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1.8T DIY Conversion Stephans Auto Haus Kit 1985 Westy
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:52 pm    Post subject: 1.8T DIY Conversion Stephans Auto Haus Kit 1985 Westy Reply with quote

Hi all,

I debated whether or not to keep a journal of my conversion & share here on the Samba, but figured that either A) I might get stuck along the way and need some help, or B) something I share here might be helpful to someone else.

We've had this 1985 Westfalia since early 2009. It is a tourist delivery which spent the first year of it's life in Germany & France then shipped here to California in 1986. The original 1.9 was stroked to a 2.1 in 1997. It has 154,000 miles on the body. It's got a "slightly" blown head gasket that loses a little water into cylinder 3. I've been driving it this way for 9,000 miles expecting a failure, but it just keeps going & going.

This is not our first VW Bus. My wife had a 1971 Tin Top Westy, a 1984 Westy, we had a 1995 Eurovan Camper, I had a 1985 Doka, & this 1985 Westy. I love these things, but as they've gotten older, i've become less confident in long distance trip reliability & less confident driving with modern traffic on I80 & I5 here in California.

I started researching conversions soon after we got this Westy & settled on Stephan's 1.8T conversion last year. My primary reasons for choosing the 1.8 were:
1. Power output
2. Stephan's conversion has the California Executive Order for smog
3. Its a VW
4. Based on the reviews i've read, the feedback has been very very positive.

I've finally saved enough pennies & started the process last week with Stephan to purchase his kit for me to install.

Stephan spent a bunch of time on the phone with me answering questions. He said that right now he is doing about 3 conversions a month in house & selling about 2 kits per month to customers. He also was kind enough to put me in touch with the supplier who sells him the engines and necessary VW components for the conversion.

I am expecting the engine & used components to arrive next Wednesday 11/19 & Stephan's kit to be ready sometime the week after.

My goal here will be to keep a photo journal of my progress along with some other improvements to get ready for the 2015 season.

Here are some photos of the Westy last year in the Sierras
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Bill
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85 Westfalia Syncro (conversion)
SAH 1.8T Conversion - 2005 AWP 1.8
Front and rear lockers and decoupler
Engine Conversion Thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=612144&highlight=
85 Doka L345 Grey - 1.9L


Last edited by Bills85Westy on Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to Stephan's kit, there are a number of parts needed either to be used in the conversion or as core parts to return to Stephan to be modified for another kit.

Stephen put me in touch with Austin Imports who supplied the following:

Here is the list of part included in this swap as discussed over the phone.
Swap List:
1.8T AWP Complete Engine with accessories (ac compressor, alternator, power steering pump, turbo intake ext...)
Gauge Cluster
ECU
Gas Pedal
Combination Switches (Wiper, cruise control stalks)
Down Pipe (cat converter)
O2 Sensors
Evap charcoal cannister
Intercooler and hotside/cold side piping
Maf Sensor with housing
Motor Mount
ac hoses running from ac compressor
full chassis wiring (3 sections: engine harness, bay wiring, interior wiring)

The donor is (or was) a 2005 Jetta GLI with an automatic & 97,000 miles.

They offered to send a video of the donor car & here it is:
http://vid87.photobucket.com/albums/k126/bbbbkl/engine%20start_zpsgy26fxil.mp4

We will do a thorough inspection of the motor when it arrives & do everything necessary to make it maintenance free for long into the future.
_________________
85 Westfalia Syncro (conversion)
SAH 1.8T Conversion - 2005 AWP 1.8
Front and rear lockers and decoupler
Engine Conversion Thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=612144&highlight=
85 Doka L345 Grey - 1.9L
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went up and visited Stephan's Auto Haus on Monday to pay for the conversion & he generously spend about an hour with me giving a tour of the shop, looking at a Westy with the conversion in for adjustment / service.

My favorite thing was a visit to the "wiring room". A space over the office dedicated to building the wiring harnesses. I knew they were complicated, but I have a new found respect for the work involved. Especially considering that the Vanagon wiring changed from year to year & they've worked through each of these scenarios to provide a plug & play conversion kit.

Here is a link to his website for the conversion
http://www.h2ovanagon.com/H2oVanagonConversions/EngineConversions.aspx

Here was the view pulling up. There were at least 20 Vanagons in the vicinity.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here are a couple of shots of the wiring room.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I've opted for the following options as part of our conversion:
-Air Conditioning
-Stainless Steel Exhaust Kit for California
-Anti-theft
-Scan Gauge
-Raised Deck Lid Mattress

I opted out of the cruise control (always have had it & have never used it - even on long long trips), heavy duty clutch (Stephan said I probably didn't need it), & the turbo boost gauge.

I had Daryl at AA Transaxle rebuild our transaxle in 2010 (RIP Daryl) so hope to be good there for some years to come unless we decide to send it back for a lower 3rd & 4th gear.

