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My air-cooled to 1.8t build
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revolution337
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:58 pm    Post subject: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Hello all! I've been lurking for a long time on the Samba, and felt that I now actually have some decent material to contribute.

After much reading and debating, I've decided to pull the trigger on installing a AEB 1.8t into my '82 air-cooled westy. I've thought long about it, contemplating other engines, buying a water cooled van instead, etc etc. But I have become quite attached to my current van and want to keep it for years to come. Installing a more modern power plant will greatly help in achieving that! I understand that this is be quite an undertaking, what with having to installed and entire cooling system from scratch. I enjoy working/wrenching on cars, (VWs mostly) so I don't really mind the extra work.

I'm sure I will have questions/roadblocks along the way and I'm hoping that by having this build thread, it will be easy for the Samba community to help me out! My aim is to also have this thread serve as an informative data base for any future builds someone may have.

So it begins! Here is my starting point. 1982 Vanagon Westfalia, with a center mount progressive carb kit installed (runs great, when it runs great!)
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So long my friend
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In comes the donor vehicle. 1999 Passat 1.8t with 166k miles on the clock. Bought it locally as a "mechanics special". Pretty rough cosmetically, but mechanically it is in good shape. Was able to drive it home, and tested the entire power band. No issues or hick-ups. Gives me much more reassurance vs buying a used crate engine and taking someones word that it "runs great!" Only fault codes it had were P0420 (catalyst efficiency below threshold) and a large EVAP leak. I'm not going to be using either system so no big deal to me. Had the engine pulled out in a weekend with some help from a friend.

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Pick up a few items necessary for the air cooled to water cooled aspect of the build. A complete heater box assembly with heater core, instrument cluster with tach, and lower radiator grill (in case I decide to cut up the front end for more air flow)

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The heater box was an absolute mess, but cleaned up very well. Took the whole thing apart and cleaned/scrubbed the entire thing with soapy water. Wire brushed the flaps to remove all the rust that had accumulated over the years. Bead blasted the flaps and metal core insert as well to further help the cleaning. Hit it all with a fresh coat of rustoleum paint to combat future rust issues. Started installed fresh new foam on all the flaps. I currently have a new heater core and blower on order. Once those arrive, I will reassemble the box.

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Door on the left before cleaning, door on the right after cleaning.
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Ewwww rust!
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What a mess
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Cleaned and painted, starting re-foam process
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Also started tearing apart the 1.8. Started by cleaning the valve cover and intake manifold, and prepping them for paint.
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New timing belt kit.
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What I've posted thus far has been about a month of work. Now that this thread it up, I will try to keep it updated with my progress more often. Cheers! Smile
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valvecovergasket
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Awesome looking van!
Whats the plan for engine mounting and intake/intercooler/exhaust stuff?

Pretty new to vans so curious what's regularly done


Looking forward to seeing how the build goes!
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Watching this thread!

Thanks for the pics and descriptions.

Random air to water cooled swap thought. Granted, I'm thinking in terms of converting USD to CND but for the cost of 1.9 stainless pipes, (they're more than the 2.1 pipes??), and I know this has been done, but I'm curious of feasibility & life span, possible savings of using marine bellows hose in lieu of coolant pipes. Or is that a "fools errand" over the long term?

I wish I'd installed the heater core perforated metal piece. Not that you weren't installing it but it seems its' purpose is to slow air passing over core fins. In colder ambient temps, that may really help increase heat.

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

50º 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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revolution337
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:22 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

valvecovergasket wrote:
Awesome looking van!
Whats the plan for engine mounting and intake/intercooler/exhaust stuff?


Engine mounting will most likely be a modified OEM mustache bar, fabricated to accept the stock AEB motor mounts. Intake will be pretty simple, and intercooler will be an air/air unit in the passenger side D-pillar area. Exhaust will be catless with a muffler running along the rear bumper area, exiting the passenger side rear.
Vanagon Nut wrote:
Watching this thread!

Thanks for the pics and descriptions.

Random air to water cooled swap thought. Granted, I'm thinking in terms of converting USD to CND but for the cost of 1.9 stainless pipes, (they're more than the 2.1 pipes??), and I know this has been done, but I'm curious of feasibility & life span, possible savings of using marine bellows hose in lieu of coolant pipes. Or is that a "fools errand" over the long term?

I wish I'd installed the heater core perforated metal piece. Not that you weren't installing it but it seems its' purpose is to slow air passing over core fins. In colder ambient temps, that may really help increase heat.

Neil.

I've done a lot of reading about that heater core metal piece and decided that I will be reinstalling it, as it seems to benefit most.

In regards to the long coolant lines, I'm undecided at this point which route I will be taking. I've read about numerous people running the long lengths of marine grade rubber hose without any issue. Most of what I would consider to be "quality hose" is pretty pricey though. I did a rough calculation and it would cost about the same as purchasing the SS lines. I still have some time to figure out which option will work best for me.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Shameless plug, but I stripped the cooling system off my 90 camper for my syncro project. Probably everything external you would need to plumb a radiator on your van. PM me if there's something you need.

