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Wot's it worth?? Rebuilt '80 2.0 air cooled
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:23 pm    Post subject: Wot's it worth?? Rebuilt '80 2.0 air cooled Reply with quote

Anyone have an idea what I should sell my *rebuilt* 2.0 air cooled? By rebuilt I mean newly line bored case, bearings, turned cam and crank, new rings and rebuilt heads. After the steep learning curve of becoming acquainted with the design issues of this engine, and the relatively low price and availability of subaru conversion kits and engines, and a very, very long journey ahead of me next year (20-30,000K) I'm really thinking I should just swap powerplants and be done with it. Reliability over romance (I must be getting old). I'm thinking I should leave the VW lawnmower engine in until I sell so interested buyers can see and hear it run. But I'm not sure what I should ask for it.
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camit34
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might be interested in the motor...where are you located? I don't have any idea of the price to ask though...but I can gie all kinds of low ball offers...JK...

Also, if you upgrade to a subi in an '80, where are you going to put the radiator? I'm not trying to be an ass, just curious cuz I have yet to see a '80 - '83 upgraded to a water cooled motor and I might want to do this too...but I haven't look very hard either...so...let me know if you some info that I haven't been able to find...THANKS!
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm located in a suburb of Vancouver, BC. And as for the rad thing, I need to do more research, but since they offer the conversion kits for the aircooled vanagon, I'm pretty sure it's doable. I'm guessing that I need to put in the rad and pipes for a watercooled van, but I need to ask around. It's more work than converting a watercooled van, but I like a challenge Wink
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terryg
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basilbomb wrote:
I'm located in a suburb of Vancouver, BC. And as for the rad thing, I need to do more research, but since they offer the conversion kits for the aircooled vanagon, I'm pretty sure it's doable. I'm guessing that I need to put in the rad and pipes for a watercooled van, but I need to ask around. It's more work than converting a watercooled van, but I like a challenge Wink


Hmmm, 20-30k is easily possible with an A/C if you don't beat the s*it out of it - so why not enjoy it. Are you concerned that you didn't do it properly? Granted that >50k is risky, your needs are well below that - probably far below what you would encounter with an A/C to W/C anything. Probability theory says that the possibility for failure increases by some factor based on the number of components involved. If you change over all that stuff right before a long trip, you'll be wishing for that 'lawnmowere' engine every time you have some wierd unsupported by anyone but yourself failure. Think about the wiring, plumbing, and parts you'll have to buy to get a reliable suby conversion. But, good luck, whatever you choose!
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just heard so much negative stuff about these engines, including guys who make a living from them. This van will be my home for many months and thousands of miles, and I don't want to be left stranded in the middle of nowhere (which is pretty much all of northern Canada). I've put a lot of $$$ into this motor (and I'm not at all worried about the rebuild), and yet I've heard of guys doing the same thing and having a seat drop out after a few thousand K. If I thought that a good rebuild would result in a reliable motor, but that just isn't the case. I've even heard unsavoury things about new Spanish heads (at 500 a pop) by folks in the industry. Ed at the bug shop prefers to rebuild old good heads to the new ones.
I just don't feel confident in a design that if the timing goes off it can blow a motor, if the fuel mix becomes too rich it can blow a motor, if I drive too fast (which in some conditions can mean 45 mph) I can blow a motor, if it's hot out, I can blow a motor...Not if there's something I can do about it. I've driven japanese engines to over 400,000 kilometres with just the odd bit here and there to keep them going.
I have more confidence in my ability to do a good conversion than these engines.

I do love the sound and feel and character of the original engine, and if I was just driving around town I would never replace it, but this trip is too big and too important to rely on something inherently unreliable.
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camit34
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I here what you're saying in general, but there has to be something said for a motor that has just about 130k on it and still runs just fine, save for a few exhaust issues...I'm referring to my '80.

But again, I do understand where you're coming from...it is in the back of my head eveytime I think about taking a longer than 100 mile one way trip.
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singlewc
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basilbomb wrote:
I've just heard so much negative stuff about these engines........
I just don't feel confident in a design that if the timing goes off it can blow a motor, if the fuel mix becomes too rich it can blow a motor, if I drive too fast (which in some conditions can mean 45 mph) I can blow a motor, if it's hot out, I can blow a motor...
...... but this trip is too big and too important to rely on something inherently unreliable.



