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California engine swap options
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shizam
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:55 pm    Post subject: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Hi All,
Been considering and researching what kind of van to get for the last couple months and have mostly settled on:
Vanagon
Weekender with pop-top
Syncro
Swapped engine

And the Swapped engine bit is what is causing some consternation since I live in California and it seems like its (very) difficult to get a swapped engine properly registered in CA on top of trying to find a van that has what I'm looking for Smile . So I have two questions:

1) What swapped engines will generally pass registration in CA w/out too much fuss so I can narrow my search to vans that already have that and
2) Do I really need an engine swap or are any of the stock engines powerful enough to do 70mph on the highway w/out exploding or deafening the family?

NOTE: I'm not looking to have the conversion done myself as its too expensive, I'm looking to find an already converted vehicle that is registered or I can get registered hence wondering what engines will work.

... I guess there is another question which is "is the only way to get a pop-top on a weekender to get or find one modified" but that is probably a different thread.

Thanks!
Sam
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Of the Cali certified engines available, only the 1.8t can provide the power to fly on the freeway AND support the taller gearing to drive @ 70mph at a reduced rpm.

Your other option with similar power/reduced rpms is a TDI swap, which is kinda an end run around the certification process, since diesels are exempt.

An '01 - '03 Eurovan Weekender/EVC will also meet those requirements, and then some.
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riceye
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:13 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Not VW power. Sorry Casey!

From thesamba classifieds. Not a Syncro, but a sweet auto trans cruiser:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2210167
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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shizam
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Thanks @Zeitgeist for the insight on the 1.8T being the only option for 70mph at lower RPMs

Yea @riceeye I've been pouring over the classifieds for a while limiting it to Vanagons in California and I'm starting to think I've narrowed my search too much (Syncro, CA legal swap, non-camper pop-top). I should probably figure out how important 4x4 or engine-swap is to me and compromise as there are some good looking syncro campers and some good looking swapped weekenders Smile
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fxr
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:59 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

The 2WD vans can tackle a very large percentage of roads/tracks/off-road that might be unwise in an ordinary car - just not some of the rock-climbing a 4WD Syncro can manage.

A Subaru 2.2 (EJ22) motor with the KEP (Kennedy Engineering) kit is CA legal.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:28 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Just as you might consider a 2WD to give you more to choose from - you might also (if you have not already) drive a WBX to be sure you really have to have a swapped engine.

I understand the appeal of an alternative engine but could never get on board with buying someone else's swap - just too many variables for me.

You wouldn't think it to read Samba posts but the vast majority of the Vanagon world is happily driving WBX powered vans. Your challenge will be finding a good example to compare as a clapped out poorly maintained WBX is indeed Act 5 of a Shakespearean tragedy.

I cruise all day at 66 mph in my 2.2l. I suppose there is no reason why I could not cruise at 70, just that it seems nicest at 66.

The ad shown raises another point to consider. It appears that the seller of that one recently painted it so he should have some before photos that will help you assess the prior condition and work done. Apart from that, I would be very wary of any van that is recently painted and certainly any van that has some sort of bedliner product concealing the rust-prone lower areas.
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TequilaSunSet
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:24 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Drive a waterboxer, Suby and a 1.8T. This will really define for you what is acceptable.
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SurfaceRust
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:18 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

If you get a diesel you can put whatever engine in it you want and wont have to smog it!
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11BC2
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:50 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Any engine originally offered for sale in California, and is newer than the vehicle its going into, is legal, provided all the required emission control systems on the new engine are installed and functional.
The key is that what ever vehicle you look at buying has the BAR swap label properly affixed to the chassis.
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bobbyblack Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:07 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

I like the advice above, involving trying the available alternatives to the original WBX. The real question is weather or not you actually WANT an alternative engine to those slight mods to the original, for instance, perhaps there IS a Vanagon offered out there with a Vanistan engine, or a Rocky Jennings engine. You have a lot of things to sort out. Mostly, you have to sort out weather or not you are actually a Transplant person. You'd be a better man than I if you were able to find, and test drive the variety of "stock" or 'stock like' engines prior to deciding that the Subi, or an alternative transplant was a good idea for you. All the options offered are a hefty price, no matter what you decide on in the end. Realistically, I'd mention that you should probably find and test drive a mostly stock Vanagon with a 2.3 GW engine.

