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Subaru Conversion Build and partial how-to
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JSMskater
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Subaru Conversion Build and partial how-to Reply with quote

Alrighty, I'm documenting the madness and moving forward with my conversion!

the rig:

bone stock 1973 9 passenger bay. Because she IS so OG, NO CUTTING or any PERMANENT modifications will be made to the body/frame/chassis. If the next guy (assuming anyone ever pries this car from my cold dead fingers) wants to switch it back to stock, its all a bolt-in job. The purists have nothing to hate on. Wink the nightmare could end at any time.

The plan: Install my ej22 SOHC into the back, along with the radiators and plumbing, for a fully reversible and totally unnoticeable conversion. Sleeper status is the key. If you've seen the pictures of the Aussie/New Zealand bay with the subaru H6 and 5 speed transmission, then you have an idea of what I seek to accomplish.

So far:

picked up a complete ej22 along with the radiator, fans, plumbing, exhaust, wiring, ecm, relays, and a LOT of extras all from the same donor car. The engine had 150k on the clock when it was pulled, due to a leaking headgasket. total cost? $100 for everything, plus another $90 to ship the big awkward stuff home. I also got a turbo and some other non-ej22 but still subaru parts in the deal. not sure yet what if anything will become of them.

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Once I got everything home, I started working on familiarizing myself with this engine. its a flat 4 like our aircooled's, and actually much easier to work on from a maintenance stand point. I was amazed at the similarities, and the photos really capture it well. At this point, my plan is to replace the headgaskets, water pump and upper seals, cam oil seals, and timing belts and sprockets/tensioners so its a fresh leak free engine to being with.

I'm going to keep the stock engine management, and I'm going to try and get away with not flipping the manifold around, though even if I end up doing that it just means hacking up the alt stand a little bit. Otherwise just flip and bolt.

I haven't decided on cutting up the stock exhaust and frankenstining myself one with the welder, or letting a pro muffler shop do it, or waiting around for Raby's tuned and bolt on header/muffler system. Since I really don't anticipate figuring out the exhaust until last, or second to last, I'm not losing sleep over it now. I'm going to run one of the shortened but equal capacity oil sumps, and gain back some clearance.

but enough chit chat... PICTURES! Twisted Evil

here's after I took the intake manifold off -- 4 12mm bolts and 2 hoses disconnected and the whole thing with the fuel lines, wiring, injectors, ignition coil and wires, etc comes off as a single unit. If this was in the car, all I'd have to do is disconnect the fuel and brake booster lines, the 4 bolts, and the 2 air lines I mentioned earlier and the whole top half of the motor just comes right off. WHY DIDNT VW THINK OF THIS!? Rolling Eyes

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here's a couple shots of the manifold. you can see its just this nice neat little unit that comes right off with everything right as it was. Obviously some Vac and emissions related stuff is gonna get removed. the big hose coming off the manifold is the stock brake booster hose -- convenient no?

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then another 4 bolts for the alternator stand and another 4 for the water crossover pipe and you have a completely bare long block. Just FYI... thats 12 bolts and 4 disconnected hoses before you have a completely bare long block. and all the bolts are laying in plain view, even with the engine in the car. This is what our motors might have become if they hadn't stopped developing them. Idea

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my my that looks familiar doesn't it? Doesn't seem so crazy now! the most amazing thing is how similarly everything is laid out on this engine compared to a t3 or t4, from the intake and exhaust ports, spark plug location, the location of various hoses, and the breather system design. its like a much younger sexier sister to our t4.

so far, that's where I'm at. I'm currently driving the bus daily, so until I get the adapter kit and the replacement parts for the subaru motor I'm not taking it off the road, but in the next week or two everything should be here and I can get started pecking away at the things that need to be done, like the wiring harness mods.
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RatCamper
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep. Even the accumulated layer of filth is the same Laughing

Good luck with the no cutting philosophy. That was mine and I had to make a couple of minor concessions unfortunately to get the heater hoses to the back heater, and to get one of the radiator hoses through the rear crossmember, but beyond that it's just some screw holes.

Another arguably good thing about the EJ is that it fills the engine bay nicely. My EA is maybe the size of a 1600 so there are cavernous gaps all around. Honestly I'd love it if someone gave me a tatty mix of 1600 T2b and 1600 SP so I could "skin" the motor or at least use the tins to fill the gaping holes around the motor. I don't like the engine bay being open. It may bug you a little too once it's in.

