Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Parts sourcing and costs

Here is the parts list with pictures (courtesy of each vendor), the vendor I am planning to use with a hyperlink to their site, and the current cost of each part. This is not comprehensive but represents the major parts that are necessary for this custom conversion. Additional items will be required to complete the engine and to set up the radiator, the heater cores, and the A/C if I decided to add A/C. I will add parts as the project goes along to maintain this as a comprehensive and up-to-date list as best as possible.
I purchased a used 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.2L naturally aspirated engine, along with ecu, full wiring harness (engine, engine to ecu, and dash) from a local salvage yard. I still need to acquire an altenator, mass air flow sensor, A/C compressor, and ignition system eventually along with various other bits and pieces. The engine was compression tested at 185 psi on all four cylinders and ran well when pulled and had 48,000 miles.
Total Cost $1,000

This is the phase 2 model with OBDII and clocks in at 145 bhp at 5600 rpms and pulls a stout 149 ft-lbs of torque ate 3600 rpms. That is double the stock 70 bhp that the aircooled engine provided!

The two eyeing each other; its like a first date...

Here is a shot of the wiring harness (I get stressed everytime I look at this mess):

And here are the other parts that will need to buy:

Junk Yard

Vanagon Rear Engine Mount Cross Member = $20

Custom fabricate or RJES

Throttle Body Reverser (eng -->1999) or
throttle body reverser02

Induction Manifold Reversal Kit (2000--> eng) : This you can do yourself by flipping the manifold 180* and the flipping the engine wiring harness back 180* so the firing order on teh enjectors remains in the correct order.

Kennedy Engineered Products

Adapter, flexplate and bolts = $480

The adapter is what allows the Subaru engine to bolt to the VW transmission. Since the two parts weren't meant to fit together orginally, an adapter or spacer is placed between the two and has appropriate bolt hole alignment on one side to fit the engine and a different bolt hole alignment to fit the transmission. Note: this picture from Kennedy's site shows a fly wheel for a manual transmission instead of a flexplate for an automatic transmission (that I will need).

Small Car Performance 

Subagon Parts Kit - Automatic Vanagons = $1,495

Hall effect speed sensor kit = $50

Subagon 5qt aluminum oil pan = $330

The shortened oil sump is not necessary, but the stock Subaru oil sump pan hangs pretty low, so if you don't replace it, chances of catching road rocks or other unwanteds compiles. It also reduces approach and departure angles on steep grades or (goodness forbid) 4x4 roads. Shortening the sump while maintain stock oil capacity is the name of the game.

Vanagon stainless exhaust with OE cat = $585

Interface Board = $65

This list should get me started down the road. Most important to the conversion right now is the engine mounting bar, the adapter and flexplate, and the reversed induction manifold. That will allow me to get the engine installed and mounted to the transmission. Then all the small and hard steps begin to make it function appropriately.



As I mentioned previously, there are quite a bit of good places for information regarding this swap, as well as aftermarket companies that make parts or modify parts to complete the conversion. Unfortunately, most are specific to swaps into Vanagons and none are consolidated into a chronological, cohesive guide for Bay conversions.

Here are excellent online forums to research and explore: (check both Type 2 and Performance forums) (from our friends down under) (Richard Jones has great details and parts) (Yahoo Group dedicated to Vanagons)

Tutorials: Restorations and general information) (the source for Type 2s) (Tom Shiels on wiring, transmission, and more)

Part Suppliers and Vendors: (Palmdale, CA) (England) (Tacoma, WA) (Fort Collins, CO) (Boulder, CO) (New York, ??) (Bend, OR)

There may be many more that people have used and found helpful, but these are predominately the sites and companies that I have based my research on. Feel free to leave a comment if there are other sites/resources that would be helpful to put on this list.


Engine Removal

You may be asking yourself: why pull the engine? The answer to that starts with worn piston rings and the first maiden road trip to Santa Fe.

Shortly after we bought the bus, we made plans to drive down to Santa Fe with our two daughters, our dog and a Bus full of camping stuff. The drive down went reasonably well, but we were getting oil spray on the back of the bus. And of course what should have been a 6 hour drive turned into a 10 hour drive. SLOW. Regardless, we arrived.

On the way home, the Bus started to lose power, smoke started exiting the tail pipe, and a constant tat-tat-tat noise was coming from the engine compartment. We limped home from Trinidad to Denver but had a long, slow, hot day doing so.

I parked the Bus in the garage, pulled out my compression gauge and found the following compression results:

Cylinder 1: 107 psi
Cylinder 2: 103 psi
Cylinder 3: 90 psi
Cylinder 4: 60 psi

Stock compression results should be in the 120-130 range with little variation between each cylinder (there are exact numbers and percentages, but I'm not trying to be specific, just general). My results suggested either extremely worn piston rings or a broken ring. Either way, the required fix involved dropping and removing the engine.

So I did.

Getting prepped.

Laying out the tools and starting to dismantle. I followed Richard Atwell's engine removal article and had very few hick-ups along the way.

One last look.

Parts are slowly coming off.

You don't need too many tools when working on an aircooled VW.

Here's the pile of exhaust parts, heater boxes, engine cooling tin and other random bits creating a big heap along the fence.

The actual removal of the engine once the various lines and wires were diconnected and removed went relatively smoothly considering this was my first time doing it. With the help of a neighbor, we pulled the engine in about 3 hours (not including the disconnection of all the parts before getting to bellhousing bolts and engine mount support bar). We ran into difficulty accessing the torque converter to flexplate bolts and couldn't find details about where to access them; lots of stuff about removing the three bolts but not much on how/where (and no, I don't have a Bentley repair manual; I know, shame on me).

We ended up pulling the engine WITH the torque converter still attached to the flexplate; a lot more difficult due to tight spaces. After the fact, I found the access hole hidden in the tin on the top left of the engine. All the oil, grease and grime didn't make it easy to find. Here's a pic for anyone interested:

...picture forth coming...

And she's out! (Bonehead tip: drain the oil before doing his. I know that sounds obvious, but I didn't. I ended up with most of the engine oil on my garage floor. Three bags of kitty litter and about as much time to clean it as it did to pull the engine had me back to normal. Uhg.)

(*Note: this picture was taken after I removed the torque converter)

The Start

This blog is to chronicle the process of pulling the stock 2.0L aircooled engine out of my 1979 VW Westfalia Campmobile Deluxe to replace it with a 2001 Subaru 2.2L watercooled engine.

A lot of documentation and even aftermarket support parts exist for this conversion into the VW Vanagon, which utilized the waterboxer watercooled engine, but very little cohesive details exist on doing this conversion with a late model Bay Bus as I have. So, in an effort to support the community, I hope to create a chronological account of my trials, tribulations, parts collection, and engineering to help others interested in doing this conversion to a late Bay model VW Bus.
* Photo courtesy of the Amazing Mr. Styles singer, song writer and lead guitarist of The Odyssey Favor