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Reviving a Syncro
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:46 am    Post subject: Reviving a Syncro Reply with quote

EDIT: Changed the name of the thread.

I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. I've been back and forth over this slightly neglected empty palate of a Syncro for the past several months, but finally decided to pull the trigger.

What an odd beast. It's got an early ABA with Neuspeed supercharger. I was surprised by how smooth the motor is, and it's got plenty of power. We drove it around a bit then got it up on the lift for a closer look. It's dirty, it's got some cobwebs, it's got some rust here and there and a bunch of little things that need fixing, but overall it's in great mechanical condition and is a great starting point to build...something. Mike and the crew at RMW are going to do a big list of work to get it up to speed, then I'll take delivery when it's ready.

I'm going to use this one as a daily driver. While I won't truly know what I've got until I've got it, I'm beyond excited to have a new project!

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2043947

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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond


Last edited by joetiger on Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:03 pm; edited 2 times in total
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erste
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

NICE!

Congratulations. Supercharged ABA sounds sweet Cool
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Have fun! Very Happy
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'87 Westy w/ 2002 Subaru EJ25 and Peloquin TBD

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wontfalia
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:56 am    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Awesome! And I knew it would happen sooner or later.

Wontfalia
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dkoesyncro
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

WOW that's cool! I thought I was the only one running a boosted aba in a Syncro, not to many of us. That looks to be OBD1, very robust engine. Looking forward to seeing more of this. Keep us posted.
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Bassyaks
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Sweet, catch that rust before it too late, address that before you do anything else. Have Fun
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raoul mitgong
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Congrats!

-d
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84 Westy with a 2.1 (Groover)
86 Tintop Syncro (Crow)
86 Tintop Syncro to Westy project (Tom Servo)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Nice!
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candyman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Like
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photogdave
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Now you can finally come out of your shell and make your presence known at Syncro Solstice! Laughing
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

photogdave wrote:
Now you can finally come out of your shell and make your presence known at Syncro Solstice! Laughing


Very Happy

While I'm waiting to get the van, I'm spending time going back and reading some of those Syncro-specific threads that I've ignored over the years.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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buspor63
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Looks like a great starting point. I'm a fan of those Audi wheels, I'm having trouble finding more locally though.

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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:13 am    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

RMW is still hard at work on a big list of items for the van, so in the meantime I'm amassing a growing pile of parts and odds and ends in my garage for a vehicle that I haven't taken possession of, which is kinda weird. I love part huntin' though.

I'm also enjoying getting up to speed on the Syncro-specific and rust-specific topics and videos that I'd previously neglected. The wait is necessary and infinitely beneficial, but excruciating nonetheless. Very Happy

buspor63,

I sent you a PM. Those wheels are all over the place in Denver.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Here we go. I picked up the van from RMW on Friday morning. Mike was his usual outstanding self in getting everything ready to go; I ended up with a completely rebuilt front end, cooling system, tires, and new brakes all around, as well as a repaired speedometer, new rear spring perches, and a few other items. I also left RMW with some fantastic goodies that I'll install later.

The van drove very well back to Denver, but LOUD. The exhaust will be dealt with later today. I hate sounding like a ricer.

The purpose of this Syncro is to be an around-town minivan for transporting kids and gear as well as a weekend mountain goat. My 2wd will still be the camper and tailgater, but it's going to spend more time in the garage.

The first thing to do was clean it up and see what I'm dealing with.

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Tramp Stamp which, according to unbiased onlookers, resembles a feature of the female anatomy. While I strongly disagree with the exterior styling, I do appreciate that the previous owner obviously cared about the van and spent good money customizing it as he saw fit.

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Gigantic Blaupunkt stereo (broken). If it was operational, I might have tried to save it. I'm also not a fan of the shift extension, so it went as well.

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Everything came out, and props to somebody here who recommended diluted bleach for the floor underlayment. Lots of cleaning, scrubbing, and baking in the sun.

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The interior smelled like a combination of piss and mouse. I can only assume that it's dog piss, because if it was cat piss, I wouldn't have found so much mouse poop behind the panels. Gloves, goggles, mask, bleach, and a shop vac took care of the mouse stuff. I also found two mouse corpses.

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According to Carfax, this was a Pennsylvania van for the first 50k miles of its life, so I was concerned with what kind of rust I'd find. There was a little bit here and there, but I was relieved to find very little rust in the bottom of the panels and along the seams. What I did find was cleaned up and brushed with rust converter. After that, I added some sound deadener. I had some Fat Mat in the garage from a prior project, so I used it up before switching to Dynamat Extreme.

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The carpet is in remarkably good shape except for a few rips here and there. I'm a big fan of carpet tape.

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I found a neighbor with a fresh nose to smell everything and make sure the piss smell was gone; once I got an affirmative, everything went back in.

