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Subaru Powered UV231 – A Conversion Project Needing Your Help.


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:49 AM

Hello Everyone,

 

My name is Tony. If you have not already seen my thread in Meet n’ Greet here is a link to it.

The thread is called: Hello, from an old member with a new name.

 

My project is a 1966 Ultra Van.

When it was first made in the sixties it came with an air-cooled Corvair flat six automatic.

 

I want to do a clean Subaru conversion.

However, I’m not sure which power plant would be best for this project.

Should it be a 2.5 or 3.0?  Which one has the best torque to weight ratio, with hp following a close second?  

That is one of the many steps where I could use the help of USMB members willing to lend a helping hand and share your knowledge.

I have been out of the business of working on different cars since 2000, so I'm not up on the newer Subaru’s and their pros and cons with each power plant option.

 

I will be purchasing a complete Subaru, donor vheicle, for this project.

 

Things I want to accomplish with this project:

  1. A nice clean Subaru conversion, a gas pusher, in the back of the coach shown below.
  2. Better torque and hp than the standard Corvair air-cooled flat six. (Should it be a 2.5 or 3.0?)
  3. Today’s technology; making it more reliable and easier to get parts and fixed when needed.
  4. Doing it right the first time. (Means picking the best Subaru power plant for this project, with your help.)
  5. Sharing this project with the members of USMB and those who helped make it easier on me. (This old man)

This is what UV231 looks like now. It was delivered on May 9th to our farm here in Ontario Canada.


8731295113_2ab26b288a_z.jpg

 


8731299945_598eb7aa94_z.jpg

 

 

Thank you for stopping by to check out my project. 

I Iook forward to sharing it with everyone.

Sincerely, Tony


 


Edited by Ultravan Owners, 20 May 2013 - 09:52 AM.


#2 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:57 AM

Very cool project! I've seen a restored version online, and thought it was really cool. What material is the body made out of? I imagine it doesmt weigh too much if a corvair engine moved to around originally, I would think a 2.5 would be up to the task.

#3 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

It is mainly aluminum. Only the four corners and above the windshield are fiberglass.

There is NO frame at all. Only tanks between the front and rear wheels. Everything is riveted together.

We happen to own five of these coaches.

When I had UV256 weighed it came in at 3,620lbs with the Corvair power plant and five gals of gas.

Then I filled the water tank and gas and put the spare tire back on and it came in at 4,050lbs; which is just a little more than the stock Corvair 95 Pickup aka a Rampside.

 


 


Edited by Ultravan Owners, 20 May 2013 - 10:11 AM.


#4 Gloyale

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:57 AM

3.0 for sure

 

The 2.5 would do, but youd be in the high rev range all the time.

 

3.0 or even a 3.6 will move it nice.

 

3.0 liter would be just a bit easier to wire up, since the 3.6 is a drive by wire throttle.



#5 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:36 AM

Is the 3.0 available with timing chains vs belts?

 

Where can I find a good source with true torque and hp specs?

 

Tony



#6 NorthWet

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:53 AM

Yes, the 3.0 uses timing chains instead of belts (to help make its form more compact).

 

What "tune" was the original Corvair 6  (110hp, 140hp,??)



#7 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:41 PM

Yes the Corvair UV came with 1965 - 1967 110 or 140 Power Glide power plants.

 

HP is second on my list. The key for this project is torque.

But I need to be sure the power plant I choose to use is the best one available.

Does anyone know where I can find a spec sheet that has the correct specs? 

(I found it hard to bvelieve that a 2.5 had more torque and hp with some power plant options than the 3.0 did on a spec list I found online.) This is why I need to be sure the Subaru I purchase is the best one.

This is jsut one of the reasons I can use the help from those here who have more knowledge than I do. ggg

 

 

Tony



#8 WoodsWagon

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:58 AM

A turbocharged 2.5l will have higher specs than the 3.0l, but a non-turbo most certainly will not. The 3.0 is a nice engine. Later ones have variable cam timing which increases low end torque and top end power, it flattens out the powerband of the engine. They have more complex wiring though.

 

There is also the 92-97 SVX 3.3l engine, but it is pretty bulky. What kind of engine compartment space do you have?

 

Can the corvair transmission be used with the subaru engine? I seem to recall corvair engines spinning counterclockwise while subaru's spin clockwise. I suppose a VW A/T could be used or a subaru 5spd with the conversion ring and pinion.



#9 presslab

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:17 PM

That's a cool looking rig.

I have a Vanagon Westfalia with a EJ25. I weighed it and it's 4800 lbs. It has decent power and can do over 100 MPH on the flats, easily doing 75 MPH on the freeway. I get 21 MPG going 70-75 MPH. Other Vanagon owners with the Subaru H6 engines complain about mileage, so if that's a concern you might want to lean to the 2.5. If you don't care about that so much and just want the torque go for the 3.6.

Another thing to consider is the strength of the transaxle. My Vanagon manual transaxle really can't handle the torque; I only got 35k mi out of a rebuilt transaxle. Hopefully my new beefed-up one will do better.

