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Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience
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syncroid
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 2:07 pm    Post subject: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

How good is the 2.5 Subie conversion for climbing long steep grades at freeway speeds?

Since I'm mostly familiar with the local freeway hills, can you climb these grades without downshifting to 3rd? Perhaps even accelerate in 4th? (what a joy that would be)

Waldo Grade (both sides)
Western approach to the Caldecott tunnel
Altamont (both sides)
Tahoe trip on 50 or 80
Others?

I'm particularly interested in the syncro experience.

Thanks all!


Last edited by syncroid on Wed May 08, 2019 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dougnlina
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 4:02 pm    Post subject: Re: SF Bay Area Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

Not a Subie, but I have a 1.8T
The answer to all this will depend on your gearing and tires.
That said, with stock Gears and 215/75-15 tires my syncro will maintain 4th on all of these hills with one caveat, if I get behind a slow vehicle and the speed gets below about 55 I downshift because it is just better for the engine and trans, and the engine revs well. Once the engine revs back up its all good. BTW in general there are issues getting 2.5 Subies smogged in CA.so you may be looking at the 2.2 instead?
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cmayna
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: SF Bay Area Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

I bet climbing the grade from the GGB to the Robin Williams tunnel via a 2.5 would be much easier than a stock motor.
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 7:51 am    Post subject: Re: SF Bay Area Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

If I lived in CA I'd be looking at the 1.8t.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 8:15 am    Post subject: Re: SF Bay Area Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

Living in California with a 2.5. No harder than the much much more complex 1.8t. For example study the requirement just for the charcoal canister. Yes SAH has an EO for his conversion but not anyone else's. Just my 2 cents worth.
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vanis13
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 8:19 am    Post subject: Re: SF Bay Area Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

dgbeatty wrote:
Living in California with a 2.5. No harder than the much much more complex 1.8t. For example study the requirement just for the charcoal canister. Yes SAH has an EO for his conversion but not anyone else's. Just my 2 cents worth.


yeah, interesting the OP doesn't mention that pesky CA 2.5 conversion issue to overcome.
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syncroid
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 1:32 pm    Post subject: 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

vanis13 wrote:
dgbeatty wrote:
Living in California with a 2.5. No harder than the much much more complex 1.8t. For example study the requirement just for the charcoal canister. Yes SAH has an EO for his conversion but not anyone else's. Just my 2 cents worth.


yeah, interesting the OP doesn't mention that pesky CA 2.5 conversion issue to overcome.


There is a work-around...

I changed the title of this post:

Hey 2.5 Subie conversion owners out there, what's it like climbing long steep grades compared to the stock WBX 2.1?

I'm interested in knowing if you can keep up with traffic flow or if you still find that you need to downshift. Not really interested in the merits of one conversion over another - many posts on that subject.

Thanks all.
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

syncroid wrote:
vanis13 wrote:
dgbeatty wrote:
Living in California with a 2.5. No harder than the much much more complex 1.8t. For example study the requirement just for the charcoal canister. Yes SAH has an EO for his conversion but not anyone else's. Just my 2 cents worth.


yeah, interesting the OP doesn't mention that pesky CA 2.5 conversion issue to overcome.


There is a work-around...

I changed the title of this post:

Hey 2.5 Subie conversion owners out there, what's it like climbing long steep grades compared to the stock WBX 2.1?

I'm interested in knowing if you can keep up with traffic flow or if you still find that you need to downshift. Not really interested in the merits of one conversion over another - many posts on that subject.

Thanks all.


There is no comparison.

I can climb most grades at 70 in 4th. And those that I cannot I can climb at 60 in third.... Keep the revs up. 4k to 5.5k is fine for steep hills. The 2.5 makes good power there.
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Building a bus for travel in Europe (euroBus)
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695371

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WestyBob
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 5:34 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
I can climb most grades at 70 in 4th. And those that I cannot I can climb at 60 in third.... Keep the revs up. 4k to 5.5k is fine for steep hills. The 2.5 makes good power there.


I can take the Siskiyou Pass between Oregon and Cali in a loaded down westy syncro in 4th gear while maintaining the speed limit. However, if I get slowed down by a group of semi's or whatever it's hard to get back up to that level but it depends on the immediate circumstances. The Siskiyou Pass (I-5) has long climbing roads, especially coming south.

One thing to note is subie 2.5L's are not always identical -- really depends on how they are set up by the installer.

