View original topic: Another 1.8T hits the road !! Page: Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  Next
VWhead Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:38 am

Video link fixed above^^^


danfromsyr Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:52 am

VRoooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm!! :arrow: :!:

makes me itching to get started (and finished) on my 1.8T in the shop..
but it's still like someone left the fridge door open out here.. so focusing on household upgrades till the air temps get in the 40's+

though mine will be a lowly 150hp AEB 1.8T (till I can chip it next season)

dredward Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:39 am

VWhead wrote: A little fun I had cruzin my sporty 1.8T Westy down the coast. Recent upgrades include: Fox shocks GW 1.5" springs, MB 16" rims, 28" BFG's and a new attitude!

Enjoy the video!

NICE!!!!!! 8)

kuleinc Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:26 pm

VWhead wrote: A little fun I had cruzin my sporty 1.8T Westy down the coast. Recent upgrades include: Fox shocks GW 1.5" springs, MB 16" rims, 28" BFG's and a new attitude!

Enjoy the video!

Sweet video!

ubercool Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:42 pm

Ive been driving the 1.8T (AWP) for about four months now and never had a second thought about the conversion choice. It flies over the road. The intent behind getting a Westy Syncro was to drive chainfree to powder sking up a steep winding two lane road between 7-8000 or higher. The road closes at an avalanche prone spur just two miles from the ski hill, so the Westy provides a comfy wait for the road to open, sometimes in the wee hours or the next day. Also, I wanted a turnkey conversion, reliability, and California smog legal.

The Syncro came back from the shop in December and within a week me, 2 college kids and 200 lbs of Bernese Mountain dogs were loaded up and headed north for Oregon. The old waterboxer ran very well and was relatively quiet but the 1.8T is less clatter-y sounding, has a deep, sweet exhaust note, and is quieter overall.

The 1.8T has an APR Stage 1 tune, so acceleration is bright even loaded up, and it doesnt feel the hills. Yep the 5400 lb (fueled, unloaded) Westy Syncro doesnt feel the hills. We cruise-controlled the Central Valley at 70-75, and handled all the hills north of Redding in 4th the grade out of Dunsmuir to Mt. Shasta, Anderson Grade north of Yreka, and the steeper-than-a-cows-nose Siskyou Summit. This all through a snow storm that buried Dunsmuir. Same for the passes north of Grants Pass Wolf Creek etc., - all 4th gear passing lane. Southbound I was interested in Siskiyou because its steeper, also Andersen because its such a long hill. We shifted down to 3rd on Siskiyou because of snow and icy road surfaces. Near the top of Andersen we shifted down and slowed when a passing truck blocked the left lane. When the truck moved back to the slow lane, we throttled up and shifted back up to 4th, still continuing uphill. Mileage on a tank that was half flat, half mountains was 17.8.

My son driving, daughter DJ'ing from the laptop. On the dash is a Google Nexus running Torque.

Up Siskiyou Pass, as fast as you want to go.

a Noble Load

It hasnt done any super hardcore 4-wheeling or off-road yet I usually try to avoid extreme driving in the interest of vehicle preservation. Aside from driving through storms to wait for the road to open for powder days, the Syncros secondary purpose is light expedition/weekend offroading with just enough 4 wheeling to get to the sweet camp spot. It has 215/75-R15 BFG ATs on GoWesty alloys and SA big brakes, GoWesty H&R progressive 2 lift and OMEs all done before the 1.8T. I would not recommend this motor with stock brakes on a Syncro Westy. Gearing is stock. So far Ive done about 7 Big Sur trips and some steep fire roads/low RPM crawling. It seems to handle low RPMs down to about 746 well, and wants to return to 1000. I am looking forward to finding out how it performs with a wheel or two off the ground, but wary of shock-loading a wheel.

I live close to both GMW and Stephan, so it was a hard decision with no wrong choice for the conversion shop. Stephan's reputation and experience are indisputable. I like GMWs work with Burley on conversion parts brackets, fittings, mounts, and the special 1.8T carrier bars, and they have an upholsterer custom modify the rear cushion to fit the raised deck lid. Slept on it a bunch of times, head in both directions, and did not notice the change in foam padding.

Our approach was to correct, fix and upgrade when old stuff looked like it would fail in the near to mid or even long term. The plastic coolant pipes were wasted and replaced with Van Caf SS. A defective fuse panel was replaced, and a differential mount cushion was found to be improperly mounted and was corrected.

The wasted pipes

The cushion was way off

The shop performed an overall vehicle check and safety inspection, found the spare rubbing against the steering shaft, applied a bunch of Dynamat, and fit a lot of work in the scope of the conversion that they did not have to do. GMW patiently answered a lot LOT of emails leading up to the work. They consulted on the final configuration, recommending keeping the VC for snow and ice, sticking with stock gearing and doing fine adjustments by changing tire size. The shop stayed in touch through the process, frequently emailing teaser photos of the work in progress.

Teaser Porn

They also found a home for the WBXr in a customer Westy that was in need of an engine. In fact, I asked Paul at GMW to complete the car in time for Christmas holiday trip to Oregon. Not only was it done in time, we convinced him to deliver the Syncro to us at Kirkwood the week before. So, its first trip was through the biggest snow storm of the year. I suggested the road could close, locking us in with 3-4 feet of new powder and no one else able to get in. This in fact happened, and we waited 2 days for the resort to dig out from 6-8 feet of new, which took 3 days, so we didnt get any. But it was fun driving around in the snow.

