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Aircooled Engine Build - What to do?
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rkoss
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:01 pm    Post subject: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

**XPOSTED to Itinerant Air Cooled**

So, my original engine (2 bottom end rebuilds) is nearing 600,000kms. Its getting tired and running hot. I am having a reputable rebuilder build me a stock engine from a core I have. 1980 Fed Mog CV 2.0 Vanagon w/ hydraulic lifters. 091 DK transmission - will be adding a TBD from Pelequin when they are available again.

I built the current engine myself about 200K kms ago. The engine is currently stock aside from Pertronix EIM in a 034 SVDA dizzy and using a Dansk bus muffler. I use heater boxes and the BA6 heater (because driving at -40*C sucks). I run a dakota digital gauge under #3 plug. Tires are kept stock size. 14" wheels in summer, 15" in winter.

I am looking for thoughts on what else I could/should add in terms of FI, ignition systems and exhaust for the way I use the van.

I live in British Colombia and live out of the van 90% of the time. Its a daily driver and see lots of mountain passes, dirt roads and long highway stretches with varying elevations from 0-2000 meters above sea level. Its heavily loaded with gear and sometimes tows a 300# load.

I want the engine to be built for reliability. I drive it alot, I drive in remote areas, I dont like being broken down, I am sick of working on this engine in the mud and rain and snow! I drive like it a synchro! But I keep it running! My current concerns are constantly high head temps and low engine power on steep inclines (think crawling up a sustained rough 30% grade). I dont mind using 4 way flashers and staying in the slow lane; moving fasters nice and all, but I know building a bigger engine with the weight I am pushing is just a recipe for meltdowns.

So questions...

1) Engine arrangement - builder recommends staying stock with stock crank and cam. He also seems conservative. Im aware that more HP means more heat. Is there any thought an a mild cam change that would still perform well in an overloaded, extra unaerodynamic van? Paired with alternative ignition/FI system? Head work? Anything? Is there a larger CC engine arrangement that could work well in a heavier van? He will be using out of the box AMC heads with minor porting, no valve changes and VW crank/camshaft cores in spec. No oversizing.

2) Fuel injection - I have learnt alot about L-jet, I have considered carbs (likely wont go that route due to my elevation changes), I have heard about other systems (microsquirt). My L-jet system is in good shape with a new harness, new injectors and original VW components which I also have a pretty healthy spare inventory of everything (AFM, CSV, AAR, TII, Thermotime switch etc). Is there an alternative worth looking at that will help improve fuel efficiency, head temps, power or engine longevity? Does it work well with a stock arrangement or better on hotter engines?

3) Ignition - Builder is selling me on a bluetooth 123Ignition unit. Its expensive but the programable maps seem like a nice feature, especially with the various roads I drive and rapid weight changes I can have in the van. Not alot of talk online about them, seems like an expensive option for something that people arent super excited about. I see more info on Pertronix/Magnaspark and others so wonder what the best option may be there. I prefer a more maintenance free approach, I dont want to be checking dwell, replacing p&c's etc.

4) Exhaust - Keeping the heater box as they are needed for cold weather. Been running the bus muffler with spacers from German Supply. My last one came off completely smashed up and dented from exit angles being too low on deep ditch crossing or just getting smacked by rocks on 4X4 roads so Im not interested in spending $2k on stainless steel that I will have smashed up in 3 years. I have been happy with this muffler but know that exhaust flow contributes to my head temps and power level so would like to know about best arrangements and options for the vanagon AC engine in this situation.

So whats the best balance on this build? Do I stay bone stock? Do I add a dedicated ignition system? Heat up the cam grind? Find some better flowing exhaust? Would like to hear the thoughts! Sell me on what you think would work and why... and Ive heard all about Subarus/porches etc. I am not interested in a powerhouse swap atm. I am asking about 2.0 aircooled engine build arrangements that could work within my use style.
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hdenter
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Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

I don't wrench on T4 engines so I don't feel compelled to offer advice on how you should build it. I will, however suggest that you inquire in the bay window forum as well as here. The T4 late bay widow engines are basically the same as the vanagon engine. Plenty of people over there have found a few extra ponies and kept there engines from melting down.

