View original topic: Limey, The Syncro 16 Westy. Was 2.5TDi, Now 2.2 20V Turbo! Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 45, 46, 47  Next
SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:34 am

Hello fellow Vanagon fans, I've brought my post over from another forum for a couple of reasons 1) I've recently joined the Samba forums and realise just how much goes on here so would like to contribute and I believe it to be a better platform to post on with a wider audience (international) and 2) Due to the owner of the 'other forum' deciding he wanted to remove photos without even so much as a 'how do you do' or 'this is why'.

This post has grown slowly over the last 5 years as I've built Limey into my daily driver. Please bear with me as I load up each post individually

Well I've had this in the country since November 2005 but not really had much of a chance to get it road worthy as I've been working on the Crewcab (now sold). Fingers crossed I can get somewheer with it now and start driving it around... espeically offroad!
When I first saw pictures of it, it didn't look too good. The windscreen was smashed, the 2.1 DJ was long gone, the drivers door has been folded back onto the bodywork the propshaft was dead and the the front diff felt horrible. When I removed the front cover plate, you can see that the main pinion bearing has failed and from there on it's just been a giant mincing machine!

The history on the van is a bit sketchy but it seems to have lived most of its life in a Lime Quarry in Germany. It was ordered from VW with Vinyl undercoating which I had never heard of until I looked at the options list for the van. As a result the underneath is totally solid :) More details to come as I progress.

SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:37 am

A few more bits of info.
The rear window was perspex (!),
The engine was/is a DG from a 2WD and had been fitted with the 2WD engine bar putting the rear UJ of the propshaft at a horrible angle... probably why it had failed!
The wheels you can see it on are Mercedes 15inch steels at the back and Audi 16 inch steels up front on 185/50/16's!!
When I removed the front bash plate, I dropped it on the floor to remove all the lime which was sitting insdie it and then weighed it.. 30KG of Lime!
The Lime had embedded itself into the paint and nothing seemed to shift it. We tried washing, scrubbing with brillo pads and scrubbing brushes, even T-cut wouldn't move it. Eventually we grabbed some Mr.Muscle and Cillit Bang LOL and that shifted it! Paintwork now looks rather nice.:D
All the rear brake lines were history along with the front discs and all 4 flexi's. Thankfully the rear driveshafts and CV joints are ok as are the rear arms. These are very expensive to replace as they're 16 only parts!
I phoned up VW UK before heading over to Germany to pick up the van with the Chassis number trying to get confirmation that it was really a 16 and got back some wonderful results. VW sent me a series of emails with the whole options list :)
It comes with heated drivers seat (plastic, not cloth), Electric mirrors, Front and Rear diff locks, Engine access panel lock, Vinyl Undercoating, dip rear view mirror, Rear wiper, Rear heated screen, 16 inch wheels option (basically this is a very small amount of writing to say what differences are made on the van to make it a 16) and lots more...

SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:39 am

Just needing an MOT now :D


snowsyncro Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:42 am

Hello Mike,

Welcome to theSamba. I am delighted to see the Limey build thread appearing here, and I know many others will be too. I have followed this in the UK, and I know Alaric has as well. I will have some questions when you get a few chapters on.

Great stuff.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:42 am

The TDi is bolted up to the gearbox with South African bellhousing etc and in position.
Depsite everyone saying you have to lift the lid for this conversion on an Audi 5 cylinder engine, it fits under the stock lid!! This is gonna save me a huge amount of bodywork raising the bed and then trying to seal it properly again.
The TDi has a much lower inlet manifold that the petrol engines so I can only presume that that is the main thing which gets in the way of the engine lid on 5 cyl petrol engine conversions. Add to that that the syncro engine and gearbox already sit 20mm lower that the 2WD and the clearance is just enough!
I have cut out some of the rear top cross member to clear the timing belt cover but will be able to put back the section at the very top which seals up against the lid. I'll also weld some metal in further into the cross member to put the strenth back in where I've cut metal out.
I now have to weld in strengthening plates to the chassis rails and then add captive M12 nuts.
Hopefully it'll be nice again next weekend so I can get on with the welding.

