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Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions?
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donnyk
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:03 pm    Post subject: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

This feels like it shouldn't be a dumb question but after calling subaru shops it seems like one...

I'm just looking for a shop that will work on an engine specific issue (cam seal replacement) for my EJ25. I keep getting turned down. VW shops are expensive as hell and there's a long wait time. Do any of you guys in the Seattle area (who don't fix every problem on your own) have a subaru mechanic you'd recommend, or do you always bring it to a VW shop?

Apologies if I shouldn't even ask this here

* * * Moderator edit* * *

Shops that work on Subaru-converted Vanagons:
  • Small Car Performance - Fife, WA
  • PeaceVans - Seattle, WA
  • NorthWesty - Renton, WA
  • Eion's Automotive - Seattle, WA
  • All Wheel Drive Auto - Kirkland, WA
  • Drive Auto Sports - Woodinville, WA

  • T & R Automotive - Salem, OR

  • FW Motorsports - Rocklin, CA

  • Affordable German - Phoenix, AZ
  • Biel's Auto - Prescott, AZ
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DirtyBlueVan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

small car performance is in Tacoma
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

Just go to a well rated (yelp) Japanese car shop. A lot of independents know more than the actual labeled shops do anyway and will surely be more open minded. I know of two near me that dont care about the swaps at all.
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hogan029
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

If you need cam seals, it's a good time to "while you are in there"..food for thought.
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wesitarz
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:28 am    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

Any independent mechanic who can do a Subaru timing belt should be able to do it. If you have a Smallcar engine carrier it involves unbuttoning the muffler, moustache bar and carrier to get at the full timing cover. Smallcar might be your best bet.
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markswagen
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:40 am    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

While I can't give you the name of a shop, you should be looking for someone who modifies Subaru's, race rally, what ever, someone who is used to modifying them, shouldn't have a problem with a conversion, peoplease who are only used to stock Subarus won't go near it because it's not stock.

donnyk wrote:
This feels like it shouldn't be a dumb question but after calling subaru shops it seems like one...

I'm just looking for a shop that will work on an engine specific issue (cam seal replacement) for my EJ25. I keep getting turned down. VW shops are expensive as hell and there's a long wait time. Do any of you guys in the Seattle area (who don't fix every problem on your own) have a subaru mechanic you'd recommend, or do you always bring it to a VW shop?

Apologies if I shouldn't even ask this here

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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:48 am    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

I assume you called PeaceVans and Northwesty? I'm guessing they're the ones who are expensive and a month out.

Try Greg's Japanese auto.
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Corwyn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:47 am    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

DirtyBlueVan wrote:
small car performance is in Tacoma


X2.

Fife, Washington to be exact: https://smallcar.com/
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RainierSyncro
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

If you stop at Small Car in Fife, hit Pick-Quick down the street for a burger.
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11BC2
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

You could drive down to my Subaru shop in Rocklin, CA. We're swapped Vanagon friendly and there's a pretty decent brewpub 67m out our front door!

donnyk wrote:
This feels like it shouldn't be a dumb question but after calling subaru shops it seems like one...

I'm just looking for a shop that will work on an engine specific issue (cam seal replacement) for my EJ25. I keep getting turned down. VW shops are expensive as hell and there's a long wait time. Do any of you guys in the Seattle area (who don't fix every problem on your own) have a subaru mechanic you'd recommend, or do you always bring it to a VW shop?

Apologies if I shouldn't even ask this here
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

How come this question isn't brought up more when discussing swaps? I wouldn't touch a non-VW engine shoe-horned into a VW at my shop. And I assume the offbrand shop wouldn't mess with a bastardized VW in theirs. There's no profit in climbing the learning curve when there are other more relevant projects waiting. Simple maths.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

I can under stand the zitguest but theres a lot of swaps out there and for anyone with a price strategy theres still a profit to be made. And apparently the market is ripe for a qualified shop to step up to the plate.


try Pacific import auto
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

AZ Landshaper wrote:
I can under stand the zitguest...



Hmmm...
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
How come this question isn't brought up more when discussing swaps? I wouldn't touch a non-VW engine shoe-horned into a VW at my shop. And I assume the offbrand shop wouldn't mess with a bastardized VW in theirs. There's no profit in climbing the learning curve when there are other more relevant projects waiting. Simple maths.


Simple math() Zeitgeist. A mechanic didn't do my swap. I did. A mechanic has not touched my Japanese swapped engine in 16 years and counting and I'm not a mechanic.Shoehorned? Hardly. The German 2.1 WBX was a POS.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

I did my own swap as well, but that's not what the OP was asking about.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:05 am    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

wesitarz wrote:
Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
How come this question isn't brought up more when discussing swaps? I wouldn't touch a non-VW engine shoe-horned into a VW at my shop. And I assume the offbrand shop wouldn't mess with a bastardized VW in theirs. There's no profit in climbing the learning curve when there are other more relevant projects waiting. Simple maths.


Simple math() Zeitgeist. A mechanic didn't do my swap. I did. A mechanic has not touched my Japanese swapped engine in 16 years and counting and I'm not a mechanic.Shoehorned? Hardly. The German 2.1 WBX was a POS.


Thatís evidence there is no money in working on these, isnít it! Oil changes, brake jobs , And timing belts are 10x more profitable than engine work. No surprises, no supply chain management, and itís in and out , like clockwork orange.

You can charge four hours labor on a Tb and do it in one. Kaching.
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donnyk
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

I agree this should be discussed more. I'd think a japanese/subaru shop would be happy to look at something different but what Zeitgeist said seems to be true as I called 8 shops and they just won't work on it.

I appreciate all your input but I'll choose between peacevans/northwesty/small car even though it's solely the subaru engine that needs work...

thank you 11bc2 for the invite but I'm trying to find a little bit of a closer place Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
How come this question isn't brought up more when discussing swaps? I wouldn't touch a non-VW engine shoe-horned into a VW at my shop. And I assume the offbrand shop wouldn't mess with a bastardized VW in theirs. There's no profit in climbing the learning curve when there are other more relevant projects waiting. Simple maths.


It isnít as though the average VW shop is going to be comfortable working on a 1.8t swap.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

hogan029 wrote:
If you need cam seals, it's a good time to "while you are in there"..food for thought.


Also, there IS a difference between black seals and brown seals.
It's been a lot of years since I pulled out the last subaru engine, so I don't remember which, but one of those will leak sooner than the other. Btdt.
Basically, whichever one is being sold by your local pep boys type shop is the wrong one.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Subaru mechanics in PNW that are willing to work on conversions? Reply with quote

Both me and my wife drive Subaru cars and service them at All Wheel Drive Auto (http://allwheeldriveauto.com) in Kirkland. The other day it occurred to me to ask the main guy down there

- "So, this might sound weird, but do you guys service Subaru engines installed on non-Subaru cars?"
- "You mean, like a Vanagon?"

I almost fell to floor when he said that!

It turned out that they haven't worked on any converted van yet, but they've heard about it and are not opposed to the idea of working with them - in fact, they're intrigued by it. He also mentioned that their sister shop Drive Auto Sports (http://www.driveautosports.com) located in Woodinville might be even more suited to deal with with a Sub conversion, since they have no problems working with special cars.

So that's it - I haven't brought my Syncro to them yet, but I might do that to get a second opinion on a potential pressure leak on my EJ25 (they do a great job on our regular Subarus). I might probably start at All Wheel Drive Auto first to get an idea of how they deal with a Suby on a VW, and might ask Drive Auto Sports afterwards (somehow I imagine the Woodinville shop will be more expensive than the Kirkland shop).
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