Bill
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85 Westfalia Syncro (conversion)
SAH 1.8T Conversion - 2005 AWP 1.8
Front and rear lockers and decoupler
Engine Conversion Thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=612144&highlight=
85 Doka L345 Grey - 1.9L
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ledogboy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Bill-
Thanks for starting this thread. I don't think anyone has done a start to finish DIY SAH 1.8 thread, so I am anxious to see how it goes for you. His kit is my long term plan for my '86, so I'll be following your journey closely!
Cheers,
Ryan
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unibagel
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love this!! Soon....
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nacradriver
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill....

+1 on posting this... This is the conversion I am leaning towards...

Would you mind sharing what your donor engine & components cost?

Good luck on your conversion....
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TequilaSunSet
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool... I was there Weds scheduling more surgeries on mine (R&P)

Looking forward to watching your progress... and welcome to the SAH 1.8T Family Very Happy
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BlueGrasser
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweeeet!

My van is still there (Also an 85'). Apparently the transmission rebuilder is really backed up. I'm going nuts trying to be patient so I can finally try out that 1.8t with a healthy transmission. Anxious

*Edit to remove my transmission rebuild question....I should really read the whole post before responding* Very Happy
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BlueGrasser
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the anti-theft required the non-California compliant ECU chip and cruise control.

Stephan's website wrote:
When activated your ECU will not allow anyone to start the engine by cutting Fuel Injector Pulse and also Ignition (spark) even if “hot-wired”. Engine will not start. By inputting a private code you can de-activate the system quickly and be on your way. (Cruise Control & Performance ECU Chip is Required)

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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlueGrasser wrote:
I thought the anti-theft required the non-California compliant ECU chip and cruise control.

Stephan's website wrote:
When activated your ECU will not allow anyone to start the engine by cutting Fuel Injector Pulse and also Ignition (spark) even if “hot-wired”. Engine will not start. By inputting a private code you can de-activate the system quickly and be on your way. (Cruise Control & Performance ECU Chip is Required)


Actually, Stephan has come up with a different theft deterrent which is really more of a "kill switch" which does not require the cruise control (that I didn't want) and the chip. The cost of this from Stephan currently is $285
_________________
85 Westfalia Syncro (conversion)
SAH 1.8T Conversion - 2005 AWP 1.8
Front and rear lockers and decoupler
Engine Conversion Thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=612144&highlight=
85 Doka L345 Grey - 1.9L
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the well wishes. Will post more details tonight after work! (with a beer) Very Happy
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85 Westfalia Syncro (conversion)
SAH 1.8T Conversion - 2005 AWP 1.8
Front and rear lockers and decoupler
Engine Conversion Thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=612144&highlight=
85 Doka L345 Grey - 1.9L
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BlueGrasser
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bills85Westy wrote:

Actually, Stephan has come up with a different theft deterrent which is really more of a "kill switch" which does not require the cruise control (that I didn't want) and the chip. The cost of this from Stephan currently is $285


Good to know! With every dollar I drop into this van I've been thinking about some sort of anti-theft feature. I was about to go old school and drop the club in that thing Laughing
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furrylittleotter
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread. Will be neat to see how it goes now that you have publicly begun the thread Wink
Could yo please clarify; are you buying a kit and installing it yourself?

How does the emissions part work? Will you still need a bar code from a BAR ref like my Subaru?

Did you previously install taller 3rd and 4th gears?

Do you have any idea what ring and pinion you are running?

Tyre size?

Brake upgrade?(just curious, I found having a van that actually can go the speed limit really preferred the ability to stop in less than a city block's length)

Is that a Wolfsburg? I think I see the logo.

Have fun and keep us updated.

Neil2
Popcorn Popcorn Popcorn Popcorn Popcorn
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TequilaSunSet
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlueGrasser wrote:
Bills85Westy wrote:

Actually, Stephan has come up with a different theft deterrent which is really more of a "kill switch" which does not require the cruise control (that I didn't want) and the chip. The cost of this from Stephan currently is $285


Good to know! With every dollar I drop into this van I've been thinking about some sort of anti-theft feature. I was about to go old school and drop the club in that thing Laughing


I have well placed shotgun shell zip guns with string triggers... ducking won't help Razz
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

furrylittleotter wrote:
Interesting thread. Will be neat to see how it goes now that you have publicly begun the thread Wink
Could yo please clarify; are you buying a kit and installing it yourself?

How does the emissions part work? Will you still need a bar code from a BAR ref like my Subaru?

Did you previously install taller 3rd and 4th gears?

Do you have any idea what ring and pinion you are running?

Tyre size?

Brake upgrade?(just curious, I found having a van that actually can go the speed limit really preferred the ability to stop in less than a city block's length)

Is that a Wolfsburg? I think I see the logo.