One last thing to mention -- the stock tranny is greatly stressed when trying to ask the vanagon to do more than it can or should. If I feel the subie engine is struggling I back off and gear down to extend tranny life, not try to set endurance records.
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

Agreed on the limits of the trans. BTDT. I now have a cooler and filter.
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Building a bus for travel in Europe (euroBus)
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

AGREED, with great power comes great responsibility
just because you can (take it by force in 4th) doesn't mean you should.

don't be afraid to drop it to 3rd. it's much better for the transmission that way.

WestyBob wrote:
dobryan wrote:
I can climb most grades at 70 in 4th. And those that I cannot I can climb at 60 in third.... Keep the revs up. 4k to 5.5k is fine for steep hills. The 2.5 makes good power there.


I can take the Siskiyou Pass between Oregon and Cali in a loaded down westy syncro in 4th gear while maintaining the speed limit. However, if I get slowed down by a group of semi's or whatever it's hard to get back up to that level but it depends on the immediate circumstances. The Siskiyou Pass (I-5) has long climbing roads, especially coming south.

One thing to note is subie 2.5L's are not always identical -- really depends on how they are set up by the installer.

One last thing to mention -- the stock tranny is greatly stressed when trying to ask the vanagon to do more than it can or should. If I feel the subie engine is struggling I back off and gear down to extend tranny life, not try to set endurance records.

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michaelbteam
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 5:59 am    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

My own direct comparison, in Utah: there is a six mile climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird, 3000 vertical feet in 6 miles. My Syncro Westy with a strong 2.1WBX could almost make it in 3rd [floored] if slower traffic was not encountered. [Our 86 Weekender with a 2.1 had a slightly easier time.] A freshly rebuilt 2.5 SOHC Subie in the Syncro performs almost the same as the 2.1, requiring a downshift into 2nd as the grade increases in one area. This is slightly disappointing, since I anticipated staying in 3rd all the way up the canyon. I'm not sure how to view this, since I realize the fragility of the trans under more horsepower anyway. I spoke to Metric Motors about this, inconclusively, and even experimented with removing the K+N air filter for less restricted air flow with no change.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 6:23 am    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

michaelbteam wrote:
My own direct comparison, in Utah: there is a six mile climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird, 3000 vertical feet in 6 miles. My Syncro Westy with a strong 2.1WBX could almost make it in 3rd [floored] if slower traffic was not encountered. [Our 86 Weekender with a 2.1 had a slightly easier time.] A freshly rebuilt 2.5 SOHC Subie in the Syncro performs almost the same as the 2.1, requiring a downshift into 2nd as the grade increases in one area. This is slightly disappointing, since I anticipated staying in 3rd all the way up the canyon. I'm not sure how to view this, since I realize the fragility of the trans under more horsepower anyway. I spoke to Metric Motors about this, inconclusively, and even experimented with removing the K+N air filter for less restricted air flow with no change.


What rpm are you at in 3rd when you encounter the steeper part where you need to downshift?
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syncroid
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

Very helpful information. Thank you. I've been to the Siskiyous and Little Cottonwood in a '90 multivan.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 7:00 am    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

unless you have a turbo charged engine, elevation above sea level also plays largely into the impacts of the grade

Quote:
Snowbird, Utah has a Base elevation: 7,759′ 0″ (Lowest chairlift)

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

With the Subaru's 7K redline you can run the engine differently than a WBX, burying it into the kaboom section of a stock tach isn'tt an issue. You can comfortably drive them out of the green middle section of a stock tach all day long.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 12:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

Once I start slowing down in 4th on a grade I will shift down early into 3rd. Like at 65mph. Once in this gear I can usually climb any 6% grade without slowing down.

Like the climb up Spanish Fork Canyon to Soldier Summit can be at 70mph in third gear with a heavy Syncro Westy. 5500 rpm EJ25 Hyrbrid, 215/75/15 tires w/stock gearing. Never even close with my EJ22.

Shift early. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 12:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

I think the misnomer of big engines and not 'wanting' to downshift into 3rd is a psychological thing..

the answer is a 5speed and shift into 4th.

most all modern vehicles have to drop out of high or cruising gear on Mtn grades.
we're just hampered with less available gears.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 7:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

Not hampered. Most folks are afraid to really let the engine rev and lug it out of the power band.
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https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695371

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2019 9:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Subie 2.5 owners - hill climb experience Reply with quote

Good comments. I usually downshift from 3rd into 2nd at 3000 rpm. I've been a little cautious about the transmission under extra horsepower. I'll drive it a little harder and see what happens! The internet sez that the average grade of Little Cottonwood Canyon is 9.2%.
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