[Vwdiesel] What engine would you want?

Patrick Dolan pmdolan at sasktel.net
Wed Mar 11 07:14:57 PDT 2009

Taking an orphan deep into Central and South America?  Can't recommend that.

First: I would SERIOUSLY consider a diesel Vanagon with a 1.6 or 1.9TD swap.  Start with a vehicle designed for THAT installation.  You will be $$$$$ ahead at the start, and can be supported on the road with ease.  Diesel fuel is variable, but diesel engines don't particularly give a damn.

Second:  if you are stuck on the '78, I would swap out the 2.0 for a 1641 or 1776 Type I engine with a pair of Solex/Kadrons and fairly low compression.  Personally, I would stay with the 2.0, but would do a complete rebuild (at about 8:1), but I have the advantage of being a factory-trained VW mechanic when that engine was new, and have built literally hundreds since.  If you want something that a roadside Mexican repair shop can easily fix, the Type 1 fills the bill.  HOWEVER, if either engine is built properly to begin with, it is a very unlikely event to do ANYTHING with them.  

A lot of this depends on your own skill level and ingenuity.  I would NEVER trust a repair shop in downtown big city NA with my VW, never mind a completely unknown quantity in a foreign land. Yes, I have driven in rural Mexico.

Good luck - Pat

----- Original Message -----
From: Dave Cook <davevw at yahoo.com>
Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 10:41 pm
Subject: [Vwdiesel] What engine would you want?

> First, sorry for those of you who get this in more than one group, 
> but I figured the varied groups would yield varied results and 
> thoughts.
> Anyway...
> A few years ago, buddy and I attempted to drive my '78 bus to 
> Alaska after graduating from college.  After a couple breakdowns, 
> we ended up turning around and coming home, vowing to do it again 
> sometime.
> Well, we both are currently looking for work, and the conversation 
> has gone back to the idea of another trip, and to do it right this 
> time.  For the past couple years or so, we've talked about the Pan-
> American Highway, going deep into South America.
> The bus does still have the stock, 2-liter, fuel injected engine.  
> That runs pretty well (assuming I figure out why it currently 
> won't start...) though I'm sure it is probably pretty worn.
> So, an engine conversion isn't out of the question.  The question 
> would be, what engine?  I would prefer it to be something out of a 
> VW, mostly because I'm pretty familiar with many different VW 
> engines, and have all sorts of manuals.
> Things to consider (that I've thought of so far) would be:
> *Reliability!
> *Ease of repair, and finding parts in South America if necessary
> *Ability to limp along for awhile if necessary
> *Fuel availability
> *Power and Economy
> *Other considerations I haven't considered?
> Also, we were talking about selling sponsorships/ad space on the 
> side of the bus.  Of course, there will be a blog with lots of 
> pics, including pics of the bus.  If anyone has any leads here, 
> that would be much appreciated!
> Thoughts?
> If nothing else, hopefully this will spur on some conversations in 
> some otherwise quiet groups.
> Dave Cook
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