Good Luck!

Hans
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:07 am    Post subject: Re: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

rkoss wrote:


I want the engine to be built for reliability. I drive it alot, I drive in remote areas, I dont like being broken down, I am sick of working on this engine in the mud and rain and snow!.


my 0.02?

ditch the air cooled all together and do a watercooled swap. the fact that vw carried this over from the bay bus into a much heavier van is stupid imho.

i couldn't imagine driving an air cooled vanagon.
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GoEverywhere
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

[email protected] wrote:
rkoss wrote:


I want the engine to be built for reliability. I drive it alot, I drive in remote areas, I dont like being broken down, I am sick of working on this engine in the mud and rain and snow!.


my 0.02?

ditch the air cooled all together and do a watercooled swap. the fact that vw carried this over from the bay bus into a much heavier van is stupid imho.

i couldn't imagine driving an air cooled vanagon.


Or do a little bit of work to it and beat the waterboxer at every turn.

I think honestly keeping it stock is a mistake. I bored and stroked my type-4 to 2.2L and its putting out about 130HP now. It climbs hills nicely, it runs well, it doesn't feel like a slug anymore, and its not much more expensive than rebuilding a stock motor.

I get keeping it aircooled, I think aircooled motors are kinda cool, but the stock 67HP just isn't enough for a Vanagon. Even the 92HP of the waterboxer is iffy.
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fishgo
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:57 am    Post subject: Re: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

I use the bus exhaust muffler (requires spacers which you mention) to extend from the heater boxes but Boston Bob recommended you drill a good number of 1/4" holes into the inside tin inside the intake ports of the muffler to assist air flow. It helps. I don't recall the exact model bus exhaust but it isn't the one you mention (but similar). No cat converter.

My motor uses the '83 EFI which is pared to an Innovative Motorsports LC-2 O2 controller and sensor on a bung welded onto the tailpipe. Measures the air/fuel exhaust mixture with a gauge on the dash and a manual dial to adjust the mixture on the fly. I run about 13.1 to 13.5 burn mix but it is very helpful to adjust the fuel mix based upon gas quality, elevation or head temps. Up in elevation? Adjust air/fuel mix to keep from running rich. Or if running hot I can run it richer to keep head temps down.

I use an external oil cooler and fan to keep oil temps at or below 220 degrees.

For oil, run DT50 synthetic; it's got extra zinc which is supposed to prolong engine life. Oil changes every 5K miles.

Otherwise, keep it pretty stock. My van has 281,000 miles and 160,000 miles on this particular engine / transmission combo. No oil leaks, no power loss, compression great.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

one little upgrade for beating it like a syncro and living in mountainous areas with a air cooled vanagon is to swap in a lower (higher numbered) R&P for the transaxle.
in the US it's easy to slip in a Diesel transaxle..
it will have the same top speed as a diesel.. about 67mph (~105kph)
but it won't struggle as much up to and maintaining those speeds.

the aircooled transaxle has the highest gearing of all of the oe vanagons.

also look into adjusting the Temp-II signal via a dash mounted potentiometer to enrichen the mixture and bring down head temps.
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=642383&highlight=potentiometer
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

GoEverywhere wrote:


Or do a little bit of work to it and beat the waterboxer at every turn.


i 100% agree Very Happy

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gprudenciop wrote:

my reason for switching to subaru is my german car was turning chinese so i said fuck it and went japanese.......
[email protected] wrote:
most VW enthusiasts are stuck in 80's price land.

Jake Raby wrote:
Thanks for the correction. I used to be a nice guy, then I ruined it by exposing myself to the public.

Brian wrote:
Also the fact that people are agreeing with Skills, it's a turn of events for samba history
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Bleyseng
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Aircooled Engine Build - What to do? Reply with quote

Build a Raby Camper Special using the stock Ljet, cool running. Aux oil cooler under the aux battery. I have loved the TB diff, really good traction.
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