Thank you for having the common sense to collect the necessary parts before starting. When people don't prepare before starting anything it kind of gets under my skin.

Where are you planning on putting the radiator? The plural suggests you are going for the dual battery tray idea, if you know what I mean. That can work adequately (but not amazingly) as long as any air gap around the radiator is sealed from what I understand. Also those air scoop extender things may help too.
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JSMskater
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RatCamper wrote:


Good luck with the no cutting philosophy. That was mine and I had to make a couple of minor concessions unfortunately to get the heater hoses to the back heater, and to get one of the radiator hoses through the rear crossmember, but beyond that it's just some screw holes.

Thank you for having the common sense to collect the necessary parts before starting. When people don't prepare before starting anything it kind of gets under my skin.

Where are you planning on putting the radiator? The plural suggests you are going for the dual battery tray idea, if you know what I mean. That can work adequately (but not amazingly) as long as any air gap around the radiator is sealed from what I understand. Also those air scoop extender things may help too.


As far as cutting goes, I plan on making no concessions. if it doesn't fit, I'll make a part that does or modify what I have to make it work. My philosophy is its a lot easier to make the motor fit the car than make the car fit the motor. Since I'm keeping ALL the cooling the rear, I won't have to run hoses past the cross member, axles, etc. The heater issue is still open, I haven't decided to add a heater core and plumb all that in, though maybe what I'll do is just put a U hose on the heater outlet and return and then install it later after I've figured out any kinks in the cooling system. KISS procedure.

yes, dual honda civic radiators in series, one on each side of the engine bay, so they get cooling air from the stock ears. looking at the pics of the New Zealand bus, (which used the same rads) there is no space left over for the air to bypass the rad on either the top bottom or sides, and they've reported no problems cooling a 3.0 6 cylinder-- and no additional scoops (and i hate those ugly bastards anyway).

The ej22 makes a lot less heat than the 3.0 H6, and so if its good enough for them it may even be overkill for me. Laughing my main concern at this point is eliminating tight turns and potential airpocket locations in the cooling system. Unfortunately without the engine in the car I can't really come up with a final design until I see how it all fits.

I'm an Aerospace engineering student, graduating in less than a year. Figuring out the cooling system has been fun since its the most direct application of my education so far. I think I've sized everything appropriately with a significantly large margin for error -- but gathering up all the parts and being prepared to make this conversion smoothly was a goal of mine to show there is a "right" way to these things and a half-assed hackery way.
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markd89
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to seeing your build progress Smile

Cooling is a key concern. I know that someone else had done dual rear-radiators but they needed the fans to be running more than really should have been - should only be running when the bus isn't moving.

The trick is to get the hot air out efficiently and/or cool air in effficiently without the fans going.

I did the radiator underneath as I'm also looking for a (very nearly) stock appearance for my TDI powered bus.

Good luck!
Mark
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neat stuff. Ill be watching you Wink I hope you don't get stuck applying your degree to farting around with old VWs. Id have to kick your arse with my good leg.

So when are you graduating and getting a job here for Boeing Laughing
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RatCamper
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

markd89 wrote:
Looking forward to seeing your build progress Smile

Cooling is a key concern. I know that someone else had done dual rear-radiators but they needed the fans to be running more than really should have been - should only be running when the bus isn't moving.

The trick is to get the hot air out efficiently and/or cool air in effficiently without the fans going.

I did the radiator underneath as I'm also looking for a (very nearly) stock appearance for my TDI powered bus.

Good luck!
Mark


That's about it. The rear rads are a hit and miss thing. It seems if the stars aren't aligned right what works for one person won't for another. But because your chosen field overlaps with what you are doing you have a good running start at it.

I can leave my bus idling for maybe 20 minutes before the thermo fan needs to cut in, and that's on a warm day. I haven't even made the plate that essentially makes the cooling system work properly yet either. I'm still tweaking the template of that and trying to figure out how to utilize some of the pre-existing holes in the bottom of the rear crossmember for attachment points.

Ideally, even though it wouldn't be efficient I'd love to "skin" my EA81 with VW tins. I think it'd be neat to have either a 1600 or type 4 fan forcing air through a radiator which is ducted out underneath. I have a rough idea how these would function and go together but sadly lack some of the tools needed and extra VW parts. It wouldn't look stock but I think a 100% modular drop in, well lift in, replacement would be amazing.

