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Engine conversion vs increased value
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Wellington
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:20 pm    Post subject: Engine conversion vs increased value Reply with quote

There is going to be a lot of opinions and purists, so let's get be general. The cost of conversion engines instalalled runs about $7000 and up. So let's assume you ghave a mint Westfalia and are planning a conversion. One day you may wish to sell your ride. Assuming installation was top notch, what do you think the following convesions would add to the value?
2.2 Gowesty
2.2 Subaru
2.5 Subaru
3.3 Subaru
Sti Subaru
TDI VW
Z-tec
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do a poll, start a new thread as a poll and I'll delete this one.
If you want to, of course.
As to which one would make your ride worth more, you do the one you want and don't worry about it.
If I was going to buy a conversion I'd buy the one that had the least fabricated parts, that way If I had to fix it, I wouldn't have to make new parts and I wouldn't be lost when tring to figure it out.
You need the bentley on a Vanagon, but it's kind of useless on the engine of a conversion.
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McVanagon
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think the Sub 2.5

- More power than the Sub 2.2
- Less complicated than the Sub Turbo and the Sub 3.3
- More vendors than the Z-tec
- Newer design and cleaner than the GW 2.2 (although that's my second choice, because some like 100% VW)
- Smooth Boxer goodness
- Larger community than the others (tiico, TDI, Z-Tec)

That's just what I think.....
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Crughy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hesitate btw the Subie 2.5 and the Diesel.

The 2.5 I think is the optimum of the subaru: plenty of power and a good mpg, at a good cost. Best bang for the $ I think: and it's the same when it's time to sell it.
I would not comment on STI: just too rare (it might scare people off, or at contrary attract some). SVX are more common, but I am not sure that where most potential customers are.

I would think the diesel (a nicely done one) would retain a higher value, cause it costs several thousands more to build.
I depends a lot on who did it, with what. To my knowledge, 1.9 TDI with mech pump seem to be the "subie 2.5" of diesel conversions. It's slowly becoming a "standard" in diesel conversion. but even there, every conversion seems to be "custom". I am not sure how well that will sell. I guess each will be a particular case.

Downside of diesel seem to be top speed/need for a custom final gear/custom trans rebuild. (that's 2 to 2.5k$).

Price of gas will play a role as well in future . It's likely diesel will be more sought after.
But if it costs at least 5000$ more to build to start with... If the US gets into recession, might be just harder to get some of your money back in the short term.

I think there will always be a very good retaining value to all top notch conversions in top notch vans. The van plays a big role too. A ready to go, reliable, good mpg, clean (smogable) etc. syncro, or westy, or syncro westy will always meet his market. that's what most people are after.

JP in 2.2 subie.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about the VW/Audi 1.8T? Keeps it German at any rate.
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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crughy wrote:
I hesitate btw the Subie 2.5 and the Diesel.

The 2.5 I think is the optimum of the subaru: plenty of power and a good mpg, at a good cost. Best bang for the $ I think: and it's the same when it's time to sell it.
I would not comment on STI: just too rare (it might scare people off, or at contrary attract some). SVX are more common, but I am not sure that where most potential customers are.

I would think the diesel (a nicely done one) would retain a higher value, cause it costs several thousands more to build.
I depends a lot on who did it, with what. To my knowledge, 1.9 TDI with mech pump seem to be the "subie 2.5" of diesel conversions. It's slowly becoming a "standard" in diesel conversion. but even there, every conversion seems to be "custom". I am not sure how well that will sell. I guess each will be a particular case.

Downside of diesel seem to be top speed/need for a custom final gear/custom trans rebuild. (that's 2 to 2.5k$).

Price of gas will play a role as well in future . It's likely diesel will be more sought after.
But if it costs at least 5000$ more to build to start with... If the US gets into recession, might be just harder to get some of your money back in the short term.

I think there will always be a very good retaining value to all top notch conversions in top notch vans. The van plays a big role too. A ready to go, reliable, good mpg, clean (smogable) etc. syncro, or westy, or syncro westy will always meet his market. that's what most people are after.

