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Preferred Engine Conversion
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vwlovr
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i love my zetec. the install was relatively easy, and the motor is a nice modern motor.

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ignore the grungy fuel line laying on top, i still need to take some pics of the final installed motor. so far it's been great. not CA legal yet, but they are working on it. i'm moving to hawaii as soon as possible so i didn't limit myself to CA legal. i just hope i sell my house by December when my tags run out Smile

i find the power to be good, not like 230hp good, but it's a good fit for the van. it has power to pass, power to climb, power to cruise. if i want to go fast, i ride a motorcycle. since i'm moving to hawaii, i wasn't interested in gas guzzling 90mph cruiser.

i liked the zetec, because it's a really well put together kit. quality SS components, tunable ECU that can be plugged into a laptop, and if you can get it even E85 compatible. i appreciate bostigs dyno tuning of these motors to match their components and our vans. i think it's a nice extra step that most conversions places don't do.

as for 2wd clearance, i doubt it's really an issue, get some new springs and taller tires and you'll be set. if you're into the lowerider look, then maybe it's not for you.

as for getting over the icky feeling of driving a ford, i got over that when i bought this bastard...
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westy81
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh-oh... here come the holy wars...

Beetsport wrote:
VW's 1.8T with fuel economy of a 4 cylinder, same or more power than the Subi SVX 6.
Stock 180hp 174ft.lb. / Chip and Exhaust upgrade 230hp / 250ft.lb


How is the 1.8T stock 180hp more powerful than the SVX stock 230hp? I'd believe that the 1.8T is more fuel efficient than the SVX, but have a hard time believing it's more powerful (stock). It's all rather a moot point much over 200hp anyhow without replacing the transaxle.

I'm biased in this matter because I drove an SVX car this morning (for the first time) and had my head repeatedly whiplashed back into the headrest. It was really impressive. Maybe the 1.8T is the same way, but I'm still planting my flag in Subie soil - primarily because of the large DIY community and relatively large selection of suppliers that have conversion parts.

The SVX is also a pretty darn heavy car (3600lbs) - almost the same weight as a 2WD non-westy Vanagon (~3500lbs) so I'm assuming that it'd have decently punchy low-end... although this could be a wrong assumption. I haven't driven an SVX Vanagon, though, but have driven the EJ25 in a van and it seemed to have plenty of low-end power, at least on the street.

You can grab an SVX motor for $1000 to $1500 complete, and get a nicely made conversion kit for $1700.

The 1.8Ts and Zetecs look cool, but the Zetecs start at $8775, and besides getting a 1.8T motor (for about 2-3K) I have little idea where someone that's not a professional mechanic would start installing this, DIY-style...
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fairweather
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:44 pm    Post subject: What are u goin 2 burn? Reply with quote

Being able to burn biodiesel was a major point for me so i am waiting until a shop can install a TDI. GoWesty has an uncompromisingly rational article on their website about engine choices.

Good luck!

Tom
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Bern
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

westy81 wrote:
Uh-oh... here come the holy wars...

Beetsport wrote:
VW's 1.8T with fuel economy of a 4 cylinder, same or more power than the Subi SVX 6.
Stock 180hp 174ft.lb. / Chip and Exhaust upgrade 230hp / 250ft.lb


How is the 1.8T stock 180hp more powerful than the SVX stock 230hp? I'd believe that the 1.8T is more fuel efficient than the SVX, but have a hard time believing it's more powerful (stock). It's all rather a moot point much over 200hp anyhow without replacing the transaxle.

I'm biased in this matter because I drove an SVX car this morning (for the first time) and had my head repeatedly whiplashed back into the headrest. It was really impressive. Maybe the 1.8T is the same way, but I'm still planting my flag in Subie soil - primarily because of the large DIY community and relatively large selection of suppliers that have conversion parts.

The SVX is also a pretty darn heavy car (3600lbs) - almost the same weight as a 2WD non-westy Vanagon (~3500lbs) so I'm assuming that it'd have decently punchy low-end... although this could be a wrong assumption. I haven't driven an SVX Vanagon, though, but have driven the EJ25 in a van and it seemed to have plenty of low-end power, at least on the street.

