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ShawnW

My new project, Air Cooled Vanagon to Subaru EJ22 Conversion

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Last week I bought a 1981 VW Vanagon Westfalia. It is air cooled. It will get converted to run a 1990-94 Subaru Legacy engine.

 

Today I bought the intake, wiring harness, ecu and airbox to install into the Van. Tomorrow I will probably order the parts from Kennedy (http://www.kennedyeng.com). I hope to have the Van rolling by Thanksgiving weekend.

 

Photos of the van to come.

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Hey Shawn, I don't know if Emilly and Rick still have their's or not but if they do it might help to be able to see one that is already put together. Can't wait to see this one. Later, Tim

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Great purchase! Good luck on the conversion too. There is a bunch of great info i got when I was going to do mine. The only thing I have to say about starting with an aircooled vanagon is that you also have to "plumb" in a heater core too. I'm sure this is no biggie for you as you are going to have to run water pipes too. Also remember....vanagon diesels are watercooled too so they are great to rob parts from.

 

Have fun and take lots of pics....we want to see!

 

Matt

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Good job on aquiring a Van! those things are super, and EJ's just make them that much better! Look for the VW show that shows up in Aurora area (staged at some High School down there) i been going for a few yrs now, and only seen a few conversions. Let me know if you can show there, i'll be sure and come down!

 

Now for Super to Sube-er! (ha, that was cheesy i know.)

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Great idea for a forum. Previously, it looked like there was some confusion as to where to post things like this.

 

Keep us updated on your project. I've been considering a similar venture and would like to know how it goes.

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You finally got it!

 

Congrats! :banana:

 

We want to see pics...

Keep us posted

Glenn,

82 SubaruHummer

01 Forester

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Ok not a dig on anyone but a serious question. Why does everyone use the EJ22 or maybe EJ25. Why not throw in the JDM STI engine, EG20 TT or SVX H6, all available for very reasonable prices. I think a 280Hp Vanagon would be a serious psycho sleeper and if your going through all the trouble of conversion, why not go all the way?

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I'm guessing it's still a cost issue for which engine to use. (I guess an SVX engine wouldn't be too bad, but fitment would likely be an issue.) You can get a wrecked EJ22 car for a pittance, with everything needed to make the engine run. I find it hard to believe that you could score any sort of JDM Sti or twin-turbo engine with everything it needs to run for a price in the same ballpark. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

No offense to anybody here 'cause I'm the same way, but in general, people on this board don't have a big wad of cash to throw around, and when something can be done cheaper, they'll do it, even if it means sacrificing performance. Also, to a lot of the old-gen guys, an EJ22 is a pretty healthy power increase from what we're used to.

 

Just my two cents.

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I have seen 2ltr turbos go for about 1k, then you need engine management for about $500~1300. So fairly speaking for under 2k you could be sporting at least 250Hp in a Vanagon.

 

I am looking at this from a pure novelty point of view not so much a practicality or economy view.

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For me its the transmission issue that stops me from putting a performance type engine in. The VW 4 speed trans is used to under 90 HP and I dont think I want to risk putting the 250 HP challenge to it. Im going to put a 153HP ej22 in it and I think thats way plenty. Putting a turbo Subaru engine in would be bad as the turbocharger would be right next to the clutch slave cylinder...im not really into losing my clutch while climbing in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Fuel economy is also a concern these days with gas being 2 bucks a gallon for regular unleaded.

 

And yes, the Ej22 is also being used because of cost. I can go to the Junkyard and get any general intake or wiring type part for next to nothing but finding an SVX or turbo impreza/legacy in the junkyard around here isn't easy.

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Conversion was going to happen this weekend but the parts from Kennedy haven't arrived yet. No biggie, just keeps me from being able to drive it back for Turkey day.

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Parts arrived yesterday! Just gotta clean and build the heads and install them for the next step in the project.

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This is getting exciting! I have convinced the wife that a Vanagon with Sooby power is the way to go :brow:

 

To see some way cool vanagon conversions, check out www.smallcar.com They show a Vanagon Syncro with an SVX H6 installed and another with a WRX swap.

 

Cheers,

Chris

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shame you did not find one of the rare syncro 4wd vanagons

hehe

there is a truck version of the vanagon runnign around one of the magazines that has a small block chevy in it with the syncro 4wd as well if i remember correctly

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Couple of questions:

 

Are you going to or do you need to modify the oil pan for ground clearence?

 

I am assuming your (early) Vanagon was air cooled, are you going to use later

modle parts for the cooling system?

 

I for one really appreciate your post/input, as this is my plan for the ultimate

(affordable) family hauler :brow:

 

Cheers,

Chris

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Couple of questions:

 

Are you going to or do you need to modify the oil pan for ground clearence?

 

I am assuming your (early) Vanagon was air cooled, are you going to use later

modle parts for the cooling system?

 

I for one really appreciate your post/input, as this is my plan for the ultimate

(affordable) family hauler :brow:

 

Cheers,

Chris

Not going to modify the oil pan, just going to be aware of its location when driving on uneven terrain and just see how it goes dent wise as I drive it and modify if I really have to. The engine is so accessible I would be tempted to throw a spare oil pan into the car for that really rainy day and just nurse it back home if the worst ever happens.

 

The later model parts being used thusfar are the OEM Vanagon radiator, overflow bottle and maybe the heater core if it seems reasonably easy to retrofit and pull from the junkyard machine I just found today. Going to use Home Depot 1.25" copper house pipe to go from the front to the rear and possibly similar solution for the heater core by running smaller copper pipe front to rear there too.

 

One comment I will make is the Kennedy parts have been outstanding. I am incredibly impressed with the exhaust header quality and design as well as the engine crossmember. I think it would be nearly impossible to do the conversion in a timely manner without their wiring diagram and its $20 well spent for the blueprint and instructions.

 

Today's biggest obsticle overcome was making the rear engine wall allow for the air intake hose to come out of the throttlebody as the Air cooled engine has a different rear wall than the water cooled. Actually chopped a portion of the wall out in order to overcome this. Would only have been easier to do with the engine out but it really looked like everything was just going to bolt in and work. Its definately a learning process doing this on an Air cooled one.

 

Tomorrow it may get its first attempt at a crank over. That will be something to grin about.

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Wow looking pretty good there Shawn, was wondering when you were going to get us some pics of the build.

I wasn't holding out on you. :) Just started thursday at 1:00.

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