JP in 2.2 subie.




I agree that the Subaru EJ25 is the best overall value for a Subaru motor in terms of fuel efficiency and overall power delivery. The EJ22 is a touch underpowered considering all the time and effort that goes into it and the EG33, turbos, etc., are all "specialty" and will never appeal to the mainstream conversion customer (whatever that means).

I think ANY non- wbx engine will lower the value of a stock Westfalia. If your van isn't a Westfalia then I don't think it matters much, perhaps will help a bit in overall value.

In a couple of years when more and more Americans begin buying and liking the latest generation diesel-powered cars, any diesel conversion in a Vanagon will raise it's value....perhaps even for a Westfalia.

- Chester
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Last edited by ChesterKV on Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crughy wrote:
To my knowledge, 1.9 TDI with mech pump seem to be the "subie 2.5" of diesel conversions. It's slowly becoming a "standard" in diesel conversion. but even there, every conversion seems to be "custom".


The problem with mechanical TDI's is that there are so many pump combinations that can make it run and drive, the mechanical aspect essentially eliminates any possibility of standardization where if you have a Complete TDI in stock form any TDI mechanic can work on it, not just the guy who built the pump/did the swap.

The cost for taller 3rd and 4th gears in my trans with a rebuild was $750, not sure where the $2.5k number is from.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jackbombay wrote:


The cost for taller 3rd and 4th gears in my trans with a rebuild was $750, not sure where the $2.5k number is from.


I was unclear: a complete trans rebuilt is at least 1.5 to 2k$ (at least in Canada), + taxes. Add custom gear, the total is in the 2 to 2.5k$.

Most people will go for a complete trans rebuild when it's needed to play with custom gears.
A nice advantage of the subie is you don't have to rebuild the trans right now.
(you gain some time, at least, plus non custom gear work).

JP
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Crughy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChesterKV wrote:


I think ANY non- wbx engine will lower the value of a stock Westfalia. If your van isn't a Westfalia then I don't think it matters much, perhaps will help a bit in overall value.

In a couple of years when more and more Americans begin buying and liking the latest generation diesel-powered cars, any diesel conversion in a Vanagon will raise it's value....perhaps even for a Westfalia.

- Chester



I am really surprised with this statement. To me, westfalias are designed for travelling, including far away, cross country etc. it takes a reliable engine to do that, good mpg as well. Clean as well.

In the same way syncros are sought after, and westfalia are sought after, because they are unique and complete (and good) at what they do, a cleanly converted one (by a reputable shop, not home made) is exactly in that optic. And better at it than its WBX counterpart cousin.

Just look at the ads, most of the most expensive advertised vans are converted. Converted westfalia (2wd) are also a lot more expensive than their wbx counterparts, even with fresh 2.1.

If I needed a new van, between 2, one with a WBX freshly rebuilt, and a Subaru install (Vanaru for example), I'd pay more for the Subaru one. Cos' I'd get more too...

And I would not be thinking about converting it as well...

JP
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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crughy wrote:
jackbombay wrote:


The cost for taller 3rd and 4th gears in my trans with a rebuild was $750, not sure where the $2.5k number is from.


I was unclear: a complete trans rebuilt is at least 1.5 to 2k$


The trans in my van was rebuilt for $750 and that included the cost of the taller gears.

I did not write the check, the PO did, but we're very good friends and I have no reason to doubt what he says.

After a bit of googling it seems like the going rate for rebuilding the tranny in my van is a little under a grand, not sure how mine got do for as little as it did.
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Crughy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!

I paid 2,000$can in a shop in Quebec. I know it's quite a pricey shop specialized in Westy. That 4 years ago.

I know price are cheaper in the US, but still!

I just checked AA Transaxle:

Vanagon Water Cooled 4 SPEED- - - R&P core chg is $250 if bad Taller 3rd and 4th gear sets available most times...$290 each set..1.18. 1.14 & 1.09 3rd's- and .77 and .70 - 4ths $1095

Basic, is 1100$ (+shipping, both way? for core). Shipping is around 100$ 1 way.
+ 600$ for both custom 3 and 4th.