You can grab an SVX motor for $1000 to $1500 complete, and get a nicely made conversion kit for $1700.

The 1.8Ts and Zetecs look cool, but the Zetecs start at $8775, and besides getting a 1.8T motor (for about 2-3K) I have little idea where someone that's not a professional mechanic would start installing this, DIY-style...


the problem i personally saw with the SVX is that they didn't seem to be an entirely common motor, which would make parts more costly, along with everything else in general. That and for the most part, the available engines on the market seemed like they'd been through a majority of their "lifespan" already, and would need some "freshening up" before install. Not saying that is the case with ALL of them, just the ones I came across when I was doing my research before I did my swap.

As far as the 1.8t is concerned, yes, its less power than the svx right off the bat, however, with the addition of a chip, its pretty much right there on par with the svx, if not better. That and the gas mileage is better. The main turn off (to me) was the fact that it was A. a turbo motor, and B. it was somewhat pricey to get a completel swap in good shape plus the other parts necessary for the conversion. To return to the turbo for a minute, don't get me wrong, I LOVE turbo's, but mainly on street driven "fast" cars. Not a huge fan of the idea of a turbo on something that I'd be taking off road, deep into the woods and generally away from very inhabitated places. The thought of smashing through very primitive roads and having all the extra piping for the turbo setup, let alone splashing a bunch of water on the turbo on river crossings and such, was not very appealing to me. Simplicity for the win, when it comes to backwoods driving (mainly when problems occur). Again, don't get me wrong, I think they're nice motors and strongly considered one when doing my homework.

For me, I am VERY happy with my VR6, very common motor, and with attention to the known problem areas, it has been, and I feel it will continue to be a very reliable swap. The torque is right there, gas mileage is decent cause the motor doesn't work too hard. However I WILL say, that loosing the flat rear deck certainly isn't for everyone, and is definately the main turn off for this swap. However I usually tent it when I'm camping, and with the addition of my roofrack, i'm considering springing for one of those tents that kinda mount on the top of the car, can't remember what they're called now, but imagine a full size tent on the roof/off to the side of the car.

that's my .02[/i]
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PaulGinAZ
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I myself am actually debating this very question for converting the engine in my Syncro Tristar and am weighing the whole "price versus performance" route.

My first gut instinct was to do a modern TDi conversion but in all of my searches of wholesale auctions, junkyards and sources available to me I am not finding a complete MkiV TDi conversion (engine, fueling, wiring and ecu) for less than about $3,000. Secondly there is the idea that I am going to have to as a minimum modify the existing fuel tank in order to convert from gasoline to diesel which is another expense. Thirdly there is the gearing issue; in my calculations in order to really maximize the efficiency of the swap to take advantage of the diesel engine's power delivery there is at least going to have to be a 3rd and 4th gear conversion that will have to be dealt with.

Personally for the difference in money I am choosing to go with a 12 valve VR6 and OBDII wiring. The engine is free (to me) but at worst case you can find a decent one complete for $5-600 and then spend another $3-400 and completely rebuild it from the ground up. I think that the torque delivery of the VR6 is well-matched to the vehicles driving characteristics and it has over 170 crank horsepower and a very flat torque delivery curve from low rpms to max. For me I don't have to change my rear deck height to accomodate the additional height of the block and head so I am a bit disqualified from your Vanagon woes. Smile

That being said I do plan on spending the money to either change the final drive of the tranny to a lower ratio to help the vehicle cruise with ease on the highway along with buying an electric front diff de-coupler and a Kennedy Engineering trans plate adapter. From there the rear cradle has to be built and mounted.. but that shouldn't be too hard.

All in all there are a plethora of choices out there and if you look hard enough you can find decent values on the used Subaru motors as well as used 1.8t motors... if you decide to spend the time looking for them.