I'm the least likely person to actually tell anyone to not consider a swap over stock, or 'based on stock' engine. A good performing stock 2.1 or Rocky Jennings 2.2(+) with a little help in the final drive, or tires MIGHT just be what you'd actually LIKE. I have seen some really wild stuff stuffed into a Vanagon, and the only way you will have a clue is to drive them. I push my stock 2.1 on a 4 spd manny at 84MPH plenty. Even more, actually. I'd say it is something I do foolishly.

Check the "what tires fit" and "what wheels fit" threads, you'll find good info on what kind of performance is matched to 'upgrades'.

A stock engine with a tuned exhaust, 1.25 rockers, and perhaps an upgrade on injectors could be exactly what you'd find to your taste. But, I'd guess that you won't find that in the classified's or on CL, etc.

Get some wrenches, you're going to need them, regardless of what you end up with.

Welcome to the madness, and,

Kind Regards,

-bobby
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:25 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Careful with the "advice" you get from most of these guys, as they're mostly illiterate and not quite well...if you know what I mean.
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izzydog
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:41 pm    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

11BC2 wrote:
Any engine originally offered for sale in California, and is newer than the vehicle its going into, is legal, provided all the required emission control systems on the new engine are installed and functional.
The key is that what ever vehicle you look at buying has the BAR swap label properly affixed to the chassis.


Have you done an engine conversion in CA? I've done two - Subie 2.2 and VW 1.8T and I'm sorry to say that your statement is not true. Only the 2.2L Subie and the VW 1.8T have an exemption in CA. There is almost zero possibility that you will get any other "legal" engine past the BAR or a local referee.

And the BAR sticker? That's entirely up to the SMOG station. I've had shops tell me that they could care less that I have a sticker and other shops don't even know what a BAR sticker is.

I just laugh at the advice I read sometimes on the Samba regarding conversions. Some people have convinced themselves that if it's printed in a book somewhere, that it HAS to be so. If you want a genuine street education about what will pass and what won't, call a shop that does conversions in CA and ask THEM.

Or come to Syncrofest in May and talk to Syncro owners with conversions who live in CA.

In any case, don't buy a van from someone who's dropped a 2.5 Subie or a Bostig Ford or whatever who says things like, "...don't worry about this engine. It has the right CAT, a check engine light and blah, blah, blah.

If you are looking for a conversion van and it's not a Subie 2.2 or a VW 1.8T - walk away.
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11BC2
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:40 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Im assuming you mean an engine swap that has an EO number already associated with it. If so, your statement is mostly correct.
Any engine, from a passenger vehicle that was originally approved for sale in California, can be swapped into another passenger vehicle, provided that the engine is newer than receiving vehicle, and all emission related equipment is installed and functional.
Have I swapped engines?
Yes. Dozens.
Into a Westy?
Not yet.
Have I talked to to the smog referee, planned out what is necessary to swap any Subaru engine...that was offered for sale in California...into a Westy, and it be smog legal?
Yes, as its my profession.

Yall acting like it takes an act of God to get a different engine swapped into a Westy.
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:08 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

11BC2 wrote:

Have I talked to to the smog referee, planned out what is necessary to swap any Subaru engine...that was offered for sale in California...into a Westy, and it be smog legal?
Yes, as its my profession.

Yall acting like it takes an act of God to get a different engine swapped into a Westy.


For most folks asking for advice on engine swaps in CA it would like an act of god for them to navigate the process successfully. Advice given with that in mind.

