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Old 06-25-2012, 05:17 AM   #1
Hodakaguy OP
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VW Syncro Westfalia - Build Log with Pics

For years I've wanted a Syncro Westy and a few months ago I was lucky enough to pick up a clean low mile (47K) one owner 90 Syncro My father and I split ownership on the Syncro and decided to build it up to be our camping vehicle.

I'll add photo's of the process as I start modifying and doing maint on the Westy. We decided on a list of items that we wanted to add/change to fit our plans.

Engine: I changed the fuel lines, fuel reg, plugs and wires and the stock engine runs like a champ...But. Looking for reliability and a little more HP for high elevation travel we decided to do a engine swap. After doing quite a bit of research we settled on the Subaru 2.5L. My wife drives a forester with this engine so I'm well familiar with it (rebuilt the heads etc a couple months ago).

Conversion Kit: I decided to go with the Rocky Mountain Westy kit. I like the design of the engine mount, exhaust system, etc. Can't wait to start the installation process...more to follow soon.

Other Items: Install a Propex heater, Upgrade the cooling lines, Upgrade suspension and shocks, install a SA Grill, Bumpers/Tire Carriers and other small misc items.


Here's a couple pictures of the Westy in stock form.








A couple weeks ago I picked up the first of the big parts, a 2006 Subaru 2.5L with all the needed parts. The engine has 60K miles on it, I will go ahead and install a new timing belt, water pump, idlers etc while the engine is on the stand. Yikes! 41lbs of wiring!!




More goodies arriving. Received the Fox Shocks and new 16" wheels/BFG's.






6-22-12 I'm suppose to be working on a couple house projects today...but I woke up early and was able to sneak in a little Syncro play :-) Decided to get the new tires installed to see what they looked like, I won't be driving it much till the engine/suspension gets installed so the larger tires shouldn't be a problem for now.




The original owner had the vehicle undercoated when they bought it, it really did a decent job in keeping corrosion at bay under the bus. It did spend quite a bit of time in Alaska on gravel roads so there is some rock chip damage along the bottom rocker panels, I'll be addressing that after we get all the upgrades installed.




Nice little lip forming on the rotor, looks like new rotors will be in the works. I'd like to do a big brake upgrade, might just re-build stock for now and do that down the road.




Not Bad...can't wait to see it with the new suspension bits installed!




Power Windows. I'm not a huge power window fan in older vehicles, when we purchased the Syncro the passenger side window wasn't working, although the drivers side was working great. Fast forward a month and both windows were inoperable. To make matters worse the AC is out of charge and I don't want to spend time fixing it till after the Subaru swap. Eventually I'm going to replace the power windows with manual units...now it's in the 90's and something needs to be done!

I decided to remove the drivers side regulator and have a look at what's going on.




Door Panel removed.




Plastic removed. There are some good threads on regulator removal/repair on Samba...Thanks!




All the plastic parts look to be in excellent cond.




And here's the problem. The rivet broke that holds the black plastic guide on the bottom of the regulator. The plastic piece is in great shape...this might be a easy fix!






All good here.




And here's the problem. When the rivet broke it allowed the tension on the cable to relax...allowing the cable to turn itself into a rats nest! The cable is shot. All the plastic parts in the gear box seem to be in great shape.






I took the assy to a couple bike shops today to see if they could make another cable for it but they couldn't....after doing a little looking at some industrial supply shops I think I might be able to make up my own cable. All the cable that I found was slightly smaller than the OEM cable, and I couldn't find any cable ends/crimps that were small enough. I'll try and fabricate my own ends and solder them to the cables.

More work tomorrow.

Hodakaguy
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:18 AM   #2
Hodakaguy OP
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Picked up a permanent fix to my power windows :-)



Installed the drivers side manual window regulator yesterday. Cleaned the regulators then packed them with Sil-Glyde and they are operating as smooth as butter :-).

Regulator installed in the door




I was going to mark/cut the hole for the manual regulator but it looks like VW already did it for me . Just remove the tape on the back of the panel and instant hole.




Here's a picture showing the location of the manual regulator hole (located with finger) compared to the electric switch hole. I was going to cover the electric hole with a fold down cup holder...but they are pretty close and it looks like the window crank will hit the cup holder if I went that route. Going to have to scratch the head on this one for a bit and see what I come up with to cover the hole...want it to look professional and not a afterthought.




More to come...need to get back to driveway work :(

Hodakaguy
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:29 AM   #3
a1fa
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I am so jealous... I envy the dent free body...
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:27 AM   #4
A-Bone
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I can't believe you didn't want to put that 6 cylinder in it if it is a Syncro???
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:50 AM   #5
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Looking forward to seeing more! I owned a 2wd H2O Westy for a few years but always wanted a Syncro. Vanagons, Westy's, Eurovans and even Syncro's are quite common in my town. Saw/heard a smooth running Diesel Syncro last week, presumably a TDI conversion.

I won't ask what you paid but around here a clean Syncro is usually over $20K .... running or not.

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Old 06-25-2012, 11:59 AM   #6
Ricardo Kuhn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Bone View Post
I can't believe you didn't want to put that 6 cylinder in it if it is a Syncro???