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vwlovr
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

westy81 wrote:
The 1.8Ts and Zetecs look cool, but the Zetecs start at $8775, and besides getting a 1.8T motor (for about 2-3K) I have little idea where someone that's not a professional mechanic would start installing this, DIY-style...


to be fair, bostig does have a more DIY kit. with that you can get into a zetec for like 5k or less. ironically, i've been spending all my weekends fixing my subaru lately, why can't clutches and timing belts go out at the same time, instead of two weeks apart??
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tclark
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vwlovr wrote:
westy81 wrote:
The 1.8Ts and Zetecs look cool, but the Zetecs start at $8775, and besides getting a 1.8T motor (for about 2-3K) I have little idea where someone that's not a professional mechanic would start installing this, DIY-style...


to be fair, bostig does have a more DIY kit. with that you can get into a zetec for like 5k or less.


and there are futures on the diy kit bostig want to do a non-ss kit to hit the 3k-4k price point
boy at 3k turn key-diy that is a real sweet spot
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mtac
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fyi..
I am a member of the first Bostig diy group, and currently have 4 of the 7 kits installed.
I will be into mine for about $4,600 total, my engine has 14k.
I am not sure about s/s, whether it is worth it or not, but I will have to say all of the parts are very high quality, lots of brand new parts and well engineered.
I can better understand the costs involved with the turnkey.
The kits are complete and are very easy to install on your engine. The support from the Bostig guys is great!
Looking to have this together and in by the end of the month.
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SVYOLO
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The SVX makes for an unbelieveable engine conversion. You thought you liked going for a road trip before? Now you drive just to hear it. They are truly awesome. They do have one downside, especially for a traveling Westy. They were a very limited production car, and many sensors/electrical components are unique. I have talked a few customers out of them for a traveling machine. For a daily driver or Vanagon toy, it is a conversion without equal when price is added in. A DIYSer can do one for about 4k.
I like 1.8t's, but it is a complicated and expensive conversion and only puts out 150-180 hp stock. Yeah, you can hotrod any motor, but then reliability goes out the window.
If I was going to do a VW motor, and accept that it doesn't "fit" (1.8t's don't fit either), I would do a VR6. The engines are bulletproof and cheap on the used market. Lots of low end torque and they sound good. You can do one for half what a 1.8t costs for about the same stock power.
An SVX is basically a cheap Japanese 911 motor with less expensive parts. It evens sounds like a 911.
I had my SVX Westy "pegged" on the speedo with the needle at 6 oclock (115 mph). I ran out of guts. It was accelerating nearly as hard at 110 as it did at 75.

John
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
The point of all this is, that high-comp wbx was the torque champ. No way my last 2.2, eager highway-cruiser that it is, could have made the torque this thing was putting out at low revs.


Hello,

I replaced a good-running 1989 2.1L (stock WBX) with a Subaru 2.2L (137 hp). Here is my experience / comparison with torque.

My parking situation (every day) was a steep little reverse maneuver at idle. The WBX needed higher revs to get the van in place. When I got the Subaru, the idle was so low, 600 RPM it was like having a granny, so much easier at half the speed, no slipping the clutch. It was my feeling that the Subaru had more torque at 600 RPM than the wbx did at 1100 rpm. And then at 1100 RPM the Subaru had much more. This was in a 2wd westy.

I never drove a 9.7:1 WBX it might very well be peppy at the bottom. Compression = torque. I think the stock WBX had more torque at the bottom than my Tiico. Subaru torque curve was definitely more suited to the Vanagon (westy) weight than Tiico.

The other huge difference comes at the upper end. The Subaru revs easily and quietly to 5500rpm. So each gear goes about 25% faster on a normal run thru the gears, not racing or overreving, just normal. It's nice to be able to run 3rd gear to 65mph and the motor is not straining at all, it sounds quiter at 5500 than a WBX at 3000.

If you put a Subaru in, you have to be King of your car. If you have a WBX, I think it's actually the same story and you may be asked to be King more often. I had lots of little problems with the Subaru, for example it would quit, inexplicably at some stopsign, and being so quiet you can't tell if it's running or dead anyway. I think this problem has been solved with speed sensors...but at the time I couldn't solve it, and it was embarrasing to let others drive it. I'm all hot about my motor and they'd say "what the hell?" then I'd have to go into "excuse mode".

But even so, it made me smile every time I drove it. I have to do something about this Tiico, it's reliable and runs great, mileage is reasonable, but it's not fun like the Subaru. I liked 137 HP in a vanagon. I think 165 would be about just right, and would not turn away 180....

