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Boston Syncro project- the Corter Van
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corter
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:06 pm    Post subject: Boston Syncro project- the Corter Van Reply with quote

Hey everyone! I'm Eric, new to the forum & just purchased a bit of a project syncro off of the Samba and had it shipped back from Ohio to Boston. Here she is:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The idea was to do all the body work this fall, run the stock motor through the winter and put in a new motor in the spring. As things usually go, two hours after getting her registered yesterday the gas tank sprung a leak.
Since that means taking out lots of things like the transmission I've decided to go ahead and get the whole project going early (now!).

I figured I would start a thread to keep everything documented. The idea is pretty simple; a dependable van that I can drive onto the beach on Cape Cod and work, camp overnight, and go home. Daily, I'll be hauling hides and selling out of it at shows. I'm a leather smith, so my dream is to stick a work bench in there and work wherever I'd like to. My business is called Corter Leather so it will eventually have some graphics on it as well. 25 year old van owning leather smith...really breaking the mold haha!

While I already placed orders for the first stage of the project (suspension/brakes/tires/wheels) I now need to order my engine conversion and find a gas tank. I'm going with an ej25, and while I'm not the most mechanically knowledgable I do have some awesome mechanic friends and can turn a wrench to their instruction. We're going to do as much as we can ourselves. I've researched the conversions out there (we need to move a bit quick, so I'm looking for kits, etc.) and I came upon the Metric Motors Extreme turn-key ej25. Does anyone have any experience with this swap? It seems fairly priced and like a pretty solid deal for a home install since I don't have the time to spend rebuilding a salvage yard motor and bolting on a conversion kit.

Step 1 is emptying the fuel tank, so I'll be off to get some gas cans and tube tomorrow. Then rust fixing, suspension, brakes and motor. Then some paint! I look forward to getting this project started and sharing pictures Smile
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard.
89 Syncros are rare.
Deal with that rust ASAP Exclamation
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photogdave
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you're in Boston why not do a Bostig Zetec conversion? You can do it all yourself and you help support a really cool small local business.
Good luck with the project and have fun! Cool
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CaptTurbo
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's nice to see another Syncro about to be re-born. Welcome.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

x2 on going Bostig Exclamation
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Hodakaguy
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the 2.5L myself, you can also check out Vanaru for a bolt on turn key kit: http://www.vanaru.com/

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corter
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, thanks for the response guys! Nice to be here, y'all are very welcoming.

Bostig is literally a mile and a half down the road from me, so I strongly considered them. I'm not going with their motor because I'd like a bit more power than that. I bring home hundreds of pounds of leather at a time, cart around sewing machines, cast iron benches, etc, and that extra 40hp will help out a lot.
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wiartonallan
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Boston Syncro project- the Corter Van Reply with quote

corter wrote:
Hey everyone! I'm Eric, new to the forum & just purchased a bit of a project syncro off of the Samba and had it shipped back from Ohio to Boston. Here she is:


Eric, try to confirm where the gas is leaking from. On my 86 a leak developed around the fill tube where it enters the rubber doughnut at the tank. We were able to re & re the fill tube, change the rubber doughnut (adding some sealant) and stop the leak without dropping the tank.
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BillM
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

corter wrote:
wow, thanks for the response guys! Nice to be here, y'all are very welcoming.

Bostig is literally a mile and a half down the road from me, so I strongly considered them. I'm not going with their motor because I'd like a bit more power than that. I bring home hundreds of pounds of leather at a time, cart around sewing machines, cast iron benches, etc, and that extra 40hp will help out a lot.


Have you driven a Bostig van yet? If not swing down there
and I am sure they will toss you a set of keys. I was just
there on Thursday. Did you see a Grey Westy speeding up
and down the road? That was me enjoying some "fine" tuning
courtesy of Jim and Nate.
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Phishman068
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Odds are your Syncro will weigh less than mine as well as run smaller tires, and I love my zetec!
It's plenty and the install couldn't be easier. It sounds to me like every pitfall of the Subaru plays into your hand. Lack of time and knowledge can easily screw you when trying to put a Japanese engine 15 yrs newer than your German vehicle in, and expecting no trouble. Meanwhile the well supported zetec produced by your local shop will without a bitch go together and bring you the reliability you seak. The extra potential advantages of the Subaru do you no good when it doesn't work and you can't fix it.
Drive a zetec first. I can stop through Boston next week sometime If you'd like to see how a 5500+ lb westy with 29" tires fairs.
I just no longer let Jim and Brady drive it. And be warned when getting in a van for a fest drive with Brady, you WILL be scared and impressed by what kind of power and handling his van can muster.

