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ALIKA T3 Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:11 am

Hi there!!

I'm doing one syncro van out of the 2 I own:The syncro,and this one:Subaru EJ22+UN1 5 speed transmission

It's getting confusing,so I'm staring over a new topic just for the syncro.

THe Westfalia I'm actually driving will be the donor for the Syncro (engine,roof,interior,bmw brake booster etc....)

SyncroGreg sent me a Craigslist ad,damn it,I've been tempted and pulled the trigger....only one life!!

The Syncro pics I got from the vendor
leaky hoses,but I don't care,engine will get out

ouin 2

gutter rusted
fixing with bits...

I went on the Big Island buying the van on November 23rd 2010:
Woke up at 3.30amI've parked my westy van about a solid mile away from the airport to avoid parking racket,I took the longboard skate to get there and almost got a flat tire at the terminal
Take off 5.05,landing in Hilo at 5.55,I'm outside the gate at 6.10

I spoke with my fellow passengers to try to get a ride to the seller's house 15 miles or so away,unsuccessfully.
Whatever,I skate to the main road,I'm sure I'll find somebody to pick me up there.
Damn,there is too many crossroads here,nobody will pick me up,that's not a strategic place for hitch hiking....
Nevermind,I keep skating a few miles to get out of the city,until a traffic light:I wait for 2 redlihts with no success:awright!! I have a plane to catch at noon,let's skate and not loose time!!
I keep riding with my thumb up,nobody seems to care....The pavement is good and at least it doesn't rain!!
I came accross a guy at a stop sign perpendicularly,asked him if he could give me a ride,that jerk almost told me to get the fuck out!!Ass hole!!

Ok,after that hill,I know it's going down a little bit,I mind as well keeping iding Thumb and arm up.Nobody stops....
I finally came at Keeau.What???!!! Already?? I double check the google itinerary,it stays get from the 11 to the 130.I stop to drink a bit,then keep skating about 2 miles and finally a guy stopped to pick me up:a nice hippie carpenter,he dropped me at Orchidland drive,Paradise drive is just about 200 yards away,I keep skating,and then,woah!!Super cool vision!!
The road goes down for miles towards the ocean on the volcano slope,straight and smooth pavement:yeeeeha!!Let's have a break riding downhill.
I did a bit more than 2.6 miles with almost never touching the ground:awesome
7.20am,I'm in front of the owner's house (1.25 hours to reach that place ,about 14 miles from the airport:eh,not bad!!)

I check the syncro,outside and underneath mostly:nearly rust free,rust free underneath,but as I was scared,no freaking rear locker,I knew it!!
The knob is at the dash,the vaccum hoses are all here,the light stays all the time On when ignition is ON,the transmission codes are matching my list :AAK on the rear,ACU on the front.I'm sure it has been replaced,the front one still has some black paint,it looks brand new,turns smooth with the hand.I'm very disappointed,but hard to talk the price down since other people are ready to buy it 1000$ more... and I'm coming with the plane.
I think the guy don't even know what a locker is
He did it safety check ready,fixed the collant hoses leaks
Plates are in storage.
I put some water in the coolant circuit and load the spare parts in the van.
I follow him to town,he has a dentist appointment at 10 am,and I'm driving with carboard plates with the old numbers,I got it insured though.
I wanted to drive it with my westy plates to not attract cops like flies by honey,but since I got it insured,I left the papers in the westy in Honolulu/

We stopped at the safety check to get the blue paper,I start the van to back it up in the garage,the hose under the AC compressor blew...
We pull it out,luckily he has a new one in his van ,I do what I can with my right armin a splint,damn it,it's freaking hot!!!!!

I looked at the hose:some special recovery tape,and high temperature red RTV inside (yeah ,right?You KNEW that,that was not the 2 leaky hoses that we talked about)
At least it occured with him present,I got a new hose....I filled the engine with water,and try to start but the engine is not idling good and keeps dying....I pull the AFM plug in and out,it works,but he decides that better to give me a ride to the DMV.

