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VW Bay Window Bus - Subaru Powered

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Started mocking up the board. It fits neatly into one of the cabinets in the rear of the Bus.

 

BoardMockupA_zps7536808c.jpg

 

 

BoardMockupB_zps5291eb40.jpg

 

I've also spent quite a bit of time researching and testing the E-throttle over the last couple of weeks. I think I'm finally comfortable with what needs to happen and what to expect. Next is to finish up the board, install it, and tackle the remainder of the wiring.

 

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That's an amazingly clean job. I've been planning similar ideas for my '79 Westy for 13 years. Especially to recycle the sealed engine compartment airflow idea from the original design.

Any reason you went with electric fans as opposed to one running of the crankshaft?

Have you fired it up yet? I'm looking forward to seeing if the cooling is sufficient. If yours works out, I'm starting this the next day.

 

One reason I was hoping for an all engine compartment compact design is the hope to be able to switch out engines quickly. Everybody else's solution of putting the radiators over the battery makes it an awfully permanent solution. If the radiators is mounted on a bracket connected to the engine you can just remove the whole thing for maintainable. Or go aircooled for w/e.

 

Thx for sharing.

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That's an amazingly clean job.

 

Thank you.

 

Any reason you went with electric fans as opposed to one running of the crankshaft?

 

Several:

  • The Subaru is not set up for a mechanical fan so you would have to construct a fan drive
  • As I see it the only practical orientation of the radiator and airflow would require pushing air through the radiator. Most engine driven fans are built as pullers, not pushers.
  • Pulling air through a radiator is generally more effective than pushing
  • It would require the radiator to be in the vertical position directly behind the engine. That equals crappy maintenance access to the engine
  • You would still need to route the discharge air without a visual impact to the Bus
  • Electric fans are generally quieter and more efficient

I can think of a few more reasons but I think we’re already past a solid ‘heck no’ :-D

 

Have you fired it up yet?

 

Still working on wiring. It’ll be a while yet before its running.

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The engine is finally wired. The only wiring left at the rear is the battery and starter.

Wired3_zps22edb389.png
 

Wired2_zps14981773.png

 

Wired1_zps5fc6538c.png

 

 

I have about a dozen or so wires left to run to the front. The only remaining challenge are the foot position sensors.

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OK, i'm convinced that electric fans are better now. Thx ;)

 

is an expansion tank going on the left side where the radiator cap is?

 

Yup, around the corner behind the tail-light along with a carbon canister.

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I've completed a number of smaller tasks since my last update, such as installing a DBW Infiniti G37 throttle pedal, completing the Vi-PEC wiring, and so on, but the real news is that she started up for the first time tonight :burnout:

 

 

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I've completed a number of smaller tasks since my last update, such as installing a DBW Infiniti G37 throttle pedal, completing the Vi-PEC wiring, and so on, but the real news is that she started up for the first time tonight :burnout:

 

Can hardly wait to see a vid of it purr-n    :2thumbs:

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This is inspiring me. We just picked up a 1980 Westifalia for cheap from a friend who did not have the time to mess with it. 

Its actually in really good shape but that air cooled 65hp motor HAS GOT TO GO. :)

Biggest issue I see is trying to get a radiator in it without having to cut the front up and install a grill, runs coolant hoses etc.

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This is inspiring me. We just picked up a 1980 Westifalia for cheap from a friend who did not have the time to mess with it. 

Its actually in really good shape but that air cooled 65hp motor HAS GOT TO GO. :)

Biggest issue I see is trying to get a radiator in it without having to cut the front up and install a grill, runs coolant hoses etc.

 

In my opinion the cooling is the most difficult part of the conversion and I actually like the looks of the factory grille in the Vanagon, so I’d be really tempted to put in the effort to retro-fit the later model stock stuff. I’m sure you already know this, but there are literally hundreds of Vanagans with Subarus. It looks like a pretty straight forward swap for those that came water cooled.

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Video as promised. Sounds a lot like an air-cooled V-dub :-D

 

 

 

It’s idling fast in the video – about 1600 RPM. I’m still sorting out the E-Throttle, which doubles as my fast idle control.

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As I hinted at in a previous post, I was getting E-Throttle errors that kept me from having control of the throttle. After working with Vi-PEC, they  provided updated firmware & software and this appears to have cleared up my issues. Thursday evening was the first time I had proper control of both the throttle and idle speed. Friday night my Wife and I both drove the Bus for the first time... on our long driveway. Put big smiles on our faces. It showed all the signs of being lively and responsive with almost no tuning time. Even left four foot long 'scratches' with very little effort.


 


Now the bad news. I started up my laptop to make some adjustments and... no screen. Black. plugged in an external monitor and it's black as well. It was booting up and allowing me to log in, but wouldn't run a monitor. My assumption is that the video card has gone belly up. Anyhow, I ordered a new laptop yesterday, but it's a custom build and will probably be about two weeks before it arrives. There's plenty to do in the meantime though. I still need to wrap up the rest of the wiring... lights, gauges, etc., as well as see to a few mechanical items like CV joints, brakes, and so on. Guessing 4 to 6 weeks before I take it out on the road.

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     Wrapped up the rest of the chassis and instrument wiring, installed new retractable seatbelts (original belts were non-retractable and when I started installing them I was suddenly reminded of how often I cursed them in my other Bus’s. Life is too short to screw with fixed belts), repacked the CV joints/new boots, changed the transaxle fluid, adjusted & bled the brakes, and a handful of other miscellaneous maintenance items.

 

     I put about 30 miles on the Bus. A couple issues have surfaced... the left front brake caliper is retracting the pads too much causing significant pulling to the right while braking. The alternator is looking to go belly up. It’s charging fine until it gets hot, then shuts down. When it cools down it starts charging again. And my WBO2 sensor is reading artificially lean. Need to get a new sensor coming. I’ve been tuning with my butt for now, just to get it drivable. I’m debating on picking up an NGK AFX controller. Anybody have experience with the NGK?

 

     I suppose you want to know how it runs? It runs FANTASTIC. I’m very pleased with the power. Even with the hobo tuning its coming around nicely. It’s geared a little too low (it’ll take off from a standstill in 3rd) and goes through the gears rapidly. As far as cooling goes, it’s probably too early to tell. Ambient temps have been hovering around 90 degrees and the highest coolant temp I’ve seen is 201. That was when leaning on it HARD at low speeds and then stopping, idling, making some adjustments, and repeating. Most cars would struggle to keep temps down to the stat in this scenario. With more normal driving it typically wants to run around 190 degrees (thermostat is 173 degrees).

 

     And I guess I should post a pic of the G37 electric pedal. It fits reasonably well. Stock vs G37…

 

StockVWPedal_zpsde86617e.jpg

 

G37Pedal_zps9c858964.jpg

 

 

 

     I’ll post another video soon.

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Thanks guys!

 

     It doesn’t look like my cooling strategy is going to play out. On 90-ish degree days the coolant temp is creeping up to around 210 at 60mph (with all 3 fans running). In some fairness the drum brakes are binding over extended driving time. Still, there isn’t enough headroom to make me warm and fuzzy.

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