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Raby kit for a AC Vanagon
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pomfritz
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:24 am    Post subject: Raby kit for a AC Vanagon Reply with quote

New to the world of VW's. I am looking to get a Vanagon. I am intrigued by the early air cooled ones. I guess I got more than a little hippie in me. If I go this route the intention would be to install the Raby Camper Special kit. I am somewhat mechanically inclined but have not rebuilt an engine before. The kit says it is designed for a novice. Plus I would like to know how these things work and go together.

It looks like I can use the existing EFI, tranny, exhaust, ignition, but have to get a different muffler. Are the existing EFI's reliable after all these years? Is this something one should replace in whole or in part?

I also live in California so have to deal with some tough emission inspections every two years.

Anyone out there who has gone this path and can share words of encouragement, advice, warnings?

The alternative is go water cooled and drop a GW rebuild in there at some point. But this air cooled thing seems to be calling me. Hopefully not into the rocks.

Thanks to all, learned a lot here in a short time. Looking forward to dealing with this crazy bus fever.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Engine building is a learned skill. Does not matter what make. It comes from experience, both good and sometimes bad. There is also a "feel" you can't get out of a manual. Unless you want to get in the air cooled engine building business, I'd opt for a complete long block.

As far as the FI, that system is 30 plus years old. Very few of the parts are available new and need to be sourced as used.

Don't get me wrong. I am a big fan of aircooled engines. I cut my teeth on them. But by 1980 the 2.0 was very stressed to meet the emission standards of the times and it was not uncommon for them to get a little out of tune and melt a piston. VW figured out they could control heat better with a water jacket. Why they went with the WBX vs and inline 1800 when they were available is beyond me.
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BavarianWrench
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with RSXSR
I have seen one air cooled camper that rocked. My buddy A BMW tech and former Porsche Tech built a serious type IV engine with a large oil cooler. It was a fun quick lightweight camper. He is a good fabricator and that van worked. The feel RSXSR speaks of was gained from years of triumphs and failures. I had an eighty camper and it was not cut out for Colorado. I moved on to water cooled. It all comes down to how hard do you need that engine to work and what environment will it be asked to work in. Vanagons are not as hippie as a bay or a split. Some good deals are out there on some nice Bay Window vans. The Type IV is a stressed out unit in a Vanagon, my opinion. They can rip a 914!
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsxsr wrote:

Why they went with the WBX vs and inline 1800 when they were available is beyond me.


I really like the Type IV engine, but it really needs to be in a lighter vehicle, like a 914 or Bug. I grudgingly respect the WBX as a solidly reliable workhorse, but if faced with the imminent need to replace a T3 engine, I'd opt for a VAG inline every time. To my mind, the 1.8t and TDI are the only "clean slate" options I feel are viable.
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pomfritz
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies and it gives me some pause to think on which direction to go. I think the Raby engine would be what I would go with an AC. There might be better/cheaper out there but from what I have read this is a solid product that has been tested to work. (IMO).

Jake thanks for popping in. I've been trying to put together as much info as I could about building the kit and what else I need to incorporate and from where. LN was helpful in that they sent me a PPT that you did giving an overview but beyond that they were hard pressed to give much other solid info.

It does make me a bit cautious to fork over 6K + and not be sure if there will be some solid tech support behind it. If you are over and done with CS kits that is good to know.

I don't know if you are available for advice on going this route, but if so I'd like to get in touch. If not, I understand.

I'm curious as to the lack of parts for these engines. There seems to be such a large fan base of the AC's that it seems strange to hear this, maybe for the Ford Pinto sure. Maybe when you don't have to meet CA standards options open up.

But so far, haven't sunk any dollars into this. just some emails and phone calls. But this forum has been great to get a diversity of opinions and backgrounds.

The other option was to drop a GoWesty into a WC. Anyone with experience on that? I'm not opposed to doing a Sub swap but that is less appealing at this point. I sort of want to keep it in the family.
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SCM
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pomfritz wrote:

The other option was to drop a GoWesty into a WC. Anyone with experience on that? I'm not opposed to doing a Sub swap but that is less appealing at this point. I sort of want to keep it in the family.


Plenty have purchased GW engines, including me. I've been satisfied thus far. What specifically are you wondering about?

Also, you have plenty of other options - especially considering that you don't even have the van yet;

- Buy a van with a good running engine and don't worry about replacing it for a while.

- Buy a waterboxer van and replace the motor with one from Vanistan or Rocky Jennings (you have time to get on the waiting list since you don't have a van yet).

- Buy a bay window.

etc etc
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jismay
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an 1980 Westy.

Had a new engine + exhaust work + Catalytic Converter installed by EuroPro in Costa Mesa.

Absolutely no complaints, van runs great and passed smog without a problem. I do not run hot, it does not overheat, and I do not take it easy. I have over 6000 miles on my engine without issue.

I can easily keep up with 65 MPH traffic in the flat, and I'm generally not the slowest car out there in the moderate hills on the freeway.

IMO. Most of the issues with the early Type IV engines in the vans have been solved long ago with better valve seat installation methods, etc. Those improvements along with ensuring that all the cooling tin and engine seal are in place should be more than adequate to keep the engine happy.
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure just how much you can "tweak the engine" and still pass the emission testing in CA.
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LouisR
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope not going to climb Independence pass in Colorado at 12k feet in a hurry in any bus or vanagon and I've done it in both.

By the way while I was researching 2.0L engine components I called Jake Raby and he not only answered his own phone he answered all my questions had a laugh or two and I bought his cam kit for my 76 Westy rebuild. Couldn't have been happier.

Quite frankly over all size, drivability, and performance comparison between ac vs wbx I choose wbx.
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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pomfritz wrote:
I sort of want to keep it in the family.


Then the obvious (and wise) choice is a 1.8T. Very Happy Do your research!!!
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