Taxes on top of everything...

If you paid that price, you go a great deal!
Maybe very little was needed?

JP
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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is an 82, air cooled, so its $100 less than the WC price, before the rebuild the trans had 100k miles on it, it worked fine, but was sent in primarily for taller gears so it could have been in good shape and not needed much.
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rockfish
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last week I drove my buddy's '90 Westy with a GW 2.4 and 5-speed transmission. Un-freaking-believable.

70mph @ 3400 RPM (5th gear)

Took the freeway hills (for you locals - 280 between Woodside and Hwy 92) at 65-70 without down shifting. He keeps his Westy pretty much loaded for camping - except for fresh food. So I was more than impressed with the way the machine cruised without hesitation.

My mid-life crisis officially starts in June (50th bday) ... I know what I'm going to ask/beg for... Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is pretty subjective because there are so many variables. If someone wants a cherry, stock Westy that they can show off any conversion is going to be of negative value. (EDIT: As I re-read this it occurs to me that a good quality WBX rebuild should be fine even if it's greater displacement, but I wouldn't consider that a conversion.) If they're looking for something that can be a reliable road trip machine the Subie conversion is the one I would favor. If they don't want to work on it and the local VW guys won't touch a Frankenvagen then your back to the conversion being a liability.

WRT the 2.5 Subie... I wouldn't consider one with a DOHC 2.5 from the late '90s unless it was a steal. When I was shopping for my Subaru wagon I read bad things about that engine, and now that I'm considering a Subie for my Vanagon I'm seeing the same things (head gasket problems, excessive piston slap, something about the way the 3rd crank bearing was designed or placed, etc). 2.5 SOHC on the other hand is good, but it's OBD II which I guess can get you into trouble with California emissions... another potential liability for resale. The EJ22, while being rated at about 30 HP less than the EJ25, is a proven conversion, a workhorse of an engine, and can be set up to be California compliant.

For me... I'm considering a 2000-2004 EJ25 and resale value isn't a concern as my wife and I would like to keep our van for a long, long time. I'll settle for an EJ22 if the right deal comes along before an EJ25 does.
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't go by what one is going for today.
look at split buses, what's worth more a stock splitty or modified one?
Same with bay windows.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mightyart wrote:
You can't go by what one is going for today.
look at split buses, what's worth more a stock splitty or modified one?
Same with bay windows.


Good point, but my 32-35 MPG westy will always be worth a good piece of coin, especially with oil over $100 Razz
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mightyart wrote:
You can't go by what one is going for today.
look at split buses, what's worth more a stock splitty or modified one?
Same with bay windows.


Yep, that's true with collectors. But I don't intend my van to be one. I want to use it fully. now, and for a while.

I don't believe in keeping (and paying for) the old wbx. I don't trust it. Unreliable. Too expensive to fix, slow, pollutes more, lower mpg (slightly) etc.

On 100 vans of today, how many will qualify as collectors in 20 yrs? 5 to 10?
Most will be off the road, totaled, abandoned, too rusty, etc. and maybe 20 high mileage ones. more or less transformed. Campers are transformed a lot (solar, electric fridge, etc.)
There is a cost in keeping a van for collection purpose. I think the most efficient way to become a collector is to store it and look at it. I could get a cheap one to do that.


JP
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Crughy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jackbombay wrote:
mightyart wrote:
You can't go by what one is going for today.
look at split buses, what's worth more a stock splitty or modified one?
Same with bay windows.


Good point, but my 32-35 MPG westy will always be worth a good piece of coin, especially with oil over $100 Razz


Not sure about that! It will for a certain time. But I think we will start seeing E-westies. I am pretty sure many people work on "electric"/hybrid aftermarket conversions. As you said, at 10$/gallons, things will be totally different.
100 mpg is reachable. I am not sure any of what we have now will be worth it for daily use.