Here are some pics of the South African specific parts needed for the 5 cylinder conversion.


Steelhead Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:43 am

Nice save! Ambitious. What color is that? It looks like a greyish-white that I haven't seen before.

SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:44 am

Well the work continues.

Today I managed to weld in the chassis strengthening plates with captive nuts (M12x1.25) and bolt the whole lot up into position, please excuse the sockets I'm using as spacers until I have some makde up in aluminium!

Now I'm looking at the Charge Cooler placement and the main air inlet to the engine.

When I had the charge cooler in the Doka, I had it fairly tightly squeezed into the N/S/R corner. The pipes were sent through very tight angles and to be honest it was thrown in in a hurry. This time I'm going to take my time and have everything comfortable!

You can see where I plan to sit the charge cooler, it'll eventually be rubber mounted to the body. Mocking up with cardboard tube I have worked out the lengths, angles etc which I need so I can go out and buy everything without guessing.

I've decided to mount the air flow meter inside the van rather than in the engine bay and run the main inlet pipe up the inside of the rear wall and then out through to the rear vent. I'll also mount the air filter box inside. This way I know no water is going to get to the airflow meter or air filter without getting to the top of the air vent first! As the van will have a cupboard at the back, all of this will be hidden away.

Now to buy lots of ally tubing and rubber/silicone tube angles


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:47 am

Steelhead wrote: Nice save! Ambitious. What color is that? It looks like a greyish-white that I haven't seen before.

The code is L345, I think it's actually put down as a Grey from VW! I think I'll be changing it in the future.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:49 am

Ok a small update but still thinking of ways to build this thing

I've bought a load of stainless pipe for the intake pipes and the exhaust aswell as Racetech sending me a 50mm 90o silicone hose as a sample. I think I'll be buying more from them although probably in 60mm sizes.
The exhaust will be 3 inch bore all the way through and I'll be making a silencer out of an old Stainless twin DTM styleeee from my Golf GTi days. This'll mean I can keep the exhaust system inside the engine bay (although heat wrapped to keep engine bay temps down) so it doesn't get bashed offroad.
It's going to be very close on the left hand side of the engine bay as everything (inlet and exhaust) is on that side. Shame really but there isn't enough room to get any of the pipework over to the other side of the engine bay.

These are hopefully going to give me enough flex in the pipework to allow the engine/gearbox unit to move around when offroading without putting too much stress on the charge cooler or intake pipe.

Oh and this is my old silencer which will be shortened and opened up to allow a 3 inch bore pipe through the middle.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:51 am

Silicone hoses are from and the stainless pipes are from who operate on ebay.

I bought a 2 meter length of 3 inch pipe, a 1 meter length of 50mm, a 750mm length of 60mm and a 500mm length of 70mm, 3 50mm 90o bends and they brought it to my work place at a great price.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:54 am

Now that I have managed to get back to it, here are some pics of the bits I've managed to get sorted over the last couple of days.
The left side of the engine bay is getting a little crowded!

Fistly there is the main inlet pipe TO the turbo which will eventually run from a snorkle into the van through the left rear vent, then into a K&N Apollo sealed filter, into the air flow meter, through the floor into the area infront of the left rear light unit and across to the Turbo.

Next is the compressor pipe FROM the turbo to the Chargecooler. I had originally planned on running the pipework down, across and up as pictured above but after looking at how to sort the exhaust, I figured there was nothing stopping me from turning the compressor housing around to make a shorter run helping with throttle response and keeping the heat away from the exhaust.

This will mean remaking the waste gate feed pipe from the compressor housing. I had to cut off the original pipe from the chargecooler and use a 90o bend in order to clear the bodywork above it.

Next was the inlet manifold pipe FROM the chargecooler TO the engine. I have yet to tig these pieces to the chargecooler and inlet manifold. There will be a 60mm 45o bend of silicone pipe inbetween once it's all done.

