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SCM Sat May 28, 2011 10:53 pm

The Westy I bought in November and have put less than 1k miles on has blown its engine (137k miles, rattling exhaust valve, probably damaged piston).

I would love to go Suby power but am extremely hesitant to let my local mechanics do a conversion (questionable amount of experience with it) - and I may not be able to afford that now anyway.

I'd also love to get a 10c 2.2 but really want to use my van this summer/fall (plus there's wife-pressure to get it running pronto) - so I don't want to wait till November+ to get one.

I've read a few horror stories of GoWesty engines dying prematureley. Maybe that's just a case of "only people with bad experiences post on the web" but it has me scared.

Are there any other reputable rebuilders who can supply a rebuilt wbx within a month?

r39o Sat May 28, 2011 11:24 pm

The saying I coined is: "I would rather have a good job than a fast job."

Translation: you can not have a good and fast job. Kind of a cake and eat it too thing.

Before jumping on the new engine train, go find out what "really" is wrong with it before deciding it has some fatal internal flaw.

If I were set on a high quality wbx rebuild I would stick with the two mentioned parties.

There ARE other builders out there, but you have to wait your turn too.
(Have you costed the difference in a real qualtiy rebuild and a Suby conversion???? How far is Canada?)

hdenter Sat May 28, 2011 11:35 pm

DON'T buy a GSX engine. They are junk! Do a little research and you can find threads on several engine builders, good and bad. I am familiar with the machine shop, Lesco, that does some/all of GW's work and they are top notch. If I were to need machine work or assembly, they are where I would go. Go Westy has been around for a long time. If their basic engines where crap, he would not have survived this long. GW also puts out a lot more engines than say 10c. They are bound to have a few failures here and there. Even 10c has had a couple of problems. I don't think anyone should be afraid to buy one of GW's 2.1 or 2.2 longblocks. When you start to bore things bigger or stroke things longer, you have to expect that there can be some issues. When you push things beyond thier original design like 2.3+, I think you are rolling the dice no matter who is the builder. That being said, if I needed a 2.2 this week, I would drive the 20 miles to GW. When the time comes to build the engine for my Ultimate FrankenWestyWeekender I will take my number and patiently wait for a 10c. I like his style and his one at a time method.

Good Luck

Hans

Bercilak Sun May 29, 2011 1:35 am

Variation on the old saying:

Fast, Cheap, Good. Pick two.

I've had an engine rebuilt on the cheap, but it took time. I don't think you can get a good engine in month without throwing some cash at it. You mention that the Suby is too expensive, so I'm not sure where your budget is, but am guessing less rather than more would be good.

I also understand "wife pressure" ~ my own wife is rather ambivalent about our Vanagon; she likes the functionality, but doesn't like the cost. This seems to be part of being married and owning an older car.

So:

R39o hits it right ~ verify the engine is truly lost and not merely sick. If in fact you're in need, and your time is limited, I think Go Westy is easily the best choice.

You may also want to consider other swaps (though they'll also probably be expensive like the Suby) as a different option. Stephan's Auto Haus is very well spoken of, for example:

http://www.stephansautohaus.com/VWVanagonDivision/VWVanagonConversionProcess.aspx

Good luck,

B.

Alaric.H Sun May 29, 2011 2:51 am

Find a good used one?

stormforge Sun May 29, 2011 3:34 am

Alaric's advice might be the best if you're short on both money and time. It's not hard to find decent or even great used engines from people doing conversions and the price may be 1/10th what a good rebuilt will cost. I recently paid $300 for a strong running engine from a guy doing a conversion. This would tide you over the summer and you could drop something better in this coming winter or the next.

Check the classifieds and check with the various engine conversion shops -- they often have piles of good 2.1's sitting around.

Cheers,
-Bill

RGS Paul Sun May 29, 2011 5:03 am

I'm pretty sure Rocky Jennings builds them as well. He does nice work and collaborates with tencent frequently from what I understand.

Paul

insyncro Sun May 29, 2011 6:36 am

Alaric.H wrote: Find a good used one?

If the engine is still in the van and running...
I would compression and leakdown the cylinders.
If you purchase a used, untested motor, you may be disapponted.

Speaking of...I have three waterboxers running in vans currently that will be pulled in the coming weeks for Subaru motors.
If you are on the East Coast and would like one, feel free to contact me.
Shipping possible, I charge a crate fee and all shipping arrangements must be made by the buyer.
Yes they have been tested and are in very good condition.
2 are in Syncros with all plumbing and wiring, the other is in a 2wd with a 4speed.

purplepeopleeater Sun May 29, 2011 6:39 am

Rocky jenning, just dont talk about price...hes good

Or

Pnw connecting rod, they are in seattle, did my long block in my 91 GL...rock solid, they used amc heads, 2500 is what it cost, they are freq at vw shows and prices are pretty much the same

Williamtaylor33 Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 am

hdenter wrote: DON'T buy a GSX engine. They are junk!
Hans
I think he means GEX. And yes they are junk. This week I'm pulling one out of a 71 beetle that has a junk motor at only 5k miles

purplepeopleeater Sun May 29, 2011 7:30 am

Gex are Gek!!

tencentlife Sun May 29, 2011 7:48 am

RGS Paul wrote: I'm pretty sure Rocky Jennings builds them as well. He does nice work and collaborates with tencent frequently from what I understand.