You seem to know what you are doing and more power (pun) to you sir. Very Happy
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https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=620646

Building a bus for travel in Europe (euroBus)
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695371

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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:10 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
Careful with the "advice" you get from most of these guys, as they're mostly illiterate and not quite well...if you know what I mean.


I happen to be quite literate if you please. Cool

And OP if you have the money the VW 1.8t is an excellent engine swap, just be careful with the transmission with that level of power.

(See Casey I can recommend VW power. Smile )
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MD>Canada>AK>WA>OR>CA>AZ>UT>WY>SD
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=620646

Building a bus for travel in Europe (euroBus)
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695371

The West Coast Westy
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=746794
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markswagen
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

One of the big problems now is finding a legal engine to go with the Kennedy kit.
I have 2 customers looking and or waiting for me to find an engine and ECU to go with the Kennedy kit.

I managed to find one, that's now pushing an `86 west along nicely, including my labor, the conversion kit, all the pipes, timing belt, oil pump, water pump, everything we needed, came to $8.7k

Jeff in Wisconsin did the wiring harness work, the owner is very very happy.
The second was a conversion kit purchased locally $9.5k plus my labor, that went into an `83 aircooled west, and we added power steering etc etc, owner is beyond happy.

Drive a few vans first, get a feel for what you are looking for.
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bobbyblack Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

Now it seems more likely than ever that some bright individual will make a name for themselves finding and delivering Subi 2.2's to CaliFolk. The '93 EJ22 I found when my WBX was leaky, and I vowed to Transplant if I dropped the WBX is now in my Daughters' '86 bus. I did the re-seal with the engine in... Anyway, could not pass up the '93 for $200, with 143K mi. on it. Believe it or not, they still exist. But I digress, Stock Never Goes Out Of Style. Look forward to Marcos' Stock + Turbo project going into production. The other options to boost the stock WBX are 'a-plenty' and for the $'s, you'll get your money back in no time. Also, WHEN you do things yourself, you get to know them. A Transplant done yourself will be much more likely to stay in the family. Also, a fresh rebuild on a stocker, or add Rocky Jennings' bigger, but still slip in place piston/cylinder sets, rockers, and a tuned exhaust will be a totally different experience than a tired WBX.

By the way, having gone through both WBX and EJ22 projects, I have come to appreciate the WBX much more than I did before.

One last thing, as Casey said way way up the thread: Find out if you are more of a EuroVan person. My '03 Westy made me grin, even as I got pulled over for speeding!
While true that they are a completely different animal, there are a lot of good reasons to own one.
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elizer Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:14 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

not 100% familiar with the ej22 swap but will jdm engines work?
The jdm engines usually have under 100k miles on them.
http://www.engineworld.com/product/?&cat_product=subaru
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shizam
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

You all are absolutely right, trolling around these forums I had been convinced a conversion is absolutely necessary w/out even trying a stock(ish) WBX. There are several stock vans in the area for sale, I'll offer the owner a 6 pack to take it out on the highway and see if anybody bites.
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:47 am    Post subject: Re: California engine swap options Reply with quote

11BC2 wrote:
Im assuming you mean an engine swap that has an EO number already associated with it. If so, your statement is mostly correct.
Any engine, from a passenger vehicle that was originally approved for sale in California, can be swapped into another passenger vehicle, provided that the engine is newer than receiving vehicle, and all emission related equipment is installed and functional.
Have I swapped engines?
Yes. Dozens.
Into a Westy?
Not yet.
Have I talked to to the smog referee, planned out what is necessary to swap any Subaru engine...that was offered for sale in California...into a Westy, and it be smog legal?
Yes, as its my profession.

Yall acting like it takes an act of God to get a different engine swapped into a Westy.


I'll bet you could earn a good fee from Bostig by opening the CA market to them. They make it out to be a bit of a challenge while you make it sound relatively straightforward.

Then again, Bostig perpetually sells out its production to non-CA markets so maybe it's not worth the bother.

Are there any model year constraints to the scenario you describe?
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