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VW Bay Window Bus - Subaru Powered


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Video as promised. Sounds a lot like an air-cooled V-dub       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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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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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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How many CFM are your fans rated for?

Would it be possible to just install more powerful fans?

Is the any room to the right of left of engine for another long slim radiator?

 

This brings be back to the idea of a belt driven fan. If you could set of the center fan on a belt driven system (with the belt turning 90 degree like the original corvair fan, you could increase the speed and thus volume of the fan.

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How many CFM are your fans rated for?

 

500cfm each

 

 

Would it be possible to just install more powerful fans?

 

I have not found any 8” fans that deliver substantially more than 500cfm. The only fans I’ve found advertised for more I don’t trust (too many CFM @ too little amps).

 

 

 

Is the any room to the right of left of engine for another long slim radiator?

 

I don’t believe the answer is more radiator. I believe it’s a matter of getting more air through.

 

 

This brings be back to the idea of a belt driven fan. If you could set of the center fan on a belt driven system (with the belt turning 90 degree like the original corvair fan, you could increase the speed and thus volume of the fan.

 

You are probably right, but I’d rather have a belly mounted radiator than to do that.

 

I have a few ideas rattling around in my head. I just need to settle on which one I want to pursue.

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I have not found any 8” fans that deliver substantially more than 500cfm. The only fans I’ve found advertised for more I don’t trust (too many CFM @ too little amps).

Being from the air cooled world I know nothing of fan reliability, summit has a couple of 8" fans with 2000+ CFM, but you're right, the amp draw is similar to the 500 CFM ones.

 

 

I don’t believe the answer is more radiator. I believe it’s a matter of getting more air through.

absolutely, seems more fan power is the only answer

 

You are probably right, but I’d rather have a belly mounted radiator than to do that.

nooo, don't give up on the compact design!

I have a few ideas rattling around in my head. I just need to settle on which one I want to pursue.

can't wait to see them come to fruition 

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