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Converting a Vanagon from Air Cooled to Water Cooled
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AndyBees
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject: Converting a Vanagon from Air Cooled to Water Cooled Reply with quote

Is there a Thread on changing an Air-cooled Vanagon to a Water Cooled?

Or, has anyone been brave enough to take on such a challenge? If so, could you share your experience?
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pioneer1
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject: conversion Reply with quote

Hi: just to get the discussion started-there is a lot written in the Subaru-Vanagon conversion group. Many air cooled owners want to get a Subaru engine and that requires coolant.
This basically involves installing all the coolant lines to the front of the bus where you install a rad.
Of course when you change engines,there will be wiring harness changes as well.
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87Enterprise
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: air to water conversion Reply with quote

I have seen this mentioned before but have found no real information. Some of the conversion shops talk about air to water, so if someone on here is going to do it, please pictures and say what you did and how as I have an 81 camper wanting! Wink
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dreweast
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey,
I'm actually in the process of finishing this very project up on my 81 Westy (converted to water cooled to appease the Subaru EJ22).

You can find some info on the subaruvanagon site, and just cruising around some custom vw van build links. I opted to use a front fill rad instead of the traditional vanagon cooling system. So far it has been pretty straight forward although I still just finishing it up so I can't say it is working yet, it just looks pretty.

For the coolant lines, i used marine hydraulic hose (shieldflex embedded with wire) although people also use the metal, plastic, or stainless vanagon coolant pipes, a few custom bleed screws, a rad out of a 2001 KIA sportage and a vanagon rad fan and cowl.

Good luck with your project!

peace
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Wink

Search my handle and you should find various posts on the air to water swap I did.

I wrote up some pages/posted images here on my old website

http://sites.google.com/site/tubaneil2/15degreeengineconversion

Generally speaking it's not rocket surgery. Except for cutting a hole up front, mostly a bolt up affair to add the stock Vanagon water cooled parts.

Neil.
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1981 Westy air cooled to 15 ABA swap: http://tinyurl.com/y9n4xob8

50 ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

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AndyBees
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Thanks for the input/comments. I knew right up front that it would not be an impossible task and that surely several people have done such a conversion.

I like the 2.0 Air-cool engine. In many ways, it is bullet proof if maintained properly. As my signature indicates, I've laid down a lot of "on the road" miles in an Air-cooled 2.0 Vanagon. But, in my opinion, it is very limited to improvements. The tranny that comes in the Air-cool model is a good choice for up-grading to taller 3rd and 4th gears.
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Last edited by AndyBees on Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Captain Pike
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did it to a 80 in 92. Diesel doner to air trans. Nice power and your 3/4 slider doesn't blow up.
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kaiser Soze wrote:
I did it to a 80 in 92. Diesel doner to air trans. Nice power and your 3/4 slider doesn't blow up.


Did you swap in a later model fresh air/heat box or modify the one in the '80? (not sure if any of the '80s c/w a fresh air fan)

Neil.
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1981 Westy air cooled to 15 ABA swap: http://tinyurl.com/y9n4xob8

50 ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

VE7TBN
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AndyBees
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The link on the 15 degree has good info!

Neil, that's really a good write-up and photos!

Thanks
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Last edited by AndyBees on Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Captain Pike
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanagon Nut wrote:
Kaiser Soze wrote:
I did it to a 80 in 92. Diesel doner to air trans. Nice power and your 3/4 slider doesn't blow up.


Did you swap in a later model fresh air/heat box or modify the one in the '80? (not sure if any of the '80s c/w a fresh air fan)

Neil.

Yea,modifed ABS plastic burn fest, rear instaled and plumbed as well. On my "improvement" trip I GAVE AWAY my 80 stock front rubber mat.(who knew?....) I did this work back in the early 90's. Sorry for no internet links,no internet at the time.
DIESEL DONER is needed for a VW bolt up. Pay now or pay later,it will only cost more the longer you wait.
PM for advice
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're welcome Andybees.

Bill: "burn fest" ? Shocked Sounds like fun. Big soldering iron to melt holes for heater core nipples? Twisted Evil

Andybees: My '81 has the fresh air fan. It accepted a heater core, (had nipple knockouts). Deleted the diverter, brazed up foot flaps. Rudimentary, but fine. I suggest finding a WBX heat box, rebuild flaps and replace fan. I think it should plumb into an '80 w/o fan.

Can't imagine doing my swap w/o internet. Woulda taken me fargin YEARS. Wink

Neil.
_________________
1981 Westy air cooled to 15 ABA swap: http://tinyurl.com/y9n4xob8

50 ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

VE7TBN
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reluctantartist
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sorry to see you go the way of water cooling. You are one I refer to when people question the reliability of the Aircooled vanagon. Anyway I hope the conversion goes well. I read about some people placing the radiator under the van instead of upfront on bay water cooled conversions. There would be a lot of space to do it on a vanagon.

Wishing you a very straight forward conversion.
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Last edited by reluctantartist on Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AndyBees
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

reluctantartist wrote:
I am sorry to see you go the way of water cooling. You are one a refer to when people question the reliability of the Aircooled vanagon. Anyway I hope the conversion goes well. I read about some people placing the radiator under the van instead of upfront on bay water cooled conversions. There would be a lot of space to do it on a vanagon.

Wishing you a very straight forward conversion.


Actually, as I said, the 2.0 is a good engine. And, as many may know, since 1985, I've owned and driven an 83 Air-cooled non-Westy well over 200k miles. I drove it to Alaska 7 times. That vanagon will remain an Air-cool.

I've been looking at two local Air-cool Westys that are in dire need of an overhaul from bumper to bumper (cash thrown at them in a constructive manner....lots of work).

So, I have the parts, etc., thus, just courious as to whether or not anyone has did such a conversion.
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