I have now sorted out the run of the exhaust and managed to get the bulk of it Tig'd up today although the flange had to be arc welded due to the differences of mild steel and stainless. I may yet add a silencer to it but I think I'll try running the straight through pipe with a larger cylinder over 12 inches of the main pipe with holes in it and some matting to allow 'some' of the noise to be quietened! :D

More work to do as soon as I can get back to my mates tig welder!


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:56 am

At last I've just had a delivery of the water pipes I've been waiting for from South Africa. These are brand new and fresh from VW.

I have bought 3 sets as I plan on 2 5 Cylinder Audi engine conversions in my vans and then I want a set for spares... NO They are not for sale! I will email the part numbers for those interested though.

I need to change the thermostat outer housing for one the same as the South African vans so the water pipe will fit. Good time to fit a new VW thermostat.

The South African vans came with an electric aux water pump which I'll be fitting. The Syncro TD comes with the same setup and I'll be fitting a turbo temperature sensor to bring it in when things get hot.

The water pump fits inbetween to the 2 pipes which are sitting behind the cooland header tank.

You can just make out the black metal pipe which bolts to the block. This is a fairly important piece as 5 pipes join onto it from the block, cooland header tank, heater matrix and aux water pump.

I'll have to heat up and bend the end of the metal pipe to clear the syncro tank.

The last bit of this kit is the bracket which both standard coolant bottles bolt to. I've only fitted one bottle for the moment as I'm going to have to re-route the power steering feed pipe to allow it to sit in it's proper place.
Here are 2 pics of 2 original South African engines to compare with.

I think I'll remove the original 2.5TDi diesel fuel filter and bracket so that the water pipes can sit comfortably without chaffing against things. I'll prob use a stock T3 Diesel filter and bracket for neatness.

snowsyncro Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:57 am

Wow, that was fast. This is the part I was planning to ask about. That is the South African transmission support strut that they used for the 5-cylinder engined vans, correct? My understanding is that this part is required to strengthen the transmssion against the bending forces that it sees during acceleration, created of course as the engine trans combination attempts to rotate around the rear wheel axle housing, basically. At this point the forces are counter-balanced by the nose of the transmission, and the rear engine mount (near where you cut away the rear member). But in the Syncro, two things are different:

1) the tank is in the way of the strut
2) the Syncro trans does not have the same nose mount.

Did you actually use this reinforcing strut? Is it even required on the Syncro, because of the different front mount? I have always wondered if transmission failures when using big high-torque engines are partially due to a failure to use this part. VW obviously thought it was required.



SyncroGhia wrote:


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:58 am

Update on the 16.

I finished tig-welding up the exhaust (what there is of it :D ) and tig'd up the remaining stainless section of induction pipe for the Turbo TO Chargecooler.

Then I started on the ally welding... hum this isn't as easy, in fact 3/4 of an hour later and I'd not gotten very far with the first section at all with lots more to do. I could not get my friends tig-welder to work for me welding ally. For whatever reason the arc just wouldn't centralise and was jumping around all over the place. More practice needed!

Back inside the van I got the K&N Apollo filter out with all it's associated bits and mounted it in place with riv-nuts.

Sorry about the blurred pic.

Next I figured it was time to get the loom, ECU etc out and start working out where it was going to fit. I had already tidied up the loom (hence the masking tape!) but haven't wrapped up the loom in loom tape as I haven't finished shortening or lengthening sections yet to suit.

The ECU sits nicely behind the Air Flow Meter (again fixed with riv-nuts and bolts), large fuse box and the 2 relay boards allow the loom to have a nice flow without nasty kinks. I have yet to make up a plate for the 2nd relay board to mount to which I will weld into the inner panel. I also have to shorten to the 2 thick red wires as they connect to the 2nd relay board but in the Audi A6 it's mounted further away.

Then I started looking at where the loom will run into the engine bay. Fortunately the loom falls just right so that it will fit nicely into the front left corner (with small grommet) and then the engine loom will run across the front of the engine bay wall tucked up out of the way.

