.

The main dig I have against the Tiico aside from the things that have broken is that it just isn't as refined at high RPM as a boxer engine. We have done everything that is recommended to alleviate vibration concerns - loosened mounts and tried to settle it better, new exhaust, some dampening material. Have not tried switching belt setups or anything as that is quite spendy for an uncertain outcome.

Now that was our first Vanagon engine swap. When the 1.9 in the brown van was ready to go, we did a 2.2L Subaru swap.

I can say that between the two, the Subaru is a nicer overall package.

My dad did the wiring harness himself. It was a big job, but otherwise the conversion was not all that bad. The Tiico definitely wins here though on ease of installation. We also had a used Subaru motor that ended up needing head work done before it was ready to go, however we bought the entire donor car for $500, so it ended up not being too bad.

The Subaru is much smoother and refined at high RPM. It is much more livable to drive at 4000 RPM than the Tiico. Now the camper that it is in also has a 4 speed which helps the RPMs cruising, but RPM for RPM the Subaru is not as annoying to live with.

The Subaru looks more like it should be there. To the untrained eye, it appears like stock. The Tiico definitely gets some "huh!?" type responses.

Subaru has more power.

The Subaru has less than a year on it though, so we will see long term how it does.


----


To sum up, when it came time to do the second engine swap, the Tiico was not on the list anymore.

I'm sure you could counteract some of the issues (noise, vibration) with a healthy helping of Dynamat, but there are still some other things which are really design flaws. I don't think that motor really likes to be slung over at 50*. My girlfriends 2.0 New Beetle is nowhere near as harsh sounding as this motor.

D Clymer Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:53 am

wolfsburged wrote:

----


To sum up, when it came time to do the second engine swap, the Tiico was not on the list anymore.

I'm sure you could counteract some of the issues (noise, vibration) with a healthy helping of Dynamat, but there are still some other things which are really design flaws. I don't think that motor really likes to be slung over at 50*. My girlfriends 2.0 New Beetle is nowhere near as harsh sounding as this motor.

Good write up! It sums up my reservations about the Tiico conversion. I have had many, many VW cars with the VW/Audi inline 4 and like this engine very much. However, the Tiico mounting system, exhaust design, and short rod 2.0 engine make for a rough runner. Tiico powered vans don't seem to have much appeal on the used market either.

I have done a Subaru 2.5 conversion and like this better. I also think a larger displacement/compression wasserboxer is a better choice than a Tiico.

David

JoshG Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:39 pm

I purchased a '91 Carat, standard, with the Tiico conversion already completed. It was done by the guys up in Maine at http://www.foreignautosupply.com. I have put nearly 20K on it and it had 15K on the engine when I bought it. I have been very pleased with it overall. I don't think its any louder or more prone to vibration than the original engine, which is the only other engine I have experience with. I have not had any major issues. The header pipe did crack but it only cost $100 for a new one from Tiico (much cheaper than the stock exhaust!) The new one was also reinforced in the area where the old one had cracked so hopefully that issue has been addressed and it will have a much longer life. It clearly is not "state of the art" for engines but it's a huge improvement over the old waterboxer.

It has been said before, but it's worth repeating, any of these conversion options are only as good as the quality of work and attention to detail when they are first installed.

crukab Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:18 pm

We had a Tiico instlled at FAS in Maine, John did a great job, well worth the $$, since the install I've seen a subbie & a Ford :roll: in Vanagons, each had its good points, but I'm sticking w/ VW.

Captain Pike Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:50 am


you can stop the exhaust cracking by using the old clamp style flange. Gives a good seal and helps to eliminate vibration.That one is 9 years old.

ebennett Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:12 am

Bill,

Is that your Vanagon? I will see you on Friday evening to pick up that trans/ check out your conversion set up

Thanks

eric

JoshG Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:39 am

Bill,

Not sure exactly what you are pointing out in the photos. Is that a Tiico header pipe? If not, where did it come from. The two version that I have had from Tiico both had a mesh flex at the 90 degree elbow turn to the cat. The first one (which was on the van when I bought it) cracked at the plate that bolts up to the manifold.

Josh

kayakwesty Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:02 am

I have the autobahnsociety conversion

It's a blessing, it uses USA available parts, it also uses the simple Digifant system. Idles smooooth...

I love it....

remraf Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:30 pm

Do any of the guys doing the tiico kits sell one minus motor. I'd go this route if I could everything but the motor, steering pump and alternator.

It seems like it could be an affordable route minus the motor.

Ryan Alfonso Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:16 pm

The TiiCo is much maligned. 1600 sold, yet we hear from a vocal minority. Admittedly though, some folks HAVE had some really sucky experiences with it.

I did mine in '01 when they were still working out the kinks. Plenty of things pissed me off along the way. It's probably a solid kit now, provided you do the A3 bracketry to avoid the vibration and associated headache with the bracket used to hold stock vanagon AC PS and Alt on there. Also gotta do the A2 fuel rail and injectors. Toss in a windage tray too. All of a sudden you're talkin' real money.

Rand vs. $ ain's such a great deal these days either. The kit's getting more expensive. Still isn't CA legal strictly speaking.

All that said, it still runs like the wind and gets incredible mileage (20-23). Happy to take folks on rides if they're ever in the sf bay area.

So, I'm pleased with mine for NOW. But would I do it again (if I had the cash)? No regrets for the past, but I'd probably go TDI if I had to do a swap tomorrow. But it would probably be trading one set of headaches for another. Guess I'd buy a toyota instead (older and wiser now).

Tiiconaut Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:49 pm

What Ryan said. i Installed one back in 2001 and ive been using it as a daily driver ever since. i did every mod except a windage tray, and it ended up costing alot more than i had planned. It still shakes/vibrates at idle which ive gotten used to. I think you need to have a registered Tiico installer do it if you want the extended Tiico warranty.

yield27 Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:31 pm

Do the Zetec conversion, it's the cat's meow. So what if it's a Ford, it was designed in Germany. 100,000 mile warranty through Bostig and the best customer support. I have no worries driving mine around and it is quiet with no vibration. I cruise through the mountains and keep up with all the other guys and girls on the interstate no problem.

Captain Pike Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:53 am

yield27 wrote: Do the Zetec conversion, it's the cat's meow. So what if it's a Ford, it was designed in Germany. 100,000 mile warranty through Bostig and the best customer support. I have no worries driving mine around and it is quiet with no vibration. I cruise through the mountains and keep up with all the other guys and girls on the interstate no problem.
then why are you selling it?
[img] http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=408997 [/img]

Ryan Alfonso Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:08 pm

OOooooooo. Gotcha!

He's probably moving on to an H-6 subaru. Have to say, that does sound like fun!

Changing the oil on the TiiCo tonight. I'll report any feelings of remorse if I'm overcome.

beteljuze Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:07 pm

I work in a VW dealership and drive a 88 wasserboxer.Most techs here hate the tiico engine itself,say its a move backwards from the original wbx.We have a customer with a subie conversion,and it runs great AND is easy to work on.Its only ever come in for an oil change and/or inspection.I can get a longblock wbx cheap,but when the time comes,I'm going subie-its just better!

Ryan Alfonso Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:20 pm

My mechanic's opinion was either irrational or completely rational, either way very passionate. "buy a different car". he sees vehicles as appliances. big into economics too -- cost of ownership, etc. "get a car that's just out of the current model year, with 12k miles on it"

Why's the subie conversion going to a VW dealer for service? Seems odd.

Really interested to hear the tech's opinion on specifically what about the TiiCo engine is a step backwards.



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