I refuse to get into a religious war, but "inherently unreliable" is an indefensible position. You want inherently unreliable, read about water cooled heads. Read about issues with overheating because the water cooled system is not bleed properly. Read about how expensive those water hoses are. Read about how much harder it is to do repairs on the engine with a water cooled. Reads about the 'vanagon syndrome" Good grief, inherently unreliable? How about 200K on the original, factory engine. That's me.

I put over 100K on it, and my timing has never gone out of wack and blown it up. The mixture has never suddenly gone totally rich and blown it up. Gauges to monitor the engine temps will avoid dropped valve seats, and 45mph is just third gear around town for my van. 65 all day, every day, long trips, no big deal. In have not yet read any posts from anyone in ten years who was driving their air cooled so fast that it blew up. They were built to run on the highway, so the notion that they will self destruct at 45mph is just stupid.

Now, I can think of nothing worse than to basically build a vanagon, which is what you will be doing by adding all the cooling parts, and then the changes in the digifant or digijet system (or whatever they are <g>) tossing it all in there, and thinking its gonna come out of the chute more reliable than an air cooled engine with only 25K on it. That ain't gonna happen, and you will find that such an overhaul and drastic upgrade is gonna need a lot of babysitting. It will work, its not all that big a deal over time, but your notion of reliability is a bit skewed.

If the trip is that big, and cannot deal with reliability issues, I do not recommend that you use a vanagon in the first place. Let's be serious, these are not on par with the generally accepted definition of a long term reliable vehicle. As proof, check the posts from people who ask about what it takes to own a vanagon, and you will find that few, if any, recommend them to people who demand high standards of reliability. Search for the words of Roadhous and see if it is an inherently reliable machine, regardless of how it is cooled.

They are great fun, very useful, and if taken in context, can provide a lot of pleasure, but when you diss an air cooled, because you demand reliability, and tout the water cooled as the solution........ well........

Good luck either way. I would like a shot at such a trip myself. Everyone will want to hear how it goes, no matter which kind of engine you choose.


Mark
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terryg
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basilbomb wrote:
I do love the sound and feel and character of the original engine, and if I was just driving around town I would never replace it, but this trip is too big and too important to rely on something inherently unreliable.


They weren't 'inherently unreliable' when they were originally sold. When they are in proper condition they still aren't. EMail lists tend to be complaint magnets.

Everybody thinks 93 Eurovans are junk. I put 60k (up to 100k on the odometer) on one with only a couple of $50 minor problems - no auto transmission failures, no engine problems, nothing but routine maintenance.

I took my 80 Westy on a 1000 mile moutainous trip soon after the breakin of a new engine - no problems. 15k later it runs better than ever and I don't think anything about 100-300 mile trips other than putting in gas. Sometimes I even check the oil, but it's a waste of time. No I don't try to hold 75 on interstates more for mileage reasons, but I don't fear going up mountains either.

It's your peace of mind. Don't complain about something before it happens, just do it for your own reasons.
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I refuse to get into a religious war, but "inherently unreliable" is an indefensible position.


I hear people cheering 'cause they get 100k out of their AC engine. I've also talked to people who just keep putting money into their AC engine. The guy I bought this rig from paid for rebuild heads this summer, and I'm already looking for two more cause the guy overheated it. I've never heard of that happening with anything but a VW AC
When I'm comparing reliability, as I stated in the earlier post, I'm comparing to Japanese. I cheer when I get over 400k And a subie could get that.

Quote:
You want inherently unreliable, read about water cooled heads. Read about issues with overheating because the water cooled system is not bleed properly. Read about how expensive those water hoses are. Read about how much harder it is to do repairs on the engine with a water cooled. Reads about the 'vanagon syndrome" Good grief, inherently unreliable?


I'm talking a Japanese conversion not another problem engine

Quote:
I put over 100K on it, and my timing has never gone out of wack and blown it up. The mixture has never suddenly gone totally rich and blown it up.


Talking to the guys at the Bug Shop, who have between them like 50-60 years experience with these, rich mixtures and timing off accounts for a big chunk of their AC work - both cause overheating. Maybe I'm not being clear. When I talk about "blowing engines" I'm talking dropped valve seats. When the repair costs a grand for new heads (not counting labour) I consider that blowing the motor.