I'd love to shift my rad from underneath as it is vulnerable but I can't make any concessions for cooling. As it is the higher ambient temperatures from the road surface could be a problem. Air temps in the shade hit the high 40s (Celsius) in the shade and are far worse in out in the sun, especially on the road. On a hot day sometimes when I need to take a drive in the Ford, the temperature is already in normal operating range before I've started it so yeah I'm damn picky about cooling.

Although it's kind of ugly, my cooling system doesn't have any high points. Well obviously it has one. The coolant tank. Plus just in case it has an air bleed line from the upper of the radiator end tanks to the coolant tank.

Having a working demister is a requirement here. And if you have a significant other so is heating Laughing
I'd almost be able to take it to be registered if it wasn't for the demister issue. Almost. Still need to secure the camper cabinets somehow, and bleed and adjust brakes but it's at the point where I don't think they'd ask me if I was joking.
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JSMskater
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this project is NOT dead! Laughing

I got around to scrubbing the EJ22 for the bus, and with the head gaskets water pump, timing components and other parts here... it's time to prep for the swap. Twisted Evil

some TOOB porn...

sold the T4...

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so I could get all the parts and cash I needed to begin the swap...

dirty Ej22.
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for comparison, my old t4. they're quite similar.
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then I began to clean...

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I'll probably get the heads off tonight to do the gaskets Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope you don't find corroded coolant galleries when the heads come off.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the pic of the T4 out,and the worlds most important tool in the foreground Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That subie engine looks a whole lot like a wasserboxer. I guess they borrowed from the design. Cool conversion though.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tootype2crazy wrote:
That subie engine looks a whole lot like a wasserboxer. I guess they borrowed from the design. Cool conversion though.


They do though, don't they. My EA81 bears more than a passing resemblance to a type 1 motor too. I mean the subie boxers have been around forever, but the VW motors a little longer.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RatCamper wrote:
I hope you don't find corroded coolant galleries when the heads come off.


I got the heads off Very Happy

the coolant galleries look ok to me, but I don't have a ton of experience with water pumpers. theres a light dusting of orange rust powder everywhere and I found 2 small deposits of flakes and dust where the water jacket has a dip and runs into the headgasket. all the mating surfaces look solid and I don't see any real "corrosion" though. I'm going to give it a quick clean and see how they look.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my way... Welcome the "Touring Special"

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JSMskater
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked Shocked

Looks amazing Jake!! The intake manifold is of your own creation? doesn't look anything like the stock ones I've seen.

Did you use the stock alt bracket and modify it or is it another in-house creation?

I see a lot of room in that engine bay... are you running the rads in rear as I am or underneath/up front?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really want to do this in my 73' Campmobile but it terrifies me. I would the need the Conversion for dummies book. Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JSMskater wrote:
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Wow, first time I've seen a Scooby-Doo upside down. No wonder everyone notes the downside to the oil pan on these engines. It's flippin' HUGE. Shocked

-dasdachshund
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javyd wrote:
I really want to do this in my 73' Campmobile but it terrifies me. I would the need the Conversion for dummies book. Rolling Eyes


Why? You just need the right variety of crazy! Laughing

Even when it was stock, well mostly VW parts at least mechanics would refuse to touch it. Now no manual on earth covers it properly and the only one that knows what to do is me.

I'd love something like the "Touring Special" but it all comes down to the wallet raping nature of our government that's stopping me. If I had thousands of disposable $ to get someone to look at my bus and fill out a form, absolutely. I'd probably have shoved an EJ20T in there years ago instead of the crusty old EA81 which is entirely there to slither through the cracks of a bureaucratic nightmare.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JSMskater wrote:
Shocked Shocked

Looks amazing Jake!! The intake manifold is of your own creation? doesn't look anything like the stock ones I've seen.

Did you use the stock alt bracket and modify it or is it another in-house creation?

I see a lot of room in that engine bay... are you running the rads in rear as I am or underneath/up front?


That's a stock intake manifold, looks like it's off a Legacy or Outback 2005 -2009 ish (IIRC the NA's went to a composite manifold around 2010)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

would it be possible to just reverse the intake? looks as if it may fit if you flip it
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you can reverse the manifolds pretty easily, though you have to move the alternator (like Jake did) to the area where the AC compressor normally resides.
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