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Air cooled Vanagon Westy - convert to water cooled ??
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d1camero
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Air cooled Vanagon Westy - convert to water cooled ?? Reply with quote

Hey all, I have been looking at westies and the price of the water cooleds are primo here in Canada on the west coast - $12,000 CDN typical for starters for a 1985.

I came across an air cooled 1982. It looks in great shape for $7,000 CDN. I figure if the air cooled engine really pisses me off I could convert it to a subaru or something else.

Two questions:

1. is buying an air cooled vanagon westy stupid?

2. any web sites around detailing the conversion of a vanagon air cooled to a water cooled something (subaru, prosche, etc.)

thanks
d1
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an aircooled and I love it. the hp is low but it has decent torque, and I really don't notice the lack of power. Plus they are a very simple engine. If you really want a camper that keeps up with the rest of the fleet screaming along hell bent for God knows where, you can convert or get a newer one with a puddle engine. At their reduced price the AC vans are a very good deal IMO. I think more importantly is what the overall condition of the van is. I bought a project Westy with a puddle engine and decide to part it out rather than fix it, and keep my AC van because it is in so much better shape.

You do have to learn to drive differently with AC engines. Think of sailboat instead of a power cruiser. If you are an impatient driver, forget it.

Do a search, this question has been asked before.
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wolfej1
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=211117
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another option since you are on the west coast is head south where you will get some fabulous bargains. These vans are far more common in Oregon, California, and sell for much less. I bought my '80 for $1800.00 US and it was in great shape. I've since sunk some decent money upgrading it, but that's part of the game with these vehicles. Crazy to buy in Canada.
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bucko
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Air cooled Vanagon Westy - convert to water cooled ?? Reply with quote

d1camero wrote:
Hey all, I have been looking at westies and the price of the water cooleds are primo here in Canada on the west coast - $12,000 CDN typical for starters for a 1985.

I came across an air cooled 1982. It looks in great shape for $7,000 CDN. I figure if the air cooled engine really pisses me off I could convert it to a subaru or something else.

Two questions:

1. is buying an air cooled vanagon westy stupid?

Nope. All the Vanagons have their highs and lows, but they all are great.

2. any web sites around detailing the conversion of a vanagon air cooled to a water cooled something (subaru, prosche, etc.)

This forum talks of converting wasserboxers to Subaru's and the like, but I've not seen air cooled to water cooled. Radiators, hoses, and the like would make for some fancy installation, but anything could be done.

thanks
d1

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nomadik
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say Victoria BC has as many Vanagons than Portlant, if not way more really I went down a street las night with at least 10 in as many blocks, there is so many in fact that there no way everyone is going to wave at each other on every block, (I still try but they don't like hippies I think some of these Victoria Vanagon owners)

The prices are a tiny bit higher in Victoria than Portland, as people want them so bad here it hurts them.

You can steal one in the interior of B.C., my cousin got a Air Cooled Desel for $3000 - but he always gets deals on stuff - thats in Kamloops.

There is one aircooled on Craigs list on Quadra Island for $3500 looks like a steal if they really did do that much work to the thing. Get that and spend the extra money on gas and food.

Take what you can find and like - I have a 84 but I imagine would rather a aircooled - not sure I just amazed there is aircoold vans from the 80s - and all my major issues are cooling realated.
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d1camero
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey gang, thanks for the quick feedback. This is what concerns me about buying an aircooled vanagon:

1. the freakin heater and defroster. I winter camp, and I don't want to have to take a propane torch to the window. What do AC drivers do for this in cold climes?

2. exhaust fumes. I guess this is realted to the heater boxes and to 1.

Are there others?

Other than that, I can propbably get use to the speed - I drove a 74 bread loaf for years...

thanks
d1

P.S. I searched craigslist, but did not find the vanagon on Quadra Island. Mind sending a link? thanks
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nomadik
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a propane heater, so not only will your van have heat when you drive when you are parked in the blizzard you can be warm....

I guess these propex or similar are really good from what I read here, I saw someone that put a normal Truck camper propane heater in the little compartment to the left of the fridge, but the grill outside looked ugly, it worked but was ugly - free.

2 birds with one furnace.

I wish I had a nice heat source like propex for winter camping...
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The heater boxes probably stink but I posted awhile back on how to take your heat system apart and insulate and clean it all out. When the system in in good working order, the heat coming from it is enough to almost burn you when it has warmed up. You can also put in a BA6 heater if it doesn't have one, my parts van has one and it blows tremendous heat.

A lot of guys use small portable propane catalytic heaters but they turn the inside of your van into a sauna.
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J75
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

d1camero wrote:


1. the freakin heater and defroster. I winter camp, and I don't want to have to take a propane torch to the window. What do AC drivers do for this in cold climes?

