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MarkWard Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:44 am

Erik, I understand living with what you have. I was so happy with the way my conversion worked out in the beginning, I was willing to overlook a lot. It was not until I got back from my 2 week trip to Maine last summer, that I made up my mind that the install needed to be improved. I am also planning on adding AC and needed to refabricate the r/s adapter and modify the r/s carrier as well. It is hard to see looking at the pictures, but I cut and reindexed the r/s carrier to locate the rear mounting further outboard. I am lucky because I have the skills to weld and fabricate as needed. Enjoy the ride. On a side note, I had Daryl build me a 4 speed transmission from scratch with a 4.14 r&p with a .77 4th. Verifying with the GPS and Scan Gauge, I see about 2900 rpm at 70mph on 215/65/16 tires. I am getting my tach signal from the ECU. mark

bridgetroll13 Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:07 am

Interesting that your trip to Maine convinced you to improve the mounting set up. We also have taken a summer trip to Maine for several years running (sadly not this year). It was after the first trip there that we decided to acquire our Westy. Ironically my first trip to Maine was back in 1969 in a family friend's 1965 split window Westy.
Our Maine journey last year required the use of a borrowed "freeway flyer" 4 speed as the 4 -5 slider (3-4 in a 4 speed) blew up once reinstalled behind the freshly rebuilt AAZ. The clutch never forgave me for the higher 1st gear.
I am envious of your ability to weld. I have an arc set-up but have only done gas welding and free time to learn and practice is the only thing more scarce that money.


P.S. very curious to hear about your upcoming AC install.

MarkWard Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:52 am

Maine was the only state where we actually saw some Vanagons. We were camping in Acadia State Park, but had been walking around that day in Bar Harbor. That night two guys tracked us down in the campground. They had seen the TDI emblem and though it was a joke, but got looking underneath and saw the Borla exhaust and realized something was up. They got the camp site off of the mirror tag and came and found us. Small world.

It wasn't so much the trip to Maine, but the time spent driving in the Van. My gears are always turning in my head when going down the road. We are fortunate to be able to let our Vanagon rest when we are not traveling. Maybe a trip to town on Saturdays, but not much else. So I don't get a lot of daily input from it. We have daily drivers for everything else. Once I get the AC installed, it might make a better candidate for more local driving. It is hot and humid right now. In my mind, I am going to reuse the R134 VW compressor and possibly the condensor that I got from a 90 vanagon in the junk yard. I have to also considered upgrading to a later radiator style along with the rad fan. For the interior I am thinking of going with an aftermarket in dash unit. Deleting my stock heater core. A company in Tampa Florida called Nostalgic air sells AC components for the aftermarket. Anything would be an improvement. mark

bridgetroll13 Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:46 am

Small world indeed; we too were staying on Mt. Desert. The only place where I've seen more Westys in one spot is the annual Granny Groses busses put on by the Full Moon Bus Club.

My Westy is my daily driver so I'm perpetually working out the bugs (or fighting with them).


DAIZEE Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:03 pm

I'd love a 5 spd. I've always had them. When I asked about them in the Vanagon, it was explained to me you don't get more power, you just take some of the load off the engine at steady high speed. Sounds about right to me. I'd still like one.

There are kits.

Someone is going to consider importing the conversion from Europe.

I oh so hope I get to Vt, Maine, Maritimes and to the Rock! Really really want to get to the meeting at Scoga River (?) Supposed to be getting engine transplant July 19th - 21st. Got all my fingers, toes and legs crossed!!!! :roll:

bridgetroll13 Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:08 pm

Whilst the AAZ was being fixed I had to put the stock 1.6 na back in. 5th gear did not get used a whole lot as it didn't have the oomph to push it.
There was a 5 speed offering in the diesel but 5th gear was about the same as 4th in the diesel 4 speed.


MarkWard Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:16 pm

Your top gear, final drive ratio and tire diameter determine your mph/kph for a given rpm. By going taller in any of these you lower the rpm that the engine is turning for a given speed. It is not really about the "load" on the engine. Actually going taller can increase the load on the engine. Sort of like being in too tall a gear on a bicycle. You have more top speed, but your legs are killing you. Max torque on a stock TDI is around 2200 rpm. Max hp is around 3800 rpm. The TDI seems happiest in a Vanagon between 2600 and 2800 rpm. You are above the max torque, but well below the max hp. Your gearing and tires will dictate what speed that is.

bridgetroll13 Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:26 pm

Quote: Sort of like being in too tall a gear on a bicycle. You have more top speed, but your legs are killing you.

No matter how many times I used to try and explain that to people they would just look at me funny (of course they still do but for other reasons).

DAIZEE Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:32 pm

I'm not quite sure what you are saying but I went to 15", correct load was taken into account and my highest 'normal' rpm is lower that 3000. I've always wondered why it was lower because in my 5 speed cars, it is usually at 3000 at speed with no obvious excess engine load. i.e. I shift my cars by rpm AND sound and then speed.