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Saturday, I notice a coolant link on Tatanka, so I did the mature thing and paused my work on the new toy (out to the street) to patch up the old toy.

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Then I got back to the Syncro. I pulled out everything in the front and found rust around the gas pedal, but not rusted through.

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I wire brushed the loose rust out, cleaned everything thoroughly, and applied more rust converter.

I didn't get any more pics of any of this but there are plenty in other threads that show the exact same process. Cleaning, cleaning, and sound deadening.

After that, I repaired the AC tunnel (sagging badly) and called it a day.

Sunday, I wanted to do something fun, so I installed a new stereo and figured out the PO's wiring mess. I was also surprised to find a vintage dual battery setup and Blaupunkt CD changer...

Oh, and the obligatory Grateful Dead sticker found during cleanup:

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It's got rust around the rockers, some that looks a bit serious, but we'll get to that. I've got nothing but time on this project.

My neighbor Bob is an older gentleman with a ton of experience doing restorations of MG's and VW Bugs, and he was downright giddy when I brought this thing home! He has offered his expertise, his sand blaster, and his painting equipment when the time comes. This van will eventually look great in NATO green. Very Happy

This is an odd setup with the ABA and supercharger. The supercharger seems to be hesitating on acceleration. When it does kick in, it'll snap your head back. It's on the list of things to address, as well as the sorry state of the engine cover set up.

This is the tip of the iceberg. It's all a bit overwhelming but in a good way. I can't remember the last time I had such a fun weekend!!

Much, MUCH more to come.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

The guys here are drooling for pictures of the Supercharger! Laughing

It looks good. Congratulations on having it.
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Bassyaks
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

No Knobs?
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

I had a normal, busy Monday but I was still able to get a few things done on the Syncro.

The muffler was super loud and gurgley, so on the recommendation of another Vanagon guy (Sooner Dave) I went to Exhaust Pros on Colfax and Chester in Aurora. They got it up on the lift right away and informed me that yes, the current muffler was in need of changing, but based on the position and the available space, a new muffler might also be loud. As you may notice in the picture, they also sell used tires. None for me today, thanks.

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They did a really nice, fast job with the new muffler, and it was inexpensive. Nice folks all the way around, I highly recommend them. The new muffler is a bit quieter and has a cleaner sound. (But still pretty loud.)

When my teenage daughter asked why it was still so loud, I told her to relax, the weather will change soon and everybody's windows will be closed. For the time being, I'll treat the neighborhood like a no-wake zone.

After dinner I removed the big floppy aftermarket mud flaps, and also got the bull bar and front bumper off before the nightly mosquito attack.

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Much cleaner. New bumper install tomorrow I hope. I was pleasantly surprised to find only minor surface rust under the bumper; the seam area along the top had already been treated at some point. Progress.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Bassyaks wrote:
No Knobs?


No knobs. I think that eventually (if not sooner) I'll have to have the transmission rebuilt, so when that time comes I'll look into upgrading. In the meantime, I'll roll with the basic setup and see how it goes. This was the Syncro that was available at the right time and the right situation, so I was willing to make that concession.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
The guys here are drooling for pictures of the Supercharger! Laughing

It looks good. Congratulations on having it.


Thanks! I'll get some photos of it tomorrow. It is a weird setup. I've been reading up on this supercharger in the Vortex archives, and my symptoms are leading me to believe it might need a rebuild. I'm thinking maybe I'll try maintenance (take it apart, clean it up, change the oil, etc.) and see if that helps.

Here's a pic from the Samba ad:

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It's a pretty inefficient use of space as far as the engine cover goes. I think with a little ingenuity I can shave it a couple of inches. Or will a supercharger operate with the engine at 50 degrees?

Edit to answer my own question: There's no way this thing will go in at 50 degrees. The throttle body/intake setup on the back of the motor (towards the front of the van) actually hangs over the top rim of the engine bay. It's hard to see it from the picture, but that back wall with the AC hoses actually extends further into the cabin. I think even with creative sheet metal cutting it wouldn't fit under there.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond


Last edited by joetiger on Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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raoul mitgong
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Joining the Syncro club... Reply with quote

Bassyaks wrote:
No Knobs?


I have the original invoice for my Syncro, it was about $250 for the rear locker option new. Today, $250 might get you a cracked 3 knob control panel. Crazy.
I certainly wouldn't be bummed about a knobless Syncro though.

Joe, hope to see that van in person one day. I might dig up that old failed Denver get together thread that never materialized.
-d
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84 Westy with a 2.1 (Groover)
86 Tintop Syncro (Crow)
86 Tintop Syncro to Westy project (Tom Servo)
91 Westy (Only the top 12 inches of this van (a burn victim))
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