[Vwdiesel] [TDI-conversion] What engine would you want?

Terry Briggs vbriggs at stny.rr.com
Sat Mar 14 05:24:51 PDT 2009

I was checking out a web site several years ago when I still had my  
wasserboxer '86 vanagon and came across a web site in Australia that  
were converting vanagons to a 3.8 ltr v-6. Apparently they have an  
engine variant of the buick 3.8 that has an alum block.. A good bit  
lighter than the American version. Anyways they had good luck with the  
conversion, very simple to do. Apparently the vanagon automatic tranny  
can handle the added torque. I considered doing it with a regular 3.8  
and just beefing the rear suspension but got t-boned before I ordered  
the adapter plate for the tranny.
On Mar 11, 2009, at 3:48 PM, Scott Daniel - Turbovans wrote:

> Engine conversion in a 78 Bus..........for this big South American  
> trip........
> what immediately pops into my mind is your generic Rabbit/Golf/Jetta  
> 1.8 liter inline 4 gas engine.
> 3 possible fuel systems - carb, EFI or CIS and CSI-E.
> I recommend the EFI  1988 jetta for example..........1.8 liter,  
> hydraulic  valve lifters, 8 valves per cylinder...........
> about 100 hp.  Easy fuel system to live with.
> Has a nice 'real head gasket' ( unlike joke waterboxer vangon 'not  
> really real head gaskets ) cast iron block, very common engine, cheap  
> to buy used.
> One vanagon guy claims 23 mpg with his in a manual trans Vanagon, and  
> a high of 27 mpg once.
> I'd probably go for installing it pretty upright in your van. If you  
> know about the Mexican Bay Bus.........that they made up  
> until.........
> 2002 or something ............those have a radiator on the nose, and  
> an inline four standing straight up and down in the back........
> There might be lot of those in Mexico.........and very, very related  
> to what you could build your 78 into........
> thus parts would be readily available...........some creativity might  
> be needed there............but you'd be right in the genre of inline  
> four water-cooled VW Buses this way, for that part of the world.
> it's one of VW's better engines.
> 'ALL' ........of VW's air-cooled engines, their diesels ( later ones  
> are better - but I've seen countless blown to shreds 1.6 NA diesel  
> vanagon engines ) and their water boxer vanagon  
> engines...............all weak compared to benchmark long-liffed  
> engine like Toyota's have.......
> or even fords or Volvos, Nissans etc.
> But their inline four rabbit / golf engine isn't bad at all.
> No particular weakness.....nothing 'fundamentally' lame or weak.  You  
> can over head it, or neglect the timing belt forever , sure .......but  
> if you have take care of it............darn good engine. Not the most  
> power in the world........
> in a vanagon a 100 hp 8 valve 1.8 is 'ok' .............not rippin'  
> powerful, but more or less adequate.
> Done deal in my mind...........if I think of a non-stock engine for  
> what you're thinking of.
> All VW related too.........that can't hurt.
> I'm gonna pick up my 'new' 87 jetta 16 valve 1.8 with CIS-E fuel  
> injection Friday, that will find it's way into my personal vanagon,  
> when I find time, whenever that might  be.  123 hp at 5,800 rpm  
> ..............should make a nice little engine.
> Them's my thoughts  !
> Scott
> www.turbovans.com
> Vanagon engine conversion specialist, Baja veteran.
>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: Dave Cook
>   To: vanagons-with-vw-inline-4-cylinder-gas-engines at googlegroups.com  
> ; TDI-Conversion Group ; VW Diesel Group ; Audi-VW-Diesels Group ;  
> Buskatiers Group
>   Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 9:41 PM
>   Subject: [TDI-conversion] 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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M.I. 6
Custom Design and Fabrication
2576 King Circle
Corning, New York 14830
Vbriggs at stny.rr.com

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