We sent the tranny to AA Transaxle, adding oiling plates, the mainshaft retainer, and a decoupler. While 1.8Ts are not known to cause tranny havoc, I didnt want to be the first. So, we asked Daryl to install a temp sender so GMW could install a Speedhut transmission temp gauge with settable idiot light. AA also installed a 2 stage sensor switch for a future tranny oil cooler and plumbed the return to spray oil over 4th gear. The pump, cooler/fan and filter from Weddle will go in after Syncrofest. Tranny temps seem to be relative to outside ambient temp, and while it stays around 160 or lower, weve been advised by subject matter expert/tribal elders that localized heat is a concern.

Temp Sender

Next steps, besides the tranny cooler, is skid plating for the rear and a new rear bumper. And a rear tire carrier, as the front-mounted spare and wire carrier go away to make room for the tranny cooler, protected by the clam shell. Free beer to anyone who knows of a good alternate place to mount a Setrab 119-M221.

Back to the mountain driving the 1.8T shines at altitude on hills and steep hills. It just doesnt feel the elevation and thinner air.

VWhead Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:51 am

Another 1.8T hits the road!

Just finished converting a 90' Carat automatic to a 4 speed manual and a AWP 1.8T :D :vw:

The donor vehicle was a 02' GTI, t-boned on the passenger side. Its always nice to drive the donor vehicle before it gets swapped.

Testing at the ref station.

Passed with the golden ticket of approval!

Like it was meant to be 8)

Completely new SS exhaust and a well deserved 1.8T badge.

Stay tuned, more 1.8T's are coming soon!

Jon_slider Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:12 am

VWhead wrote: Another 1.8T hits the road!

Passed with the golden ticket of approval!

Thats the money shot right there!

And thats what I call a Full Service install. One that includes the BAR code label that makes smog shops happy.

I have nothing but respect for the 1.8t power plant in a Vanagon.

Rock On!

Vanagon Nut Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:27 am

Nice to reread some of this thread and see exhaust pics. Cool stuff and useful for amateurs like me.

So stage 2 exhaust sees tail pipe supported off frame with rubber bonded isolators between bracket and frame rail?

Other support from block is at pipe between cat and muffler?
Any rubber isolator(s) used on that driver side arm?

Flex joint at down pipe is needed mainly for exhaust metal expansion-contraction?

Sorry to pick your brain. I'm 15 exhaust obsessed though my 2.0 is obviously much different than a 1.8T ;)

Though a somewhat different exhaust "design", when I had my cat running L/R at back like the WBX, I saw cracks at either the cat outlet and/or muffler inlet. This was with one arm off block to cat, other to ~ midpoint of 2.1 WBX muffler (longer than what I see here) We'll see how long things last with both rubber isolated arms off engine going to muffler and the cat positioned inline with body near frame rail.



VWhead wrote: Another 1.8T hits the road with it's new stage 2 exhaust system!

What do you think?

Beetsport Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:14 am

Another nice 1.8T on the road \:D/

Automatic to Manual too!

VWhead Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:14 am

Thanks Jon, Neil and Stephan!

Neil - we went thru designing and refining everything with this conversion. The exhaust is really a work of art. It fits real nice with our carrier system and yes it is isolated with rubber mounts between the frame and motor. And yeah the flex coupler allows it to flex without cracking, just like the GTI had. Vroom!

Quote: Another nice 1.8T on the road Dancing

Automatic to Manual too!

Sometimes we got to do what we got to do! :D

Vanagon Nut Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:32 am

Absolutely! =D>

And my apologies. You answered the question re: isolators on another page in this thread.

A 1.8T sure is tempting.

Thanks again.

VWhead wrote:
Neil - we went thru designing and refining everything with this conversion. The exhaust is really a work of art.

VWhead Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:11 pm

Another 1.8T hits the road!!

This one's an 84' Doka from Germany.
The donor vehicle was a 03' Jetta 1.8T with 70k miles.

California BAR label:

TequilaSunSet Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:23 pm


Jon_slider Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:57 pm


now about those wheels.... :twisted:

Beetsport Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:11 pm

Nice! :D

VWhead Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:18 pm

Thanks Tequila, Jon and Stephan

I understand this Doka was a fire vehicle for the Continental tire company in Germany. Started life as a 1.9 carbureted wbx with no frills.

For comparison:

More to come!

xoo00oox Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:07 am

Awesome job on an awesome truck!

Beetsport Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:19 am

Doka makes it easier to convert the 1.8T instead of a van :D

VWhead Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:08 am

Another 1.8T hits the road! \:D/ :vw:

This ones an 87' Syncro tintop with a low mileage 1.8T motor.

Another fresh BAR label without needing an executive order :D
California says yes to this motor!

Every emission device is installed from the donor (03' Jetta).
Check engine light placed in the best location.

Cruise control and drive-by-wire like a modern car.
That's the diagnostic port under the fuse panel, conveniently located.

This thing got a few upgrades while we were at it.
Stage 1 APR tune selected with CCS stalk, Big Audi disks front and rear, cold R-134a blowing front and rear, 930 rear axles from Burley and fresh rebuilt trans with all the bells and whistles from AA Transaxle. Guess what there's a limited slip Peliquin inside!

A little bit of bling! - 1.8T badge deserved!

Jon_slider Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:28 pm

Congrats! That's the Full Service way to do it right, fully BAR coded sticker.

No need to argue with Cali smog shops about respecting an Executive Order.

And the Selectable APR Chip is a Killer App for offroad crawling torque. Top Class Cruise Control Stalk retrofit. I'm jealous, my Vanagon cruise control stalks keep failing. I'm on my 3rd one and it's acting unreliable again.

Thanks for the pics!

Now, how about a skid plate?:-)

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