It's almost 10am,we are getting late,and the lady is being difficult:my signature is not like the other one,bla bbla bla:yeah ,right? Don't you see I sign with a splint??Stupid !!
She asked me for my driver's license (and now I realize that I don't have it,since I changed my mind to bring the papers of the other vanagon,my license stayed with it....)
She got the passport instead to calm her down.
Time to pay now:sorry,we only take cash or checks (what millenium are we living in already?what country??)
Ok,I've askd the PO to give me back a bank note so I can pay the registration.
We go back to the safety check,put the plates on it with fence wire,I got the tags,here we go!!
Almost 10 am,we head to the harbor so I can drop the syncro:sorry sir,you can't drive on the harbor without a driver's license!!

Aaaaargh!!!!!!!! I gotta take a plane in less than 2 hours,I have to drop this van,look,it's just there!!
I called back the PO,he came back in a few minutes,dropped the van for me and left.

Lucky...the rest went smooth since I prepared everything.I took some pics for the forum:
On retourne au CT,je monte les plaques avec boulons et fil de fer,on mets les vignettes,c'est partiiiiiiiii

Brown interior

Light stays ON all the time,it doesn't makes sense,there is no locker....

Almost rust free,a ding to fix on the left rear corner

HMG 505 I ,was looking for a play of word with HMG:Ho My God,or Her Majesty G....but I don't know what to choose for the letter "G"
Back to the airport,still skateboarding,it's going up,nobody picked me up as usual
I lost sking between 2 toes on the pushing feet,I did 17.6 miles skateboarding,and back to Honolulu same thing to get back to the westy.

11.20 am,I'm at the airport,I took a cat nap in these nice sofas:that's my preferred airport!!!

Thursday January 13Th:I took an hour to remove interiro panels,belts ,grill vents etc...

Saturday 15th:removed engine,tranny,collant pipes,radiator/fan,wheel spare carrier ,gas tank,neck filler.
Monday 17th afternoon:took out front differentiel and full drive train apart

engine 2.1L MV+tranny AAK out syncro naked

I found this nice Louis Vuitton steamer trunk from the early 20th century the day I took the syncro for its last original trip.... 2 hours to take the tank out,are you kidding me?It doesn't need any bracket,that thing is wedged in there!!
I pry it out,just broke a little bit the level connector.
Same thing with the neck filler inlet,bolts rusted out,couldn't torch them kidding :lol:


I took out the sway bar out with these rods,then torched them out:less foolish now,aren't you? !!

That will be new one day :-) Down on the ground,just the bolts for the control arms classically rusted and stuck
My friend Jamie took the rack and pinion,rebuilt unit,very nice boots made in China,I tracked them with the number on them.Not available through any dealer,bummer,as they are nice,thick,soft,strong.
I thought this spacer was for locker models only?? black paint,blue washers,is that a rebuilt unit??seems super clean!
The bolts for the subframe were weirdly assembled:the 2 front bolts,Left and Right were having the washers on the wrong side...

Pain in the ass to take these out,fossilized bolt through the bushing sleeve.Disc grinder was loosing discs so fast,too small diameter,reciprocating saw didn't do anything...
Arrrrrrhhhh,torch cutting ,don't give a shit!! Barbarian!!!!!!!yeahh!!!
ok,a few minor be fixed First time I see these holes not oval on a vanagon :)
I remove the last things underneath it:rear control arms:

biodegradability in progress :roll:

I started working on rebuilding the syncro transmission :
094 AAN with locker

I traded that transmission locally for my non locker transmission+the whole old engine,the propshaft,+the springs and shocks.
I didn't want to mess selling that for cheap,that was a perfect deal for me.

cleaning shit
draining oil I blocked the output with a plumber's pipe wrenchtucked against the M8 bolts
leverage on the tab to open Stey Puch stamped on bearing....never been rebuilt
the hidden allen bolt

tote box for storage between work sessions My 1$ tool

I'm stuck now to pull the 4WD box out,it's stuck half way,I don't get it....looks like the needle bearing is chocking the main shaft when I pull

Sometimes you gotta read the book.....put the transmission upside down to remove the housing for granny....I'm too proud,I should read more the manual.... :lol:

my 1$ tool strikes back again

my special tool from diesel IP timing dial gauge.
I'll measure the position of the secondary shaft pinion to set it back the same way after replacing the big double tapper roller bearing
No need these VW tools below if you don't replace housing or ring and pinion