I'm not sure how much more/less wind resistance the Ultra Van has vs a Vanagon, that's something to consider.

#10 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:18 PM

A turbocharged 2.5l will have higher specs than the 3.0l, but a non-turbo most certainly will not. The 3.0 is a nice engine. Later ones have variable cam timing which increases low end torque and top end power, it flattens out the powerband of the engine. They have more complex wiring though.

 

There is also the 92-97 SVX 3.3l engine, but it is pretty bulky.

Thanks this is the kind of stuff I need to know and learn....

As for the ones that have complex wiring that you are talking about - Can it be done and work - If one has a complete donor Subaru and need to rewire the entire coach anyways?  

What kind of engine compartment space do you have?

Good size. One rmember was able to put a 99 Plymouth 3.0 FWD complete power plant from one of their mini vans into the back.  

Another member has a Porsche with a VW A/T. And with the coach above; I can make room becasue I'l have to rework all the back half of the coahc due to lots of damage.

Can the corvair transmission be used with the subaru engine? I seem to recall corvair engines spinning counterclockwise while subaru's spin clockwise. I suppose a VW A/T could be used or a subaru 5spd with the conversion ring and pinion.

The Corvair does run counterclockwise and I wil not be using any Corvair stuff.

I want to use the entire FWD power plant from a Subaru and do a mid-engine conversion into this coach.

 

Thanks for your reply. Please keep them coming. 

Sincerely, Tony


Edited by Ultravan Owners, 23 May 2013 - 12:23 PM.


#11 presslab

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:26 PM

I found this comparison of EJ25/EZ30R dyno results.
http://forums.nasioc...03&postcount=22



#12 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:13 PM

That's a cool looking rig.

I have a Vanagon Westfalia with a EJ25. I weighed it and it's 4800 lbs. It has decent power and can do over 100 MPH on the flats, easily doing 75 MPH on the freeway. I get 21 MPG going 70-75 MPH. Other Vanagon owners with the Subaru H6 engines complain about mileage, so if that's a concern you might want to lean to the 2.5. If you don't care about that so much and just want the torque go for the 3.6.

Another thing to consider is the strength of the transaxle. My Vanagon manual transaxle really can't handle the torque; I only got 35k mi out of a rebuilt transaxle. Hopefully my new beefed-up one will do better.

I'm not sure how much more/less wind resistance the Ultra Van has vs a Vanagon, that's something to consider.

I've read your post a couple of times now and I'm giving it a lot of thought.

Torque is important - but gas prices and mileage should be a strong consideration too.

I do plan to sell this coach when I'm finished and sure it is done right. 

I will use the funds to hlep restore one of our other Ultravans for our museum.

 

BTW - The one UV owner who put the 99 3.0lt Chrysler power plant in wishes it had a little bit more power.

I cannot recall the HP that it had.

I should look that up and compare it to what Subaru engines I'm thinking about.

 

I'm looking forward to doing this conversion but I hate to make the mistake of having it too undersized - after doing all that work.

With the cost of gas maybe I should ask - Do all Turbo Subaru engines run on High test?

And are you saying the the 2nd and 3rd gen small 2.5's get better mileage than the larger 3.0 and 3.6 engines?

 

 

Tony


Edited by Ultravan Owners, 24 May 2013 - 07:14 AM.


#13 el_freddo

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 10:39 AM

If you want the best torque you can't go past the H6 with a manual gearbox - period!  A mate of mine has a 2.5L liberty converted to a H6 and it simply FLIES!  

 

The trick to getting good fuel economy is to build a box that will suit the engine - keep those revs lower than the H4 and you'll come out on top - but flog it all the time and that will go out the window, not that I can see you doing that all the time!  Again, I think the manual with a lower 5th gear would be best for this.  Check out All Drive Suparoo in Australia for the lower 5th gear set, it's not expensive and I believe it's not difficult to swap it.

 

Looks like a very interesting project, certainly a strange looking machine!  We don't get anything like that over here...

 

All the best with it!

Cheers

Bennie



#14 Tsuru

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 05:04 PM

If you still have the corvair powerplant, and want to get top dollar for it, list it on any aircraft site...there are many corvairs in the air. (and a few subarus too and half VW engines as well)

 

If you really wanted to get all nutty about your project, you could find a good running (but out of spec for airworthiness certification) flat 6 Lycoming, or Continental.

they are dead simple aircooled engines and sound really nifty.



#15 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

Bennie and Tsuru,

 

Thanks for your input.

 

I have wanted to do an entire Subaru conversion into one of these coaches for some time now.

I want to know either way - if it works or not. I just have to see it through!

 

Once I have done the conversion and all the mechanical - I will be listing this coach for sale.

I'll use the funds to help pay to restore one of our other Ultravans that we plan to keep, use as intended and display in our museum when not in use.