I agree with Dylan as well. Fix the rust soon.
Drive a zetec.
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corter
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

haha, sounds like I'll be getting myself over there to test out a zetec then, thanks! I've owned old VW's before, so I do know to never expect anything to go smoothly. Just want to make the best decision for me is all.

re:tires I've got to meet requirements for Cape beach driving, on 16" wheels that means 225/70's minimum (235's for Race Point), so it'll be on bigger-than-those-pictured tires for sure.

And rust work starts this week! Just got it on Thursday, gotta drain the fuel tank/strip interior/find a space in my apartment for everything and work starts.
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Phishman068
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have 225/70/16 bfgs on mine and they dramatically change the gearing and power, not for the better. Know that going in. Gearing changes involve a transmission rebuild but counteract te larger Tires and result in a far more drivable vehicle.
I'm living out of my bus and traveling right now but may be coming through Boston next week. I'll gladly let you drive it. In the meantime, contact bostig. They'll show you what zetec power can do.
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BIRD84WESTY
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:05 am    Post subject: Zetec Reply with quote

Good luck with your project, and I also support the Bostig route. Just visited their shop yesterday, back home on a vacation. Bostig is a great company and they have the same desire and energy for Vanagons that all of us who visit this forum have.
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vr-zych
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad I finally signed up on here! I love watching build threads, especially when I get to contribute.

Just went over last night to take a look at this fine specimen and do a quick
go over and see what random bits may be needed and start the plan of attack. Luckily, I've always wanted to work on one of these ( strangely enough coming from the newer water cooled VW side), and I've had a lot of experience working on various cars, mainly european.

Eric, I think we should seriously try to get this thing in the air and try to lower the tank even slightly to take a closer look for that leak. If we can just nip that now, you can save some expenses on drivetrain stuff for now, and focus on fixing rust and everything else before the powertrain. I was actually up thinking about all the possible what if's last night after looking, and if we are serious about digging in that deep, we need to set aside a decent chunk of time to do it once, and do it right, like we keep saying.
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T3 Pilot
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morning,

Regarding the fuel tank leak, chances are slim that the plastic tank itself is leaking. As mentioned above, check the rubber grommet/filler pipe connection and then also check the metal filler pipe itself. The pipe can develop a pinhole leak in the area where it curves up beside the Pass. side rear wheel and fastens to the inside of the wheel well. Road dirt packs in there behind it and the pipe rusts through. let us know what you find.

Good Luck.
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BillM
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now someone with a Subaru conversion needs to let Corter
take their Vanagon for a ride. That way he can really compare
the different options available.
Buy a zetec
I would spend some time like mentioned above though and
see if you can fix your gas leak before a major tear down.
That way you can get some shake down miles and find
out what other systems will need to be addressed.
Buy a zetec
Just make sure you stop by Bostig and introduce yourself.
Great group of guys and having them right down the
street is a bonus. Try and go by in the afternoon though
as the whole crew is usually there then.
Buy a zetec
Did you get the subliminal messages Smile
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Last edited by BillM on Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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multivan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanna see the leather interior when you are finished
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psych-illogical
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BillM wrote:

Buy a zetec

Buy a zetec

Buy a zetec
Did you get the subliminal messages Smile


Laughing Laughing
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corter
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, y'all have talked me into it- I'm going to go check out Bostig, and through more research and calling around it looks like a really solid choice for me after all considering time/location/support. As I said- simplicity is key for this van. Thanks for the input there guys, let's hope that's the final decision!

Day 1 work completed- drained about half the gas tank and the leak stopped, so now I know to only fill her up half way in order to be drivable. John (posting above) is helping me do all this, so we decided ordering a reseal kit would be the first step as it sounds like there's a very slim chance the tank itself is leaking. Also ordered up manual window regulators, because I can't stand power locks and windows- just a personal preference thing, and none of that is working on my van anyway.

I'll be working on stripping the interior to get to that seam rust tomorrow, and general body work all next week. I found a nice set of Mercedes wheels in 16 inch that a junkyard is shipping me, just need a bit of curb rash fixing, so the big brake/suspension stuff is all on it's way including springs, struts, and lots of bushings.

I'll make sure to update with pictures as I go tomorrow and over the weekend!
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buspor63
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see another Syncro tin top restoration project, I've got one also. My project is not as adventurous as yours though. I'll be sure to follow your updates.
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