JP
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think when it comes to selling a 86-91 Vanagon the ones with a rebuilt or uprated wasserboxer are the easiest to sell. Conversions, while offering power and durability improvements, are not built to any one standard and my experience has been that potential customers that are not particularly mechanically savvy are leary of what to do in the event of a problem. People who are mechanically inclined enough to deal with the possible mechanical issues of a one off conversion usually would rather just do the conversion themselves and in their style - unless of course the van is a good buy. There are from what I've seen a couple exceptions, though.

First of all, Vanarus are probably the one type of converted van that the average consumer would not be nervous about purchasing. There is very good support for the basic 2.2 conversion and many, many success stories out there. However, I don't see Subaru converted vans going for particularly more than a standard 2.1 with a good bill of health. But they do seem to sell fairly readily, so they get my vote as the easiest to sell converted Vanagon. However, I don't think you'd ever recoup the $7000 price of getting H&R or Smallcar to do the conversion for you. If you do the conversion yourself, you will make out fine, but you really should factor in your own labor time into the equation. After all, you wouldn't give it away free to anyone other than yourself.

The other conversion that seems to be in high demand, and definitely does add value is the TDI. A TDI powered Vanagon commands a big price premium in the marketplace. There is something very appealing about a 30mpg Vanagon, and there are very few converted TDIs out there. So the TDI gets my vote for the best conversion to add value to the Vanagon.

The Tiico is definitely out of favor with Vanagon buyers these days, and the Bostig conversion is too new to say how well it will resell. It may also turn out to be a gem in the eye of the consumer because of the excellent commitment of Jim and Brady. Time will tell. The 1.8T and S/A Audi inline 5 are both wonderful engines - and especially welcome for people who are hard core VW/Audi people (like me), but neither one fits the Vanagon body particularly well and the resulting layout is often too much of a compromise to make either of these a value enhancer.

But having converted two Vanagons to Subaru power and having recently purchased a running but unfinished 2.5 A/T Subaru powered Vanagon, I have to put in my 2 cents about the 2.5 Subaru. It is not as nice an engine as the 2.2. The 2.2 is much more refined and it gets better mileage. Anyone who thinks a 2.5 Subaru powered Vanagon gets good mileage has been reading too much of the propaganda on Smallcar's website. The 4 speed 2.5 Phase II Bluestar I converted gets a consistent 16-18 mpg in mixed driving. The automatic one I just purchased is slightly worse. If anyone on here has personal experience with getting 20+ mpg with a 2.5 Subaru, please let me know. There is also the issue of the head gasket seepage to think about. The Subaru engine is an open deck engine. That means the conventional head gasket seals against the thickness of the cylinder and that's it. The 2.5 has a significantly larger bore than the 2.2, and the walls are a good deal thinner.

So anyway, just some food for thought from my observations and experiences. In a nutshell, I think a repowered wbx gives the best resale return of investment. If you must have a conversion for additional power, I think the Subaru has the most widespread acceptance at this point. But if you are looking to significantly increase the value of a Vanagon with an engine conversion, the TDI is the only way to go. At this point, it's probably the only conversion I would spend time doing.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there's a guy in the classified section with a vr6 that he's been trying to sell forever at $5,000.... looks pretty nice too, I like those phone dial rims. So I guess that didn't help it.
I never see one of those converted TDI's for sale anywhere, and I've been looking, but the suby conversions are for sale all the time. Of course the TDI is a little more expensive to get in there, but still, I would expect to see one for sale once in awhile. Their owners must really like them.
I would be willing to pay the most extra for one with the TDI.
I wouldn't pay more for the 2.5 over the 2.2 though, and why would I ? The cost for the install is basically the same for either one of those. Besides, the 2.2 has an edge in being able to be re-sold in Cal, which is a BIG potential resale market. That loss flexibility in re-sale, for me, gives the 2.2 the nod over the 2.5, plus the general public's fear, even if flawed, over the head issues of the 2.5.
I would not really want a 3.3 suby, unless it was an extra van for short hops, cause it's too thirsty for my taste. Nice power though.
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