Here's the project in a nutshell:
1982 Diesel Vanagon "Ferdinand" converted to a 2001 Subaru Engine:
|Ferdinand the Van|
I ordered up the motor and most of the parts during my last "at sea" work phase so that they'd be ready for me when I got home.
|motor and trans mated up|
-The wiring harness and motor came from the donor car at the local subaru wreckers and was re-wired by Rocky Mountain. They did a great job and everything worked the first time.
-The motor (SOHC 2.5) was from a 2001 Subaru Legacy GT was to be "reconditioned" with new head gaskets, timing belt and water pump. More on that later.
-The transaxle came from a local wrecker who has lots of vanagons and I had it rebuilt and regeared from a local trans expert who specialized in VW transaxles. I changed 3rd gear to a 1.14 and 4th up to .77.
-The remaining parts of the puzzle came from GoWesty, VanCafe, RSFab (Big Shot Shifter), etc.
|Subaru Conversion Kit from RMW|
Here's some of the stumbling blocks I encountered along the way.
RAIN! California had record rainfall this January and since my van doesn't fit in the garage, I was working on the side yard with a small carport that covers only half of the van. I used a large EZ up when possible to keep me dry.
COLD: When it wasn't raining, we had some 30 degree mornings that slowed my bones a little. I'm 47 years old and I don't move like I used to, so needless to say, the coldness took its toll. Thank goodness for my propane heater that puts out some serious BTUs.
I didn't originally plan on replacing all of the cooling system, but came to realize that the diesel had smaller diameter coolant lines, which then led to a replacement of the radiator as well. Since you can't find replacement radiators for diesels too easily, I upgraded to a newer model and had to source the mounts from a newer van and fan shroud and order some new hoses in the process. I also had to rewire the fan sensor on the radiator. Not difficult, just time consuming.
Getting the harness in was pretty easy, although getting tucked and placed properly took little time and patience. I just had to solder a few wires, run a few others and connect a few things here and there. Super concise instructions from Rocky Mountain Westy and it all went pretty smoothly. They had awesome turnaround on the harness by getting it back to me in about 2-3 weeks.
My shift linkage would not work with the new trans and so I then had to source a whole linkage set up from a donor and replace all that as well, then replace shift balls on the trans, etc.
|figuring out the wiring harness|
Once the harness was in and the motor/trans were mated, it was time to install.
The install went pretty well. We busted that out in about 4 hours (3 of us) and it lined up pretty good and solid with only minor mods to the van itself so that the carrier bar would fit nice and perfect on the frame rails. The rest of the connections took time and a few more parts orders.
|Mounted up in the van|
|fellow Subie-Vanagon friends helping with the install|
|Stainless Steel Coolant lines|
Then I had to add on the RMW exhaust system (extremely sexy parts btw) and get my battery connected up. I moved the battery from the engine bay to under the back seat. Pretty simple process, just time consuming. I plan on adding an auxiliary battery and solar panel later as well.
|laying out the exhaust parts|
|Battery and ECU under the rear bench|
|Big Shot Shifter from RSFab|
|Realization of everything being toast|
|New Lobro CVs and Rockford boots ready to go.|
|coolant leak coming from the water pump|