MarkWard Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:39 pm

My other hobby is car racing. We can get almost any gear ratio for the racing transmissions and the rear ends have quick change gears for an almost infininte number of final ratios. I have software for crunching the numbers. With the Vanagon, we are limited to our options, so choosing is not so easy. I spent about a month running calculations before pulling the trigger on the 4.14 ring and pinion. What was more difficult was deciding on which 4th gear to choose. Stock, .77 or .70. Highway gearing was more important to me so I went with the .77. Honestly the calculated difference with the 4.14 and the stock 4th was not much better than the 4.57 I had been running. So I went with the .77. I am a little over geared now for long high speed grades. I don't see those in the Southeast, but out west they are everywhere. I just ordered new nozzels from ID Parts. I don't want to damage anything in the driveline, so I opted for the Bosio Sprint 520's. They are spec'd similar to the european TDI. I can't wait to put them in. I will do dyno runs before and after and report back. mark

MarkWard Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:47 pm

Daizee, I have calculated the speeds for the same transmission, but different tire sizes so you can see the difference. At 70 mph going to a taller tire over stock yields about 120 rpm less. The math does not lie. There could be errors in your tach or speedometer that could throw off your calculations.

Gearbox:- Vanagon Air Cooled Transmission 4.57 - .852 4th gear
Tyre:- 185/R14
Engine speeds in top gear:-
30 MPH = 1528 RPM 40 MPH = 2037 RPM 50 MPH = 2546 RPM 60 MPH = 3055 RPM
70 MPH = 3564 RPM 80 MPH = 4074 RPM 90 MPH = 4583 RPM 100 MPH = 5092 RPM
Gearbox:- Vanagon Air Cooled Transmission 4.57 - .852 4th gear
Tyre:- Yokohama 215/65/16
Engine speeds in top gear:-
30 MPH = 1476 RPM 40 MPH = 1968 RPM 50 MPH = 2460 RPM 60 MPH = 2952 RPM
70 MPH = 3444 RPM 80 MPH = 3936 RPM 90 MPH = 4428 RPM 100 MPH = 4920 RPM

These numbers are the same regardless of what engine powerplant you have. mark

rotaecho Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:43 pm


Have the P/N of those SAAB brackets?

Thanks Sir!

rsxsr wrote: Erik, congrats on getting back on the road. The vibrations can be cured, but will require some more fabrication. I lived with the vibrations for two major road trips. I believed it could be improved, but the simple things did not give me the result I wanted. After doing some reading, I installed Saab engine mounts to my stock diesel carrier bars and added a torque mount to limit the engine up and down movement. I don't even know the engine is back there now. You can search the gallery for my user name to see more. mark

MarkWard Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:14 am

Here is a picture that I used as a reference. You can just make out the part number.

Here is a listing on Amazon with the years. They were a bit pricey, but comparable in price to the OE diesel mounts. There is cheaper rubber Saab mount, but I opted for the hydraulic ones.

rotaecho Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:16 am

Awesome! I really want to update the mounts, esp if I'm doing everything else for the conversion. You're various posts here and vwdiesel got me optimistic :D

rsxsr wrote: Here is a picture that I used as a reference. You can just make out the part number.

Here is a listing on Amazon with the years. They were a bit pricey, but comparable in price to the OE diesel mounts. There is cheaper rubber Saab mount, but I opted for the hydraulic ones.

MarkWard Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:46 pm

Glad to help if I have. I spent about a day staring at the original carrier bars trying to figure out how I would modify the stock bracket to support the Saab mount. I just could not get it right in my head and decided to cut off the factory brackets and fabricate my own mount cups. I don't believe the Saab mount is designed to be hung by the ears only. It probably worked for the original person above, but not for me. Good luck.

rsvp Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:02 am

hi Mark,

regarding your motor mount and why they didn't work for you the same as the OP, can you put up some pictures of what you did, and how that's working form you?


MarkWard Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:27 am

Hello, it probably had more to do with the engine brackets I fabricated to support the ALH TDI engine. Here are a couple pictures of my modified carrier bars to support the Saab Mounts. I felt the mounts should be supported around their entire flange.

Since then, I have seen a post where someone is using Audi mounts I believe and are selling the supports to work with the later carrier bar mount brackets. Hope that is of some help. mark

rsvp Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:03 am


I'll look for those Audi types when I do my conversion


Zeitgeist 13 Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:09 am

It's my understanding that the mount kits Tony sells here on the Samba are originally for Jetta trans mounts. I installed them on a van and really like the way they work. The kit works with '83 and later and/or Tiico carrier bars

rsvp Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:19 am

I've seen those and they look great... but I have my own 83 5 speed bars... only need the mounts, and to fit them.

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