Have fun and keep us updated.

Neil2
Popcorn Popcorn Popcorn Popcorn Popcorn


So, to clarify, I am buying the kit from SAH and installing it myself. The install manual is 185 pages. Stephan said that he is hoping to sell more kits to individuals for install.

I would say that I am pretty experienced for a auto hobbyist, but not a mechanic by any means. Honestly, I am looking forward to the learning experience and challenge.

The SAH conversion has a BAR Executive Order D712 http://www.h2ovanagon.com/ARBD712.aspx
There is a label that gets attached to the vehicle that is recognized. I do not need to visit a referee.

My transmission is stock without the taller 3rd & 4th gear or different ring and pinion. This should allow me to run at 65-70 mph just at about 4200rpm. If we decide later on making a change, then we will send the transmission back to AA Transaxle for some work.

I am planning on adding the big brake kit, but to be honest, I've been driving this van all over the Sierras HEAVILY LOADED including up and down Sonora Pass - driving with caution and moderation & have never had an issue. This may change with this horsepower infusion though Very Happy

Wheels and tires are Go Westy 16" 215/60-16 with Michelin Wet Edge. I absolutely love this wheel & tire combo. After about 30,000 miles, the tires really aren't even showing much wear.

Lastly, not a Wolfsburg. That little thing you see is actually a factory installed Bosch alarm key switch. Same location though.

I will try to briefly summarize my budget for the project later.
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85 Westfalia Syncro (conversion)
SAH 1.8T Conversion - 2005 AWP 1.8
Front and rear lockers and decoupler
Engine Conversion Thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=612144&highlight=
85 Doka L345 Grey - 1.9L
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zeohsix
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did A&A install the South African oiling plates in your transaxel? With the higher RPMs of the 1.8T I feel these are a necessary modification. Hope all goes well for you, I need to talk to Stephan about VSS install into dash as I don't seem to have those parts but, might be my fault I had to do a relocation in the middle of my conversion.
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I'm Cheap! I'll build that Syncro Westy myself and save money but, my labor is "FREE" especially if I ever go to sell it! One thing is I will know the quality of the parts and labor that went into the build and rest better when I'm actually driving said Westy down the road!
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zeohsix wrote:
Did A&A install the South African oiling plates in your transaxel? With the higher RPMs of the 1.8T I feel these are a necessary modification. Hope all goes well for you, I need to talk to Stephan about VSS install into dash as I don't seem to have those parts but, might be my fault I had to do a relocation in the middle of my conversion.


Good question on the oiling plates. I am not sure if this is something that Daryl did standard of if it was extra. I did not specifically request this. I will look back on my paperwork. Longevity of the transaxle is a concern for me. I am also planning on upgrading the axles & CVs

I spoke with Stephan about expected RPMs & power band. His experience is that the power band of the 1.8T is similar to the Waterboxer. Meaning that the green zone on the tach is the sweet spot for this motor & it develops much of its horsepower in the lower RPM range. He said that on his own installation that he rarely revs above 4500 & only a few times ran it up above 5,000 because the motor is just not developing much power there.

Bill
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85 Westfalia Syncro (conversion)
SAH 1.8T Conversion - 2005 AWP 1.8
Front and rear lockers and decoupler
Engine Conversion Thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=612144&highlight=
85 Doka L345 Grey - 1.9L
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zeohsix
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed one other item. You say your getting a automatic donor motor......I know my 2004 Jetta AWP donor motor was an auto transmission.....did Stephan change his kit? My heater hard lines didn't have the nipples in the right place for the SAH hose assembly that came in the kit. I had to locate a heater hose hard line from a manual transmission AWP motor to make the parts work. Do yourself a favor! Don't order a hard line from Hans Auto parts, they are very poor quality. Stephan should really establish a users forum for people deciding yo do a DIY 1.8T swap as there are some details not completely covered by the present manual and a forum would be a much more open source to ask for assistance in getting the swap completed.
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I'm Cheap! I'll build that Syncro Westy myself and save money but, my labor is "FREE" especially if I ever go to sell it! One thing is I will know the quality of the parts and labor that went into the build and rest better when I'm actually driving said Westy down the road!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bills85Westy wrote:

Actually, Stephan has come up with a different theft deterrent which is really more of a "kill switch" which does not require the cruise control (that I didn't want) and the chip. The cost of this from Stephan currently is $285


Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. This option is simple and worth every penny Wink !!! If you need any convincing, just read any of the umpteen stolen Westy threads in the least year. Is that worth $285 compared to what you are ultimately spending (your time included)? FWIW... My van is one of the ones you saw at SAH.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wiring room loom on the wall is cool!

Watching to see how awesome the 1.8t swap is....
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'86 Syncro Westy. Stock for now.

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