Paul

Thanks for pointing that out, Paul. Rocky and I talk almost daily, there is an open pipeline of info and parts between Walla Walla and Abiquiu, and for experience, ability and attention to detail Rocky is the best of the best. But being a small operation with a big reputation he faces the same constraints: plenty of demand, limited time.

I also don't think you can really say anything bad about GW's engines, as was pointed out they do higher volume, the upside of which is they can have units on hand for fast delivery, the downside is there have to be more problems in raw numbers. And we hear about the problems, but not as much about all the units in use that the owners are very pleased with. Bottom line is the odds are still overwhelmingly in your favor.

Ahwahnee Sun May 29, 2011 8:46 am

SCM wrote: ...I've read a few horror stories of GoWesty engines dying prematureley. Maybe that's just a case of "only people with bad experiences post on the web" but it has me scared...

Certainly a big decision -- not merely money but trying to avoid the angst that a poor quality rebuild would put you though.

FWIW -- We put in a GoWesty 2.2 to replace our 1.9 when the gaskets let loose. That was over 5 years / 32,000 miles ago and it has been great.

We live on a mountain and the road from Tucson climbs 5000' in 16 miles -- much easier now. An 'ah-ha' moment occurred on our first trip when we drove the loooong grade up out of Benson AZ to Texas Canyon. Could not ever recall making that grade w/o downshifting, now we do it in 4th.

Good fuel economy too, 21-23 mpg on the highway.

You may still have to allow some lead time -- when we ordered there was an 8-week wait (they told us up front and it was so). Nobody's perfect -- I'm sure they build a stinker once in awhile, but if I ever have to get another I would go to GW for it.

Best of luck with whatever you choose.

SouthOlive Sun May 29, 2011 8:52 am

I got mine from Gary at http://www.suburbanengine.com/



Put on a tencent exhaust



and 20K miles later, life is good! :D

a914622 Sun May 29, 2011 9:25 am

The guys over at Northwest Conecting Rod do great work on both wbx and the 1.6 diesels. They are in southpark seattle.


Last time i was in they had a wbx on the shelf ready to go.

jcl

insyncro Sun May 29, 2011 9:58 am

SouthOlive wrote: I got mine from Gary at http://www.suburbanengine.com/



Put on a tencent exhaust



and 20K miles later, life is good! :D

I have seen two different classifeds lately selling brand new and unused Boston Bob motors that have been sitting in crates since Bob past (RIP).
Not sure if they are still around but they were under $3000 and ready to go, IIRC.

Ahwahnee Sun May 29, 2011 10:06 am

Aaaah... crate photos. The GW gadget:



Not too helpful but so nice to look at.

Zeitgeist 13 Sun May 29, 2011 10:38 am

Williamtaylor33 wrote: hdenter wrote: DON'T buy a GSX engine. They are junk!
Hans
I think he means GEX. And yes they are junk. This week I'm pulling one out of a 71 beetle that has a junk motor at only 5k miles

I cannot...simply CANNOT believe they're still allowed to operate! They had a lousy rep twenty years ago when I was in the biz and much more tapped into the VW community. I'm truly befuddled to see that they're still screwing everyone and their mother with their shameless "workmanship".

unbe-freakin-lievable

Jake de Villiers Sun May 29, 2011 10:59 am

SCM wrote: The Westy I bought in November and have put less than 1k miles on has blown its engine (137k miles, rattling exhaust valve, probably damaged piston).

I would love to go Suby power but am extremely hesitant to let my local mechanics do a conversion (questionable amount of experience with it) - and I may not be able to afford that now anyway.

I'd also love to get a 10c 2.2 but really want to use my van this summer/fall (plus there's wife-pressure to get it running pronto) - so I don't want to wait till November+ to get one.

I've read a few horror stories of GoWesty engines dying prematureley. Maybe that's just a case of "only people with bad experiences post on the web" but it has me scared.

Are there any other reputable rebuilders who can supply a rebuilt wbx within a month?

When I was in a similar position with my Westy (dead engine and not enough cash/knowledge to go Subie) I found a good running engine and removed it from the van myself. I was able to do a compression test and hear it run. That engine served us well, though I did have to re-seal the driver's side head. I was able to sell that engine when I took it out in favour of the Subie so it wasn't a total financial loss. ;)

RGS Paul Sun May 29, 2011 12:12 pm

tencentlife wrote: But being a small operation with a big reputation he faces the same constraints: plenty of demand, limited time.

A problem you both face I believe. Gotta say that I'm pleased as piss with my tencent 2.2, keeps up with all the V6 4 Runners in Colorado fine and runs great. Finally getting things dialed in but I can't knock another trip at almost 22 mpg Golden to N. New Mexico.

Paul



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