This is what I do for the big front brakes:the most plug and play I know is Eurovan 280x24mm front vented discs,4 pistons XJ Jaguar calipers (or in Europe old Renault Master with brake fluid fitting on top),tapping M16x1.5 holes in them (bolt pattern is the same as vanagon,and luckily,no spacers needed.You just need a centering ring for the rotor on the syncro,and machining the old hub on a 2WD.
Little grinding of the spindle for the hose fitting on Jaguar calipers,because the fitting is between caliper and spindle,unless you have a Renault Master model for the European folks.
You need 16" rims,with a lot of offset,or deep face spokes.

needs little grinding

That setup has been discovered by a French guy,Galgocci now VWRod on
A friend of him came to post pictures of the same setup he copied,claiming they were Aston Martin calipers.
Back in the days,they were the only 2 guys with these brakes,and as soon I saw that,I wanted to do the same.
Unfortunately,they bought the calipers at the same junkyard,and they were not Aston Martin.
That's were I came in,trying to identify these calipers by the picture and the size of the piston....
I did all the English brand cars thinking the guy at the junkyard might have done a mistake labelling them.
I found pistons were the same on Jaguar calipers,and from there I discovered that they are same calipers on Jaguar and work van Renault Master,the only difference is the fitting tapped on top or on bottom.All the castings are present,so it would be easy to modify Jaguar ones,plugging one side and tapping the top if needed.
I bought a set of rusted out calipers from a guy who had Jaguars in his yard,rebuilt them (they don't sell pistons in France to public,it's illegal :roll: found them in UK :idea: )

Good looking calipers,cheaper than Porsche :lol:

remove this clip


I always got green spacers...
don't forget that wood ruff
primary shaft clip

that's the tool I made too know what I have to replicate,but it's very not precise!!

plan B: I wish I had 40mm OD PVC,damn Imperial system with its ID pipes ,wall thickness and ID fittings that are not the samedepending on wall of pipe:it never occured to people here to at least speak the same language:use the outside diameter of a pipe,specify the thickness if needed,and give the fitting a description of inside diameter.Done.Even simpler,M-E-T-R-I-C.Canadians know better :roll:

If need plan C,I'll measure thickness of bearing compared to the end of pinion.
I marked these nuts to guess closely to final setting faster with new bearings
locker side
I like putting things together back like they wore.
I had to break the cage then do it again,not enough space for the split tool.
Expansion extractor ,slide hammer doesn't work:I'll modify this soon.

I'm also working on the front differential,it will receive a locker as well.

ACU, 7X34No locker.

I'm pretty sure it has been rebuilt,painted clean,details in blue....But the propshaft was not on the van and there were no driveshaft to try it...
I open,we never know!

"2B" marked with Sharpie pen.....a signature??
The diff marked with Hyeroglyphs too,signed "2B" as well.

Good news,the ring and pinion is like new 8)

cover off,viscous came with cover
I keep doing my investigation,we can see markings by pliers there on that shaft

This castellated nut has been removed with a puncher,the magnet on the oil plug was clean:it looks like it didn't run a lot after the rebuilt....
that's the viscous in the nose cone
I do again Sherlock Holmes:viscous not aligned,missing paint,markings on clip suggest that nose pliers have been used to remove it.

Viscous have been rebuilt at some point,the balancing tab spot welded has been moved to another spot,same pattern of weld spots The viscous on shaft with no nose cone looks like that

don't forget that spacer!

There is no paper gasket

damn it,the flanges have been glued!!
I had to heat them up!!
the dust cap stopper didn't agree....
the other side was less difficult,no heating

the cotter pin for speedometer shaft

the stop shaft facing the plastic gear
I don't know what these 2 holes in the casting are for?A SA oiling plate option??
They re-used the pinion bearing nut,no I know the bearing has been replaced,the marks are not on the same spot!

Corwyn Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:33 am

Now THERE'S a TRUE Vanaholic !

dhaavers Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:37 am

Post HOG! :wink:

Yeah, you obviously know how to have fun! Keep it up & keep us posted...

ALIKA T3 Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:58 pm

Thank you folks :wink:


I only drive vanagons since 2002..... I learned how to work on them by my own,at this time the French forum was only a few souls....

I'm learning new stuff with the Syncro now :o

I will keep you posted,no worries!

I have to make a hydraulic press to keep working on the trannys now,and fund the powder coating of everything under the van that I removed.


climberjohn Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:10 pm

Longest post I ever read.
The story of how you bought it was pretty funny!


