Vanagon Sunset

Vanagon Sunset

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Subaru Conversion: Day 1

I figured I'd log some recaps on my progress, mostly to remind myself what I've accomplished each during during the Subie conversion.

A brief back history.

I picked up "Ferdinand" in June and he's an 82' Diesel Vanagon camper.  I wanted a diesel so that I don't have to deal with smog and can go down whatever road I'd like with regards to motor conversion.  After getting him running and driving, I soon realized how slow and underpowered the diesel 1.6L engine really is.  After much discussion with my travel partner (my wife), we agreed that Ferdinand needs a new power plant.

2 months ago, we figured out the financial part of it and began getting our heads around what it will take to convert the van to something a bit more modern.  I researched 1.8t, TDI, M-TDI, Subaru and even upgraded VW waterboxxer motors, but settled on the Subaru 2.5.

I have 3 good vanagon friends, all with Subaru conversions, so the support is strong.

So, last month, I put a deposit down on an engine, to be be reconditioned with new head gaskets, timing belt/water pump/etc.  Then I found a transaxle (stock diesel trans won't work... geared too low and slightly different).  Then started to research conversion kits.

I chose Rocky Mountain Westy for my conversion parts because their product looks amazing and they were the only company that went above and beyond to answer many questions via phone, email and Facebook.  Taking on a task like this is daunting, and I wanted to work with a product that has good support to follow, and they've kept up their reputation quite well.

I'm home and off work for the entire month of January, so it's game on!

So, today... I took delivery of my motor and rebuilt/re-geared transaxle.  The conversion parts arrived last week and my wiring harness is on its way.

Being that this is a diesel van, I have to take things a bit farther and swap out the entire cooling system because the coolant lines on a diesel are smaller, as are the radiator connections.  I also have to add a fuel pump, charcoal canister and a few other things.

I only managed to install the reversed coolant manifold and the motor mounts today after getting the engine home and into the garage and on the engine stand.  Everything takes time and the weather outside is nasty, so I haven't even dove into the van itself yet.  I'll write more about the process as I go for those that might be looking to do the same.


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