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Outlaw70 Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:56 pm

I'm wondering how straight forward a Mk1 Rabbit engine would be to install in my 85 GL. Mostly looking for info on mounting. If anyone had ever done this let me know. Please no Subaru suggestions I already have a 1.7 I plan to use

D Clymer Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:25 pm

You can go two routes to install an inline VW motor in a Vanagon: factory diesel parts that mount it at 50 degrees, or aftermarket parts that mount it upright (17.5 degrees), but require the lid to be raised. Foreign Auto Supply in Maine has a really nice conversion system for the upright mounting - but it's expensive. If you want to go the factory 50 degree route, you'll need the carrier bars, oil pan, flywheel, and bellhousing from a diesel Vanagon. These show up from time to time on craigslist and here.

It sounds like you're pretty sure you want to use the engine you have, and inline VW engines are great. But you might want to consider using a more powerful version than the 1.7. The 1.7 only produces 74hp and 90 lb ft of torque. If you go with a 1.8, you can have between 90 and 105 hp and if you go with a 2.0, you'd have 115hp. They're all very inexpensive these days, so you can pretty much have your pick.

danfromsyr Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:33 pm

yeah what D Clymer said,
I ran a 1.8 JH engine for years of heavy travel and wouldn't want to go any less HP. I ranked the ~95hp as 'sufficient' but not a remarked improvement.

even tow'd a 2nd van on a trip approx 1000miles.


I used all 1982 VW diesel 50* parts.
the intake manifold interfers with the frame rail on the DS that requires to be cut,notched and rewelded unless you can source a tiico intake.. but that may not work with the CIS injectors of the 1.7l

Vanagon Nut Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:56 pm

IIRC, some early Rabbits had a carb. If the OP's 1.7 has a carb, can the engine still be mounted at 50 ? i.e. would engine angle affect float in carb?

Neil.

syncrodoka Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:17 pm

Putting in a motor with less HP doesn't sound like a great upgrade. If that is what you have maybe sell it and get a more powerful version if you prefer that format.

D Clymer Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:30 pm

Vanagon Nut wrote: IIRC, some early Rabbits had a carb. If the OP's 1.7 has a carb, can the engine still be mounted at 50 ? i.e. would engine angle affect float in carb?

Neil.

Yes, the mounting angle would definitely be a problem with a carbureted 1.7. Those did exist in 1983-1984, but they were always rare back in the day, and all but extinct now. The majority of 1.7s are good old CIS Jetronic. Incidentally, the carbed 1.7s were rated at even lower hp for some reason. They were only rated at 65 hp. I've never driven one, but I knew several people who owned them, and they both swear that they ran out strong.

Zeitgeist 13 Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:41 pm

The only 1.7L gassers I was aware of back in the day were sold to Chrysler for their early Omni/Horizon cars.

Vanagon Nut Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:52 pm

D Clymer wrote: Vanagon Nut wrote: IIRC, some early Rabbits had a carb. If the OP's 1.7 has a carb, can the engine still be mounted at 50 ? i.e. would engine angle affect float in carb?

Yes, the mounting angle would definitely be a problem with a carbureted 1.7. Those did exist in 1983-1984, but they were always rare back in the day, and all but extinct now. The majority of 1.7s are good old CIS Jetronic. Incidentally, the carbed 1.7s were rated at even lower hp for some reason. They were only rated at 65 hp. I've never driven one, but I knew several people who owned them, and they both swear that they ran out strong.

Thanks David! Figured that might be an issue though I bet the OP has a FI engine.

As to clearancing the rail in engine compartment, if the OP goes for a 50 mount using diesel parts, here's a good old set of pages on a diesel Vanagon to CIS VW inline 4 conversion:

http://volksweb.relitech.com/vanagon.htm

from that build

"I tried using a 20lb sledgehammer to whack the metal out of the way, but the hammer had no effect. Out came the whiz-wheel (muffler cutoff tool) and the air chisel. I wanted to remove as little metal as necessary, so I would trim a little, then test fit the engine. I repeated this process several times until the intake manifold fit. To the left, you can see the minimum amount that had to be removed to install the engine. Some of the trimming was in the sheetmetal surrounding the engine, and some was actually in the frame member. Whenever I have the engine out again, I will weld gussets into the cuts in the frame."




D Clymer Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:21 pm

Vanagon Nut wrote:

Thanks David! Figured that might be an issue though I bet the OP has a FI engine.

As to clearancing the rail in engine compartment, if the OP goes for a 50 mount using diesel parts, here's a good old set of pages on a diesel Vanagon to CIS VW inline 4 conversion:



Hi Neil! I was trying to think back on your original inline conversion. You didn't have to modify the frame rail because you used an ABA with a crossflow manifold, right?

You've always been a great resource for those contemplating the inline 4 route. I'm glad the conversion has worked so well for you over the years.

D Clymer Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:25 pm

Zeitgeist 13 wrote: The only 1.7L gassers I was aware of back in the day were sold to Chrysler for their early Omni/Horizon cars.