IdahoDoug Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:59 pm

Wow. Great stuff - you're into the guts for sure, eh?

Your question regarding the "spacer for locker models". All front diffs have that spacer.

Keep it going.DougM

ALIKA T3 Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:17 pm

thank you for the spacer answer,I thought it was only on locker models.... :wink:

Why did they put a spacer....?? :roll:


K58 Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:14 pm

climberjohn wrote: Longest post I ever read.
The story of how you bought it was pretty funny!

-CJ It's like watching the end of "Goodfellas" when Ray Liotto is all strung out :2gunfire:

ALIKA T3 Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:05 pm

Received some goodies from Latvia 8)

Uploaded with

Uploaded with

The ring on the pinkie comes also from Latvia,small world :lol:

IdahoDoug Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:17 pm

That's a BIG battery clamp you've got there! Heh...


thummmper Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:54 pm

nice post--nice work magnum!

ALIKA T3 Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:59 am

IdahoDoug wrote: That's a BIG battery clamp you've got there! Heh...


Those are tranny tools :lol:

ALIKA T3 Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:18 pm

RECEIVED some goodies from Germany:

a friend brought them to me on the plane from France,I bought a whole transmission in parts on,delivered to my brother who sent that to my buddy just before he came back to Hawai'i:tight timing!!

440$ total cost,I love it 8) ,and I have some left overs \:D/

Uploaded with

Uploaded with I love this love notes from the security administration :lol: We have a special relationship :wink:

SyncroGhia Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:37 pm

Ahah, you bought that little lot. I wondered who did :)

Good work, keep it up!


ALIKA T3 Mon May 16, 2011 10:02 pm

Small world,isn't it :lol:

Uploaded with

ah,finally some luck coming around 8)

Received my PVC stuff from France to make my transmission tool,40x3 mm OD,and 2 PVCC couplings:thick stuff those couplings,I wish I had the same for the pipe :lol:

syncrogreg Fri May 20, 2011 10:12 pm

ALIKA T3 wrote: RECEIVED some goodies from Germany:

Uploaded with I love this love notes from the security administration :lol: We have a special relationship :wink:

Im glad your bearings and gears got inspected for free...

Cool Work! do you have a local machine shop for the front diff? Keep all the details for me, I will have to go that route too (maybe) and will need some advices ! by the way? do you think my front diff with locker will fit in 1 or 2 suit case ?

No update for a week? what is new?



ALIKA T3 Sat May 21, 2011 2:04 pm

Salut mec 8)

No news because I couldn't work on it,no van to go to work (muffler on its way from warranty from SC),where my stuff sits....I gotta ride with my coworker/buddy/neighbor.No extra time after work.

If I were you,I would disassemble the front case and bring it with you,you'll save some machining.You don't need the ring and pinion,or the covers and viscous coupling obviously.Make it light.

If machining,it won't be hard to do anyway,I'll bring the transmission case along with the front case to give the machinist something to measure on.It's basically tapping and drilling,no super science :lol:

For the decoupler,though,I think we should do ours together 8) ,here,machinists suck,and I'm not confident at all they won't screw it up.I'm barely confident for drilling and tapping :roll: ,or they will charge me 200$ for a 20 min job because they don't know what they're talking about.They always shoot big in the dark,to be sure to not loose money. :evil:

If you just bring the parts,that should fit easily in a suitcase,what you see in these pics is what you need to have,minus a few odd bits.

Good work on your recent Diesel stuff by the way 8) :wink: I love your style :idea:

syncrogreg Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:53 pm

So?? what's next? :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:


HansRainer Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:51 am

Hi Alika,

I have a leak in my 1986 Syncro gas tank. Need to get trans and engine out to get to the problem.

Can I do this without having a lift?

Aloha from the Big Island


Syncroincity Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:19 am

HansRainer wrote: Hi Alika,

I have a leak in my 1986 Syncro gas tank. Need to get trans and engine out to get to the problem.

Can I do this without having a lift?

Aloha from the Big Island


Absolutely, but you will need a set of good jackstands, wheel chocks, and a floor jack (or two, preferrably). A few sections of 4X4 wood are also a big help...
I found a mover's dolly very handy to lower the drivetrain onto and pull it out from under the van.
Drop the whole drivetrain down after disconnecting all wiring, hoses & fuel lines, then raise the rear of the van up high enough to roll the engine/trans out from under it.

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