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Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations
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What is your favorite Subaru engine carrier bar and muffler systems for a Syncro that is skid plate compatible?
Rocky Mountain Westy (RMW)
50%
 50%  [ 3 ]
Small Car Performance (SCP)
33%
 33%  [ 2 ]
Kennedy Engineering Products (KEP)
16%
 16%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 6

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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:14 am    Post subject: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

Please respond to the poll ONLY if you have experience with Syncros and skid plates, or relevant knowledge. If you do vote, please share your reasoning. Thanks!

I'd like to figure out what the best engine carrier system would be for our van based on our needs, specifically.

Our rig is a 1987 Syncro double knob with a '94 Subaru EJ22 engine and Small Car oil pan. It was converted from a tintop to a pop top by the previous owner. We are in the process of installing lifted Schwenk springs to improve clearance. We plan on using the van and taking advantage of the fact it's a Syncro. We do go off-roading with it.

When we first purchased our van, it had the simple KEP engine bar and muffler system. In summer 2019, we had our transaxle rebuilt and took the opportunity to upgrade the engine mounting system to Rocky Mountain Westy's carrier. At the time, we were tired of the headers going right by the tranny drain plug and given the value of the rebuilt, decided to keep every source of heat away from the tranny as much as possible (I don't think this is a concern anymore). The RMW engine carrier and muffler system allowed this to happen by keeping the exhaust system toward the rear of the van. We also got their "stealth" muffler and heat shield. Our previous setup had no heat shield and a very crappy muffler mounting system.

To be perfectly honest, we've been pretty happy with the new setup. It's VERY well made and works as intended. However, after over a year of use and new knowledge, I'm now wondering if we'd be better off with what Small Car has to offer. Hear me out.

We do more and more off-roading with our camper and we want to beef up the undercarriage. We actually have a full set of GoWesty skid plates waiting to be installed, but are missing some key components. When we bought our van, it didn't have the engine skid bars (that go around the tranny and connect to the mustache bar), nor did it have the mustache bar or any tin shielding that is usually found around the engine bay. I honestly didn't really know these components existed until I started looking into skid plates. Unfortunately, there is no convenient way to install skid plates to the RMW engine bars without serious fabrication work.

Another consideration is that our EJ22 has been running pretty hot. Our coolant always hovers around 180 under normal conditions but our oil is usually at 220/230 and regularly gets above 240 under load. I have change the oil on our van and clearly smelled burnt oil. I figured I'd install an oil filter sandwich plate to divert oil to a passive cooler but quickly found out that the RMW headers don't leave enough space to install hoses and divert that oil. Now, an oil cooler might not be the best long term fix for hot running oil, but it's a consideration.

Lastly, it would seem (and I haven't precisely measured this yet) that the RMW exhaust system takes away some of the departure angle. I don't have another system around to compare, so this is more of a gut feeling along with comments from others who have looked at our van. Also, the RMW "stealth" muffler is still pretty noisy.

Now I'm not sure how to approach this. We have the skid plates but an engine carrier that, though very good, doesn't allow the use of skid plates. It also doesn't allow the use of remote engine oil cooling, at least not easily. On the other hand, there is another system that would allow these things, but it'd cost an(other) arm and a leg, I also would need to source the engine skid plate bars (which have to be extended) and a mustache bar too.

What are people's opinions and experiences with this topic? Let me know if I'm missing some other options out there too, I only really know of these so far:
- Rocky Mountain Westy engine carrier and exhaust
- Small Car Performance engine carrier and exhaust
- Kennedy Engineering Products carrier and exhaust

For search purposes:
Engine carrier, engine bar, engine mounts, engine cradle, mustache bar, motor carrier, motor mounts, motor cradle
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T3TRIS

1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading


Last edited by T3TRIS on Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:26 pm; edited 3 times in total
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0cean
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

If I remember correctly, Rocky Mountain is the only one that can clear a Subaru gears transmission. Mostly all the carriers will work the same, yet its good to have a future option should you go in that direction.
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:28 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

0cean wrote:
If I remember correctly, Rocky Mountain is the only one that can clear a Subaru gears transmission. Mostly all the carriers will work the same, yet its good to have a future option should you go in that direction.