Quote:
They were built to run on the highway, so the notion that they will self destruct at 45mph is just stupid.


I wish people would try to understand what someone is saying before they start throwing insults around. Climbing through the mountains around here you can easily be doing 45 with the pedal to the floor, and burning the snot out of your motor. Take an AC Van through the Coke on a hot day in summer and you will easily overheat your engine and yet you'll be crawling. That is what I'm talking about. Apparently all it takes is 400 degrees to loosen valve seats.

N
Quote:
ow, I can think of nothing worse than to basically build a vanagon, which is what you will be doing by adding all the cooling parts, and then the changes in the digifant or digijet system (or whatever they are <g>) tossing it all in there, and thinking its gonna come out of the chute more reliable than an air cooled engine with only 25K on it. That ain't gonna happen, and you will find that such an overhaul and drastic upgrade is gonna need a lot of babysitting. It will work, its not all that big a deal over time, but your notion of reliability is a bit skewed.


I guess all the folks who converted their rigs to more reliable Japanese engines are equally skewed.

Quote:
If the trip is that big, and cannot deal with reliability issues, I do not recommend that you use a vanagon in the first place. Let's be serious, these are not on par with the generally accepted definition of a long term reliable vehicle. As proof, check the posts from people who ask about what it takes to own a vanagon, and you will find that few, if any, recommend them to people who demand high standards of reliability. Search for the words of Roadhous and see if it is an inherently reliable machine, regardless of how it is cooled.


As in all things it's a matter of degree, and doing what you can to minimise problems.
Quote:

They are great fun, very useful, and if taken in context, can provide a lot of pleasure, but when you diss an air cooled, because you demand reliability, and tout the water cooled as the solution........ well........


I guess I don't understand what the big deal is. It's just a motor, a chunk of moving parts. Its not like a personal judgment against somebody. I posted this asking for advice in selling my engine...

Good luck either way. I would like a shot at such a trip myself. Everyone will want to hear how it goes, no matter which kind of engine you choose.



Mark[/quote]
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scottcollins72
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an opinion here..... Rolling Eyes I live in a suburb of Vancouver as well, And took my engine to Ed up at the bug shop. Also, I have taken my 81 aircooled van up the Coquihalla on an extremely hot summer day and done less than 45 the whole way up, more like 30kph on the cut. If you were expecting a road screamer when you bought an aircooled vanagon you were horribly mistaken. Now I don't know if Ed's changed his tune since I sent my engine to him for it's second rebuild (Lordco did all of my machining and did a horrific job of it) but I had one head replaced. From California Imports and it was all of $375 for the head. Naturally I did all the work putting the engine back in, but Ed rebuilt it. Now, over 20,000km & 5 or 6 long trips later (Halfway down the Oregon coast, Okanagan Lake, Deception Pass {repeatedly}, etc, etc) Plus the fact that my Girlfriend drives it daily and until she had driven our rig had never driven standard before) It's running strong. I know that one of these days the other head is going to need changing. I know this because I had a shite old AMC head rebuilt and one of these days it's going to suck a seat. But you know what, it's only $375 and maybe four hours labour. I'm contemplating just picking the head up to have it on hand so if it does go, I can limp it to the campsite, whip out the four tools I need to replace it and get on my merry way yet again. Nothing beats the indestructability and simple repair of these engines. Before I rebuilt it the first time, My girlfriend and I went to Tofino in it. We had 35 PSI of compression on cyl #3 but the trusty old girl got us there and got us back. It didn't want to start a few times but it did eventually every time. One thing these engines rarely do is let you down completely to the point of towing. Also even if you are not mechanically inclined, they really are not that hard to work on. Try changing a head or a jug on a suby on the side of the road and see how far you get. The bottom ends on these things are nearly bulletproof as long as you don't overheat them. It was an expensive investment but the cooling tin to body seal was one of the best insurance policies I ever bought. On the other hand, We had those 3 days of frost, and as it's starting to get a little colder up here, we've been contemplating getting rid of the aircooled for a wasserboxer. But there is no way in hell I would ever consider putting it in our 81. WAY too much work. If you want one that bad, why not buy a watercooled one that you wouldn't have to hack the crap out of to make work. Our style vans are hard enough to find in functional condition. Best bet would probably be to try and sell it, make some money out of it and buy something newer. But seriously, do not rag on these old engines. If cared for properly they will go forever, but you have to ensure things are taken care of. And really folks did any of us buy our vans to be speed demons? Far as I'm concerned the joy is in getting there. Doesn't matter how quickly. Time seems to slow down as soon as I'm on the highway heading out of town on a trip. And yeah you've got to get used to being tailgated. But one of the biggest lessons I've learned driving the beast is to just let them pass. Pull off, get in the slow lanes, etc,etc. Anyways, I'm not trying to attack anything here just putting in my 2 cents.