Yeah, there were those - with a Holley/Mopar carburetor as I remember. Weird hybrid of parts. But VW themselves offered the most basic Rabbit during the 83 and 84 model years with a carbureted 1.7. It was about $300 cheaper than the equivalent CIS model, IIRC. It's one of those Mk1 unicorns that you'd probably never find these days, along with the factory turbo diesel 83 and 84 Rabbit models.

Vanagon Nut Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:50 pm

D Clymer wrote: Hi Neil! I was trying to think back on your original inline conversion. You didn't have to modify the frame rail because you used an ABA with a crossflow manifold, right?

You've always been a great resource for those contemplating the inline 4 route. I'm glad the conversion has worked so well for you over the years.

Thanks much David. I do what I can. Both swaps were not without "bugs" but most of those "bugs" were due to a lack of knowledge and skills or for doing some things in a unconventional manner.

My first conversion, a 15 angle mount ABA with cross flow intake, did not require any mods to the Vanagon frame rail. But as you noted, the engine cover had to be raised. I made an ~ 4" tub on my engine cover but there are MUCH better ways to raise the cover.

My second conversion, a 50 ABA also with cross flow intake, using diesel Vanagon carrier bars and oil pan, also fits w/o need to mod the frame rail. I made custom mount brackets on the carrier bars to allow the engine to *just* fit below the engine lid (I had to make a small cut in the lid though) and to allow use of Mk3 hydro mounts.

Neil.

danfromsyr Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:59 pm

here is the DS frame rail modification required for my 50* 1.8l JH Digifant motor using 82 diesel bellhousing and mounts
it was still quite tight and required slight adjusting of the engine orientation as I didn't want to cut any more of the frame.
mucking the engine about impacts the shifting alignment some too.


Robw_z Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:45 pm

1.7's are looked down on even in the Rabbit world. Middle child of the 1.6/1.8; an odd number of deciliters below 2.1 is bad luck.

-Rob

valvecovergasket Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:10 am

Robw_z wrote: 1.7's are looked down on even in the Rabbit world.

this

i cant imagine the engine youd be coming from for that to feel like an upgrade, unless it was a) no engine, or b) the NA 1.6D but even then....

xoo00oox Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:14 am

D Clymer wrote: Vanagon Nut wrote: IIRC, some early Rabbits had a carb. If the OP's 1.7 has a carb, can the engine still be mounted at 50 ? i.e. would engine angle affect float in carb?

Neil.

Yes, the mounting angle would definitely be a problem with a carbureted 1.7. Those did exist in 1983-1984, but they were always rare back in the day, and all but extinct now. The majority of 1.7s are good old CIS Jetronic. Incidentally, the carbed 1.7s were rated at even lower hp for some reason. They were only rated at 65 hp. I've never driven one, but I knew several people who owned them, and they both swear that they ran out strong.


A bit off topic, but interesting still. Those rabbits with the 1.7 carbs had an intake manifold that had the same bolt patter as a late beetle. When the stock carb would get old and working funky we used to take them off and bolt on a Bug carb! Just a little fab work for the throttle cable and you were running down the road in a nice simple Solex. It looked funny but worked great!

Vanagon Nut Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:44 am

xoo00oox wrote: Vanagon Nut wrote: IIRC, some early Rabbits had a carb
A bit off topic, but interesting still. Those rabbits with the 1.7 carbs had an intake manifold that had the same bolt patter as a late beetle. When the stock carb would get old and working funky we used to take them off and bolt on a Bug carb! Just a little fab work for the throttle cable and you were running down the road in a nice simple Solex. It looked funny but worked great!

IIRC, the carb on the early Rabbit was either a Zenith or Solex?

A 1.7 CIS in a tin top might do ok. CIS can be "tuned" for more HP?

Neil.

valvecovergasket Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:40 am

Vanagon Nut wrote:
A 1.7 CIS in a tin top might do ok. CIS can be "tuned" for more HP?


eeesh thats a rabbit hole not worth falling down in 2020.

but yes, its a glorified carburetor.

[email protected] Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:03 pm

Robw_z wrote: 1.7's are looked down on even in the Rabbit world. Middle child of the 1.6/1.8; an odd number of deciliters below 2.1 is bad luck.

-Rob

agreed. dumped the 1.7 out of my rabbit truck in favor for a 1.8T. i could walk faster than that 1.7.....in a rabbit

Vanagon Nut Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:32 pm

valvecovergasket wrote: Vanagon Nut wrote:
A 1.7 CIS in a tin top might do ok. CIS can be "tuned" for more HP?


eeesh thats a rabbit hole not worth falling down in 2020.

but yes, its a glorified carburetor.

Gotcha. Thanks.

Yeah, I think I get where the OP may be coming from. I had a "free" 1.8 RV lying around. I toyed with refreshing or at least replacing the rod bearings on it, maybe for a budget Vanagon engine conversion. But just because it's lying around doesn't mean its worth my time/money. ;)


Neil.

Zeitgeist 13 Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:07 pm

I've driven a van with an RV code engine w/Digifant II. It felt just like a 2.1WBX that revved higher. The power seemed exactly on par. I vastly prefer inlines over split head engines, so for a cheap option, the RV code seems well worth it for the right situation.



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