Ha, didn't consider that. I guess that would be a possible future option as these transaxles become more and more rare... Good to know! I don't think it ranks high in my book right now though. Honestly, I've only seem pretty mixed opinions about Subaru gears. They seem very spendy and undersized for moving a big van. They also don't have a low-gear that I know of. While a 5th gear would be nice, I'd still take a low-gear over it.
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T3TRIS

1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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valvecovergasket
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

how close is the exhaust to the trans? i bet its not a significant (if at all) source of heat into the trans.

for subaru swaps in general ive wondered why folks dont bother installing an external cooler - id do so if it were my van... the cooler oil should help with vapor transfer as well and all the various pcv related discussion here.
if you dont have room to stack that sandwhich plate, look into a remote mount for the filter itself (essentially stacking two plates)
and i wouldnt sweat snaking the oil lines up and out of the filter area, you can cover them with hose insulation if needed and they can just about rest on the exhaust in that case.

i think the biggest value of the heatshields ive seen is keeping the exhaust heat off the plastic timing cover and possibly lowering underhood temps depending on your airbox setup.
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

valvecovergasket wrote:
how close is the exhaust to the trans? i bet its not a significant (if at all) source of heat into the trans.

for subaru swaps in general ive wondered why folks dont bother installing an external cooler - id do so if it were my van... the cooler oil should help with vapor transfer as well and all the various pcv related discussion here.
if you dont have room to stack that sandwhich plate, look into a remote mount for the filter itself (essentially stacking two plates)
and i wouldnt sweat snaking the oil lines up and out of the filter area, you can cover them with hose insulation if needed and they can just about rest on the exhaust in that case.

i think the biggest value of the heatshields ive seen is keeping the exhaust heat off the plastic timing cover and possibly lowering underhood temps depending on your airbox setup.


Thanks, that's all good info too. I agree with you about the headers heating the tranny. I was worried about it at first but don't think it's an issue today (making the RMW option less attractive since it was a consideration).
The heat shields seems like they'd prevent excessive water and derbi flying into the engine bay too.
I have considered the remove filter too, though wanted to see other options first as well. I'm not too eager to add hoses with flowing engine oil without serious consideration!
Thanks
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Guillaume and Jennifer

T3TRIS

1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:37 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

Remote filters are so easy to do and they let you place the filter in more accessible locations in addition to adding a cooler. Adds a bit of oil capacity as well.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/16-Rows-10AN-Universal-Oi...SwcSJc1jex
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

T3TRIS wrote:
0cean wrote:
If I remember correctly, Rocky Mountain is the only one that can clear a Subaru gears transmission. Mostly all the carriers will work the same, yet its good to have a future option should you go in that direction.


Ha, didn't consider that. I guess that would be a possible future option as these transaxles become more and more rare... Good to know! I don't think it ranks high in my book right now though. Honestly, I've only seem pretty mixed opinions about Subaru gears. They seem very spendy and undersized for moving a big van. They also don't have a low-gear that I know of. While a 5th gear would be nice, I'd still take a low-gear over it.


Its an option, so why close doors if your comparison products are all pretty even anyways. The Subaru trans has no problem with a van size or weight. Better option then stock trans if your going the Subaru engine route. How often have you used a granny gear?
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

4Gears4Tires wrote:
Remote filters are so easy to do and they let you place the filter in more accessible locations in addition to adding a cooler. Adds a bit of oil capacity as well.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/16-Rows-10AN-Universal-Oi...SwcSJc1jex


Yeah those do look easy indeed and if I were to put a sandwich plate and use hoses, then might as well move the filter. Maybe I should give these more thoughts after all.
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T3TRIS

1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

0cean wrote:
Its an option, so why close doors if your comparison products are all pretty even anyways. The Subaru trans has no problem with a van size or weight. Better option then stock trans if your going the Subaru engine route. How often have you used a granny gear?


Definitely a valid point, no question about it. And I always thought it was cool that people were adapting Subaru transaxles to these rigs. We do, however, use our rig off-roading enough that we want to the granny gear. It’s a game changer! Heck, I’d probably take a 2wd with locking peloquin and granny gear over an AWD without a granny gear. We went camping probably 20 times this season, I would guess we used the granny gear a third of the times. I would guess we NEEDED the granny gear only once really, but the other times definitely wouldn’t have been as fun.
We also take our rig on off-road day trips sometimes:

Link

Some other fun off-roading videos.
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Guillaume and Jennifer

T3TRIS

1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading


Last edited by T3TRIS on Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:25 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

T3TRIS wrote:
0cean wrote:
Its an option, so why close doors if your comparison products are all pretty even anyways. The Subaru trans has no problem with a van size or weight. Better option then stock trans if your going the Subaru engine route. How often have you used a granny gear?


Definitely a valid point, no question about it. And I always thought it was cool that people were adapting Subaru transaxles to these rigs. We do, however, use our rig off-roading enough that we want to the granny gear. It’s a game changer! Heck, I’d probably take a 2wd with locking peloquin and granny gear over an AWD without a granny gear. We went camping probably 20 times this season, I would guess we used the granny gear a third of the times. I would guess we NEEDED the granny gear only once really, but the other times definitely wouldn’t have been as fun. We also take our rig on off-road day trips sometimes:
https://youtu.be/dqQ_9GRvtPE


Nice... glade your using your rig to its fullest... in the end its all about what you want and do with it. No real wrong answer, just options for fun.. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:58 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Subaru engine carrier bar choices and considerations Reply with quote

Sick video!
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