You can just make out the felt pen outline I traced around the inside of the stock westy rear cupboard Nige leant to me (thanks Nige) so I know this'll all fit inside it.

I need to buy some P-clips to hold the loom up in place and will recover the loom with loom tape once it's all in place.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:01 am

snowsyncro wrote: Wow, that was fast. This is the part I was planning to ask about. That is the South African transmission support strut that they used for the 5-cylinder engined vans, correct? My understanding is that this part is required to strengthen the transmssion against the bending forces that it sees during acceleration, created of course as the engine trans combination attempts to rotate around the rear wheel axle housing, basically. At this point the forces are counter-balanced by the nose of the transmission, and the rear engine mount (near where you cut away the rear member). But in the Syncro, two things are different:

1) the tank is in the way of the strut
2) the Syncro trans does not have the same nose mount.

Did you actually use this reinforcing strut? Is it even required on the Syncro, because of the different front mount? I have always wondered if transmission failures when using big high-torque engines are partially due to a failure to use this part. VW obviously thought it was required.



SyncroGhia wrote:


Hi Ron,
I'm transfering years worth of post onto Samba forums so this may take a while :lol:

No as you pointed out, I couldn't use the SA brace and still have it somewhere... I have however added another rear engine mount which picks up on the engine protection cage and so far, that seems to have worked. I've had this thing on 2 wheels pulling wheelies many times without the gearbox casing breaking but I guess time will tell.
I've covered about 40K miles in it now and she's still going strong.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:03 am

Small update as I've had a lot on my plate recently!

Have tried fitting 2WD diesel front to rear water pipes but found that they won't clear the fuel tank at the back and sit in the proper place in the engine bay. Have now bought some Syncro Diesel front to rears instead and will try those on to match up to the SA water pipes.

Eventually managed to track down 2 early style thermostat housings which the SA vans use. These have gone obsolete from VW/Audi so the only source now is breakers.

Have fitted up the water pipes properly with VW/Audi spring clips so it's starting to come together. The coolant tank is in place although I think I may have to drop it down a little bit to clear the lid.

With the 2.5TDi diesel filter and bracket removed, the water pipes sit quiet nicely and I've added a stock 1.6TD filter in it's stock position. Just need to find some fuel lines and fittings and it'll be connected.

I've now bought my own set of hole saws in order to fit the remaining intake pipe through the rear wall which will come out through the left rear vent.

My tig-welding is ok on stainless steel but for whatever reason, both myself and my friend (who's tig welder I've been using) have been unsuccessful in welding up the charge cooler or any aluminium so I may end up paying someone to do that.

More pics when I get a chance.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:04 am


Todays findings are that the Syncro JX uses the same front to rear pipes as the late Syncro petrol including all 2.1s... so I've bought aa 2nd pair of front to rears from CJ for nothing

But on closer inspection the originals were both about to go so they needed replacing anyway .

The Syncro front to rears stop about a foot short of the engine bay and then use a rubber hose to go into the engine bay. I now have the choice of either using the 2WD Diesel pipes which are hard up against the tank or using the extension pieces as per Syncro....


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:07 am

Ok now that the Bluestar has gone, all my work is being focussed on the 16.

Again looking at the front to rear plastic coolant pipes, the main pipes in the engine bay are much bigger in diameter than the joining sections which VW use on the syncro diesel so back to the Diesel 2WD pipes!

Here is a pic of where the coolant pipes enter the Bluestar 2WD Diesel engine bay and are held in place with factory clip.

By moving them back an inch or so, I was able to get them to sit fairly comfortably next to each other and up against the tank but not under any pressure. They're not fitting up into the bodywork because of the interference of the tank but then looking at the way the rubber hoses sit coming off the engine, they didn't really want to fit there anyway. It hit me, the engine is sat lower than in a SA van... doah! ok so they're all connected up and fairly happy. I'll weld in a section from another van so that the pipes can be held in position rather than floating about. Up front, one of the rubber hoses was now too short so I replaced that with a new section of pipe and again used factory spring style clips. These are now used throughout the cooling system. Wow... the cooling system's all connected up!