Cheers
Scott
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Alan Brase
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryg wrote:
Basilbomb wrote:
I do love the sound and feel and character of the original engine, and if I was just driving around town I would never replace it, but this trip is too big and too important to rely on something inherently unreliable.


They weren't 'inherently unreliable' when they were originally sold. When they are in proper condition they still aren't. EMail lists tend to be complaint magnets.


Yup- I agree with both sides. 100-150k miles when new, why not now? I don't accept that it's just the gas.
I had a 78 Champagne bus that I bought from a shop in 1982. It had just had new valves and one piston. 50 miles from new Huh? that thing roasted 3 more times before I got it right. Bad AFM (Temp 1 sensor)
They do not just drop seats. They get too hot for some reason. Don't bother to put a new head on it without fixing the CAUSE!
Re the Roadhaus travils:
I like reading about him but wonder if the problem is not the driver!
My wife and I were in 22 states last year in our patched together 91 GL. Not one lick of trouble. (Except the brake pads wore out DUH. Not a set in Flagstaff!)
JB weld working fine on the heads, but a bottom end reuild will probably be coming pretty soon.
I think a Subie will be soming soon to one of my rides.
RE putting a Subie into an air cooled? EVERYTHING IS READY UNDERNEATH! Even the heater box will bolt in. Just gotta buy the brackets, weld in the top ones, cut the hole for the grille, run the pipes.
Changing the tranny and shifter should be done too. Sell your air cooled one to Diesel guys for TD conversions. Use a WBX tranny, it's quite a bit stronger, but really should get a 90-91 or rebuild it too.
Running the coolant hoses is something that will take some time. Junkyard plastic ones might be troublesome. Terry Kay makes stainless steel pipes for <$400.
I agree, there is nothing else like a Vanagon Westy for low key, low cost travelling. With its 95" wheelbase, it is nimble in all tight spaces. Even a Eurovan is a pig in a parking lot. (Oh price a EV Camper, either westy or Winnie- you could buy a dozen old air-cooled westies for that!)
I like them all, but differently.
Al
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singlewc
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basilbomb wrote:


I hear people cheering 'cause they get 100k out of their AC engine.

200K, actually.

No one is cheering about going 100K. Where are you reading that?

After a lengthy reply that would only escalate a useless topic, I deleted it Smile all I would add is that you posted in a vanagon group, and stated that air cooled vanagons blow up if you drive them faster than 45mph, and that valve seats will begin to drop if the temps get to 400 degrees.

Both of those statements are untrue, and whether you think so or not, rather incendiary comments among a group of people who know better, from real life experience.

Your mechanics may well have 60 years of experience, but there is much more than that in this group, and several other vanagon lists that say otherwise. All vehicles will cease to function if you don't maintain them, and if you ignore things like overheating. Its not just an air cooled engine that does not like to be overheated.

I still think that, based on your expecations, and this once in a lifetime trip you are planning, you would be well served to find another type of vehicle, because conversions are not without their own issues, repairs are gonna be by you, and not most shops, and to do such an drastic overhaul on a 20+ year old vehilce, and then just hit the road for that many miles, with such a concern about reliability, seems a bit unrealistic.

Best of luck to you, no matter which way you go.
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singlewc
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:25 am    Post subject: Apology Reply with quote

Basilbomb,

I am here to apologize for my attitude, and pithy comments.

Great forum, great bunch of guys, and it was not my intention to stir the pot or piss anyone off.

Rather than the list of excuses, just "I'm sorry"

I do hope that if you do the conversion, you keep everyone up to date on how it goes, and that your trip turns out to be a great one. I am sure most of us would like to do the same kind of thing.

Mark
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