Tom
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1621
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't we all just agree to disagree at this point? For those interested in an engine conversion, just read through the numerous posts on this forum and consider all options. I have a conversion and love it, no major issues at all. I could have easily gone with any of the other conversions and been happy as well. Almost anything is an improvement over an aging WBX. Just do your research and take the opinions you read here with a grain of salt.

Lundy
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westy81
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey folks: in regards to this topic, I voted with my wallet 2 days ago and bought a 1995 SVX for $1700 complete. If you want to follow my SVX escapades, see my blabberings at http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2493031

In regards to the SVX motors being rare, this may be so, but you can still pick up JDM longblocks for $800/ea with ~50Kmi on them.
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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my 86 syncro, I have a Subaru 2.2 (135 hp, not rebuilt) installed for $7500 by HR Motors... I wish it was a 2.5 (160 hp), because I live at 7000 feet in New Mexico.. although, with a 2.2, I can register the van in California.

I would not go with a raised lid option... (1.8T for about $11,000), have heard nothing good about Tiico...

Bostig costs $8775, for 130 horsepower kit, they have a fantastic reputation.

Vanaru will do a 165 hp 2.5 subie (rebuilt) for $8400 installed, I dont think you can beat that price/horsepower ratio

My other syncro is getting a 1.9 TDI, for about $14,000

Jonathan
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
tencentlife wrote:
The point of all this is, that high-comp wbx was the torque champ. No way my last 2.2, eager highway-cruiser that it is, could have made the torque this thing was putting out at low revs.


Hello,

I replaced a good-running 1989 2.1L (stock WBX) with a Subaru 2.2L (137 hp). Here is my experience / comparison with torque.



I wasn't making a comparison with an EJ22. Subaru isn't the only outfit that builds a 2.2 motor. I do (GW does, too). But I guess you would have to be familiar with my posts to know that I was comparing my newest 2.2 wbx to my other 2.2 wbx.

But if you had read the post you quoted from, you might have guessed that I'm not a Suby conversion fan. I'm not against it and certainly it's a fine conversion for some folks; just not my cup'o'tea. I like the wbx and I like making them better.
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funagon
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon_slider wrote:
I would not go with a raised lid option... (1.8T for about $11,000)
...

Bostig costs $8775, for 130 horsepower kit, they have a fantastic reputation.
...
Jonathan


I don't want to be nit-picky about your horsepower-to-dollar evaluation, but here's some other considerations upon which my unfounded opionion is found-ed:

Bostig just sold a bunch of "kits" for $3,800 including everything but the 130 hp engine, self-install. An optional supercharger kit costs $2950 and bumps it up to 195 hp, and 185 ft-lbs torque across a broad RPM range. So including a zetec engine sourced from somewhere else (usually only a few hundred $$) the do-it-yourself-er could have 195 hp and 185 ft-lbs for roughly $7500-$8000. (I suspect that most do it yourself-ers don't want to spend this much money. But what do I know?)

1.8 Turbo: with a $450 tuning chip the engine makes 209 hp and 242 ft lb torque. I might be willing to have a raised decklid in exchange for all that power. Put a narrower foam mat over the decklid to match the rest of the bed. A small sacrifice to make in the quest for more power at the rear wheels.

