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ShawnW

My new project, Air Cooled Vanagon to Subaru EJ22 Conversion

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I work with a pair of guys that have done Subysizing of Vanagons. We just finished putting a 97 EJ22 into a Westfallia. the two biggest snags were the cooling system (kinked hose in the front restricting flow), and wiring (routed the on engine harness too close to hot coolant pipes, and it melted an injector wire, shorting out the ECU). He used a SmallCar engine mount, and the Kenedy plate for the transmission. He also used a Kenedy intake setup which worked real well, and reversed the coolant crossover pipe to better match up with the Vanagon cooling system. The conversion puts a whole new life into the Vanagon. As for why not to put more powerful Subie engines into Vanagons, the answer is twofold:

1) the older engines are cheaper, and more reliable (interference versus non interference. . .)

2) what are you going to do with the extra power? There is such a thing as overkill. The suspension on a Vanagon will not handle the kind of driving the more powerful engines encourage. . .

 

The Vanagon is a box on wheels (the Westy is a well laid out box on wheels, but still a box on wheels), and the weak link has always been the really crappy engine that they saddled this thing with. Putting a Subie engine in the bay makes for a much livelier vehicle, and you can go up hills better (and keep up with traffic), making the Vanagon an entirely different beast. I hear Vanagon engines all day as well as Subie engines. When the Subie engine fired up (on the first try too!) it was a much sweeter sound than anything I had heard coming from a Vanagon until then. Working at that shop has afforded me with the opurtunity to do much more intensive repairs/procedures on Subarus than I would have gotten otherwise, as I'm the shops Subaru expert. The other two guys are Vanagon experts, and great fans of Subaru engines (for good reason)

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Coming along more, really pouring on the steam trying to get it done in time to drive to WCSS7. Should be some nice surprises for people I hope.

 

Progress tonight:

3rd eye wiring done.

Tach wired, autometer "monster" is very over the top but it cracks me up and works so who cares. In stock at Checker also helped decision.

CEL wired. Replaced "EGR" light with CEL. Operational thru using the blue with green striped wire off the OXS box found next to the spare tire holder.

Speedo cable fixed, broke it swapping in the radiator earlier in project.

AIr filter on order still hasn't arrived yet.

Clutch master cyl replacement seems good.

Replaced instrument cluster.

 

Failure tonight:

Air cooled vans dont have the lip on the rear that the coolant jug goes onto. Can't retrofit it there so gotta figure out where to put it now. Space becoming premium under "hood".

Subaru temp gauge wiring not for faint of heart and electronic novice. Couldnt get a reading on the outback with my gauge so its obviously not going to work on the VW.

 

Remaining work to be done:

Fill coolant

Coolant jugs

Coolant temp gauge. Not sure how to do this in an inexpensive way. Tips appreciated. Obsticles include the length of the vehicle engine to drivers seat as aftermarket gauges dont account for a VW van.

Order lug bolts for front, may have too short of ones right now.

Smog check

License plates

Bumper and related trim

Shifter bushing

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Fill coolant-done

Coolant jugs-done

Coolant temp gauge. Not sure how to do this in an inexpensive way. Tips appreciated. Obsticles include the length of the vehicle engine to drivers seat as aftermarket gauges dont account for a VW van.--DONE!

Order lug bolts for front, may have too short of ones right now.--CHANGED WHEELS, DONE. Miss the bigger tires I had before but these look good. (Directional Toyo's.)

Smog check-closed till Monday

License plates-Monday....

Bumper and related trim---Sunday

Shifter bushing---not seeming to be a problem anymore after clutch master cyl replacement in past week.

 

Problem left (BIG!) is that the Volts are at 12, not getting a charge. :( Replaced alt with reman and had main battery tested and still not having luck.

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Shawn,

You might try an electric temp guage.Mine in my EA81 powered 61 vw bus works pretty well and they can be han on ebxx pretty reasonably.

nice project

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Shawn,

You might try an electric temp guage.Mine in my EA81 powered 61 vw bus works pretty well and they can be han on ebxx pretty reasonably.

nice project

 

Thats exactly what I ended up with, thanks. Got it at Autozone for $55.

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Very close to done, a heat shield and some touchups left. It passed smog today and I will plate it tomorrow morning. Probably leave tomrrow night but just put like 100 miles on it and check things over for the night and decide if were going to make it okay or turn back.

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Go! man Go!

 

I wish I could help.

 

Good Luck,

Glenn

82 SubaruHummer

01 Forester

 

Maybe we can say hi as were going thru SLC? Not sure what time we'd be thru yet but do you have my cell # from last time we were in town?

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Maybe we can say hi as were going thru SLC? Not sure what time we'd be thru yet but do you have my cell # from last time we were in town?

 

Shawn,

 

Musta lost it... :confused:

 

I'll P.M. you.

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Well I gotta be positive but I am peeved at the Vanagon right now. I am going to come to WCSS7 In a vanagon that resembles a White 97 Subaru outback instead. Somehow, it seems to lack the Subaru charm of the Vanagon even though its 100 percent Subaru. Oh well no more "crying" I will just have to consider regrouping when I get back, do some actual test runs before I try a 21 hour drive with it, and maybe bring it to MW3.

 

I departed last night and made it almost 3 miles before it decided to try to boil over in classic unburped VW Van form. Except I had it burped so I dont get it. I drove around for 2 days in happily burped fashion so now I wonder if the thermo is sticking or something.

 

I parked in a bank parking lot, pulled the rear up onto a curb, and made an attempt at burping it. No dice unless you count the hot coolant spray in my doc marten sandals trying to melt the bottom of my foot off as I danced around like I was trying to make the sky dump rain. Maybe the secret to driving a Subaru Vanagon is driving it in the winter or rain?

 

It (and me LOL) cooled down enough to coach it home and I tried burping it this morning again to no avail. Even on a steep incline and with repeated burping attempts I am not getting it. I have to wonder if the heater circuit is leaking or not pressurizing enough, thermo, radiator, etc is bad? HRM.....

 

So if youre wondering, is he still coming, the answer is yes. Im going to take my EJ22 converted outback. I have the CB in the car if anybody is wanting to talk nearby.

 

If anybody wants to steal my toaster I will let you know my address. :)

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I think its a flush and fill tee I installed having a pressure leak. Time to install a piece of copper tube in its place and try again.

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Hello,

 

I am new to this site. I am doing a Subaru Conversion on a 1982 AC Westfalia. I was looking at your post. I can not see the pictures. Is there a particular area where the pictures are stores. Today, I found a 1984 Vanagon at the Pick-A-Part yard. I was able to take off the radiator, coolant reservoir, heater core and coolant pipes, etc. I got the radiator relay and the wire harness for the heater core and fan.  Is there anything else that I need for this conversion?

 

Thanks for providing all the information.

 

Manny

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