Engine Conversion

The VW Wasserboxer engine is notoriously underpowered for Vanagons. We knew we wanted more power and reliability, so an engine conversion was the first project. We decided on a 2.2L Subaru engine, as it is extremely reliable, offered an increase of roughly 145% horsepower, and happens to fit right in the VW engine compartment. We got lucky and found a cheap 1998 Subaru EJ22 engine that was in great shape. Tim did most of the conversion work himself, with some help from his dad. The necessary additional conversion parts include a custom flywheel, adaptor plate, and exhaust system, which Tim bought from Rocky Mountain Westy, conveniently located just up the road in Fort Collins. The following photos show some highlights from the 8-week conversion process.

Unloading the Subaru engineUnloading the Subaru engine

Home made engine hoist Home made engine hoist

New timing beltNew timing belt

Subaru EJ22 Subaru EJ22

Adaptor plate installed Adaptor plate installed

Flywheel installed Flywheel installed

Clutch installed Clutch installed

Fifty pounds of original Subaru wiring Fifty pounds of original Subaru wiring

Mess-o-wires Mess-o-wires

Left over wiring Left over wiring

Engine hoist in place Engine hoist in place.

Tim’s Dad was a huge help in pulling the VW engine and putting the Subaru engine in…all in one long day. Tim's Dad was a huge help in pulling the VW engine and putting the Subaru engine in...all in one long day.

Safety meeting Safety meeting.

Cutting firewall to make room for new coolant routing Cutting firewall to make room for new coolant routing.

Here’s a movie of the first time Tim tried to start the new engine:

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