Tony



#16 ivans imports

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:58 AM

to be honest v8 of some kind efi 5.0 mustang or 5.7 efi chev they make efi setups that are part of the motor now super simple the subaru 3.0 is not mutch lighter and needs a pile of wire harness to run and trans addaptor. As mutch as i like subaru engines they are complacated and not that reliabble.For the amount you will spend you could do a very good v8 setup that may bolt to stock trans

#17 grossgary

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 06:05 AM

4,000 pounds, huge frontal area, likely to be loaded with passengers, gear, bikes, hitch, food.

the extra grunt is worth it and 3.0's are excellent engines.

they also have timing chains so no periodic maintenance needed.

 

3.0 issues:

replace both serpentine belt pulley bearings - they fail *all the time* and should be considered periodic maintenance items.  they are really easy - 20 minute job.

they occasionally have TPS issues - the new ones from Subaru are an updated part number.  again - easy, move a couple hoses and two screws hold it in place.

3.0 maintenance:

the expensive stock spark plugs are excellent and generally in great condition even at their 100,000 mile replacement intervals

new valve cover gaskets, oil cooler gasket are common oil leak areas.

 

Looks like he figured out that you were looking at turbo specs but in the future - post a link to info that's confusing you and we'll help decipher it. or just ignore the info that says stuff that doesn't make sense when everything else says something different. normal internet protocol.  with a conversion of this scope you should be well adept at wading through info and numbers! 

 

cars101 is maintained by a Subaru guy and has all the spec's, often even side by side like right here: http://www.cars101.c...utback2004.html

2.5 165hp 166tq

3.0 212hp 210tq

wikipedia is fairly useful for rough comparison of numbers too, there's a complete EJ page and EZ's on there too.

or google them both - there's millions of hits.

 

 

I want to use the entire FWD power plant from a Subaru and do a mid-engine conversion into this coach.

i'd be more concerned about the transmission. engine is an easy choice in my eyes.  you want the power to get to the wheels reliably too.

any of the engines you're talking about will bolt right up to older EJ FWD transmissions if that's what you're planning on using.

In the US Subaru's haven't come with FWD transmissions since 1996 so you'll have to use an older FWD transmission. 

they were found in smaller vehicles with small 1.8 and 2.2 liter engines so while they are very reliable they probably aren't the beefiest devices ever made.

a newer trans converted to FWD might be a better fit if it has beefier clutches and internals.

 

t subaru engines they are complacated and not that reliabble.

really? i find them perfectly reliable for my uses.


Edited by grossgary, 12 August 2013 - 06:06 AM.


#18 ivans imports

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:26 AM

Have been doing headgasket after headgasket and bottom ends one after the other yesterday dead engine 06 wrx oil full / clean knocked out no reason. The sixs are stronger but nowere near as strong as a good V8. I do like the way they sound and perform and I have no relliabblity problems. But the subaru fleet suffers from engine failure freequently and lots of engine problems before 150000kms. I know thiss will bug some people but subaru engines are not that strong or reliabble. In one year 80 failed engines mabee i only see the bad ones but i think is more going on. when a stock TBI chev 350 go's 400000kms no problem or a honda or toyota engine gos 400000kms with no head problems. sorry a'm beeing drawn to the dark side!



#19 Tsuru

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 02:15 AM

I am willing to bet that any subaru engine, driven like it was still in its homeland of Japan, would last a lifetime.

this means driving slowly, and not too far.

 

As of 1984 the national speed limit on the highway (in Northern Japan) was 60KPH...

Figure that one out...(in case you don't want to figure, it's roughly 37.282 Miles per hour!)

This may have changed since then,

but taking an engine that was built to handle that sort of Insane (lack of) speed, and bringing it over here (the US) and running it at 55MPH (the National speed limit here back then) would really shorten their lives. They are not high revving beasties, so most of that was solved through gearing, but still the engines were not really built with this sort of punishment in mind.

Of course I'm talking VINTAGE Subaru running gear. 

Modern should (should) be a different story altogether.

 

If I am wrong somebody with the proper knowledge please (respectfully) correct me.

But I am pretty certain of this having spent some time in Northern Japan. It really is a different way of thinking about vehicles.

 

Hyundai had similar issues with its transmissions right up until the year 2000 with its automatics in their Elantra and Tiburon models,

they just couldn't hack the speeds and the distances.

 

Of course Ford Taurus has its share of transmission issues too.

 

falling silent...

Timothy



#20 ivans imports

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:19 AM

It could also be that i live in a extreme road area lots of long steep hills and windy steep hyways most die on hills that are 7% grade or more and that are ten kms long or better and most 1 km from top of hill. Anyway dont let me take your fun away a 3.0 six whould be neat in that thing but be ready for lots of hard work. I have 3 of those sixs here all broken is a very large motor i cant even drag it two ft but they do sound nice. The one engine is 06 tribeca 3.0 with 125000kms burnt valve was runing on 5 missaddjusted from factory ? or problem dont know died early and so many hours to get at valve about 160 bolts to get head off



#21 Ultravan Owners

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 04:36 PM

Sounds like owners may not be maintaining their Subaru on a regular basis?



#22 ivans imports

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:08 AM

Not at all but how many hours dose a valve addjustment on 3.0 six take and who wants that job lol the six is good when it works but any problems you will be looking for anuther engine as the time to repair a six is unrealistic and masive job for any engine ishues






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