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Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion
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akmush
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Location: Fairbanks, AK
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:48 am    Post subject: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Some journeys begin unexpectedly. In hindsight, it now looks like doing an engine conversion on my van was inevitable, but as we were wrestling the totalled VW donor into my garage, and my daughter looked on with raised eyebrows that said what the hell Dad, it seemed pretty sudden.

How did I get here? Owning my 85 weekender for over ten years it was natural that I would become a regular samba reader. Detailed builds have always been my favorites and there are many that I continue to return to for inspiration (the “breadbox" build, hodakaguy’s syncro build, vanwes’s 87 syncro tdi, to name just a few). But Andrew Flint’s trail blazing efforts reversing the 1.8T (https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...mp;start=0) has maintained hall of fame status as the most inspirational and mind blowing build in my book. I am a Charter school principal, and not surprisingly I love unconventional approaches to problems. Here was the absolute pinnacle of out-of-the-box thinking in our Vanagon world and then to top it off, in Dec. 2018, Andrew posted a new thread open sourcing all of the secrets of his step by step method!

Alaska has some of the best car camping around and another summer of Alaska trips reminded me how slow and tired my 1.9 waterboxer really is. Then the return of that nagging thought, the origin of so many trips into the unknown, the one that most every Vanagon owner has at one time or another: How cool would it be to have a modern motor and be able to cruise along with the rest of the world!!?? On a whim I messaged Andrew F and inquired about the cost of getting one of his creations, knowing that this would likely be beyond my means. The response came that he was no longer doing them. Another road trip reminding me that you have to downshift into 2nd gear to make it over Isabel Pass in the AK Range. Soon I was back looking at Andrew’s step by step thread. I thought some more, and this crazy idea started to grow. I began perusing craigslist. I reread the thread. I started telling myself, I could really try this...And all at once the stars aligned. A 2002 totaled Passat right here in Fairbanks, AK. A step by step guide for reverse rotating the motor. A large garage and a dose of intrepidness. So the journey began…


Last edited by akmush on Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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akmush
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Joined: January 16, 2012
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Location: Fairbanks, AK
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:50 am    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

My goal here is twofold, to document the project for other samba members and probably more importantly to ask for help and advice. This would not have been possible without Andrew’s pioneering work and I know will also require the generous assistance of those far more skilled than me who frequent the samba.

The Millenium Falcon-
I am the second owner of this 85 Weekender. In high school I briefly owned a 67 split window bus but this was my first and only Vanagon. Originally purchased in Portland, OR, it has spent virtually all of its life in AK. The name comes from the 3d “flip card” of Han and Chewie making the jump to hyperspace that we discovered in a crack in the dashboard.

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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

The Donor Vehicle-
This 02 Passat was t boned at an intersection with the owners daughter asleep in the back seat. Amazingly no one was hurt! It has the longitudinal 1.8 T that Andrew prefers. With only 90,000 on the odometer, I was able to run the engine before pulling it.
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Towing a crunched vehicle like this presents some challenges but we made it work.
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The biggest obstacle was getting it into the garage. Tow dollies are not meant for backing up!

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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:54 am    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

The Plan- If life and work have taught me one thing its, set a goal and make a plan. It will likely change over time but here is mine-

Phase 1- Pulling the 1.8T, tranny, and misc parts from the donor

Phase 2- Reversing and Refreshing the 1.8T

Phase 3- Modifications- engine carrier, shifter linkage, wiring harness, ecu, anti-theft etc.

Phase 4- Pulling the 1.9 waterboxer and tranny

Phase 5- Prepping Van for Install of 1.8T and Tranny

Phase 6- Install and testing
[/b]
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Phase 1-
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Where donors go to get crushed, the Fairbanks dump.
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Phase 2- Just beginning the process of reversing the 1.8T. Feeling like I am stepping out of the capsule into deep space!

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Last edited by akmush on Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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tristessa
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Popcorn
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

I'm excited to observe a DIY version of this awesome engine swap. There are so many excellent deals on Passat/A4 cars out there right now, which makes this approach really enticing.
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Question- The head is coming off and I will install a new head gasket. When I "correct my pistons" (put them in backwards and cut notch in skirt) will I be able to access and complete this work with just the head off or will I need to go in deeper Shocked ?
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

I purchased the Bentley for the Passat. It weighs 7 lbs! I think it just answered my question...
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tristessa
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Pistons go in & out the top of the block when the head is off. The crank doesn't *have* to come out for the pistons, but does for the crank sensor ring re-indexing .. so you might as well strip it down to the block all at once. Even without that, you'd need to have the pan off just to get at the connecting rod bolts in order to get the piston+rod assembly out of the block.

Not sure about the 06A block but the earlier 058 block uses main bearing bolts that are officially "one time use"...

EDIT: PM me with an email address and I can send along all of my AWM wiring stuff. Got my CCW AEB up and running with the AWM harness/ECM last weekend .. good times good times.
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Jake de Villiers
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Awesome, AK, I admire your courage! Good luck!
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Thanks to all for the encouragement, I appreciate it. And thanks tristessa for answering so many of my questions up to this point! PM sent with my e-mail.
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xoo00oox
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Heyyyyyy! Thanks for the comments and good luck with your project! A couple suggestions- When taking this engine apart, if the bearings/pistons/rings all look good (and I bet they do!) I recommend reusing them, no sense spending any money on unnecessary parts especially with the quality of auto parts these days.
If you don’t plan on running AC, you can just use the accessories bracket and alternator and PS pump that are already on that engine. Correct the rotation of them the same way I show in the other thread.
If you need your Immobilizer deleted from your ECM, let me know, we can do that for you.
I believe I forgot to mention in the other thread that the cam and crank seals should be replaced With non directional ones, make sure to use them. I’ll try to add this to the thread also.

I’ll still do these engine conversions for myself, but no longer doing any conversions for customers. It’s wayyy too stressful especially when it’s not a local customer and I can not deal with things myself. Auto parts are 90% crap these days even from what used to be the brands you could trust for years.

Andrew-
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Awesome, thanks for continued tips and wisdom Andrew! Currently tooling up and awaiting arrival of triple square for removal of head bolts, I checked everywhere and none to be found in Fairbanks.

Good time for garage and inside projects!

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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

I'm not sure what auto stores you have available in your city, but when I was looking for a 14mm triple square, I found that Autozone was the only chain store that had what I needed. I think your head bolts are 12mm, right?
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tristessa
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Are you sure it's actually triple square that you need? The AWM I went through last spring had 10MM polydrive head bolts, and while the original head bolts in my AEB were triple square, the replacements were also polydrive.

Polydrive tool, first listing I came across not a recommendation:
https://www.amazon.com/ATLIN-Vehicles-Polydrive-6-Point-10-millimeters/dp/B06VWLVYTW
Triple-square, again, first listing I found and not a recommendation:
https://www.amazon.com/Zdmak-Tool-Older-Volkswagen-Bolts/dp/B00XTDMC6K
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akmush
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

You are correct tristessa. The linked tool is actually the one I ordered. I'm still learning my 1.8 tools Smile
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tristessa
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Alaskan 85 Weekender, 1.8T (AWM), 5 speed conversion Reply with quote

Easy to get confused with the terminology, especially with VW changing the drive type of head bolts several times. Early 8V engines were allen/hex drive, changing to triple-square sometime in the mid 1980s then to polydrive around the turn of the century. No idea what they're using these days...

Last edited by tristessa on Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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