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Preferred Engine Conversion
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Love My Westy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:44 pm    Post subject: Preferred Engine Conversion Reply with quote

My '86 Wolfsburg Westy still has a lot of miles left in the original engine, yet I wonder what the next engine should be once it is time to replace it. Do I get a GOWESTY rebuild, or go with one of the other conversions?
What are the upsides and downsides for the conversions?
What's your opinion, and why?
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CF
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

there are many reviews on the engine suppliers.mostly mixed.the one thing on conversions is parts supply.who has what.on part supply
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goffoz
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All the answers are in the forums previous endless posts on this topic.
The big trend these days is to go turbo diesal...lots of good reasons to go that way

You have to use the formula...
Skills/tools+ funds/credit minus available time/workspace, all divided by the performance/reliability/economy factors....
Now from this subtract the costs of the conversion...parts/professional services etc. ( remember you work for free when your not at your regular job or doing the mandatory social requirements of your life)....if you come up 1:1 your good to go

Don't forget to include the tranny, radiator they're as old as the engine
Hey and brakes are a good idea too.

Then of course there are the wild cards...like
How far do you live from any resources.....
or the neighbour who says....
"Hey man I got a "totalled" SVX in the drive ,you want it : )
cheers
Owen
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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Preferred Engine Conversion Reply with quote

Love My Westy wrote:
My '86 Wolfsburg Westy still has a lot of miles left in the original engine, yet I wonder what the next engine should be once it is time to replace it. Do I get a GOWESTY rebuild, or go with one of the other conversions?
What are the upsides and downsides for the conversions?
What's your opinion, and why?


Which state are you in? If you're in California you're severely limited as to what you can do.
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Love My Westy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in Utah, but who knows how strict the emissions will end up in the future. I would want it to pass emissions.
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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love My Westy wrote:
I'm in Utah, but who knows how strict the emissions will end up in the future. I would want it to pass emissions.



GoWesty: Pluses - straight bolt-in....it's a rebuilt WBX engine with 0 miles...more power....same or worse gas mileage....same primitive (and high) emissions as the engine you're replacing.......about the same price (a bit cheaper) to have a professional install as a Subaru 2.2 or 2.5


Subaru 2.2/2.5 - NOT a straight bolt-in but easy enough work for a shop that does conversion work....WAY more power than the stock 1.9/2.1 motors......you will probably get an engine with at least 50k miles on it which for a Subaru is NOTHING..........WAY cleaner burning meaning very low emissions...better gas mileage (not a huge difference but at least 2 m.p.g. from what I've seen)....around $ 8,000.00 for everything if a shop does it.


I can't comment on the other conversions....TIICO...VR6.... but I'm in the process of putting a 1992 Subaru EJ22 motor in my '84 Wolfsburg. I had the GoWesty 2.2 and I thought it was great...for a WBX motor. Subaru and other conversions are the future of keeping Vanagons/Transporters on the road.

The WBX is dead..........LONG LIVE THE WBX
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1984 Wolfsburg 7-passenger stock sunroof
1992 Subaru Legacy EJ22 boxer motor installed.... van is now sold.... currently playing with a 1987 Toyota MR2 with 1.6 liter twin-cam motor. Better than the Subaru boxers....... I'm impressed. Well, okay, in an "apples and oranges" kind of way. Smile
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westy81
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As mentioned above, there is a ton of discussion on this stuff in previous threads.

One other factor to consider is the community/help that you'll need when doing your conversion, and in this variable the Subaru camp has a pretty incredible resource of people that are willing to help through the SubaruVanagon mailing list.

I'm sure there are other conversions that have similar groups, but I think the Subaru camp is far ahead on this front.

Garnet
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it comes down to three things.

1. Do you want to deal with a unique vehicle (conversion) if you have to seek out repair on a trip?

2. If you do want to go the conversion route, do you want to keep it all VW/Audi?

3. What kind of power are you looking for?

My feeling is that the Subaru conversion is the best because it fits the van well and offers anything from a 2.0 115hp to a 3.3 230hp depending on the engine you use. There is a lot of support and enthusiasm for this conversion also.

If you want to keep it VW/Audi, my choice would be the 5 cylinder 2.6 kit available from Overland Parts. I would not do Tiico because they have a bad track record for broken exhaust headers, flimsy fuel rails and poor engine refinement due to using the poor diesel mount design. Autobahn Society seems to offer a much better solution if you want to go the 4 cylinder VW route.

It is worth noting, though, that the old Wasserboxer can be built up with some nice displacement and power increases, and keeps the van standard for future buyers and mechanics who have to work on it.

David
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DeMinimis
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Tiico conversion and so far so good. However, if funds were unlimited, I might consider a Suby conversion. Would like more power under the deck.
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funagon
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like keeping it stock so a bored stroked heavy breathing WBX sounds good to me.