Should be a nice ride when you are done. Not easy to do a project and at the same time document it. Thank you.
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revolution337
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Shameless plug, but I stripped the cooling system off my 90 camper for my syncro project. Probably everything external you would need to plumb a radiator on your van. PM me if there's something you need.

Should be a nice ride when you are done. Not easy to do a project and at the same time document it. Thank you.


Awesome, thanks for the heads up! There are still a few pieces that I need to acquire yet. Perhaps I'll message you if I can't come up with the parts locally.
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AZ Landshaper Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:03 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Nothing is quite as satisfying as replacing an aircooled pancake engine w something more powerful and water cooled. I wish you many happy miles behind the wheel.
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TequilaSunSet
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:05 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Nice choice, best wishes in this adventure!
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kublerwagen
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:40 am    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Are you going reverse rotation and using the Passat transmission?
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revolution337
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:38 am    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

kublerwagen wrote:
Are you going reverse rotation and using the Passat transmission?


No, just a KEP adapter and running factory 4 speed aircooled trans.
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

revolution337 wrote:


In regards to the long coolant lines, I'm undecided at this point which route I will be taking. I've read about numerous people running the long lengths of marine grade rubber hose without any issue. Most of what I would consider to be "quality hose" is pretty pricey though. I did a rough calculation and it would cost about the same as purchasing the SS lines. I still have some time to figure out which option will work best for me.


Ya, probably a "wash" in terms of price.

You've obviously done your research but FWIW, if I ever did another air to water cooled swap, I'd build or source simple brackets to support the upper end of rad VS removing-installing the OE upper rad support from a donor.

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

50º 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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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:57 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Sub'd
I've been running a aircooled to H2o swap for over a decade and the last 4-5 years as an AEB 1.8t.
feel free to ask or PM me any questions.

the upper of my radiator is just pushed up into foam&rubber with a zip tie to keep it from rocking.

alls good.
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kublerwagen
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:07 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

That’s what we did for mine (Aircooled to ABA). Used a Dodge Ram radiator as it was cheaper and has a cap. It did block 5)3 spare tire space, but will be building a swing away for the rear bumper.

Edit - we built simple mounts.
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dabaron
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:30 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

if you are in the Philly area and need a hand let me know, this looks really interesting.
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revolution337
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:07 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

danfromsyr wrote:
Sub'd
I've been running a aircooled to H2o swap for over a decade and the last 4-5 years as an AEB 1.8t.
feel free to ask or PM me any questions.

the upper of my radiator is just pushed up into foam&rubber with a zip tie to keep it from rocking.

alls good.


Good to know. I've read almost all of the 1.8t threads on here from start to finish, and I recall seeing you post in several of them.

What did you end up using for an engine support bar/mounting? Also, did you space the transmission mount down at all? I've noticed others have done so and I'm not quite certain the pros/cons in doing so. Is it necessary in order to prevent too much of the engine sticking up above the deck lid?

dabaron wrote:
if you are in the Philly area and need a hand let me know, this looks really interesting.


I'm closer to Harrisburg, but thanks though!
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

on mine I modified a vanagon mustache bar and did not lower the trans mount.

my engine lid is raised 1inch (only in the center).
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:26 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

Looking forward to following your conversion! I know what it’s like to get attached to one van.

Following your thread!
Bill
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revolution337
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:51 pm    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

danfromsyr wrote:
on mine I modified a vanagon mustache bar and did not lower the trans mount.

my engine lid is raised 1inch (only in the center).


Got it. I think the few people who lowered the trans mount were using a different transmission, or possibly syncro vehicles/conversions.
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xoo00oox
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:02 am    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote


Link



*EDIT- found a still picture....

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As I mentioned in answering your PM, Here is an air-cooled van I converted to 1.8t. This one has the stock transmission spaced back about 2" It gives you a good amount of clearance of the coolant flange as you can see about 3 seconds into the video. Also check out the raised deck-lid I we make for the campers. It not only raises the lid, it also off-sets it so you can easily lift it up without having to slide it out from under the cabinet.
I have a really nice tune for the AEB ECM that works great in the vans if you are interested.

Andrew-
Good luck with your project!
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revolution337
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:11 am    Post subject: Re: My air-cooled to 1.8t build Reply with quote

xoo00oox wrote:

*EDIT- found a still picture....

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




As I mentioned in answering your PM, Here is an air-cooled van I converted to 1.8t. This one has the stock transmission spaced back about 2" It gives you a good amount of clearance of the coolant flange as you can see about 3 seconds into the video. Also check out the raised deck-lid I we make for the campers. It not only raises the lid, it also off-sets it so you can easily lift it up without having to slide it out from under the cabinet.
I have a really nice tune for the AEB ECM that works great in the vans if you are interested.

Andrew-
Good luck with your project!


I love your idea of making the raised deck lid spacer to go around the westy rear cabinet. I was dreading having to cut into the cabinet in order to fit other engine deck lid spacers. I will definitely be in touch with you regarding the tune and deck lid once I'm further along with the project.
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