Next section is the wiring... I've been dreading this but hey it needs to be done.

After an hour of struggling to get a smaller grommit over the main loom so that it fits nicely when going into the engine bay, and another hour of carefully threading all the plugs of the loom etc through a 38mm hole... the loom is in the engine bay and I've start connected things up. There are a few spare plugs on the loom so I'll have one for the aux water pump which I'll connect up to either an output from the ECU or a temp switch I'll fit later on. I will have to cut the original wires going to the airflow meter and then splice that section in further up the loom close to the ECU as the airflow meter now sits outside of the engine bay.

Using rivnuts again, the Audi electrical plugs are bolted to the engine bay wall and the loom sits nicely running along the back wall.

The wood is there to protect the tank which is directly behind where I'm drilling holes!

I've bought a set of hole saws, these are great! so the final hole has been cut for the snorkel/inlet pipe to go through. I'll be adding another 90o section outside aswell and then welding the whole of that s-bend section to the body so it's a permanent feature along with a mushroom snorkel on top outside.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:08 am

Small update while I drink my cup of tea!

Finished with the wiring in the engine bay and fixed up all the small ancilleries, vacuum reservoir, boost pressure sensor, vacuum line solenoid etc etc... there's not a lot of room for anymore!

Engine bay staring to get tidier if that's a word. Charge cooler head tank mounted to the inlet manifold and the pump will be directly below for easy pipe routing.


SyncroGhia Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:09 am

The little bits and pieces on a project really take up time!
After another days work, I've almost finished off the wiring in the engine bay, connected the airflow meter wiring up next to the ECU with solder and heat shrink. I removed the old accelerator cable, mechanism up front in readiness for the Golf Throttle pedal assembly. There's no room on a RHD van for it but there's a big space above the throttle pedal on a LHD. We'll see when I get one!
The list of things to do is large!
Tig up the charge cooler and clean out thoroughly

Tig fittings onto it so it's bolted down to the body,

Tig new water pipes to it so they face in the right direction,

Make a new bracket for the Charge cooler water pump so it doesn't sit so close to the exhaust

Heat wrap exhaust and tighten to turbo fully (allen nuts)

Check routing of all vacuum pipes etc

Buy lots of 1/2" pipe for the charge cooler system and plum it in,

Replace the plugs on the wiring for the pump and the loom as they're not water resistant,

Have all boost pipes bead rolled so they hold pressure,

Add (tig) necesary take off pipes to boost and inlet pipes for breather system pipes

Fit wiring plug to spare wires in loom for aux cooling system pump, trace up in main loom and research if ECU has function to switch it on, if not fit temp sensor and wire up.

Fit front to rear wires for the throttle potentiometer, immobiliser, speed sensor, clutch/brake pedal switches.

Fit oil cooler system with radiator up front

Finish wiring off with feed to the Audi loom and integrate that into the VW loom

Connect up rev counter wiring and adjust

Fit power steering bracket, tank, rack and pipes (not necessary for MOT)

Make bracket for aux water pump

Fit fuel return line from filter to tank

Fit fuel lines in engine bay from and to filter from the diesel pump

Fit coolant system cap and mount coolant tank bracket so it fits under the lid

Fit remaining bolts to the bell housing and torque up

Seal bell housing to engine and fit breather pipe

Reconnect gearbox breather pipe and check all bolts for tightness

Fit prop shaft and protection bars

Make engine/gearbox protection bars to incorporate rear engine mounting support

Weld snorkel pipe work to body and finish snorkel

Fit new plastic vent and cut to go over snorkel

Fit clips to all boost/inlet pipes

Fit gauges to cab (boost, oil temp, gearbox oil temp)

Build 4.57 gearbox (with mods) and fit 4.57 front diff

Will add more when I think of it. That should keep me going for a week minimum!


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