2


When I was in high school, I drove with the steering wheel in one hand, and an ice scapper in the other to get rid of the frost on the inside of the windshield of my 71! I wouldn't consider doing this now. I wonder what those ceramic auto heaters in walmart are like?
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cnskate
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try the Seattle and Bellingham Craigslists. There are a couple in the $2000 range right now. If the heater boxes are good, which they rarely are, and everything is setup right, the heat is pretty good. The big problem with AC Westies is dropping a valve seat. Look for one with good rebuilt heads, not GEX.
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gator
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aircooled all the way man. i wouldn't dream of driving a wbx, i've owned one, and it was an enigma to me. frankly i don't understand the draw of the wbx. from what i've experienced, they're tempermental beasts at best.
my '80 has the eberspacher (sp?) underneath, so heat isn't a problem. it does take quite some time to get any real warmth out of the heater boxes though...about 30 min into a drive i stop shivvering. no exhaust fumes though.
i was thinking of doing the same as you, ac to wc, and run a vw inline 4, (bought all the conversion parts and all) but the aircooled just runs so nice, i can't bear to tear it apart.
the conversion would have to be total custom, which i frankly don't have the time or money for. i was looking for more torque, but my van's pulled whatever i've needed so far (a bit of trouble with a late bay uphill, but drags a trailor, a wc car or a split bus no problem).
i've had no good luck with GEX in at least a couple years. their quality control is going downhill fast...i did used to have a GEX dp longblock in a '67 ghia i used to drive, and it was fine. that was about 4 years ago though.
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singlewc
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

allthewayalive wrote:
aircooled all the way man.

my '80 has the eberspacher (sp?) underneath, so heat isn't a problem.
it does take quite some time to get any real warmth out of the heater boxes though...about 30 min into a drive i stop shivvering. no exhaust fumes though.

but the aircooled just runs so nice, i can't bear to tear it apart.

but my van's pulled whatever i've needed so far (a bit of trouble with a late bay uphill, but drags a trailor, a wc car or a split bus no problem)..


I have an 81 A/C, and your words would echo my sentiments exactly. I have the heater, and it gets me through the worst of winter, although I tend to avoid driving in winter as they salt the roads here by pouring water from the Great Salt Lake on them as the snow starts to fall.....

I would ask you about your towing, such as how many miles on the engine, have you ever done a compression test, do you have a CHT, and oil temp gauge? What kind of numbers do you get when you are hauling something, vs not?

I am just curious, as I have pulled an 800 lb popup camper a few times, and found it to be okay, but always felt I was pushing my luck. I won't do it again without a CHT. The oil temps never seemed overly affected.

I am sure that with a new motor, and some care, I could get by, but I guess towing now would only accelerate the impending rebuild.... and just as you noted, it runs so damn well that to crack it open, would be a crime, like removing a healthy appendix Smile
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gator
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

right on man. the engine in my vanagon currently is a rebuilt unit from an '82. it has roughly 70k miles on it (2nd van it's been in in my possession). the engine and tow hitch came off an '82 westy (nearly mint when i bought it) that was totalled by some moron while parked at my house. that van had the cht and oil pressure gauges, so the senders are still installed. the gauges were set in an aftermarket pod on top of the cluster, which i really didn't like, so i didn't transfer them over to my '80 when i got it. i do still have them and at some point want to put them somewhere more aesthetically pleasing.

my hitch looks factory or dealer, has 4 bolts that go thru the bumper brackets and rides inside the bumper blade. i've towed a scirocco 16v 3 1/2 hours, towed a 77 bay across town, pulled 2 split busses between 40 and 70 miles each, and a small trailor with a couch on it to my parents' house. the only one i won't do again, the bay. i wasn't sure i'd make it up this one hill with a stoplight at the top. the others were easy.

don't know about mileage, my odometer doesn't work.
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it does take quite some time to get any real warmth out of the heater boxes though...about 30 min into a drive i stop shivvering. no exhaust fumes though.


You might have a break in the heating system somewhere. Usually within ten minutes or so of driving I'm turning down the heat, at least if it's above freezing. I found my plastic heater duct split wide open above the tranny where you really couldn't see it. These vehicles take longer to warm up inside than watercooled vehicles, but not that much more. I also installed a blower fan in my heating duct which helps the process along.
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gator
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cool. i'll have to check that out. although i've had the engine and trans out on numerous occasions and never noticed a crack, i was never looking for one.

just thought of another difference, my 80 has no blower in the dash, where my 82 did. my 80's heat is pushed by the engine fan. kind of reverse engineering from the type 4 bay, isn't it?

anyone know thru what year the eberspacher was available? my 80 has one underneath, and my 82 that i used to drive had one under the rear bench. the 82 had a digital timer controller to the left of the column, the 80 uses the old style green knob to the right of the column. also, my '80 has dealer ac, with the controller to the left of the column exactly where the digital timer was on my '82, makes me wonder if the eberspacher in that van was a dealer addition.
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airkooledchris
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if your heater boxes and exhaust system in general are all in good shape, the heat in an aircooled vanagon is REALLY good.

I to have a BA6 for mine, which is mounted under the belly of the van and works great.

it got me through some nasty Minneapolis winters without a bit of discomfort, although the salt on the roads really did some serious damage.
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Basilbomb
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of joints where heat can be lost in this system. Also it really helps to wrap everything with pipe insulation. Often the long tube forward is no longer stock (which has some marginal insulation in it) and this can lose a lot of heat if it isn't wrapped. You should not be able to keep your hand over the heater vent if it's running as well as it could.
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klucz
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats funny, my heat works great, front and rear. But mine is a tempermental waterbeast. Heehee.
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duneman
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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that this is an old topic but i am desperate on finding an answer. i think i have a trans out of an air cooled vanagon. is it true that the trans in one of these does not have the ports in order to hook up any kind of cooling? if it is possible than how. my trans keeps getting very hot and causing it to slip.
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