Then again, this sounds pretty good:

http://bostig.com/products/zetec/

Read through all the tabs on that bostig page and when you add up the benefits it sounds pretty great. Bostig is putting together a "core" package where they provide everything but the engine for $3,800. (Get your own engine from a junkyard, zetec engines are a dime a dozen.)

With a supercharger or turbo on the zetec you get a high horsepower engine that you can tune from your laptop with open source software. Stainless steel exhaust, stainless engine carrier. How cool is that?
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westy81
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asking what engine conversion is the best is a little like asking what religion is the best: you will never get a clear answer.

I went through this same deliberation about six months ago when my Westy failed smog in California, and - to make a long story short - came to the conclusion of Subaru.
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Love My Westy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are all the subaru conversions "find your own engine" ? I thinkl I'd like a
more reliable source of engines than pot luck from a junkyard. I love Subarus and would consider it.

I saw the Zetec website, and it hangs real low in the back. I need the ground clearance. Besides, my Volks would probably reject a Ford motor. (just kidding).

The cheapest thing for me to do would be to get a GOWESTY and drop it in myself. I would have them do it, but if my engine goes out, I'd have to tow my van a thousand miles to have them do it.
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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love My Westy wrote:
Are all the subaru conversions "find your own engine" ? I thinkl I'd like a
more reliable source of engines than pot luck from a junkyard. I love Subarus and would consider it.

I saw the Zetec website, and it hangs real low in the back. I need the ground clearance. Besides, my Volks would probably reject a Ford motor. (just kidding).

The cheapest thing for me to do would be to get a GOWESTY and drop it in myself. I would have them do it, but if my engine goes out, I'd have to tow my van a thousand miles to have them do it.


You can buy a rebuilt Subaru 2.2 from Mastercraft in Santa Barbara. They do conversion work themselves so they should be able to set you up. Of course it'll be more expensive since you need all the other stuff on top including the dreaded "wiring harness". Most people have their oil pan shortened because it hangs low unmodified.

http://www.vanperformance.com/


Drop in Subaru motor (pricey)


http://www.vanaru.com/



Check out these 2.5 and 3.3 (Subaru SVX) Westfalia/Syncros. It's important that you watch the last ten seconds of the video.


Link

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1984 Wolfsburg 7-passenger stock sunroof
1992 Subaru Legacy EJ22 boxer motor installed.... van is now sold.... currently playing with a 1987 Toyota MR2 with 1.6 liter twin-cam motor. Better than the Subaru boxers....... I'm impressed. Well, okay, in an "apples and oranges" kind of way. Smile
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Beetsport Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will chime in here..

VW's 1.8T with fuel economy of a 4 cylinder, same or more power than the Subi SVX 6.

Modern 2002 or newer engine. Clean burning and CA smog legal (if you need it)

Parts, if needed, come from every VW/Audi 1.8T model in the US 1998 on to 2006.

Stock 180hp 174ft.lb. / Chip and Exhaust upgrade 230hp / 250ft.lb

Check link below...
http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b270/saha3/?action=view&current=3ed758b9.pbr
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http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=217285
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Bern
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went with a VR6. I'm quite happy with it. 1.8t would be another conversion that would be pretty cool, but I was able to find a much better deal on a Vr6 than is to be had for a 1.8t.

The Vr has plenty of power, the only downfall is the loss of some cargo area in the back as i needed to raise the decklid.
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Beetsport Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bern wrote:


The Vr has plenty of power, the only downfall is the loss of some cargo area in the back as i needed to raise the decklid.


Yeah, we needed to raise the deck lid also about 1.5" to make room but only raised, not cut back into seat area. Ground clearance is not compromised on a Syncro.

Came up with a cool storage compartment area around the deck lid. We do use the original lid cover..
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2Dokas
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always wonder about the comment that you will have a hard time finding someone that can fix a subie conversion in a vanagon....

My guess is there are a lot more folks out there that can fix a subie engine than a vanagon 2.1L engine

Have you ever tried to find someone that can actually fix your vanagon when a gremlin shows up?

My guess is that there are way more mechanics that can fix any modern engine easier than that the waterboxer

My subie is great, but would love to put the 1.8T in the syncro... just cant afford the cost

cheers
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked real hard at the available conversions a number of years ago, and decided that the best route for me at the time was just to build up the wbx. There are a few more well-developed options for conversions in the picture nowadays, but I still prefer the road I'm taking.

Raising the deck lid was, for me, absolutely out of the question; my van is often used for heavy cargo-carrying , and I need the folded-flat rear loading area for sheet materials. I don't need the loading deck to be any higher. Plus we sleep there when camping, and with the full-depth foam filler pad it is incredibly comfy. I wouldn't want to alter in any way the rear seat/bed operation, or diminish the comfort factor.