I also wonder why.. the H6 is such a much better engine, but i'm sure you have your reasons

Ps: I also dream about a Syncro for many years, way before I even learn how to drive.

PsII: Mothion pro sell kits to make your own cables.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:52 PM   #7
Hodakaguy OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardo Kuhn View Post
I also wonder why.. the H6 is such a much better engine, but i'm sure you have your reasons

Ps: I also dream about a Syncro for many years, way before I even learn how to drive.

PsII: Mothion pro sell kits to make your own cables.
The H6 is a great engine, love the Timing chain, no head gasket issues and a boat load of HP/torque....but

The H6 is a lot of power for the stock drive train and will eventually cause problems if you dont spend some money beafing up the trans, the vanagons gearing is also poorly suited to the H6....more money on a re-gear. My friend has a H6 powered Westfalia, on a recent 400 mile road trip he averaged 13.5MPG...Yikes! The H6 is also more expensive to install (you need a $2k link ECU) and your very limited on exhaust choices etc.

The 2.5L will almost double the Hp of the stock engine (90hp to 170hp), with a 16" tire upgrade it's well matched to the stock transmission ratios and doesn't put the stress on the drive train that the H6 will. With the 2.5L you'll get 19-20MPG All around the 2.5L is hard to beat.

My friend with the H6 is going to remove his and install a 2.5L or a TDI in the future.

Hoakaguy
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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I'm working on a deal to pick up a 1982 Vanagon Westfalia 1.6naD that is in non running state. Hoping to Z-TECH that puppy, and have a backup Vanagon. Syncro is on my short list.. Do you want to trade R1200GSA for it?
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:47 PM   #9
A-Bone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodakaguy View Post
The H6 is a great engine, love the Timing chain, no head gasket issues and a boat load of HP/torque....but

The H6 is a lot of power for the stock drive train and will eventually cause problems if you dont spend some money beafing up the trans, the vanagons gearing is also poorly suited to the H6....more money on a re-gear. My friend has a H6 powered Westfalia, on a recent 400 mile road trip he averaged 13.5MPG...Yikes! The H6 is also more expensive to install (you need a $2k link ECU) and your very limited on exhaust choices etc.

The 2.5L will almost double the Hp of the stock engine (90hp to 170hp), with a 16" tire upgrade it's well matched to the stock transmission ratios and doesn't put the stress on the drive train that the H6 will. With the 2.5L you'll get 19-20MPG All around the 2.5L is hard to beat.

My friend with the H6 is going to remove his and install a 2.5L or a TDI in the future.

Hoakaguy


Cool... thanks..

I was thinking the tranny might be the cause...

But the other stuff on top of that makes it sound like it was an easy choice...

Looking forward to reading more...

On TDI: A guy I bought some MKIII parts off of was planning on dropping the TDI in his Vanagon (non-westy)... He seemed like he was a little crazy... which you might just have to be...

Should make similar tq to what you are talking about given it was an older TDI

A-Bone screwed with this post 06-25-2012 at 02:54 PM
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:32 PM   #10
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Cheers on the build, when I was a kid my dad bought a bunch of vanagons, one a syncro.

Some good things, some bad. He successfully battled VW on two engines (goop in the cap nuts). But quite a few road trips were had that the VW did something catastrophic, I can see why you'd want a different plant.

From the passenger's perspective however, these things are a bit of a death trap. Examples. Roof mounted AC channel fell off and smacked the brother in the head while traveling down a flat relatively smooth highway.

Rearward facing seats decided to dislodge randomly. Battery burnt in its tray.

Rear heater vent duct on middle person's feet causing extreme discomfort while others are comfortable warm.

VOMITING DUE TO WIND BUFFETTING. Might just be me, but I have been car sick in more VW Vans than any other vehicle by atleast a 10 or 15 to 1 ratio. No issues before we got the van, nor since we got rid of it. But I have had trips with 11 vomits. I never experienced this while driving however, so my lesson is, no Passangers are to be allowed to ride in the back on windy days unless dosed w/ dramamine.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:33 PM   #11
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Looking forward to the build !! Post lots o pics !!
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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SO jealous....

I will be watching this one.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:08 PM   #13
TEXASYETI
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This is pretty awesome. These guys could use your help - or might buy your rig when you are done!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Drive-...18388858200902
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:30 PM   #14
Hodakaguy OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1fa View Post
I'm working on a deal to pick up a 1982 Vanagon Westfalia 1.6naD that is in non running state. Hoping to Z-TECH that puppy, and have a backup Vanagon. Syncro is on my short list.. Do you want to trade R1200GSA for it?
How many GS's? LOL. The Z-tech is another popular option...it doesn't have the torque curve though that the Subaru has and feels more stockish when driving it compared to the subaru conversions. I love the completeness of the Bostig kit but there are several places that offer pretty complete kits for the Subaru's now as well (Rocky Mountain Westy, Small Car Performance etc).

I'll be updating the thread as progress happens...need to get the driveway poured then I can jump in head first!

Hodakaguy
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:32 PM   #15
Hodakaguy OP
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Originally Posted by TEXASYETI View Post
This is pretty awesome. These guys could use your help - or might buy your rig when you are done!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Drive-...18388858200902
WOW, they are doing some serious traveling with their bus. Very cool! Thanks for the link!

Hodakaguy
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