I like both of these options because they are popular modern engines, which should ensure replacement parts and engine blocks for a long time to come. And, of course, I like more horsepower.
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SVYOLO
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fitting any vertical I-4 engine in a vanagon is tough. The syncro's are easier as the engine sits almost 2 inches lower. There are a couple of SOHC engines that would fit OK. 1.8t's are fairly compact, but still require a slightly raised decklid on a syncro. If you shortened the oil pan 1.5 inches or so, you might be able to get it to fit in a syncro. No way in 2wd.
Bostigs answer to this was massively lowering the engine. It is not too bad in a Syncro, but in a 2wd the loss in ground clearance is huge, even in an early Westy with tall springs. In a Carat the engine mount will double as a wheelie bar. Their shortened oil pan looks to be 2 inches deep or less. Risky IMHO, but they don't seem to have have had too many problems so far. The engines are almost free, so replacing them is cheap and easy.
I have a GM Ecotec sitting in a van. It is basically the same size and shape as a Zetec but has 10-40 more hp, depending on version. Since most of the vans out there are 2wd, I am not sure I like the compromise in ground clearance/raised deck lid. Most Westy owners sleep "downstairs", and the loss of a flat bed might be a dealkiller.
To fit a I-4 or I-5 in a vanagon and retain ground clearance and a flat bed, you need to tilt it over 40-50 degrees.
Audi/VW Passat V6's would also fit in a syncro. They have extremely shallow oil pans and can be lowered to retain stock clearance and fit under the lid.
The price of used engines is total supply and demand. If the engine outlasts the car (VR6 and most Subaru) the engines are cheap on the used market. If the car requires replacement engines, the engines are expensive (1.8t's and TDI's are both extremely expensive). TDI's and SUbarus are somewhat unique in that they are used for many other uses besides their donor vehicles. Their are enough Subies around to keep the prices down, unlike TDI's. Zetecs and Ecotecs can be had by the hundreds for a few hundred dollars. There are a lot of 1.8t's out there and the prices are still high. Makes me question their reliability, but I am sure it is still far better than a WBXer.

My personal choice for a DIY VW transplant would be a VR6 or Audi V6. Cheaper and 1/2 the complexity of a 1.8t.
We sell Subaru because that is what our customers ask for. If there was another affordable engine that people requested, we would do it in a heartbeat, but there has to be reasonable market for it. TDI's are just too expensive. A couple of dozen customers have requested one, but declined when we quoted the price.
TIICO is about to start selling a TD engine for 6K. If they can do it, and not have a self-grenading engine like their other conversion, I will buy one. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

John
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1621
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SVYOLO wrote:
1.8t's are fairly compact, but still require a slightly raised decklid on a syncro. If you shortened the oil pan 1.5 inches or so, you might be able to get it to fit in a syncro. No way in 2wd.

John


The 1.8T fits rather nicely with the stock oil pan in my 2wd Vanagon, albeit with a 2" raised decklid. I still don't understand the fuss over a raised decklid, I have actually found the extra "compartments" handy for storing small items (tools, maps, camping supplies, etc.), and simply replacing the stock foam mattress pad with a 2" memory foam pad cut in half and doubled to offer not only a flat lower bed, but a considerably more comfortable one. I can still use my original decklid, and it seals perfectly. I consider this part an added benefit to the conversion.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

As for ground clearance, there is some sacrificed. This has been addressed in two ways. First, a skid plate that still allows easy access to the oil drain plug.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

And secondly I added taller springs and tires. I now have more ground clearance than I did with the WBX, even with the additional clearance lost by the skid plate.

I'm not attempting to sell anyone on any particular conversion, even though this one has been a blast. But consider these easy solutions before writing off a conversion due to an altered decklid or lower clearance.

Lundy
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
Sodo wrote:
tencentlife wrote:
The point of all this is, that high-comp wbx was the torque champ. No way my last 2.2, eager highway-cruiser that it is, could have made the torque this thing was putting out at low revs.


Hello,

I replaced a good-running 1989 2.1L (stock WBX) with a Subaru 2.2L (137 hp). Here is my experience / comparison with torque.



I wasn't making a comparison with an EJ22. Subaru isn't the only outfit that builds a 2.2 motor. I do (GW does, too). But I guess you would have to be familiar with my posts to know that I was comparing my newest 2.2 wbx to my other 2.2 wbx.

But if you had read the post you quoted from, you might have guessed that I'm not a Suby conversion fan. I'm not against it and certainly it's a fine conversion for some folks; just not my cup'o'tea. I like the wbx and I like making them better.


Mr Ten-cent, sorry about that. I have read lots of your posts (since joining) and I always enjoy them --- even if I misread them. Very Happy Very Happy

Tom
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....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
Gear oil is like underwear (aesthetics, comfort, runtime, etc. 😉)
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westy81
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After all of these posts, I'd like to quote from myself:
westy81 wrote:
Asking what engine conversion is the best is a little like asking what religion is the best: you will never get a clear answer.

Smile
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boy, you nailed that right from the get-go!
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