Lowered ground clearance was also out of the question, and the shortened pans for Subys weren't available at the time I was open to a conversion. So that took the Suby off the table for me, at the time (I know, that problem's been fixed, but I'm on a different road now, and loving it). Plus, I own a Legacy 2.2 and my wife drives a 2.5 Forester, and I have to say that, although they are quite reliable, the torque is uninspiring, the sound isn't enervating, and I really dislike working on them, with the Japanese wiring connectors, each one requiring a different secret trick to undo it, and really poor access both around the engines as installed and upon the engines themselves. The nice thing is, they don't require a lot of maintenance, but they are not trouble-free, not by a long shot. I have to do the same diagnostic boogaloo with them I have to do with the Vanagon, and I drive the Van about 10 times as much as my Suby.

At this point, for me the only engine choice that would justify conversion would be a turbo-diesel, so I would have choices for fuel. Toward that end, though, I'm working on higher and higher compression waterboxers, for the day when sustainable (not corn-based) ethanol fuels are more available.

You can have a lot of fun with the wbx. I installed my latest build a few weeks ago, 2.2 liters at 9.7:1 CR, and we took it out with only 700 miles on it for a weekend overnight into some very remote mountains along the west side of the Rio Chama gorge, an area I've long wanted to explore. We were wandering our way north down out of a high area called the Hogback, right north of Dead Man Peak (no kidding), and started taking on tougher and tougher challenges getting thru washouts on the forest road as it got down into the rim country, where many arroyos cross the track as they drain toward the Chama gorge. Now my van is only 2WD, with mag wheels and street tires, and I had no business going thru some of the washouts I was trying. But after the first couple, I didn't think I would be able to go back, as they looked even worse going uphill. So we pressed on, as the further we went the closer we were to a somewhat better-travelled road that we could walk the 3 or 4 miles to if we needed help. Cellphone signal was nonexistent. A thunderstorm was rumbling to the northeast.

The point of all this is, that high-comp wbx was the torque champ. No way my last 2.2, eager highway-cruiser that it is, could have made the torque this thing was putting out at low revs. We probably would have been stuck on one of the earliest challenges with that motor (and turned back!), but this one was the Torque Authority. The wheels never spun, even the several times I actually nosed the front of the van down into the bottom of a wash and shoved the thing up and out literally riding on the front bumper and the clamshell.

Luckily, the road was dry, but that storm was looming so we had to press on, even knowing that the track might get much worse before it got better. Going back just seemed out of the question, so we were committed, but pretty nervous about what lay ahead. Finally, though, we reached an arroyo that had flowing water, and several yards of thick, wet mud on either bank. No way around, and no way thru that mud. We didn't have the gear to snatch the van out if it got stuck, so there was no choice but to finally turn back. I was sure that we would get stuck somewhere on the return trip, as most of the challenges were now on the uphill. But we took them on one at a time, I drove like I knew that failure wasn't an option, and one by one we powered right back thru each washout and back up the mountain the way we came. The muffler (brand new) had got mashed at least twice, and that caused a crack in the header collector, which was throwing off the O2 sensor and making the idle rough and unreliable, but the engine was unhurt, power was amazing and the thing just ate up anything that got in its path.

So, you can get real flexible monster torque out of a wbx, and these engines go 200k+ miles just like Subys and others, so I'm sticking with my wbx's for now.

Although I think there's a Syncro in my future!
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levi
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love My Westy wrote:
Are all the subaru conversions "find your own engine" ?

There are a couple of great options.
You could get a 90-94 car for almost free with a dead tranny/trashed engine. Then you have everything you need except for a good long block. For less than the price of a rebuilt engine you could buy a brand new long block and bolt it up. But probably the best option is to get a jdm engine and switch that over. Thing is that in Japan the taxes get so high that it makes more sense to get a new car than to keep the "old" one. And since the average car over there gets extremely low average annual miles, (I guess it's hard to rack up the miles like we do when you live on an island?), so these engines come over with about 30,000 kilometers on them. I went down to pick up my jdm engine about a month ago, and in their parking lot were a half dozen complete cars that had just come in. I looked at the odometers of all of them and the one with the highest mileage was 17,000 kilometers! Inside they had about a dozen ej22 engines.
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SVYOLO
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conversions depend on who does them. If you can do it yourself you can fix it yourself. We have fixed 3 conversions done by "others". They were sold to the present owners and were horribly done. No one would touch them, and we only did it on the condition that we "do it right". A properly done conversion is simpler to diagnose, by far, than a waterboxer. A poorly done one no one will touch.
Outside of the west coast and Canada, you are hard pressed to find a mechanic that won't screw up a WBXer. I think a properly done Subaru, Zetec, etc, is easier to work on by a factor of 10.

John
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